Integrated amplifiers combine power with the flexibility of the inputs you need and they don’t have to cost the earth to sound great
Best Integrated Amplifiers
Aren’t you tired of listening to your friends go on and on about the low sound quality of your music system? Or maybe like me, you don’t have friends who listen long enough to criticise anything but the voice in your head tells you that you could do so much better.
Well, it can all stop if you pony up for a better-integrated amplifier. It will help improve the audio quality and enable you to connect to various digital sources to play your favorite tracks. It also doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
You know I always go on about the fact that music should make you feel something. This is harder to achieve with a budget integrated amplifier.
I’ve always said if you’re going to upgrade your HiFi then speakers will make the biggest impact first. It’s like having amazing tires on a car with a rubbish engine, the road noise is diminished and the ride is nice but, ideally, you have to get both upgraded at some point.
We’ve owned a couple of Cambridge Audio Integrated Amplifiers, the first back in 2006. They’ve produced best in class every since. The CXA-81 continues the success with a fast, punchy and well featured integrated amplifier. Digital music fans will apprecate the built-in ESS Sabre SE9016K2M DAC for an excellent musical transformation. I’m a big fan just on it’s natural ability to provide real PRAT with almost anything you send it.
An integrated amplifier is an excellent choice whether you want to enhance your audio system or stream high-quality music.
However, choosing an integrated amplifier that aligns with all your needs is not easy, but don’t worry! In this article, I’ve recommended the five best-integrated amplifiers depending on your needs and budget.
I’d suggest you check for the number and types of compatible connectors before selecting an integrated amplifier for yourself. Also, look for an amplifier with wireless connectivity to stream your favorite hits.
What is an integrated amplifier?
An integrated amplifier essentially combines both the pre-amp and power-amp into one unit.
The way they are designed also means it’s easier to manage all your media connections to one unit and you only have to power the one component.
The pre-amp is what you connect all your devices to and the Power Amplifier is what drives the sound (measured in wattage or watts)
Hang on, so what’s a Receiver?
A receiver has an integrated AM/FM tuner in it to receive radio signals. That’s the Receiver bit in the name…Receiver…yup.
So, now that you have a better idea of what you are looking for in your device, you can pick out the best-integrated amplifier around the corner.
|1: Marantz PM7000N||17.3 x 4.9 x 14.9 inches||60 Watts||8.6 Kg|
|2: NAD 3020 V2||8.6 x 7.4 x 2.3 inches||30 Watts||2 Kg|
|3: Cambridge CXA-81 Integrated Amp||13.4 x 16.9 x 4.5 inches||80 Watts||8.6 Kg|
|4: Rotel RA-1572 MKII||17 × 5.7 × 14.1 inches||120 Watts||13.6 Kg|
|5: Denon PMA-800NE Integrated Amp||12.3 x 17.1 x 4.8 inches||85 Watts||7.5 Kg|
Here is a quick overview of the amplifiers enlisted in this article. So read along and find yourself one of the best-integrated amplifiers to stream your songs in high-quality audio.
1: Marantz PM7000N Integrated Amplifier
Best streaming integrated amplifier
See more reviews on Amazon: Marantz PM7000N
- Wifi and bluetooth enabled
- 60 Watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms
- Easy to control with the HEOS app for changing settings, music selection, and playback.
- Supports multi-room audio with compatible wireless speakers
- You can stream music from Spotify, Pandora, or even Apple Music.
- The Apple AirPlay 2 enables you to play directly from your device.
When you are looking for wireless streaming that gives you that loud but crystal clear music quality right at your home, then the Marantz PM7000N is probably the best option. Why? Well, the Home Entertainment Operating System (HEOS) installed in this enables you to stream music from several platforms, be it Spotify, Pandora, or Apple Music.
With HEOS compatible speakers, you can even set up multi-room audio; whether you are in your room or the kitchen, you can control your device anywhere. Marantz’s Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module (HDAM) makes this easier for you.
You can get a HEOS wireless speaker connector as an optional extra and you can run the HEOS from your smartphone or just stream directly from other apps like Spotify.
2: NAD 3020 V2 Integrated Amplifier
Best integrated amplifier under $500 + DAC
See more info at NAD: NAD 3020 V2
- Modern and compact minimalistic design
- 30 Watts x 2 into 8 ohm
- Built-in digital-to-analog converter
- Bluetooth enabled with aptX encoding for better music streaming.
- One pair of analog stereo (RCA) inputs
- Built-in headphone amplifier with 3.5mm minijack
Are you looking for something to complement the look of your desktop? Then there is no better pick than the NAD 3020 V2. A great DAC for desktop speakers or headphones.
I used to sell a lot of these at Headphones Canada as an excellent headphone integrated amplifier although it’s great for anything.
Its minimalistic design is what sets it apart from the rest of the integrated amplifiers on this list. It has an elegant finish with smooth black curves, and it only weighs 2 kgs. Furthermore, it works on the soft clip technology for dynamic power for better efficiency.
The optical and coaxial digital input cables enable you to connect a turntable with a moving magnet cartridge, which helps you connect with your analog/digital source. You can even connect the devices via Bluetooth.
3: Cambridge CXA-81 Integrated Amplifier
Best integrated amplifier under $2000
See more reviews on Amazon: Cambridge CX-A81
- 80 Watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms
- Compatible with a diverse range of speakers
- High-quality audio wireless streaming
- RCA inputs are unbalanced
The Cambridge CXA-81 has a smooth aluminum front which gives it a classic metallic finish, with the power of 80 Watts per channel through which you can play your favorite tracks on your sound system efficiently.
Moreover, the audiophile-grade toroidal transformer with the built-in DAC delivers clear and refined sound from the digital sources connected to the amplifier. Also, this integrated amplifier has analogs that allow you to connect your device to play your favorite music. The balanced XLR cable is also included, and you can even stream music from your devices via Bluetooth.
4: Rotel RA-1572 MKII Integrated Amplifier
Best premium integrated amplifier
See more info at ROTEL: Rotel RA-1572 MKII
- 32-bit DAC with four unbalanced stereo RCA inputs
- Detachable power cord
- 120 Watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms
- Easy to use remote control
- Bluetooth/Wifi enabled
- Class AB amplification with custom-designed toroidal transformer
- Two optical digital inputs and two coaxial digital inputs
In the Rotel RA-1572 MKII, you get clean and precise sound no matter which device you connect to, as its DAC converts incoming digital data to analog, giving you incredible audio quality. You can even opt for a variety of analog and digital inputs on the RA-1572 MKII.
Additionally, the audiophile quality installed Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), and MQA Studio files give you an incredible audio experience. Adding to its impressive features is the amplifier’s bluetooth connectivity that ensures you enjoy your music time while you are just cuddled up on your couch.
5: Denon PMA-800NE Integrated Amplifier
Best integrated amplifier under $1000
See more reviews on Amazon: Denon PMA-800NE
- 85 Watts x 2 into 4 ohms
- Preinstalled phono pre-amplifier that works on the input received from both the coil and the cartridges
- Incorporated dual-band bluetooth and wifi enabled
- Built-in headphone amplifier with full-size (1/4-inch) jack.
- Analog Mode disables circuitry.
I’ve owned 3 Denon amps in my life so this one is an easy recommendation. I have the Denon AVR-x4500h currently for Home Theater and an older Denon for HiFi. This is a great upgrade for HiFi.
If you have a record or a vinyl collection you want to play your music from, then I’d would suggest you go for the Denon PMA-800NE integrated amplifier. It has a built-in phono preamplifier that works with both the moving coil and the magnet cartridges, which is perfect for your records as it delivers a crystal clear audio quality.
Furthermore, your vintage analog source is preserved, so you don’t need to worry about it getting damaged, as the amp has a pure analog feature that disables its digital circuitry. Denon PMA-800NE can also connect with various other digital sources.
It’s such a nice slimline integrated amplifier without all the extra bulk so it fits nicely into your HiFi rack or entertainment stand.
Wrapping it all up
Getting an integrated amplifier for your audio system is an excellent way to elevate the sound quality. These five integrated amplifiers are great picks, which give you so many different benefits, no matter if you are looking for an amplifier like Cambridge CXA-81 to complement your sound system or to stream music with the wireless Marantz PM7000N amplifier. I’d always suggest you do your research reading other reviews before you go on and select a product that you love – Amazon, Crutchfield or even each of the brands websites have more feedback from customers.
The Cambridge Audio CXA8 is definitely aimed at HiFi use so if you’re looking for Home Theatre, it’s possible there are better options.
We hope this article was insightful and will help you in selecting the best-suited integrated amplifier for you.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-03-20 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.