Mid grade Integrated amp choices

Currently, I have a Rotel A12, which is decent, but I am ready to upgrade. My other equipment is a Bluesound Node 2, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit turntable, and Sonus Faber Chameleon T speakers with Nordost cabling throughout. At first, I was going to upgrade speakers, but after home auditioning the Dynaudio Contour 20's and Focal 1008 Be's, I felt that my integrated was the weakest link currently. 

 So, I have been auditioning a few amps (several at home) for the last few weeks. So far, I have home auditioned:

NAD 388 (with the BluOS card) - Class D gives weight to bass, but otherwise, it's just okay
Simaudio Moon ACE - Nice, certainly better than the Rotel, very good warranty and build
Simaudio Moon 340i - Seemed too boomy with bass and a little brittle on the top end
Bryston b60r - Nice, really good sound. Great warranty
Plinius Hautonga - Blew me away. Yes, the 200 watts may have had a lot to do with it. But, the soundstage was huge and everything was so detailed.

I will be dealer auditioning this Friday:

Rega Elex -R
Rogue Sphinx
Naim 5si

Anyone have any experience with the Rega, Rogue or Naim against the Plinius? I don't know if I want to spend that much on an integrated right now and am hoping that one of the ones I am auditioning Friday will blow me away. Thoughts? Comments?

Do you need to buy new or is used an option?
I only ask because you can go further up the audio chain with your money by buying used.
+1 gdnrbob.  If you are going to look at the Rogue, I would definitely recommend you also checkout the Cronus Magnam 2.  When I when to my dealer to audition the Sphinx, I ended up buying the Cronus.  I know it’s more money but well worth the upgrade.  The phono preamp section is pretty decent as well.  
I could go used used, but I try thinking "new" in budgetary terms. Mostly for the warranty.
Wow, I recently owned all three of that last grouping. They are all excellent with their own flavor. Sphinx was meaty and substantial sounding with the tubed pre amp . Naim sounded as lively as advertised but is minimal in the input dept. the Elex was outstanding in all respects plus a fine phono section. To me it edges out the rogue by a hair. However, I was duly impressed with the sound quality of all three. It is a matter of features at that point. BTW, I felt the Elex sounded better to me than the elicit, in my system anyway.
I agree with sbrownnw. The Audio Refinement Complete is an amazing integrated amp - and very inexpensive on the second-hand market. I have had one in my bedroom system since 2000 (driving Celestion SL700s) and bought one for my girlfriend (where it drives Spica TC50s). The only quirk is the remote (you need "their" remote), but there are ways around this problem.
I always wanted an Audio Refinement Complete, and I now own one and use it in my second system. It is a nice little integrated amp and I enjoy it. However, I also currently own a Rega Elicit-R and it is in a completely different league from the Audio Refinement Complete (and its significantly more expensive).

I see you have the Elex-R on your short list. I have not heard it, but if it is the same house sound as the Rega Elicit-R, it will be a winner. If you choose to go used, the Rega Elicit-R at just over half of MSRP (current prevailing price) is a very good value IMHO. It has very good bass performance (some of the best I've heard) and everything else about it is very good also. I have a Pro-Ject Carbon Debut Esprit SB and it sounds great though the Rega's built-in MM phono stage.

I highly recommend the Rega Elicit-R if you can go used. Not sure I would pay the $3K MSRP, but that's not a reflection on the Rega. I'm just frugal......
I don't mean to derail this discussion, but I would love to audition some of these (new) suggestions and compare them with my vintage amp. I'm not suggesting that the new ones wouldn't prove better, but that it would be a very interesting comparison.

I use a re-capped and upgraded Accuphase E-303x, which cost less than $2k including the work a couple of years ago, and am delighted with it.

The broader point of my contribution is that I have always bought used, and have been building systems since the 1980s. In my view, the bang for buck is clearly superior, and I have never worries about warranties, as well-kept, high-quality amps only rarely suffer anything like catastrophic failures.


Tony C.
If the cost is within your parameters, I'd opt for the Plinius Hautonga. But I admit that I'm a fan of Plinius amps and Integrated units.
If the cost is within your parameters, I'd opt for the Plinius Hautonga. But I admit that I'm a fan of Plinius amps and Integrated units.
It's just a little outside my budget, but it's the best I have heard so far.
Op, looks like you want the Plinius amp.  Audiophiles must get what they want. :)  Why don't you just save up for it?  In the meanwhile, go listen to a few more amps...hee hee.  Btw, per jl35, the Belles Soloist 1 is a great sounding amp for it's price.  
Op, looks like you want the Plinius amp. Audiophiles must get what they want. :) Why don't you just save up for it? In the meanwhile, go listen to a few more amps...hee hee. Btw, per jl35, the Belles Soloist 1 is a great sounding amp for it's price.

That's likely what I'll wind up doing. It sure is fun to listen to all these :)
There are several nice integrateds.... your speakers are 90db 4 ohm.  So as long as you have a good power supply on the amp, 40 watts minimum should drive them, unless you are in a big room.  If power supply is a problem,  you'll need to look at more power.  I've owned the Audio Refinement Complete,  it is 50 watts to 8 and 90 watts to 4 ohms.  It is very satisfying and competes with expensive separates, so I second that recommendation,  Also I saw the Belles Soloist recommended.  If it fits in the budget,  I would go to the Aria Integrated on the Belles line.  Nothing wrong with the Soloist, but if you run across the Aria, It is a bit more refined than the Soloist. The Audio Refinement does compete with the Belles well and is less expensive, but the Aria has a decent phono section built in also.  I hope this helps,  Tim 

Ayre AX-7.  The 7-series is being discontinued, so you should find good deals on new or dealer demo.
I am also going to be testing a Devialet 120 (store demo price) for the next few days. This one looks interesting, with a lot of cool tech features.
I would give Hegel and parasound an audition. Both are great. I have a Hegel and love it. Very versatile amps that sound good with a wide range of speakers. 
I don't know what your budget is, but there is an LSA Statement for sale here currently for $2300. That is an excellent integrated amp with plenty of power and finesse. No affiliation with the seller.
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Lots of good suggestions already.  I'll second Hegel.  I have an H200 bought used for under $3K.  The more I have listened to it, the more I appreciate what it brings to the music.  Loads of power too, so your 4 ohm speakers should not be a problem.  Good luck in your search.  
+1 for the Ayre A7e
I have one for my Zu Omen Bookshelves. Very nice. You can score one for around $1400 used.
FWIW I made the following progression: started with a Rogue Cronus Magnum. Upgraded to the Rogue Pharaoh..it blew the Cronus away... then I went to a Prima Luna Dialouge Premium..once again a significant upgrade. And it drives Maggie 1.7’s no problem. All 3 of these amps were under what you budgeted. Good luck!
Went to Audible Elegance in Cincinnati today to hear the Rega’s, Naim and Rogue’s. Listened on some Totem Rainmakers with a Bluesound Vault. 

Rega Brio-r was really impressive for it’s price. I feel it played well above it’s modest price. I might get one later for our bedroom later.

Rega Elex-r was the Brio, but more. Very nice, quite in your face.

The Rogue Cronus Magnum was really excellent. I’m not sure I want a tube amp, but this could change my mind. 

The Rogue Sphinx was the real surprise, it was stupendous. I think, to me, it was the closest to the Devialet and Plinius.

The Naim xs had a solid performance, certainly on my list.

Not a bad one in the bunch to be honest. They are kindly allowing me tommy home audition any I want. Once I put the Devialet through it’s paces, I will probably start with the Sphinx.

I appreciate all the suggestions, and will check them out as I can.

If you like tubes the rogue Cronus magnum 2 with the k120’s is a nice integrated. I moved away from the Cronus and went to using Hegel integrated amps. I started with the h100 but was a little light on power for my Usher’s. I moved up to their top of the line integrated. You can buy a used Hegel h300 for around $3000 now and the h360 for $3500+. If you don’t need all that power look at the Hegel Roost or H160/h190 integrates. 
I haven't listened to any of amps that you've mentioned, but as someone already mentioned, if you are not sure with which one to upgrade to, wouldn't it be better that you opt for used one? You can test it in your audio room for a while, in synergy with your own components and not loose much bucks while doing it...
I see that you like details, soundstage, balance and looks... :)
Have you tried Electrocompaniet?
I've owned EC ECI 5MK2 my self. Check on reviews for details but in short the sound of the ECI 5Mk2 is very clean and pure, tonally on the warm side and also coherent from bottom to top, making balanced presentation. ECI 5MK2 can be found used for low as 3000 USD (Here in Europe even cheaper). When I've sold it, the new owner only gave the words of praise to it as it can be listened on very low volumes revealing a lot of details in reproduction. I don't like to talk of looks, because my primary goal is ever lasting music... :) but this EC ECI 5MK2 power amp look amazing as well (if this is what you are looking for).
All in all, believe your ears and bring some of your own music for testing... maybe in this way you will find out faster what is better or even best for you.
Good luck in auditioning! :D
I would also include the Micromega M-One.  I heard it at a show and I really liked what I heard.  The package is beautiful and it has so many features.  
Seems there a lot of chatter for the Rogue and Hegel.The Plinius is a step up,I own one and its fantastic.
"...wouldn't it be better that you opt for used one? You can test it in
your audio room for a while, in synergy with your own components..."

I certainly believe buying used is the best bet, but the dealers I work with all allow me to home trial compnents at home for free.

Yeah, the Plinius and the Devialet are both super. I do look forward to trying through Rogue Sphinx at home, it sounded great in the showroom.
If you want to keep it below $3500, you ought to try the Yamaha A-S2100 or A-S1100.  I like tube amps myself but these top end Yamahas are fantastic.
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Handy thread, I am in similar boat. Looking for a mid-priced Tube amp to sit between a Pro-Ject RPM 9.2 with a LO MC Sumiko cart going into a Phono-stage and some Frisk 251 MTMs.

I have fairly wide price band, ideally looking for something around $1000-1500 but will willingly go lower if amp has features I am hoping for and maybe up into $2XXX if value/$ seems right.

Sitting at low-end of my range:
- Yaqin MC-100B w/ KT88 -- I could even hop south of the border and take a drive to Toronto to pick one up from Canadian distributor (Yes, I said south so you can guess where I am)
- The hybrid Rogue Sphinx is an option, doesn’t have the aura of full tubes but checks boxes for price/features, including headphone. But has a high input sensitivity (1V whereas most of the phono-stages I am considering are in the 350-600mV range)
- Middle of range, the Jolida 3502S seems to check most boxes, especially tube flexibility and pretty decent reviews and discussions - except no headphone amp
- Sitting highest in my range (which seems to be growing) is the Rogue Cronus Magnum II - has headphone and a phono (which will require a SUP due to the LO MC). But this also has relatively high input sensitivity and again powerful than what I need

And unlike another first-time poster, I like the look of the Primaluna :) ... on short list too but with features I want they too get pricey

BTW, I am leaning towards to the Tavish Vintage 6SL7 for my phono.. has great reviews, apparently very accurate, big soundstage and not too tubey... and wife approved! Adding this in case anyone wants to make the case for SS or vote for the Hybrid Sphinx.

Thanks in advance for suggestions and comments
I heard the Rogue Cronus Magnum II and was quite impressed. If I were in the market for a tube amp, it would be at the top of my list.
I would also look at the Marantz PM-11s3. Mine has been nothing short of amazing since I’ve first listened to it! I pushes, no bullies my set of 4 ohm speakers with authority yet musicality I am still impressed with every time I listen to music!
It has unfortunately jumped in price since the PM-10 was introduced but can still be found under your $3500 price point if patient.
I haven’t owned any of the other Integrates listed here but I have demo’d the PM-11s3 against the Hagel H200, the Devialet 200, the NAD Master Series M2 and the Marantz outclassed them all to me, some by a long shot.
I would love to hear one of the top Yamaha Integrated and Accuphase Integrateds.... The best of the Japanese made ones including the Marantz PM-11s3 have such a sweet warm sound yet are so fast and clean! One never gets tired of their sound no matter how long the listening session  
I’ve owned an older Plinius Class A power amp and it’s very nice indeed. Great sound and excellent build quality (like a tank) but I had to let it go as the amp did not match my loudspeakers at that time.

The Naim Nait XS may sound nice but I don’t think it’s the equivalent of the Plinius Hautonga in both price and performance. It might be worthwhile to audition the Naim Supernait 2 as this one is more comparable to the Hautonga with a more powerful and dynamic presentation. Other options include Exposure 3010S2-D and Densen B150. Ultimately the choice will be dependent your listening taste apart from the speakers that will be used with the amp.
If you want to get the Yaqin or the Jolida, I would suggest the Line Magnetic 216ia.
I've been in this hobby for 30 years. I've had 5 amps during that time. The Cronus has given me more bang for the buck than any other component
Rogue cronus magnum ii. I have settled on this after krells, cj, adcom, Cary, etc. Just a great amp with plenty of power and headroom for most speaker choices now or future.
I was committed to the Belles Soloist until I heard a Primare I32. The new I35 is reported to be audibly better.
OP,If you do consider tubes, then an Atma-Sphere amp would be my choice. Though keep in mind tubes give off a lot of heat.

I still recommend buying used and saving a ton of depreciation. I can't say I have ever had a problem that even a warranty would correct. In fact, despite buying used, the manufacturers still provided me with top notch service.