Upgrade From Separates To Integrated Amp... Long Post

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by musichal, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. guiller

    guiller Toscaninichus Australis

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    I´d suggest you to consider any of the two Sonneteer integrated amplifiers, the Orton and the Alabaster. Superb sound and building quality. I´ve recently went from separates (AR LS-3 preamp + Bryston 4B power amp) to a IA (Mastersound 300B SE, a superb SET amplifier but outside your range of interests as it is a tubed unit) and I´m extremely happy with the move!

    https://positive-feedback.com/audio...enerthe-sonneteer-orton-integrated-amplifier/
    http://www.tonepublications.com/review/the-sonneteer-alabaster-integrated-amplifier/

    My SS alternative to the tubed IA was the Orton!
     
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  2. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    The suggestions, observations, recommendations and PMs are more helpful than you guys may realize, even more helpful than I anticipated. It is forcing me to consider exactly what I want, and I realized that what I really want is to buy my last amp. So it must tick off all my want list, but that isn't even possible. However, with your help, and some patience, I think I can get very close. I will buy an amp and it stays put until the estate sale. I will never, under any circumstances, buy another amp, period, end of story. I can prove the veracity of this oath by letting you know now, the crow is in the freezer. Looks tasty.

    Seriously, I want what I want in a component, but have a history of settling for less. I'm still honing in on my audio priorities, but several have already been mentioned. If the kitty has to grow some more, so be it. If not, even better. Keep the recs coming, keep an eye out. I have much more research to do, but as I identify potential models, I will add them to this thread. If that is three weeks from now, I'll resurrect the thread - or tomorrow.

    Obviously, I have a budget, but is a little flexible, and I should be able to do quite nicely within it.
     
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  3. MurrayLives

    MurrayLives Born to lose, live to win

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    The problem with integrated’s is you almost always have to do some settling. No matter what you spend. Maybe a listing of where your priorities are and what capabilities you’re more flexible on?
     
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  4. Ds2000

    Ds2000 Oh THOSE speakers. Subscriber

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    Yamaha's A-S3000 is a contender, even though the list price is high. I've seen several demo and open box units in the $4,000 range. Has the inputs, a phono and balanced options. Very, very highly regarded.
    IMG_1110.JPG
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
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  5. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    Mark Levinson No. 585, for example, has my current attention. Used, obviously, and still will take a bit more saving, but I believe would be worth it to me. Four analog inputs is less than ideal, I thought. But I was being extra super-stupid. My three Sony multidisc players into the ML DAC alone is an upgrade. And CD is my best medium.


    stoopidly groopid

    by musichaloopid


    everyone knows that i'm stoopid
    'cause my words are so stoopidly groopid
    with twice as much cranium
    i'd be a geranium
    then maybe recoup half a cloopid

    At first, I didn't think I wanted a built-in DAC, but that was settling, too, from an ease of use standpoint alone, not to mention my above stupidity, and the 585 has a nice DAC, apparently - certainly much better than my Schiit Modi2, which I use elsewhere anyway.

    Anyone have experience with the 585? I think it may have almost enough power output for Khorns. Good match? Bad match?


    EDIT: Feel comfortable to reply in a PM if you prefer not to 'speak' publicly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  6. nailer

    nailer audionerd

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    Since this will be your last amp I think the Levinson would be an excellent choice even if underpowered for your speakers.
     
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  7. FauxHall

    FauxHall Super Member

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    Sony TA -A1ES. Four RCA line level inputs and one balanced. 80 wpc and remote for power, volume, mute, and input selection. Really smooth so should go well with KHorns.

    I see them for $1300 to 2000.

    I rip RBCDs to my laptop then transfer to the Sony HAP-Z1-ES player and control both via cell phone app.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
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  8. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig Pigamus Maximus Subscriber

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    From Emotiva to Levinson. You don't mess around when you upgrade! I likey.

    Regards
    Mister Pig
     
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  9. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    I figured if a pig can do it...



    then I'm the man for the job.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
  10. Will S.

    Will S. Super Member

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    I still think you shouldn't count out the Rega. But if it were me, I'd get the Primare and add the upgrades for streaming and bluetooth.
     
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  11. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I was wonderin' why you needed so many inputs!

    For a while, I used a 300 disk Pioneer F27 in the garage. While it provided the ability to listen to lots of music, cherry picking tracks from one disk to another was clunky, slow and ultimately changers are limited in capacity.

    I'm going to suggest a different path for your "cast of thousands" input requirement: Computer based library using a compact renderer for playback. Yes, it did take a while to rip all my CDs. Today, however, I cannot imagine not having the convenience of instantly playing any track from any album without having to wait a long time for a changer to orchestrate its mechanical dance. It also means you can mix multiple formats in the same library - I have a growing number of high resolution albums and also some MP3 tracks where that was the only way I could get them or only wanted a single track from an album.

    You can assemble a well configured Raspberry Pi based player for $200 and just need a network connected laptop/computer for music storage. It's about the same size as two decks of cards:

    [​IMG]

    Selection is via either iPad or iPhone using iPeng app. Android flavors available, too. The Ultimate Remote Control for music selection or allowing it to randomly choose content from your library - which has helped me rediscover old friends. You can also use it for streaming internet based radio or music services like Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Quobuz, etc. I use Tidal HIFI.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
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  12. crouse

    crouse Poorly known member Subscriber

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    I had a Yamaha A-S2000 that I think would match your requirements. They come up used for around $1000 or less. I occasionally see the modern Luxman 505 for sale used at around $2500. I've never heard one but they are supposed to be the cat's pajamas. And they have meters:)
     
  13. Old Guy8

    Old Guy8 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Its your setup and your money. Just my view, one cents worth. With how quickly DACs' technology advances, I would chose an exteral one if I every moved up to that integrated price point. No expert here. Good hunting. I'll be following your quest.

    Edit: I now read your comment about internal dac being more convenient with multiple CD player inputs. I can understand that. I prefer amps with remotes.
    Id like to see amps with replacable/customer upgradable internal dac modules.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
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  14. Will S.

    Will S. Super Member

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    Good point.
     
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  15. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig Pigamus Maximus Subscriber

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    However quality sound and quality DAC's dont go out of style quickly. And high performance stand alone DAC's are not cheap, usually $2K and more. A high quality on board DAC is actually a pretty good value for what is paid for the whole unit. You can always go to an outboard one if something revolutionary comes along. And by that time whatever stand alone you would have bought is worth very little anyways.

    I don't think I would let the on board DAC be a road block.

    Regards
    Mister Pig
     
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  16. Archguy

    Archguy Official Roiurama Factory Rep Subscriber

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    Can you recommend a ripping mechanism? Someone mentioned JRiver. I don't know squat, except that I still have a couple hundred CDs that I don't listen to but should. Once upon a time I paid up for the premium version of WinAmp Pro and I really liked it but within a few weeks they lost their deal with the Gracenote CDDB service and I can't be bothered to type in all the data for every track. Advice welcome, and apologies to the OP for the jack.
     

     

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  17. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    For free, you can always use EAC (Exact Audio Copy). I used that for a while, but what you really need is dbPowerAmp.

    It works faster, tags automatically and provides transcoding capabilities as well. Highly recommended.
     
  18. Archguy

    Archguy Official Roiurama Factory Rep Subscriber

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    Thanks, I'll check them out. Also looking at http://www.mp3tag.de/en/ which was recommended on the WinAmp forum, which (somewhat incredibly) is still active with people hoping that WinAmp will enjoy a second (or is it third) life under new ownership and/or open-source.
     
  19. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    Yes, the 400-disc Sony multi-disc players are slow - in every way. Slow to load, slow to label texts, slow to change discs and, with three players in one cabinet, exceedingly slow to switch from a disc in one machine to a selection in another machine. I ripped all my CDs to my laptop for my Zune mp3 player, at 320mbps. I use the Zune software to access my PC music, and I really like its skin. User-friendly in many ways, but doesn't support lossless, AFAIK. So my files aren't as good a source as my CDs.

    Whenever I've tried to get some sort of handle on how to store and access lossless files, to figure out what I need, I am overwhelmed with choices and recommendations, strange acronyms, and IThis and android-that, and various software choices that must be made in order to transform these files somehow, for reasons I don't understand, using alien verbs to describe their action. We have no wireless phone service. I've never used a smartphone period. I chose to buy a Zune about 15 years ago because I wanted to avoid iTunes.

    I am a dinosaur crashing clumsily through a digital world.

    I'm not even sure whether lossless is doable at all without Android or iSumpin', but we decided long ago that we don't need cell-phones, nor their big service bills, nor keeping them charged. We are such homebodies - especially me with health issues (but Christine also, just by nature) - that I can't even recall the last time a cell-phone might have been even slightly helpful to us. So that is my first question, because I'm not paying for a cellular plan just to be able to play music via my stereo. I think that means a Raspberry wouldn't help, but I'm not even sure of that, thinking it's a smartphone - or close kin to one - which requires such service.

    I know there is such a think as FLAC, but I don't understand how to get from here to there as far as ripping and playing them from my PC. I believe there are several other lossless file types, too. Not sure. It seems everybody has different software solutions, and threads in which various AKers discuss these things might as well be written in ancient Assyrian for me. Yes, I'd love to be able to copy my CDs and play them back more quickly than my clunky old CD players, but maybe I'm just sorta old and definitely clunky myself, making it a good fit.

    But it isn't. And I can't figure out what may be, if anything. I do know that three Sony 400-disc CD/SACD/DVD players take up a great deal of real estate in my cabinet - each as big as a beefy amplifier. The best thing about them is I can put twelve hundred discs in them, store their jewel boxes in the attic, and access any one of them without rising from my chair, but I would dearly love to put all that music into a high-quality format in a smaller, faster device, but which format, what device, and how to get there elude me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  20. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Understand. I had a home network before embarking on this project.

    Once you add all the taxes, cellular service isn't that much more expensive than a land line. For years, I maintained a land line just for emergencies where I lost power for days. I cancelled it a couple of years back realizing I could have purchased a Honda generator for all the money I spent for the phone which was mostly used by telemarketers.

    Smart phones truly provide a wide range of useful tools to me every day. Email. Internet access. Maps. Texting wifey. Using Runkeeper to track my jogging activity. Controlling my music. Playing music while mowing the lawn. Calculator. Bible. Google calendar synced with wifey's. Friend Finder. Power provider app for outage maps. Online banking. Photos and videos. Golf range finder. Timers/stopwatches. Weather apps/radar maps. News. Magazines. Contact information. Monitoring security cameras. Star map. GPS directions. Airline apps allowing for quick check in and gate information. Uber.

    Simplest solution is laptop playing FLAC outputting via USB to DAC. Easy peasy. Download EAC for free. Use free software like Foobar2000 for playback.

    Ripping programs convert the native WAV to FLAC, automatically tag the files and place the results in a folder of your choice. My music is structured by artist, then album. Once stored, however, the playback software can access via release date, genre, etc.

    You really need a home wireless network to benefit from remote playback. Such can be purchased for under $100.

    Indeed, there are countless streamers available today and most work pretty much the same way. I just find the RPi general purpose computer the most cost effective platform on which to use. The computer itself runs only $35 from Amazon. I use a separate DAC, but you can easily get a "HAT" (connected circuit card to top) that includes a DAC. You can get a turnkey solution (computer, case, DAC, power supply) for as little as $109 from Allo.com. I just find that amazing.
     

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