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LocoMoco
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Integrated amps <$1000 or so

I'm looking for an integrated amp and several choices come to mind like Rega, Creek, Cambridge Audio, and Arcam. How would the sound of these solid state units compare to a tube amp like a Jolida? Reading on how to pick a tube amp is simply over my head in comprehension and would like your opinion. Would I be better served by getting a solid state amp? I'm just intrigued on the SQ people are experiencing.

In any case, I'm leaning towards one of these speakers, Totem Hawk, Dali Ikon 6, or Triangle Antal ESw.

gkc
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Re: Integrated amps <$1000 or so

The solid state amps you mention all sound quite different. Personally, I prefer the Creek. To my ears, it sounds more neutral with more program material. However, as a group , you would never confuse any of them with a Jolida. Tubes are different, period. I prefer them, but they have practical limitations (heat, low power with insensitive speakers, etc., etc.,) compared with the plug-and-play-leave-it-on-all-day-for-the-rest-of-your-life solid state designs.

LocoMoco, you will have to listen. Nobody on this forum can tell you which amps to use with which speakers, aside from recommendations about electrical compatibility (impedance, sensitivity, etc.).

The Triangle Antal would sound superb with the Jolida. To me. Triangle speakers, in general, are not fussy, especially the new generations. The Totem and Dali speakers you mention may not be flattered as highly with the Jolida as the Triangle. I have only heard them in shows. But I have heard nearly all the Triangles, and they are all superb with any well-designed tube amp (and the Jolida is a well-designed tube amp).

You will have to listen yourself. Nobody else can tell you what to expect. You should take music you are familiar with, music you have a pre-conceived idea about as to how it should sound in your ideal home environment. You should take software that is perfect, to your ears, but you should also take software that isn't -- badly recorded music you still love to hear. Take a few discs that are too bright, and take a few that are too dull. Life is full of compromises.

Again, nobody here can tell you how to decide among several good choices. I don't see how you can go wrong, with any of the gear you mention, but you still must listen yourself.

Good luck. Keep in touch.

RGibran
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Re: Integrated amps <$1000 or so

Tubes cause frustration. If you do not have enough frustration in your life and desire more...buy some tubes.

RG

Elk
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Re: Integrated amps <$1000 or so


Quote:
Tubes cause frustration. If you do not have enough frustration in your life and desire more...buy some tubes.


I sure haven't found this to be the case. My tube equipment is as reliable and enjoyable as my solid state equipment.

Both are wonderful, but each have their strengths. Tubes have an amazing mid-range and are better at reproducing harmonic texture and instrument timbre. Tubes are also great with the decay of notes and room ambiance.

Solid state typically has great bass and is better at reproducing the attacks and quick transients of notes.

I suggest that you not concern yourself with gaining all that much intellectual understanding, but instead spend your time listening to different amps and speakers using music you know. You will quickly discern what equipment sounds most musical to you. Then buy it!

gkc
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Re: Integrated amps <$1000 or so

Tubes CAN be bothersome, compared with the plug-and-play transistor designs. But, many modern tube amps are self-biasing, and it seems each year the new designs are more reliable than before.

People who go to a lot of live concerts often prefer tubes, once they get a chance to hear them. People who don't attend live events often prefer the lower-maintenance requirements of solid state. Of course, the BEST solid state designs sound very much like the best tube designs. But both are expensive as all hell, and this is an "entry level" post.

Still, I agree with you, Elk. Any additional maintenance problems that come with tubes are worth it, and sometimes there are NO additional problems. And, remember, solid state units blow up, too...

LocoMoco
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Re: Integrated amps <$1000 or so

It's been an enjoyable read. I had to laugh at Rgibran's remarks! My plan at the moment is to get a solid state int and later get a tube. The Jolida may not compare to the mega $ tubes, but it won't break the bank at about $600. I did setup a listening session at a local shop to demo their tubes.

I know that the Ikon 6 is a good buy, the Totem is a luv'em or hate'em speaker by some, and the Triangles I can't demo.

I've been in talks with a dealer and he offered me the NAD M3 or Plinius for under $2K. At that price point, I've got even more choices. This is frustrating! Any comments on the int under $2K (discounted) like MF A5, Krell 400xi, NAD M3, Arcam, and such.

tom collins
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Re: Integrated amps <$1000 or so

I use an Arcam 80 that I paid about $1100 for. Have used it almost daily for nearly 2 years and am very pleased. No problems at all and drives my fairly inefficient speakers well. Can't tell you how it sounds compared to others, but mechanically it is great and I personally like the sound.

Tom Collins

Elk
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Re: Integrated amps <$1000 or so

Everything you are considering is good stuff. It now comes down to listening and learning what you like.

Bring music that you like and don't rush the process. Buy what sounds good to you. You will be delighted.

It's also perfectly OK to like or dislike equipment based on personal bias; it's going to be in your home after all. Thus, if you like glowing tubes buy them. If you had the concept of vacuum under glass, run away.

gkc
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Re: Integrated amps <$1000 or so

Opinion. Strictly opinion. To my ears, Plinius is superb. I like NAD, but (again, my opinion) it doesn't go as deeply into the source, and isn't as transparent. If you can get a good discount on anything designed and manufactured by Plinius, audition carefully. It may make the "tubes vs. solid state" question disappear, in this price range.

I, also, have enjoyed everything I have heard that has "Arcam" stamped on the front. But if you can bring Plinius into your budget scope, listen and compare.

All of this gear sounds great, to me. It all sounds different , too. But your mention of Plinius jumped out at me.

Cheers, and happy listening.

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