Although there’s a little bit of a shaded ceiling over the top end, the D 3020 need make no apologies. Whether used alone or with the C22 preamplifier—once you’ve seen and used them together, it’ll break your heart to separate them—the MC275 makes utterly fabulous music and its traditional looks make it, like the C22, a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. The amp sounds good right out of the box, even better after some break-in, and the automatic bias adjustment assures the VT80SE will produce its best sound throughout the life of the tubes with no adjustment by the listener. But a battery of inputs on its back and the ability to stream via an Ethernet port mean that it truly constitutes a jack-of-all-trades in integrateds. With seven analog inputs—including a high-quality phonostage—and preamp outs, the A19 has plenty of room for all of your sources and won’t break the bank. hegel.com, Creek Audio Evolution 100A $2195 This quintessential stealth amp packs more configuration options than should be possible in such a minimalist chassis. Our Virginia-based experts love helping folks find the right gear. The SE-R1’s sound also exhibits bold dynamics, staggering detail, and a huge volume of musical information. DO opines that the KT120 produces the best sonics in either ultra-linear or triode modes. The Sphinx integrated amplifier may be the most roguish of the lot. By the time you get up into this price range, there are so many options and such … There is no sonic mystery that these are tube amplifiers; tonal colors are rich and full-bodied with a lifelike warmth that never devolves into softness or syrup. Bryston 7B³ $11,990/pr. And the more I read the more confusing it gets. Indeed, its resolution, timing, and imaging are beyond reproach. As with the preamps, Bia’s personality consists in a completely seductive musicality free from all the usual sorts of electronic colorations and artifacts, for a presentation that never, ever sounds electro‑mechanical, instead always wholly natural. ayonaudiousa.com, Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 $4000 The Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 is much more than an integrated amplifier. Its top end, where Class D has previously struggled, is smooth and extended, not glassy. When he left Threshold several years ago, Pass had the luxury of starting over with a clean slate, and decided immediately that he wanted to design a single-ended MOSFET amp. The H80 delivers a nice measure of musical verve, accompanied by a lack of listener fatigue that one rarely encounters in $3000 integrateds—let alone in one priced at $2000. Conversely, many integrated amps near its price with a low listener-fatigue factor too often also sound overly polite or reserved, where the H80 is musically involving, well balanced, and surprisingly powerful for its rating. The Atlas creates a cloud of air around each instrument, and a deep convincing sense of space. Its classically elegant design features a quartet of 6CA7 valves and newly developed Hashimoto transformers. A great bargain in high-powered amplifiers. The Sphinx integrated amplifier may be the most roguish of the lot. The sense, as it should be, is not of listening to gear but that the gear is a conduit for the music. 1. Thanks to improvements in the transformers, distortion and noise are far lower than ever, bandwidth higher, dynamic range wider, transparency greater, and transient response better than ever. Best Audiophile Power Amplifiers Under $3,000. A timeless classic. This “Direct Digital Amplifier” technology debuted in the $6000 M2 and now trickles down to the C 390DD. This is the real deal…and a sweet deal, too. The Aleph Null, or 0, represents Nelson Pass's maiden product under the Pass Laboratories banner. Essentially, it’s a sleek-looking, small-footprint hybrid Class A/Class D integrated amplifier/DAC—that combines Class A warmth and resolution with Class D speed, power, and efficiency. Marantz PM6007. Besides being stylish and relatively compact, this amplifier delivers the sonic goods. Delicate, detailed highs are smooth, continuous, and very extended, though not at all peaky. MBL Corona C21 $9200 Sounding more like a fine analog amp than the hybrid-switching amp it is, the 180Wpc C21 offers much of the lush sweetness and sonic gravity of MBL’s own Reference Line 9011 monoblock. Although it performs the functions of an integrated (85Wpc), it can accept just about any digital or analog sources, and also offers RoomPerfect DSP room correction. True, there is a glimmer of romance in its palette, but tonally it’s a thoroughly contemporary tube amp that walks a mostly neutral line, yet still reproduces the lowest-level details of music with an almost tender delicacy and resolution that combine the best of the valve and solid-state worlds. Firmly midrange-centered, it never over-reaches in the sense of growing shrill in one direction or tubby in another. No matter what style of music she played, no matter what speakers she paired it with, the Air Tight ATM-1S delivered the sonic goods with naturalness, beauty, and ease, while also throwing a remarkably deep and wide soundstage. Tubes? The Absolute Sound team is proud to highlight Martin Logan and Paradigm, known for loudspeaker innovation. The 8000A integrated sounds as crisp and detailed today as it did in 1983, and its internal phono pre-amplifier was considered to be one of the best in an affordable amplifier. The amplifiers belie their rated power, and drive low-efficiency loudspeakers with ease. The company's new NewClassic 200 Integrated is, as you might well guess, an integrated amplifier, with a high-quality onboard digital-to-analog converter section. rogueaudio.com, Hegel H80 $1995 Those who are (sometimes justifiably) frustrated with escalating prices, take heart; Hegel’s 75Wpc, solid-state H80 integrated amplifier with onboard 24/192 DAC answers the call for high-performing audio kit at a very reasonable price. parasound.com, NAD C 390DD $2599 NAD’s C 390DD might perform the same functions as an integrated amplifier with an integral DAC, but looks can be deceiving. Operation of the KT120 in triode mode is a potent option that can work miracles with some speaker loads, though output power is halved. Yes its lighter overall balance is due to some bottom-octave attenuation, but the D 3020 retains an essential presence, a midrange integrity, that sculpts the body of a performance and makes it live in the listening space. None of this would amount to much, though, if the Classic Stereo sounded crude or clunky. Air Tight ATM-1S $10,450 Julie Mullins has been delighted to have this stereo tube amp in her reference system. This mono amp offers a lot: tonal neutrality, dynamic control, expansive soundstaging, fine resolution, plenty of power reserves, and great musical expressiveness. The amplification, in particular, has an extraordinarily silent background, a sense of being “non-electronic,” and an ability to provide direct access to the source material. No, it does not have the seamless liquidity, high resolution, and fundamental solidity of the more expensive stuff, but it gets you enough of the high-end essence to be more than a great place to start. Integrated amps come in all shapes and sizes, run the gamut from $500-5,000, and work best … The previous generation “squared” series improved output-stage performance whereas the newer “cubed” series improves the input stage. The soundstage is quite wide, with instruments realistically distributed between the speakers. Voices are unstrained and pure-sounding, bespeaking low distortion. One obvious difference is the switch from TV sweep tubes to audio power tubes. Overall, both amplifiers are fantastic values. Zanden Audio Systems Model 8120 $19,990 (optional balanced XLR inputs w/input transformers $1000) For JV, this large, beautifully built and finished, KT120-tube-based, 100Wpc stereo amplifier from celebrated Japanese manufacturer Zanden is one of the great surprises of this audio season. But for sheer drive and power, the Classic Stereo is not easy to top. Output tubes are individually fused to protect the circuit against catastrophic tube failure. For $1,000 less, the brand new decco65 integrated amplifier/DAC from Peachtree Audio offers a real challenge to the Bel Canto and frees up funds (just like the Rega) for a great analog source. Lastly, there’s a true dedicated headphone amp, with front-panel jack, capable of handling top-quality cans. The 30Wpc D 3020 offers 24-bit/96kHz-resolution USB computer audio and aptX Bluetooth music streaming. A powerful amplifier capable … This is nominally a 40Wpc power amp based on Berning’s patented impedance-matching technology that does away with a conventional output transformer. D’Agostino Classic Stereo $14,500 The D’Agostino Classic Stereo represents a return to the venerable days when Dan D’Agostino was producing the stereo equivalent of muscle cars. George favors tube technology, and the 300s reflect his current thinking on how to make tubes state-of-the-art today. By combining a power amplifier with a preamplifier, buying an integrated amp is not only simpler than hunting for separate components, but it also gives you a good mix of performance and features for less money than you’d spend otherwise. The Yamaha A-S801 looks good, sounds splendid, and has a long list of useful features at a price that makes it a bargain! Technics has complemented the approach with a gallium-nitride FET drive stage that’s so efficient it eliminates parallel output transistors. Although not a budget item, a Constellation amplifier at $11k is something of a breakthrough. Begin typing your search above and press return to search. There’s an inner light to images, plus a huge soundstage and cavernous dimensionality. At $2600, the IDA-16 provides a ton of value for the price. Coming from a group of lifelong audiophiles, that’s high praise indeed. The midrange, in particular, is highly vivid and present without sounding the least bit pushy or forward, infusing the presentation with a palpability and directness of expression previously unheard in any amplifier near the H30’s price. Whether you’re into digital or analog, you’ll discover big-buck sonics and incredible versatility in a neat little package. If that’s not enough, this is the first Class D amplifier … Sonically, this is a beauty of an amplifier, with highly natural tonal and textural delivery, an impressive layering of dynamics, as well as nice drive and transient pop, and a strong degree of transparency back to the original session. A genuine masterpiece from an Old Master. 41034. integrated hybrid amplifier Jun 2020 A few months ago I visited a lucky man who had a rather splendid sound system that he was more than happy with, the reason for the visit was that this was the first … For $2500 it includes a powerful basic amplifier coupled to an excellent preamplifier with a built-in analog crossover as well as a DAC that supports all modern formats. audioplusservices.com, Yamaha A-S801 $899 Is there any other audio component with as many features as the A-S801 amplifier? Enter Ayon, self-appointed ambassador of tube amplification, which runs a five-point test on every tube it ships, including plate current, transconductance, heater-to-cathode leakage, gas ion current effects, and microphony. Best $5000. Power: 300W/8Ω (RMS) DAC: Yes. The other argument is, hello, $499—making it by most standards a small miracle of packaging and portability, and with a few exceptions a delight to use and listen to. The Sphinx integrated amplifier may be the most roguish of the lot. By [email protected] - June 3, 2013. A creation from the celebrated Japanese master Miura-san of Air Tight, this rare gem of an amp is meticulously hand-crafted in Osaka, Japan, and manually point-to-point wired. For all its humble size and appearance it’s pure NAD. The 7B³’s bass extension and stability during demanding musical passages, coupled with relatively low noise, impart an admirable sense of ease to the presentation. Bandwidth and transient speed are pretty impressive for an SET. Learn More: Here. Second, though completely tube-powered and tube-rectified, it has none of the image blur, dynamic laxness, ambient grain, and timbral heaviness of typical Class AB KT120-based push-pull tube amplifiers. Vocals, female and male, have realistic body in a distinct sense of place—with both feet on the ground so to speak. There is a kind of gleeful dynamic command with the Classic Stereo. Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Thouston, Jan 9, 2019. The Muzishare X7 is one of the most versatile tube amplifiers available today. Peachtree Audio nova300 ($2,199) Weight: 17 lbs. For those who might be intimidated by the idea of tubes, VTL has made the ST-150’s manual bias-adjustment fairly straightforward. Oh, and the Orion II sounds lovely, readily serving all kinds of music. exposurehifi.com, PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium $3399 The Premium version of the DiaLogue incorporates select parts such as an ALPS volume control, Takman resistors, and SCR tin-foil coupling capacitors in critical signal-path locations. SPECIFICATIONS. This 300W (into 8 ohms) hybrid (tube input stage/MOSFET output stage) monoblock is the distillation of all that celebrated electronics designer Bascom H. King has learned about amplifier circuits. Sanders Sound Magtech $5500 This no-nonsense amplifier was designed to drive any loudspeaker load, particularly full-range electrostatics, which can have an impedance of less than 1 ohm in the top octave. Simply put, JM adored this petite integrated amp/DAC from PS Audio straight out of the box. Soundstage depth is in keeping with other solid-state amps at its price level, but width and height are exceptional. psaudio.com, Cambridge CXA80 $899 Cambridge really stepped up its game with its suavely restyled and affordable CX Series. Frequency extremes are slightly attenuated—there is a little dryness on top and a bit of soundstage constriction—but that doesn’t detract from the 100A’s lively musicality. All Zesto products are designed by George Counnas and built in-house. Aesthetix Atlas Stereo $8000 Aesthetix’s first foray into power amps is an unqualified success. Why a surprise? Like other Halo products, the circuits inside are John Curl’s design. It is a bruiser of an amplifier that will produce a gobsmackingly capacious soundstage, not to mention considerable prowess in the nether regions. Its low end is elegantly controlled but not over-torqued. The Emotiva BasX A-100 stereo integrated amp is built like no other $229 amp I've ever seen. The mostly moderately priced integrated machines I've reviewed have included the Heed Audio Elixir ($1195), Luxman SQ-N150 ($2795) and L-509X ($9495), NAD C 328 Hybrid Digital ($549), Octave Audio V 80 … Along with the single output transistors, LAPC may explain why the SE-R1 is the most tube-like solid-state amp AT has heard. nuprimeaudio.com, Arcam A19 $1000 Need an affordable integrated amp that offers enough inputs for the whole family? Can you say overkill? The colossal gain of the original has been reduced to a reasonable sensitivity of 0.8V. This classic all-tube push/pull design delivers 150Wpc in its tetrode mode, and, via the flick of a rear-panel toggle, 70Wpc in triode operation. soundorg.com, Rogue Audio Sphinx V2 $1295 ($1395 with remote control) Rogue products have, like their moniker, usually gone their own way in design, price, and value. One effect of the feature is to flesh out the three-dimensionality of instrumental images. What We Like: … Integrated amp or Pre amp/Amp combo. It runs relatively cool to the touch, is tonally neutral, produces a deep soundstage, and should be very reliable. Since NuPrime’s founding, Jason Lim has continually sought to improve sonics through innovative technologies—in addition to offering high performance and value with respect to pricing. Digital amps haven’t taken hold in the high end, but their design inherently confers major advantages to digital sources. primaluna-usa.com, Hegel H160 $3500 The Hegel H160 is an integrated amplifier that sneaks up on you rather than grabbing you by the lapels. … It is a tube roller’s delight as it dispenses with the bother of having to deal with biasing issues. As a long-time user of various Shunyata Research AC power […], With the increasingly widespread streaming of digital music content to […], What does it really mean to say that a luxury […], Rogue Audio needs little introduction in TAS. Sonics are smooth, vibrant, and unhyped. The amp ships with EL34 pentodes, but KT88 and even KT120 beam power tubes may be substituted, which nudges power output to 42Wpc. Moderate price, compact size, ease of use, flexibility, and truly remarkable sound are all right there at the touch of a few buttons. No, it didn’t equal his far more expensive reference gear, but during a listening session several of his audio buddies said they derived genuine musical enjoyment from the system anchored by the Yamaha A-S801 amplifier, and could happily live with it. nadelectronics.com, NuPrime IDA-16 $2600 A do-everything DAC coupled with a 200Wpc Class D integrated amplifier in a sleek package that would look good in any system, the IDA-16 plays music files ranging up to 384kHz PCM and DSD256—which includes all currently available albums. The VT80SE produces open, detailed sound with exquisite harmonic nuance and shading. A perennial overachiever, […]. Press Esc to cancel. PS Audio BHK Signature 300 $14,998/pr. It may not have the 9011’s slam, but in most other ways the C21 bears a strong resemblance to the flagship’s air and dynamic energy. It delivers 50 watts per channel for 8-ohm speakers, and 80 watts per channel for 4-ohm speakers. No, it doesn’t compete in the category of the kilowatt (and kilobuck) amplifiers put out by the likes of Boulder Audio. Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Cliff O, Jan 30, 2017. It’s powerful enough to drive a big speaker like the Wilson XLF. Its DAC supports USB 384kHz/32-bit and DSD256, and is also capable of decoding DoP (DSD over PCM) via coaxial and optical inputs. The Absolute Sound is the world’s preeminent source of expert reviews, features, and commentary on high-performance audio and music. Quality sound, superior build, and affordability are cornerstones of Arcam’s design philosophy, and the A19 exemplifies all of them. The BasX A-100 stereo integrated amp is built like no other amp I've ever seen for its price of $229 (£299 or about AU$520). The mono version brings 500W to the party. It can … With an overall character that conveys warmer, darker shadings, reminiscent of a burnished walnut grain, it doesn’t hype treble frequencies, etch transients, or evince any pernicious tonal peaks or bumps. Sonically, the 35Wpc ProLogue Premium does not have the rosy, euphonic colorations of traditional triode or SET tube varietals. Includes a nice remote and very readable OLED display. The midrange lacks just a smidgen of the detail present in other, more expensive amplifiers. Share on Facebook. Includes a very fine discrete headphone amp and a phono section that is worth the asking-price all by itself. Throw in an automated program that removes the worst bass peaks and dips and you have an extremely capable and compelling product. It can also deliver an immense amount of current, delivering up to 60 volts at the speaker terminals, and enough amperage to deal with any current-demanding speaker. Rather than convert digital signals to analog and then amplify those analog signals with multiple conventional gain stages, the C 390 DD takes in digital data at any resolution up to 192kHz/24-bit and converts the PCM data directly to the pulse code signal that turns the output transistors on and off. The heavy lifting that an amp … For someone looking to indulge in the tube experience, with most of the drawbacks superbly minimized, GW cannot recommend the 70Wpc (40Wpc in triode) PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium HP highly enough. Its power is rated, with extreme conservatism, at 220 watts into 8 ohms, 450 watts into 4 ohms, and 650 watts into 2 ohms, meaning it can drive any real-world speaker load, including nominal 1-ohm loads. Although it mysteriously lacks a display, which makes volume changes and input switching more a matter of faith than precision, you’ll get over it, given the CXA80’s smooth, relaxed sonic performance, and abundant headroom for more demanding loudspeakers. 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