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Integrated amp for P3 ESR

Discussion in 'audio' started by TonyScarlett, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    Had a productive Friday afternoon at Midland Audio Exchange auditioning Rega P6 & P8 (both with Ania mc) + Dynavector P75, Trilogy 906 & Vertere P1. Decided the best combination of sound quality v VFM was the P6 + Trilogy 906 combo which was not what I was expecting going in. The audition was carried out using P3ESR's which is what I have. Amplification was Lavardin ISx which clearly showed up the differences between the different combinations of TT & phono stages, being neutral, detailed but not bright or overly analytical, just extremely musical. In short, I loved this amp & could quite easily see one in my system, the only problem being they are expensive (outrageously even more so if you want a remote). So the question is; are there any other amps I should be looking to audition that can approach the sound quality of the Lavardin at a more reasonable price point (around £2K + or -)? I have a fairly small space so power output not important so long as there is enough to drive the P3's. Also don't need digital inputs or headphone socket, I have a seperate DAC & headphone amp, just a few line level inputs & 1 fixed level output will do. Has to be integrated, have enough boxes & tangle of cables already.
  2. sunshine

    sunshine pfm Member

    Lavardin is a good match with Harbeth. So is LFD, Naim and Exposure to name a few.
  3. koi

    koi pfm Member

    A Hifi show a couple of years ago had a sugden amp paired with them and a rega CD player

    Sounded superb
  4. spengenuk

    spengenuk pfm Member

    Another vote for Sugden. Been using an A21a with HP3es2's for approaching 15 years and still have no thoughts of changing.
  5. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy pfm Member

    Maybe a Croft phono integrated would be good. You’d save on a phono stage too. You could consider Rega amps too.

    I use a Leben CS300XS myself which I really like, but you might want more power.
  6. i.j.russell

    i.j.russell pfm Member

    From personal experience, the Sonneteer Alabaster is a great match for the P3ESR.
  7. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    yes , there was a lovely alabaster at audio emotion recently for 820 pounds , lavardin is do pop up at around 1400 or less so keep your eyes out , one of the wammers who has p3esr uses a croft integrated with mullard valves . personally i use an old rotel because its all i can afford currently , i am sure there are better but aiming for an arcam a29 at 650 if i can . the leben sometimes come up at 1500 and as nagraboy says he likes them .

    i doubt this is still available and i am curious why it has black knobs rather than silver

  8. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    Thanks for the responses, Sugden A21 definitely on my radar, I was just concerned whether 25 wpc is enough to get the best out of the P3's, any other PFMers have experience with this combo? Also been looking at Unison Research hybrid amps, any PFMers using these? Some amps here that I had not come across before, will do some research. Would rather buy new but not completely against 2ndhand. Have plenty of time, will not be able to raise the funds until Spring.
  9. maccar

    maccar pfm Member

    Some verygood suggestions already, particularly Sugden... couple of other makes you could look out for on the sh market; Electrocompaniet, or an older model Accuphase.
  10. xulio

    xulio New Member

    Best sound I have had with P3esr is with Croft amps but I settled with a 1 Box: Peachtree iNova! Sound great.
  11. barryb

    barryb pfm Member

    It's a free market of course, but that Lavardin remote supplemental cost encapsulates all that is objectionable about being an audiophile. For my own sensibilities, it's just plain wrong.

    My own experience with Harbs is that they are amp agnostic as intended - yes, transparent enough for differences to be discernible, but also sounding just fine even on cheaper stuff.
    hifinutt likes this.
  12. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    You might want to canvas opinion on the power you need. Alan Shaw seems to be talking about 100w recently. Certainly I found an exposure 3010s2d to be a big improvement over a Croft Integrated and an old Arcam Alpha 9, with C7s. How much of that is down to the extra power I don't know. The Croft sounded wonderful in some ways, awfully ragged in others compared with the Exposure.
  13. brab

    brab pfm Member

    In my experience power will have the greatest effect. The more the better.
  14. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    Would be extremely disappointed if you really did need 100 wpc to get the best out of a pair of mini monitor speakers, surely it should say that in the literature. The specs say minimum recommended amp of 15 wpc & maximum continuous power handling of 50 wpc. I would expect them to work at there best at somewhere around the 50 wpc mark otherwise what is the point in suggesting a maximum continuous power figure? Does Alan Shaw mention whether he would honour warranty claims from people who have damaged there speakers using 100 wpc amps?
  15. k90tour

    k90tour pfm Member

    I'm running a previous version, the HL-P3ES and subwoofer with a 2A3 Valve amplifier and a passive pre-amp. Sounds superb. Less than 10W per channel.
  16. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    I should also mention I am currently using a Rega Brio in place of my previous Leak Stereo 20 partly to answer for myself the question of whether the P3's work better with higher power outputs. Yes I now have greater dynamic range & more headroom at higher volumes (although I rarely go there these days). This has probably as much to do with 60 years of amp development as power output. I am also missing some of the midrange magic that makes the ST20 so special particularly with vocals & small scale acoustic music. I guess what I'm after is a modern amp that can recreate that midrange magic & clarity while retaining, or improving upon the dynamics of the Brio. The Lavardin demonstrated to me that this is possible.
  17. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Small speakers need much more power than big ones and you are much more likely to damage speakers by insufficient power (blown tweeters) than by too much, unless you're a complete head banger with zero mechanical sympathy.
  18. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    I understand that completely, still doesn't answer the question of whether warranty claims would be upheld if you did damage the speakers using higher than recommended power output amps.
    The idea of having to use a 100 wpc amp to drive P3's seems to me little like buying a Range Rover to drive to Sainsbury's (although unfortunately for the planet lots of people do). Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
  19. Piper

    Piper pfm Member

    IMO no question, a Sugden A21 and P3ESR is a perfect match
  20. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    I am currently drawing up a shortlist of amps I would like to demo, the Sugden is currently at the top of the list.

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