A tubed integrated amp for Joseph Audio Pulsars?


I'm running a modified Jolida 502B integrated of long use with my Pulsars. Thinking it's near time to try something new. I want to continue in the tube integrated realm and it's very hard to get a take-home amp to test. I'm interested in synergy and an amp with the ability to handle more demanding passages. I love a grand, full, tactile mid-range, but don't want to skirt elsewhere. A little tempo is important. Flabby bass unforgivable if it comes out of tight, little speakers like these. Extension? Soundstaging?  Bring it!
I have a hard time understanding what kind of power I need for these Pulsars, knowing not all wattage is created equally. So I worry about attractive amps like Leben or Luxman or anything not over 50w, even though that worry might be unfounded. I want to make magic. So, what's a perfect fit? Who has been down this road with these speakers and has tales to tell and guidance to share? Under $10K, please.Oh, and it's got to be built to last for-evah.
beeswax
Is a tube amp the best pairing with the JAs in terms of synergy?  I was thinking the sensitivity in the 83db range may not be optimal but I suppose with enough power the pairing becomes less problematic.  
From Soundstage Hi-Fi: "The Pulsar is, at least on paper, a uniform and benign load with a nominal impedance of 8 ohms that never drops below 6 ohms -- perfect for tube amps."

So, the sensitivity and that statement appear to be in contrast, which is one of the primary reasons I’m seeking guidance here.
Thanks for the amp choices. Have you all ever actually driven the Pulsars with those amps?
By the way, twoleftears, that's a $20,000 amp.
Rogue Cronus II with stock tube is just good.

But after changing 12Ax7 with Telefuken and 12au7 with Brinmar NOS tube it is a very good amplifier to drive your speaker.
Another +vote for Octave Audio.  Happy Listening!
Thanks. I think some of you are just throwing amps out there without comment. I mean, the Line Magnetic is 22wpc. Have you actually used this thing with Pulsars. Have any of you? I know ALL the amp companies practically. I'm looking for voices of experience WITH THESE SPEAKERS, not amp recommendations.
We may be able to help we have the Synthesis A 100T a 100 watt Class A/B Kt 66 tube integrarted from Italy it drives 87db efficient speakers beautifully.

We never sold the Pulsars but did sell their spiritual clones which are speakers from Source Technologies,

Source Technolgies is a small CT speaker company run by John Socilito the JS Engineering owner, which were the original infinite slope loudpeakers, John sold the rights to this technology to Jeff Joseph and Joseph Audiio was born.

We had a $3k set of monitors from Source that use the same Seas Magnesium woofer as the Pulsars with a different tweeter.

Many of the same hallmarks between the two speakers sonically, huge sundstage, very good bass response, a fast clean overall sound.

The Syntheis is a stunning sounding, very  powerful tube integraed using the famous KT 66 tube in a push pull configuration, the A100T also comes with a very good $3k dac board which was used in Synthesis’s outboard dac, this dac board sounds really good and  includes both usb and spdif inputs and the amp even has a full function remote.

So for $7.5 k you get a fantastic amp and a $3k dac just add a streamer and you are good to go. 

The A100T is very good in all parameters it has a great soundstage, is warm but not tuby, has good bass control throws a huge soundstage and is also low in noise. this is one of our favorite amplifiers below $10k 


http://synthesis.co.it/product.php?id=32

Syntheis is a relatively unknown brand in the US but is well respected in Italy.

If you are on the East coast you should come and hear this amp we have it on display it is really fantastic.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor Sythesis Audio dealers


I will say I've heard the little brother, the A40 Virtus, of the amp Audiotroy is recommending and its a great amp. I'm sure the A100 would do the trick and sound great and the built in Dac they use is very good and for the money great.
ARC VSi 75
McIntosh MA252 (hybrid with tubed pre section and SS power section)
I recently communicated with Jeff Joseph concerning my possible purchase of a tube power amp to drive my Pulsars. Jeff said that tube amps were fine for the Pulsars, but that he would recommend at least 60 wpc. 
Seigen, I auditioned the VSi 75 and just wasn't all that impressed, but people love it, so ears count. The MA252 looks lovely and maybe even a value.

Thanks, rlb61. That's great advice, and, currently (no pun intended), that's what I have running through them.

Dave and Troy, thanks for the introduction. Those amps I haven't heard of, though might have seen them down in Virginia at deja vu. I'd love to hear them. I know you're dealers, but: reliability and service?
beeswax they are at Deja Vu in VA that is where I heard the Synthesis A40 they are a Synthesis dealer.
Beeswax we have have never had an 
Issue with any of our  Synthesis display products  they have been very reliable.

If you are in our neighborhood come take a listen the 100t is a special product.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor Nj


Great speakers!  There's a nice VAC Sigma 160iSE available here (with extra tubes) now for $7500, which looks like half of retail so you can probably resell at little loss if for some reason she don't work out.  Reason I'm recommending VAC is I believe that they have a reputation for handling bass very well for tubes, they're built like tanks, and are said to have very good customer service.  Maybe read some reviews and see if you think it'd tickle your ivorys.  

As a possibly useless aside, I got to hear top VAC, VTL, and Zanden electronics back to back driving Grand Utopia speakers.  For my tastes VTL was a little to cold, Zanden a little too warm, but the VAC seemed juuuuuust right.  All three designers were there for the demo, and in the Q+A afterwards Kevin Hayes was extremely impressive in the level of his knowledge and his ability to explain complex issues. 

So, as a big fellow JA fan (I've heard just about all of'em) and hopeful future owner, if I was looking for an integrated I'd be leaning VAC's way hard if I couldn't audition in person.  But, I'd more likely contact Don Sachs and have him build me one of his preamps and amps if I didn't absolutely need an integrated.  Apparently his tube amps are something special, especially with how they handle bass.  Just had to muddy the waters a bit.  Heh heh.  Best of luck in whatever you decide.  BTW, what interconnects and cables are you using?  Cardas?


Both Synthesis and VAC look very interesting. This is getting tougher than craft beer!
SOIX, you are so enthusiastic! Yeah, I'm a JA fan. I moved up from the RM25si Signature to the Pulsars. I have just loved them from the get-go, although if I lived in a big house I might have horn speakers.
That said, I went to Capital Audiofest a few years ago and dropped "The Legendary Buster Smith" on them in the room showcasing JA Pearls/Luxman and mouths just dropped. What a grand combo that was. Moved into the Pulsar room next door and tried the same song. Obviously not the same, but I knew the Pulsars were the magic I wanted. It was them or Harbeth, and I think I bit on the dynamism of the Pulsars a little hard. No regrets, though, really. Interconnects by Kimber. Speaker cable is in old pair of Straightwire Maestro that one day might get replaced.

beeswax
Post removed 
OK, how about an Aesthetix Mimas.  Another great product.
@beeswax -- Nice!  I heard "St. James Infirmary" (on vinyl of course) through the Pearls years back at a NYC audio show, and it still lingers in my mind as one of the most impressive things I've heard from an audio system ever.  Would love to know how you'd characterize the Pulsars vs. the RM25s.  I've heard them both on several occasions, but never in my home or in the same system.  I know the RM25s can sound awfully good, so just curious what I could expect ponying up for the Pulsars.  Thanks for thoughts. 

The reason I mentioned Cardas, as you probably know, is that JA speakers are internally wired with them and has used them at shows every time I've seen them.  I have no experience with Cardas wires, but I have Acoustic Zen interconnects and cables and love them.  Anyway, best of luck with the amp, and by all means let us know what you end up getting. 
SOIX,
I'm perfectly content with my Kimber Hero interconnects and Kimber PK Base power cord. I'm not on a mad perfectionist pursuit; I just want a really fine system. As to your question: I purchased the Joseph Audio RM25si MKII Signature speakers and never sent them in for the upgrade when that came around. I found them light years better than the RM22si, and yet in my years with them (and there were a lot of them), I couldn't pinpoint why I didn't fully love them and always felt a desire for better, for more. I heard into the mix, and the bass was tight when I upgraded my tube complement in the amp, but I felt slighted in that representational fullness - the flesh, the weighty substance of how instruments and voices ought to sound. I learned a lot through those speakers, particularly about the importance of sources: The most important part of my system is my  media - the vinyl, the CD (for some, the file). The quality of that is No. 1. Then I don't know if it's source components or speakers, but it's pretty close. When I added - modded CD player, better cartridge, better cabling - all that showed up in the RM25si speakers. But honestly? In my 13x21 room, when I swapped in Rogers Ls3/5a speakers, classic British mini monitors vs. floor standers, all the bass disappeared but I found myself going, "Oh, my God," when putting on acoustic jazz, voice or even a track by Radiohead. Suddenly imaging and the rightness of the instrument sounds were so much better. I knew if I ever got a bigger place with a small room for a second system, the Rogers would own it, but the RM25si's now had to go. I think a lot of people would have left Joseph Audio right then and gone to other brands, but I had been in those rooms with the Pearls and Pulsars (and also in rooms with a lot of other speakers I liked, especially Harbeth and Audio Note and horns and big electrostatic Martin Logans, and crazy speakers like Oskar Heil) and knew I needed to just spend my way into a better place, and I did. The Pulsars remind me of my old '88 BMW 325i - they sound tightly torqued and really grip the music. The bass, whether electric rock or acoustic jazz or a bangin' trap producer's depth charges is so off-the-charts good it's not funny. There is some review out there where the guy at the show said he looked behind a curtain for a subwoofer when he heard them because he couldn't believe the bass. I laughed when I read it because it's like that. Yet there also is a huge soundstage, clear image, a lovely subtlety about them along with that torque sensation. They are startling at low and high volumes.  They don't present things passively or softly. They command attention with vividness, which the RM25si's did, but in your mind triple that and triple the representation of quality bass. I played Stephen Hough's "The Dream Album," last night (like an enchanted child's idea of a perfect classical piano recital) and wanted for nothing. But, then, I had upgraded my primary source player to a Bryston BCD-3 two days after I posted this, and realize now I might not even need to do a new amp. It's absurd how sweet the music is here. I've always been an audiophile yet only recently have had truly audiophile quality equipment. I can live contentedly without it, and most people do, but I don't need THE BEST; I just need great. I still might check out a VAC, but I'm wheeling back to the idea of components before amp and so, perhaps, that long-coveted turntable is now next in line.
As a fellow Pulsar owner, I would recommend sticking with SS for power. Although Jeff Joseph told me that a tube amp with at least 60 wpc would work, I have reservations about the efficacy of tube power given the 83dB sensitivity of the Pulsars. Also, I would recommend separates rather than an integrated as I think you will have much more control over the speakers and the overall sound of your rig.
After dilly-dallying for a few years, I currently have a pair of Pulsars coming on Monday that I will be powering with my PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premier HP amp (75w in ultra linear mode) and will let you know.  I also have a Plinius SA 100 MkIII that I plan to try out with them as well and maybe even bi-amp them.  A fun week of listening ahead!
FWIW, the JA Perspectives sounded very nice with my CJ Premier 12 140w/side tube monoblocks.
beeswax
PM sent.  Happy Listening!
@beeswax Before going the mono amp route, I happily used the Jeff Rowland Continuum S2 integrated amp with my JA Perspectives. I realize it is not an integrated tube amp. But, Rowland and Joseph Audio pair very well together and the Continuum has enough power to drive your Pulsars in a way that will open them up and still have headroom to spare. A new Continuum S2 is in your price range at approximately $10K. They show up used on A'gon for about 60% of retail but it seems they go fast. Rowland's customer service is first class and the product is extremely well built. Having said that, Nick Doshi has been using Pearl 3s with his all tube amp/tube preamp/tube tape and tube phono setups at shows recently.  Other tube amp manufacturers that have chosen Joseph Audio to pair with at audio shows include VAS and Zesto. However, I don't think Doshi, VAS or Zesto have an integrated amplifier.  
Well, sure, I would love Doshi, but they are super pricey and there is no integrated. I didn't realize when I bought the speakers, they were going to need at least 60 watts of power (which they are getting now from the Jolida 502B). I almost matched them with a Jadis I-35 (the North American distributor is a jerk, but that's another story). If I'm going to get something like a Continuum S2 I'd probably go get a top-line Luxman L-509X, which I've heard sing magically with the Pulsars at shows.  \\

Moto_Man, you're going to be very happy.

As for CJ, everyone I talk with says their quality has gone down the "tubes."

So, still sitting on the rock.


beeswax your enthusiasm and love for your speakers is fantastic! It sounds like you are very happy with the sound you have now if you can resist upgrading and just enjoy the music. Cheers!
I just saw this in the Stereophile Montreal Show Report here is the relevant passage for you Pulsar owners:
"The Joseph speakers were the two-way Pulsar 2s, sitting on chunky, double-pillar Osiris stands, and set-up, as is the room-wise Jeff Joseph’s wont, on the diagonal. Driven by a Brinkmann Nyquist DAC fed by an Innuos server, an Alluxity Integrated amplifier, and VPI’s new Voyager phono preamp, the sound in this room was excellent, with surprisingly full-bodied lows. The kick drum on the Byrd album had good definition and when Mat played an ancient LP of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker—Philharmonia conducted by John Lanchbery>—the orchestral instruments were reproduced with natural signatures. But wait a minute—Pulsar 2? The original Pulsar has been a long-time resident of ’s "Recommended Components" but has now been upgraded with a new SEAS Excel woofer featuring a graphene-coated cone. A FollowUp review is planned."
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/jas-first-day-montreal-show#eHlM1awdszvTXPYQ.99
Yes it’s the Pulsar 2! Let audiophilia nervosa set in! :p
(Laughing) Not ANOTHER upgrade!!!!!!!
As far as I can tell, the new SEAS cone is still cast-magnesium (like in the original Pulsar), but is now "coated" with graphene. Not sure that this is a night and day difference; however, the fact that they are using the same base material (i.e., magnesium) with a mere coating of graphene leads me to believe that any sonic improvement may be slight. See www.audioxpress.com/news/seas-announces-new-excel-graphene-woofer-series
I like the idea of greater corrosion protection, since I fully plan to live forever . . and ever.
Apparently, cone material not the only upgrade. The latest report by Soundstage on the Pulsar 2 says that the midrange-woofer driver’s entire motor system and suspension have been improved for better bass and midrange performance. Moreover, Soundstage states: "The new Pulsar 2 Graphene is priced $12,000 per pair ..." That’s an increase of $4,300 over the price of the original Pulsars. Unless the upgrade is a spectacular game changer, and unless an upgrade would be offered to existing Pulsar owners at a significant discount, I likely would pass. Thanks @prof for the head’s up from Soundstage.
You know, perhaps its a way to up the price of the Pulsars to a point the company believes is justified, considering their quality and reviews. Maybe the new model is better, I don't know. I've read some on some boards calling Pulsars overpriced as is. I was happy to pay for them, but I couldn't do that new price. I'll probably have to reach out to JA to ask if there is an upgrade path, but how do you know if that's something you even want to do if you're already content?
You know what I suddenly just wished? That sales of all audio equipment were tracked and published and we could see, in numbers, what everyone, everywhere, is really buying.

beeswax "You know what I suddenly just wished? That sales of all audio equipment were tracked and published and we could see, in numbers, what everyone, everywhere, is really buying."

Of what value, use, or utility would such a sales record, ranking, or tabulation provide would you actually select, choose, and purchase those that achieved a higher or lower ranking?
No more than a TV show being top-rated would make me watch it. How you extrapolated what you wrote from my post is beyond me.
I completely agree with the recommendation of the Rogers tube integrated amp.   I heard them together at the CAS a few years ago and was blown away, thinking that their was a pair of subwoofers playing.   The combination was amazing, with the amp having plenty of power!
I was intrested in buying the Pulsar 2 after having heard them at Axpona. It was the first time I heard any of his products.  Long story short I purchased a new pair of the current production model.  Jeff Joseph responded to an email I sent indicating that the upgrade of the current model to a Pulsar 2 wll cost 2300.00 plus round trip shipping.  Worth considering depending on the price one paid for the current model.
I’m also looking for a good tubed integrated amp but for a different speaker.
I heard the Synthesis A100T that @audiotroy mentions and it’s a fantastic amp. I’ve owned and heard a lot of gear over the years yet can’t recall another component that impressed me as much.

There’s also its smaller stablemate with 40 watts that sounds almost as good.

I should also mention that I heard both amps at Deja Vu in Vienna VA on Monday this week. I had an incredible experience there courtesy of owner Vu, who spent a great deal of time showing me around their impressive facility.

Anyway, I don’t want to step on Audiotroy’s toes by mentioning another Synthesis dealer but feel it’s only fair to give a shout out to Deja Vu since that’s where I heard the amps.

Had $8k (or even $6.5k for the 40w) been in my budget I wouldn’t have hesitated.

Good luck with your search!

Rooze

Have you seen the KR VA830i? It is a 40w, Push Pull 300B. Amazing sound and runs $9K wo within your budget. Can’t say enough good things about KRs sound. This is amazingly powerful little amp and delivers a 300B soundstage in a much more powerful package.  KR has an A+ service center in Michigan. I sell their tubes and offer them for upgrade to Art Audio amps.  I also work with them whenever an Art Audio amp doesn’t meet a customers needs.

I am the exclusive importer and dealer for Art audio - not for KR as there are multiple dealers in the US.