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rbroghammer
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Integrated Amp vs separates

I've been dealing with a local guy who seems pretty knowledgable. He suggested I may be better off buying separate amp/pre-amp versus an integrated component as the sensitive electronics in the pre-amp would not be subjected to the heat generated by a separate amplifier. Another guy who works for the sister store 90 miles away told me by having separates you can introduce another variable by having the additional interconnect between amp and pre-amp and believed that an integrated amp was the way to go. By the way, I'm looking at Cambridge, Marantz, and Anthem components.

Also by the way, I listened to some System Audio 1750's at the sister store and compared them to the Monitor Audio GS8's. The SA's have an edge but the price tag is significantly more $2599 vs $1599.

bifcake
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Re: Integrated Amp vs separates

Opinions are like you know what and everyone's got one. They're both right. Both have valid points. There are pros and cons to every setup. Separates allow you for more flexibility, and potentially optimization of every component.

Integrateds give you system matching, simplicity and elimination of a set of interconnects.

Which is better? Yes.

There obviously no clear answer. Each topology has its pluses and minuses and then more variables are introduced with different components from different manufacturers. Go listen with a given set of speakers and cables and make your own judgment.

dbowker
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Re: Integrated Amp vs separates

I've heard more A+ separates in my time than integrateds, but I own an integrated because I like the smaller amount of space it takes up and simplicity of design. In the end it comes down to how much you have to spend, and what sounds best TO YOU within that price.

Practically any path can be done right, or really wrong. By and large though I think separates have some advantages just because the designer can focus solely on it's specific purpose. But again, I own an integrated and love everything about it. I guess it came down to what I said above- for the money I had to spend, I felt I got more for what I bought.

Buddha
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Re: Integrated Amp vs separates

Hola, Hawkfan.

AlexO and Dbowker give good advice.

In the Cambridge, Marantz, and Anthem component price range, I'd guess that you'd do better with an integrated than with seperates.

Not only do you get to skip the expense of interconnects, you save by needing only one power cord (this matters to many people) and you do not need to cover the price of two chassis and cabinets.

Additionally, the designer had the luxury of knowing the parameters of both the preamp and amp sections of the system and can build in good synergy.

Knowing the location of all the parts can help designers plan for making sure that one part does not accidentally have an unanticipated effect on another part of the component - which could be an issue for people who stack components on top of each other.

When it's all said and done at prices under a grand or two, I think integrateds offer a clearly superior perfomance/value ratio.

Let us know what you decide to do!

rbroghammer
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Re: Integrated Amp vs separates

Thanks for the replies. I was hoping for a clear 'do this' recommendation but it would seem, like speakers, there is no clear choice and it comes down to convenience, cost, features, comfort level, etc. etc.

Space is not an option. Price is always a consideration. What I had considered was a Cambridge integrated at ~$1400 vs Anthem separates at virtually the same price. Probably won't make a decision for several months (have to finish building then move) so I'll have to get along with my old Proton D540 for now. Also need to compare everything side by side with regards to features, warranty, serviceability, reputation, etc.

Look for an update regarding my decision sometime next spring.

jackfish
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Re: Integrated Amp vs separates

Cambridge Audio integrated amplifiers are good audio values while the two channel Anthem separates are not at all impressive. I was not impressed by the Anthem HT set up I heard, but was impressed by the quality of the Cambridge Audio Azur 840A. The real side by side comparison that should make the difference is the audition.

Fisherman
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Re: Integrated Amp vs separates

Hawkfan
Try the Krell 400xi integrated. Great value imoho. I too was going to do seperates but decided on an intergrated due to space contraints and budget. As always try to get a demo to try in your home. I first tried a CA 840a but the speakers I am using need the extra power.

dbowker
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Re: Integrated Amp vs separates


Quote:
Hawkfan
Try the Krell 400xi integrated. Great value imoho. I too was going to do separates but decided on an integrated due to space constraints and budget. As always try to get a demo to try in your home. I first tried a CA 840a but the speakers I am using need the extra power.

I have the 400xi too and I think it's phenomenal! If you can get it from Audiogon it would be at or near your budget. Once you hear or buy a Krell, it's hard to think about going anywhere else. Pure Class A power makes everything just sound effortless. Plus, in many ways it's the closest to tube sound from solid state you'll get. Creek also makes great integrated amps- always have, and at a range of affordable prices.

quadlover
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Re: Integrated Amp vs separates

am i missing something or did you not mention your speakers? the krell is an excellent unit, but if we are talking clean preowned, don't forget, pathos, unison, prima, cary, and maybe even a mcintosh. alot will depend on speakers, room, and, if you want to upgrade, resale will make a difference down the road. at under $2500 unless you get the steal of the century you are probably better off getting a integrated and put a little extra into speakers. the system is what matters most. remember grasshopper... balance is the secret!

Windzilla
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Re: Integrated Amp vs separates

I'll second the Krell, But look into the 300iL** if going used (which I have) It is the same amplifier as the 400xi but with a different volume control. they can be had a little cheaper. When i put my system together It was the one thing I had buyers remorse for. two years later it is the only think not on my list of future upgrades.

as for the Cambridge stuff, they seem very solidly built. I have an azur CDP and it has performed flawlessly for the past few years.

good luck

**different from the 300i which is 150wpc though i understand this is a good unit as well.

dbowker
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Re: Integrated Amp vs separates

Although a great amp, no argument there, the 300il is a little more different than the 400xi than just the volume control. I believe it's chief difference is in it's use of Krells current only mode. Their may be other additions I'm not aware of either. Either way, you can't really go wrong with Krell, new or old.

"The KAV

Windzilla
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Re: Integrated Amp vs separates

hawkfan
As a biased owner I agree a used Krell will be a solid performer.

You might want to also take a look at a used Plinius 8200MKII or 9200 if you decide to go the used integrated route.

Regarding the original question, I personally feel cables aren't a huge issue, they matter but to me they aren't a separate "component". Given my feelings on cables I would say that it isn't much of a concern.

I don't know what your future plans are, but separates allow for more options on future upgrades, but take up more room. Integrateds in what appears to be your price range, really offer alot of bang for the buck, ease of use, and generally higher WAF.

Sorry if my comments aren't that insightful.

dbowker
as far as my original assertion that the 300iL is pretty much the same as the 400xi sans the "pot" I stand by it. I base my assertion as much on a lack of detailed information, as i do marketing department scripted product descriptions. either way, they both add enjoyment to listening, Cheers!

According to Krell's website the 300iL

"...features Krell's latest Class A direct-coupled design wherein the entire signal path from input to output is fully balanced." (I believe the Class A is up to the drive stage in both models)
http://www.krellonline.com/html/m_KAV_p_KAV300iL.html

The gain stages use Krell Current Mode,

dbowker
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Re: Integrated Amp vs separates

I believe I stand corrected.

Sometimes you have to dig pretty deep to sort out all the iterations a company produces!

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