Tube Integrated With Clarity

I’ve recently decided that I prefer integrated amps over seperates and I’m looking for another tube Integrated for my second system.  Not to long ago I purchased a demo Lab12 Integre4 and it really changed the way I looked at integrated amps. I’d be more than happy owning a second Lab12 but that’s just too boring.

I’m looking for a very fast and clear sound, yet retain the smoothness and liquidity of tubes. Not interested in amps with slow bass or overly smooth or rolled off treble.  I used to think extended treble and resolution resulted in brightness. I’ve learned over time that doesn’t have to be the case. I really think you can get a good dose of both without crazy money if you know what to look for.  It’s for a very small room so I’m open to anything from around 10watts plus. Current speakers are Totem Arro but looking to find a pair of Reference 3As or Fritz in the not too distant future.  

Budget is tops 4K but I’d prefer to spend less. So far I’m really interested in Linear Tube Audio as well as Octave. If I go with LTA I may buy a MZ2 and one of their power amps just because it seems cheaper.  With Octave I’m looking at V40 SE or V70SE. Hopefully with either I can find one that comes with their Black Box.  I’m guessing I may get some Audio Research suggestions, but I feel as great as they sound, value for your dollar is not the best. Also, I feel some of these other companies put more emphasis on developing integrated amps.  

As far as aesthetics I’m into a clean modern look. I think both Octave and LTA represent my preferences well. Anyways, I’m sure there’s plenty I’m missing and looking forward to some suggestions. 



Damned by faint praise.


Reading your post, my immediate reaction is that your Lab12 Integre4 really doesn’t do it for you. It may have attributes you like. But when I have really found components that I connect with I don’t want anything different. so, my immediate reaction is the Lab12 Integre4 should go to your secondary system and you should continue your search for the perfect sound for you.

I think your description of the sound you want is consistent with Audio Research, so it might be the right match. It certainly is for me. You can see my system under my ID. A used Vsi 75 might be the ticket. I would focus on your primary system and see if you can get it much more to your taste so that you can’t imagine getting anything else for your secondary system. Then you know you nailed it.


@brylandgoodman As a fellow Lab12 Integre4 user, albeit the MKII version, I think you would be hard pressed to find another tube amp that could match the clarity and speed of the Lab12.

I am assuming you were describing the positives of the Lab12 in your desired sound descriptions rather than its weaknesses. If you are not satisfied with it, you could try experimenting with interconnects. 

Nevertheless, a Jadis provided the same level of excitement and fun as Lab12, albeit at higher price point. If you can find one used within your budget, it would be no brainer. Line Magnetic's stuff is similarly great sounding, though the aesthetics may not be to everyone's liking. Audio Research's stuff IMO is not on the same league as Lab12 and Jadis. 


Not familiar with any of the other equipment you mention, but I own an LTA MZ2 and it's astonishing, especially for the price. I've used it with a number of power amps and it never fails to shine. The only reason it's relegated to backup status is because I lucked into a great deal on an Alma-Sphere MP-3, which is better than the MZ2 but not by a lot. I use an integrated (Willsenton R-8) is my second system but maintain separates in my big rig as that gives me the most flexibility to experiment.


Sorry I wasn’t clear, but the Lab12 isn’t going anywhere. I truly love it and have no thoughts of something better, at least for me. I’m. looking to replace seperates in my second system. Finding an integrated so satisfying in my main system made me realize the simplicity and cohesiveness can really provide value with a well voiced integrated. 

So, you are very happy with what you have and it isn’t going anywhere. but you are looking for something for your secondary system that is inferior, but different than your primary system?