Need a new integrated, what say you?

I’m in need of a new integrated amp. My old ML 383 had developed issues and was in need of a refurbish. This wasn’t in my budget so it was sold, along with some other hifi items that were no longer needed, to allow for a new integrated. My budget is roughly $2,000 or less. Room specs are roughly 12x12 with an extended outcove area of approx 5x7. My speakers are about 6.5ft apart (center to center) and I sit roughly 8ft away. So my system is in a small room and in a nearfield-ish arrangement. Speakers are Revel F30’s and source is Cambridge 851C. As for integrateds, I was thinking about the matching Cambridge 851A, Parasound Halo (original), and Hegel H160. A friend of mine is selling a Primare I21 and had thought about that too. This is a 75 at 8, 125 at 4 integrated, but reportedly has grunt to push bigger speakers. Looking for other suggestions and guidance.


I’d splurge a little for this nice Hegel H190…

Id also give the Belles Aria integrated a look.  Best of luck.

Belles Aria, Cambridge 851A and Primare I-21 all excellent. I've owned each...currently have the 851A and Belles Aria Signature...


+1 soix.  Hegel makes some great integrated amps! I’m using the H390, the next model up from the H190 and love it!

All the best.

Heaven 11 Billie Amp.  I have been using this amp for the last few months with some Zu Audio Omen monitors and PS Audio SACD transport/ DAC.  Comes with a built in phono input.  Is a tube hybrid.  Very nice sounding. 



If you can find the old Ayre Ax7e integrated I think you will be amazed at the sound. Only 4 inputs in case you’re old school with a tuner, tape deck, etc and need 6! I have never tired of Ayre in decades of ownership of CD players, amps, preamps, integrated, DACs and phono pre which I still use with my Linn LP12 with the Keel bottom end. Can’t really hear a difference from my VPI Classic Sig with Allnic phono and much more $$ cartridges. That Linn/Ayre combo is so good. 

And meant to add the AX7e should be well under $1500. I’ve owned them twice and may buy another one, if it comes up, for my musician/chef/electrician nephew.



You might want to check out the Yamaha R-N1000A. If I was in the market for an integrated I would definitely have this on the list. Exciting time for you. Lots of great stuff out there. Good luck in your search.



nice speakers!

low efficiency 87-88 and 6 ohm dipping to 3 ohm, that is a combo that needs the right choice. Your friend's unit, 125 wpc at 4 ohms seems to fit. Will he let you hear it with your speakers?

Nothing I own is right for that, and past McIntosh 300wpc was amp, not integrated.

I'm interested to see what people recommend and you choose, best of luck.

Go with a cayin h80a hybrid integrated. It’s pure class A up to 80wpc. It has 2 preamp tubes so easy to tailor the sound to your preference. I’ve heard one running 2 Uber high end focals and it was awesome. The best thing is you might be able to find one around 2k. Very well built, very heavy. Good luck 

I certainly like the sound of my Cayin A88T, but not enough power for you, 22 wpc triode; 45 wpc ultra-linear

mikeyb’s suggestion seems a good one with enough power.

Cayin build quality is excellent, take the bottom off, beautiful.

This review is what made me try it, glad I did


I have a Buchardt i150 integrated amplifier. Room correction, full blown parametric eq, great subwoofer integration, remote, stste of the art Class D amplifier section and if simply used as a preamplifier it is sonically hard to beat! I have a basement full of great HiFi and I love the Buchardt….

I bought a used Hegel H160 a couple of year ago and think it is a wonderful integrated amp.

This is what I would buy: (From TMR)

I think it's 5% off for Black Monday:

150 wpc ... never heard a bad review from MF gear


Hegel.  It ain't pretty sitting on my rack, but it will push my Maggies without strain.  Should be a good match.

Have to agree with the Hegel H190.  Mine sounds good and the streaming is excellent too.  Got a wi-fi extender with an ethernet port on the side and run it to the Hegel.  Works great if your router is downstairs and stereo is upstairs.

NAD has a very nice and capable line of class D integrated amplifiers. Would definitely check them out. Dollar for dollar I think they are good as any and have a nice set of features 

what say you?

I say take a look at the used Rogue Audio Pharaoh, proly be found near your budget.  Hypex Core Tube Hybrid.   Stick a couple NOS'r in there and have a really nice integrated.

Hegel good choice as well. 

I've heard the Hegel H190 with Fritz Carbon 7SE MKii speakers, and that was a beautiful pairing.

Based on your speakers, set up Hegel, Music Fidelity, Parasound are all fantastic choices.  The Hegel gives you more in 1 box with streaming and a DAC, the MF and Parasound lack those features.  All of them punch above their weight class, all have great build quality and the ability to drive most speakers, you’d have to work to find speakers they can’t drive.

If you stretched your budget a bit, Coda CSiB is an absolute steal, value off the charts based on build quality, parts used.  You might be able to luck into one used at around 3 grand give or take.  The Krell 300i is also fantastic, if you find a used one that doesn’t have the built in DAC, might be able to come in around 3 grand give or take.  I’ve had the Coda, Krell, Parasound A21, various pre’s Krell Illisions ii, Zesto Leto, Used the Coda CSiB as a pre, Parasound P6 and a couple others I’m forgetting at the moment.  Got to compare the CSiB, Krell 300i, Parasound and Primaluna Evo400 integrated in my system at the same time, owned most of the gear, got the Krell gear from a dealer to try.  I ended up with a Krell amp, using the Coda CSib as a pre only and then have cycled several pre’s into the mix.  

All that said, I have real world experience with what I have listed above.  Coda, hands down best build quality and components used in their gear, punches way above the price point.  Krell XD gear sounded the best  to my ears so that’s how I ennded up with Krell, built extremely well, legendary brand. 

You have a great list to start, all punch above their weight class and think you’ll be happy with any of them.  If you stretch, save a bit or pay the waiting game, I think moving up to the Coda or Krell would be big steps up and well worth it but it’s really easy to spend someone else’s money, that might not even be an option.

Good Luck! 


I'm selling a Supernait 2 and used to own the Hegel H160.  If you like a more neutral sound go Hegel, the Naim is more focused in the mids.  Either would work well with Revel, personally I found the sound of the Hegel a little on the boring side while the Naim has certain musicality you seldem find in solid state gear.  Voices and stringed instruments really pop. I'm only selling the SN2 because I'm more of a tube guy.   Your room is also small enough that a stout push pull tubed integrated could be considered. 

Here is a review with a useful comparison of the SN3 vs H390.  Different models but the sound profiles will be the same for SN2 vs H160/190. 

Naim Supernait 3 Review

Baffles me, how no one seems to ever mention Lyngdorf (except me, lol).


Since this is a used gear site, I’m thinking keeping an eye out on this and other sites for the biggest TDAI you can justify would provide you with a superior room control tool and truly innovative digital design. Read the reviews, it’ll sell itself.

Not kidding.

My understanding is that you can run a favorite amp, which would allow you to add tubes to the equation, if that’s what you prefer.

Their ICC technology alone, is so uniqe and innovative, not to mention their approach to class D amplification. Apparently, not enough folks have experienced it for it to create a stir. ICC is some type of anti-clipping algorithm or something, feel welcome to correct me on that.

After reading a ton of reviews I decided that the biggest bang for the buck on the used market anyway (because I wanted the most muscle for the money) was the first generation 2170, which is 170 watts @ 4 ohms. It can kick hard.

The newer genearation has wireless control, which would be real nice, but I saw the 2170 as the biggest bang for the buck.

The thing I’ve enjoyed the most is the totally quiet background. One reviewer recommended that Lyngdorf should look in to trademarking the term Blackground. Another called it the best he had ever heard, as far as a quiet background.

I’ve had my TDAI 2170 for three months now. I’m a believer. Btw, before I made the leap, I was using a Cambridge Audio 751R and loved it. Great performance, for what it is, but the Lyngdorf is a whole new ballgame.

Would love to hear what others have to say about how different their technology is.




I agree with any of the current Hegel line. Even the H95 has a damping factor of 2000. Plus it has a decent DAC. The H190 has a better DAC than the H160 plus I believe the amplification has changed to the Sound Engine 2. The H190 at $2000+ will be amazing. For a streamer buy a used BlueSound Node 2i for $200 unless you have that covered. 

Rogue Audio Pharaoh II Integrated. This is my fourth Rogue Integrated Amp as I've moved up the line. First was the Sphinks 1, then 2, then Cronus Magnum II, and now the Pharoah II. Lots of Power. Loads of manipulation. SS Power with Tube PreAmp Hybrid. American made and backed. Nick and Mark always available by phone. Very Affordable...Great Value!! Strong Dealer Network. Good Luck. No Disappointment!

I would try a creek 4330 se. I have a friend with similar speakers and room as you. He has had a ton of gear over time. Can’t figure out what he wants but has had most of the above recommended gear and it all sounded great. We all are insane but my friend is super insane.

+1 on the belles. Belles always will sound good but especially around the holidays.


I’m here. Thank you everyone for all the suggestions. I’ve been reading the posts, reading corresponding reviews of the recommendations and contemplating which one to go with. I wish I could buy them all at once and demo each in real time—LOL.

aubbrin570’s friend sounds like a good guy! The 4330SE was a classic!


I’ve been able to demo some of the integrated amps listed in my post. Thus far, I’ve demoed my friend’s Primare I21 and a Hegel H160. I just picked up a Cambridge 851A through Cambridge USA as a refurbished model (which comes with a 30-day return policy). I’d love to demo others out there as they may become available. Here are my experiences thus far.

The Primare I21 was full, punchy and loud. It sounded hot (i.e. lots of preamp gain) and was bright and glary as you turned up the volume. However, it sounded good at low volume. It sounded louder than its 75wpc at 8 ohm rating. Perhaps this particular unit has an issue. Definitely sounded different than what was described in the WhatHiFi review.

The Hegel H160 was smooth and refined. Very lively and dynamic. The sound seemed to come alive at 40+ on the volume dial. This isn’t good as it was above my normal listening level. The sound below 40 (and a low listening levels) was flat/sterile. A review of the H160 by: A British Audiophile on Youtube confirmed this similar issue. However, this reviewer also confirmed the problem was addressed and corrected in the H190. The H160 was returned to the seller (preowned audio store) as the unit had a volume knob issue. Everything worked as normal via remote. 

I just started listening to the Cambridge 851A. However, my early impressions are very good. It is smooth and refined sounding like the H160. However, it sounds good at both low and at my normal listening range. I haven’t “cranked-it” yet. The volume control seems linear and utilizes the preamp section very well. When setting the volume level display at “00 to 96” (vs. -95 to 0db) my normal listening range is around 50-55, which is at/just above halfway on the volume dial. This was similar to the ML 383. I’ve read lots of positive reviews of the 851A and 851C (which I also own) and especially when used together. So far, I tend to agree with them. However, I have a lot of listening to do yet and things can change. Will post another update when completed.

Thanks to everyone for all the recommendations. Looking at the numbers (for grins & giggles) the Hegel (H190/H160) is the most recommended thus far at 10 posts. The Belles Aria comes in second at 7 posts. There are 6 listed here, and the 7th comes from John Rutan. The Cambridge and Primare fall in at 2 posts each. There are 2 posts for the Ayre Ax7e, Musical Fidelity M5si; as well as models from Cayin and Rogue Audio. I briefly owned an Ax7e a few years ago and it sounded very good. However, it seemed to run out of steam as you turned it up. I was using Vandersteen Model 2CE Signature speakers with it, so I’m not sure if it was the Vandys, and/or if things would be any different if used with my current Revel F30’s.  Also, the Ax7e has a passive preamp stage (which I like a lot) but doesn’t provide any gain—which may have been the issue in my case. After listening to the Hegel and Cambridge, I’m really interested in demoing the Aria and H190. Perhaps someday…



Nice Integrated Amp shoot out. Keep me posted on the Model that you really enjoy.


Happy Listening!

I have the Vandersteen 2Ce Sig II and as recommended previously use the Musical Fidelity M6500i.