A stew combines the same food elements as are found in a fancy restaurant’s small expensive plates: tastings that are ever so much more flavorful than their amalgam.
The same can be said for most integrateds and receivers, but not because they are in one box, but because of the shortcuts taken in their design.
Most integrated stereo products exist to lower unit cost. One obvious savings is the chassis. Separates have individual chassis, power supplies, front panels, controls, and displays. We can save money by combining all but one of these elements without sacrificing quality. The power supplies.
One of the classic errors made in attempting an integrated with uncompromised sonics is the use of a single power supply for the myriad of internal componentry. An integrated’s lack of connecting cables, mutiple displays, and physical distance signals must traverse all work against the idea of separates. Yet, their attention to detail and separated power supplies often provide a performance edge not enjoyed by integrated solutions.
When we next tackle an integrated, one of the things that interests me is to see if we can do so without compromising sound quality, while maximizing cost and real estate savings. A lofty goal, indeed, but one personally interesting as a challenge.
I hope we can pull it off.