Intergrated or Solid State Whats The Difference ?

New to this equipment and I do not understand (quite a few things)the difference between an Intergated and a solid state amp, or the Pros and Cons of each.
And another thing, how do mono blocks provide enough power to drive power hungery speakers like VSA VR4's or B&W 800 or 802's. Seems to me the average tube amp provide 50 to 80 wpc.
And there are stereo amps and mono block amps. Stereo amps have two amplifiers contained in one chassis, one for each of the left and right channels. Monoblocks essentially split the chassis in two so that there is a physically seperated chassis, one for for each channel. Both of these configurations come in both tube and solid state versions, and, as, Avguygeorge states above, in varying amounts of power outputs. One hopefullly chooses an amp(s), regardless of configurations, that have sufficient power to meet the requirements of the connected speakers.

Keep reading, it will start making sense to you in a while. Concerning your questions:

An integrated amp is a pre-amp and a power amp built in one chassis.

A solid state amp uses transistors for amplification and a tube amp uses tubes for that function.

Mono-block simply means that there in only a mono amp built on the chassis. For stereo (2-channel) you would need a pair of mono-block amplifiers.

Tube amps can be anywhere between about .5 watts/channel and several hundred watts/channel. They can come in mono-block layout or they can be stereo (2 channel) amps.

I hope this helps a bit.


You're comparing apples, oranges, and kumquats. Here are the basics:

There are two basic kinds of amps: solid state and tube.

An integrated amp is a combination of a preamp (the control center, with volume and tone controls, among other things) and a power amp, which does the actual amplification. An integrated can be either solid state or tube.

A monoblock amp is a single-channel amplifier. In other words, for a stereo system, you'd need two of them, one for each channel. Again, they can be either solid state or tube.

Tube amps generally offer much less power than solid state, and have much higher measured distortion. Tube partisans offer a variety of rationalizations for why this is irrelevant, and why tubes are better anyway. To each his own.

But tubes are definitely not for neophytes. I'd strongly recommend that you stick to solid state until you've moved further up the learning curve.
Hap123, you have a few of your terms mixed up! You can get an integrated amp, which includes an amp and pre-amp in a single chassis. Or you can buy an power amplifier and pre-amplifier separately - each has it's own chassis (metal box). The pros of the integrated would be less expense, less space needed, simpler. The cons of the integrated would be some compromise in sound quality related to a single power supply, other compromises made in design to get two functions into a single chassis.

Your question on mono blocks is a little confusing also. When choosing an amplifier, straight power amp or integrated amp, you can choose an amp that creates it's power(gain) using tubes , or transistors(solid state).

Mono blocks refers to a straight power amplifier that uses separate chassis' for each channel (left and right). You can get tube mono blocks, or solid state mono blocks.

There are a wide range of power ratings available for both tube and solid state amps. In general tube amps are lower powered and would therefore require more efficient speakers to create the same volume level.

I hope this helps clear things up. Welcome to Audiogon.
An intetgrated is an power and pre amp in one box. You can have a solid state, tube or hybrid style.

Maybe someone with more knowledge can explain the power of a SS to a tube. I do know that my Quad 909 (140 wpc) doesn't have as much punch as my buddies Rogue M150 running in triode mode at 75 wpc.