Well you do mention what is not in your budget, but you don't mention what your budget is.
There is a Classe CA-400 (400 wpc) and a Classe 25 (250 wpc) currently listed between $2000 and $1500 respectively.
Other brands that are on the warmer side of neutral are Threshold, Jeff Rowland, Aragon, Coda, Clayton and Rotel & Marantz on the lower end.
I love tube amps but recently purchased Gilmore Raptor 500D monoblocks. These are 250w/8 ohms and 500w/4 ohms. $2500 for the pair. These amps are the best amps I have ever heard and if you didn't know you would think they were tubes. They are left on in standby all the time and generate no heat even when playing. Do not get turned off by the fact that these are switching amps. They use a large linear power supply and are heavily modified
Hegel amps, luxman as well.
Budget is about 3500. I should have mentioned that I have tried Aragon and McCormick amps. They were both OK but not as warm as I would have liked. FWIW of the 2 I like the Aragon the best. The Classe may be something to look into.
If you can, try out the Cary 200.2 amp. They should have the power that you are looking for, and give you some of the tube sound that you also want.
One other that you may want to consider is the new Rogue Medusa Hybrid amp. Also very nice.
*** Cary and Rogue dealer disclaimer ***
Bada DC-225 from Pacific Valve. 95 wpc integrated with tube preamp, so the heat is negligible. A great amp - 30 day money back from Pacific Valve. $1200 + shipping. No affiliation with the seller - I had it's predecessor while I was waiting for a $4K tube amp to arrive and it was excellent.
Plinius SA-102 or SA-250. Both have a toggle switch so you can choose to run in Class A or A/B. I left mine on 24/7 in class A/B, then flipped the toggle to class A when I wanted to listen to music.
I'm thinking the Belles 350A Reference would mate well with the warm tube sound your looking for with power to drive the 10T's. I have not heard any of your gear but I have a older Belles 150A Hot Rod that sounds wonderful. I'm a tube fan as well yet, have always wondered what a 150A Reference Belles would sound like in my modest system.
TRL Samson...they just sound right I do have a pair
Get a Wyred4Sound ST-1000. Then insert a 1 ohm power resistor in series with the loudspeaker. It will sound exactly like tubes without the tube noise, but with the rich midrange, slightly rolled velvety treble and lush tubby bass.
Bryston 4BSST or 2. jallen
Nice Conrad Johnson MF 2200 is listed here for $750. I would grab that,it is just what you are looking for,if you don't like it you can just sell it.
Yogiboy, that does look like what I'm looking for but not sure that seller wants to ship and I just had a very bad experiece with UPS. I'm guessing he does not have a factory box.
Just re read, he will ship but non factory packing...IDK about that. UPS no longer pays claims on vintage electronics......ASK HOW I KNOW :-(
Check out the ButlerAudio.com TDB-2250: 250 watts/ch of toob sweetness mated to MOSFET balls. $2995...
The listing says FED EX not UPS.
Pathos InPower monoblocks. 80 W Class A hybrid. Sound more powerfull for sure. I'm very happy with. Warm, wonderful sound. Excellent bass.
Per Pathos team, able to drive any speakers.
Hard to find used one.
Conrad Johnson MF2300A is a wonderful, warm amp. Very happy with mine. By the way, CJ has some factory packing materials available. It may be too convoluted but you might be able to arrange to have CJ ship the packing to the person selling the amp.
I have owned the Belles Ref 150 and 350's and they are awesome but NOT tube sounding. I am a tube amp lover and will tell you based on my experience here are some better choices. I have owned many, many amps and do have some experience in this area.
Conrad Johnson 2500A
Any of the newer Electrocompaniet amps
Both of these will fit your needs.
IMO, there is no SS amp that will sound like a tube amp. Having said that, any vintage (older) Mcintosh SS amp w/ autoformers will provide you with a very warm, lush sound.
For myself, I'm not a "Mac" guy, but I do appreciate what others hear in these units. If this sound is what you are looking for I would consider a MA6600 integrated unit or something similar, but a well-restored MC2205 would also be a good bet.
Well looking at what is out there currently, and your budget and high power, warm sound quest, I'd recommend the pair of Jeff Rowland Model 7 monoblocks if you can swing it. I'm sure you could get them for around your $3500 mark, and those beasts sound sweet AND will handle your 10T's with an iron fist in a velvet glove.
Other possibilities would be the Aragon Palladium II monoblocks, BAT VK-500 w/ BAT-Pack, or the Odyssey Stratos SE+ monos. I have no connection with any of the sellers.
I see a Classe 25 listed here.I had a model 15 years ago and was a great amp that will drive anything. Check it out.
I got some Power Modules Belles MB-01 mono blocks. They seem to fit the bill. 75W of pure class A. They get hot as hell but man do they sound good for not being fully broke in yet. I also had to remove the Audio Research LS 25 out of the system. It was to accurte,clinical,uncolored, and just down rite boreing. For now a Mcintosh MX 117 has preamp duty till I can afford something else. The Mcintosh adds some color and mellos it out pretty nicely.
The Butler TDB-2250 may be just what you're looking for - 250 watts/ch, tube MOSFET huybrid, $3300
I dunno. My Burson integrated sounds amazingly like a six figure tube set up near where I live except for......
It's just that I've learned that a really good tube set up doesn't sound like a tube set up: overly euphonic, too warm, rolled off highs, lacking in detail, weak and underdamped bass, mushy, etc.
Gainclone (gaincard) amps straddle the realm between tubes and solid state as demonstrated by Nelson Pass, Audio Sector, 47Labs and others. Right now, I'm SORELY tempted to buy this, sight (sound) unseen (unheard):http://www.clonesaudio.com/
It caught my eye yesterday when Srajan at 6moons mentioned it as a new product. The next day it's queued up for review. Essentially, it's a remake of a 47Labs model right down to the same wiring, caps, and schematics and for less than $450!(for the integrated, more for the amps). The designer made one for his dad because even sourcing a used one was way too pricy.
Check out the reviews for all the gaincard amps out there and see if this one floats your boat. I just might order one today myself, if the urge gets too bad.
All the best,
I misquoted the price for the integrated as the amp, alone, starts at $450 and the integrated version starts at $550 but even then, if the sonics prove out, it will be a bargain.
All the best,
Nonoise, I coincidentally came across the Clone Audio 25i recently myself. It appears to be a very good value if it sounds like the Gaincard which it is designed to emulate.
I'd love to hear one as I've been using a Gaincard with my Tonian Labs TL-D1's for the past year and like the results. I especially like the fact that the 25i has three inputs and conventional binding posts, lacking in the Gaincard. It looks to be an amp worth trying for the price.
Want tube sound? Get tube amp!
Several reviews I've read describe the Modwright as being a tube like SS amp.
I had the Aerial 10-t's for approximately 4 years and used them with the Ayre V-1x amp. They don't show up that often but when they do they are in/close to your price range and delivered enjoyable, musical sound across all genres of music.
Now you've got my curiosity piqued somewhat as I have Tonian TL-D1s as well.
I love the sound I get from my Burson integrated but am always on the lookout for something purer, more revealing, but still maintain the dynamics, extension and tonal qualities I get from my Burson.
Do you find the Gaincard to be on the polite side of the equation (like a tripath) or is the opamp dynamic and full bodied, like a good tube amp?
All the best,
Mosfets are indeed the way to go in order to achieve that sound stage depth characteristic of tubes. Along with that you get serious speed and extension. My experience is with Perreaux and Acoustat. Both very realistic sounding amps.
I find the Gaincard to be relatively neutral in sonic character and very revealing of differences in recordings, upstream gear and wire with the TL-D1's. It all depends on what you feed it. With my Audio Note AN-Vx silver interconnects from my DAC it tends to be more analytical, but with simple DIY copper interconnects it is bolder and more robust sounding. Coherence, rhythmic flow and dynamics are very good.
After using an Audio Note tube amp for 16 years I'd say the Gaincard falls just a bit short in the areas of dimensionality and that inner glow that tubes do so well.
There have been many gainclone designs, mostly DIY, but I have yet to hear of one sounding the same as the original Gaincard, which was the goal of the 25i designer. If the Clones Audio 25i can emulate the character and the positive qualities of the Gaincard it would be a true bargain. I'd love to try one out.
Thanks for the informative response. Looks like I'll be waiting to "hear" what Srajan says about the 25i. If it's anything like the Gaincard, it'll take a while to get one as the line will be long.
All the best,
I used a Parasound Halo A21 on a set of Aerial model 9's in the past with nice results. A pair of Parasound Halo JC-1's would be even nicer but will put off more heat which you are trying to avoid. The A21 is under your budget new. The JC-1's are about $3500 used. Both mosfet amps.
I believe the Burson uses Toshiba SA1943/5200 output devices which are mosfets as well which explains why I like the sound but if something wicked this way comes that is faster, cleaner, more lit up from within, and still has similar strengths, and goes for $530.00, I'll give the nod to it.
Thanks for the mention on the Parasound models but I think I'll wait and see.
All the best,
New AVA Synergy450 is a killer, VERY good amp.
Your budget is $3500. I'm going to give you the best piece of advice from 28 years in this hobby....save yourself a load of green and check out a B&K EX442 Sonata, incredibly tube-like, powerful, mosfet, a true giant-killer of an amp that you can pick up for about $400.
If you want something that's going to be on all the time, a Class A amp will run very hot.
Years ago, I a/b'd the Sonata against a pair of Paoli M60 monoblocks which are essentially super moded 8417 based Dyna MkIII's and we couldn't tell the difference between both amps - that's how tubelike the B&K is. 200w into 8/360 into 4, and 75 amps, dual mono mosfet design....
With all that extra green you'll have laying around burning a whole in your pocket, please send me about a K for all of this great advice, as I recently had to dispose of my whole system to pay some taxes, so that I can get back into the audio game with an int amp and speakers...
After you send me the $1K, you'll still have $2000 left and I'll bet anything that this setup will be 95% as good as any other SS amp that people on this forum are recommending to you...
If you agree with my logic, I can send you my address and I very much appreciate your kind consideration :)
Happy and healthy New Year,
what about a pair of Pass Aleph 2 monoblocks? They can usually be found used for under $3K.
Another vote for Conrad Johnson MF 2500-A . I am still kicking myself for selling mine,what was I thinking.
TAD HIBACHI MONO BLOCKS... INEXPENSIVE AND VERY TUBE LIKE
In listening tests by Stereophile golden ears, a prototype of what would become the Carver M-1.0t production model was found to be sonically indistinguishable from the Conrad-Johnson Premier Four tube amp. I don't see how you could get any closer than that. Build quality is no doubt lower than what you are used to, but you said you wanted to spend less than Pass Labs. You should be able to get a used M-1.0t re-capped, refreshed, and be out only $650 bucks or so.
Yet another vote for CJ MF 2500/2250. Superb sounding Amp. Very tube-like.