Best Vintage Integrated Amplifier Reviewed

With so many innovative audio components available like the best vintage integrated amplifiers, many of us prefer to go with the new is always better policy.

Yes, newer equipment, made by reliable manufacturers is a good choice since they are readily available wherever we go with the ease of repairs and the included warranties.

But on the contrary, we are also familiar with the term old is gold. Whether it’s an elderly person, a vintage car, a retro-style dress, or an electronic gadget that went out of production years ago – investing in the old is one of the best choices you can make in these times when many electronic companies are using illicit methods and materials to speed up their production.

The cost is another issue that accompanies the modern integrated amplifiers available today. With prices of gadgets increasing every day, there is a better chance of you finding an affordable vintage amplifier with optimal features, instead of getting the latest version with modern designs for the same price.

In fact, the past era saw the production of many innovative amplifiers that not only generated high-quality sound but also stood the test of time and are still popularly used today.

In this guide, let’s take a look at some of the top vintage integrated amplifiers that are definitely worth a look!

Best Vintage Integrated Amplifier

1. Chapman 305

best vintage integrated amplifier

Built-in 1960, the Chapman 305 is one of the earliest examples of a set with a combination of pre-amps and power-amps.

When it comes to sound, the equipment offers great sound quality. It is also aesthetically unique and will be an impressive addition to your home décor.

 

2. Sugden A21

The Sugden A21 was one of the premier models by the company founded by James Edward Sugden with the same name in 1967. Initially, the amp was branded for a loudspeaker company – Richard Allen.

However, the partnership saw an early end and we were left with a pure A class amplifier that will let you experience music like no other set.

 

3. A & R A60

Another old-school amp is the A & R A60, now known as Arcam. The Britain product dates back to 1977 and offers a comfortable sound, plus a modernized design.

Above all, the company is still popular today for the same reasons and hence will offer ease if servicing is required.

 

4. NAD 3020

Might not be one of the prettiest amplifier on the list, but it certainly is the most inexpensive – and durable. Built using sturdy materials, the 3020 features four inputs, including one for phono amp for exceptional sound quality.

 

5. Creek CAS 4040

Released in 1983, the Creek CAS 4040 offers solid sound resolution for the audiophile in you. A well-built set with a ‘vintage meets modern’ design, the Creek CAS 4040 provides a great value for money.

6. Naim NAIT

The NAIT, introduced in 1984, comes with excellent tonality. A reputable name in the audio products industry, the gear by Naim is renowned for quality products and excellent performance.

7. Mission Cyrus 2

Another set from 1984, the Mission Cyrus 2 swept every other integrated amp when it made its appearance. The reason: budget-friendly, precision control, appealing design, and of course – an impeccable sound that matched no other competitors during that time.

8. Audiolab 8000 A

Audiolab is another manufacturer that is well received in today’s digital era for its line of speakers, CD players, amplifiers, and of course – vintage versions.

Their 8000A is a compact model with a crisp sound quality. Just put it between two bookshelf-styled loudspeakers and enjoy great sound at any event.

 

Buying Guide on Vintage Integrated Amplifiers

It has been long established that vintage equipment is far superior to its modern counterparts. Especially in terms of their durability, these gadgets were built to last for longer periods and require minimum servicing.

However, there has to be some hesitation if you are buying an amplifier 35 – 40 years old.

  • Will the amp produce a comfortable sound?
  • Will the vintage gadget be as durable as it was in the previous decade?
  • Is it worth spending so much on an old item?
  • And what if the equipment is faulty or gone on multiple repairs during its lifespan?

These are just some of the countless questions that cross a potential buyer’s mind before they make the purchase. No one wants to get stuck with a piece of faulty equipment, right?

A good rule of thumb is to go for an amplifier that has been in constant use over the years. Ask around – maybe there are friends or acquaintances who are willing to sell their preloved equipment.

This way, you will not only get a good buy but also the assurance that the amps player has been well cared for by the owner.

Keep an eye on deals featured at eBay, Audiogon, and Facebook buy/sell groups.  You can even look around at neighborhood’s garage sales for a piece you can get at a throwaway price.

There are lots of sellers out there and you might get lucky and find an amplifier that accommodates your budget and sound preference successfully.

Speaking from previous experiences, we recommend not to go for products that are advertised as untouched or unused by the seller. No device can go on this long without being used and there is very less chance of it being in operational condition nevertheless.

We don’t even advise doing a trial of such a product as sometimes even just plugging it in can cause irreparable damage.

It is also a good idea to speak with industry experts or have the device checked out by an experienced technician to make up for your lack of knowledge.

FAQs

What is the difference between integrated and power amplifier?

A power amplifier is a basic set that amplifies automatically to a set of speakers when plugged in. However, as the name suggests, an integrated amplifier has to be connected to an existing component such as switcher, pre amps, and radio tuner.

Is it bad to leave an amp on all the time?

Generally speaking, most devices draw 2 times more power when they are switched on, compared to the circumstances under normal operation. Additionally, the constant toggle of on and off can also cause the parts to wear quickly and thus, it is advised to keep the amp turned off if you are not using it for long periods.

On the contrary, leaving it on standby is the way to go if you are planning to use the device multiple times a day.

Do amplifiers improve sound quality?

Yes, significantly! The main purpose of adding an amplifier to any stereo system is to transform the sound quality in a louder, cleaner, and distortion-free music.

 

Conclusion

Yes, there are hundreds of other choices when it comes to vintage integrated amplifiers, but due to space restrictions, we have listed only a few of our favorites that you can buy (with some effort).

However, the selection of the amps is purely based on your budget and the equipment’s availability. But we specifically recommend the Mission Cyrus 2 for being on point when it comes to pricing, quality, and durability.

Which one is your favorite? Do let us know in the comments below!