Recommendations on integrated amps


Im looking for recommendations for some of the most generally popular integrated amps in the $500 to $1500ish range…new or used.

Ok before everyone gets all Andy Rooney on me here is the deal….Im looking to use this amp in our family farms workshop where we fix equipment and also maintain our pulling tractors and I need something a little better than the $50 boom box or whatever you’d call it from Wal Mart😁🙂…..basically I’m always busy with no time to spare so I’m willing to put my faith in my fellow audiophiles😊…. 

The $500-1500ish amount is my budget for new or used integrated amp…I have a lightly used pair of BW603 speakers that have a nice layer of dust on them in my storage room for years and to start I intend to probably hook up a Roon nucleus plus server to them because I currently have one of them on my home system and for me it seems easy enough and simple enough to easily navigate for the very basic functionality I need….basically I just pair up Tidal with my Roon and build up playlists from songs I seek over time..

I’d be appreciative of anyone who’s generous enough with their time who can give me some pointers on a good amp choice….no offense to any novices like myself but I’d prefer opinions from those who have some true knowledge and experience on stereo systems as opposed to someone like my neighbor Joe who bought his first ever amp and has claimed it to be the best amp ever made without any experience/knowledge of comparable amps…

Oh man…sorry…this is getting long winded….to put it in a nutshell I just want some popular and reputable recommendations for an integrated amp in my budget range new or used that kinda gives the most bang for the buck….I primarily listen to classic rock and a little old country music but I’ve been dabbling in other genres trying to expand my musical taste….keep in mind it’s just a system that I’d listen to while tinkering around and generally would be played at lower levels and I’m not super critical so just a relatively good clear crisp clean sound….please keep recommendations kinda basic….I don’t want to be overwhelmed and bombarded with too much in depth information where I come out of this more uncertain than when I came in☹️😁😁😁🙂….


I have what I consider a descent home system…Mac C52…Mac…?..I can’t even remember….I think it’s the 452 quad balanced amp….pair of JL audio Phantom f12 subs and a pair of Jbl S4900 speakers along with JPS labs Superconductor 3 interconnects throughout and some isolators on subs and speakers….I forget the brand….Im pretty happy with it…granted I haven’t had the time or means to do a lot of research and comparisons prior to purchasing all this….just kinda went with what the local hifi shop had that was within my means and bought the Mac stuff partly because I just liked the look…but no regrets…its good enough for my ears…I’m sure there is a better sound I’d like but until I have the time and means to find it I’ll listen to my current system as music therapy to help cope with the fact that I don’t have the holy grail system that would blow away my ears in comparison to what I currently have😊😊😊

Thanks in advance for anyone willing to help!!

Much Appreciated



rotel is affiliated with the same company as b&w so should synergize well. i'd also look at cambrigde audio ax81.

add many other suitable s/s Brit options including inter alia, REGA , ARCAM, CREEK, ROKSAN, CYRUS , NAIM, LINN, et al

Lots to choose from on USAUDIOMART and CANUCKAUDIOMART (UAM is a subsidiary of CAM)


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For your application, I would consider: used, NAD, Marantz, Luxman, Rotel and Yamaha integrated amplifiers.

How do you plan to connect the nucleus to the amp? If I am reading this right, the amp must have a DAC built in to process the digital out from Roon.

Not sure if it has a built-in DAC but this is my goto amp for casual listening.

Outstanding sound and usually in the $150 range (I've owned 3 over the years).

Sony STR-DA1000ES Receiver - Plenty on Ebay

Thanks to all who responded thus far….I didn’t even take into account a need for a dac….how do I best get around that issue?  Are there integrated amps with built in dacs? Or can I use an external dac and still stay in budget? 

Most of the above-recommended makers have models with onboard dacs within your budget---nad/rotel/yamaha/cambridge/arcam etc.

I've got 2 of these. Bulletproof and no remote to lose.

One runs 3 sets of speakers no problem.

You are unlikely to notice any increase in fidelity in  a workshop.


In addition to a DAC, does the OP have a streamer to stream Tidal?  I’m guessing his home setup is using a PC/laptop

I currently have a Roon Nucleus Plus music server hooked up to Ethernet cable to my router and I subscribe to the Tidal streaming service for access to pretty much unlimited music….so I can pull up songs on Tidal and then have an option to add select songs to my Roon server library or make custom playlists….the Roon is hooked into my preamp via usb cable to usb input 

I have been sorting through some of the recommendations I’ve received thus far trying to make a decision…I suppose I shouldn’t get too far into the rabbit hole because it’s tedious and time consuming…. I have plenty on my plate already🙂….I don’t imagine there’s a lot of difference in the brands suggested in this entry level price range….I don’t necessarily need new so perhaps I can get a better used unit in terms of quality and better sound than a new unit due to depreciation on a higher priced at the time it was purchased used unit if that makes any sense….although the better used units probably hold their value somewhat…. I don’t know….sometimes I overthink things like this and it leads me down a rabbit hole….problem is with one of the larger farms in ny state I’m overwhelmed with decision making every day to the point I wish I had someone make all my decisions for me just so I’m not constantly feeling the pressure….sorry…just venting a little and explaining how I’m processing my choices….😁🙂🙂🙂

Music is one of the few things that soothes me so hence me getting what feels like overly delved into a decision on a simple entry level amp I’m going to use at work 🙂

Check Craigslist or FB marketplace for a used HT receiver. $500 will fill your needs nicely. 

+1 for the used AVR suggestion - either Denon or Yamaha.  You can get them for less than $100 used on Facebook Marketplace.  If it breaks (unlikely);then just get another  

I would stay away from tubes in that environment 

Creek Evolution 100A--small, easy, powerful, tough, make sure it has the remote--maybe $750-850 used. Any of the Yamaha AS501 or AS701 new or used, have had them for years, no problems, both are larger. But really, any of these suggested will all work.

NAD C700, one box solution- BluOS streamer, Bluetooth, DAC, good quality amp, compact and sturdy, very well reviewed. They are at the top end of your price range and I believe they are Roon Ready.  I’ve had one for a little over a year with zero problems.

IMO Musical Fidelity sounds really good for the money and uses prices are great. Could maybe get into an M6si for $1500 or something a little older for sure A300, A1008 etc. lots of power and detail but really smooth. 

+1 @markmoskow 

      I was totally in love with a Creek Evolution 50a before moving into separates. the Evolution 100a would be an even better choice. Evolution 2 also a nice amp. Highly recommended. Could find one used for a great price. Although, done know exactly how that would match with your speakers? But it tened to be pretty neutral, great stage (yet revealing). Uses Exposure integrated amps are pretty wonderful with just about anything, from what I’ve gathered. But haven’t experienced that for myself:


Any unit must either have USB or HDMI inputs to connect directly to the Nucleus, or have network/Wifi and be Roon ready. Guessing the Wi-Fi/Roon is the best option here. I like NAD, they usually punch above their weight. Maybe give Music Direct a call and they can give you some good options. 

If I were to get a unit without a dac and used an external dac what kinda price range are good dacs selling for? How much affect on the sound do various dacs on the cost spectrum have on sound quality?  I’ve considered a Musical Fidelity Tri Vista but it doesn’t have a dac

I've said this on other posts previously, but Denon, Marantz, Pioneer, and Onkyo are all owned by one company now, Sound United. This doesn't necessarily signal a reduction in quality, but sometimes it can when one owner company is looking to maximize profits by either using cheaper components or by combining manufacturing facilities to get to the cheapest production costs possible. But Yamaha has managed to avoid being bought out, still manufactures all of their integrated amps themselves, and has the highest reliability ratings in the industry. Others have mentioned Yamaha as well and I think it's your safest bet. No, I do not own stock in Yamaha.

For AV I’m using a Marantz 1510 paired with B&W 603 S2s and BW center, surrounds and subs in a 5.2 set up. In 2 channel mode this sounds fantastic. You won’t have to worry about Bluetooth streaming, a tuner or a DAC as all this is included as well as an MM phono port. With HEOS all you need is an iOS or android device and you’ve got it all.

I purchased this as an open box, but there’s a good selection of used, refurb, and deals on this model. If you only want to use 2 channel, try the Marantz 1200, it simulates surround with the same features.

Marantz 1510

Thanks again for all who are chiming in…your suggestions have prompted me to do a bit of research which is helping me be a little more knowledgeable in regards to reading reviews and better understanding specs on amps….it seems the hi fi world is tough to hone in on a brand or model choice….it’s probably been said a million times that it all boils down to what sound you like and that’s hard to determine even if you have the time to physically listen to various stereo systems…taking into account what room or environment your system will be in and the endless potential pairing scenarios it’s just daunting…..I’m going to see a local wheeler dealer of used and vintage equipment and hopefully have an opportunity to listen to some various equipment and get some unbiased input and knowledge….seems it’s really the best way to go about it….I went into this thinking I could make a choice more easily but purchasing has generally never been so simple….I should’ve known better….the upside is at the expense of my time I am getting the side benefit of learning more about something I love…listening to musical sounds that sooth the ears, mind and soul… therapy!!!😊

@winnardt; mostly agree. Sound United is now owned by Masimo (MASI) the Fitbit and medical device company that sued Apple. Remains to be seen what the future holds for their consumer product brands.

Also, there’s a big difference between the Marantz and Yamaha consumer products and their higher end products. I really like the Marantz 1510, but it is not the same performance level as the Marantz Model 30. Same goes for Yamaha products. So going by brand alone has many layers. Probably better to compare individual models and price range to get apples to apples.

I like the Denon integrated amps. Clean and neutral, which is what i look for in amps.

With your B&W the buttery and smooth KRELL Duo XD lineup would be great. It is 90 watts Class A + 60 more = 150. It had enough power to drive my difficult Thiel CS3.7 speakers. It is a gorgeous sounding unit with great ROON READY integration, including variable volume (for example from an iPhone).

The built-in DAC is OK as is the built-in RJ45 streaming.

Krell K-300i analogue integrated, no DAC module For Sale - US Audio Mart

Read some reviews. I would get one with the DAC option. It is so convenient, and you can easily add a better DAC and streamer in the future (if you want).



+1 for the Cambridge CXA81.  In this price range it's a great value; does everything well.

For $300 you can get a Wiim Amp and be done with it.  Has a built in streamer, dac and amp.  Puts out about 60wpc into 8ohms.  Sounds damn good!  What’s not to like?

For a shop situation, I'd say the bottom-tier Marantz AVR. They have an internal DAC and flexibility for streaming and inputs including the ROON. Nothing fancy or exotic. The NR1200 is 2-channel with HDMI connections and new is under $500. 

I plan to move my old Marantz AVR to my garage shop w/ some wired exterior speakers considering the environment they'll be performing in. 

Alot of good suggestions made as well as some discontinued models on discount.

I can through personal use state a recommendation of an amp that is a Keces E40...I have 2.

Also have a Hegel h160 and it isn't far behind, if at all on my speakers including Focal 807W, Dali Opticon 1, Triangle Zetas and ML 15i.

Drove many other speakers I tried just as well at my SPL needs in my room.  Also drove the Dali Menuet SE well too but generated alot of heat, it took everything it had as that speaker like some others are pigs for power.  At 4 ohms and above, its fine, small and powerful enough offering SQ that beat most under a grand amps, regardless of power. Talking SQ.

If I were looking for an amp, within 1500 or less other than the Keces, I would consider the Van Alstine Set 120, perhaps a few other but really would like to try it someday. Still small and light enough which I prefer over tanks. Just an FYI to consider. The Keces gives alot of well controlled bass, not flabby, or like too much that bleeds into the mids, no graininess compared to many, smooth like the Hegel although not everyone 's preference.  Some like a gritty amp.

Sure there's a higher price, but there are alot of good options. Just not many in a small 10 lb aluminum box that looks great as well.  Yes, I am a fanboy of Keces.  Anyone on a budget should check it out.



In a work in the barn environment, perhaps a class D mostly enclosed system as there will be alot of dust, moisture, etc? Like a Schiit amp or such. Or something cheap used on CL or such so if it fails just swap it out?

Some of the Chifi class D might be good enough to make working more enjoyable as well.


With 60 years of owning and selling hi-fi gear, allow me to suggest to NOT buy a tube amp for your workshop, although they might make it warmer in the Winter. They and dust might not make for the best combination as some output tubes get hot enough they might set off the dust. On the assumption your workshop will be noisy, investing in a $1,000 amplifier is, in my opinion, ridiculous. Get something like the AIYIMA D03 Bluetooth 5.0 Power Amplifier 150 Watt x 2 Stereo HiFi 2.1 CH Digital Sound Amplifier, Class D Amp, 24Bit/192kHz USB Coaxial Optica DAC, AptX, Support Subwoofer & with Remote (D03) - AIYIMA D03 Bluetooth 5.0 Power Amplifier 150 Watt x 2 Stereo HiFi 2.1 CH Digital Sound Amplificador 24Bit/192kHz Class D Amp USB DAC Coaxial Optical OLED AptX, Support Subwoofer & with Remote (D03) : Electronics. It's $160 and has what you need. It'll make music; not as good as your home system, but it's a workshop; and it doesn't break the bank. Also, if you don't like it, you can always write it off as an experiment and get something else.

You might want to look at the Quad Vena II which has a built in DAC, Bluetooth and Phono stage and sounds really good for the money.  Music Direct has them on sale right now.


Might look into the PS Audio Sprout 100. On sale for $500. A sealed box class D amplifier with DAC. I drive a pair of B&W 685s with one.