A decent integrated amp under 2K ...

I'm looking for an INTEGRATED AMP. My speakers are Altec 620A (100 db efficiency) and my listening room is 14 x 21. I mainly listen to digital files from my DAC (Metrum) but sometimes I feel less lazy and put on a vinyl on my Garrard. I don't need a phono stage, I use the one from another integrated amplifier (Spendor D40). Here's my shortlist:

1) Belles Aria Integrated (slightly powerful for my needs)

2) Croft phono integrated (since I don't need a phono stage, I think it's a shame to burn tubes for nothing)

3) Rogue Sphinx V3 (too powerful for my needs)

FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS: I can live with tubes but only in the PREAMP section and I try to avoid Class A due to the heat. I'm open to Class D (proof: the Rogue) but the choice is limited and these devices come with a bunch of stuff I don't need. I rather spend my $ where it will make a difference.



With 100db speakers, you could go for a pretty low powered tube that wouldn't give off much heat. Are you concerned with too much heat in the room overall(not a worry) or someone touching it and burning themselves? Plenty of designs have cages that would prevent that. 

IMHO, if best overall SQ with those speakers is the priority, class A is the way to go. 

A couple to consider: Air Tight ATM1, Mastersound Compact 300 or Compact 845, many Shindo models



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Take a look at the Wyred4Sound STI-v2. Class D. Volume, balance, and phase controls; nothing you don’t need. Originally $2500, now $1300. Way, way more power than you need (it’s certainly more than I need) but it sounds very good.

Good luck!


@jimcrane How does it sound with 100db speakers? My guess is that your 85db Harbeth's are far more ideal match for that amp. Cheers,


I really don’t have any experience with the pieces you’ve mentioned that you’re interested in. Vincent makes some nice gear in that price range. They are class A up to the first 10 watts and have tubes in the preamp stage. Mine didn’t run hot. You would have to go pre-owned to get one of their top models. I’m not sure why you’re concerned about something being "too powerful". I have run highly efficient speakers with big amps and most will respond well to the power.

If I were currently looking I would also consider Modwright’s integrated. You’d have to increase your budget a little for a pre-owned one. There’s currently one listed on CL in Seattle for $2500.


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I have fun highly efficient speakers with big amps and most will respond well to the power.

Sometimes the big amps have too much gain and you can get hissing with high efficiency loudspeakers.

@sbank : my amp is open all day long and it get way too hot in the summer... also I had PLENTY of tube amps when I was younger & I do not like the hassle to deal with them...

@yogiboy : I don’t see the point of burning a tube if I don’t need it, which would be the case with the Croft... 2 out the 3 tubes are for the phono and I basicly never use my Garrard... when I do, I already have a phono stage in my Spendor integrated (that I use for another pair of speakers)

@jimcrane : not really my type of machine... but who knows, I could be wrong...

@jerryg123 : yes, the Belles Aria is on the top of my list... and the AVA SET 120 used to be there also but I removed it, I don’t know why...

@big_greg : Vincent is a nice option... as for Modwright, it is WAY over my budget...

If you can live without a remote the Quicksilver integrated is a vey special amp that sounds great and is super reliable. It will have no trouble driving your speakers.  Also, made in the USA. Good Luck!

@joey54 : I have specified that I didn't want tube in the power section... it creates too much heat in the summer... only in the preamp section, I am willing to «deal» with tubes ...

I have a Pathos Classic One MKIII and have enjoyed it for many years, worth a consideration.

@dill  : a few years ago, I did try a Pathos One for a while and it was pretty good... 

I have a Vincent SV500 with Klipsch Kg4's and stream with a node 2i.

 Great sound stage 

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How about an Atoll IN50 Signature?  French made and priced very conservatively.  You don't hear much about them, but when I started seeing them in audio shops that carry lots of high end stuff, I started asking about them.  I have yet to hear anyone have anything bad to say about Atoll.



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Consider a used Naim Audio Supernait (original).

Great sound, more than enough power for your speakers, and less than 2k for a good used one. (Original MSRP over 4k USD)

"Look at ...Quicksilver Integrated." +1

It doesn't get very hot -- I can place my hand on it with no problem. The design uses a good number of tubes, but not the huge ones, and it drives each tube well within its parameters, which means long life for them.

And the sound is great.


Maybe consider one of the Audiolab integrateds — 6000a at 50 watts per channel, 8 ohms, 75 at 4 ohms; if you need more power, the 8300a at 75 watts/ch. They have positive reviews.


BLACK ICE AUDIO - Integrated amplifier F22 with EL34's 

Check with WALLY @ UNDERWOOD HI-FI . You should be able to negotiate a deal for around $1500.00 shipped and delivered.

This is one of Jim Fozgate's new creations. Reports are pretty much spectacular.

It is capable of upgrading to 6550'S, KT88's, KT120's and even KT150's. Can produce as much refined power as you'll need.

Check out the BLACK ICE AUDIO website for more info.

If you could somehow forego your integrated requirement, you could get an absolutely fantastic system with Schiit Vidar (2x100W) + Schiit Freya S + Schiit Modius/Bifrost for almost exactly $2k.

This is also future proof so that in the future, if you decide to change to less efficient and bigger speakers, you could add another Vidar and use them in bridged mode to get 2 x 400Watts, for only an extra $700.


The PS Audio Sprout 100 is under 1k, includes both a DAC and a phono section. Amazing functionality in a tiny package. Connect a streamer and/or TT/CD/Tuner/Cassette, add bookshelves/monitors and a small sub, and you've got real hi-fi for a smallish room.

@bob540 : I believe the Audiolab wouldn't be an improvement on my actual amp which is a Sugden A25B.

@brandonfin : not a bad idea but I believe the Naim is quite similar to my actual amp, a Sugden A25B. there wouldn't be a major improvement

@mazian : that's what I'm planning on doing unless someone has a better idea.

@dustyb13 : I believe the Arcam wouldn't be an improvement on my actual amp which is a Sugden A25B.

@axpert : as mentionned previously, I don't want tubes in the output section.

@charles7 : look at previous comment.

@cakyol : I though about the Schitt and even went online to check them out but dropped the idea, I don't remember why...

@hickamore : as mentionned in my post, I don't want an integrated full of features that I don't need...

With 100 dB speakers, I would look for an SET int amp, a Nelson Amp Camp Amp, or a Dennis Sanderson Fleawatt amp.  I have had several Fleawatt amps and you’ll be very surprised how little you are giving up in sound quality compared to SET amps, and you’ll save a ton of money too.


Ah, re-reading your post and see you don’t want the heat of Class A and tubes.  Go check out http://fleawatt.blogspot.com

With 100db you only need a maximum of say 5 watts My friend purchased a Raven Audio integrated amp 20wpc and it was nicer than the Line Magnetics. Don’t ask me the models I don’t know but he has also been looking for a nice integrated amp. He was pleased with the amp for the price.  We don't make integrated amps only power amps and preamps so I cannot build you one at this point in time.

I am very happy with my Cayin A88T

this is what convinced me


if you search, you probably can find a new one just within your budget.

I bought a used one, they are very solidly made.



McIntosh MC 7100  not just a decent amp,  but spectacular   Used 1k to less than 2k.    I personally have one and have used it since the 90's  rarely has it been off.  Works fantastic now just as it did when new.  I will have it forever.  Just my two cents worth.

Vincent Audio makes a SV-200 hybrid that lists for 1,000 US. 25wpc. Sold by Sudio Advisor. They have them on clearance for $850.

Just a thought. 

Hello alaindexe!  Too much power?  Don't be afraid of "power." 100 watts is only 10 db louder than 10 watts. 10 watts is only 10 db louder than 1 watt. Do you have something with meters on it? Watch those meters during the music you normally play. Do they dance or stay pretty steady? When the drum goes boom, do the needles jump? Lots of power doesn't hurt. whan an amp is loafing, it isn't distorting much at all. Better sound. Check out the NAD amps. The Sphinx is a good choice too. Can you find a used one? Happy listening!

Another vote for Vincent, I have the SA 31 MK / Sp 331 MK pre power amps but the integrated's are also very nice. 

Loved the Quicksilver integrated and with 101db speakers, those 20wpc are going to sound delightful. I know you said tubes only in preamp side, but...it's such an amazing value. Seriously.

A bit more follow up; - - - - Getting back to my recommendation of BLACK ICE AUDIO,  in as much as you have such enormously efficient speakers, You could save a little more money and go with the F11 integrated amp. Same marvelous sonics as the F22 and F35, same outstanding build but quite a bit less money than the F22. The power band would be perfect for your system.

On another note:  The CAYIN which I saw mentioned, is a very excellent performing amplifier. The latest version of the A88T is also beautifully built but the price is definitely out if your range. I wouldn't recommend a used one. Furthermore I would think carefully before going to a China based company. With the world situation as it is today. if you ever had a failure issue, I can't imagine what you would have to go through.  BLACK ICE AUDIO is the new parent of Jolida Don't get them confused however. With the integration of Jim Fozgate's designs, the new BLACK ICE amplifiers are so much better than the best Jolida ever offered, - - Well, there is simply no comparison. 

A close friend of mine just took delivery on an F22 with EL34's. Right out of the box, he is totally blown away by the reproduction. That's about all I can say.

I had the croft and it is excellent but your speakers so sensitive I would look at a leben cs300 SH which is slightly sweeter than the croft. 

@axpert @hilde45 @elliottbnewcombjr @bigkidz @richdirector

I specified that I did not want tubes in the output stage and I have my reasons for doing so. BTW I’ve had a few tube amps when I was young: Harman Kardon Citation II, Leak (TL 12), Quad II, Dynaco St-70 ... Each one sounded absolutely fabulous on my Altec VOT, which is by far the best speaker I’ve own ... I remember that these amps gave off a LOT of heat and required REGULAR maintenance ... I also had to change tubes and, in the 1980s, you had to find them first, which was not easy and could be expensive ... A matched pair of KT-88s cost $ 300 back then ($ 600 today) ... What I’m trying to say is that I know what a good tube amp sounds like and if I made the choice not to have one, I have my reasons. Thank you for respecting it!

@oksailor : When I bought my Altec 620A, they were connected to a 200 watts Mcintosh amp that had powered them when they were in a recording studio. I managed to knock down walls, but in terms of subtlety, I was not impressed - and never was for that matter - with this or any other SS Mcintosh amps ... beyond their legendary build quality and reliability , I really don’t understand what attracts people ... the only Mcintosh amps I would consider are the old vintage tube devices ... these sounded really good but as soon as Mcintosh went SS it was a lot less interesting...

@boomerbillone : in my experience amps have a sweet spot in terms of output volume ... some amps that I found mediocre at low volume turned out to be better at high volume and vice versa ... so it’s best not to have a powerful amp for nothing ... also, a powerful amp gives off more heat than a less powerful one (unless the less powerful is a class A) ... and the more an amp heats up, the faster its components deteriorate ... all this to say that I know my needs in terms of power ... my current amp is 34 watts per chanel and it’s more than enough for my needs ...

@alaindexe Understood and it makes sense. Good luck with your search. I have started a couple threads about hybrid amplification, so I'm curious about what you're after. Best of luck!

@alaindexe - I had to re-read your post so my bad.  I have no suggestions for you for a SS amp for your speakers then. 😀


Happy Listening

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