Integrated Amplifier

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark Fitzsimmons, Jul 27, 2002.

  1. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    I am brainstorming ideas for my dorm room audio system. I just don't think I'll have room to go with a surround sound setup so I think I can live with a nice stereo for the time being. At first I was looking at stereo preamps, because recievers appear more cheapish to me. But preamps can get quite expencive once you add in the price of the amp. So I am toying with the idea of getting an integrated amplifier. But I don't understand...

    What are the differences between an integrated amplifier and a reciever?
     
  2. Mike OConnell

    Mike OConnell Second Unit

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    An integrated amplifier does not have a am/fm tuner.

    A receiver does.

    Mike
     
  3. Jason Wilcox

    Jason Wilcox Supporting Actor

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    i was in the same situation as you. what can i fit in my dorm room? (i've still got another year until then) i went with an old marantz receiver, some koss bookshelf speakers, and a yamaha sub. try and find a marantz or sansui receiver from the 70's. they are all built very well and sound great.

    as mike said the only diference is that the receiver has a tuner built in.

    at one point i had an old sansui integrated amp and a sansui tuner....they were very nice but they were too bulky for a dorm. it's like having 2 receivers...(also the amp weighed 60lbs)
     
  4. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    Is that the only difference?

    Does the absence of an AM/FM tuner incorporated into the design improve the sound quality any? Doesn't seem like it would.
     
  5. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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  6. Pete Gia

    Pete Gia Stunt Coordinator

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    Take a look at the NAD C-350 Integrated.
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mark asked:
     
  8. Bob Marker

    Bob Marker Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark:
    In answer to your question about sound quality, I think your conclusion is correct.
    In my experience, a receiver can sound just as good as an integtrated amp or , for that matter, separate preamp/amp systems. I've owned and compared all three types and found them to be indentical in sound.

    Guess I should also add that there were huge differences in the price of these components. My receiver (a Pioneer) cost $100 whereas my separates (Classe preamp and amp) cost about $2500. The integrated unit is a Luxman that listed for $750.

    Bob
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Bob, to each his own. I feel it depends on what components one is comparing and the quality of the rest of the system. I have done similar comparisons and found stereo integrated amps to beat stereo receivers and stereo separates to beat stereo integrated amps. Admittedly, the comparisons have some flaws. There are not many stereo receivers available these days, and most that are available are budget models that aren't very good in my opinion. Also, separates are often more expensive than integrated amps. Still, I hold my position that the simpler the component is, the better is the performance, normally.
     
  10. Bob Marker

    Bob Marker Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith:
    Yes, I guess our differing experiences have lead us to different conclusions. Nothing wrong with that.
    Bob
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Bob, agreed. [​IMG]
     
  12. Alex F.

    Alex F. Second Unit

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    In some cases an integrated amp can be a direct equivalent to separates and offer first-class performance. For example, McIntosh makes two such products, the MA-6900 and MA-6500. Mark Levinson and BAT come to mind as well.

    McIntosh's MA-6900 ($4500), for instance, combines the circuitry of their C42 stereo preamp ($3700) and MC202 $3200) power amp. This integrated has fewer features than the separates from which it is based, but it shares their sonic performance. Stereophile magazine recently gave it their top rating, Class-A. In short, a well-designed integrated amplifier can indeed compete sonically with the very best separates. But I'll be the first to admit that this is relatively unusual.
     
  13. stephen_z

    stephen_z Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark,
    I tend to agree with KeithH that you'll get better value from the integrated amp than a receiver in terms of sound quality and longevity. Whereas multi-channel receivers come and go with each new processing mode, a well chosen integrated amp will provide listening pleasure beyond your college years, whether it's relegated to a bedroom or den once you've upgraded.

    P.S. Let's not discount the "ooh and ahh" factor of a sleekly styled integrated amp (Arcam, Creek, Roksan, Audio Refinement) over a mass market receiver.
     
  14. Ted Kim

    Ted Kim Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark, you have to keep in mind that stereo receivers generally are marketed toward the lower end of the market, with the exception of something like the Krell receiver. Integrateds can be a great value because not only because of the lack of a tuner but also because the can be quality products that are mass produced and have a big market overseas. Integrateds are considered the way to go in the UK and most of Europe and Asia, as their rooms are generally smaller and require less power and space (than separates) and $$$. So a lot of the integrateds really do offer a lot of value. I've owned both a NAD 314 and Classe CAP 150 integrateds, they were both worthwhile purchases, though in way different price ranges. Generalizing a bit, it seems both the UK and Canadian integrateds, as well as the US models, are fairly easily accesible in the US.

    I would keep
    Classe, Creek, Musical Fidelity, NAD, Rega, Bryston, Sim Audio, Arcam, Jolida (tubes), on the list of candidates.
     

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