Hegel H360 or H590 or Constellation Inspiration Integrated 1.0 for Magico A3

I recently heard the Magico A3s and really liked them. The dealer said they are often combined with the Constellation Inspiration Integrated 1.0 at shows. After a lot of searching on Google, I can't find any pictures or reference to this combination. However, I did find a number of references to the A3s being combined with Hegel amps, including by Alon Wolf who said it would be a very good combination and led the author of the article to speculate that the A3s may have been "voiced" by Magici using the Hegel H360. I have not yet been able to listen to the A3s with either the Hegel H360 or H590 or the Constellation amp. I would be interested in everyone's thoughts as to the best integrated amplifier for the A3s for $13,500 (the price of the Constellation amp) or less.
I recently sold my Hegel H360 (mint condition) for around $3,200.  If you can find a deal like that, then it's really a no brainer for you to try it.  H360 is a solid amp that is both powerful and excellent sounding.  It's definitely one of the best integrated amps under $10k.  I've never heard the Constellation amp before, but I doubt it is 2 or 3 times better than Hegel.   
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With your budget you wouldn’t be far off being able to afford a Vitus RI-101 on a deal. Having auditioned that amp recently with the A3's, I would be confident it would be a good bit better than even the Hegel H590, and will have better build quailty. The RI-101 will also have optional dac/streamer & phono modules going forward.
I think we should give the Hegel H590 a chance to show itself against the competition.
Melbguyone, you seem to know a great deal about Vitus brand and others. How reliable the Vitus RI-101? Is it on the same level of luxman, accuphase, gryphon? I don’t think we have service in US from Vitus, this is the only thing that stops me from considering new vitus integrated. I currently have luxman 509x driving canton reference 3k speakers. I like the sound but feel that on a higher volume levels it should be more relaxed, and instead it just gets loud with some harshness that I don’t hear at lower levels. To me its a sign that I need more power to drive my speakers maintaining the same level of refinement that luxman provides. I had Gryphon Diablo 300 before, that bested pass INT-250 but had to sell it to urgently come up with cash. I liked the Gryphon sound even so it was little on a darker side, but will not consider Gryphon again, because it must be shipped on the pallet only by freight. So Vitus or T+A integrated left to consider. No separates for me. Your adivse is very appreciated.
I have the time to wait to hear the Hegel 590. The dealer said the Magico A3s are backordered and will take 3 or more months to be available.

Thanks, denon1. You expressed my concerns about the Vitus. The dealer also suggested the Luxman 509x. However, I don't think it's in the same league as the Hegel or Constellation and may also suffer as to resale value.

I heard the 3As with the T+A integrated. It's an excellent combination, but exceeds my budget. 

Iar, thank for the info. The thing with hegel  that worries me is the build quality. I had their integrated and second from the H30 amplifier and they both had loud transformer bass and smell. The Hegel build is not in the same league as Luxman 509x or Gryphon or even Pass.  I actually like the sound of Luxman 509x, its very refined and natural, but I think its a little underpowered to make my canton reference 3k fully open and sing at a higher volume levels.
There is no "best."  Best is relative to your tastes, music, system, and room.  I'd think the A3 is a fairly neutral sounding speaker, so you need to pick an integrated that is aligned with your situation and sonic preferences.  If you share your preferences and what aspects of sound reproduction are most important to you, you'll get much better and more meaningful recommendations here. 

I've had several Hegel integrated amps before. No problem with the build quality even though the front panel has a very simple design. I've since upgraded to a Luxman L-590AXII, which is in a different league in terms of build and sound quality. I had always wanted to get Gryphon but after I got my Lux, I no longer have that desire any more. I've heard the Gryphon Diablo 300 with the YG speakers and the A3 with the T+A PA 3100 HV at an audio show earlier this year.  I am also familiar with the Vitus sound because my friend had a Vitus RI-100.  These are all very good amps.  
Thanks, soix and respected. As to SQ, I want a very clear mid-range, not "warm" or "relaxed" which may be euphemisms for less than tight and clear. However, not so "bright" or "analytical" which often leads quickly to listening fatigue. The A3s sounded about right to me and had a very good bottom end, much better than the Harbeth 40.1s that I heard immediately before the A3s (also with the T+A amp). I am hoping to find an amp that complements the A3s in my price range of under $13,500.
@denon1, I’ll run through your questions one by one..

"How reliable the Vitus RI-101?" - I guess the first thing to say is, Vitus Audio are a luxury brand like AP or Hublot, not a mass market brand. Their new factory in Denmark is SOTA They are using machinery which is VERY expensive. This article will give you some idea - https://www.monoandstereo.com/2016/12/new-state-of-art-machines-in-vitus.html
If you want to learn about the philosophy of the Designer, Hans Ole Vitus, there is an informative series of short videos here - http://www.bestofhighend.com/hans-ole-vitus-part-1/
And unlike some other high end manufacturers, they design and built the majority of their chassis parts (incl: boards) in-house. They are all about attention to detail, which you see from their well made and immaculately shipped boxes through to the signed QA sheet inside the box & well written manual on cd.

"Is it on the same level of luxman, accuphase, gryphon?" - I recently did an a-b shootout between Luxman, Accuphase & Pass .8 series separates. Build quality on the Japenese amps was excellent, and fyi in that shootout I preferred the sound of the Accuphase A-70/C-2850 combo. But the Vitus RI-101 and SIA-025mk2 are playing on a higher level imho. As for Gryphon, I would rather not comment on them in the forums. Will pm you.

"I don’t think we have service in US from Vitus, this is the only thing that stops me from considering new vitus integrated" - Vitus definitely have Distribution in the US. Bob from Rhapsody Audio in NYC is one of your main Dealers, and is also an authorized Service Centre for Vitus. From memory, there are atleast four or five Dealers in the US. Maybe drop Bob a line and ask?

"I currently have luxman 509x driving canton reference 3k speakers. I like the sound but feel that on a higher volume levels it should be more relaxed, and instead it just gets loud with some harshness that I don’t hear at lower levels. To me its a sign that I need more power to drive my speakers maintaining the same level of refinement that luxman provides" - It does sound like the Lux is starting to run out of puff. It has a damping factor of 370 which is not very high compared to even Accuphase. I recently reviewed the Vitus RI-101 fyi before changing my member name & saying sayanara, (or "proshchay" in Russian) to that forum - https://www.stereonet.co.nz/forums/topic/16208-my-impressions-of-the-vitus-ri-101-integrated/

Melboneguy - I appreciate you input even if the Vitus is way beyond my budget. I am interested in your thoughts about Gryphon, which the dealer also recommended. Maybe you can send me a pm as well?
iar OP2 posts08-24-2018 12:10amI have the time to wait to hear the Hegel 590. The dealer said the Magico A3s are backordered and will take 3 or more months to be available.
The A3’s which I recently reviewed are terrific. On a lesser budget than the Vitus RI-101, the Hegel H590 being based on the flagship separates should have plenty of power and pair well with those speakers. Another powerful integrated around the same price ballpark is the Audia Flight FLS-10 which is well made, on the warm side/musical, and has 3 x the total capacitance of the H590 which is important, as that gives you your speed, dynamics and control.
Well, there's a T+A PA3000HV available here now with full factory warranty for $10,995.  

What happened to discussion of the Constellation?

More generally, I'm kinda surprised there isn't more discussion on this forum of brands like Constellation, CH Precision, Soulution, etc.

@twoleftears + 1 on CH and Soulution. Really nice gear, though would be above the OP's budget. Magico are now using CH amps in their listening/testing room.

Melboneguy, thank you for the info about Vitus, very informative. I contact Vitus dealer to try to get a demo of RI-101.

Iar, as I said , I had Gryphon diablo 300 in my house for 7 months. Terrific integrated, sounds close to life music that I here at the venues - speakers synergy important so. The only negative I would say that at the low levels I clearly heard its loosing its famous micro details. Btw Luxman 509x is great at the low levels. Based on my hands on/home experiences this is my rating so far of the integrated I had for the last 10 years:

1. Gryphon Diablo 300 2.Luxman 509x. 3.Pass INT-250. 4.Accuphase E-470. 5.Pass INT-60 6.Gamut DI-150 7. Plinius Hiato. 8.Jeff Rowland 500.

Synergy with speakers, cables and good power also very important to make those integrated sound their best.

soix -  Thanks. The  T+A PA3000HV is a good suggestion, although a quick Google search shows the price may be more than $10,995. The Cable Co. lists it for $19,500. Also, it seems that T+A has more recently released the T+A PA3100HV with an upgraded preamp section and meters on the face. This is the amp I heard with the A3s. Of course that's even more money!
@denon1 Have you ever compared Luxman L-590AXII with the 509X?  I wonder if there is much of a difference between the two. Would moving from 590AXII to 509X be more of a lateral move than an upgrade?  Thanks.    
The one I was talking about is available on this site now.  It's an internal company demo model, which is why it comes with full warranty although it's technically used.  MSRP is listed at $18k.  Doubt the differences between this model and the new one are night and day. 

Given your tastes I'd also mention the Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 ($6500 new).  Don't know what your other equipment is, but this unit also includes a DAC and very sophisticated room correction.  Very neutral and transparent without added warmth, and the room correction is huge and may very well trump performance differences between other even more expensive integrateds.  But that gets into personal preferences.  If you can you should go hear or try to demo one at home.  In any event, best of luck in whatever you decide. 

Thanks again, soix. I will check out the T+A demo and hopefully the Lyngdorf (if I can find a nearby dealer). You are absolutely correct in saying the best way to evaluate would be to do an in home demo or at least go listen to the A3s and amp together at a dealer. However, as you know it's very hard to find a dealer that carries the A3s and the various amps under discussion.

Interesting that nobody has commented yet on the Constellation Inspiration Integrated.
Iar I would jump on that demo T+A PA 3000 that is an incredible price on one fantastic integrated amplifier. 

Sunny electronics is no longer a dealer and therefore, he is clearing out his stock, he was disenfranchised due to playing games on Audiogon.

You would be hard pressed to find a better integrated amplifier for your Magicos. 

As per Constellation their products are good, personally people whom we respect who have experience with their products are not so enamoured with the sound quality of the Constellation gear, not worth its lofty pricing for many of their models. 

The reason you will occassionaly see Magico shown with Constellation is Irv Gross was the salesmanger of Constellation and then moved to Magico. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
@audiotroy interesting re: Irv Gross. 

@iar  if you can go hear a demo of the Lyngdorf gear with any speakers anywhere, I'd urge you to go do so.  If you haven't already heard the benefits of well-executed room correction I promise you it will be a revelation.  And this from a long-term and jaded purist audiophile. 

Respected_int, I did hear the luxman 590axii but not in my system 
The 509x had better bass and more resolving. The 590 midrange more blooming, but Bass is a little weak. Unless you running with berry efficient speakers I would go with 509x, but if you already have 590, I would audition 509x at home if possible before buying it.
Just thought I would chime in on Constellation Integrated.

Audio Advisor has a DEMO unit for sale in their Clearance section for $6,888.00. I have bought many DEMO items from them and they are always mint and sometimes great deals like this one (normally $13,490.00). A steal, I tell ya.

And they also are selling their DEMO Preamp and Amplifier, but not as good a price reduction as the integrated.
bigdesign3 the Constellation stuff isn’t selling hence Audio Advisor blowing it out.

The T+A HV 3000 is allready lauded as coming so close to $120k worth of CH Precision gear the reviewer Allan Taffel had trouble remembering which one he was demoing.


In our experience the T+A gear is very, very hard to beat and you usually have to spend stupid money to beat it.

We compared a $32k T+A power amp and power supply to a $90k pair of Boulder Mono blocks and the T+A was better in bass response which was totally not expected, the Boulder was a bit wider in the soundstage and a touch clearer but the difference was not that dramatic that the Boulder was worth 3 times the price!

For its exceptional sound quality, feature set, and stunning build quality is the reason we sell the T+A gear, it bested, Devialet, Thrax, Electrompaniet, Chord, and Conrad Johnson gear and we even compared it to a $125k pair of the Legendary Krell Audio Standard which the T+A was far superior to and nearly matched a $90k set of Boulder amps as mentioned.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ East Coast T+A dealer
I'm not familiar with T+A gear. I just read a couple of articles about it. Sounds like a winner. Swiss is usually very good, and extremely expensive.

I'm a Krell guy myself using separate rebuilt Vintage Krell Amplifiers. My current favorite is the Krell KSA-200s. Cost $3,300 rebuilt. Using a Schiit Freya preamp ($700) with 4 6SN7 tubes, and the ability to run 3 different outputs...... Tube, JFET or Passive output throughput and able to adjust which one by the Remote. Audio Alchemy DDP-1 with PS5 power supply (DAC/Preamp) being fed by a Singxer SU-1 USB Bridge. Sound is fed to Martin Logan Montis and 2 REL S3 subs connected directly to the Krells speaker outputs.
Just thought I would throw out my system at you for reference. I'm from New Jersey (Rahway, Seaside Park) and moved to Florida 6 years ago. If I come up to visit, I will make an appointment with you. Cheers.
Audiotroy, are there any audible sonic differences between 
T+A PV 3000 and PV 3100?
The T+A 3000 looks looks a real winner! I wish I had the budget for the 3100, but the 3000 has the same power and great reviews. I have already heard and liked the A3s with the 3100. If the sound is similar, the T+A 3000 may be the answer. I am hoping that audiotroy's answer to denon1's question is that the differences in SQ are not significant.
We are running Wyred 4 Sound Separates (STP-Pre, SX 1000's) with great results for the A3. Outstanding IMHO. Try their STi Series integrated. Well above what it should be. Big enough to drive anything, detailed enough to get the best out of so much good gear like the A3. 10k will buy ALOT of records. If you must spend more, then my vote is for Hegel, and Constellation. I have heard the T+A as well with Wilson speakers, not cheap, but nice. Best part, get into the A3, and you would be hard pressed to find a more revealing, flexible speaker for under 30K. There are bigger, but none nicer for many small to medium rooms. The only thing even close is the Wilson Sabrina or Vandersteen Quatro CT, IMHO. The KEF Reference 3 are pretty nice too, just very different. Careful matching is everything here. At this price point, spend the time it takes to find YOUR match. 
@iar One difference between the 3000 and 3100 is that the 3100 has the ability to add the optional $10K power supply. This allows the 3100 power supply to focus on the input and the optional power supply to focus on the output. I may have this backwards but I do remember that was one difference They also added the power meter on the 3100. Not sure about audible sonic differences.


audiotroy                                                                                                        08-24-2018 6:48am
1,053 posts

The reason you will occassionaly see Magico shown with Constellation is Irv Gross was the salesmanger of Constellation and then moved to Magico.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
This Press Release begs to differ - https://www.constellationaudio.com/sites/default/files/2016-09/Constellation_Audio_Irv_Gross_030314. My guess is Irv was offered a job with Constellation which came about through Magico’s brief ’cross polination’ with that company.
@iar, Fyi the Vitus RI-101 would be around $6k cheaper than the T+A PA3100HV and has a more stable psu which doubles down to 4 ohms, wider bandwidth, a fully balanced relay-based volume control taken from the SL-103 and MP-L201 preamplifiers, excellent build quality (made in Denmark), the option of adding a dac/streamer or phono module later, and known synergy with the Magico A3’s. Indeed, I reviewed that exact combo recently and loved it. The sound was natural, effortless, well controlled, resolving of low level details and musical. Best of all, the amp got out of the way and allowed the music to flow (closer to the SIA-025mk2). Just sayin’.
Melybourneguy, interesting take on the Vitus, Positive Feedback reviewed the T+A 3100HV and basically stated that the T+A was better than the last model of the Vitus and the $45k D'agstino you really need to go hear one for yourself.

The PA 3100 HV exceeded the Vitus in terms of blunt power and slam while yielding almost the same rich timbral purity of the D'Agostino. The best of both worlds? These three are so close that I would be very careful with system matching before making that final call. Needless to say, the PA 3100 HV can compete with the very best.

ts tough to beat tubes for midrange magic. The PA 3100 HV held its own and then some. Female vocals had a sense of ease and seduction that could satisfy even the most discerning. Closely mic'd saxophone had plenty of spit, spittle and woodiness—much like the real thing. Piano had all the proper timbre and weight that rarely comes through even in the very best recordings. Solid-state midrange vs tubes? In this case, you could flip a coin.

Highs were close but I vote for the PA 3100 HV. Slightly more resolving and extended, the PA 3100 HV lost none of the sweetness of the Audio Research gear but also had additional attack and a seamless transition to the mids. Everything just fell into place with no gaps or noticeable transitions. Whether it be the difference between violins and violas or gut verses nylon strings on acoustic guitar, my ears told me that the PA 3100 HV made a difference and took the sound to another level.

As stated earlier, the bass performance of the PA 3100 HV is something special and differentiates it from the competition. I immediately noticed additional control and focus on the Magico S5 speakers along with tremendous bottom end wallop and grunt. In addition to this system, I have greatly enjoyed listening to the S5 speakers at several shows, and I have never heard them unleash this quality of physical power. I can only imagine what might happen if we added the optional 1800 Watt PS 3000 HV power supply. Solid-state bass? Another tough one to beat when executed properly. Another vote for the PA 3100 HV.

The Magico S5 speakers are extremely revealing. Pushed by the PA 3100 HV, sound stage depth and width were noticeably better defined with additional air and ambiance. Solid three dimensional images were the norm. For large symphonies and opera, the location of instruments and vocalists were all well layered and organized. Spatial cues consistently popped out of a deep black background to surprise the listener again and again. It doesn't get any better than this other than being at the real event itself.  

We have listened to the Vitus gear lovely but a bit dark sounding so to each his own.

We recognize that the VItus is a superb piece however the T+A does have a few unique tricks on its sleve:

1: State of the art Analog based room correction option
2: Ability to turbo charge the amplfier by adding the units outboard power supply
3: The option to add a world class phono card for $1,800.00 
4: Stunning good looks 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

Iar the PA 3100HV is better and if budget wasn't an issue then I would go for the 3100HV The demo PA 3000 is a buy and you will be totally amazed by its performance.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
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@audiotroy I was referring to the Vitus RI-101 which is MUCH better than the RI-100, just like the Magico S5 Mk2 is MUCH better than the S5 Mk1. I really wish there was a rule against Dealers coming onto these boards and posting long infomercials (actually cut & paste jobs from reviews) pushing their own lines!
Thanks, guys. I am going to try to get a deal on the T+A 3100 or 3000. It's really a shame that I will not have an opportunity to hear the A3s with the Hegel H360 or 590. Same for the new as yet unreleased Belles Virtuoso, which gets lots of love on this forum.
@iar, that will make audiotroy happy. Keep us informed of how your auditions go..
iar, there is a H360 for sale on US Audio Mart just in case if you are still curious about it.  The German made T+A amp sure is a solid amp.
iar, what is wrong with the used demos on sale here?  Are they not the unit you are seeking?
@iar I have heard both of these specific demo units listed on A’Gon. The 3100 driving Wilson speakers at the 2017 LA show. The 3000 at a dealer event for the Los Angeles Audio Society. If I had the cash one of those would be in my home today.
@melbguyone -- Fair points, but the RI-101 is well over the OP's budget and is $7000 more than the PA3000HV demo available here.  But the biggest factor is the OP actually heard the speakers with a PA3100HV (yes, not the same exact model, but they very likely still share an overall very similar sonic signature) and liked the pairing a lot for his particular tastes.  And as we all know here, being able to hear components in person versus buying blind and hoping is a huge thing.  

I heard the A3s with the T+A PA3100HV at Lonestar Audio Show and they didn't sound good. I heard them again with different components  and they sound like an entirely different speaker. 
Ricredi a system setup is only as good as all the parts In it. So there could be a zillion reasons why the sound didnt gel for you.

Check out Soundstages review on the 3100 basically the best sound he ever got in his room.

Too many reviews state the same thing T plus A gear is amoung the best stuff out there.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
I was also there at the Lonestar Audio Show, and the T+A and A3 combo sounded pretty good.  The A3 wasn't fully broken in at that time I think.  Here are my youtube clips (taken with my cell phone)
@soix Even if the OP starts out with a used T&A amp (if that’s what he ends up doing), I think he’ll end up with something like a Vitus RI-101 as that integrated has uncanny synergy with the A3’s, and is absolutely effortless. Buy yes I recognize that is a circa $15k amp vs $9.8k speakers, hence I guess why Magico have demo’d the speakers with Hegel at shows. The Vitus however could be considered a high end bargain when you factor in the properly worked out optional dac/streamer and phono modules.
I'm sorry, but I don't really care what the reviews say. If I hear something, only my ears count. As much money as this stuff cost, I would have to be a serious fool to purchase something based on a review. I had another Audiogon member(Calvin) with me at Lonestar and I hope he posts his thoughts on the T+A/ A3 combination.
@ricred1 . I could not agree more. I did have an opportunity to hear the T+A 3100 with the A3s and I liked what I heard. I am sure that the dealer's listening room was a much better environment to hear the setup than any audio show. However, it's frustrating that I am making significant financial decisions based on the few combinations that are available at the same dealer(s).