Amp for the Warefdale Evo

Looking for an integrated to power my Evo 4.2s. Currently I have some older equipment in rotation. An Arcam a19 acting as a preamp with a Arcam p25 powering the speakers. I have a bluesound Node2i as well as a chord mojo for streaming and dac use. I do play vinyl from time to time so a solid phono would be a plus but not a deal breaker if it wasn’t included. I could always add an external phono later. The only other amp I have tried was the Arcam sa20 since I do enjoy the Arcam sound but the combination was much to laid back and added too much warmth to the already smooth Wharfedales. Surprisingly the a19 and p25 sounds much more open and airy but I feel like I could benefit from a more detailed amp to find a common ground with the warm Wharfedales. They do seem to like plenty of high current power. My budget is around $2000 and I have medium size room. I mainly listen to folk, singer, songwriter stuff but I do like to get my toes tapping to some pop on occasion.


Amps I have been thinking about:


Music Fidelity m3si

Cambridge CXA81

Rega elex


Rogue Sphinx v3

Yahama 1200 or 801

Peachtree 150

Audiolab 6000a


Alright, I've boiled down the list to the MF M6si, the Belles Aria integrated,  and the Rogue Sphinx v3. Any front runners in your eyes? 

I recently acquired a second hand set of Wharfedale Opus 2-M2 Bookshelf speakers that I very much enjoy. Noting that the Evo uses a similar, but smaller, soft dome midrange, I would have some confidence recommending the superb Legacy i.V2 (which I undesrstand has the same build as the i.V4 Ultra, which I reviewed for

If I were in your situation, I would use the potential stepping stone of having separates to move to a typically much higher level of sound quality by staying with separates and upgrading them. I would use the Arcam pre and get the Legacy amp.

Having reviewed a Belles Aria pre/mono amps for, I believe the Aria integrated would probably be quite nice. Another recommedable option would be the Kinki Studio EX-M1+ (or whatever version it is now), which allows for rolling discrete opamps that can fundamentally change the character, allowing for a wider pallate of sound to tune it to the system. I rather enjoy that and find the Staccato opamps to be superb.

I know of no other integrated amp that offers the configurability of the EX-M1+. You can use it as either full integrated, dedicated pre or dedicated amp. That would give you, along with opamp rolling, a tremendous number of options to simply enjoy variety of systems. But, if your goal is to ultimately move beyond it closer to SOTA, then I would go with the Legacy amp.

I realize my recommendations are above your price point, but I assure you that they are very worthwhile selections and you would simply need to save up more to acquire them. Do not doubt the efficacy of that choice. The performance spectrum is enormous and your current system is not near the outer edge. I do not say that with contempt or disdian, because I was a budget audiophile prior to reviewing. I am teling you with certainty that more money put into it will nearly beyond a doubt yield a much better result. At the lower cost end of the spectrum especially, a thousand or two can be a substantial differnece in products’ performance. The use of better equipment won me over such that I became willing to spend much more to attain a superior performance level and much more enjoyment in listening. :)

For other members, I have no interest in debating my recommendations and methodology.


Thanks Douglas. I took a look at the Legacy and it's impressive indeed. I see there are also Belles monoblocks for sale on the site that, with a pre could be significantly cheaper, but as you said that Legacy is sweeet!

Given what you’re looking for I’d look hard at Hegel along with Belles.  I’d also spring for a separate phono pre — too important to compromise with whatever they throw into an integrated.  Best of luck.