Integrated amp suggestions for Klipsch RP 160M

Anyone have experience with the NAD 328? It’s priced right but I have never owned a class D amp. I have also been looking at the Arcam SA10, a more traditional AB design.

I want a simple integrated with a good phono stage and DAC. I don’t want any advanced network features. I have them on my Onkyo reciever and I don’t use them.

My Onkyo is alright but I would prefer something simpler with better clarity. No tuner needed, no advanced networking, I just run tunes digital from my TV down the optical.

Big vinyl user, still play CDs. Really quality of the amp, phono stage are most important and as long as the DAC is quiet it doesn’t have to be more flexible than something I just plug my TV into.

Any thoughts?

What’s your budget, and what speakers are you driving? There are some commonly recommended integrateds, like the NAD 3020 or Denon PMA-600ne. Do you have a separate Phono stage? If so, or if you weren’t opposed to having it be separate, that could open up your options a bit.


I’m driving a pair of Klpsch RP 160M speakers with a 10” Klipsh powered sub. I have a 14X16 room and the combo is gets plenty of volume on a mass market receiver. I do like the idea of a really good integrated phono stage, one of the weaknesses I think the Onkyo has, its just an op amp. I’ve read the arcam has a sweet phono stage. Not as sure about the NAD. I could consider a separate phono stage but it would be ideal to have it built in.

Im not sure about the others but i would avoid Arcam because that company is not what it used to be and there products cant even achieve basic SNR levels anymore. See here
As you can see its terrible for the price and i expected better from Arcam.

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And budget? What Phono cartridge? Something like a Pro-ject Maia would have a nice Phono stage and a lot of flexibility for inputs. The DS or higher version would be best for having the power you need for your room. They also have the flexibility of supporting a high output MC cartridge. Otherwise, it looks like the previously mentioned Denon PMA-600ne has the power and features you’re looking for with built in Phono and dedicated analog mode that turns off digital features during use to eliminate and potential noise/interference from processors. The NAD 3020 or 3045 are a cool compact form factor, but probably the least feature rich for the price of anything mentioned so far. I’m not familiar with the Arcams.

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I use a Fluance RT 83 with an Ortofon 2M Red. I am actually really happy with the turntable. I think if I were to change the cartridge there are enough MM options for me to consider so MC amplification would be cool but in no way necessary as an option.

I have not considered the Pro Ject Amps, I’ll have to read up on them a bit.

My fear with the Denon is it will sound so much like my current mass market receiver unless I really pour some money in. I’m not opposed to spending to get quality, but in balance with my other gear I am not sure it makes sense to spend more than maybe a grand on an amp, but if there is something truly special I could consider it.

Well I did a 180 degree turn and decided to swap my speakers and amp at the same time. Z did a review of the Kipsch Heresy IV which I considered my endgame until I considered that the bass extension was not adequate to eliminate my sub. Getting a good sub blend in my space has been challenging. I switch material and inputs a ton so sometimes it would sound great with film, but I’d have to tweak in for Vinyl, then again for CD’s, then streaming audio… It’s like getting the blend in my space was more challenging than anywhere I had lived before so I wanted to nix the sub. I considered maybe getting an Amp with better bass management, but I started looking and I went to a little retailer here in Baltimore called just Audio and immediately fell in love with the Wharfedale Linton speakers. - I listened in store on a Parasound Hint, which sounded good but a bit “audiophile” clean, it didn’t have the grunt that I wanted. I then listened on the Yamaha A-S1200 and OMG!!! It was pure audio nirvana, but I can’t justify $2800 for an amp, then spend a couple hundred more for a DAC. Right now the Arcam SA20 is in sale for $1200 and it’s an all in one integrated with everything I’ll need. I have no idea how they will sound together but I’m hoping when I get it all together tonight it will be a good match, if not I’m going to have to figure out a way to explain to the Mrs. why I need that Yamaha integrated. Those two together were insane.

I’ll report back once I get everything broken in.

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I’ll be doing a full review in the not too distant future.

Z should get a set of Linton’s and do an A / B against the Heresy. They are very different designs in some respects, but in others they check some similar boxes. Retro appeal in the exterior design. Speakers that are aiming to be more fun and dynamic than precision accurate. Speakers where the mid-range is the clear star of the show. I’d be really interested in what he thinks of them in a comparison.

I’m still getting the sense that the bass driver is breaking in. I maybe have a good 30 hours of so of music on them, sometimes walking away to allow them to break in at slightly above normal volume. Without a doubt the tweeter has settled in, out of the box that needed a good 10 hours of being driven to relax a bit. Once it did, it’s actually the least fatiguing tweeter I have ever heard. It’s fast and articulate but it’s not as detailed as some high quality metal tweeters I have heard. If you have ever head a good MQA file where they restore the “Air” to the recording, you don’t get as much of that here, but what you do get is fast and articulate and totally non fatiguing but it does take at least a good 10 hours or so to get it there, out of the box it’s a little harsh, but once it’s broken in it’s gorgeous.

Out of the Box the mid driver is extremely forward, after 30 hours the woofer is starting to come in a bit more and it’s creating a much more pleasant balance. It’s beautiful with female vocals in a way I can’t really describe. With a more romantic bendy electric guitar player, think David Gilmour, the notes have this beautiful syrupy quality to them. The mid range is the star of the presentation and 30 hours in I’m not sure if it’s more relaxed or if the bass driver is integrating better to the point where the total presentation becomes more balanced… I think more the later.

The Bass driver is still breaking in I think. I need to give it longer before I fully judge it. Out of the box you will say… Okay for big speakers the bass is kind of disappointing, what’s there is extremely pleasant but it’s just not moving the air it needs to yet. 30 hours in the character has changed quite a bit. It’s got more thump and grunt by far and it’s really integrating with that forward mid presentation much better now. I’m thinking another 30 hours and it should be broken in completely, I can still hear it improving a little with each session. The bass is tight and articulate, very musical, but its not forward. If you are a heavy bass head you will still want a sub to crossover at 40 Hz but I find it to be unnecessary.

I’ve done some testing with home theater stereo,dialog is perfect, center imaging is gorgeous, bass dynamics for actions scenes is quite nice, but not mind blowing to a point where some people won’t miss a powered sub. I’m fine without it because I’ve reached the point in my life where I value simplicity a bit more than perfection. Let me give it a good bit more break in to really judge it fully but right now I think my final review is going to be pretty stellar.

When I think I got the speakers and Arcam SA20 integrated for only $2,700 total and I may have finally gotten to my endgame in speakers and amp, I’m really pleased with that, and my wife will be too because she is sick of me flipping my gear every eighteen months or so.

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