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Best integrated amp under £4000?

I'm still deciding on my next integrated amp. Thought it was going to be the Accuphase E-270 but then I got to thinking about all of the other choices out there. It's a lot of money so I want to make the best choice. I'm using Harbeth P3ESR's right now but would like the versatility of buying new speakers without worrying that I have enough power. My budget is $5000 USD or about £4000. I'll give you a long list:

Acuuphase E-370, Roksan Blak, Luxman L-505ux, Yamaha A-S2100, Parasound Halo Hint 6, Marantz PM-14S1, McIntosh MA-252, McIntosh 5300, Hegel H190, Bryston B60R, Rega Elicit R, Musical Fidelity M6si, Pathos Classic One, Perreaux Éloquence 150i, Plinius Inspire 980, LFD Zero LE Mk4.0, Sonneteer Orton, Naim SuperNait, Lavardin IS Reference, on and on.... You get the point. 

The more I think about it the more confused I become. Wish I had the time and money to buy all of them, audition and compare them, then write up a very long review for everyone. Smile 

Any standouts for you? If it was your Bread, your Loot, your Quid, what do you think you would choose? Always nice to hear from you guys.

   
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Happy_Listener wrote:

Happy_Listener wrote:

I'm still deciding on my next integrated amp. Thought it was going to be the Accuphase E-270 but then I got to thinking about all of the other choices out there. It's a lot of money so I want to make the best choice. I'm using Harbeth P3ESR's right now but would like the versatility of buying new speakers without worrying that I have enough power. My budget is $5000 USD or about £4000. I'll give you a long list:

Acuuphase E-370, Roksan Blak, Luxman L-505ux, Yamaha A-S2100, Parasound Halo Hint 6, Marantz PM-14S1, McIntosh MA-252, McIntosh 5300, Hegel H190, Bryston B60R, Rega Elicit R, Musical Fidelity M6si, Pathos Classic One, Perreaux Éloquence 150i, Plinius Inspire 980, LFD Zero LE Mk4.0, Sonneteer Orton, Naim SuperNait, Lavardin IS Reference, on and on.... You get the point. 

The more I think about it the more confused I become. Wish I had the time and money to buy all of them, audition and compare them, then write up a very long review for everyone. :) 

Any standouts for you? If it was your Bread, your Loot, your Quid, what do you think you would choose? Always nice to hear from you guys.

   


If you can stretch to the E370, you really wouldn't want for any more... others from your list I like are Perreaux, Mcintosh, Luxman Pathos and Lavardin.
However, imo the only ones to come near the Accuphase are the Luxman and Mcintosh and you can add Devialet and Sugden too.
Can't remember if you said on the other post if you're able to demo in store or at home?
Mac
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Electrocompaniet EMC1UP, Innuous Zenith MK2, Audiolab M-DAC+, Sonos Connect, Accuphase E470, Harbeth 40th Anniversary SHL5 Plus, Sennheiser HD650, Auditorium 23 SC, HiFi Racks Podium Reference rack, matching LS stands.

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Best is such an elastic term.

Best is such an elastic term. Best in terms of getting the very best sound quality for your system would be a $10 used Japanese big brand integrated or maybe a $300 new direct from cottage manufacturer integrated.

Leaving you $4700 to $4990 to put towards a home extension / room treatments / better sounding speakers.

Buying a $5000 amplifier is OK if that's what you want to do, but it would be somewhat of a vanity "I want a trophy amplifier" project for as long as you keep Harbeth P3ESR's.

 

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For me.

Happy_Listener wrote:

Any standouts for you? If it was your Bread, your Loot, your Quid, what do you think you would choose? Always nice to hear from you guys.

Leema Acoustics Tucana II would be my choice. 

''If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours''.

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Happy_Listener wrote:

I want to make the best choice. I'm using Harbeth P3ESR's right now but would like the versatility of buying new speakers without worrying that I have enough power.


That makes your shortlist less than half the size. Consider DSP in the future and it makes it even more important to have enough power, particularly if you listen and mid to high volume. It would pretty much almost rule out any Class A, any tubes and realistically leave you with a hybrid, Class AB, or any variation of Class D.

How often do you change your gear? Would the above be really important or just preferable? If you did change your speakers are you planning to get anything inefficient? How much power realistically do you think you need?

My system and currently testing...  Get in touch insider_9@yahoo.com

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jjbomber wrote:

Happy_Listener wrote:

Any standouts for you? If it was your Bread, your Loot, your Quid, what do you think you would choose? Always nice to hear from you guys.

Leema Acoustics Tucana II would be my choice. 


And it would be a great choice if running any speaker is really important.

My system and currently testing...  Get in touch insider_9@yahoo.com

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For £4000 you can buy the

For £4000 you can buy the flagship Yamaha A-S3000 or buy secondhand on something that cost more then £4000 when new 

Yamaha A-S3000.Yamaha CD-S2100..Yamaha WXC-50..Yamaha RX-A1070 Dali Opticon 8 .Dali Opticon LCR . sub.. SVS -SB2000 . Oppo-203 ..Monitor Audio Sliver FX ..Sony 4K 49"

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I would go for an Accuphase

I would go for an Accuphase but that’s based on looks, meters, reputation, Japanese build etc. Also it had a handy slot at the back for their own - optional - DAC plug in card.

A lot of my decision would be based on completely irrational and personal stuff of which pride of ownership (of that particular brand) would be very high.

It won’t happen unless I get a sizable windfall from the lottery though.

I would would also partner it with Harbeths. 

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Predictably perhaps I would

Predictably perhaps I would go for the Electrocompaniet ECI 6 intrgrated amp for £3095 or if you want a top quality built in dac as well the ECI6 D at £4040.

https://www.mackenziehifi.com/electrocompaniet-250-c.asp

They will drive any speaker you connect to them effortlessly and last a lifetime .

A review.

https://headmania.org/2018/03/04/electrocompaniet-eci-6-integrated-speaker-amplifier-review/

Just add music ! Biggrin

 

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2nd hand

I wouldn't even entertain the idea of spending £4000 on an amp nowdays.

There is so much more performance to be gained by buying smart.

Just remember, once you enter your PIN number that £4000 amp turns almost immediately into a £2000 amp in value.

Just look on eBay for examples.

I wouldn't look at 'high end brands' as with £4000 you could only afford the 'bottom of the range' and you want an amp with enough power to drive any future speaker.

I'd look at what specs your after then search for a good 2nd amp.

The advice Lindsay gave would be even much better 'performance per buck' also

You need to look at the insides of the amp to determine this.

Another food for thought if you hell bent on buying new.

Consider for £4000 you could get top of the range Cambridge Audio compared to bottom of the range 'high end'

Once you've removed public perception and marketing have a look at the build inside.

I say this so you can remain a happy listener.

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You have a great list of Amps

You have a great list of Amps there....and I'm not sure that our preferences will help a great deal. How many of these can you try.

FWIW. Here is my advice.

1. Can you describe as accurately as possible:

- What you look for in an amp

- What Sound qualities you look for in a system.

- What Amps you have liked in the past

- What music do you listen to

2. How likely are you to keep the Harbeths or remain with the Harbeth brand. How likely are you to move to more efficient Floorstanders.

3. Take the list of amps and split them into basic sonic catagories - ie. Warm/Musical/Neutral/Refined/ Clean/Analytical etc (I will have a go at this, but I haven't heard all of them).

4. It may come down to what you can get a deal on.....but synergy/suitability with your long term speakers could be important.

5. What is your feeling on Class D eg. Bel Canto; or A/D eg. Devialet.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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Not if your goal is to keep

Not if your goal is to keep the amplifier long term or a end goal amplifier that you wish to keep as long as it keeps working then your not worried about losing £2000 as soon as you buy new as not everyone continues to box swap that’s when you start to lose money .

Buying secondhand with warranty is just as safe as buying new and there are lots of amplifiers like you say Andrew on EBay at a cheaper cost and personally I wouldn’t buy a Cambridge amplifier not even the old flagship amplifier that came out before the current one the one with the power amplifier as I had a demo on one and it sounded boring but that’s just my opinion Smile

But basically I would say you would have a little more choice if your got £4000 to spend on a amplifier but it doesn’t stop there because you need to spend a good amount of money on speakers too to take benefit from the good amplifier or it’s just a wast of money as well as the playback device you could keep going it’s knowing when to stop that’s the problem .

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The PrimaLuna Dialogue

The PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium HP is also worth considering if you like valve sound and it’s within your budget.

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Happy_Listener wrote:

Happy_Listener wrote:

Acuuphase E-370, Roksan Blak, Luxman L-505ux, Yamaha A-S2100, Parasound Halo Hint 6, Marantz PM-14S1, McIntosh MA-252, McIntosh 5300, Hegel H190, Bryston B60R, Rega Elicit R, Musical Fidelity M6si, Pathos Classic One, Perreaux Éloquence 150i, Plinius Inspire 980, LFD Zero LE Mk4.0, Sonneteer Orton, Naim SuperNait, Lavardin IS Reference, on and on.... You get the point. 

I will have a go at catagorizing your list - but it's really a starting point, where others can then change position, if I've got it wrong:

1. Forward/Exciting/Analytical

- Chord; Cyrus; Cambridge Audio; Audiolab

2. Clean/Detailed/A little Uninvolving

- Linn; Bel Canto; Moon; Digital Nad; 

3. Neutral

- Bryston; Rotel; Primare; Griffon; Hegel.

4. Neutral with a hint of warmth

- Classe; Plinius; ATC; Mark Levinson; Creek; Rega; Yamaha; Perreaux; Sonneteer; LFD; Marantz, Parasound; Devialet

5. Bold/Musical/Fun

- Naim; Roksan; Exposure; Leema; Krell; Nad.

6. Slightly Warmer/Darker/Richer

- Electrocompaniet; Musical Fidelity; Arcam; Audio Analogue; Unison Research Unico; Quad; McIntosh

7. Rich/Clear/Engaging/Euphonius

- Accuphase; Luxman; Pathos; Sugden; Croft; Audio Research; Esoteric

8. Musical/Delicate

- Lavardin; Coda; Ayre; Aesthetix; Densen

There is almost certainly some crossover between some catagories - and I don't claim to have got this spot on.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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Cnevils breakdown is very accurate, in my opinion, although I would have placed the Parasound in Neutral with a bit of warmth category, just goes to show everyone's hearing is different. You really have to ask what exactly you want that amp to connect to. 

Do you want an inbuilt DAC? Do you require an inbuild MM or MC phono preamp? Do you want a pre out function? Do you need a sub output? Do you need a headphone socket?

Once you have answered questions such as these you can shortlist those on your original listing.

If it was my money it would be Luxman all the way unless I wanted a true 'Swiss army knife' then it would be the Parasound.

If I ever had to downsize my system for box-count reasons then this is the amp I have been looking at as a replacement.

 

Motto: Never pay full price for anything, there is always room to haggle!

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Al ears wrote:

Al ears wrote:

Cnevils breakdown is very accurate, in my opinion, although I would have placed the Parasound in Neutral with a bit of warmth category, just goes to show everyone's hearing is different. You really have to ask what exactly you want that amp to connect to. 

I'm afraid it doesn't .....I've never heard a parasound amp, so was flying by the seat of my pants.Blush  I would put more stock on your assessment and will move it, to where it should be.

I welcome informed comment on products that I'm not personally familiar with and will adjust my list accordingly. 

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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