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Help choosing an integrated amplifier


Jan 22, 2022
Hello everyone..

I posted the same question in another forum, but it's worth trying here to hear what the opinions are.

I plan to replace my old soundbar I've been using for several years with an amplifier, subwoofer and a pair of speakers.
my use is currently only for listening music from the macbook and only via Bluetooth (AAC, Aptx), but in the future I plan to add a turntable to this set up. my listening levels is not high, about 70-75 db and my distance from the speakers is 2.8 meters.
the speakers i chose are Arendal 1961 bookshelf (85 db sensitivity, 4 ohms) since I need to move the speakers closer to the wall due to depth restrictions (you are welcome to suggest speakers with a depth of 25 cm or less), and the subwoofer will be either svs sb1000 pro or kef kube10. my living room is 6 x 3.5 meters in open space style (attach a drawing). regarding the amplifier, I'm still undecided, so I wanted to get some advice here from the members. my budget for the amplifier is up to 800 euros but can stretch a bit to 900.
since integrated amplifiers include so many features and sometimes the DAC or the Bluetooth function comes cheap with weak performance, I thought maybe buying an amplifier and a Bluetooth DAC separately would give me better performance?

Also i had the opportunity to listen to one of those chinese amplifiers (smsl ao300) and it sounded very digital, so I probably prefer class AB.
After bit searching , these are the amplifiers I am currently interested in (but open for suggestions):

Cambridge CXA61 - I didn't demo it, but I read that his usb emits static noises to the rest of the unit, there is no phono pre but that is something I can add later

Rotel A11 tribute - I only heard the A12 mk2, and I had to crank the volume up to 67 (out of 95) to get good power and this was an experiment with much easier to drive speakers, although the sound was accurate but not too kicky.

Emotiva TA1 - I read somewhere that it's not the quietest amplifier in terms of floor noise, plus ****** remote.

Magnat MR750 - I tried it, was very punchy, reminiscent of old amplifiers a bit because of the tube, although not accurate enough, for the sake of comparison the Rotel A12 mk2 was more detailed and accurate.

IOTAVX SA3 - I haven't tried it, looks like an excellent product, many good reviews, I didn't like the look but not critical.

Audiolab 6000a - I haven't done enough research but looks like a good unit

My questions are:

1. From the options which amplifier do you think will drive these speakers to their full potential?

2. In which scenario will I achieve the best bluetooth performance, bluetooth integrated amplifier or amplifier and separate bluetooth/dac?

3. I also discovered that I can use my mac with airplay instead of bluetooth, though I've never tried that, which one is better?


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Ze Frog

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Jan 4, 2024
The Arendals like power, that kinda removes the Cambridge Audio and the Iota. Of those listed I'd go with the most output at 4ohms.
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