<2K amp for Shearwaters

Now that I have a nice pair of speakers,... I want tubes. I've set my budget, and am trying to decide beween: 1. an integrated- like the Cary sli80, VTL IT85, CJ,. 2. Use the volume on my Marantz CD63 to control the level into a power amp- VTL ST85, or many used pieces I've noticed on Audiogon.. or go with some inexpensive mono blocks, ss or used tube. I mean, I think I really want tube power, I love the sound, the few times I've listened. and the speaker maker highly reccommends tube power for his product. Any advice from Shearwater owners (89dB) or anybody else is appreciated. Jay
I would buy a Van Alstine Omega III at about a $1000 for those speakers. It is solid state, but I don't think there is anything intrinsically special about a tube. If your just dying to have them their fet/valve line are hybrid vacuum tube solid-state designs and start at around $1500 (I own those). Any of the Van Alstine stuff is excellent value for the money. www.avahifi.com A used or new Carver Sunfire would also be a good amplifier.
Jay - Do yourself a favor and stick with tubes. Ez either isn't reading your post or hasn't heard good, all-tube amps. If there isn't something intrinsically special about good tubes, then why would any manufacturer still use them?!?. There are plenty of used tube amps, stereo or monoblocks, less than $2k listed. Figure on tube rolling to get the sound that best fits your system and taste. There's a RM-9 Mk2 listed for $1550 obo which is a great amp for the money, and very reliable. Also, CJ and VTL models are available. These usually sound best after a bit of "tweaking", upgraded caps and tubes. Follow your ears and you'll eventually find what you want. Goodluck.
Rogue has a all tube Integrated Amp due out next week.Its called the Tempest.1995.00 If its anywhere as good as their other stuff it will be a steal.Your speakers will sound great with these.The amps also have the capability of bringing another set of amps into it so you can bi amp.
I too, used to have the Shearwaters (Hot Rods) and Marantz 63 SE. These speakers really do like tubes, Jay. I have heard them on Rogue equip. and they sounded great, so I concur w/prev. post. My best friend has them with Jolida 502B ($700 used) w/ DH Silver Sonics biwire/interconnects and it is one of the best budget systems I have ever heard! I also think an Aronov Tube integrated 60w/ch ($1400 used) is hard to beat. But you really should go up to a Rega (CD $450 used) or get a MSB DAC (can use 63's optical output) to help your front end. The Harmonic Technology Truth-Link cables are a good way to go for a bit more. Their Pro-11 biwired is one of the best kept secrets for speaker wire set-ups. Best Regards, truman
There's a dealer here in New York who has essentially made a name for himself selling little other than Meadowlark speakers coupled with VAC equipment. Really, to the point where, if you walk into another store and mention that you are considering this combination, whoever you are speaking to will know the guy by name. He almost had me (however, I ended up with Thiel, a Bryston amp, and a VTL pre). Really funny, though. That said, the Shearwaters sounded really sweet driven by the VAC Avatar (integrated, tubes), not to mention on some of their CJ stuff that was definitely beyond my pricerange, I must admit. (...and the Herons, better still, driven by Cary monoblocks...) Just thought I'd throw that on, as I didn't see VAC on your list of things to consider. I think the Avatar is more expensive (3.5k?) but a little patience may turn a used one up close about 2k.... Finally, I suspect that you may be dissapointed by the volume control on the Marantz in the long run if you run it directly into an amp, and then quickly find yourself longing for a fancier CD player (as I am, another story). That said, a nice CD player, a tube amp, and the Shearwaters could make for quite a nice system.... Shop (and listen) about a bit and try to get a feel for how different tubed equipment sounds different. I'm happy with my VTL, but part of me wishes that I'd spent a little more time with some BAT, Audio Research, and Audible Illusions before I bought it--just to have done so, more than anything. From my experience, Meadowlarks do like tubes, though. Enjoy.
I have a set of Wright Mono 10s ($1700) on order to use with my Shearwaters, so I can't yet comment on the sound. However, in the meantime, I am using a Fisher 400 tube receiver that I purchased for $200 on eBay--and it sounds great! I previously owned a Mesa Tigris and a Joule Electra VAMP, and the Fisher beats them both.
jay--i spent a lot of time listening to both the shearwaters and herons powered by tubes in your price range. i was most impressed by cj's mv55 and the (comprable?) vtl offering (i think it was the st85). i ended up going with the cj. although i found hte vtl faster, i found the cj warmer and more musical. that said, also have a listen to audio research's classic 60. i would stay away from integrateds. there's nothing wrong with them, however, i think you may end up getting better sound and better value going first for an amp and later adding a pre (especially since you are able to control your volume directly through your cd player. i assume, of course, that source switching is not currently important to you?). if you have a chance, compare and contrast cj's mv55/pv10a with cj's cav50. you'll hear a difference. i prefered the mv55/pv10 separates, i'm not sure what you'll prefer. but in any case there is a difference. good luck.
Mezmo, Thanks for the help. I wish I was in N.Y. right now. Unfortunately I live in the jungle, literally- in St. Thomas. Nice place, but not many high end stores nearby. I'm just happy to have electricity most of the time. I'm going to have to buy someting sight unseen, or else spend $1000 on a flight to NY to stay at your place to audition a few things on my short list. How bout it? I'll bring some rum, fresh mangoes, conch, goat, whatever you want, mmmmm, nothin like Messaien with mutton,... VAC is also on my short list, as is BAT, (used BAT VK60), and maybe the RM9mkII on the used board, decisions decisions,... Jay
Jay, it seems as if you've loosened your budget a bit. If not, go with the C-J CAV-50 if you LIKE a rich, warm, romantic(some would argue overly, not me), "classic" tube sound. From all that I've listened to from Rogue, their new integrated would be on the other end of the spectrum. More "new tube sound"; more neutral, many would say better and more accurate. If you are in the middle, check out the Jolida 801, just be sure to instantly upgrade to some European tubes(and use KT88's for output), and a Synergistic Research power cord. If your budget has loosened, BUY(!!!) a Jadis Orchestra Reference. Look the ad up in The Absolute Sound. One of the most beautiful amps you've ever seen, you say? Forget that, the SOUND puts its looks to shame!
Hi, I just thought I'd let you know that I wound up getting a new Cary sli80. It was a long proccess, lots of research, but it was worth the work. Sounds beautiful.