Sugden IA-4

I am running Devore 0/93 speakers which are massively forgiving and looking for a Solid State Integrated as a backup amp for a Push-Pull 300B integrated (coming soon).
I listen in a small room so power is a non-issue, but I do like good attack on bass, rich midsized, and a smooth, non-etched sound. My DAC helps in this regard: Lampizator Atlantic TRP with KT66 tubes.
My current integrated is tube-based (Linear Tube Audio Z10 integrated). I am presently considering the Sugden IA-4. Does anyone have any experience with this Sugden?
Ag insider logo xs@2xtransience
I'm not familiar with that model but  heard the A21 integrated amp and the Masterclass integrated being played over the Devore 093 , and I was very impressed with both. Beautiful lifelike sound with nothing distracting me from the music.
@roxy54 thanks for the thoughtful and helpful note on the complementarity between Sugden and Devore O/93s. I know they have been exhibited together and am glad to hear that it isn’t simply the audio reviewers who praise the confluence of those two! The IA-4 is the integrated in their masterclass line; just ordered mine, so fingers crossed. Anyhow, it’s just a backup for those sometimes pesky tubes. 💡
I would like to add that the Sugden gear was auditioned against the Line Magnetic 219, which is itself a great integrated, but I would go with the Sugden, and that Masterclass you're getting is a really special piece. Really sounds like music without being soft or syrupy. You're a lucky man. 
Really appreciate this validation! I’m excited to hear it soon - hard time choosing between the Sugden IA-4 and the following:

Pass Labs Int-25
Luxman L550axii
Esoteric F-03A

Looking at measurements and the sensible, conservative, no-nonsense approach to engineering, plus reading responses like yours really helped me make the decision in favor of the Sugden. Thanks @roxy54

It was a revelation to me when I first heard them 3 years ago, because I knew that they were respected in their native land, but...
So many amps that are highly touted turn out to be a disappointment when you finally hear them. I am certain that you won't be disappointed with your choice. I'm jealous!
Let us know your thoughts when receive it and have it cooking for a while.
@roxy54 , I have been having great success partnering the Devore 0/93 speaker with the Sugden Masterclass IA-4 Integrated, which runs purely in Class A and maxes out at 33 watts per channel. It sounds so vivacious, energetic, and full of life, and also... smoooth!
The speakers disappear, the soundstage extends wall-to-wall (really amazing), the midband is liquid, attack is musical and unforced, decay is beautifully extended, center fill is flawless, bass is insistent and has strong pitch definition but perhaps I have heard firmer, treble is fatigue-free and silky, and it manages that nice balancing act of being absolutely brimming over with tonal saturation without sounding at all tentative or ponderous in pace – quite the opposite, it sounds very crystalline, clear, and alive. Honestly, it feels like a sunny wide-open set of French doors onto every record. You can tell the preamp is a thing of beauty (I can’t wait to try its pre-outs just for fun) and that the Sugden Class A output is just sumptuous.
I want to compare this with some other unusual integrateds I’ve had recently. This is a stunning, always immersive, combination that feels grander and more beautiful, though perhaps less ultimately transparent, than my recent pre-produciton Linear Tube Audio Ultralinear (with passive volume), and slightly more technicolor rich than the more self-effacing but also very pretty sounding Linear Tube Audio Z10. I never want to turn it off.

As an aside: the IA-4 has a ton of gain, so with the very sensitive Devores I was compelled to insert 12db attenuators at the line input I am using just to gain more control at the lower end of the volume potentiometer (which was actually really well channel balanced and noiseless to begin with). This just goes to show that Sugden was confident it would hold its own with lower sensitivity speakers and also honors low input legacy sources. A classy decision.

Also: I feel that it sounds way better plugged direct to wall than via my AudioQuest Niagara 1000, which slightly restricts its dynamics. I have ordered a Stellar P3 from PS Audio and have my fingers crossed this works to clean up my dirty, downtown NYC AC. Basically, it already has a highly invulnerable power supply and it always sounds glorious!

Oh, and it looks the part too! It feels (and is) very special. Thank you for validating this direction and for your kind wishes! My incoming 300B push-pull amp has its work cutout for it if it's going to best the Sugden in my system; I have my doubts!
I am so happy to hear how satisfied you are with it. I must admit that I'm envious...but in a good way. I'm betting that you'll love the 300b as well, and be surprised at how good the bass is. At least that was my experience with an 8 watt single ended. You're a lucky man!

Thanks for sharing my enthusiasm about all this John; listening to anything from Bennie Green to Rosalia to Dj Python to Szymanowski, it just keeps getting better. You were so right about Sugden's quality.
I'll likely start a new thread once my push-pull 300B comes in to share listener impressions.
As a former 0/93 owner ( I moved up to the Super Nines), I would not consider the Pass XA25 due to its high damping factor. The 0/93 bass response in my opinion sounds "unnatural" with amps that have high damping factors. I auditioned am amp that had a damping factor around 250 and it seemed to choke the life out of the bass. I also heard the XA 25 power some Zu Audio speakers ( can't recall which model) and the bass response also sounded way to tight for my tastes. The Sugden amps have low damping factors ( < 25), which is probably why John uses them for solid state amps at shows.
Thanks!! This is a fascinating perspective and I can see the logic in it quite clearly - also a key factor in my usual preference for tube amps. The IA-4 has a damping factor of 45 and its bass is natural and believable with the O93s with good continuity between bass and mid bass. The LTA Ultralinear perhaps had “faster” bass response but I am very satisfied with the organic quality of the Sugden (which has meaningful advantages over that LTA power amp) and am of course curious to see what the Modwright 300B push-pull brings to the table. Nice to rule out the Int-25 as a contender using your sound deduction and experience. I hope you are loving the Super Nines by the way!
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@transience Coming up on two years, are you still using the Sugden IA-4? Asking because I’m considering an LTA Z10 or MZ3 preamp, but your comments give me pause as a friend has very high regard for Sugden.

Despite the long time, would you be able to more insights into the differences between the LTA and Sugden? Maybe if there is any comparison around the tube sound character (or not)? The LTA units are not marketed as "tube sound," but your direct comparison with the IA-4 is more relevant and I'm curious to learn more, please.

I prefer the IA-4 to the Z10 when used with the Devore 93s - a much more dynamic, clear, and spacious presentation. The Z10 has a mild sweetness to the sound but is a little too delicate and undramatic for me; I do like the microzotl preamps and love the Ultralinear amp and integrated. The IA-4 is more directly comparable to those, yet having a broader soundstage and better resolution of space and detail, but isn’t as hard hitting or quite as palpable. I think I just very barely prefer the Ultralinear overall but I’m sure many others would go for the Sugden instead. Both are killer integrateds.
I’m not using any of these amps right now, as I’m moving to an SA Lab Thunderbird on the basis of a suggestion by a dealer I trust. I flipped too much gear and am happy to defer to someone else!
Thank you for the update. To your point about flipping, I really think I should just be happy as I've been for so long with my semi-peculiar Naim setup. I've heard the MZ3 do its thing and that's what got me started, though. Thanks again!

I currently own a Sugden IA-4 . Driving a pair of Klipsch Cornwall lV speakers. I used to own a Pass Labs Int 60. While the Pass Labs had a big airy soundstage it always sounded a little dry and recessed to me. The Sugden has the same big sound stage, airy top end. With the addition of better instrument separation and a realism to the music that makes you feel you can reach out and hug the singer. Sugden is one of the best kept secrets in our hobby.
‘if you have a chance just get one.
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How is the synergy between the xa25 and the super nines? I am considering this combination. Thanks.
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Really interesting read and now I feel as I move towards my final set up I should consider the Sugden IA-4 as an alternative to a Radford Revival STA25 which will feed a pair of Tannoy HPD 15s in GRF narrow cabinets ultimately but in the meantime a pair of Klipsch Quartets 

I appreciate that this is an older post, but since there's Sugden IA4's integrated amplifier doesn't get a ton of press, I thought I'd offer my own impressions.


I've finally had the chance to audition a Sugden IA4 in my own home.   Currently it's driving my Devore Super 9's.  I've had the chance to also hear Accuphase's E280 through the same speakers in the same system as well as the Leben 600.   In my own personal opinion, the Devore Super 9's love solid-state amplification and both the Sugden IA4 and the Accuphase E280 are better matches to these speakers than the venerable (& great sounding too) Leben.   

In comparing the Sugden IA4 with the Accuphase E280, both have exceptional sound, fantastic soundstage, and great grip of the speakers, esp on the low end.   To my ears, the Sugden presents the music with a bit more dynamics and a bit more life in comparison with the Accuphase which sounds a bit more controlled/reserved.   The Accuphase has tons of features which I love (ability to engage tone control, ability to add DAC cards, far superior remote control & remote control functionality), however, when it comes to SOUND and SOUND ALONE, my ears and my heart are drawn to the Sugden IA4.    I feel the Sugden is just incredibly dynamic....I'm enjoying records that sound the best I've recalled them sounding when driven by the Sugden IA4.   


There are some downsides - the volume control is limited (it goes from whisper to roar quickly - those that have experienced Sugden know...).   The remote is an absolute piece of crap - volume control only.


However, I'm leaning towards buying the Sugden - Why?   Well - it has a sound that simply is magical with my Devore Super 9s....fantastic synergy, fantastically musical, fantastically dynamic.    I hope those that are considering will find this useful!