I know of Viva, I had their Solista integrated and very good it was too. 3 other Italian companies come to mind, Mastersound, Unison Research and New Audio Frontiers. There must be others, but I can't recall them. I am sure you will know, all will run as hot as hell.
Audion has 2...
Elite 3 Box and the Black Shadow 2
--Audion Dealer Disclosure
Nagra (may have discontinued their p-p monoblocks)
Additional no-name Chinese and Korean producers
Keep digging -- there are more.
I think there are more consumer 845 amp choices available today than any prior time in high-end audio. 845 and 211 are the entry points into "big glass" tube audio.
Nagra VPA's are 845 based...
Nagra VPA. 50 watts, push pull Class A
Blissful. Their delicate yet POWERFUL musicality must be heard to be believed
(disclosure: I used to be their US service tech)
Consonance Cyber 845 (beautifully made Chinese monoblocs) and Icon Audio MB845II Signature and Unison Research.
Solista was good, Verona & Aurora much higher level of performance - and unfortunately, much higher price as well.
There is a New Audio Frontiers 845 special edition integrated amplifier being offered on Audiogon for a good price. I own a NAF 300b special edition that Im elated with.
Can anyone advise on the differences between 845 Tube Amps when compared to KT88 Tube Amps from a sound perspective ? I am only familiar with KT88 and hence this question.
The greater difference will be found in the typical application of these tubes rather than the tubes themselves. 845s are triods, typically found in lower power tube amplifiers, but relatively highish power SETs. KT88s are pentodes that can be found in amplifiers of all power ratings.
I know better than to answer technical questions, but sometimes Im overcome by the urge to jump off the porch and run with the big dogs. The KT88 is a tetrode capable of operating in triode and...somebody else take it. I know when to shut up...sometimes.
Phaelon, thanks for your response. My current KT88 Amp can be run in either Pentode or Triode mode. I always run them in Pentode mode bcos of better dynamics and punch. Will I get similar dynamics and punch from 845 amps ? How does 845 and KT88 compare sonically ? Please advise.
If you have speakers that are fairly efficient, then it may be possible to get nice dynamics and punch from an 845 amp. With 845's, you are talking about pretty low powered amps in most cases (usually less then 20 or 30 watts). You would most likely want a speaker rated in the 90 db's and the higher the better.
IME, it's hard to answer your question on a "tube vs tube" basis, because so many other variables are changing, too. (I know of no amp that allows the user to swap KT-88s and 845s for an "apples to apples" test.) From the circuit (per Phaelon) to the partnering speakers - the resultant change in sound upon changing from a KT-88 to an 845 may be hard to predict, and in any case, would be hard to attribute solely to the output tube.
I have used both the Cary 805 (w/845, briefly) and the Prima Luna mono 6 (w/KT-88, briefly) with my Verity P/Es and my Merlin VSMs. (Ironically, I ended up ditching both the KT-88 and the 845, using 211s long term in the Cary and KT-66 long term in the PL - see below.)
The best short answer that I can provide to your specific "punch" question is that the KT-88 definitely struck me as significantly "punchier" on the Verity (tho I prefered the Cary, overall). On the Merlins, the delta in macro-dynamics was much less evident.
Overall, the 845 feels like a somewhat darker, more liquid sounding tube than the KT-88 to me, but that observation is subject to all of the caveats noted above.
Note: My Cary uses the 845 in an SET configuration, which may explain the difference in sound better than the output tube delta. The Cary also allows the user to swap a 211 for the 845 and (with the Verity) this seems to reduce the slightly "dark" character of the Cary amps, so I switched to 211s for long term use with the Verity. Conversely, the KT-66 struck me a somewhat "gentler" sounding than the KT-88 in my PL, so I ended up going that way for use with my Merlins. In the end, all output tube decisions were system driven.
I believe its possible for an 845 to deliver all the punch and dynamics you could ask for if it is used in a circuit that is well matched to the speaker. Pentode amplifiers will deliver that same punch and dynamics to a wider range of speakers.
We all have our preferences, but I have heard most major tube types deliver outstanding sound when employed correctly in a well designed amplifier.
Icon Audio (push-pull) and Pure Sound (SET), both from the UK.
Phaelon, Goldprintaudio and Martyk1,
Thank you so much for your inputs.
I have just got the Tannoy Canterbury SE speakers and am researching on a suitable Amp to match this. I don't want to hijack this thread, so I am opening a separate thread right away to discuss this. Thanks so much for your inputs !
I happen to be a Tannoy dealer also and can tell for sure that the 2 Audion 845 amps (Elite 3 box and Black Shadow2) sound absolutely fantastic with your speakers (great choice by the way!). The Cary also does an extremely fine job matching up with the Tannoys.
***Audion, Cary and Tannoy dealer disclaimer***
Thanks Goldprintaudio, I shall read more about these amps. The previous owner was not quite happy with Cary though.
BTW, I have created a separate thread for "Amp recommendations for Tannoy Canterbury SE".
The Bel Canto SET40 is an excellent single ended triode stereo amp that uses one 845 per channel. Due to it's excellent output transformers as well as it's circuit design, it provides a wonderfully dynamic and full range frequency response.
However, you must find them on the used market as they are no longer available new......very worthwhile searching for though.
Goldprin Audio - do you carry Audio 845 tube amp? How much are we talking about? Please send your price list to me at my email address - username at gmail
Nguyen787, you will have better luck contacting Gold Print Audio directly at email@example.com or 336-501-3791
See more info here regarding Melody 845 amps.
I am Melody US Distributor.
Mastersound Compact integrated 845 and Mastersound Final 845 Monoblocks.Both excellent amplifiers
I've owned the Audion 845 Black Shadow monos for several months.
They do it all effortlessly. Very quick and powerful. Relatively light and do not run hot. Worth every penny. Recommend without reservation!
Have owned the Mastersound 300B integrated and enjoyed it very much.
However, it was really heavy (70lbs) and frankly, not very dependable.
Early - how much were the pair of Audion 845 Black Shadow used?
Nguyen - I was very lucky to come across them used. Saved a little off the cost of new ones. I consider them a long term investment.
Early are you using them with Zu Druids?
Morgans - Yes, the Druid 5.
I have an Shuguang Classic 845 tube monoblocs. Because its high input voltage (4V), passive preamp was a challenge to keep up high volume. I may want to shop around for a used pair of Audion Black Shadow and sell the Shuguang.
Audio Space Reference 3
Early, I have a pair of Druid V's on order, should have in a couple of weeks. Does the Black Shadow have a 16 ohm output option or are you running the Druids off the 8 ohm taps? ZU recommended having my Art Audio PX-25 re-tapped for 16 ohms to pair with the Druids. Curious about the Audion amps and how they match up with 16 ohm speaker. Thanks.
I believe it is an 8ohm tap. 213cobra has written extensively about the Audion 845 and Audion amps in general and their oneness with Zu.Check out his posts. You will love your Druid, they get better and better!
Just curious, where do you live?
I live in Maine, getting some serious snow at the moment. Thanks for the information, looking forward to the Druids. I'm really curious about Zu speakers, my experience with the company thus far has been exceptional.