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Integrated amp with tone controls - recommendations?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Crazeenick, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. JoeJoe

    JoeJoe Member

    I’ve owned a couple on your shortlist and I can confirm the Creek 100a and Cambridge Audio are amazing. The Evolution replaced my Naim Supernait 1 with HiCap DR and with just a tweak of the tone controls delivered the sound I always felt was missing. Interestingly, once I’d set the tone controls on an album I knew intimately, I never needed to touch them again. All my albums sounded fabulous. Same for the Cambridge, true high end bargain.

    One missing off your list which is a really incredible is the NAD C388. 150w per channel/tone controls/stunning MM phonostage/DAC on board/ It’s a compelling listen, I love the drive it has and the way the background is inky black silence.
     
  2. Taff63

    Taff63 pfm Member

    I've had a Pioneer A27 integrated amp for a few months. The best amp I've had in my system by some margin and dubbed 'the best integrated in the world' by a very respected publication in 1979. Rare, but with superb build and sound quality and has tone controls. The review on The Vintage Knob says it all in my view.
     
  3. Martian Sunrise

    Martian Sunrise pfm Member

    I’ve got a Pioneer SA-9500, that I want to shift, if we’re on a 70s beast vibe...
     
  4. gx502

    gx502 pfm Member

    Go for one one the Yamaha's, based on the budget, but not the 3000, since at that point I think Yamaha are getting into Luxman/Accuphase territory.
     
    maccar likes this.
  5. Tarzan

    Tarzan pfm Member

    l own this amp and for SQ it is off the charts- and in my room from hell the tone controls work surprisingly brilliantly, powerful and highly musical... upgrade the stock valves and wowsa!

    All in my system and room etc.
     
  6. Philim

    Philim pfm Member

    What valves did you upgrade to?
     
  7. Tarzan

    Tarzan pfm Member

    Harma STR £15 a pop. In all three positions. ( Worthwhile.)




    Then Gold Lion Ecc83 in the window position. ( Wowsa! )

    Later on l will try a Mullard NOS.:D
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  8. Tigerjones

    Tigerjones Bagpuss

    All amps should have tone controls with the option to bypass them if not required.
     
  9. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    What about Meridian, their CD players have analogue & digital inputs & tone controls. Could be a cost effective solution on the 2nd hand market
     
  10. chrisk

    chrisk pfm Member

     
  11. chrisk

    chrisk pfm Member

    Hi Nick. I usually have a Yamaha A-S3000 in my system and it is an excellent sounding machine, with tone controls. If the Yamahas you mentioned are voiced similarly I am sure you will find them very suitable. I almost never use the tone controls but like you I like to know that I can if I want! At the moment I have a Moon 390 pre/streamer and a Moon 330A power amp in place as I am writing a review on them. No tone controls!
     
  12. Philim

    Philim pfm Member

    I have the same :)

    Was going to try a telefunken
     
    Tarzan likes this.
  13. Tarzan

    Tarzan pfm Member


    Could you report back on the Telefunken Phil?

    Am trying to ascertain which NOS Mullard to try.....

    It is a great amplifier, really enjoying it.:)
     
  14. Romulus

    Romulus pfm Member

    I think the OP wants the 'Naim sound' with tone controls, I am not sure what other brand comes near within the price bracket? Maybe a compromise will have to be made in some form, either lively sound or amp festooned with tone controls but not such a lively sound.
     
  15. early

    early pfm Member


    Everyone seems to be overlooking the op's favoured sound. There have been lots of great amps suggested but none that sound like Naim .

    I think getting the Naim sound with tone controls is a tall order. The majority of amps with tone controls are from Japanese manufacturers who's amps are voiced very differently to Naim .

    Op also seems to have gone quiet, maybe he has found his solution?.
     
  16. Romulus

    Romulus pfm Member

    In relation to your first and second paragraph; hence the reason for my initial post in regard to compromise.. Maybe op has found a solution.
     
  17. simon g

    simon g Grumpy Old Man

  18. Crazeenick

    Crazeenick Member

    OP here. Many thanks for everybody's useful comments and suggestions so far.

    An update:-

    Yes, I am still looking for an amp with tone controls that sounds like a Naim Supernait-2. I think I am going to have to compromise, as someone suggests. The best I can do is listen to my shortlist of amps with tone controls and settle for the one that has a sound closest to Naim (lively with attack) - and live with the compromise.

    I have heard the Marantz PM14S1 SE, the Yamaha A-S1100 and the Nad C375BEE so far. Probably preferred the Nad from this list, but am still hoping to find something I like even more.

    It is quite hard to find any local shops with amps (with tone controls) from my shortlist to audition. So, as and when further secondhand amps on my shortlist come up on Ebay (at a good price and in mint condition) I will buy them and compare with my current Arcam A85/P85 pairing using my own Naim CDX2 and B&W speakers. If I still prefer the Arcams I can resell the other amp on Ebay without losing much money (I actually made a profit when I resold the Marantz PM14!). It may take some months to complete this process, but it is all good fun. No harm done as long as I don't lose loads of money buying/selling on Ebay!

    Currently thinking the Rotel RA-1572 might be a good one to try next. Starting to think about dabbling with streaming (eg Tidal), so a decent built-in DAC would be a bonus, if the amp has a sound I can like!

    cheers,
    Nick
     
  19. Crazeenick

    Crazeenick Member

    Simon - that is very interesting! Could you please describe the sound of the AVM A30 further? In what way is it similar to the Naim SN2? And in what ways is the AVM superior? How do you adjust the treble/bass? - there seems to be bass & treble buttons on the amp - do you then have to rotate the volume control? Can you adjust the treble/bass from the remote control?
     
  20. oldius

    oldius I miss baked beans and brown sauce.

    My Denon PMA850 is a cracker. Super tone controls and also an outstanding headphone amplifier. It was a high-end design back in the day and recently very favourably compared to a high-end Sony ES. Definitely, one to seek out.
     

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