Warm, rich, smooth, 3d tube integrated amp, budget $6000

Hey guys sorry to ask again but now I'm considering a tube integrated for my vienna acoustics haydn grand, atc scm7 and yamaha ns5000. Want something, rich with forward mids.. something 3d sounding.

So far my top contenders are conrad johnson cav 45s2 and prima luna evo 400.  If it doesn't get super hot that would be nice but not mandatory.

Right now I'm using my elekit tu8600 which is a very good amp.. works well with grand haydns but not enough power for ns5k or scm7.

Thanks !


Line Magnetic would be a good pick for that sound signature depending on your power needs. Some of them, especially the high powered SET amps, generate quite a bit of heat.

Mastersound. Not sure if $6k is enough for a used Evolution 845 or Gemini but Mastersound would be my 1st choice for a reasonably priced all tube integrated amp. 

I am a broken record on this, but, the integrated tube amp that I am a BIG fan of is the Synthesis Audio A-40 (40-watt, pushpull, KT-66 tube).  It comes with a killer good DAC included.

For a price a bit out of your range the Synthesis A-100 (100-watt, four KT-66 per channel) is the way to go (yes, it also has a built-in DAC). 

Both amps are among the best sounding tube amps on the market.  The sound is both rich and bold sounding, without being sluggish or murky as some other warm or rich sounding tube amps can be.  

Icon Audio is often overlooked but they are excellent value for money.  And yes, they are imported and for sale in the US.


Find the Canor 1.10. An incredible sounding integrated. Retails for $6900, but I bet a dealer would meet you at the price.

If you want to drive all three of those speakers, you need an amp with a certain number of watts, so some of your options need not apply.

I have a full PrimaLuna setup (Preamp + 2 Mono's) and quite happy with the sound.

I Have an Aesthetix Calypso pre and can recommend the brand. Rogue is also worth consideration.

Without hesitation ,the Coda CSIB integrated amp 2020 stereo times best of year 

and great review ,3 powers to choose from ,by far largest most quiet toroidal transformer 3,000 Va and potted to be quieter still over 120amps. Short term nothing close to it , 10 year warranty ,they even pay the 1st year return if there was a issue which is rare.

Rogue integrated amps are all either ultralinear or hybrid. It doesn't have the lush presentation of their ST-100 which has the triode mode option. Skip rogue if looking for integrated

Octave is not a lush sounding amp. It has a high amount of odd order harmonics. It allows good control on speakers but takes away richness

Thanks guys for the further thoughts. I agree with @pani it seems like those options are not rich, warm, full (based on my reading and talking to some friends).

Another name that keeps popping up for the sound I am looking for is Cary (SLI80) and Jadis (orchestra).

@audioman58 thx but not interested in solid state.

I haven't tried many alternatives but can say that the primaluna Evo 400 I own is a great integrated amplifier that doesn't run the tubes hard and is made to last.

Plenty of good reviews around.

The only downside is that the 8 power tubes are costly when replacing...cos there's 8. To my ears the kt150's sound better than the el34's it came with driving IMF RSPM IV transmission lines.


we are a dealer we sell a number of warm and powerful integrated amps being discussed here 


we sell the coda csib

the synthesis a100T

unison research unico 150 which is a hybrid

the synthesis is amazing the unico is also impressive


Dave and Troy

Audio intellect NJ

dealer Coda, Synthesis, and unison research





I own the Yamaha NS 5000 (no opinion on Vienna Acoustics or ATC) and it is well matched with Magnum Dynalab Integrated MD 307 and 309 (I own the less expensive 307). Both within your budget but midrange is not forward. The soundstage is deep, wide, clearly spaced instruments and vocals and natural sounding. Another outstanding option for the NS 5000 but above your budget will be the Ypsilon Phaethon. Used will be about 10-12K. Others spoke of Octave and I will also recommend. The Octave 500SE preamplifier with their MRE 130 tube mono combination will meet the asking requirements. All 3 Octave components are slightly higher than your budget and difficult to find in the used market but worth exploring. Good luck. No affiliation with any of these brands, except as customer.




Rich? Forward mids? 3D sounding?

You've just described my Evo 400.

Others have mentioned better equipment...I would love a Luxman!

But if that's what you want, you could do worse than Primaluna.

Despite what you may have heard, the Evo line is a noticable step up from the Dialogue line.

@vassilis_t cool another ns5k owner... thanks will look into those 

@sandthemall ya evo 400 looks like a great amp.. definitely on my list.. I haven't seen too many comparisons to other amps tho 

+1 on the CANOR AI 1.10. Have had the opportunity to listen to it at length with Aerial Acoustics, Revel & Sonus Faber and it's been equally magnificent with each. Those are all pretty different sounding speaker brands with their own signature sonic footprint but the Canor was liquid although highly intricate with each. There are many excellent brands in this $6K+/- space and members have touched on many: Aesthetix, Octave, etc. I'm a big fan of Audiomat, Unison and Manley too. They also have wonderful integrateds at that price point. New/used so many great options. GL!

FYI tubes get super hot.  That's what they do.  The more tubes, the more heat.  If you want a "cool" tube amp, try solid state (but not Class A)!

I am a broken record on this, but, the integrated tube amp that I am a BIG fan of is the Synthesis Audio A-40 (40-watt, pushpull, KT-66 tube).  It comes with a killer good DAC included

I agree with the above statement. I have a Synthesis Audio A-40 that powers a pair of Audio Note speakers and the sound is just sublime. Feel free to PM me if you would like any additional info. 

Prima Luna Evo 400 fits all your requirements. And it drive pretty much any speakers. If you change the two front 12AU7 by NOS tubes you get even more sound space. Highly recommended.  

You should check out Trafomatic Audio amps. Very well designed and musically right sounding amps.

@fatdaddy2 I hear you... even my 9.2 watt elekit has some heat but much better than the nuclear fireball that is my pass x350.8. If it gets hot im ok with it... i dont think ill get the sound I want with a cool running amp.

Why 6k? You don't have to spend anywhere near that, unless you just want to say you did.

For you guys that have prima luna. Have you compared them to any other tube gear? Thanks!

I should have specified but I'd really appreciate a pure amp.. no phono/dac etc.

@smodtactical You can bypass the DAC if you already have one, but the DAC in the Synthesis is outstanding. 

Once again, have we determined the minimum number of watts that the ATC SCM7 and Yamaha NS5000 need to function properly?  That would rule out a number of lower-powered tube amps.

I went from a Don Sachs Kootenay and d2 to a Conrad Johnson Cav45 S2 to simplify things and am very happy. I borrowed my brother Primaluna HP Premium for a month or so and while okay it wasn’t for me. The Sachs did produce a lot of heat and find the CJ much less. The Sachs was a very nice amp but I preferred the EL34 vs the KT88. I also like being able to buy NOS tubes vs new production KT88 tubes which I find not so reliable.


The CJ responds to tube upgrade I’m using Mullard xf2’s and amprex 6922. I was really surprised the stock Mullard are very nice for stock tubes. The CAV45 is a very relaxed and musical amp but very good at detail retrieval and crystal clear. When I was going to choose a integrated amp it was between the Audio Hungary a20i but at the time there was no repair center in USA and for all I know may still be that way. The Jadis Orchestra was my other choice but ended up with the Conrad Johnson and find the CJ slogan “it just sound right” to be true in my situation.

Someone earlier said that Rogue wouldn't be for you. I couldn't disagree more. I have a Cronus Magnum and it overflows with tubey goodness.

Jadis is a really good option for this sound and makes great integrateds with much better transformers than most


@secretguy - I had a Cronus Mganum and will agree with others , to my ears it didn't have the warm, rich , smooth sound the Op is looking for

@twoleftears Googling the ATC - spec state 84db , minimum 50 wpc nominal 8 ohm NS5000 is 88db and HIfi Choice stated minimum 80 watt RMS and nominal 6ohm but drops to 3.5 OHM. They will need some juice

@facten Thanks!.  @smodtactical, you would be well advised to take this into account in making your selection among the many makes and models recommended.

So maybe this is the wrong path and I should go back to my prior idea of a warm tube preamp to replace the ARC?

My Haydn is 4 ohm, 25-180 watts is the recommended range and it seems to play well with 9.2 watts of my elekit tu8600. So maybe 40-60 watts will be enough for my use case?

If the Elekit works well, I would expect a 40-60 watter is a viable candidate.  I understand you don’t want a built in DAC, but it would be a mistake to not consider the Synthesis A40; I would take it over any other candidate even if it had no DAC.  It is better, for my taste anyway, than anything I’ve heard from any other company up to at least twice its price.  It’s sound is rich, harmonically saturated and weighty, without being murky or dynamically polite.  

I have owned several flavors Audio Research Pre and power amps and decided during covid to find something with a quality headphone output... Along with my wife's wishes that I use headphones so she can go about her own interest without listening to mine...

 Enter the Prima Luna Evo 400... Initially it sounded much more warm, with a smaller soundstage than my ARC gear (using Olympica II speakers) however, as it started to burn in I found it to keep getting better and better and after about 300hrs it became totally engaging and musical in every way...

As an experiment I then rolled in several of the upgraded British Bremer NOS tubes from Upscale Audio in the front end and finally settled on two French made tubes from Upscale in the central tube location with the Brimar moved to the next outer socket... Result...Absolutely amazing, sweet, 3d and fully engaging.  One less cable on the system too as I have gone from separates to an integrated.

Takes up less space than my ARC gear which I will be listing here in the near future. Except for my ARC Ref 9 CD.

So far as heat dissipation goes... Yes, 8 of those sweet EL34's create heat however not more than my previous ARC Ref 5SE and D135 amp.  I love the optional ability to roll in some output tubes at some point too.... I suspect If you were to buy a unit from Upscale or your local dealer II believe they may have a return option that is flexible... Considering that this unit weighs in over 50lbs... Heavy!

In my opinion... There is no substitute for a home audition with your other gear and room acoustics. 

Good luck with your search, enjoy the music!