Hans said: Arcam’s FMJ A19 is a mature, highly accomplished integrated amplifier. Everything it does it does well, and I know of no other company that makes a product that can compete in overall sound quality and functionality for $999.
The gist: Unassuming on the outside, solid Arcam design on the inside.
Sathyan said: In the e.One C7R receiver, Bel Canto Design has assembled a wide range of good-sounding possibilities into a compact and seamlessly integrated package.
The gist: Highly functional and no surround sound!
Philip said: With the B135 SST2, Bryston has succeeded in setting a new standard for the level of performance that can be expected at this price. You’ll have to spend significantly more to improve on the B135’s sound, and even so, those improvements are likely to be small. On these grounds -- and because it sounds so darn good -- Bryston’s B135 SST2 gets my highest recommendation.
The gist: Bread-and-butter integrated amp that really floated Philip’s boat.
Jason said: I’d wager that, in the next few decades, audio enthusiasts will look back at this clean, elegantly designed, beautifully made amplifier as a classic of the early 21st century.
The gist: A speaker company makes a great amp.
Vade said: The VA340 Mk.II integrated amplifier was one of the best-sounding amplifiers I’ve heard in my system. Powerful yet delicate, it had a complex tonal palette and that legendary SET palpability. It doesn’t have a lot of features, but it has the ones that matter most.
The gist: Beefy-sounding tube integrated from the Czech Republic.
Colin said: It’s likely the most sophisticated amplifier available at its price. In this ever-changing world, sophistication and modularity are good things, and the C 390DD offers both. That it’s also a superb music-reproduction device and sounds invisible is a major achievement, and, at its price, a phenomenal one.
The gist: Much more than just an integrated amp with a built-in DAC.
Roger said: At only $549, the NuForce DDA-100 sets a new standard for performance in an affordably priced integrated amplifier.
The gist: The entryway into high-end amplification.
Vade said: It’s quiet, and easy to set up, use, and maintain. It portrays music with great transparency, letting you appreciate the musicians’ intent and phrasing. Its ability to use a wide variety of power-output tubes adds flexibility for those who want to experiment with the different sounds of different tubes. Its sound equaled or surpassed that of a highly regarded amplifier and line stage costing more than twice as much, and it produced enough power to drive a wide variety of speakers.
The gist: Flexible performance from this tube-based German machine.
Jeff said: The SB DSA’s strength is that it can serve as the all-in-one electronics heart of a small stereo system.
The gist: The receiver reborn.
Hans said: The Sphinx made everything I played through it sound compelling. Yes, you could spend more for an integrated amp that offers more power or higher performance. But on the scale of musical enjoyment per dollar spent, I found Rogue Audio’s Sphinx to score very high.
The gist: American-made hybrid integrated amp that sounds great.
Philip said: The 700i is a tour de force of audio engineering, exquisitely exclusive in its appeal. You can certainly spend less on an integrated amplifier and still get outstanding sound, but few products will leave a listener so completely satisfied with both sound and operation. The Simaudio Moon Evolution 700i is a statement product in every sense of the term.
The gist: A statement integrated from a well-respected Canadian company.
Jeff said: T+A Elektroakustik’s E-Series Power Plant Balanced is the finest piece of electronics I’ve ever had in my system, exerting a beautiful control over a wide range of musical demands: It can play loudly without strain, or quietly with force and solidity. In very little time, I fell in love with the E-Series Power Plant Balanced’s speed, grip, tautness, and punch. And it never felt warm to the touch, and never broke a sweat. Truly, it is one cool customer -- an integrated amp for all seasons.
The gist: Classically styled, great-sounding solid-state integrated from Germany.