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Integrated Amp or Pre + Power?

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terrible

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So here I begin my research and eventual buy to set up a dedicated 2.0 system for music. I own Focal Chorus 726V speakers so I would like to get suggestions on amps to get that might be suitable for these speakers. Like my AVR, I would like to go for a setup a little better than the current speakers as I might upgrade those later. But to begin with what would you suggest Integrated amp or?
 

soundbuff

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I would get me a high quality integrated featuring a power amp direct input, and later on get a superior pre-amplifier. Entry level pre-power combos are often bested by a really good integrated.
 

Beast_of_burden

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A good integrated amplifier can be had, leave the separates for the million rupee territory. You won't find too many reviews for the Denon pma1520ae, but it is an awesome integrated with a superb phono stage. The Yamaha As2100 is another integrated that I myself am looking to upgrade to. I do not know if the AS2100 is sold in India and it's pricing. I was quoted 3100 SGD in Singapore recently. I am partial to MOSFET solid state amps, both these are MOSFET based amps with conservative power ratings. In reality these can pack a punch.
 

soundbuff

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If you can roughly indicate what you re looking for in the sound quality and presentation, it will be possible to think of what kind of integrated to look for. Some suggestions: In about 3 lakhs you can get the Symphonic RG 14 integrated. A more adventurous alternative could be the Xindak A600E. In tubes there is an excellent LM audio 100 watt push pull. It seem to me however that going beyond this level may not be worthwhile in your speaker context. Bear in mind that I have only mentioned integrateds that I have listened to extensively, I am sure there are lots of other options, and the Denon is a good baseline to start exploring. Regardless of whether you go SS or tube it is good to get at least 60 watts, that way you future proof your speaker upgrade.
 

Beast_of_burden

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I agree about the comment regarding the Denon being the baseline, this is the minimum. Don't cheap out and buy the lower range models in the Denon line or for that matter any other manufacturer. This Denon is remarkable in that there is no guarantee that you will find anything superior just because you spend more. I have heard the Denon with Klipsch, B&W and Qacoustics and it sounds amazing. This should be the first amplifier that you must audition and then see if you prefer something around that price range from Marantz, NAD or Naim.

The main reason I like the Denon so much is that it has the ability to make rock and blues albums from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, CCR, Allman Brothers sound like a real band. I use a fairly cheap Korg DSD dac. My brother has one too and he can't rave enough about it.
 

Naturelover

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I am not clear on what you want to do. Do you want to put the 726s in a dedicated stereo system? What then for the HT fronts?

I would like to go for a setup a little better than the current speakers as I might upgrade those later.
Does this refer to the existing HT or the planned 2.0?


+1 to FM soundbuff's suggestion. FM Aanuj has been wanting to sell a Denon 1500AE which also has the HT bypass feature.
http://www.hifivision.com/surround-amplifiers-receivers/50018-denon-owners-thread-37.html#post705652
 

apk

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Hi,

Audio is subjective, and while many speaker-amplifier combinations can be recommended, the best way to find out a suitable and matching amplifier for your speakers is to try it out yourself. Don't be too bothered about integrated or pre-power. What is more important is the sound, and a good amplifier from both the camps will deliver.

So how do you go about identifying a good matching amplifier for your speakers?
(1) You are based in Mumbai - which has quite a few audio stores. Please check with these places and see if you can take your speakers to these places for an audition with their amplifiers. Some may be willing to let you try these at home if your commitment to buying is strong (in case you like the sound)
(2) If you are open to experimenting, you can buy amplifiers used, and try them in your system. If you do not like the sound, sell it. Yes, you may make a small loss in this transaction, but still better than investing big money in the wrong amplifier upfront.
(3) Seek out FMs in your location who have similar speakers (Focal) and try and listen to their setup. Most FMs here are open to letting others come over and listen to their setup. This will help you understand what are the preferred combinations and also what is your taste

As I mentioned before, there is no substitute to hearing on your own since each of us have different preferences, and hence my recommendation may not be what suits you. Like food, you will need to discover your own preferences - otherwise you will be disappointed. 'Pasta' may sound wonderful to you if I write eloquently about it, but you will never know whether you like or not it till you taste it! :)

Best,
APK
 
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elangoas

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But to begin with what would you suggest Integrated amp or?

You already have some very good gear.. CA AVR is a niche one and the internals should be way better than the mass-market leaders and may be better than some Int Amp too..

> 150wpc in 8 ohms and capable of 200wpc in 4 ohms is some very good capability of the AVR in stereo..

Rather than investing for speakers and amplifier for a separate set-up, would suggest you to invest that on a DAC and re-use with this set-up.. You can take full advantage of external DAC and use the AVR's analogue inputs and power..
 

terrible

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I am not clear on what you want to do. Do you want to put the 726s in a dedicated stereo system? What then for the HT fronts?

Does this refer to the existing HT or the planned 2.0?

I want to use the 726V for both stereo and HT setup. Though I must admit I don't know how this works with the same speakers.

If you can roughly indicate what you re looking for in the sound quality and presentation, it will be possible to think of what kind of integrated to look for. Some suggestions: In about 3 lakhs you can get the Symphonic RG 14 integrated. A more adventurous alternative could be the Xindak A600E. In tubes there is an excellent LM audio 100 watt push pull. It seem to me however that going beyond this level may not be worthwhile in your speaker context. Bear in mind that I have only mentioned integrateds that I have listened to extensively, I am sure there are lots of other options, and the Denon is a good baseline to start exploring. Regardless of whether you go SS or tube it is good to get at least 60 watts, that way you future proof your speaker upgrade.

Now this is an area you will find me wanting. I have very little idea on the difference between tubes and solid state. Upon reading there seems to be a very mild bias towards tubes as people seem to feel they are more musical with better mid-range and stuff but search me. I would imagine 3 lakhs would be an overkill for me considering that my Focals only cost around a lakh forty. Upon an upgrade, I might go up to maybe 2 to 2.5 lakhs. Don't know if an integrated amp should cost more than the speakers that I might intend to upgrade to. You can shed some light. Also, if you have any opinion on Roksan K2 or 3. I remember listening to them with Klipsch. Though I did not like the sharp and almost sonic sound of Kplisch, I thought the Roksan powered them quite well. And I am told Roksan's are a little sharp so might pair well with Focals which are warm and more towards neutral.

I would get me a high quality integrated featuring a power amp direct input, and later on get a superior pre-amplifier. Entry level pre-power combos are often bested by a really good integrated.

Can you please explain 'Power amp direct input' so that I can make that a buying criteria when I discuss this with dealers et al.

Hi,

Audio is subjective, and while many speaker-amplifier combinations can be recommended, the best way to find out a suitable and matching amplifier for your speakers is to try it out yourself. Don't be too bothered about integrated or pre-power. What is more important is the sound, and a good amplifier from both the camps will deliver.

So how do you go about identifying a good matching amplifier for your speakers?
(1) You are based in Mumbai - which has quite a few audio stores. Please check with these places and see if you can take your speakers to these places for an audition with their amplifiers. Some may be willing to let you try these at home if your commitment to buying is strong (in case you like the sound)
(2) If you are open to experimenting, you can buy amplifiers used, and try them in your system. If you do not like the sound, sell it. Yes, you may make a small loss in this transaction, but still better than investing big money in the wrong amplifier upfront.
(3) Seek out FMs in your location who have similar speakers (Focal) and try and listen to their setup. Most FMs here are open to letting others come over and listen to their setup. This will help you understand what are the preferred combinations and also what is your taste

As I mentioned before, there is no substitute to hearing on your own since each of us have different preferences, and hence my recommendation may not be what suits you. Like food, you will need to discover your own preferences - otherwise you will be disappointed. 'Pasta' may sound wonderful to you if I write eloquently about it, but you will never know whether you like or not it till you taste it! :)

Best,
APK

Totally with you on most of your comments. In fact, it took me more than two months to arrive at this combo of Focals 726V and Cambridge CXR200. Both are warm with very good mid range for music and have absolutely no ear fatigue even when played decently loud for long hours. Though I must admit I find the idea of taking my speakers to the dealers quite cumbersome and may not have the time to do so.

You already have some very good gear.. CA AVR is a niche one and the internals should be way better than the mass-market leaders and may be better than some Int Amp too..

> 150wpc in 8 ohms and capable of 200wpc in 4 ohms is some very good capability of the AVR in stereo..

Rather than investing for speakers and amplifier for a separate set-up, would suggest you to invest that on a DAC and re-use with this set-up.. You can take full advantage of external DAC and use the AVR's analogue inputs and power..

The DAC is pretty decent too. Though not something to write home about. This information is purely from reading. As I don't know much about DACs, again upon various references here a Schitt Gugnir multibit is something I have looked at. I think you bring out a good point that the integrated I go for should be way better than CXR200. Do you have any thoughts on that?
 

elangoas

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The DAC is pretty decent too. Though not something to write home about. This information is purely from reading. As I don't know much about DACs, again upon various references here a Schitt Gugnir multibit is something I have looked at. I think you bring out a good point that the integrated I go for should be way better than CXR200. Do you have any thoughts on that?

No no.. I meant that your CXR200 AVR internals must be much better than some integrated stereo amplifier's.. I have tried DAC which are about US $50.. Not the expensive ones..
 

terrible

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No no.. I meant that your CXR200 AVR internals must be much better than some integrated stereo amplifier's.. I have tried DAC which are about US $50.. Not the expensive ones..

I understood that. Thats why I asked if you know of IA that should definitely be better than CXR200.
 

soundbuff

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To OP: responding to your queries about the budget of 3 L being overkill, the direct power input, and tube sound.
As mentioned by another FM, your existing AVR is respectable enough, so a smaller upgrade may not fetch you so much improvement. While granting that money is not the main criterion in taking a call, a symphonic Line integrated for instance would certainly not be an overkill. It will get the best out of your speakers and easily see you through a speaker upgrade. Amps in my experience stay stable for longer in a system than sources and speakers so that the system gets built around them; that's my take, others may disagree.

Tubes are great, love them, but watts are scarce. Low watt high sensitivity combos are very hard to put together, there is always something to compromise, usually not so good bass and dynamics, on the other hand string tone is much better. I have done both tubes and SS and have enjoyed each in their own way. SS in Class A is also an option to think of, that gives a more textured sound with greater presence tha amps in class AB (IMHO). There is a well reviewed 20 watt Class A Xindak PAM which will drive most speakers 86 db and above, and its in the kind of budget you may be looking at.

Direct power input: Many integrated amps have this, it can be used t upgrade the amp with a better preamplifier. eg, if you buy a really good integrated and dont want to change it, just buy a better preamp and plug it in.
 

elt93

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At your budget, go for an integrated unless you're open to used pre-power combos. Do not worry about the speakers. Your speakers will be good enough. Don't restrict your budget just because your speakers cost "only" ?1.4L. Later on if you do feel if the speakers are a bottleneck, you can upgrade. Slow and steady.
There are various integrateds like Yamaha AS-2100, Marantz PM-11s3, Onkyo A-9070, Sony TA-A1ES, Denon PMA-1520AE, Cambridge 851A, etc. These are a few from the common names. There are many more from the more niche companies out there too. Plus you're in Mumbai, you should be able to audition a wide range of candidates. Listen to as many as possible and decide. :)
 

soundbuff

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There is also the Trigon integrated. It's a good medium powered integrated amp. I have not heard the modern Exposure integrateds but they have a good reputation. Don't know if Atoll Audio (French manufacturer) is available in Bombay, but give them a listen if it is possible. There is also the entry level Krell which may perhaps be worth searching out for a listen.

One more thing to keep in mind is pricing parity with world prices. There are at least some dealers even now who refuse to match world prices, especially those with big ticket names. Its good if you can get competitive rates. Have fun!
 

terrible

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At your budget, go for an integrated unless you're open to used pre-power combos. Do not worry about the speakers. Your speakers will be good enough. Don't restrict your budget just because your speakers cost "only" ?1.4L. Later on if you do feel if the speakers are a bottleneck, you can upgrade. Slow and steady.
There are various integrateds like Yamaha AS-2100, Marantz PM-11s3, Onkyo A-9070, Sony TA-A1ES, Denon PMA-1520AE, Cambridge 851A, etc. These are a few from the common names. There are many more from the more niche companies out there too. Plus you're in Mumbai, you should be able to audition a wide range of candidates. Listen to as many as possible and decide. :)

Yes I am in Mumbai but its not so friendly to demos, especially when you are looking to pair specifics. While your mention of Yamaha, as also by other members interests me, the Denon AVRs really put me off when I was looking for one. But Denon again gets a mention from you as from other members here. Do these pair well with Focals?

There is also the Trigon integrated. It's a good medium powered integrated amp. I have not heard the modern Exposure integrateds but they have a good reputation. Don't know if Atoll Audio (French manufacturer) is available in Bombay, but give them a listen if it is possible. There is also the entry level Krell which may perhaps be worth searching out for a listen.

One more thing to keep in mind is pricing parity with world prices. There are at least some dealers even now who refuse to match world prices, especially those with big ticket names. Its good if you can get competitive rates. Have fun!

What do you think of the Ragnarok from Schitt. I could get that straight from USA and pay duty here. Seems it'll cost me 1.6 lakhs duty paid according to https://www.dutycalculator.com/new-...on/saved_calculations/view_details/209994914/ Though again I don't know how it would pair with Focals.
 
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asliarun

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Do consider Dayens Ampino / Menuetto / Ecstasy as well. They offer very good sound quality and build quality for the money. But of course, only if the idea of a minimalistic but high quality design appeals to you.
 
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tubek

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hi
always go for a pre power or integrtaed amp wiht high current capability as it would be well able to take the impedance dip in stride
 

soundbuff

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Bringing stuff from the US could mean having no support with an problems. Of course something could be worked out in a crisis, but I personally find it better to buy from a dealer with a support capability in India.
 

tuff

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I bought a Peachtree decco65 and magnepan mc1 from an FM a few months back. Although i was pretty happy with the set up I always wondered how a power amp could make a difference. So when I saw an Arcam delta being sold on the forum for cheap, I ponced on the opportunity. Using the Peachtree as a pre amp/DAC , the difference I could say was not huge. But the Arcam sounds more smoother, especially the upper mids and female vocals, also on some material i had to crank up the peachtree to 3 o'clock position, but with the Arcam it never needs to go beyond 12. Also it's funny that if I leave the arcam powered for 30 minutes or so, it plays much smoother than right from the cold boot. Could be my perception:) but there is a definite improvement from the Arcam's amplification compared to the Peachtree. So for 10 grand(INR) i got about a 10 percent improvement. Just my experience.
 
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