Looking for integrated solid state amp for daily usage

I love the sound of my tube amps, but I need an amp powered on all day every day (like 16 hours per day) for my nearfield desktop setup with JBL 4309 speakers (using directstream mk1 dac).

I have tried a Schiit Aegir and a Schiit Ragnarok, but didn’t like either compared to my cheap tube amp and expensive tube amp. They just seemed boring and dead to me.

So I’m looking for suggestions on a beautiful sounding solid state integrated amp that sounds big and engaging as much like a tube amp as possible, if one even exists. I don’t want a tube preamp with a solid state amp.

I listen to a lot of music types from classical to jazz to classic rock.

I’d like to keep the price under $3k if possible, used is great. I’ve heard Accuphase and Luxman are really good, but price seems to be more than $5k for those.

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My take


because it’s a desktop system with its inherent avsilable space limitations, I’d lean towards a half-size footprint integrated amp instead of the usual full size option.

these half-size made in UK brands are true contenders and no pretenders that may pleasantly surprise you in their audio performance.. 

Two immediately come to mind :

CYRUS (couple of options here ) and REGA BRIO-R. Google the reviews.





I should add more info. It's my desktop setup but I have a full size audio rack next to the desk for audio components. Speakers are on the desk. My tube amps are el34 and el84, but I'm currently waiting on tubes for both since both have one bad tube. One of the reasons why I'm thinking to use solid state for the bulk of the time. 

Denon 110 Anniversary for < $4k. A true dual mono amp made in Japan with a high level of build and sound quality. FWIW Atoll and Cyrus are NOT warm sounding amplifiers.

I believe JBL makes an integrated amp for less than your max price.  It may be a S.A. 75 or something like that.   That should compliment your JBL speakers quite nicely. I believe MD has an open box or demo of said amp for a very reasonable price.  It also is not a full size component so it should fit on the desktop. 

I tried a nad ss amp before but immediately sold it because i thought it was really bad

Gently used Audio Analogue Maestro Anniversary. Sounds incredible, smooth and inviting. You can get one for about $3500-$4000 (retail $10500). Made in Italy, will drive almost any speakers.

Try listening to a Wyred4Sound integrated to see if it meets your preferences in sound. Even the model on the lowest rung (STI-VII) has lots of power and all the models have low power consumption in the stand-by mode. Good luck in our search.


You might check out Bel Canto -- some years back I went from an Image Audio tube amp (KT88 outputs) to a Bel Canto C5i and was happy. (I've since moved on to separates.) The Image Audio and Bel Canto weren't exactly the same but I enjoyed them both and found each very listenable.  The C5i is discontinued but you can periodically find them used for around $1K.  The new C6i model lists for just over $3K.


I'd encourage you to listen to Moon's 250i v2.  I had a 250i as a loaner for 2 weeks and it sounded a heck of lot better than I expected it would given it was subbing in for 2 400 watt per channel mono-blocks.

try this:  

Elac DPA2.  reliable, cool running, nice sounding and plenty of power.....a bargain and well reviewed in Stereophile.  


I’m a pretty big Nelson Pass fan. He’s been said to have a more tube like sound in solid state. So certain adcoms, and thresholds, not sure, its been awhile, but I believe threshold is the name, not positve. Lol Thresholds are pretty hard to come by though. Mcintosh might have some solid state too. I start researching engineers and looking at earlier works, imo.

a peachtree gan-fet class d 


its very direct and tube-like - sweet but not sugary - ballsy but not overwhelming

as much as we try to go back to solid state amps - my discovery of the peachtree never fails to impress me - not all of time - but most

Hegel H190. What was recently a $4k ($4,325 during COVID) integrated is now $2,800 since Hegel introduced an upgraded version that just added MM phono stage. It's magical and this is a heck of a deal. Former amp (still have) is my beloved PrimaLuna Evo 100 integrated ... the Hegel is better. Check it out.


526 posts


Look into Musical Fidelity


Ha! I picked up an old SS integrated some years back for running my main speakers in “background” mode to conserve power tube life. The SS does well enough in its role that I don’t use my tube amps (KT66 and KT88) anymore unless a visitor really wants to hear them.

The SS is a Musical Fidelity 3.5.

Mcintosh MHA100 vs Primaluna Evo400

Years ago I downsized to the MHA100 which I purchased NOS in your price range. I've had "better" amps, including class A and tube, but this is my favorite. It gives so much and asks for so little. Sounds great, uses very little power, relatively small, internal dac is pretty darn good (the newer MHA150 has updated dac). It's a fun and enjoyable everyday all day amp. I'd think it would be a great match with those JBLs. 

As a reviewer once said "oh yeah, and it's a great headphone amp too". So while these are technically headphone amps, the 50 wpc speaker amp is all I've ever used. 

Best of luck with your search!

There are several options in your price range.  You could go new with an NAD or previously owned with some of the Naim offerings.  I have own them both and recommend them for different reasons: NAD offers versatility/more flexibility with a variety of different ways to connect components.  Naim has better amplification and cleaner power and sound but not quite as flexible. Value for the money NAD, higher quality unit is the Naim. 

good luck and let us know how you make out. 

Yamaha a-s2200 can be found new for around 3K. It’s a great amplifier that will last for decades.

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Check out an AYRE integrated amp. Keep me posted on your purchase decision.


Happy Listening!

Hegel H190. New ones can be found for about $2,800 if you search a bit (I found it at 2 sites), down from $3,900. Built in streamer and DAC (that is pretty good), 2 x 150 WPC, RCA and XLR analog inputs, good number of digital inputs, very highly regarded affordable integrated.....check out the hundreds of positive reviews.

I own both the NAD Masters M33 and the Krell K300i.   Both are excellent and well built.   The NAD is a bit more friendly as it also has a Blue-OS streamer built-in whereas the Krell requires an external streamer (Innuos Mini Mk3).   Sonically the Krell is magic and sounds to me a lot like a tube amp, warm, musical, and bass control that is super tight and deep.   I don’t think you could go wrong either way.

Marantz Model 40 if you want an all-in-one, do anything streaming amp. If you want to keep it strictly analog, the Model 30. Both of these are high end Marantz offerings, and it shows on both close examination of their build and close listening. The Marantz smooth, clear, and slightly warm sound is alive and well, and will pair nicely with your JBL 4309s, especially in a nearfield application. 

According to a review of the naim 5si, it’s said that it pairs well with the 4309’s. It’s form factor is a benefit, being that it is slim. Tube like, yea, no....

Yamaha A-S2100 or 2200 (2100 is slightly brighter but more resolving).

Both of these models get closer to replicating good tube sound than do the dozens of other SS amps I’ve owned and auditioned over the years. They achieve that “lit-from-within” midrange better than many tube-based products actually. Very unique voicing within the industry. Bass extension is also incredible—better than that of some $7K^ amplifiers.

The next best options of the above mentioned brands are Bel Canto, Ayre and Pass Labs. However, it will be difficult to find a good Ayre or Pass model within your budget, and the Bel Cantos don’t have the bass authority of the Yamahas, even the higher power models.

Hegel is about as bland and boring as SS gets. They don’t really do anything wrong per se, but are also unexceptional at everything. This is why there is never any shortage of Hegel amps on the pre-owned market. 

^ It’s the same for Luxman, NAD and Marantz, nothing remarkably unique or notable, but they sound less “ballsy” than the Hegels.

Generally you want an amp that doesn’t achieve its low distortion via large amounts of open-loop feedback. That’s why Ayre and Pass sound the way they do. The Yamahas are the only amps I’m aware of that employ a high feedback scheme (a rather uncommon circlotron circuit) yet still manage the tube-like sound. You get the strong lowest octave bass of a high feedback design but don’t have to sacrifice the gorgeous mids and tonal saturation of a low feedback class A amp. They offer better “hybrid” sound than most true hybrid setups. 



I like these previous suggestions



PS Audio Stellar Strada integrated is on Closeout sale. 

Interesting comment about the NAD.  I had a an NAD pre and amp at one time and the older it got the worse its sounded.  Maybe it was just me :/

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Maybe a GanFET amp which has that midrange warmth. How about the Peachtree  Carina GaN here

I’ve been happy with an old Exposure 2010 integrated amp. Drives my inefficient speakers and yields a great sound. Not sure what’s happened to price points on new equipment but older models hold up. 

You should look for a used Ayre AX-7e. A great sounding amp that can be found well below your budget. Good Luck!