Integrated Amplifiers vs. Separates: Which Amp Is Right for You?

Which is better in terms of sound quality--a separate preamplifier and power amplifier, or an integrated amplifier that combines both in one chassis?

Twenty years ago, most audio experts would tell you to go for the separates. Having a separate power supply for each component was usually the number one reason, followed by flexibility--you could combine a tube preamplifier with a solid-state power amplifier, for example. Putting both components into a single chassis was usually viewed as a design compromise and reserved for affordable "entry-level" products.

But integrated amplifiers are starting to get some serious respect in the hi-fi world. Here at Tenacious Sound, we carry several great integrated amplifiers from such respected brands as Unison Research, Quad, Heed, Peachtree Audio, Rega and more.

We also carry great separates as well, so we're not saying one is better than the other. But when it comes to choosing between these options, it's obviously not a black-and-white decision.

Unison Research, for example, makes 14 integrated amplifiers and only 2 sets of separates. Their designer, Giovanni Saccheti, thinks that the added set of interconnect cables between a power amp and a preamp can create more problems than a shared power supply. Perhaps that's why they manufacture an integrated amplifier, the Absolute 845, that costs $50,000 and is considered one of the finest amplifiers in the world.

Integrated amplifiers can offer incredible sound. They can also save you space and money as well. Come in to Tenacious Sound for an audition of some of the finest integrated amplifiers available today!