2017 amps - $10K to $15K who is on your short list?

I saw recently a short list by TAS on 2016 amps between $10 & $15K MSRP the TAS staff concluded were their choices of the best for last year.

Perhaps these were new entries from2016 only. I don’t know and thee article did not mention that aspect. The list also appears to be a global perspective.

The list contained:
Air Tight ATM-1S,
AVM Ovation PA8 preamp and SA8.2 Power amp,
Constellation Inspiration,
Dn D'Agostino Classic Stereo,
GamuT D200i,
Hegel Music Systems H30,
PS Audio BHK Signature 300,
Triode Corporation TRX-M300,
Zesto Audio Bia 120

Regretfully some more mainstream names were not included which came to mind such as, BAT, VAC, Pass, and perhaps a couple more.

My question here is which ‘current production’ amps in this MSRP financial ball park would be on your short list were you shopping for new amps, or are in your present system?

Valves Solid State, hybrids, integrated, or Class D which are not speaker specific, requiring high Eff speakers or horns to work well.

Let’s include current production amps which are near the upper and lower limits of the spread, so if in your opinion there is an amp at $8 or $9K which out performs those costing more, or is even on par, in your opinion, plese feel free to mention it or them.

All amps must be at least in production now stereo amps. If they can as well be run as monos, fine enough, but let the price range of more or less, 10 – 15K dictate your ascertions on two channel amps or twin monos which would land in or near the mentioned boundaries.

Here are some I feel should be among the TAS list but were not, in no particular order:

VAC Signature 200 iQ Stereo/Mono - $14,000
This one is here on rep and new technology in the bias circuit alone. Have seen no reviews, and I have not heard it. It does offer itself as a mono if an uncle or Aunt dies and leaves you an inheritance.

Balanced Audio Technology VK 76SE stereo or mono $13,995.00 2ch price
I previously owned BAT vk 60 and found it very acceptable. Also in mono, see ‘inheritance’ above if twin mono setup is desired.

Balanced Audio Technology VK-655SE $16,500
(well, it is within a grand or so of 15K and BAT has strong performance heritage and very good secondary market presence. Also, didn’t want folks to think I was biased to tubes only)
I’ve owned BAT VK500 BAT pack, and loved it. Purely musical with control and finesse. A tick or two on the warm side. The latest iteration scales up the power and refines the voice, if the reviewer isn’t deaf. Once more offered in mono config too.

no inheritance on your horizon? Perhaps you can get pics of BAT Execs with tempestuous farm animals to negotiate possible lower price for twin mono setup. lol

Who is on your list and briefly, why?

Jim, one of the most interesting and highest performing products you mentioned but nobody replied until now.

We are the East Coast representatives of T+A and in their case you can look at two options the first being their PA 3000 HV integrated which is $18k or one of the their PA 3000 power amplifiers which is $19k so  a bit more but still within the ball park.

The integrated amplifier from the HV series is a remarkable performer, that was recentely compared to $120k, yes that is not a misprint CH Precision's seperate components, in the Absolute Sound, Allan Taffel found that when we switched systems he was having a difficulty telling which one is which.

So if you can't really tell or are having difficulties determining which is better between a $120k worth of fine Swiss gear vs a $18k integrated amplifier I would if I was shopping for electronics want to hear that piece.


To give you a few more bits about T+A they are the largest high end company in Germany with 110 full time employees with 10 of those people being full time engineers, MBL, Burmester are 10 person companies.

Why does this matter? The company's name sums it up, Theory plus Application. T+A.

This brand is the number one brand in Germany and because of their size and engineering talent can come up with novel and unique designs that can compare with radically much more expensive gear!

The HV series, stands for High Voltage, and in these designs transistors are run at comparable line voltages to tube designs, T+A  engineers theorized that the reason tubes sound so good and musical was not due to even order harmonic distortion/coloration but due to the increased linearity of a device which occurs at higher  voltages! This is novel and unique thinking.

The result T+A gear has athe smoothness and naturalness of tubes with the speed, clairty, and dynamic punch of solid state as well as their practicallity no noise, and no tube replacements would ever be required.

Their $4,200 dac the Dac 8 DSD has been compared to dacs that cost $10k and more, the dac features novel and unique filtering, and conversion techniques as well.

So if you were to trade in or sell a preamp that you wouldn't need the HV 3000 intergrated might be the perfect solution for you and if you look at the features;

300 watts into 8 ohms, 500 watts into 4 so you will have the power to drive any loudspeaker for now and forever
a phono card option that brings you close to a $6-10k phono preamp for $1800.00
built in room correction and eq options
a completely silient design
a huge three dimensional sound stage
incredible build quality and styling
dynamic transparency with a liquid midrange
fantastic dynamics and a tight punchy bass.
practical size and weight
no noise 
no tube replacement
in the case of the PA 3100 an upgrade path to improved sound by adding an outboard power supply
legendary German build quality and design

and lastely incredible sound quality for a reasonable price point, the HV series integrated has been compared to $120 worth of CH Precison seperates and the upgrade PA 3100 which offers front meters and the option to add an outboard power supply for even greater performance at $21,000 was compared to a $45k Dagastino integrated


So when you add it all up, T+A should be on your short list if you look at what T+A offers for the price, I think you will come to our conclusion that their products represent both a unqiue level of performance and are a remarkable deal for products which can compete with Solution, Dagastino, CH Precision and the very top echelon of audio gear yet is way more affordable at 1/2 to 1/5 the price of the gear they can easily compete with.

Lastly the marriage of T+A with Paradigm is incredible we should know we were demonstrating this system at the New York audio


and after the show

Dave and Troy 
Audio Doctor NJ

Audio Doctor NJ

I appreciate the input. I would remind you the aim here is to develop some concensus of a list for 2017 people could refer to which could help broaden their search base for a proposed solution someone may be looking towards.

Yes, I’m in that mix with any luck at all quite soon.

What I fail to understand is why “Audio Doctor NJ” feels compelled to offer services rather than merely first hand opinions on so many, many, many gear threads?

It biases me that with a dog in the hunt, the info being demonstrated is slanted past ordinary subjectivity with an intended aim for the preposed possibility of future business, and not simply as casual advice based on in your own home experience (s).

It does taint the input IMHO.

My input of TA as an option in this list of well heeled amps was entirely arbitrary. Just saw the name somewhere and thought to illicit more input, and or links to its articles.

Maybe, Troy, and Dave, you should do your advertising via ‘PM’ and place the business name atop the input or feedback you solicit in all of the forum topics you decide to invest your notices and accounts within.

Better still, simply insert your experiences without any mention of the business aspect you obviously seek. That would be taking the high road.

I suspect such an inventory possessed by your business can well afford to buy advertising, rather than to freely slide it into various forum threads across the web at each opportunity.

Albeit, the input is appreciated. The inference of some forthcoming business deal however, is not good business.

Face to face is where money changes hands and sales are made. If a seller proves themselves worthwhile and have desirable goods, and prices there are competitive, people will find you, you won’t always have to go out and knock on their doors.

Good luck.

thanks so very much.
My ears are just not in agreement with yours on this particular point. However, Ayre deserves as much noteworthiness here as does anyone else’ amps.

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Very interesting fare.

Price alone does not dictate if an amp is great, incredible or even magical. Amps are after all, just another link in the chain and must be subservient and master at the same exact interval.

The Agostino would be on my short list. You could go new with the Classic or even better with a mint used Momentum S200. Sweet and powerful from a legend. FWIW.