user poll on seperates vs integrated

Hey guys, I wanted to try and crowd-source some (likely very opinionated, unscientific) knowledge.  I've read about the benefits of separates (have only ever used integrated myself), and I'm wondering how those benefits compare to the benefits of higher end parts/assembly, when controlled for cost.


To put it more plainly, would you likely get better overall results from a $5000 preamp and $5000 amp, or from a $10,000 integrated, given the likely quality/components used in equipment in those price ranges.


If you're experienced both separates, and integrated amps that cost the equivalent of those separate parts added together, can you speak to which you preferred?


Thanks for weighing in.


I would argue that unless you need huge reservoirs of power delivered via monoblocs, then integrated is the way.  I did have separates but found no SQ compromise moving to integrated (albeit with different brands).   Having done a lot of research and listening in dealers’ demo rooms and at home I have ended up driving all my systems with integrated amps.  The best I heard are from a company who built its reputation on its integrated amps: Vitus in particular. I have the SIA-30 which is an incredible amp. The Trilogy 925 integrated is also a phenomenal integrated with its valve pre-amp section.  

Integrated amps also offer so much better value - good amps usually have expensive casing in their build costs which can contribute a significant proportion of the cost of an amp. Added on to this is the fact that there is no need for interconnects and only one power cable is necessary, it means integrated amps not not only sound as good (from my experience) but are significantly better value, and of course they take up less space and need one fewer shelf on the rack. 

Response 1.   Three boxes cost more to make than one.  At a total spend of $10k too much in hard dollars is being spent on boxes (and leads between them).  At a bigger total spend, boxes and leads are a smaller proportion of the whole.


Response 2.   Theoretically exactly the same amp(s) with the same power supply(ies) could be put in one box or in three.  The three box version would cost more.  But would it sound better?  The only difference would be the greater physical separation of the active circuitry and components.  How much sound quality can this add?

I would vote for separates, but having in mind that one will ususally spend more and it will take more time to get everything ’right’ You will need more cables, including power cables as well and more time to make ’right’ choices, between components and cables.

Even the higher class integrated amps are often not a match for a separates that might cost the same, or worse, there are very few integrated amps at all, that can match the 10k separates bought in Sh, for example. That amount of money, in sh, can get you far, meaning it will give you more than almost any integrated amp, without the cost of cables.


You can't be prescriptive as in my experience what it all boils down to is having a listen to the options you have narrowed it down to, which may include include integrated and separates and choose the one that floats your boat.

I love separates @chrisryanhorner ​​​​​​ and they've been truly the way to go for me throughout my experience with hi-fi. Starting out as with anything, or as you advance along the way and upgrade your system and or try new products with a different sound. You always have that option of keeping things you like and changing out parts you don't. Also you never know what's coming down the pipe you may very well find something that you enjoy better down the road and don't have to sacrifice the entirety of your system to get it.

I have a few systems all based around different amplification (and DAC's). And each one offers something different.


Happy hunting and good luck.