Looking for advice/experiences with integrated amplifiers

Hi all,

I hope I can draw on the wealth of knowledge here to help me select a new amplifier :slight_smile:

I recently became the proud owner of some new B&W 707 S2 speakers. I only have a fairly modest system in a smallish room at the moment, but these speakers have been a revelation!

Currently they are being driven by a Cambridge Audio A500RC (65wpc) amplifier. This is a good budget amp that has been with me for at least 15 years. I use Ropiee and a IQAUDIO Dac-Pro HAT as my Roon end point (I also have a Digi+ HAT available as well). It sounds pretty good to me, but I can’t help feeling that it is time to upgrade the amp to match the new speakers better.

I dont really want anything less than the 65wpc of the A500 and I’d like a digital input too, but that is not mandatory. With that in mind I have been considering the following integrated amps as direct replacement for the A500;

  • NAD C368
  • Rega Elex-R
  • Arcam SA 20
  • Audiolab 8300A

I havent auditioned all of these yet, but I have heard the SA20 and Elex-R and they are both very good. I really need to hear them all through my speakers though.

If anyone has a view on any of these amps, or can suggest others I should be considering then I’d be very grateful to hear your advice :slight_smile:

My budget is in the range £600 - £1000 and I would consider second hand for the right amp.


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Roksan Oxygene. Within budget second hand. Had a long listen to one yesterday at an event and was quite impressed.

Thanks Henry! That is a great shout actually, I had ruled it out due to being pretty far out of my price range but I can see there are quite a few <£1k on eBay right now.

From your listen would you say it is on the warm side? The B&W speakers are quite bright and though I love the sound I wouldnt want an amp to increase that brightness much/at all.

Another possibility I did consider was the Arcam FMJ A39 which is now sub £1k on eBay.

It is accurate. I can tell you from experience that if you get enough behind a seemingly bright speaker it will start to sound more even handed. We were listening to the White Album and it easily showed differences between the new mastering and older pressings. But I can’t testify to warmth, the speaker was a 3 way Acoustic Energy floor standing speaker and it did a great job driving them but I was sat well back drinking Peroni and talking rubbish like “who actually was the best drummer in the Beatles”!

:laughing: Pete Best right?!

Accurate is good!

I guess an audition is the best way to be sure on the tone, but a bit more tricky if you are buying second hand though

@Tim_Rhodes It’s above your price point by about 800 quid but check out this review of the Kinki Studio EX-M1, which received a rare award from Six Moons.

Wow it looks awesome! But might it be a bit over-powered for my speakers at 200wpc?

@Tim_Rhodes It might be more than you need, especially given your budget. On the other hand, the reserve power could be a nice to have if you ever upgrade your speakers. You can never have too much power!

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Is Wyred4Sound an option you’d consider? They make a very nice integrated, STI-500V2. Around &2K USD on sale. I had a V1, until I traded it for their premium preamp (only) STP-SE2. No Digital inputs though.

I’m running a 200 watt amp into my speakers rated at around 80 watts. You shouldn’t under power speakers but using an amp capable of more shouldn’t be a problem so long as you have a handle on volume control.
And the best drummer in the Beatles was Paul!

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There is a Wyred 4 Sound STI-1000 v2 on eBay UK for £1500, which seems to be about a 50% discount. Cant find the STI-500V2 though, except brand new @ £2k which is a bit too far over my budget. It looks a lovely amp though!

Thanks that is good advice. I definitely want more power rather than less, especially as I play quite a lot at low volume levels and my experience with less powerful amps is that sometimes that is where they under-perform. You are right about being careful on volume with 215wpc though!

Original Paul, or impostor Paul though? :wink:

Currently the Crayon Audio CIA-1 is £1400 in Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals. I dont know anything about it really, but does anyone else have any views on it?

90 watts into four ohms? Less powerful than what you have now.

I think its 78 watts into 8 Ohms, so a bit more powerful but admittedly not much…

Analogue Seduction have an ex-demo Hegel Rost at the moment (£1650) that they will do on a sale or return basis…I seriously considered the upgrade but am putting off to do speakers and amp at the same time. Bit over budget but not as much as some.

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It seems my budget may have doubled just in the course of this thread!


@Tim_Rhodes…mission creep

It certainly is!

I am currently fascinated by the Kinki Studio EX-M1 posted by @Flashman above and its coming in at £1600 :roll_eyes:

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