Integrated Amplifier for Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolution

I just purchased second hand SF Guarneri Evo's. They are the nicest looking stand mounted speakers I've seen.

I'm currently driving them with a NAD M33 and I think it is not the right match for them. There is no dynamics and they sound thin to me. I think these speaker have a lot more potential.The speakers are 4 ohms with a sensitivity of 86db. I listen to jazz, blues, instrumental and classical mostly.

My room is about 13 by 17 ft.. I have a Bluesound streamer and a Denafrips Ares II DAC.

I'm open to suggestions or recommendations for a nice Integrated Amp. I have a $10-12K budget. I rather buy it used, since I think I get a better value. I live in the Los Angeles area.





Are you running a sub?  It is hard to believe the NAD does not have the ooomph. Crossing to a sub, and even better if you roll off the amp input bottom end can really open up some speakers. 

Maybe because the amp is it is very clean and those SF's are , well drool drool, smooth and not over emphasized.   Have you played with any eq?  It could be you are accustomed to a little midrange boost so it sounds flat?  

You are going to have to audition in your room as at your level, it is not a difference of quality, but of preference.   It could also be you need to let your brain re-program" to the different eq of the Sonas Fabers and then you'll love the NAD again. 

Always think eq first before you blame the electronics. 

Take a look at this Vitus that’ll definitely cure your dynamics and thin sound.  And with the $$$ left over you can upgrade your streamer to something from Aurender, Innuos, etc. and your DAC, both of which would then be holding your sound back.

Here’s a review where it’s compared to some nice Pass and Krell gear driving Magico Q7s FYI…,and%20tone%20are%20spot%20on.

Best of luck.

Never had an NAD Amplifier or Integrated last longer than 45 days in any of my systems. My son loves them I just cant get them to work for me.  

 Pass int-250.


Over the last few years they have figured out how to pack a lot of rhythm and pace along with a low noise floor, great details and power. I think this is a great match.

They're all very good suggestions:

- The Pass Labs Int-250 was in my short list together with the Hegel H590

- The Vitus RI-100 is an excellent suggestion at around $6000. I read the suggested review and a couple more. I think it is a winner.

- I like the idea of getting a new DAC since 100% of what I listen is streamed. I was thinking the Pontus II of even a Terminator II. I have to research the Aurender and the Innuos to see if there is considerable difference. I'll do that after I upgrade the Integrated amp.

- I'm using 2 REL subs T5/x at very low volumes. I also tried the Dirac with the NAD M33. It doesn't do too much of a difference in my room. I actually think it is better with Dirac off.

I just want to say thank you again to all the suggestions and comments.

The upper end stand mount Sonus Faber are very demanding and have very low sensitivity.    A 200 watt Amp is not overkill.  Most or many are 4 Ohm.  My Dad is using a pair of Electa Amator III with a MA8950 and it is a great sounding combo.  

Pass Amps are great, that Amp can deal with difficult loads.   

Spend on the Amp, you will thank me later 


Audioclassics .com


Ask For Mike Sastra (vice President) 800-321-2834. They have been in NY state for decades and are The Mac dealer in the US!

Buy a McIntosh Integrated for those Sanus Fabers ...A match made in heaven!


P.S. Until You get rid of that Bluesound your not really hearing anything correctly.


P.S Go with the Aurender Music server!



Matt Miller

MA 9500 is a killer Amp.    Bluesound is good , but you have the foundation of a great system with those speakers so a good source will exploit what they are capable of. 

I went from a Vault 2i to an Aurender N200 and DAC and couldn't be happier.  Innuos makes good streamers too.  

Something like the MA9500 has a very good sounding  DAC card so you could do a network streamer without a DAC.  

I have had great success with Moon Simaudio amplifiers with SF speakers - I currently have a 700i driving SP Concertos and it is a completely effortless combination. I have heard the 700i driving more challenging loads like the SF Evos and it works like a dream. 

A wonderful integrated and better then pass labs or McIntosh ,hand built is Aacphase from Japan , either their E380 or even better sound their new E4000

At our audio get together I heard them all on the same weekend their attention to detail is superb unless you have $23k for theNew Gryphon Diablo 

which. Is the best but very costly . My friend bought the Accuphase E4000

the refinement and realism is fantastic , Perrotta consulting , is my go to for upper end like Accuphase .

My feeling is when it comes to these things, you'll never know a good match until you try it. Some great amps have been mentioned here but I'd add one to the list:

For your money, this will likely be hard to beat and it's being sold from the music room so if you don't like it you can return it. This unit will have a beautiful balance of tube pre stage and solid state amplification. I have an LS100 pre and it bested everything else I've had in my system, including ARC, and not by a little. 

For what it's worth, I think this is a much better match than a Macintosh. My experience is that Macs match really well with B&W or another somewhat bright speaker; the pairing works out as the smooth Mac cools off the slightly glary highs. Sonus Faber don't have those elevated highs, their much more balanced and the Mac might make them sound mushy. 

Audition the Boulder 866 and you will be glad you did. Very neutral with plenty of power for your speakers. Good luck ! 

Have heard the Vitus very dynamic aND great sounding. Have heard a LOT of MAC gear over the years and it has NEVER impressed me, lack of dynamics and no body.


Another vote for McIntosh. Consider an MA352. 200wpc into 8 ohms, vacuum tube pre with SS power. Can’t imagine how @rsf507 heard a lack of dynamics and body from any MAC amp. 

If you can find a Rodgers EHF-200 MK2 on the used market you can add a sub giving you the dynamics as well as the beautiful tube sound a perfect match 

I think the folks at McIntosh would beg to differ "McIntosh is made for Sonus faber" maybe Sonos. In the past I have had great results with Simuadio both with separates and  integrated. I have had mediocre results with Sf speakers with McIntosh integrated and hybrid amplification. Moved from Sf to Sonner a few years ago, pairing with amplification has been much easier. FWIW, IMHO, EHAO, OALAH.

Hearing "correctly." That was my first laugh for the day. 

Primare makes very good integrateds and the one I have, the I25, sounds great and can be set up to stream with their NP5 Prisma network player if you want to go that route. 

I have the same speaker and I’m currently driving them with an Audio Research Gsi75 supplemented with a Rel t7i sub and I’m very happy.

The unit has one of ARC’s better dac circuitry and very good phono pre.

The base is tight, lots of details and perfect tones to my ears.

I was previously driving them with a McIntosh ma7000 (last of their last all analogue integrated) and the Gsi75 is better.

There is one for sale in Audiogon market for an amazing price of $6000 (orig. $16000)


Agree with the DAC and streamer upgrades.  

Subs are good, but are you taking the LF load off the amp and main speakers?  That is where the real improvements come at anything above background levels. 

 You may not like the response Dirac tries for.  You might be better off playing with the eq settings in your player if you have them.   My new crossovers are flatter and a bit better phase than the previous ones. In my room, they were now way too bright which makes music lose the impact.  Backed off the treble, and the dynamics came back. 


Your question is also dependent on your preferences. I approached purchasing a system by first buying an integrated amplifier. At the time, I wanted the simplicity of an integrated. The McIntosh MA12000 had just been released to positive reviews, so that was my first purchase. I auditioned them with Sonus Farber and Klipsch.  The S.F. Sounded great, but the Klipsch wasn’t to my liking.  I then visited local McIntosh dealers to listen to speakers in the $10-20K range with this amplifier. I really liked what I heard with Sonus Farber and Wilson. I ended up going with the Sabrina X, but I loved the Sonus Farbers. I like the McIntosh house sound and through the S.F.s the results were very musical to my ears. Dealers that carry Sonus Farber and McIntosh are pretty easy to find and likely they can also provide alternatives to the McIntosh.

…coincidence! The unit I recommended is in our neck of woods. Maybe you can borrow the unit (with a deposit) and try it out in your system.


Forgot to mention the place that’s selling the Vitus I recommended above (TMR) allows for an in-home trial period.  Not sure of the terms, but especially at these prices it’s very nice to have the opportunity to hear it in your system and have an out if for some reason it doesn’t work for you. Just FYI.

I purchased the Vitus Mi100 based on the suggestion from SOIX. I researched it and seem the right option, actually and excellent option. I'm getting it next Wednesday or Thursday. I'll make comments. 

Thank you so much to everybody for all the comments. I learned a lot.

Post removed 

I am contemplating a pair of these with my Luxman L-509Z. If I pull the trigger I will share my observations with you.

That was one of the amps I was considering. Please share your opinions if you get them. Looking forward to your observations.