Integrated amplifier and speakers: suggestions and advice?


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Aug 10, 2019
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Hello fellow music lovers,

As probably is customary, with my very first contribution to this forum I am hoping for advice before purchasing. As the subject suggests, I am in the hunt for a decent set consisting of an integrated amplifier and a pair of speakers (standmounts are preferred). I own a decent, as far as I know, turntable by Audio Technica, which will be the sole source of music. I may add a CD-player at some point, but currently, that is not a priority.

I have been dallying for about a month now, trying to develop an understanding of my own preferences and to ballpark my budget. Basically, I've come to a realisation that I compromises are necessary. Budget currently: EUR600-1300.

The room is some 25-30 square metres, will probably listen from close range (1-3 metres, it all depends on the spatial needs of the lady). However, the range is not set in stone, as I feel I have some room to maneuver and look for the optimal positions. I have acquired a rather extensive taste for music. Anything from Davis, Mingus, Coltrane; to Beatles, Dylan, Velvet Underground; to Clash, the Smiths, the Pixies; to Radiohead, Muse, Neutral Milk Hotel; to Mogwai, Mono, Isis, Pelican, Envy, Boris; to Cult of Luna, Converge, Between the Buried and Me.

Since my choices for amplifier are more limited, I will start with that. I have been primarily looking for Rega Brio R, Arcam Solo Mini and other similar compact amplifiers, as these would not necessiate a separate equipment rack. Aesthetically, I'm inclined to the highly-acclaimed Rega. Also, it would be the cheaper of the two, barring a bargain at eBay. However, I haven't had the chance to listen to any of these. How would the two compare? Somehow their visual look indicates they might, indeed, be quite dissimilar.

Speaker-wise, this is where I am standing:

Sonus Faber Toy: loved the warmth of the sound, but lacked in bass.

KEF Q300: A positive surprise, warm yet forthcoming, decent dynamics, but lacked a little accuracy in high-mid frequencies. (Amp: Cambridge 650)

Usher 520: Not for me. (Amp: Cambridge 650)

Aurelia Magenta: Very articulate, forthcoming, but was almost too 'snappy', sounded somewhat synthetic. (Amp: Cambridge 650)

Amphion Argon2 Anniversary: Very well balanced, very articulate to the point that I felt it compromised (albeit only slightly) the warmth and feel of the recording played. Brilliant bass. (Amp: Arcam F18).

Other speakers that I have listened, only briefly, hence no comments, were Audiovector M1 Super, Amphion Helium 510. Other makers I have had in mind include Dynaudio, System Audio and Elac.

Any suggestions on how to proceed: should I be looking at other speakers perhaps? I am very close to purchasing the Rega Brio R, how would that drive the aforementioned speakers? Would there be any noticable change in sound? What about the Arcam Solo Mini?

I hope I have provided enough information, I really want to get my new sound up and running some time this year, so any comments and suggestions are welcome.

Much obliged,



Unfortunately I am familiar with neither, and don't remember seeing too many products by those brands here in Finland. Therefore, I suspect demoing those will be difficult.

Also, to clarify, the Usher speaker I referred to in the first post was S520. Similarly, the Arcam amp used to demo the Amphion speakers was FMJ A28.


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