Long Term System Plans

I’ll be turning 56 next month and am beginning to think long term or final system. My intent (I assume others on the forum as well) is to simplify things with an integrated, an analog source and a digital source. In my case lower wattage (50+) solid state and more efficient speakers, I have a crush on the Tannoy GRF but not fully decided

I demo’d an Esoteric F-03A last week, full class A, true dual mono, build quality off the charts, 30/60 into 8/4. It sounded amazing but demoed with with the Magicos I currently run just didn’t have the grunt or drive if you will and the low end, while tight and clean sounding just didn’t quite get there with the Magico’s. I should mention that I am about 2 years out from purchasing new speakers and just can’t live with the loss of “dynamics” and “slam” for that period of time. The midrange and up was the sweetest I’ve ever heard, I now think I’m in love with full class A! The Esoteric by the way is a gorgeous piece of audio eye candy IMO

My dealer then hooked up a Gryphon Essence (stereo) to the A3’s, it took full control of the speakers, sounded incredible and was the most impactful, most dynamic 100 watts (4 ohm load) I have ever experienced, guess it’s true that all watts are not created equal! but at $22K and it being a separate…not in the plan, but oh man, did it sound great!

I’m stopping in Friday to hear the Gryphon Diablo 300, while an A/B amp, it is somewhat biased to class A (first 10 watts) and has optional dac and phono modules. I wouldn’t opt for the phono module (just ordered a new tube phono stage) but possibly the dac module which gets good press and eliminates one more box, but will in the end most likely go with the PSA mkII that is sure to be far superior to the ESS chip in the Gryphon dac module

If I go with A/B I would most likely go with the Diablo over Boulder, Pass, Ayre, etc. I realize it is not low powered but, hey, a little extra headroom never hurt anybody! While the others are fantastic my preference would be the Gryphon

Will also maintain a smallish tube system in my office. Currently consisting of, Concert Fidelity CF-80 (I will never part with this pre, yes it’s that good) Triode Japan EL 34
amp, Focal 700 series monitors and various digital sources, currently an OPPO streaming dac

So, I’ll end (a much to lengthy post) with a couple questions:

What are your long term system plans? I would love to hear about your future systems!
Any other recommendations on class A integrated amps in the under $25K level?



At 67, and two years from retirement, I’m pretty settled. I’m getting better, more lifelike sound from this setup than any other time in my 43 years in the hobby. Other than replacing anything that breaks and can’t be fixed, or that just wears out, I don’t have plans to change anything except maybe two acquisitions: a Stellar SACD transport (if PSA ever does such a thing) and switching to paired subwoofers. And I have some discards - some stuff I’ve replaced over the years that I’ll be wanting to sell sometime soon. I don’t know if that qualifies as long-term plans or not.

Current source gear:
VPI Scout w Ortofon 2M Bronze, fed to a Channel Islands Audio PEQ1 MkII phono preamp w upgraded power supply
Marantz SACD 30n
NuPrime CDT8-Pro (possibly for sale)
Aurender N100H streamer

Current amplification gear:
PSA M700 monoblocks

Current power gear:
PSA HC wall receptacles
PSA HC Ultimate Outlet
PSA Juice Bar
PSA Stellar P3 regenerator

Current speakers:
Magnepan .7
Hsu Research VTF2 MkII powered sub
Focal Elear headphones


very cool system! Are you not a fan of the 30N? or do you wish for a Stellar series transport for an I2S input?


What’s your phono amp?

Currently have an SPP, a Klyne SK-5, a Channel Islands PEQ-1 + power supply and an old Nak CA-5 (Curl & Pass design)

Anyway, I ordered a Modwright PH 9.0X because I wanted to try a tube phono and if I go SS, I just gotta have tubes in there somewhere :slightly_smiling_face: Trading the SPP in on the Modwright and will re-evaluate when PSA releases SPP MKII or a BHK Phono Stage



No, I’m a very big fan of the 30n, having just upgraded to it from an SA8005 back in May. From what I’ve heard at shops and in my home, it’s within a gnat’s eyelash of the KI-Ruby. And it does wonders with Redbook discs, too, to the point that I’m thinking I no longer need my NuPrime CD transport that does sample rate conversions, set up to feed DSD 126 to the SGCD via its I2S input. That sounds great, but I think the Marantz edges it out ever so slightly. I can’t think of how to describe the difference except to say it’s a more organic sound, a little “rounder,” without losing any detail.

Having said all that, I’ve just heard so many great things about the new PSA SACD transport feeding DSD data files to I2S-capable DACs, that I’d love to see some of that tech trickle down from the stratosphere. If they ever do that, I’d probably order one for audition.

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I had and heard a few Gryphon integrateds in my past before going Class A and separate. They were AB integrateds as today’s are. No comparison at all to Class A, you can’t persuade yourself to have more than AB with a powerful integrated imo.

With the goal of downsourcing from separates, especially if you’re looking for efficient speakers, I’d personally go tube or at least hybrid if available. But I don’t have concrete suggestions and current overview.

If you can get ASR amps (integrateds but with separate power supply) at your location, you should give them a listen.

Good feedback, I’m pretty set on solid state and will soothe my tube fix with the full tube (aside from digital source) in my office system

I with you on the class A, I’ve never experienced class A amps and now that I’ve had a taste, well, me likes…

The ASR is hailed as being one of the top flight INT’s but that’s a lot of real estate they consume!

Good discussion, Thanks!


Well, this is tube, but one of the most beautiful systems i ever heard was a Jadis DA 50S integrated, and DeVore 093 speakers. I don’t remember the other details except that it was all analog.

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Beautiful looking too!

Here is pics of the Esoteric at the demo, the Essence Stereo and Solo’s (Mono’s) were next door connected to Wilson V. We borrowed the Essence to hook up to the A3’s

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I have got an ASR Emitter II Exclusive with silver connections. It is great but the Gryphon Essence might be better with more openess (although more $$$)…

The Emitter is like 3 or 4 boxes, right?

I would entertain it but I want to make it easier on my surviving loved ones when my time has come…bet it sounds killer though


The Emitter II has 4 boxes yes. The Emitter I ‘only’ 3.

The Emitter II is a very fast, neutral amp.

You can just call ASR for more information. The owner (Mr. Friedrich Schaefer) is a very professional amp designer… and a nice guy

Yes sure, different kind of fish. Also the Emitter is no Class A, but different AB than usual.

JP, just went through a system consolidation myself last summer. I had a full PS Audio system with a DMP, DSD DAC, BHK Preamp, BHK 300 amps and a P20 PowerPlant.

My plant was to consolidate to the highest quality single components I could find in terms of quality and sound. I landed on the Marantz PM-10 integrated which is dual mono (200/400 wpc), has a third power supply for the preamp section, is fully balanced and has no built in DAC or tone controls. Also, landed on a Marantz SA-10 CD, SACD & DAC because it plays discs, has 3 digital inputs including USB, Upsamples everything to DSD, and is fully balanced.

For the money you are looking to spend, you might look at these Marantz components. I would suggest not getting a built in DAC in your integrated for the same reasons I wouldn’t recommend a built in streamer in a DAC and/or CD plauyer. These features both add a good bit of noise and there technologies evolve faster than the components themselves.

Another long short option is finding an NAD Silverline S300 integrated like this…

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Funny that you recommend such an old gear like Nad Silverline series,and yes they are pretty good stuff for a few hundred they cost nowadays if you can find any. I had full set of two S200 amps,S100 preamp and S500 cd player driving B&W 804 and 802 speakers some 20 years ago. Sure there is a lot of sound for 700usd,though I never heard that integrated S300. :thinking:

A friend has the Marantz stuff that you listed and it’s beautiful.


Nice system and a looker as well!

I’ve been considering simplifying my office rig, which sadly is the rig I listen to the most (work, work, work). I’ve been considering a Pass Labs INT-60 and a McIntosh MA352. Both are completely different. I was hoping to be in NYC in October so I could get a chance to listen to both but that’s not happening with COVID Delta. I’m in no rush but I am looking forward to something relatively simple and elegant that I will keep for…well maybe for the rest of my life.

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