Recommended Posts

This is likely to be a very small club, but interested to see if any other YBA users are present on the wam.

Based on hazy recollections of this brand when it was popular in the US with publications such as Stereophile, I bought an Integre DT integrated amp on this parish last year.  This amp design has been around since the mid 90s and was a niche product in the UK costing £1600 for the line only version which was well into pre-power price territory.  Construction is top notch with a well laid out circuit board and decent looking components.  It looks and feels like a quality product. 

Unusually it uses two C core transformers and although only rated at 50w, it almost doubles output into 4 ohm so I can only assume the power supply is fairly well engineered.  It has had no problems driving my JBLs which have brought tears to some other amps I have tried. 

Sonically it is lovely, with a real drive and energy but plenty of subtlety too.  Bass, both guitar and drum, is very tuneful.  Its real strength is being able to pick up musical strands and allow you to follow them.  The treble is extended but not bright. In the way it portrays instruments such as sax with a real rasp it is more reminiscent of a valve presentation. And there is an indefinable musicality that brings to mind a good valve amp. 

Since purchasing this well cared for and serviced late series example, I have stopped my search for an amp to drive the JBLs, the YBA is a great match and is completely fuss free.  Of course, as with all amps and speakers, synergy is important.  I still prefer my Tannoy HPDs with my modded Quad 405 and passive pre, on the YBA they sounded a bit thinner. So on my limited experimenting perhaps the YBA is better suited to less efficient speakers it can drive harder?

I understand YBAs are no longer made in France and production has moved to China.  But on the basis of my findings with this gem of an amp, I can certainly recommend seeking out their 1990 era products. In addition to a full range of pre and power amps, YBA also made some impressive and rather expensive top loading CDPs.

I will get around to posting some pics but it may take a few weeks as it is in constant use!

Edited by graham67

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I used to own a heavily modified Passion 400 top loading CD player. It was very nice and I'd happily have it back. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎3‎/‎31‎/‎2017 at 23:23, ijrussell said:

I used to own a heavily modified Passion 400 top loading CD player. It was very nice and I'd happily have it back. :)

Was this the one you had?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
16 minutes ago, graham67 said:

Was this the one you had?

Yes. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice!. I always liked their nineties top loading YBA players, but it was impossible trying to get a demo in the south east so I bought a Sugden instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bit of a small club this one, but see below for some pics of my YBA from 2001.  Construction is neat and component quality seems high.

Edited by graham67

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One bizarre feature of this amp, that I have just found out, is that the video input sounds better than the other inputs.  I emailed YBA who confirmed this was due to the signal path having less contacts.

So after using the phono/aux line input for all this time I yesterday changed the phono stage to the video input and sure enough the sound was noticeably clearer and more detailed and the soundstage even bigger.  That's the kind of upgrade I like 🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is an Integre DT currently available at Emporium Hifi. I.wont say its a bargain, but, who knows, they may negotiate. Listing doesn't mention if the fine MM phono stage is fitted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a YBA dac since 2016 and I'm very happy with it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After revisiting this thread, I realized that I had not provided an update on the upgrades that I’ve had made to the YBA.

Last year, I sent the amp to Yves Bertrand Andre and his team in Paris, who fitted an MM board, supplied a matching external SUT and fitted a remote control and mute for the volume. They also serviced the amp and performed some minor circuit upgrades. The process was not without a few minor hiccups (not helped by communicating in English) but I cannot fault their dedication to ensuring a satisfactory outcome.

The MM phonostage is very good (and quiet) though it is important to use a cart with a healthy output. The signature of the stage is not unlike the amp itself.  It is drier than using a valve MM stage, but remains well balanced, energetic and musical.  The first image below shows the new rear PCB containing the phono stage circuits.

The external SUT is unusual in that it plugs directly into the MM phono inputs with no additional cables (or shelves!) required. With the SUT, gain is very healthy, it is deadly quiet and worked well with my usual AT-OC9.   It lacks the scale, snap and ultimate extension of the Phonomac-modded Denon Head amp, but as a one box solution i would rate it higher than a typical on-board MC stages.   I suspect someone with more modern speakers (or more sophisticated musical tastes!) could well find it good enough to not bother with an external phono stage. 

It was amusing re-reading my comment from last year that my search for an amp had ended. I should have read this before trying yet another amp.  I seem to be afflicted with a nagging belief that something so unassuming must be bettered  by something out there.  The reality is proving otherwise as I have yet to find an integrated that equals the YBA. It's ability to drive difficult speakers and still sound lively is just what is needed for my speakers that can sound a bit flat with many well-regarded amps.  Indeed, after going back to the YBA after the most recent  interloper, it very quickly became apparent that, despite the other amp's strengths, the quicker, leaner YBA is a better match to the challenging JBLs.

It has been suggested that I look at a potential cart upgrade rather than the amp and I think I would do well to heed this sensible advice😃 !!

Inside Front 25pt.jpg

SUT rear panel 25pt.jpg

front left 25pt.jpg

front 25pt.jpg

Rear 25pt.jpg

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Graham, you have a beautiful YBA Integre! Like you, mine did not come with a phono module! I wonder if the earlier phono modules were fitted into the chassis rather than connected externally (as in your case). I wrote to YBA and was surprised they replied (thanks to Pierre Oslawski's advice and permission for me to quote his name in my email to YBA!), saying that they could make the phono MM unit for me for Euros 200. I'm guessing that they were referring to the external unit like in your case. I'm quite tempted to pull the trigger and buy it, bearing in mind how important it is to keep everything within the YBA DNA!

I have also found that the YBA Integre DT is a very musical integrated but it may not be everybody's cup of tea! Like what you said, it excels very well in communicating the music (brass and hi-hats have great bite and shimmer). Timbre and PRAT (pac, rhythm and timing) is also is strong point. I can understand why some consider the Integre as sounding 'bright' or 'lean' so careful matching with speakers is necessary. When mated properly with the right speakers, the Integre has few peers at its price.

Lastly, I recall reading YBA's advice in the Instruction Manual that the 'video' input is the best sounding! I would be happy to share a scanned copy of my manual with you if you wish!

Happy listening!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Denjo,  I have only just seen your post and I am very sorry for not responding 😢 .

The 200 euro phono option is the  internal MM phono stage.  If you look at the pre and post pics on the inside right of the rear panel near the phono/aux input you will see a bunch of extra components. This necessitated the rear PCB to be replaced.  The MM phono stage sounds excellent so its a very good value mod. As mentioned the volume needs to be cranked up, but this is the way it was designed.

The external module shown is a MC SUT which plugs directly into the MM phono stage sockets.  Its a neat looking solution though a little fragile so needs to be handled with care.  I think an external head amp such as the denon ha500 i have gives a better solution and of course can be used with other external phono stages.

Thanks very much for the offer of a manual,  I do actually have one but obviously didn't read it carefully enough 😄

Edited by graham67

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.