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<$1k integrated amp w/o digital.. suggestions?

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#1
all -

my 13 year old NAD AV receiver thankfully died and that means time for some new gear.

Looking at all the reviews of integrated amps with buiilt in digital it seems that the digital section is always compromised unless you shell out a good amount of change, so i'm looking for:
- all analog
- 4--6 analog inputs, including a high quality phono stage. probably can't do balanced at this price point.
- ~100w per channel (I have NHT M5's, which have a low sensitivity of 85db, so they need some power).
- costs somewhere between $500 and $1k.
- I'll pick up one of hte recommended DACs here (I have a Topping D10 in another system, probably get something a step up from that)

My top choice so far is the Rega Brio amp, but i'm worried the 75w won't be enough - it gets great reviews tho, and has a good phono stage (I have a Rega RP3 turntable which is used more).

I have a 2nd set of speakers in the kitchen for which i'll probably get a Emotiva A-100 amp for them.

Any other suggestions? Am pretty intrigued by the DIY amps out there as well, so could go with a preamp and then get a few power amps...

thx all! -carl
 

nightfishing

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#2
I would pick an avr that has the options you want and offers a direct pre out on the main channels and then use whatever amp you want.

The digital ins/processing can be handy for everyday usage but can be bypassed for "serious" listening.

Having one unit that controls.my main listening station but also my 9.2.4 and a big chunk of my whole house speaker setup simplified a lot for me.
 

VMAT4

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#3
Have you considered the Outlaw RR 2160? It has digital. Which, has been panned in reviews. But it's about $850.
Worth it to check out this link?
 
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#4
I own the Brio R (2017) and it's underpowered (50w @ 8ohm) for many speakers I'm interested in. I've landed on Paradigm Prestige 15Bs which are relatively efficient but that was after auditioning LS50s and Evoke 20s. The Rega couldn't power those speakers. I don't have a turntable so I can't help. I'll be moving on from the Brio soon in favor of some type of NCore amp and continue to use my MiniDSP DDRC-24 as a preamp.
 
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#5
thx all for the help - i really want to stay away from AVRs (esp after that NAD receiver review), and I still think that external DACs are better engineered then the ones in receivers/integrated amps - this obv isn't 100% true but my thought is that people who shop for a DAC/integrated amp are looking for checkboxes on what is supported (or comparing brand names), vs when shopping for a standalone DAC sound quality is a much bigger concern, but that may be due to me looking at all of Armim's reviews on this site.

Davelemi - thx for the Brio info. my NHT M5's are about the same sensitivity as your Evoke 20's, and if they can't power those...

anyway thx all again. seems like most integrated amps have built in DACs unfort...
 

JJB70

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#7
I have only heard a few amplifiers with on-board DACs but they are either within this budget or not that much more. These include the Yamaha AS701, AS801, Rotel A14, Quad Vena 2,Cyrus One HD and Marantz PM6006. To be honest I really haven't noticed the DAC in any of them and in each case the DAC appears to do its job competently and provides audible transparency. So I would not worry about digital amplifiers nor hesitate about buying one.
 

maty

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#8
Looking at all the reviews of integrated amps with buiilt in digital it seems that the digital section is always compromised unless you shell out a good amount of change, so i'm looking for:
- all analog
- 4--6 analog inputs, including a high quality phono stage. probably can't do balanced at this price point.
- ~100w per channel (I have NHT M5's, which have a low sensitivity of 85db, so they need some power).
- costs somewhere between $500 and $1k.
- I'll pick up one of hte recommended DACs here (I have a Topping D10 in another system, probably get something a step up from that)
NHT M5: 85 dB and nominal 6 Ohms.

https://www.doctorproaudio.com/content.php?2273-calculators-proaudio-sound-dmx&langid=1#calc_spl

[Polish] https://audio.com.pl/testy/stereo/amplitunery-stereo/2984-r-n803d

to English: https://translate.google.com/transl.../testy/stereo/amplitunery-stereo/2984-r-n803d


https://translate.google.com/
https://www.bing.com/translator

[Hungarian] https://www.av-online.hu/hifi/yamaha-r-n803d-integralt-sztereo-halozati-radioerosito-teszt_2247

and... German review in Amazon.de

https://www.amazon.de/gp/customer-r...=cm_cr_othr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B074V7978G
 

BillG

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#10
- 4--6 analog inputs, including a high quality phono stage. probably can't do balanced at this price point.
Is that 4 - 6 stereo pairs?

As for the concern about an insufficient DAC, one can get an integrated with a transparent DAC for <$1K USD. However, the one that immediately comes to mind, that uses the AK4490 DAC, only has 2 stereo pair of analog inputs. It's ~$600USD... :cool:
 
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#11
I also like to separate the analog and digital parts of my system tho - if you get a good quality pre & phono pre it should last 10-20 years, but formats change and quality increases on DACs enough that you may need a new one in 5, which is why i liked the Rega Brio. Maybe the latest version - with 75w instead of 50w - might work, but...

It does seem most AVRs - even expensive ones - are compromised in some fashion.

thinking about it i could also get a good preamp and pick up one of the IOM ncore (or equiv) power amps...

thx again all for all the good info
 

BillG

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#12
formats change and quality increases on DACs enough that you may need a new one in 5
Yeah, well... Certain marketing people would have us believe that. However, I'm going to dissect this:

1. Audio technology progresses rather slowly in regards to formats. And beyond ALAC/FLAC/WAV for the highest fidelity? Yeah, that's not happening. Besides, if your music is being played back via any music player software, which is actually responsible for decoding these formats, it'll be piped as PCM to the DAC.

2. Once one has a transparent DAC, what audible quality increase would one anticipate over that that would necessitate a new one?

If one wants seperate components, those reasons are not a basis for that desire as from a technical standpoint they're not good ones. And I'm not suggesting an AVR here, but rather a good quality integrated amplifier... :rolleyes:
 
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#13
BillG -

You make alot of sense! I guess i'm lumping in all integrated amps w/DAC's in with all the AVR out there.

for #2 i think of how much better DACs are nowdays to 10/20/30 years ago, i guess the question is will that sound quality continue to get better over the next decade or so? Even if it is will it be audible with the setup I have?

So what integrated amps have high quality DACs and a good amplifier section? Given the big brand names reviewed here that turn out to be crappy i'm almost at a point not to believe anything unless I see Amrim review it...
 

BillG

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#14
i guess the question is will that sound quality continue to get better over the next decade or so?
We've gotten to the point where DACs are really a commodity item now as even a $100USD one is transparent. And once we reach transparency, there's really nowhere left to go. Yeah, sure... some manufacturers will still push it further with ultra-low distortion rates, but we won't be able to hear it as transparency has already been reached.

So what integrated amps have high quality DACs and a good amplifier section?
Here's one example based on an ICEpower amplification module - the one I was going to suggest to you (I'll link it below the analysis) is actually its big brother:

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2017/08/measurements-smsl-a6-as-dac-part-ii.html

The big brother:

http://www.smsl-audio.com/productshow.asp?id=140

All the best... :cool:
 
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#17
We've gotten to the point where DACs are really a commodity item now as even a $100USD one is transparent. And once we reach transparency, there's really nowhere left to go. Yeah, sure... some manufacturers will still push it further with ultra-low distortion rates, but we won't be able to hear it as transparency has already been reached.



Here's one example based on an ICEpower amplification module - the one I was going to suggest to you (I'll link it below the analysis) is actually its big brother:

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2017/08/measurements-smsl-a6-as-dac-part-ii.html

The big brother:

http://www.smsl-audio.com/productshow.asp?id=140

All the best... :cool:
wow, that SMSL A8 looks amazing! phono, DAC (which a bunch of inputs), 125W/chan into 4 ohms (my speakers are 6 ohm so 100w/channel). not great reviews on amazon but.... any good (ASR quality) reviews out there on it?
 

BillG

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#18
wow, that SMSL A8 looks amazing! phono, DAC (which a bunch of inputs), 125W/chan into 4 ohms (my speakers are 6 ohm so 100w/channel). not great reviews on amazon but.... any good (ASR quality) reviews out there on it?
Unfortunately I've only come across one for its little brother, the A6. However, based upon that, and the fact that it's also using an ICEpower module for the amplification section, I'd personally be comfortable purchasing it. You may not be, though.

I have asked the company representative, who frequents ASR on occasion, to submit either for review.
 
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