Colin said: The Antique Sound Lab AQ1003 DT Mk.II is a good, robust, simple, attractive integrated amplifier that would serve as a fine entry into the world of vacuum tubes.
The gist: Your first tube amp.
Uday said: The Emitter I is a fantastic product that’s so close to the audiophile ideal of a straight wire with gain that it’s hard to believe that’s true without hearing it for yourself.
The gist: One of the best integrated amps in the world, bar none.
John said: I don’t care what you’re looking for, whether you’re on a budget, looking to downsize, upgrade, or whatever: You need to hear this integrated. But get ready to have your preconceptions about solid-state and class-D amps take a beating: The DSi200 can stand with the best separates I’ve heard.
The gist: Class-D from ARC? Yes, and it sounds great.
S. Andrea said: The Audio Research VSi60 is not inexpensive at $3995, but its sound and build qualities are commensurate with its price. When you consider that it’s designed and built in the US by a company with a long and solid reputation, that price seems even more reasonable.
The gist: Get into classic ARC sound for under four grand.
Randall said: Bel Canto’s e.One S300iU 24/96 is a top-notch product in both performance and price, and the fact that it comes in such an unassuming package makes it one of the more unique high-end bargains I know of.
The gist: Get a lot for a little.
Thom said: If you’re into the game of ‘my amp is bigger than your amp,’ the GDC will come up a bit short -- put it in an equipment rack and you probably won’t even notice it. But if your priority is fine, solid, realistic sound, the Blue Circle GDC is just the ticket.
The gist: Plain-Jane looks, real-looker sound.
Philip said: With an onboard analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters, as well as a master-clock sync generator for use with Esoteric’s other digital products, the AI-10 occupies a product class all its own.
The gist: Esoteric’s entry in the growing integrated amp-DAC product genre.
Uday said: The H200 may be new to North America, but Hegel Music Systems has brought to the table a formidable competitor in terms of both performance and price. Being able to perform as well as amps costing much more marks the H200 as a great value -- and in these trying economic times, even more of one.
The gist: From Norway comes competition for the Brystons of the world.
Kevin said: The Stereo 25 is a very good budget amp. Yes, there were some tradeoffs in sound, but they weren’t enough to interfere with my listening pleasure -- and that’s what counts.
The gist: $800 can buy a good tube amp.
Michael said: It’s hard for me to admit that an integrated amplifier could be worth $10,500, but in this instance I must. Is the KA I 180 as good as Karan Acoustics’ separates? No. But it does provide a portion of what’s possible at that next level of performance without the buyer having to pay the prohibitive prices of Karan separates.
The gist: Integrateds are getting better and better.
Ron said: I like Micromega’s approach: Pack the biggest, most accurate sound into the smallest possible box. Anyone who values quality over quantity should give the IA-180 a listen.
The gist: A good little French integrated.
Vade said: Who should be interested in the Musical Fidelity AMS35i? Someone who loves the sound of tube amplifiers but not the hassle of maintaining them, who has reasonably sensitive speakers (95dB or higher), and who listens to unamplified music (classical or jazz) at less than ear-splitting levels.
The gist: Low-power class-A in a really good integrated amp.
Ron said: Musical Fidelity and Antony Michaelson promised -- and have delivered -- an amplifier based on the design brief that less is more (except, of course, in the area of power).
The gist: Lotsa power in a tank-like package.
Jarrett said: In the end, for those looking for a solid integrated amplifier that puts out a healthy 50Wpc and excellent sound quality at a reasonable price, they should consider the NAD C 326BEE.
The gist: NAD proves yet again that good sound doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Jeff said: Sure, it plays CDs and plays them well, but the Uniti’s real benefits -- its integration with the Apple iPod and its ability to stream Internet Radio -- render everything else redundant at best, and at worst, obsolete.
The gist: Naim defines a new product genre.
Kevin said: The Peachtree’s sound won’t threaten products costing three or four times as much, but the Nova is a transparent and composed integrated amplifier with an overall musicality that anything at or anywhere near its price will find hard to beat.
The gist: Ushering in huge value by skillfully combining two product genres.
Jeff said: . . . in the tube world, the Raysonic SP-300 is a powerful, sweet-sounding, easy-on-the-eyes, reasonably priced honey of an integrated amp.
The gist: Stylish tube integrated with good power rating.
Philip said: The 600i is exceptionally transparent, and sounds completely effortless in everything it does. Connect it to a pair of high-quality speakers and a decent source -- I enjoyed immaculate sound from a $500 CD player, which goes a long way toward saying how much performance the 600i is capable of -- and get ready to pick your jaw up off the floor. If audio reproduction gets any better than this, I haven’t heard it.
The gist: The integrated that takes no prisoners.
Philip said: It’s taken a long time for an integrated amplifier to come along that I’ve enjoyed as much as the Bryston B100 SST, but the Stello Ai500 has finally arrived, and with it, April Music has a clear winner on their hands. Although it’s not cheap, I suspect that significantly improving on its performance would require spending many multiples of its price, and in this sense the Ai500 offers excellent value.
The gist: Joins the upper ranks of mid-priced integrated amps.
Thom said: It’s a great piece of gear, and I don’t want to return it to TEAC. It’s incredibly versatile, compact, and fairly full-featured, with enough power to fill with excellent sound a room of moderate size. It has all the latest kit -- USB port, Internet Radio, iPod connectivity, etc. -- while looking backward as well, with a competent FM tuner and a fine-sounding phono preamp. The CR-H500NT can serve as the foundation of a very fine stereo system, and for all it offers, it’s inexpensive. I heartily recommend it.
The gist: A great foundational component for a small stereo system.