From turntables and cd players through to headphones and multi-room audio - the modern era offers more ways to listen to our favourite music than ever before, but if you want to get the most out of your sources - an integrated amplifier might just be your best bet.
What is an Integrated Amplifier?:
An integrated amplifier simply combines a power amplifier and pre-amplifier in a single box. This is your hi-fi system's beating heart, linking your sources (turntable, cd player, streamer, etc.) and driving your speakers.
An integrated amplifier typically takes up far less space, simplifies your system and can save you some serious money. Features can vary widely between different integrated amps, so it's important to know what it is you need before purchasing.
Integrated Amplifier Features:
Before purchasing an integrated amplifier it's worth considering the main features and functions you need for your system or might need in the future. Let's run through a few of the major ones below:
Analogue Audio Inputs
- RCA Inputs - the standard for connecting analogue components
- RCA Phono Inputs - for connecting a turntable, without a phono preamp.
- Balanced XLR Inputs - providing a balanced signal path for high-end components & professional audio
Digital Audio Inputs
- Optical - common for TV connections
- Coaxial - typically used to connect your source to a DAC (digital to analogue converter)
- USB Type B - for connecting computers
- USB Type-A - for mobile devices or USB thumb drive
- Ethernet - for direct connection to the Internet and network connections
- Wifi - for connecting to wireless networks. Allows for streaming and accessing network-connected devices.
- Bluetooth - for connecting via Bluetooth to smartphones, tablets and computers.
- Specialty Services - i.e. Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Chromecast & Roon Ready
- Headphone Jack - for connecting headphones
- Subwoofer Outputs - for adding a powered subwoofer
- Pre-Amp Output - for adding a new power amp to your system. Useful if you buy new speakers that need more power or move your system to a bigger space.
- A + B Speaker Connectors - for connecting two pairs of speakers. Great for powering a second pair in another room or bi-wiring a compatible pair of loudspeakers.
As you can see, integrated amplifiers can be incredibly versatile. Having a good idea of what features you need will help you choose the right amp from the start and save you big dollars in the future.
How Much Should I Spend?
This is a pretty personal question but there's no denying that your budget will play a part when selecting your amplifier. Integrated amps can range in price from a few hundred dollars to 10's of thousands (some even in the millions!).
While price can be a good indicator, spending a lot of money on amplifiers doesn't guarantee you'll get the best product, and vice versa for those on a lower budget. Getting the amp you're after is a delicate marriage between a quality build and the features you need.
Below we've detailed a range of great integrated amplifiers at different price points, all with their own unique set of features and performance points. Combining years of industry experience with many hours of testing allows us to proudly stand behind all of these units. Check them out below and see which one will suit you best!
Best Integrated Amplifiers Under $1000
While it's easy to get caught out at this price point with a 'less than desirable' unit, there are still some great entry-level amplifiers worth considering if you're limited by budget, or just wanting to test the water. The price savings you find in the amplifiers below come from being a simpler design and less 'feature-rich' - not from skimping on quality components.
The Rotel A10 might be at the lower end of our range in terms of price, but if you’re looking for solid performance and a brilliant “pound for pound” integrated amplifier, then look no further.
The design of the Rotel A10 is deliberately simple and efficient. Rotel has stripped away added features that would push up the price and focused on delivering quality sound.
Based on classic Rotel Class AB amplifier design, the A10 is a nifty and dynamic amplifier delivering 40W of power, perfect for a smaller room in the house or high-efficiency speakers.
The A10 is purely analogue from a connectivity perspective but still offers up plenty of options. With a 3.5mm mini-jack analogue input, 2x auxiliary inputs, a CD input, a tuner input and a MM (moving magnet) phono input for your turntable, the A10 has your analogue sources covered. To top it off, it also has A + B speaker switching, allowing for a second set of speakers!
The A10 delivers a raw and energetic sound, allowing you to truly feel the emotion in the music. Try it out for yourself on Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and revel in Kurt's performance.
Utilising the 'KISS' principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid), the Rotel A10 combines brilliantly simple design with top-quality sound. An excellent entry-level integrated amplifier for under $1,000.
Key Points for the Rotel A10:
- Excellent price for those on a budget
- Analogue inputs only
- A particularly impressive MM phono stage - a great integrated amp for vinyl lovers
- Simple design and easy to operate - classic Rotel design
Those looking to begin their hi-fi journey or set up a small 'vinyl appreciation room'. The ultimate 'bang for your buck' budget option.
Pairs Great With:
The Monitor Audio Bronze 50's and Pro-Ject Essential III Turntable. This bundles together as 'The Performance Pack' - giving you everything you need straight out of the box to form one of Australia's best value Hi-Fi packs!
We've spent many hours listening to this setup and love its fun and energetic sound.
If you'd like an up-close and personal view of the A10, hit play on our unboxing video below for a quick rundown on its key features:
Audiophiles who still own or remember the brilliance of the Marantz 6006 (or even the PM 6005) will attest to just how great this series is.
When compared to the PM6006, the great news is that the PM6007 is a step forward again on what many people already consider to be one of the best integrated amplifiers available at this price.
Retaining many of the core principles and technologies that have made the 6000 series so great, the PM6007 takes this foundation and adds a series of breathtaking upgrades that offer noticeably better performance and a wider feature set.
Owners of the Marantz PM6007 will enjoy:
- A reference-quality AK4490 DAC giving 192-kHz/24-bit resolution for outstanding fidelity
- Current Feedback Amplifier technology for wide-bandwidth and high-speed sound reproduction. The PM6007 is great for ‘power hungry’ speakers
- High current power supplies for wide bandwidth and low impedance
- High-quality Toroidal Transformers that keep a clean sound path
Aside from the above points, the PM6007 carries all the hallmarks and design that have made Marantz so sought after - including their classically elegant aesthetic, robust and vibration-free chassis and super high-quality components and materials.
Adding to the significantly upgraded DAC chip, the PM6007 also shows off improved digital inputs and a revamped phono equalizer for higher resolution listening and more realistic delivery of your favourite music. Marantz PM6007
The sonic characteristics of the PM6007 are both excellent and unsurprising, showcasing excellent dynamics, clarity and emotion - with a classic Marantz emphasis on the mid-range, allowing vocals and instruments to come through with clarity and conviction.
The combination of these features and immense attention to detail all result in a beautifully balanced and expressive sound from an amplifier that doesn't break the bank.
Offering plenty of easy ways to connect and a smooth, stylish aesthetic - the Marantz PM6007 is a great ‘entry-level’ amplifier option that punches well above its weight.
Key Points for the Marantz PM6007:
- The latest amplifier in an excellent range that just keeps getting better and better (at a price that has stayed almost the same)
- A significant upgrade to the DAC for much higher resolution and performance
- Plenty of power and features on hand at an entry-level price
Music lovers after a budget-conscious option with more power, refinement and features than an entry-level amplifier rightfully should have. A worthy step up from the Rotel A10 if you have a little more to spend.
Pairs Great With:
Marantz have a real knack for creating pieces that work together brilliantly, and combining the PM6007, CD6006 and NA6006 with the Wharfedale Diamonds makes for a super versatile hi-fi system packing plenty of punch.
NOTE: While the PM6007 technically isn't under $1000, I'm sure we can help you out if you ask nicely ;)
The Rotel A11 Tribute integrated amplifier is an extraordinary piece. Not only for its dynamically improved components, build quality and performance - but also for its unique story and significance in hi-fi history!
The Rotel A11 Tribute has been developed in collaboration with the late and great Ken Ishiwata, who is widely revered for his contributions to the Hi-Fi industry in a career that spanned over 40 years! Ken Ishiwata was responsible for huge advancements across the industry and his design principles laid the way for countless award-winning and category-defining products. The Rotel A11 Tribute integrated amplifier (and Rotel CD11 Tribute CD Player) represent the final pieces in Ken's incredible legacy.
From a design perspective, you'll spot no changes to the original A11 integrated amplifier other than a small 'Tribute' badge on the faceplate. The A11 tribute continues the classic minimalist, sleek and elegant look that is synonymous with Rotel amplifiers.
The aesthetic of the A11 Tribute is the only aspect that remains unchanged from the original A11 however, with nearly every component receiving a notable upgrade, and all critical components receiving meticulous fine-tuning.
Ken and the engineering team put a large focus on improving the signal path of the Rotel A11 Tribute, replacing a total of 16 capacitors across the pre-amplifier and amplifier branches - representing an improvement to 50% of the signal path! Furthermore, all six capacitors in the volume control were also upgraded and specialised damping materials were equipped to remove any excess noise and vibrations.
Finished off by a fine-tuning of all critical components - and the Rotel A11 Tribute Integrated Amplifier is a notably improved unit with more detail, resolution and PRAT than its award-winning predecessor - a great contribution to Ishiwata's legacy.
Key Points for the Rotel A11 Tribute Integrated Amplifier:
- Class AB 50 watts per channel stereo amplifier (8 Ohms)
- Feature-rich: Moving Magnet Phono Stage, 4 RCA analog inputs, Bluetooth receiver (apt-X and ACC streaming) and a
- Extensive upgrades and improvements to an already award-winning product without any jump in price!
- A piece of Hi-Fi history, representing the last works and contributions of the revered Ken Ishiwata
- This one just creeps out of the 'under $1000' category - but I'm sure if you get in touch and ask nicely we can help you out ;)
Those looking to secure a great amplifier resulting from the collaboration of a world-class company and one of the best hi-fi engineers in history. The Tribute is an outstanding upgrade to an award-winning unit that has attracted no extra price tag!
Pairs Great With:
Designed in unison to have brilliant synergy - the Rotel CD11 Tribute CD Player is the perfect component to pair with the Tribute A11 amplifier. We've paired this one together here for you at LENC as the 'Rotel Tribute Pack'.
If you're in need of a complete Hi-Fi Pack though, then check out our 'Symphony Suite' - combining the Rotel A11 Tribute Integrated Amplifier with Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo Turntable & Monitor Audio Bronze 100 Bookshelf Speakers for a 'straight out of the box' system that is simply stunning.
Check out our overview of the Rotel Tribute A11 & CD11 below.
Best Integrated Amplifiers Under $2000
Stepping up beyond what we'd call 'entry-level', the integrated amplifiers in this category offer more power, features & performance while still remaining affordable.
Rotel have been creating category-defining amplifiers for decades now, and as such, the Rotel A12 is our first feature for the best integrated amplifiers under $2000. If you have your heart set on a Rotel but need a bit more power and a few more features than the A10, the Rotel A12 might be the ticket.
As with the A10, the A12 is an excellent AB class amplifier, but boasting 50% more output power at 60W per channel. On board are the highly-regarded Rotel toroidal transformers, allowing the A12 to perform flawlessly under dynamic volume changes (e.g. 'Tusk' by Fleetwood Mac) or with difficult speaker loads.
Aside from a significant power boost, the other area where the Rotel A12 is a noticeable step-up from the A10 is with its extra connectivity features. Via it's built in Wolfson 24-bit/192kHz DAC, the A12 offers a range of both digital and analogue inputs (as opposed to the analogue-only A10), allowing you to connect almost any source you can think of.
Connectivity features include:
- A moving-magnet phono input
- A 3.5mm headphone jack
- 4 analogue line inputs
- 2 coaxial digital inputs
- 2 optical digital inputs
- aptX Bluetooth connectivity
- A front-panel USB input for Apple iOS devices.
- A USB for use with computers.
- Stereo preamp output jacks
- A + B stereo speaker output connectors.
- Rotel Link: an external remote port, two 12-volt trigger outputs, and a RS232 port.
As you can see, connecting your favourite source won't be a problem. Performance-wise, the A12 integrated amplifier delivers across a range of different speakers, providing great dynamic detail, deep bass and a wide soundstage.
As with all Rotel equipment, the A12 shows a sleek and simple design with a very straight-forward and simple to use interface.
Excellent performance, design and versatility at a very reasonable price - the Rotel A12 is a great integrated amplifier to build a quality hifi system around.
Key Points for the Rotel A12:
- Huge variety of connectivity options
- Double the power of the Rotel A10
- Classic Rotel design and reliability
Music lovers looking for more power and versatility than the entry-level Rotel A10, without breaking the bank.
Pairs Great With:
The Pro-Ject X1 Turntable & Monitor Audio Silver 100 7g Bookshelf Speakers combine perfectly with the Rotel A12. This pack punches well above its weight and will get all of your guests dancing around the room with it's fun and energetic sound.
Building on the acclaim and success of the iconic Audiolab 8000 series - the Audiolab 6000 series looks to combine class-leading performance, modern features and a premium build-quality at a very affordable price point.
The Audiolab 6000A integrated amplifier is a brilliant 50W A/B class amplifier for the 'modern music lover' - offering a near unbeatable feature-set including connectivity for digital and analogue sources, wireless connectivity for portable devices, a phono stage to cater for vinyl playback and a dedicated headphone amplifier.
There are 4 digital inputs available in the 6000a (2x Optical & 2x Coax), all capable of playing 24-bit/192kHz hi-res audio files. Rigorous time, testing and refinement has gone into the 6000A's digital circuitry - utilising technology from their high-end 8300A series, as well as the ES9018 Sabre32 DAC chip from the award-winning Audiolab M-DAC.
Further to all of this, you have the option of 3 digital filters to choose from offering even more versatility to your digital sources. As I'm sure you are starting to gather, this is a seriously impressive digital suite for an amplifier at this price point!
The build quality and layout of the Audiolab 6000A has also been very well considered with the output stage, toroidal transformers and pre-amp section all configured to be as thermally efficient and acoustically inert as possible - allowing for excellent dynamics and control without noise interference.
Most importantly, the sound performance from the Audiolab 6000A integrated amplifier is wildly impressive for its category. It offers a fantastic dynamic range with ample detail and expression through the mids and highs, with plenty of punch down low.
All-in-all, the 6000A is an integrated amplifier showcasing immense versatility and excellent performance at a price that makes it outstanding value. Great dynamics, refinement and plenty of energy, combined with a minimalist aesthetic that blends seamlessly with any room - it's easily one of the best contenders in this category.
Key Points for the Audiolab 6000A:
- Incredible versatility with 4 digital inputs, 3 line-level analogue connections, a pair of moving magnet phono inputs, Bluetooth connectivity and a 6.3mm headphone port
- Excellent build quality and components, borrowing technology and design from much higher-end award-winning lines
- A detailed and refined sound, balanced with impressive punch and energy when needed.
The 'modern music lover' who likes to listen to everything from Bluetooth streaming and headphones to vinyl and CDs. An excellent 'all-rounder' that takes on every source with ease, and delivers it impeccably.
Pairs Great With:
If this sounds like your match then you’ll be happy to hear that we’ve already bundled this together with high quality cable and connectors as The Evolution Pack. This is a simple, versatile and high-performance Hi-Fi pack that will save you some serious coin!
If you'd like an up close and personal view of the 6000A, hit play on our unboxing video below for a quick rundown on it's key features:
Superseding the original Rotel A14, the Rotel A14 MKII has become the new flagship model in Rotel's 14 series range. Taking everything that made the original A14 such a highly sought after model, the A14 MKII steps it up again with some excellent advancements.
As with the MK I, the MK II delivers a robust 80W per channel which really allows you to start thinking about building a decent sized hi-fi system. The MKII also boasts improvements to the design of the power supply and amplifier gain stages.
As with everything in the 14 series, power comes from the now iconic Rotel-manufactured toroidal transformers, allowing it plenty of room to perform and remain expressive under load.
All of the connectivity options and feature sets from the A14 have been carried over, and to be honest, it’s damn impressive:
- 5 unbalanced RCA inputs (with dedicated phono input for turntables with moving magnet cartridges)
- 2 optical digital inputs and 2 coaxial digital inputs
- Front panel 3.5mm headphone output
- 3.5mm IR input
- RCA preamp output
- Dual 3.5mm 12-volt trigger outputs
- Rotel Link input/output (allows connected Rotel products to communicate with each other and be controlled via the Rotel app for Apple iPhone)
- A/B speaker outputs with binding posts
- USB Type-B input
- USB Type-A port on front panel (handles audio signals from an iPod, iPhone, or iPad)
- USB Type-A port on rear panel for device charging only
- RS-232 port for use with third-party control systems
- Ethernet port connects (home network, software updates and integration with 3rd-party control systems)
The biggest change from the A14 to the A14 MKII would have to be the DAC though. The MKII features a premium Texas Instruments 32-bit/384kHz DAC which adds further precision and clarity to an already impressive setup. Further to that, this upgrade now allows for the seamless decoding of audiophile-quality MQA and MQA studio files, making the MKII Roon ready.
Upon testing, the sound from the Rotel A14 MKII is bold and authoritative, adeptly picking out instrument detail while also delivering deep and commanding bass. The soundstage is noticeably wide giving all instruments room to move and providing an immersive listening experience.
Sporting the classic smooth and polished Rotel design features, the A14 MKII is a great looking piece that's intuitive and easy to operate. With plenty of power, authoritative sound and seemingly countless ways to connect, the A14 MKII takes you beyond the 'entry-level' amplifiers and well on your way towards building a serious hifi system.
Key Points for the Rotel A14 MKII:
- An impressive 80W of power per channel
- Huge array of digital and analogue inputs
- Preamp out and extra speaker terminals for extending your system down the line
- A worthy upgrade on the original A14, with next to no extra expense
Music lovers looking to build a system outside of the 'entry-level' bracket. The A14 MKII provides plenty of power and options for serious Hi-Fi enthusiasts.
Pairs Great With:
The Bowers & Wilkins 603 S2 Floorstanding Speakers and Pro-Ject X1 Turntable are a great pairing for the A14 MKII. If you're a vintage hifi lover and have yourself some old school Bose speakers in your possession, the A14 MKII is a fantastic matching for them too.
Best Integrated Amplifiers Under $3000
With only one amplifier in this category for us, we are just going to go ahead and say it - our pick for the best amplifier under $3000 is the Marantz PM8006. Check it out below!
Moving into dedicated audiophile territory, the Marantz PM8006 (built in Japan) is the top-line PM series integrated amplifier from Marantz, offering up some class-leading technologies to deliver a powerfully dynamic, detailed, and accurate sound.
The PM8006 shows a real commitment to the vinyl revival with Marantz debuting their unique Musical Phono EQ stage. Marantz have always been known for their high-quality phono stages but the Musical Phono EQ takes it to the next level. This technology allows for two-stage amplification, lowering distortion and simplifying the signal path to give the best playback possible for your turntable.
Continuing on with 'Marantz-only' technology, the PM8006 performs beautifully with the use of the most advanced Hyper-Dynamic Amplifier Module (HDAM) yet - the SA3's. Constructed in-house, the HDAM SA3 modules step it up from the more traditional chip-based amps and use discrete surface mount components with short mirror-image left and right signal paths.
This all comes together to deliver a noticeably improved dynamic and detailed sound.
Quality design and functionality just ooze's out of the PM8006. Some of the features that really make this amp shine include:
- Integrated Current Feedback Amplifier with 2x 70W / 8 ohm rms
- Newly designed electric volume circuit
- Marantz designed Musical Phono EQ stage
- Marantz designed HDAM-SA3 circuits
- Triple layer bottom plate to minimise vibration
- Gold Plated Inputs/Outputs including the Phono (MM) input
- Double shielded Toroidal Transformer and high quality customised components
- High quality, original Marantz SPKT-1+ Speaker Terminals (A / B switchable)
All of this looks great on paper, but most importantly it all combines to produce deep and rounded bass, a warm and encompassing mid-range and brilliantly detailed top-end. It is impressively dynamic across a variety of music genres with plenty of power to effortlessly fill a large room.
The PM8006 exemplifies the Marantz mission of 'reproducing music exactly as the artist intended.'
Aesthetically, the PM8006 is a real throwback to the vintage hi-fi systems of old. A big box with rounded corners, well-defined edges and the classic black/silver colour options all scream 'quality hi-fi'. A beautiful addition to any audio lovers home.
Key Points for the Marantz PM8006:
- No built-in DAC.
- Top of the line class-leading Marantz technology on board
- Smooth, warm and highly-detailed sound
Those looking for an amplifier with a beautifully detailed, accurate and dynamic sound with no rough edges. The PM8006 is perfect for long listening sessions, letting you enjoy your music without fatigue for hours on end.
Pairs Great With:
For a powerful & dynamic hifi system with a multitude of connectivity options, combine the PM8006 with the Marantz ND8006 CD player/network streamer, Clear Audio Concept Turntable & Monitor Audio Silver 500 7G Floorstanders.
Best Integrated Amplifiers Under $4000
Moving into serious audiophile territory now, the integrated amplifiers we've featured between $3000 and $4000 are supremely powerful, operating with class-leading technologies and producing a highly sophisticated sound. These are designed to build a top quality hifi system around that allows you to start picking details out of music that you've never heard before. Spoiler alert - this is where you'll spot our first tube amp too!
The K3 is what we would call a 'high performance all-rounder', boasting plenty of power (140W per channel into 8 Ohms) and a host of connectivity options to really get the most out of your hifi system.
Following in the footsteps of its predecessor the Roksan Kandy K2, the K3 is packed with features including aptX Bluetooth, 5 line level inputs, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a MM (moving magnet) phono stage.
For your home cinema, you'll also find a pre-out and bypass for your left and right channels. As good as the Kandy K2 was the K3 is better, sporting a re-designed audio path and more efficient power supply for noticeably better performance. It's also better looking if you ask us.
The K3 is slick and elegant in it's design with a modern brushed aluminium faceplate and simple intuitive controls. Selecting your inputs couldn't be any easier - just the way we like it. Using top of the range components and materials for its construction, the build quality is as solid as you'd expect for a premium integrated amp.
With one of the largest power outputs for its category, the sound from the K3 is big, bold and expressive. It delivers punchy and agile bass along with amazingly detailed melody with a very wide soundstage, weaving everything together beautifully. It loses no dynamics or energy at lower volumes and can easily handle a good push without distorting.
Key Points for the Roksan K3:
- One of the most powerful amplifiers for its price
- Extremely versatile - excellent for dedicated hifi and home cinema
- Winner of numerous industry awards and 5-star reviews
Those looking for a very high-quality integrated amplifier with extra features that aren't usually available in this category (e.g. Bluetooth, phono stage).
Pairs Great With:
Take advantage of the K3 amps power and versatility by combining it with the brilliant Roksan K3 CD player & Monitor Audio Silver 300 7G Floorstanders. This forms our LENC exclusive Silver 300 Hifi Pack and is a beautiful system that will deliver a bold, commanding and agile sound, no matter the input you choose. You can also go one step further to bring your vinyl to life with the Pro-Ject X2 Turntable.
If you'd like an up close and personal view of the K3, hit play on our unboxing video below for a quick rundown on it's key features:
For you valve amp lovers that have been patiently waiting, we've finally made it - introducing the PrimaLuna Evo 100 Integrated Amplifier.
Following on from the legacy PrimaLuna Prologue and PrimaLuna Dialogue ranges, the PrimaLuna Evo series brings a near endless list of amazing tube amp features and technologies to life.
Anyone with a deep love for the unique sound that a high-end valve amp creates usually can't settle for a conventional digital amplifier, no matter how great it is. PrimaLuna know this feeling, and as such have been producing what is widely agreed upon as the best valve amplifiers money can buy.
Although the Evo 100 is the 'entry-level' amplifier for the Evo range, it lacks none of the class-leading tube amp technology that has made PrimaLuna so famous. Addressing every issue (in detail) that is known to plague lower quality valve amps, some of the award-winning PrimaLuna technology you'll find on board the Evo 100 is:
- Custom Toroidal Power Transformers: Metal housed and potted in non-microphonic resin to reduce noise and eliminate deterioration.
- Custom Output Transformers: Designed and wound in-house for maximal bandwidth and minimal power consumption.
- Point To Point Wiring: throughout the entire signal path.
- Adaptive AutoBias: PrimaLuna's signature tube preservation and performance technology (read more below)
Adaptive AutoBias is a particularly nifty feature. Tube life has long been an issue with valve amplifiers, with many traditional valve amps requiring tubes to be replaced every 12 to 18 months. Through their signature 'Adaptive AutoBias', Primaluna have addressed this issue like no one else before them, allowing their tubes to operate within the minimum power requirement with maximum bandwidth.
Adaptive AutoBias is a completely passive smart-technology, monitoring tubes and adjusting in real time to greatly extend tube life and eliminate 'tube pinch-off', reducing distortion by over 50%. To top it all off, in the unlikely event that the Evo 100 does have a tube failure, Adaptive AutoBias will put the amp into 'protection mode' ensuring no other components are damaged.
All of these amazing features amount to a beautifully detailed and encompassing sound, allowing you to fully appreciate and become immersed in your favourite music. The build quality is second-to-none and the glow from the vacuum tubes alone is enough to warm any valve amp lovers heart. The PrimaLuna Evo 100 is in our opinion, one of the best-value valve amplifiers available.
Key Points for the PrimaLuna Evo 100:
- Packed with high-end valve amplifier technology and reliability
- Excellent value valve amp for the money - super high-quality
- A beautiful mid-range (warmth) that only a valve amp can produce
Valve/tube amp audiophiles looking for an amazing value piece from a multi award-winning manufacturer. You know who you are :)
Pairs Great With:
This all integrates beautifully as a Hi-Fi pack we’ve called the Retro Glow Pack and is definitely worth a look at if you love that tube sound.
Rounding out the category for our best integrated amplifiers under $4000 is the high-performing and brilliantly versatile Hegel H120.
Hegel have firmly positioned themselves as a company that looks to align with no particular demographic or ‘niche’, scoffing at those who claim their equipment is for ‘those who enjoy whiskey and rock and roll’.
In a recent interview with Stereonet, Hegel’s Anders Ertzeid states “I would go so far as to say that the typical Hegel customer is a person – but I can’t go further than that” and goes on further to state “we approach things differently and simply ask, how do people use sound systems – and then try and make them work as well as we can.”
If that is Hegel's goal, then their H120 integrated amplifier fits these values to a tee. The H120 comes with a price point, feature set, aesthetic and sonic signature that makes it an excellent choice for audio enthusiasts from all walks of life.
Positioned on the second rung of their ‘H’ series integrated amplifiers, the H120 sits a single step up from their entry-level H90 integrated amp, but showcases a number of significant enhancements, improvements and performance upgrades.
The H120 is an authoritative Class AB amp rated at 2 x 75 W/8 Ω. Testing across a variety of different bookshelf and floorstanders shows it up to the task of meeting the demands of numerous different loudspeaker styles and configurations. It shows a clean neutrality across the board, delivering the music with power, presence and precision without colouring or adjusting it.
The versatility of the H120 continues when you look at the serious suite of features and connectivity options. The backside of the H120 boasts a total of 9 separate inputs (3 analogue and 6 digital), offering two pairs of unbalanced RCA inputs, one pair of balanced XLRs, three TOSLINK optical digital inputs, one coaxial, one USB and a network input. All of these inputs can be configured for volume bypass, allowing the H120 to integrate nicely with Bluesound and Sonos, or for use in a home theatre system.
The H120 also supports Apple Airplay, Spotify Connect, IP Control, Control4 and upnp streaming, with Hegel stating that owners of the H120 can expect more features to be released over time (free of cost) via firmware updates.
Finally, is it even a Hegel product if we don’t mention their industry-famous SoundEngine technology? The SoundEngine platform (now SoundEngine 2) is the result of many millions of dollars and over 30 years of consistent refinement and development in the war against amplifier distortion. As one of the major hallmarks of Hegel's amplifier designs, the proprietary SoundEngine uses a local error canceling system that prevents distortion in the audio amplifier circuit stages, preserving the original details and the dynamic range in the original music signal.
With ample power, a sleek & stylish aesthetic, and high-end technologies trickling down from their reference products, the H120 really stands out as a digital streamer's dream. If you’re looking for quality, versatility, value and ease of use, the H120 integrated amplifier should be on your auditioning list.
Key Points for the Hegel H120:
- A fantastic option for those who are into digital music streaming
- High-end technology and design coming from much higher priced reference products
- A discreet amplifier that is both neutral in aesthetic and sound
Those who want serious performance for their digital music and streaming.
Pairs Great With:
To increase your streaming resolution and access Roon, Tidal & internet radio, pair the H120 with the Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra. Add the Bowers & Wilkins 704 S2 floorstanding speakers and now you’ve got yourself an enviable system with options galore.
Best Integrated Amplifiers Under $8000
It's a big jump for many from the best amplifiers under $4000 to the best amplifiers under $8000 - but for pure hifi enthusiasts, this leap in quality and delivery makes all the difference.
The 2 amplifiers in this category that round out our list arguably represent the best solid state and valve amplifiers you'd ever need to consider. They are absolute penultimate performers and will be the crowning glory of any hifi system they touch. Read on below and discover what makes the Roksan Blak & PrimaLuna Evo 400 so damn special!
Every amplifier we've featured so far is without question a great piece of kit for it's price, but the Roksan Blak represents one of the best integrated amplifiers on the market today, without any compromise.
Sitting at the top of the Roksan range as it's new flagship amplifier, no expense, detail or refinement has been spared in the Blak's creation. Roksan have used the highest-quality circuitry, components and power supply available allowing it to produce bold and mature sound.
Power output from the Blak is a massive 150W per channel (@ 8 ohms), delivering all the grunt you'll need to drive the most demanding of speakers. Producing such an impressive power output does mean it can run a little warm to the touch, so make sure you place it in a well ventilated space.
Straight out of the box, the sound delivery from the Blak is breathtaking, and you'll be happy to know that it just gets better and better over a few days of breaking it in. Consistently lively and energetic, the Blak paints a wide and detailed soundstage that allows plenty of room for instruments and vocals to individually shine.
As big and powerful as the sound is, the Blak lacks no refinement delivering layer upon layer of texture, detail and nuance for more discerning listeners. Rhythm is agile, bass is deep & tight, and with such a solid power output, no dynamics are lost at lower volumes or distortion present when giving it a push.
Connecting to the Blak isn't a problem, offering digital and analogue inputs for nearly every component including a high-quality MM phono stage for turntables, balanced XLR inputs, 3x RCA's, a 6.3mm headphone jack and aptX Bluetooth for all of your smart devices. The onboard DAC is super high-quality,allowing you to turn your PC into a high end source.
Aesthetics is always quite a personal one, but I think this is one of the best looking amps available. Going for the modern minimalist look, the Blak has a clean and smooth 'brushed' aluminium face with just a few chrome-finished control features. Selecting sources is simple the build quality is noticeably sturdy, weighing in at around 14kg!
The Roksan Blak hits the ultimate crescendo as it represents our pick of the best solid state integrated amplifier around, and if budget isn't your issue the Blak is hands-down one of the best amplifiers available, anywhere.
Key Points for the Roksan Blak:
- A beautiful centrepiece amplifier to build a truly spellbinding hifi system around
- Winner of numerous awards from top reviewers and industry juggernauts (What Hifi?, Hifi Choice, Hifi Pig etc.)
- An excellent balance of power, features & aesthetic with a rich, energetic & refined sound
Those looking for performance and refinement without compromise.
Pairs Great With:
An amp of this calibre really needs to be matched with components of equal ability. As such, you can't go past the Roksan Blak CD player & Monitor Audio Gold 300 Floorstanders. This combination is the absolute 'cream of the crop' hifi setup, delivering sound like not many would have experienced before.
Bringing our list to a close is what many hifi experts regard as one of the greatest integrated tube amplifiers to have ever existed - the PrimaLuna Evo 400.
As the flagship integrated amp in Primaluna's Evo range, the Evo 400 spares no detail or refinement - sporting innovative and sophisticated technology and features like only Primaluna know how.
Power output is 70w per channel in ultra-linear and 36w per channel in triode, with the Evo 400 being one of the only (if not THE only) amplifiers in the world that allows you to switch between the two with the wireless remote while listening to your music. This allows you to make a direct comparison while listening to your favourite music and find the setting that suits best.
As you can easily see due to it's thoughtful design, the Evo 400 boasts a large number of individual tubes - 6x at the front (2x for the pre-amp, 4x driver tubes for extra dynamics) and 8x output tubes at the back, allowing the amp to efficiently spread the load and extend tube life. Combine this with Primaluna's Adaptive AutoBias technology (discussed earlier with the Evo 100) and you quickly start to see why this is one of the best performing and most reliable tube amps on the market.
The tubes are of course lovely to look at, but it's what you can't see with the Evo 400 that is really impressive. The detail and craftsmanship in the components and overall build is incredible, I've summarised as best I can below without being too short on the details:
- Toroidal Power Transformers - Toroids cost 5x more than standard transformers. These are completely encapsulated in a metal housing and epoxy resin, eliminating any noise pollution and allowing them to last a lifetime.
- AC Offset Killer - A Primaluna exclusive design, this works tirelessly to keep the transformers inert and reduce noise pollution even further, regardless of the quality of the electricity in your home.
- Custom Output Transformers - Custom built and wound in-house, the output transformers are designed to have super-wide bandwidth allowing a bass response that is simply unmatched.
- Super Quiet Line Inputs - Primaluna uses back mounted hormetically sealed relays, eliminating noise leakage between inputs and giving the best connection possible
- Adaptive Autobias - One board for each channel, this class-leading Primaluna technology protects your amplifier and extends tube life dramatically.
- Point to Point Wiring - Hand wired with heavy gauge cable by expert craftsmen. The Evo 400 uses Swiss-made, silver-plated, oxygen-free continuous crystal (OCC) copper with a Teflon dielectric in the critical signal path for superior signal speed and increased clarity.
- Takman Resistors - A standard for the Evo 400, these are premium Japanese-made resistors that many pay hundreds for when upgrading or rebuilding lesser-quality gear. They are famous for their low noise, linearity, and musicality
- No Internal DAC/Phono stage - allowing full customisation and easy upgrades for your digital sources over many years
- World-class Headphone Amplifier - With the push of a button, you can use one of the worlds best tube amplifiers as one of the worlds best headphone amplifiers. No separate chip or diminished output tubes, everything that makes the Evo 400 so great is available 'on tap' for your headphones too.
If you've read this far down I can only assume that you're already a tube amp lover, and as such, would probably agree with me in saying that this is one of the best looking integrated amplifiers to ever grace a hifi rack. With it's soft, rounded edges and all 14 tubes proudly out on display, the Evo 400 emits a beautiful warm glow as it goes about its business.
The sound from the Evo 400 obviously varies between the triode and ultra-linear modes, but generally speaking you can expect a highly-detailed, engaging and clear delivery, accurately reproducing the finer details of instruments and vocals across all genres. Your favourite music becomes incredibly smooth and open, with a bass response that is full, bold and deep on account of the super high bandwidth output transformers.
Every single aspect and component in the Evo 400 has been carefully crafted to contribute to the overall goal of producing the best sound possible over a lifetime of use. As far as tube amps go - the quality, craftsmanship and sound is unparalleled, outperforming tube amps at much higher price points
Numerous industry authorities and experts call it the best without regard to cost and the current benchmark in integrated tube amplifiers, and as the final amp in our list we'd have to agree that the Primaluna Evo 400 is one of the greatest integrated tube amplifiers available today.
Key Points for the Primaluna Evo 400:
- Widely regarded as one of the best tube amplifiers in existence
- Customisations galore - between triode/ultralinear modes and the ability to easily swap out tubes, you can easily refine the Evo 400 to suit your listening style
- Reliability and performance worthy of a much higher price point
Valve audiophiles after a super high calibre tube amp with class-leading performance that will serve you for many many years.
Pairs Great With:
As you'd imagine, to really experience what the Evo 400 can do you'll need some high-end speakers to match. We've found that the Monitor Audio Gold 200 and the Bowers & Wilkins 702 S2 are both brilliant candidates. Add in the Clearaudio Performance DC Turntable & Basic V2 Phono Box for a truly astonishing hifi system that will have you grinning for years to come.
Hit play below for an in -depth look at what makes this world-class amplifier just so special.
So... Which Integrated Amplifier is for You?
As you can see, there are a number of brilliant options out there to suit no matter where you are in your hifi journey. Whether your choice is dictated by budget, power, features or aesthetic, I hope we've given you some solid guidance and direction when it comes to choosing the integrated amplifier that's right for your needs.
If you're still after a few more options then you can click here to see our complete range of integrated amplifiers, and if you have any hifi questions at all don't hesitate to drop us an email at email@example.com or call on 02 6622 6994!