Integrated Amps - another thread...

Ok, I am going to start looking for an integrated amp that meets my needs.  Let me tell you a little about me and my system...

I was an early R&D person (not technical; rather, sound) at Cary Audio, in the very beginning.  I have been in the audio world for 35 years.  My current system consists of: MacBook Pro > Schiit Modi 3 > Rega Brio > to modified ADS &L780/2 Speakers.  All my PC, IC, and SC are hand made using the Helix Image model.  I also have a number of mechanical isolation things going on around the entire system.  Fairly good size room; however, I don't play really loud.

BTW, I'm one of the only people that has always believed in the sound of ADS speakers and still do...

My ultimate goal is to relplace the MacBook (the last change), Schiit Modi 3, and the Rega Brio.  The ADS aren't going anywhere.  They fit me!

I thought about separates; but, I think I want to stick with an Integrated Amp.  I don't really want an Integrated with a DAC (if it has one, then so be it).  I would to keep it around 3K, if possible.  No really wanting to get back into tubes nd I'm comfortable trying Class D.

I listen 100% to Tidal and Quboz, via Roon, on my MacBook, to mostly late 50's early 60's Jazz.  I do listen to newer Jazz when I hear a good album.

So, throw out some suggestions, please...

Whatever you do for an integrated amp, you're going to get better Roon playback using a proper music server rather than the MacBook, imo.

Examples: Roon Nucleus+, Small Green Computer Sonictransporter, or one of the many Roon-ready streamers by other mfrs like Innuos (there are too many to name)...

what is wrong with your brio? seems to be right in line with the quality of the rest of the system, esp. the dac
Nothing wrong with the Brio, per se... this system was mostly a background system until recently. My children have moved out of the house and a bonus room opened up for me to have a 2-Channel system again.

Over my years, doing this audio thing, I’ve owned a bunch of stuff including Cary Audio, Audio Research, Conrad Johnson, Macintosh, etc...

Being that I’m going to go the integrated route (and really don’t want to deal with tubes), leaning on my old friend to make me something unique is not an option. I really don’t want tubes again. put 2+2 together and you will know my friend.

I’m going to replace the DAC as well. Patrick, I agree, I’m going to replace the MacBook; however, I want that to be my last piece in the chain. Maybe I’m doing it backwards; however, I have a plan, so, the streamer is last in line...

Budget - around 3K for the integrated...
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If you are happy with Rega's tonal profile, I would look at the following.  

Rega Elicit R - you get more power and a better transformer as you step up.  Rega integrateds do improve as you rise in the line.  I believe this lists for $3K.

The Naim Nait XS 3 is going to be $3490 and is a VERY nice integrated amp.  Naim tends not to have high power output into 8 ohms but will be shockingly good with tougher loads / lower impedances.  

The Rogue Pharaoh is a hybrid.  It has a tube input stage and a Class D Hypex output stage.  It uses two, relatively inexpensive, tubes in the input stage that soften the edge you sometimes get with some Class D amps.  I own the Rogue Hydra which is a power amp that has been around for a while.  I love it but you would need to roll in different tubes.  

These are three options that tonally will keep you in a similar place but improve the quality of your amplification. There are many others that I have no doubt will also work.  

I am a dealer for Naim.  I have no affiliation with Rega or Rogue other than I am still an owner of a Hydra and former owner of a Brio R.   

i would recommend you get a small or medium hegel or a middle or upper naim - excellent sound and build

hegel a little more purity in overall sound, naim a little more prat perhaps a touch less refined

another option if you don't mind a slightly older unit is a primare i-30, which is really outstanding, a touch more treble sparkle than hegel or naim, outstanding coherence and drive

all excellent

no affiliation, other than being a happy owner of all 3...
Belles Aria, both standard and signature...Michael Kelly of Aerial who designed for ADS, also used to like Classe and Theta with Aerial, but that was years ago if you’re interested in older amps...
An Ayre AX-7e would do quite nicely. Solid state but reminiscent of tubes. It’s only available used.

For something different, you could consider swapping the Modi / Brio combo with the RME ADI-2 Fs DAC ($1299) and a well engineered amp based on the Purifi module - something like the March Audio P452 ($1595, ships from Australia). Otherwise if you could stretch the budget, then sub the Benchmark AHB2 ($2999) for the P452.
Thanks for the feedback...  I read a review on Rega Elicit R and, although, the sound was very good, they mentioned it being lean sounding.  Compare that to the Brio that I have.  Are they really similar voicing with Elicit R having more detail, focus, soundstage dimension and depth?

I listen to the same jazz you do (and chamber music). I recently got the Quicksilver Integrated Amplifier. It's great! Yes, it is a tube amplifier – designed to drive each of its eight power tubes gently. Owner/designer Mike Sanders believes in simple designs. List is $2000.

My speakers are rated at 89.5 dB sensitivity, and the Quicksilver's 20 watts are more than enough for moderate-volume listening. The volume control stays around 10:30 o'clock, never beyond 12.

For a DAC, the economical JDS Labs+ does a fine job.

For 3k a budget I would look at the following.  My Top 5

1) Parasound Halo Integrated $2999
2) Musical Fidelity m6i - $2799
3) Vincent Audio SV-237 - $2599
4) Rogue Audio Chrono's Magnum III - $2999
5) Rogue Audio Sphynx V3 - $1595
Been thinking of downsizing into an integrated platform myself.  AG has Hegel that make the top five of what I'm looking at:

Also, thumbs up for Quicksilver nominee ....

Consider Odyssey Audio's contribution to integrated design ... I have one of its preamps and simply love what they're doing in north Indianapolis:

Let us know!!

I upgraded from a Rega Brio to a Schiit Ragnarok 2 and is very happy. It is a huge step up. You can get it with or without dac but I would go with. You can add an external dac later anyway but then go directly to a higher budget dac. 
Look, I'm knee (neck) deep designing an integrated amp and from what i have heard, an integrated from Rega (not sure if it's the Brio) is quit good at a great price.  So don't move TOO fast.
I like your system overall, at quite a modest cost. I'd likely think first about the DAC (Modi is great for $99, i have one lying around) but not awesome.  The MacBook pro works well for Roon, but a proper server and ethernet independence to a bridge is better - and allows you to buy/build great power supplies to reduce ground noise and its (guessing here) impact on jitter performance due to threshold crossing stuff....
I use an intel NUC/ROCK to a Raspberry Pi to various DACs.  The e Pi  has a custom made LPS.  The NUC i made a fairly good filter for (on the DC side) since it is such a power hog and I didn't want a small table for a regulated LPS. Ok exaggerating, but 4.5A during boot?  really?

Happy to chat offline too.

Guys, thanks for the feedback.  Funny enough, one of my friends that has been in the industry for a long time came over.  He hadn’t heard my system since I moved it into my new room.

he’s not so quick on changing the Rega...  first of all, he said, it’s going to take a small fortune to get better sound.  He’s installed many systems at 30K + and, his opinion, I’m getting sound as good as any he installed.  He says, sometimes you just get the right combination of equipment, tweaks, and room...

BTW, he provided me with many of the mechanical isolation pieces as well as help me make my Helix Image cables.

That being said, as we always do... what more can we get by changing something?  It’s the quest, I guess...

I have some Rega dealers, in my area; however, I’m not sure I want to do business with them.  I will not trial something and not buy from them.  I’ve always thought that’s the ethical thing to do.

The Naim integrated interest me as well.  Some of the others do to.  The Quicksilver Integrated interest me as I’ve always been a fan of their products.  BTW, one of the esteemed manufacturers, in the audio space, began using my Quicksilver Monos with 8417 tubes.  They were taken and modified as a test case before the business started.

I know this one is out of left field...  has anybody heard the Marantz Ki-Ruby integrated?
Peachtree makes some nice integrateds and they include very good DACs.  

Vincent's integrateds are very good.  I had the SV-237 and it provided a lot of bang for the buck.  

I haven't owned the Parasound Hint, but have heard one and thought it sounded very good.

I replaced the Vincent with a Simaudio 600i.  I bought mine used and it was a little over your budget, but it's a great piece.  It's in a second system, but I could easily be happy with it as the hub of a main system.  It's more detailed and full bodied than any of the other integrateds I've listened to in this price range.
he’s not so quick on changing the Rega...  first of all, he said, it’s going to take a small fortune to get better sound

yes this was my first reaction as well, as i stated earlier... but the units i recommended will deliver a better overall sound than the rega i believe
I wasn't that impressed with my ADS towers.  I thought the technology was dated because I purchased them in 1980.  The dealer allowed me to trade them in for a DAC.  Maybe I got dupped.

I have a pair of Paradigm Prestige 85F towers and I didn't realize they were 2 1/2 way speakers.  After I purchased them my friend sent me an article Why 3 way are better than 2 1/2 way.  We are no longer friends.  He helped me decide on the speakers I purchased.  I wish these had better tweeters.  I like to hear crisp sound symbols and these don't deliver.  My budget was $4,000 in order to get my wife to agree to buy them and I should have waited and purchased the SALK Song3 Encore's.  I wonder what speakers would be best in the $4,000 to $6,000 range.  However, I would need to get my wife to allow to purchase them.
I had a Simaudio Ace all-in-one integrated amp that I liked very much. It had a nice phono stage in it that sounded very good to me. Yes, it has a DAC, something that you said you do not need. I have never heard the Modi 3 that you have, so I have no frame of reference to your setup. I liked the Simaudio DAC (the majority of my listening is streaming). I thought that it sounded slightly better than the built-in DAC that resides in my Innuos Zen Mini. I once did an A-B comparison with a Chord Qutest in a home trial and thought that the Qutest sounded no better than the Simaudio’s DAC. I have never heard your speakers. I have Dali 5 floor standers. There is an Ace on US Audiomart for $2100.00. I have no conflicts of interest at all. I traded up to the Simaudio 600i because I thought I needed more power, silly me, considering that I play at relatively low volumes, and I have significant hearing loss. Also, I lost the phono stage and the DAC with the 600i (!), but the 600i is a beast. I now covet something with tone controls for low volume listening (used Luxman maybe), or perhaps DSP like a Lyngdorf, but that’s my First World problem. Good luck! I hope that this is of some use to you.
Larry, I’ve owned a ton of speakers going back some time ago,  they range from ADS, Acoustats, Magnepan, Celestion, Vandersteen, B&W, Theil, and others...  for some reason, I keep going back to ADS.  Do some of the newer speakers have better resolution, extended top end, tighter bass, etc... yes, they do.  Again, I come back to ADS.  Now, mine are modified with updated cross-over parts, wire, post, etc.

I can change speakers; however, I just don’t want to...
rafevw, thanks for the response...  I am changing the DAC as well.  I do not want an integrated with an onboard DAC, because, if anything that might change for the better, it’s going to be DAC’s.

I know I can bypass the DAC on an onboard integrated; however, it just seams right to not have it.  Perhaps I’m wrong.
we displayed the ADS 2030 biamped w Hafler amps…. I understand where your head and heart are at. The marantz is good..certainly worth a listen.

i agree ith your demo / buy ethics.

for tubes used the Rogue, VTL, Quickie , CJ, ARC used are all good. IF you are not listening very loud the EL-34 VTL is a sweetheart of an amp. w ADS engineering a fairly benign crossover load and efficiency, you might also get away w light loading the output transformers…much tube sonics depend on the quality of the outputransformer…

for SS, Ayre, Electrocompaniet , nAIM ( Atom or Star ) would fix your streamer issue also. The 40 wpc Atom is a real mule kicker…I am biased

have fun

I still recall an early setup I had with Ads 810 speakers, I think I had a nice Sansui receiver that drove them. They sounded very nice, very easy to listen to, even when CD players came out and the sound could be very sharp and metallic sounding. But that was many years ago and I think that speaker technology has come a long way.

I am thinking through my own system upgrade, and I am leaning towards a Hegel amplifier with a DAC built in...   it would be conveneient to use but I can always plug in a more expensive self standing DAC later if I want to further upgrade the sound.  I have read so many strong recommendations about the Hegels from so many sources of information and reviews.  There has got to be something to it.
Tomic, I get what you mean by EL34’s.  When everyone was moving onto other output tubes, I stayed with the EL34’s...

My days at Cary Audio, I would have my amps created with EL34’s when everyone was using 805’s and other tubes at the time.
I’ve been considering an integrated too, and recently auditioned the Simaudio 600-V2 which was lovely ($9k, cough). I shortlisted several others including the Pass Labs Int-60, one of the Esoterics, and the Aesthetix Mimas (tube preamp stage, takes a DAC card).

"My" dealer where I listened to the Simaudio raved about the new Rega Aethos integrated, and says it’s a great buy at around $4500. FWIW--I have not heard it yet.
++++ for the Aesthetix Mimas w card based dAC and or phono. iF we are blowing the $3k budget

this amp has stones and a velvet 3D midrange. I have setup 2 systems in past year w that amp - impressive like most things Aesthetix 
I am going to recommend the NAD 658 preamp and the NAD268 amp. If you can swing the NAD298 amp do it. This has 90% of the acclaimed M33. Maybe even more. This store in the Chicagoland area is a NAD dealer.
If you call them they can get you this for close to your budget. Especially if you bought the demos. I know this isn’t an integrated. The tech in both of these are through the roof. The NAD658 has Dirac room correction. The 298 has 185 watts. If you want to go crazy. Do two as mono blocks at 600 watts. The 658 has the BlueSound built in. You can do the research on these two pieces. 
Another option is the Arcam Sa30 integrated amp. This is like the sound of the Brio but way better. It is right at your budget. I believe this is class G. Very unique in that it is very close to class A but uses less power. This works great as a Roon endpoint. Due to this being the top integrated in the lineup it is full loaded. Also very small footprint for the amount of sound it produces. I am a separates guy but the sound from this is unbelievable. This is not a sterile sounding piece of gear. I just thought of this integrated amp. Sorry for the delay. 
I appreciate all the recommendations.  Most everyone of them, I’ve done some type research to better understand features, etc...

at this point, being that I like the Rega sound, I’m going to spend more time on their products until I figure I need to go another way.  So, based on that, why am I seeing so many people say: the Elix R is as good, if not better, than the Elicit R?

For those that have heard them, what is driving this sentiment I’m reading about?
I should elaborate a bit on the Bel Canto c5i. This unit packs a lot of modern technology into a great sounding very compact unit smaller than a shoebox and can be had for very modest cost, similar to Rega.
I had a great listening session with mine yesterday and was honestly quite floored. Truly lovely,  brings tears to your eyes stuff. Mine drives a pair of 8” Ohm Walsh speakers in a fairly large open area, a family room that opens up to kitchen and the entire first floor of the house. This is a dynamite combo that does it all and can compete in the big leagues against most any competition. C5i is 60 watts into 8 ohms but goes plenty loud and clear with room filling bass with the 8” Ohm Walsh speakers (on Auralex Subdude isolation pads). Includes both analog line and phono inputs as well as a slew of digital. It is a true digital amp with trickle down technology from the BC top of the line integrated that costs as much as a nice new car. All inputs are converted to digital and processed digitally internally. Sound is smooth as butter and very detailed with 20’ wall to wall dimensional soundstage despite speakers only about 6’ apart. That’s an Ohm Walsh thing. Out of this world amp and combo for not much money. Highly recommended. Waiting for BC to come out with a new comparable model just to see what else new might be done. I’ve used various speakers with the c5i. It never sounds bad or fatiguing unlike others I have used there in the past.
Bringing my audio experience to an entirely new level. the Raven Nighthawk Integrated tube amp is about $3000. I thought I knew what a "system" could sound like. O sure. I'd heard demo systems that blew me away here and there. But the $$$$ was beyond comprehension. As I sit here listening....the reality. sheer humanness of vocals, the shimmer of stringed instruments continually amaze me. The depth. guts, and slam of the music is so mesmerizing and often shocking I'm still pulling out old favorites to hear the half I'd missed with all my previous crappy systems. Honestly I never knew MY VERY OWN rig could ever sound this fantastic. Did I mention Raven Audio? IMO a STUNNING break through in realism.    
Hi OP, I believe that I am on a similar level to you in terms of system cost and am also looking out for the next possible system upgrades. 

As far as streamers go, the Bluesound Node (~$500) has been the go-to recommendation as a laptop replacement. I would also consider looking into the Ifi Zen Streamer ($400), which just came out. The Ifi is a streamer only and also looks to be just as functional with all the major streaming bases covered. Ifi hit a great price point. And as more reviews begin to come out, we'll see how the Ifi compares in quality to the rest of the market. 

As far as a DAC upgrades goes, the Denafrips Ares 2 (~$800) seems to be universally winning over YouTube reviewers at it's price point for it's sound quality. 

I'm not exactly sure what amps the ADS likes to be fed by. But since you mention that you're open to class D, I'll say a bit about it since that's what I know. I use NAD for the home theater and Peachtree for the stereo. My understanding is that NAD uses Purifi's version of class D while Peachtree is just now shifting towards the GaN to differentiate itself or get a different type of sound out of class D. You decide of any of this is worth looking into further. Best
I’m about a 90 percent jazz listener. I’ve 42 years as an audiophile. I’m a jazz pianist, having played trumpet, bass. and sax. 

I purchased a KT88 integrated that is 22 watts triode and 45 watts pentode. My speakers (planers) are 93dB efficient. I upgraded the amp with $600 of tubes. Total cost was $1700. Having owned some high dollar separates throughout my history, I’ve never had better sound, and never happier. 
Coltrane:  which integrated do you have? i'm still looking at several tube integrateds. 
I was going to sell my KRELL K-300i this week after it returned from KRELL with some cosmetic work. However, after putting it back with my Thiel CS3.7 I cannot sell it. It is just too good.

If you have neutral to bright speakers the warm KRELL with it's very smooth and relaxing sound with great bass is a top contender.  The first 90 watts is Class A and the unit as 150 | 300 at 8 and 4 Ohm. It is also stable at 2 Ohm but it does not double again from 300 watts. There was was a guy on USAudiomart .com trying to sell his silver one.

This unit has a ROON READY streaming built-in via Ethernet. Functionally, KRELL's implementation is the most useful ROON READY I have used and sound is very good. However,  I use an external DAC (via XLR) with Fibre streaming, which are both a bit better. I do keep the NETWORK streaming plugged in via Ethernet to have the option of hearing the internal DAC.
If you want solid state you should check out this Van Alstine. It is an amp with a passive preamp. BTW, many moons ago I owned the ADS 810 and I thought it was a great speaker!!
It's been awhile since my ADS L9e speakers, but I remember them and I think at your $3k point 
Rogue audio would be worth a try.
@shtinkydog, I added NOS RCA 5691’s, Genelex KT88’s, and Psvane CV-181’s. Total cost of $600 for tubes and $1200 for the amp. Superb tube sound on the cheap. There’s hundreds of positive reviews from buyers. There’s lots of members of audio forums located via google who’ve purchased the amp. It’s a tube rolling machine. Inexpensive at $1200 for the base amp.

Check out the 108 pages of forum owners experimenting with tube rolling at Stereonet dot com.

Look into the Lyngdorf 2170 TDAI. It has a dac.  2 if not 3 very very positive and very detailed reviews were done in 2016 and 2017 and there are many discussions of the unit on this forum.

A few folks I know replaced much higher priced gear with the 2170 and used it for a good long time (and some still do).   Of course, you will find some posts from folks for whom it was not a Goldilocks solution.  I also know two dealers who hold the Lyngdorf integrated amps in high regard and are disappointed they are unable to carry them because they are too close to an existing dealer.  85 into 8 and doubles into 4. Lyngdorf fairly recently stopped making the 2170.   Depending on age and options, used ones should hover above and below your $3K budget.  Their MSRP was 4K-4.8K USD, depending on options.

Alternatively, the Lyngdorf 1120 is a steaming integrated at a new price under $3K, I think.  See reviews for it, of course.  A Lyngdorf dealer I trust says it is quite something at its price point.  60 and 120 at 8 and 4.

Good luck to you.

Check out Ayre Acoustics. Their Integrated is solid-state with a tubed Soul. I own an AX-5 and never thought I would become a convert away from separates.  There is one currently list at $3900 - A steal!

Happy Listening!