Class A integrated amp recommendations

Greetings 'goners after a prolonged absence from posting here but  eavesdropping on your conversations in the interim! I was hoping to get some feedback on your experiences with class A integrated amps. My audio journey thus far provides some context.

The core of my system, Sim Audio Moon I5 integrated, Joseph Audio RM7si Signature on 20” Sound Anchor stands has remained unchanged for about 20 years. Sources are Sim Audio Moon Nova and Rega Jupiter2000 CD players, Sim Audio Moon LP3 phono for my AR ES-1 turntable with Audio-Technica AT-VM95SH cartridge. Cables are Zu Audio.

Primary music interests are acoustic jazz, small scale classical, classical/crossover, some orchestral; but I can, and do, veer all over the map when a bout of nostalgia hits: classic and prog rock, punk, grunge, reggae, singer/songwriter. For me, it’s always been about the music. The stereo is only a tool. It is not the work. During that time I’ve not felt the need or urge to chase gear. I enjoy music.

Until about 6 months ago when I acquired a new turntable: Technics SL-1210GR with Audio Technica AT33PTG/II and Ortofon 2M Black cartridges. Then a PS Audio Stellar phono. And now, as I’m about to retire, I feel like a kid! Those Blue Note reissues have awakened some kind of Mr. Hyde in me that wants to try new stuff!

Hence this post. Your experiences with Class A integrateds feeding speakers similar to mine would be greatly appreciated. I'm intrigued by, but have not heard, gear from Pass Labs, Sugden, and Luxman. Of course, cost is a concern as the law of diminishing returns keeps me away from the insanity of uber-pricing.

Kind Regards


Audio Hungary A- 20 amp. Best around for the $$$ . Get one used at a reasonable price .

Pass INT-25.  Best sound for the money and perfect for higher sensitivity speakers. 

More dynamic and transparent than the Luxman models.

When it came time to replace my 25 year old CJ PV 5 & Solid state amp combo a few years back, I lusted after an Ayre EX-8. As my wife let me know that was out of the question, I settled on a Luxman L-550AXII.

ive continue to be quite happy with the choice. It has a bit of the richness and depth I associate with tubes, without the loss of resolution. It’s a polar opposite of the plastic 2d sound of class d. the build is superb. Every day, after listening to much more expensive gear at work. I go home and enjoy the Luxman. At the time, I considered the 590ax II, but the president of Luxman America convinced me the power of the 550 was more than adequate for my 91db speakers. As I’ve heard it driving much more difficult loads, I do not doubt it would be good enough for the Joseph’s. It has far more current capability than the Pass, for example. While it doesn’t match the Ayre for detail, at 60% of the price, it is always enjoyable. The phono section is quite good, as a bonus!

Pass INT-25.  Best sound for the money and perfect for higher sensitivity speakers. 

More dynamic and transparent than the Luxman models.

i am a pass owner and big fan

but i think there would be many who would argue with the feelings expressed above, both on the question of value for $ as well as sonic differences vs luxman


Thanks all for sharing your thoughts. The suggestions to move up the JA line have always been on my mind and is something that I aspire to. Used JAs are fairly rare and I'm patient.

I should note that I'm not looking to replace the I5 but to try new amps in order to explore how the JAs sound with other amps. The I5/RM7 sig combo has been with me 20+ yrs, it's not going anywhere and is my point of reference (sure there are much better systems but also much worse).

Suggestions have been made to add a subs but I think  they might overpower my space and I don't really have good placement options for them anyway. More powerful amps have been suggested, but for my listening levels I don't feel that I really need more raw power. If that were the case, I'd probably move up the Sim Audio line because I do like that house sound.

The rational is that I rarely exceed 32 on the volume setting which is .1 dB steps from 0-37 and .5 dB steps from 38-51. And most of the time volume is set from 24 to 30. Given that the I5 is rated for 70W with Class A operation for the first 5W, I'm guessing that for those levels, the I5 is delivering somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 40 watts. Of Class A/B power. So what would 30W of pure Class A sound like? I'm dying to find out...

Lastly JA owners, are you out there?