Integrated amp advice for ML

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macallan

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I have been researching integrated amps to pair with my Ethos + SVS SB3000 and i think i have a winner but wanted some input. I would like to move up in quality and simplify so a nice integrated is attractive. I have a Juicy music Peach II tube preamp, CIA VDA-2 DAC and B&K 200.2. 2 channel use as well as TV watching. The Cary Si3002.d $4800 factory direct price, $6500 retail. I think the DAC could be an upgrade and the amp will be a big improvement and it is a nice all in one unit. Other units I am considering as well and wanted to see if my concerns were valid.

Krell K300i (Also has DAC, more expensive (-) $6K on the used market. More compact design (+) Could be a better fit for ML? Would this be more transparent than Cary?
Cambridge Edge A (Also has DAC) $4500 refurbished, $6500 retail, no visible volume (-) Minor quirk that the volume is hard to see but I really like this unit, could easily be my favorite
Luxman L-507uXII (No DAC) $4500 on the used market, $6500 retail however discontinued. Highest build quality (+) My only concern is the match with ML, this is more of a question, i don't know how well they match up
Yamaha AS2200, (No DAC) $4500 new, High on build quality, one of my favorites aesthetically, does it match MLs with low impedance?
NAD M33, The most high tech, $5400 new, does it sound as fun as the others?
 

Tosh

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DAC, schmac, you'll want a new one next year anyway.

Grab that used Pass INT-25 on USAudiomart while you can.
 

roberto

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I highly recommend the Conrad Johnson CAV-45 V2. This tube integrated power amp has the well known 6CA7/EL-34 output tubes. The preamp is designed as a passive, then the signal goes to the shortest path possible. Because your Ethos have a 200 watts/channel driving the woofers, you don't need power to drive them...no bass energy for the woofers from the amp. ML special circuit is in charge of that. The special crossover circuit has a big impedance at low frequency, in a such way that the amp will feed the signal bass but it will not be loaded or charged with bass energy. On the contrary, the stat panels will be driven by the EL-34s with the magical Conrad Johnson sound and with a 4 ohms load. The result is a fantastic sound quality with an open stage. Try it, you might like it as I do. I really think that it is very difficult to beat, because inside of the Conrad Johnson you will find the finest electronic parts and components that the electronic industry produces. This unit is a jewel to use.
Happy listening!
 

Big Dog RJ

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Exactly right Robbo mate! In fact I used the very same combination when I had the Ethos hybrids as well. I used both the CAV45 versions series 1 & 2, both were in a class of their own.
CJ amplification matched with ML stats is something truly special, there's a certain kind of synergy that's just mesmerising!

Another very special tube integrated on hybrids is the Kondo Audio Note Overture, again using EL34's but in pure Class A 32w. Drives the hybrids stats effortlessly! Very pricey though...

Regarding SS, as an option... I've had remarkable success with two integrated amps that I also really enjoyed to the fullest with the Ethos, and they were the Pass Labs INT60 and the Luxman 590AXII or the 509X. Both these integrateds were truly unique on the Ethos, it took the Ethos onto another level.

Between SS and tubes, it would certainly be a matter of personal preference, and any of these I've mentioned work really well. They're all priced differently and offer very different qualities, so not one is better than the other... just different.

For example, on late night sessions if I wanted to listen into the wee hours of the morning, just relaxing and melting into the seat... the CJ CAV45 is perfect! Then on another level of pure refinement and elevated performance of tube design, it would be the Kondo AN Overture.

Then on another level of power and dynamics, a step closer to the live event, the Pass Labs INT60 is superb! And then something in-between with a bit of everything, warmth, finesse, power and dynamics, yet relaxing, the Luxman amps, really well designed.

These amplifiers would be driving only the stat panels mids & highs, and not the bass section. Upper to mid bass is also covered by the stat panels but it is only the lower bass that is taken care of by the built-in bass drivers & Class D amplifier. So, any of these integrateds will be just cruising along...

Hope that helps, just my 50cts worth.
Let us know what you decide on.

Cheers, RJ
 
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Necrosuit

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Howdy folks, I am really enjoying the Mark Levinson 508 integrated amp with my ML 15A's. Super quiet with plenty of power and warmth / Depth. I had the Esoteric F-05 but it wasn't enough power for the 15 A's. I am really surprised by this amp and the details on the panels is superb.. Happy hunting.
 

jtucker

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Another vote for Pass. I had Ethos with Pass INT-150, now with Montis. Not a big fan of tubes w/ stats. If you like the tubesound, I would go with a hybrid integrated or tube pre and SS power amp. I'm sure there are some tube amps that can deal with the low impedance at HF of the stat panel. I don't know which though.
 

macallan

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Another vote for Pass. I had Ethos with Pass INT-150, now with Montis. Not a big fan of tubes w/ stats. If you like the tubesound, I would go with a hybrid integrated or tube pre and SS power amp. I'm sure there are some tube amps that can deal with the low impedance at HF of the stat panel. I don't know which though.
i think i do want SS so the Pass Labs would be great if I can find one in my price range. I saw a used Levinson 5802 which looks nice since I am only using digital sources.

anyone have any experience with the Cary si300 or the Luxman 507 or 505?
 

jtucker

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That Cary does look really nice. Haven't heard it though. I can't see why it wouldn't be a great option.
 

Big Dog RJ

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Another vote for Pass. I had Ethos with Pass INT-150, now with Montis. Not a big fan of tubes w/ stats. If you like the tubesound, I would go with a hybrid integrated or tube pre and SS power amp. I'm sure there are some tube amps that can deal with the low impedance at HF of the stat panel. I don't know which though.
To name a few: CJ, ARC, VTL, Manley Labs, Jadis, Lamm Audio, NAT, Quad, Cary Audio, Kondo Audio Note, Carver, Ayon, McIntosh, and Sonic Frontiers are just a few I've owned and sold during our dealership years. Put together so many top end tube based systems with panel type speakers over years, and each system was a joy to experience.

These tube based amplifiers are superb with stats, and can effortlessly drive full range stats, no issues whatsoever. Thanks to their rock solid power supplies that are capable of delivering very high current required to control stats. At the same time, tubes are high powered voltage devices, so ideal for stats, and they get the required current from the mains & output tranny's. Any tube amp with these sort of solid power supplies is a well designed one. The others fall short... by a far margin!

Cheers, RJ
 

Big Dog RJ

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Another brand very well designed and rock solid, yet with a velvet touch & explosive dynamics when called for, is Plinius. Made in NZ, reminds me of the All Blacks! Fantastic on ML's but I'm not sure if they do integrated versions... you'd have to check. Something really worth considering.

Cheers, RJ
 

macallan

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The Plinius Hautonga looks interesting. Some reviews say it can be a bit aggressive on the top end but it also says that will settle down if the unit is left on all the time. I feel that the top end is a bit soft with my B&K so this could be a good thing. They are a great deal on the used market.
 

Big Dog RJ

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Yes, the Plinius will grab your stats by their tails! There are mixed reviews... some say this and some say that... you can't take reviews as gospel truth. There are far too many parameters at play and not any one system is identical, not even the gear, let alone the room!

It really depends on the source gear, and how you've set up the room. I've used a few units from Plinius, which were later sold to customers looking for that type of authoritative sound, leaning more towards Class A bias. One was a power amp, and the other was the Haito integrated, both very powerful and plenty of drive. We paired it against CJ's Premier 350 and CA200. Although I'm very passionate about CJ gear, I/we really enjoyed our time with the Plinius amps, really good! And may I add, very underrated... These Plinius amps remind me of Dan'D Augostino Momentums and Nelson Pass Labs gear. They're very easily in the same category but the Plinius being far more affordable!

Cheers, RJ
 

Necrosuit

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The Plinius Hautonga looks interesting. Some reviews say it can be a bit aggressive on the top end but it also says that will settle down if the unit is left on all the time. I feel that the top end is a bit soft with my B&K so this could be a good thing. They are a great deal on the used market.
I had the Hautonga, great Amp!! Plenty of power as well on my ML Spire & Summit X, great detail on the panels.
 

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I use the Edge A with my ESL 11As and It is a wonderful combo. I listened to a few amps in and around this price point and the Edge A was a clear winner to my ears. I think the touch of warmth that this amp has in its midrange mates very well with the resolution capability of the ESLs.
 

Brazillnut

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I came very close to pulling the trigger on the Arcam SA30 integrated. It sounded great and has Dirac Live which is a big advantage when it comes to blending a sub with your stats. Don't let the size fool you, it is a substantial piece of gear. Arcam SA30 Integrated Amplifier
 

macallan

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I use the Edge A with my ESL 11As and It is a wonderful combo. I listened to a few amps in and around this price point and the Edge A was a clear winner to my ears. I think the touch of warmth that this amp has in its midrange mates very well with the resolution capability of the ESLs.

i think the Edge A and the Plinius Haoutonga look like potential finalists based on all the feedback. Thank you everyone for all of the insight. Does the Edge A allow you to control the volume via an app? Not necessary but a nice feature
 
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