After years of separates, I'm going integrated. Anyone else do the same?

I'm rethinking my listening room. I want my audio rack to be more minimalist vs lots of boxes, wires, and clutter. I know separates, in general, will sound better. However, at the level of my system, I'm not certain the difference would be as apparent. In the grand scheme of things of Audiophilia, my level of components are mid-fi at best (BHK Pre, First Watt J2, Elac PPA-2 phono, Pro-ject s2 Dac, ZU Omen Defs)

I'm favoring one of the Luxman Class A's (I know Luxman is getting out of the Class A business. The only way I would favor a built-in Dac is if it were upgradable like McIntosh or Accuphase. I'm guessing a Luxman or Mac built-in phono would sound just as good as to what I have now (Elac PPA-2).

So the question is, who else has gone to integrated? Do you regret the move or are you glad you did?



Two of my favorite pieces of audio kit, Line Magnetic integrated amp (216i) and Musical Fidelity M6500i integrated amp. One is tube, one is solid state. I own the LM Audio but the MF is outside of my budget. Darn it!

I have two audio systems and in one is the integrated amp and the other is a solid state amp and tube preamp. I think if you find the RIGHT integrated amp, that checks all the boxes for YOU and YOUR system it can be much simpler, fun and sound wonderful.

I have, in one of my systems, the one I use most often.  I recently bought the Constellation Audio Integrated unit.  I use it with the Luxman D-10X CD/SACD/MQA player and the Perlisten S7t loudspeakers.  I also have a TT, it rarely gets used though.  


I have zero regrets going integrated/simplifying.

I did it years ago. First Lavardin IT, and now also LTA Z40. Both are as good as it gets for a 50-watter.

There’s been more and more truly hi-end integrateds recently from the likes of Plinium, Soulution, Gryphon etc, it’s a trend now.

I have ditched the separates 2.5 years and don’t regret one bit. As @2psyop pointed out, finding the ‘right’ integrated is the key. For my preferences and the system, Accuphase E-650 turned out to be the perfect stable mate. I believe Accuphase is one the very few integrated’s that gives you the flexibility of user upgradeable phono and DAC options.

To be honest, I have not wanted to listen to anything the past month or so. I have forced myself and its just not clicking. Not because my current system does not sound sounds great. However, siting in my listening chair, all I see is clutter. I know everyone goes thru an audiophile "funk". however, I've seen some real simple systems of late to where its just turn it on, and enjoy the music. 

@lalitk I would love to find a used/demo 650. The Dac module is pretty pricey (around $1000). 


Well, there is a E-650 available on USAM. It comes with a phono module. You can always get the DAC module later :-)  If you end up getting E-650, you will be pleasantly surprised how good is the $1K phono module. The AD-50 phono board in my E-650 was more than adept in conveying Hana’s Umami Red gorgeous sound. In fact, the AD-50 offered much better synergy over a $2500 E.A.T. E-glo S phono preamp with external power supply. 

Luxman jacked up their prices on all their integrated amps by $1000 or more. The 550 class A model used to be 5500, now it’s 6500 according to music direct pricing, crazy. I would love one, as it has a true tape monitor and a loudness button. I settled for my Sugden A21se, yeah, has no fancy meters and lacks the above features, but it sounds fabulous and is half the price of the luxman 550 and has more watts per channel. 

I've gone from Home Theater separates + Stereo separates to 1 HT receiver  and 1 Luxman 507ux and couldn't be happier.  The amount of cables and reduction in components (not to mention remotes) has been outstanding.

The Luxman integrateds in particular have outstanding preamp sections, the equal of the separate units. 


@audioguy85 Yes prices are quite high. Look at the L-595ase limited edition at $12k (MSRP). The mammoth Mcintosh MA12000 is not much more expensive and would probably hold a little better resale value although Luxman has good resale value

I moved away from separates several years ago and have no regrets.  Since my system is all tube based, I have been considering adding an A/B IA to my system and Luxman would be a fine addition. 

Yes, after jumping all in several years back now working on “right sizing” moving forward. I just  replaced amps, preamp dac and streamer with an all-on-1: Cambridge Evo 150. Working out very well! See my system pics. Full review coming soon. The amps alone sold for more 10 years ago than what I just replaced it with.

Love my Circle Labs A200.  I have no desire for separates since it was placed in my system. Exquisite tone and so enjoyable to listen to.  

I also switched from separates and am using the Ayre AX-5 Twenty integrated amp.  

I bet that Circle Labs A200 would sound much better with a Quantum Science Audio Red/Black Fuse and Black/Red AC Outlet.

the theoretical tradeoffs in principle are well known - hardly worth debating at this level

it is all in practical implementation and specifics of units, systems, synergy where the rubber meets the road on which is better

I like idea of separates for few reasons
- it is easier and cheaper to upgrade just one component
- it is easier to repair one component.
- In case of damage beyond repair no need to replace everything
- Separate preamp or DAC allows to move signal gain to cleaner environment away from power amp (especially high power amps).

On the other hand integrated are simpler, cheaper (including savings on cables) and when done right sound great.

I totally understand the allure of an integrated. I’ve had a Krell integrated for about the last two years. It is a cleaner look and don’t have to worry about all of the interconnects, etc. 

One thing I do wish my current integrated had is preamp outputs so that I can use an external amplifier from time to time.  Just some flexibility there would be nice  


@rick2000 ,

Yes I have QSA fuses inside. I use the light blue and simply cannot reach the higher priced options. They are always a nice upgrade.  Bigger was the Hijiri Nagomi power cord on it!  

I got rid of my separates recently and I am using a Sam Kim Heathkit 151 integrated.   He used only the chassis and transformers from the 151 and hand built each circuit to his own specs.  Includes a outstanding MC phono section and killer linestage.  In will also a have Boulder 866 in my system in a couple of days.  No I don't miss my separates. 

Yep sure did.

Audio Hungary Qualiton X200 tube int.

Heed Elixir for the weekly grind in the office, Love this little Class A ss integrated.

If it were me, I would go for a McIntosh integrated.  Great sound, plenty of flexibility and upgradable DAC. 

I moved from separates to a Rega Elicit-R integrated amp a few years ago. I also upgraded my CD player to the Rega Saturn-R CD player/transport/DAC. The Elicit-R has a good phono stage built-in. So, I only have 2 electronic components in my system, plus a turntable. My system is super clean looking and it sounds great. I listen to more music now than I did when I had separates. The Rega is very musical and has great bottom end driving my Infinity RS1.5 3-way large bookshelf speakers.

I don't see a day when I'll move back to separate pre-amp and amp.


A lot of you are talking all in ones. Had a couple from NAD and Simaudio…not a fan.

I loved my Belles Aria Integrated and replaced that with a Kinki EX-M1.  The Kinki is pretty awesome with some different op amps.  Im going to be changing ghe 5 fuses next.  Its really a beautiful amp outside and in!

It’s good to notice the positive experiences of folks who have gone the integrated route. After messing around with various integrateds and pre/power for many years, I think I have found my endgame integrated, a Luxman L-590AXII. It may not be the costliest or the best in the market but it just delivers. With select speakers, the Luxman integrated outperforms another costlier separates which are now relegated to the second system.

System synergy particularly the match between the amp and speakers is more important than the quality of the amp in my book. Nevertheless, the quality or attributes of the amp are still essential in ensuring a high quality sound reproduction. Integrated amps have evolved considerably throughout the years as we now have a rather vast choice of high quality and costly integrateds to choose from. Separates may still have an edge in terms of performance but I think the gap between integrated and separates has reduced.

Parted with three units - Ayre QX5/20 DAC, Ayre VX5/20 amp, and VAC Renaissance V preamp for a Gryphon Diablo 300 with DAC module.  Cleaned up the rack and sold a lot of interconnects and power cables.  Still use a DSA Phono2  for my two tonearms but otherwise loving the simpler look and equal to superior performance. 

If you are not married to the meters ,then Coda Audio design makes excellent products made in U.S.A Nelson Pass engineering team 

at $7k retail. Maybe a little less See Mike at Audio Archon , 3 power choices 

lower power higher 1st watts in pure class A .  No where else will you have 120 amps short term ,and dead quiet potted transformer ,not open core toroidal transformer and 3,000 Va , most are 6-800, 80+k capacitance ,

electronic BB class A preamplifier , and feel it’s a steal and One of the best against anything at $10 k  and 10 year warranty, 5 years transferrable warranty !!

I have a Pass INT-25.  While I moved from separates preamps / amplifiers to integrated amps years ago, I still use an external DAC and phono preamp.  Speaking for myself, I see no reason to have a separate line preamp and power amp these days.  

Going to an integrated amp does not mean sound quality goes backwards. It may or may not and a lot of it is highly subjective. Like with pretty much everything.

You have to try it to know. Buy from vendors with good return policy and there is little risk. You can’t know for sure until you try. It’s nice not having to deal with all those separate boxes and wires. If you have older gear don’t discount that technology improvements over the years can make a huge difference. What worked even just  ten years ago is not the same as what may work today.

Like @mapman Said it is not always a step backwards and buy from a dealer that extends a 60 day return privilege.

I sent a couple of All In Ones back, just did not cut it. But they were also attempting to replace a Moon 390 with 400M amps.

After a year or so of plowing through gear found my setup and love it.

Separates in main system, integrated amps in a couple of other systems. Horses for courses.

Saying one way or the other is "better" as a blanket statement is like saying 150 gram vinyl is better than 180 gram vinyl, or vice versa. 

@ryder the 590axii is tops on my list. I’ll have to find a good used or demo since they have been discontinued. 

My main system last had an integrated in 1982, an Onkyo Integra.  My second system last had an integrated in 2002, an Eico ST70.  Never go backwards.

I tried doing that a few years ago. Went with highly regarded integrateds at the time and they sounded very good until I needed more power for bigger speakers, then I went back to separates.

What I found out with integrated amps (and this comes from the manufacturers that I have talked too at shows) and that is integrated amps are compromised compare to their separate offerings. If that is all you are looking for, then go for it. For example, the Hegel integrateds have a built in dac, but when you compare the integrated dac to their standalone dac, there is no comparison.

You have a nice sounding preamp, why not just upgrade your dac and phono pieces to match the quality of your preamp

I was at a small hifi show the other day and a number of rooms used integrated that sounded really good. Two I remember were Moonriver Audio and the latest Bladelius.

I have 2 hybrid integrated amp Bada Purer 3.3 2009 circa used 6922 tubes sound expectacular quality parts 2 toroidal transformers 1 per ch and a 3rd C cord transformer for preamp section 10wch or 30wch class A selectionable to160wch class AB. Ten yr after i buy another Bada Purer 3.8mk 2019 circa 20wch class A to 140wch class AB use bigger 2 toroidal transformer 1 ch and 3rd AEI transformer preamp section it’s sound more linear and bigger both different animals i am enjoyed i don’t need preamp power combo to listen music and the price is better and better for 3.8mk $1,507.00 it’s a bargain,the 3.3 i buy in 2009 for $1,000.00 in late Pacific Valve online i am happy with that.

nope would never do it separates are always better sounding, I have the Sim audio p8 preamp and the w8 amp never going to give them up.

I'd prefer the separates, but since good quality interconnects are so expensive it makes sense to me to go integrated as much as possible to avoid that cost. That's only if you can maintain the same quality sound at your price point. Put your money into the components rather than extra wires. I suppose if you've way too much money a few extra thousand might not make any difference. 



I tried in 2 systems, but just came full circle back to separates in both.  I guess I realized I'm more picky than I thought.  I also like to try new things, mostly DACs.  I'll continue to keep an open mind and evaluate new integrateds, but I'm pretty happy with the sound I'm getting from my current separates.  I went through some good ones in the last year: McIntosh MA352, Hegel H390, Accuphase E650, Mola Mola Kula (w/Tambaqui), Boulder 866 (digital).  All great in their own right, but just missing a little something.  I would have stuck with the Accuphase if I didn't happen upon my longstanding "dream amp".  In my other system, I would have stuck with the Boulder if I hadn't tried an MSB Analog DAC, which the Boulder's built-in DAC, as very good as it is, couldn't quite stand up to.

The moral of the story is: if you're happy with what you've got, don't try anything else!!

I had separates  for years, now using a Jadis I50 with built in DAC and absolutely loving it.

Don't knock it until you try it.

Well I am changing the system in my bedroom around to do exactly what you are saying. I bought a serviced Wadia CD 6. That has a volume control. A set of long interconnects and a pair of mono blocks with a short pair of speaker wires. At the moment it is running through a melody h88 integrated. Sounding beautiful. I am in the hunt for the proper monoblocks at the moment. The melody is an early one made in Australia and there were oilers put into it. Upgraded small tubes. It is really a beautiful sounding amp. You might want to look for one hard to find the early ones though. You might want to look for a Canary integrated as well. I have not heard one but I have heard there seperates which are special. The problem I have is I don't do streaming so have no idea about that and the ones I know and think are good you will need another box for the streaming. 





Another +vote for going the Integrated amp route (there are some really excellent gear in the marketplace in 2022). Shout -out for AYRE AX-5 Twenty series and 

Conrad Johnson CAV 45.


Happy Listening!