Is the cabinet enclosed except for the front? Generally, a tube amp will not do well in an enclosed space without a fan for ventilation.
However, if the cabinet has an open back and mesh sides, and if the shelf spacing allows for generous room above the tubes, then a tube amp might work.
Can you place monoblock amplifiers on the floor beside or behind the speakers as an option?
The cabinet is open in the back. The doors would be open in the front while the amp is on. The shelf clearance from top to bottom is 11". Roger Modjeski at Music Reference thinks the RM200 would be OK in the cabinet because it runs relatively cool. He thought other pure tube amps would get too hot in that enclosure.
I cannot place monoblocks on the floor...no space and a 10-year old daughter.
Give the RM200 a try. Buy a used one if you can. They are listed occasionally.
Give the RM200 a try. Buy a used one if you can. They are listed occasionally.
I've owned a 4B SST, and while Bryston makes a great amp, I don't think it's going to provide you the best option, especially if Sehring recommends tubes. The sound is incisive.
I see Butler 2250 amps for sale at times. The demand for them is small, IMO, and for this reason they are a bit riskier to try.
Blue Circle has some ardent supporters. The products are fairly expensive, and they take a substantial hit upon resale. So again, I'd look to buy used.
Another alternative is a Belles 350A Reference. Refined top end, and a firm grip in the bass. They run warm, not hot.
And here is a third vote for the RM200.
If you want ss punch with a tube sound, I highly recommend the Moscode 401 HR - used, in your ballpark, if you can find one. Doesnt run hot. Built like a tank and George Kaye is instantly available and offers gtreat service.
I don't own a pair, but I have heard the Channel Islands Audio D-100 and D-200 monoblocks and they sound great. Easily the best Class D amps for the money, IMHO.
I agree with Springbok10 and if I were you I'd consider the one for sale here direct from George Kaye. I'd even ask him for an in home trial on it, he may oblige:
I have heard this amp and the RM-200 and prefer the Moscode. Personally and IMO the RM-200 isn't Roger's best work (the RM-10 is) although it is a fine amp. Also, just curious and I'm probably missing something here, but why one would go with an amp that would require using an RCA/XLR adapter for preamps that only have single ended outputs.
I also agree with the Moscode suggestion, having owned one. If a Moscode 401HR matched well with my present speakers, I'd likely own another (but the Pass Labs I now use now sound better).
My 401HR got pretty warm, but I had it installed in an open back, open front cabinet with solid sides and experienced no problems.
I have been a tube fan for twenty years and have owned many listed here including the RM200. Recently dipped back into SS after many years and threw my hat in the ring with a Marantz SM11-s1, driven with a tube preamp.
This amp is very very good. Although it would never be confused with a tube amp (as Fremmer noted in his review) it has a very delicate and open top end that is very addictive. best of all it has a sense of organization and speed that delivered the goods big time on my big harbeths. best thing is that despite conventional wisdom about what is needed to sound good, it is biased heavily in AB and barely gets warm externally.
It was so good in fact I sold it and I pulled the trigger on a pair of Ma9s2, we'll see........
Thanks for all these comments and suggestions. The Marantz is an interesting suggestion. Also, the Moscode had been on my radar, but I would have to buy used to afford one, as the new Moscode 402au is well above my price point. I do have some concerns about plunking down $3500 on an amp without a decent warranty. I know used equipment offers the best value, but I have had some issues with reliability of a few used amps I bought in the past, including a modded Meridian and an old B&K.
There are no recommendations of the Blue Circle or Butler amps. Tvad is correct that Blue Circle gear takes a big hit on resale, possibly because their product line is always changing. The Butler still intrigues me, given the hybrid tube design and the price point. I wouldn't mind buying a new Butler if it is within spitting distance of the Moscode 401HR's sound quality though.
By the way, I did demo a few amps over the weekend. The Bel Canto Ref. 1000, despite all the great reviews, was uninvolving. I really liked the McIntosh MC275 (I guess I like that lush tube sound), but it is too heavy and runs too hot for my purposes. The Ayre V-5XE sounded fantastic, but I heard it with an Ayre pre and CD player, so this might have been due to system synergies. The amp is also pretty far above my price point and supposedly sounds best balanced, and my preamp is single-ended.
Anyway, thanks again for the guidance so far, as it is very helpful.
Considering the Moscode 401HR presently for sale is a refurbished, trade-in
unit being offered by Moscode, and considering a new 401HR is warranted for
three years, I agree the 90 day warranty is poor (but not inconsistent with other
refurbished consumer electronics).
Perhaps George could be persuaded to extend the warranty to one year.
That said, the trade-off of buying used gear is higher value with some added
risk. Though in four years, I haven't read of anyone having problems with their
401HR. I owned one for two years with no issues. A friend owns one and sent it
in to have a speaker binding post tightened up. He's had no other problems (if
the binding post can even be considered a problem) in three years of ownership.
Ok, I have heard your speakers and they are very open and revealing. Great imaging and wonderful. Your desire for a warm and refined sounding amp makes complete sense to me.
I have owned the RM200 and must tell you to stay away from it. It is a tad bright and will not bring out the sound you described above. It is very SS sounding and can be a bit to much on the top end with very revealing speakers. It is a fine amp, but not the best match based solely on your needs.
I have owned the Bulter, two of them, and it is much warmer and musical. It would be a nice match. It does not even get warm - no worries about tube warmth on this one. It says cool.
Another great amp, the best match in my opinion, would be an Electrocompaniet AW220 - used for under $1200. They do show up and sell pretty fast. This amp is warm while being detailed and has musicality in spades. You can buy two and run as monoblocks if you desire.
Wow, Grannyring, it is great to hear from someone who has heard the Sehrings. I will keep my eye out for the Electrocompaniet. Your feedback further confirms that the RM200 would not be the best choice and that another tube hybrid like a Butler or Moscode or a warm-sounding solid state amp would make more sense. Thanks a lot.
I owned the Electrocompaniet AW-250 for a while and would have to echo Grannyring's comments on the sound. Warm yet with just enough detail and very deep bass. For solid state Electrocompaniet would be a good choice.
i had the Ayre V5xe (very good) and a pair of Rowland 501 monos (which I thought were awful) on loan for two weeks awaiting my Ma9s2 (still waiting) and I would hands down take the Marantz sm11-s1 over both of them despite the price difference, if that is any help.
I am also a big fan of the MC275.......
Petland, thanks for that feedback. The Ayre sounded so good during the demo, but is too expensive and would require too many system changes (like finding a balanced preamp to replaced the single-ended Manley Shrimp and changing speaker cable terminations from banana plug to spade.) How does the Marantz compare to the McIntosh MC275? Is the sound quality as warm and non-fatiguing?
I recently discovered a little company called Plinius and may I say my p10 amplifier is among the best I've heard at pulling off just a trace of warmth without going overboard. Along these lines, perhaps one of their class a amps might float your boat (I have a class ab model). Wanna talk involving? Definitely one of the most involving pieces of solid state gear I've come across in 20 or so years- punchy, fast and just a touch warm- though less so than the first generation bel canto ref 1000's I used to own. They look the business too!
Lets just say the Marantz has been somewhat of a revelation for me.
I should preface by saying that transistors have not had much of a place in my system, at any level, for a long time. I still feel quite strongly that is far easier assembling a musically satisfying system around tubes than transistors and i have never been successful with transistors alone. The Marantz however has opened my eyes to how far things have come. That being said, the other SS amps I have had around recently are better than in years past for sure but still reminiscent of what I did not care for before. The Marantz seems to strike a note with me, even though its not easy to describe why.
I can tell you what the marantz is not: it is not dry or analytical or overly sharp or unnatural. It also is not warm, fuzzy, bloated slow or forgiving.
Now how well it may match with your speakers I cant say, not having heard them. With my 40.1, which are fairly neutral with a nice hard hitting midbass, the Marnatz was superb. What I loved the most about it, and which I hope is present in the 9s2, was its spatial organization. It was uncanny here. it also has speed with texture and dimension.
Anyway it should be on your list at 2k used although you dont see them often. I also found it to be very flexible with a front panel switch between the SE and Balanced inputs with adjustable input gain for both. i used both the balanced 101d and SE 6h30 outputs of my Supratek preamp into it and it was nice to have two different signatures in hand at the flick of a switch.
Petland, thanks for the description of the Marantz. My short list has changed quite a bit since my initial post and now includes the Marantz, the Electrocompaniet, and the Butler. Moscode isn't interested in extending the warranty on the refurbished 401HR, so it is not on the short list. I still have a nagging interest in Blue Circle, since I have yet to read a negative overall review or impression of their stereo gear.
conrad johnson 2500A and you will hae money left over.
Very tube like sounding sold state amp.