Have you ever used an integrated amplifier in one of your systems? Why and what did you think?

Have you ever used an integrated amplifier in one of your systems? Why and what did you think?
Yes, in the past
34% (132 votes)
Yes, currently
54% (208 votes)
No, but am thinking about it
4% (15 votes)
8% (32 votes)
Total votes: 387

Separate preamplifiers and power amplifiers have long been considered standard audiophile fare, but sometimes the economy and convenience of an integrated amp can't be beat. Have you ever used one?

o.  bivins's picture

I have a Yamaha A-3090 A/V integrated amp modified with a detachable Audience power cord. Love the sound.

aaa's picture

love it. higher sound quality than many separates!!

Norm Strong's picture

Yes, but not since the invention of the receiver. Any time I can cram another function in the same box, I'll do it. The economics are irresistable.

Douglas Henning's picture

I have a Copland CSA28 Hybrid amplifier. This amp is absolutly sublime and actually sound better in my system than my previous entry level Plinius pre/power. It is an astonishing product for the money and is a space saver, which enabled me to invest in a high-end two-tier rack that sits nice and low between the speakers.

Mike J.'s picture

I love integrateds -- I've only owned two sets of separates in my life. With most systems needing line-level only these days, and especially with the cost of interconnects, it's a highly sensible alternative. I do tend to go through lots of them -- I like to try different alternatives. My favorite integrateds over the past few years have been the Magnum IA170 (a raw but gutsy little overachiever for small systems) and the Creek 4330 (a glorious little box which, ironically, has only one real fault -- that its cost and appearance prevent it from being taken seriously). I've always liked Musical Fidelity integrateds, although some of them have seemed a bit more appropriate for orchestral music than for the jazz I like (I think British integrateds go well with jazz). Here's something more that's wierd -- I don't really have much interest in separates . . . there, I've said it. Every so often I bring some separates home, trying to be a good little audiophile, but integrateds have a strong gut appeal to me. Man, it feels good to come out of the closet as an "integrated amp guy!" Can I still vote??

Raph's picture

It was all I could afford. I would be interested to try some of the new, big power integrateds from the premier manufacturers.

Rob Cornelson's picture

When I decided to put together a home stereo, I started with a 70's yard sale integrated. I think it was a Superscope or something like that. 10 watts per channel and my Dad picked it up for $5! Hooked it up to my car speakers which I mounted to a couple of insulation-filled cardboard boxes and some Kimber 4PR. My source was a portable CD player. The amp became my first DIY project. Eventually I moved on to real speakers and an NAD 304 integrated. Later still I added a Bryston integrated. I still use the NAD for movies and TV and the Bryston became my preamp for my other stereo.

Henk's picture

The Audiolab 8000A (now Tag McLaren). It was a real bargain at the time and it gave me musical satisfaction when I was a student.

Henry's picture

Only downside is that you lose flexibility to upgrade pre-amp/power amp separately. Soundwise fine as long as as you do not have power hungry speakers.

Al Marcy's picture

I added volume pots to my all glass and iron SE.

Joe Hartmann's picture

My first two systems were reciever based. I looked for better sound and separates were the way to go and I have not looked back.

Jim Germann's picture

Let's face it, it's only been a couple of years since integrateds have had the necessary power required to drive some speakers. You need loads of reserve power unless you have high efficiency speakers.[especially solid state units]

Aaron Trocano's picture

I used a 5.1 receiver once, but saw the light and went straight to separate components.

Tony P., Washington, DC's picture

Audiophiles, aim your weapons: I am using a receiver, the Yamaha RX-596. It's doing a fine job. To get a noticeable improvement, I would have to spend the kind of money I don't currently have.

Claudio Rodil's picture

I have auditioned more than 10 pre/power combos in the USD 2500 price range and none of them sounded like my Krell KAV 300i.

Joel McKowan's picture

I have thought about using an integrated. When I was getting into high end gear recently, I was interested in the Marantz PM-17 with the champagne gold finish. It was beautiful and sweet with lots of power for the big Dunlavy Alethas that were in the demo. For my own system, I've used receivers at first and moved eventually toward separates. The reason why I went for separates is as follows: I wanted a tube preamp combined with a high power, low distortion solid state amp. This combines both sweetness and roundness with power and versatility. I think it's a great compromise that every audiophile should try, especially tube-lovers with wide-ranging music tastes.

DK's picture

Onkyo 575 (theater receiver - using to drive stereo spkrs) - minimal preamp

Henry's picture

I've owned a Sugden and a YBA integrated amp in the past. Both served their purpose quite well; the Sugden when I was just starting to put together a good sound system, and then the YBA as a subsequent upgrade. I went to separates to make a distinct upgrade in sound with the added long term flexibility.

Graeme Nattress's picture

What's wrong with integrated amplifiers? Just because there's a lot of cheap rubbish out there doesn't mean that all integrateds are rubbish. I use an Audio Innovations 300, which is a beautiful 7.5W valve amp and makes a great sound with my large horns.

Karl Keyes's picture

I've got a Bryston B60R that I absolutely love! Great mids, sweet highs and if ever I want to upgrade to a larger amp, I'll use the B60 as a pre-amp (as you know, it's basically a BP-20 Stuart Taylor re-design). Great integrated!

Scott higgins's picture

ARC-CA-50 integrated

Peter Prisekin (Dusty Chalk)'s picture

I use a Manley Stingray because it sounds great. Even if I didn't, I would still go with an integrated to minimize the distortion introduced by each stage. Remove a stage, and it's that much easier to keep the distortion down.

venkata moparthi's picture

It is economical and the music is excellent.

TDA's picture

Both of my current stereos are based on integrated amps: one an Arcam and one a Naim. What do I think about them? They're great. The Naim, in particular, sounds better than most pre/power combos I have heard. Every sonic characteristic is superb.

Woody Battle's picture

I use an Acurus DIA 100 MkII. Getting better sounding separates would cost three to four times as much.

jay's picture

it was a sad day when i had to sell my mv55 and threshhold preamp. after much searching, and deliberation, i bought an asl 1003dt. i have 95% of the sound i had before, at a fraction of the cost.

Marshall Bolton's picture

Just bought a Rega Mira -- after reading "Sam's Space." In the past I've used much too much money on super systems and still been unsatisfied. Now I'm listening to speakers one tenth the price and amplification one twelfth the price. This is a "who cares?" budget and I am having fun. Of course, I am still using cables that cost more than everything else. Hi-Fi is a modern Zen koan -- maybe I'm enlightened, maybe I'm not.

Richard E.  Watson's picture

I owned a Kenwood KA-6000 (?) series integrated amplifier back in the 70s. It was a great little amp that afforded fairly clean sound (given the state of the art for that period)and excellent flexibility. The tone controls were a downside but the "one box" (sans tuner)convenience for several audio inputs was what I needed at the time.I would not own one today as I do not believe they offer the ultimate flexibility and performance that I get from separates. However, I would recommend one to someone interested in entry level high end (i.e., units from Creek, Musical Fidelity, or Rotel would be excellent choices).

Ed the Audio Guy's picture

Built from kit a Dyna ST-80 in late 60's. But quickly went separates route in 1970 with great HK Citation 11 and 12 pre & amp. Used them for the whole decade. Never went back to integrated, except in home theater.

Roger Rahal's picture

The Krell duo that I own (KAV 300i & 250 CD/2) is a joy to use and so simple to accomodate in my room. High quality integrated amps do make sense, just think of the shorter signal path, the elimination of a pair of interconnects, and the exact matching of the pre and power within the unit.