Need Help: Integrated 'Tube' Amplifier for Arros

After numerous purchases, hours spent agonizing and trying to decide on that 'perfect' setup, I decided to take a step back and decide what is really important to me--the music.

I've owned five different speaker setups ranging from $1500 to $15,000. I asked myself a very simple question. What setup gave me maximum musical enjoyment? Not material pleasure or the conceited material idealization of certain products. But instead actual contentment in my current spatial and financial situation.

So I am going back to a system built around Totem Acoustic Arros. When I owned them I was content, happy and had no desire to upgrade for a long time (at least until I finished school). I had to sell them for personal reasons but I now have the resources to build a system that will be the cornerstone of my living room for the next 4-5 years.

I need help for the amplifier. My criteria is as follows...

Must be integrated
Must be tube
Minimalist design: source, volume and balance controls

Prefer it with, but not necessary...

Headphone jack
Phono stage

I bet all you guys are saying, "EASY, I can name 20 amps off the top of my head that fit that criteria". Well not so fast, here is the biggest thing of them all...


No Chinese please!
I am sure you will get a million different replies but I would say Symphonic Line RG14 edition. Nothing fancy and with a proper phono pre.
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VAC Avatar Super will fit the bill except for balance control and headphone jack.
The Chinese can build nuclear weapons and put humans in space. I'm sure they know how to build an amp.

There are some Chinese amps with parts made in the U.S.A. Are these excluded from your list?

There are North American and European amps with parts made in China. Are these excluded from your list?

There are some western companies owned by Chinese. Are these excluded from your list?

There are some western products assembled by people of Chinese ancestry. Are these excluded from your list?
i'd pick the one that best matches the 4ohm load of the Arros. I have owned the following tube integrateds...ARC VSi55, Rogue Cronus, Cary sli-80 & demoed a MAC 6900 in my system....the ARC & Rogue seemed to have the most power but IMO none of them sounds nearly as good as the SLI-80. are tubes really the best match given the specs of the Arros?

i'm with you on the chinese explanation req'd my friend....
I own Arros and run them with a 35 watt tube integrated. I would definitely get something with more power if I were you, and pay attention to the amp's ability to drive 4 ohm speakers as others have mentioned.

Actually, if I planned on keeping my Arros for a few more years I'd probably upgrade to something like a Plinius 9200 or Unico, as I've noticed the Arros really benefit from some extra power and an amp that increases output into lower impedances.
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My Ohms share the Arro characteristics of more difficult 4 ohm load and love of current/power. I like many tube systems when I hear them but they are not an easy fit for these kinds of speakers. Bass level and quality can suffer. Good SS gear is the answer. I think any decent Musical Fidelity SS amp would sound great with Arros and provide some tube like sonic attributes like smoothness and PRAT.
ANother Agoner on another thread recently picked up a Unison Unico, 80 w/ch tube/ss hybrid for a new pair of Arros and reports good results.

A hybrid tube integrated like that is an interesting possibility. Or a tube pre combined with properly matched SS power amp could work very well also.
JJ Electronics 828. Made by the manufacturers of JJ tubes, in Slovakia. I think they also make their own caps and transformers in Europe also. It is 80W / channel, has outputs for 8ohm and 4 ohm, has a remote for power on / off, volume, andsource selection, and is visually striking - I would call it somewhat art deco. In true deco fashion, the tubes cast a stylish V-shaped light pattern on the wall behind it (if your room is very dark) It doesn't have a phono stage, though. Comparing it to my Pass Labs Aleph 3 and AtmaSphere MA1s (fully upgraded), it fares much better than I would have thought. I would say it is in the same league as these amps. It is not as dynamic sounding as the AtmaSpheres, but is sweeter sounding and easier to listen to (at least before I put NOS tubes inthe Atmas - I'll have to give it another listen now). I originally bought it on a whim for my "leftovers" bedroom system because it lookes cool with my art deco furnitureand have been very happy with it since. It was all the rage a few years ago, but disappeared fromthe headlines. It's still an excellent amp, though.
My favorite tube amp with the Arro's is the Jolida 302b. It really makes the Arro's image at their best.

But I agree with other posters that you shouldn't necessarily discount solid state amplification. I've heard it said that Sim equipment goes well with Totem, though I haven't personally listened to that combination. I'll second the Plinius suggestion above, and also add options such as Music Hall Mambo and a Classe integrated (such as the CAP-151).

I'd love to hear the Classe integrated with Arros. Classe electronics have always struck me as very smooth and detailed if not particularly "warm".

I think Musical Fidelity or perhaps even Krell might also work very well.