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Thread: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

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    Default Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    Time to update my Vector Research stereo integrated amplifier. Friend has recommended NAIM. Their NAIT 5si looks good, but price is up there - about $1800. The retail store I'll probably visit, Audio Visual Therapy in Mass, also has a used NAD C390DD amp for $800. It's a big sucker, though.

    Any audiophiles out there with recommendations?

    Thanks.
     

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    I'm in the market as well. I'd give a serious look at the Parasound Integrated. New, it's over the price range, but there's currently one on Audiogon for the price you're looking at.
    Parasound Halo 2.1 Channel Integrated Amplifier | Solid state | San Diego, California 9211 | Audiogon
    My name is David Moeny

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    I liked the Rogue Audio Sphinx v2 quite a bit. It's $1,300 - $1,400 depending on the finish. A phono stage and 3 line stages, so you need to be OK with minimalism (and turntables).

    (I ended up finding a slightly used Rogue Audio RP-1 pre-amp ($1150) and pairing it with the bizarrely good Nuforce STA-200 power amp ($400) and a Schiit SYS ($50) for $1,600 total. I am very happy with that combo.)

    20190208_125138.jpg
    GO!

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    Time to update my Vector Research stereo integrated amplifier. Friend has recommended NAIM. Their NAIT 5si looks good, but price is up there - about $1800. The retail store I'll probably visit, Audio Visual Therapy in Mass, also has a used NAD C390DD amp for $800. It's a big sucker, though.

    Any audiophiles out there with recommendations?

    Thanks.
    If you live close enough, I would recommend bringing your speakers and input device (turntable, cd, etc.) and test different amps in their listening room and decide what works best for your compete setup. And make sure they are using the same input and cables for each test of the amps and not running through some switching box that will mess up the sound on all of it and not give you a true sound test. If they allow you to bring amps home and test in your own environment, that is even better.

    I am a big proponent of spend your money from front to back, as-in, spend the most on input device, then amplifier, and then speakers (and don't cheap out on cables either). I learned of this many years ago with the old adage of "crap-in, crap out". A better amplifier is not going to make a bad input sound better and a good set of speakers is never going to compensate for a bad amplifier.

    More than 20 years ago I had an entry level NAIM integrated amp with a Planar 3 turntable and a set of wharfdale bookshelf speakers for what was an amazing setup.

    When I changed to CDs (because my vinyl collection was lost/stolen during a move) I picked up an NAD integrated, NAD CD player, and Canton floor standing speakers. The NAD was really nice but the NAIM was better and cost not that much more.

    Then I moved onto an Adcom integrated (very few of the type I had were brought over to the states - Americans were not always into integrated - apparently we like receivers or separates but not integrated) which was really really good. I was not using it much the past several years and I am glad to say that it is currently owned and being used by TooTall. If I can find the reference I'll post but if you want ask him. If you can find one used, it is a really nice solid state integrated amp with CD input.

    For some time I also had a pre-owned Bryston 4B and used the Adcom as a pre-amp but it was overkill even when I moved from an apartment to a house. I sent it back to Bryston to have the output jacks replaced with newer gold ones and then gave it to my older brother. He is still using it in his very large media room in his very large house. That amp must be 30+ years old at this point and still pulls strong and sounds great.

    With all of the said, my grail has always been the Bryston B60 integrated because it sounds better than the others I have owned but also costs more. Pre-owned is a good way to go to control price and these things last forever.

    So, I would choose the NAIM over the NAD but get the Bryston if you can swing it. And "listen" before buying any of them. We test drive cars and bikes before purchasing so why not amps as well?
     

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    Adcom GCA-510. If you can find one, get it.

    Tech Info: ADCOM GCA-510 MINIMALIST INTEGRATED AMP MADE EVEN MORE MINIMALIST

    Excerpt:
    Few people have heard of this product, but for a short time, Adcom made a great little 50WPC integrated amp called the GCA-510. (Good Control Amp ,where’s the F?) It was essentially a GFA-535 with a smaller, lower-voltage power supply, and a passive preamp built in. Apparently, Adcom was going after the UK market, land of small but high-quality integrated amps. (More people sharing walls with neighbors, and we Yanks are so rude with our big amp stacks.)
     

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    How many sources do you need to handle? If you only have a single digital or analog source, it opens up the field.
     

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    Thanks for all of the feedback. (Was that a pun? )

    As far as inputs/sources, I have a CD player, turntable, tuner, and cassette tape deck (which will not be used with new setup). I'm not up with the times, so no hookups to smartphone, TV, etc.
     

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    Quote Originally Posted by NYCfixie View Post
    I am a big proponent of spend your money from front to back, as-in, spend the most on input device, then amplifier, and then speakers (and don't cheap out on cables either). I learned of this many years ago with the old adage of "crap-in, crap out". A better amplifier is not going to make a bad input sound better and a good set of speakers is never going to compensate for a bad amplifier.
    Another perspective:

    Unless they are defective, it is literally impossible for the electronics (preamplifier and power amplifier) to have as much of an impact on the total system's sound as the mechanical transducers (speakers and phono cartridge). While I will concede that there are some chains that exhibit better "synergy" [sic] than others, you should be able to define the overall sonic qualities of your system by selecting the speakers and phono cartridge, and then any working, competently-designed electronics will faithfully convey those qualities.

    As to OPs question, my current favorite integrated amp is probably the Lyngdorf Audio TDAI-2170, but I think those go for more than $2k. Rotel RA-1592 is also pretty respectable...or at least, it won't kill your children.
     

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    Thanks for all of the feedback. (Was that a pun? )

    As far as inputs/sources, I have a CD player, turntable, tuner, and cassette tape deck (which will not be used with new setup). I'm not up with the times, so no hookups to smartphone, TV, etc.
    Out of the products recommended here, only the Rogue and the Parasound have a phono stage.

    I've heard good things about Parasound's products, but prefer the radical simplicity of something like the Rogue Sphinx. I bought my Rogue RP1 from this site, and this Sphinx looks like a good bet: Rogue Audio Sphinx V2 - SILVER - Mint | Solid state | Houma, Louisiana 736 | Audiogon.

    My sources are similar to yours - a tuner, turntable and (instead of the CD player) a digital-analog converter (DAC). I connect my 3 digital sources - Blu-Ray player, Roku and Sonos Connect - to the DAC.
    GO!

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
    Another perspective:

    Unless they are defective, it is literally impossible for the electronics (preamplifier and power amplifier) to have as much of an impact on the total system's sound as the mechanical transducers (speakers and phono cartridge). While I will concede that there are some chains that exhibit better "synergy" [sic] than others, you should be able to define the overall sonic qualities of your system by selecting the speakers and phono cartridge, and then any working, competently-designed electronics will faithfully convey those qualities.
    While I tend to agree with this, I will say that when I recently replace my ancient pre-amp and power amp with a modern pre-amp and power amp I was able to hear so much more music. So much more. Nuance, detail, air, pulse.. The new amps rejuvenated my system.

    It may be that my mid-to-late 80s high end amps had simply decayed too much to be accurate. But our OP is in the same boat. Vector Research has been out of business for about 30 years!
    GO!

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    The H/K 2-channel receivers have a phono section and modern input/outputs. Bought one a few years ago for a bedroom system and frankly sounds fine driving some Mission 770Fs. Replaced an 825/870 combo that pooped the bed.

    We dinosaurs gotta stick together...

    I really like the Bryston integrated amps. My B60 is chugging along and only 20 years old. Still have some warranty left too. Heh, looked at current offerings and pricing. Nevermind...
     

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    I have a Naim integrated amp and CD player with Dyna Audio Speakers I would be willing to unload. PM me.

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    Quote Originally Posted by joosttx View Post
    I have a Naim integrated amp and CD player with Dyna Audio Speakers I would be willing to unload. PM me.
    Whoa, that's got to sound real good. Why you want out?

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    Quote Originally Posted by dogrange View Post
    Whoa, that's got to sound real good. Why you want out?
    It sounds very good. The reason I want out is we are turning my office into a kids room and I have no where to keep it.

    Naim 5i amp, 5i cd, Dyn Audio Focus 202, all with great cables, conditioners and a/d converter.

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?



    When reviewing any piece of audio gear, make sure that there’s a turntable, bring your copy of Deep Purple’s Machine Head, queue up Highway Star...track one/side one...step back, sit down and crank to 11.
    rw saunders
    everything is connected

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    Default Re: Best Integrated Stereo Amp under $2K?

    Just don't play Liszt's La Campanella. Those tinkling high piano notes let me know I needed a new power amp to go with my pre-amp.

    Stupid acoustic music...
    GO!

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