hifi engine

Integrated Amplifier guidance

Good day folks.
I am here to lean on you experience and advice. I am in the market to purchase my very first integrated amp. Primary use: listening to music. Budget: in the $500 range comfortably. What integrated amplifier would you recommend?

What would I consider good? I was brought up on Technics and other Panasonic products from the 80s that my father used to play and still does. He is still using his Technics SA-700 with two Technics SB-L35 in stereo pair. He loves it. I do too. I really don't remember the models of the other products, but the tiny me remembers them to be very similar looking. So that's my subjective idea of what "good sound" sounds like. With modern equipment, I have found it more difficult to find equivalent warmth + sound stage. (Except my car system! I LOVE the Boston Acoustic system in my 2008 Dodge Caliber. It was OEM so don't have any details).

Let me set some limitations. A couple of digital inputs + a great DAC integrated into the amp would be important. All my music is my computer/server as lossless FLAC files. I intend to stream them from there to the amp wirelessly using Chromecast Audio. The Chromecast Audio has proven to do quite well in passing through high fidelity digital audio signals (0s and 1s) up to a point (up to 24bit / 96 kHz). Good enough. Chromecast built in would be a plus but not necessary. Built in Chromecast can pass through up to 24bit/192kHz. Better/perfect.

Back to the sound quality. It's such a subjective thing. That's why I was hoping the make and model mentioned above would give you a "baseline" to go off of. But here goes some unquantifiable subjective criteria anyway. Might be as good as useless. The sound does not have to be technically clean/correct/"pure". That's the problem with most new systems. They sound robotic/mechanical to me. Warmth is important - a heavy voice needs to wrap me like a blanket. The lows need to gurdle my underbelly but still somehow not grumble on the floor (a little bit is fine of course; it's unavoidable). The highs need to be clear and crisp, but that'll be easier to achieve. That's one area where most systems flourish these days (at the expense of the mids and lows). And the mids...oh the mids. Let's start with systems where the mids are at least picked up, haha! We'll get to good mids later.

Budget: Am I kidding myself?

Let me know what else you would like to know.

Thank you all in advance. Happy New Year!



Re: Integrated Amplifier guidance

you would be very happy with the marantz pm6005. there is one for sale right now on audiogon for $450. looks perfect. was $699 new.