Integrated vs pre-power

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therider

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Hi techies,

What are the adv/dis of a pre-power combination over integrated amp? If one is a serious music buf, what he should consider? Also does it have any thing to do with the style of music you hear, like jazz, pop, etc?
 

cyrus

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Having heard many integrated and pre/power combos, I have concluded, and it is only my opinion, that integrated amplifiers at x price can be most of the times better than a pre/power combo selling for same price.

On rare occasions, integrated amplifiers can even embarrass a pre/power combo costing twice as much. The key lies in the design and execution of the amplifier in question. There are some classics out there with this kind of trait; one that immediately comes to mind is the legendary NAD 3020. This amplifier, most audio enthusiast agree, was almost a perfect budget integrated amplifier ever produced. It still amazes many who would not like to part with it. It had the magic which was unmatched by any at the price point. It also put to shame some of the expensive pre/power combos in terms of it capability for faithful reproduction of the musical content.
 

Mohan

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1. Pre and power amps reputedly provide the cleanest signals for music.

2. Integrated Amps generally now are excellent at providing the best value for money for music.

3. Receivers A/V are generally a poor compromise for music listeners, they are getting better but unless you need A/V NOW get an integrated amp for music - which wil provide excellent stereo for DVD's with a modest DVD player connected to aux in. A/V receivers are developing so fast that todays 'hot' pick is tomorrows 'old hat'. Maybe in 2-3 years A/V medium priced receivers will provide as good musicality as a separate integrated amp - but we are not there yet by any means.

Main thing in buying anything is to go to a decent dedicated hi-fi specialist and audition a nunber of different set ups in a room setting - not in the middle of a large appliance showroom! You might pay a bit more but you will like what you get and have received decent advice on set up etc. Unless you compare by listening you will never know how good a reasonable priced system can be.

Aim to spend roughly 1/3 on the CD player, 1/3 on the Amp and 1/3 on the speakers - and allow at least 10% for interconnects and speaker wires.
 

therider

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Having heard many integrated and pre/power combos, I have concluded, and it is only my opinion, that integrated amplifiers at x price can be most of the times better than a pre/power combo selling for same price......

Cirus, I read the exact text on net posted by someone:)

Would like to know your own experiences...
 

cyrus

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Over the last 20 or so years I have owned and used many pre-power amp combos in the $1500.00 - 2000.00 range including makes such as Carver, ADCOM and NAD and I never had any complaints with any of them. I generally tend to BUY the best I can afford and hold on to them for as long as I can.

However in 2001 I happened to hear the Plinius 8150 integrated at a friends place and I was bowled over. I have to admit that I am not one to be easily convinced so I managed to borrow the Plinius from my friend (who was indeed very reluctant to let go of it) and heard it at my residence over the weekend.

The Plinius had in floored in every sense. This amp cost almost as much as my year old pre-power combo and it delivered sound that had me totally involved. Mind you until that time I had never hear of a Plinius. So I finally got rid of my old combo and purchased a Plinius 8150 for $1899.00

I think integrated amps are great value for small rooms. I normally listen to music at normal listening levels and my music taste ranges from classical to jazz to rock ballads.

I would suggest you to listen to integrated from Bryston, Ayre, Plinius and SUGDEN (Class A amp).
 

Mohan

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Interesting thread. In fact I am considering replacing my ol' NAD 370 with a new integrated! Would welcome suggestions for a 100K budget!
 

Neal

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Interesting thread. In fact I am considering replacing my ol' NAD 370 with a new integrated! Would welcome suggestions for a 100K budget!

Before you BUY any integrated amp I would recommend you listen to the Naim Nait 5i - this is the next item in my shopping list. Retails for around ?1000.00
 

Dr.Bass

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Interesting thread. In fact I am considering replacing my ol' NAD 370 with a new integrated! Would welcome suggestions for a 100K budget!

Check out the Plinius 9100 Integrated amp...hear it once and you will be floored....they are just amazing...you will feel like heaven. But its priced at around 120k (after discount).
 

Dr.Bass

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Over the last 20 or so years I have owned and used many pre-power amp combos in the $1500.00 - 2000.00 range including makes such as Carver, ADCOM and NAD and I never had any complaints with any of them. I generally tend to BUY the best I can afford and hold on to them for as long as I can.

However in 2001 I happened to hear the Plinius 8150 integrated at a friends place and I was bowled over. I have to admit that I am not one to be easily convinced so I managed to borrow the Plinius from my friend (who was indeed very reluctant to let go of it) and heard it at my residence over the weekend.

The Plinius had in floored in every sense. This amp cost almost as much as my year old pre-power combo and it delivered sound that had me totally involved. Mind you until that time I had never hear of a Plinius. So I finally got rid of my old combo and purchased a Plinius 8150 for $1899.00

I think integrated amps are great value for small rooms. I normally listen to music at normal listening levels and my music taste ranges from classical to jazz to rock ballads.

I would suggest you to listen to integrated from Bryston, Ayre, Plinius and SUGDEN (Class A amp).

Hi Cyrus,
I can exactly relate to your feeling....having heard and owned the Plinius 8100 myself...I was totally bowled the moment I heard them...they are just magic....I am yet to hear a more involving amp till date. :eek:
 

Absolute Phase

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Wait till you hear the combo of the plinius cd-101, m8 & sa-201 or their reference sa-ref amps in bridged mode. Totally awesome.
 

therider

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Hi,

I have just upgraded my amp from the old Nakamichi SR2 receiver to a Rotel RA-980BX Integrated (100W pc). I am just a beginner in the hi-fi audio world and the prices of these components are pretty high on my place. Anyway I think this choice is not a bad one for a beginner. Anybody has any comment / review on this amp please post it.
 

Dr.Bass

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Wait till you hear the combo of the plinius cd-101, m8 & sa-201 or their reference sa-ref amps in bridged mode. Totally awesome.

Ya...but then they dont have an integrated amp equivalent... :p
We are talking about mid priced budget...where you can afford a decent pre-power vs Good integrated....
Once you move up the chain...then seperates take the lead as you can afford the best of the seperates with those kind of budgets.
The Plinius combo you have mentioned falls into the high-end category, where there is very little scope for compromise.;)
 

dinyaar

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Hi techies,

What are the adv/dis of a pre-power combination over integrated amp? If one is a serious music buf, what he should consider? Also does it have any thing to do with the style of music you hear, like jazz, pop, etc?

Hi therider,
My take on this is different. Advantages of integrated is lower price and convenience of one box solution, pre/ powers will outperform in every other aspect.

Example is a Nad 372 VS Nad C162/272. Latter would be hands down better but at a 50% price increase. Now at that elevated price point u may get an integrated that may outperform it. Same applies to even the Primare I 30 vs the Primare Pre 30/A 30.2.

Am sure the plinius pre/powers are superior to their integrateds too as are the Bryston duo. I also beg to differ on the plinius. I know they are rated sky high but i heard the plinius 9100 in Uk at a dealers with Dyna Contour 1.4 and the sound did not blow me away or any such emotion.In fact when he switched to the primare pre/power(i requested) which was cheaper than the plinius integrated i was pretty impressed(needless to say cdp and cabling being constant)

Now therider this would apply to all music styles. Having said that if u have a sensitive speaker, in a moderately sized room an integrated can satisfy u.

I would conclude by saying a good integrated may outperform a pre/power at the same price point but i would seriously doubt it can outperform pre/powers at twice the price as by then u would not be in the budget pre/power league but better and thats where the seperates start to punch way above the integrateds.
Regards
 
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neo

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I agree with Dinyaar.
Very recently a friend of mine in Delhi bought the Dynaudio focus 140.
He auditioned them with an oldMcCormack DNA 225, Plinius 9200 integrated, Primare I20 & the Krell 400xi.

The plinius & the Mc just could?nt drive the dyna?s well enough. Though Primare sounded good but it also lost control at above mid volumes.
The krell did the job perfectly for him.

I?ve heard the Plinius & the Krell on various tannoys, which are an easy load as compared to the dyna?s.
The plinius was musical, but the krell drove the same speakers better.

I guess an amp with good dynamic headroom, control, low impedance drive & balance in sound etc is more imp than just a debate on Pre/Power Vs Integrated.

Hearing is believing.
 

ranjeetrain

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Interesting thread. In fact I am considering replacing my ol' NAD 370 with a new integrated! Would welcome suggestions for a 100K budget!

I'd add MF 3.5 to your *must audiotion* list. A little further up and Krell KAV-400xi is a beast. Not a great VFM but yeah, one to watch out for. And the final word, Sudgen master Class. No idea of Plinius, though I hear a lot of good things about them.
 

ranjeetrain

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I agree with Dinyaar.
Very recently a friend of mine in Delhi bought the Dynaudio focus 140.
He auditioned them with an oldMcCormack DNA 225, Plinius 9200 integrated, Primare I20 & the Krell 400xi.

The plinius & the Mc just could?nt drive the dyna?s well enough. Though Primare sounded good but it also lost control at above mid volumes.
The krell did the job perfectly for him.

I?ve heard the Plinius & the Krell on various tannoys, which are an easy load as compared to the dyna?s.
The plinius was musical, but the krell drove the same speakers better.

I guess an amp with good dynamic headroom, control, low impedance drive & balance in sound etc is more imp than just a debate on Pre/Power Vs Integrated.

Hearing is believing.

I agree with the above. For loads like DynAudios, you need something like Krell and not Plinius.

But the other side of argument can be "quality vs quantity".

You never know what suits a particular person's ears better :D
 

unleash_me

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...I would conclude by saying a good integrated may outperform a pre/power at the same price point but i would seriously doubt it can outperform pre/powers at twice the price as by then u would not be in the budget pre/power league but better and thats where the seperates start to punch way above the integrateds.
Regards

Yes! It?s a vicious circle.

You should try politics Dinyaar:cool: Its been a while since I came across such a complicated yet smart statement. It took me sometime to comprehend - only to realize that it doesn't conclude at all.:rolleyes:
 

dinyaar

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Hi,

HAHAHA nice one unleash. May be when the markets dive even more and i have no work at all.
Basically in the last para i was disagreeing with cyrus when he said an integrated can sometimes humble a pre/power costing twice the amount.
Regards
 

ranjeetrain

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Pre-power is the way to go only after a level. At budget level it won;t help matters at all. Integrated under INR 50k will always beat separates at the same price level (cost of pre+power being under 50k).

But if someone were to spend 50k plus per component, separates would be a better idea. But even then, the rule will apply to an extent. Equivalently priced Integrated would be better than the separates.
 
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