Amp advice sought for Coincident Total Victory

I had driven my Coincident Total Victory II's with 100 W el34's. Now It's a 12 W 300b. I like the tonal accuracy and low level detail much more but do miss two things about the higher powered amp. One is the ability to occasionally turn it up. The other is the headroom needed to to accurately reproduce the fast rise of, for example, a piano or drum. For me, the TV II's are just below the efficiency needed for 300b amplification. Does anyone have experience with a sub $4k used tube amp or amplifier topology that would be a good compromise?

Thanks in advance,

my amp would give you what you want...Almarro 318B...18 high current watts a side...big Russian power tubes.
If you like the sound of SET, it will be difficult to move away from it. So how about a pair of Cary cad-805c? You can find them used for around $4K. 211 based SET usually has more punch than 300b. It might not be a compromise at all.
You might want to try an OTL by Atmasphere for example. There are other OTL like circuits which combine speed and power . You might find a used 6C33B based one by Joule Electra. I don't know if you be able to find a Berning amp for the money, not the new one, but the older one not the ZTOL the? 70- 60 watt model.
I have auditioned the Coincident Statement linestage using my 8 watt Coincident 300b and achieved the results that you are looking for.Our speakers have very simular characteristics.Head room was no issue but the things of value about low powered DHT was preserved.

I tend to agree with both Sidssp and Mechans, either the Cary or AtmaSphere would give you the extra power to get the job done.

The Cary would no doubt be warmer, sweeter and more "romantic" while the AtmaSphere would be way more transparent, faster and more extended in both directions. I'd look for a used pair of A/S M-60 monos(60wpc), change out the stock 6SN7's for some reasonably priced NOS and live happily ever after.

For the life of me, I can't understand how anybody can expect an 8 watt 300b(or 12 watt) to do justice to a speaker with nine drivers(four 8" per box!). I don't care how efficient or how easy the load(impedance).

A while back, I heard a friend's 300b Frankensteins mated to my A/S MP-1 preamp, powering my 2-way sats(part of a larger system) and they sounded wonderful; great midrange as you'd expect. But... we're talking an easy to drive tweeter and 5.5" midrange(good to 50Hz) and even then, to my ears, they(300b's) sounded rolled off at the extremes and not nearly as transparent or detailed as my OTLs.

Just my 2 cents!
Something`s strange here.Your speakers are quite simillar to mine(Coincident Total Eclipse 94 db)but even more sensitive at 97db, and with 14 ohm load. I get drsmatic speed,dynamics and jump factor galore with the 8 watt Coincident Frenkenstein 300b mono blocks. Others on this site report the same with this amp drving the Total Victory4,super Victory and the Pure Reference speaker. Though your amp is rated at 12 watts it may lack the driving capacity due to perhaps lesser power supply,driver tube or transformers. your speakers absolutely sing with effortless dynamics and control when mated to the Frankenstein(very stiff PS,large custom transfomers and 6em7 driver tube). Have you ever considered this amp? I used a very good push-pull amp(100 wattpentode/ 60 watt triode) and with this speakers the Frankenstein is better without question.Power supply and transformers are so critical when it comes to driving speakers sucessfully.
The eight watt Frankenstein is a different animal. I owned a pair a while back.
"Headroom" is simply a lack of constriction when a sudden, instantaneous need for current presents itself by way of the software, isn't it?. The output power of the amplifier is only part of the scenario.
I'm (primarily) a rocker; yet there was rarely a time when I felt the need for more power. The Frankensteins have so much current on demand so to speak, that I never felt that they got "flustered" when the music got complicated. Heck, the driver tube has it's own transformer and PS!
I think the Coincident speakers had something to do with this also. Mine were similar to yours, at 95db sensitive; but I think it was more the (lack of) impedance curve that played in the music's favor. The amps were so good that I think I would have reached for more speaker sensitivity before I went for more watts; but to be honest, the resolution and completeness were so good that early on I just ate the compromise in the gain department with a huge grin on my face.
Rfogel8,I was present at that session and to be honest the Frankenstein MK2 amp was more transparent,open and dynamic than the Atma-sphere. The other listner present FWIW felt the Frankenstein better, it`s all subjective. And yes multi driver speakers can be driven quite well if designed with the intend to mate with low power SET amps.It`s in correct to equate fewer drivers with= easier load it`s not that simplistic.
Thanks everyone, now I am more confused than ever:).

After reading the replies, I took some measurements. WIth full gain (0.7 V AC input) to one amp and the other turned off, my Extech spl meter (c weighting, slow response) read only 85 dB both at 1 m from the drivers in front and at the same distance from the side mounted woofers. According to my knowledge, if the speakers really are 97 dB, then at -12 dB, the speakers are only seeing about 1/16th of a watt. Under the same circumstances a voltmeter placed across the speaker terminal read about 1.4 V AC. The current through the speaker cable was about 0.05 A AC. I am not sure if the electrical measurements have any meaning, as they were taken with an ordinary multimeter and the AC settings may only work for 60Hz. Is this an indication that I am not getting the power I should be from the amps?

The amps are original version Cary Cad 300se's. From what I can find they are somewhere between 15 and 18 years old. All tubes are new with the exception of the rectifier tube. As far as I know, the rest of the parts are original.

I would appreciate any insights.

Thanks again,

One point to keep in mind is that Israel Bloom used your speaker(mine also) heavily for the design and circuit of the Frankenstein MK2.He`s adamant that it will easily drive any Coincident speaker he has built.The fact is all 300b amps are`nt equal, they range all over the map. As Azaud mentioned above the 6em7 driver tube is ultra high current and requires it`s own PS seperate transformer.It`s very extended and powerful as per design. I hope you`ll get the chance to hear one and judge for your self. The Cary may have different design parameters.
After the above post, it dawned on me that I should be taking the electrical data while playing a 60 Hz test tone. The results with max gain from the preamp:

Voltage across the amp inputs- 3.7 V AC.
Voltage across the speaker terminals - 8.5 V AC
Current through the speaker cable - 0.7 mA AC or 0.0007 A AC
I can see no reason why the Coincident Technology Frankensteins wouldn't be great. If you feel you need more power I would go with the Coicident Technology Dragon. At 75 watts per channel, they might almost be overkill.

If you want, you should also call Mr. Israel Blume, as he is the designer of all things "Coincident".

In my mind, he is the best designer in the high-end and gives the best bang for the buck. Both of his amps are the best in their price range and his linestage is easily the best at, or even much over its price range. One would probably have to go up to the Einstein The Tube Mark II to either meet or possibly exceed its performance. And it is over 3 timnes the price.

02-13-11: Dbrewer12345
After the above post, it dawned on me that I should be taking the electrical data while playing a 60 Hz test tone. The results with MAX GAIN FROM THE PREAMP (emphasis added):

Voltage across the amp inputs- 3.7 V AC.
Voltage across the speaker terminals - 8.5 V AC
Current through the speaker cable - 0.7 mA AC or 0.0007 A AC
Not a good idea. You're probably clipping the amplifier severely, which if the amp were more powerful could destroy your tweeters. A severely clipped 60Hz (or other) waveform contains high frequency spectral components at significant energy levels, that would be routed by the crossover network to the tweeters.

The voltage reading at the amp input would appear to confirm that is happening, the reading being about 14db higher than the amp's 0.7V sensitivity rating that you indicated above. I have no idea what to make of the very low current measurement, assuming it is not a mistake. What did you hear while you were doing this?

Greg (Allchemie), could you elaborate on your experience with and impressions of the Dragon? I have been considering that amp myself, as I indicated in this thread. Thanks!

-- Al
Hi Dave. Glad your enjoying my former speakers. Regarding amps I used an an Atmasphere S30 for years. Its 30 watts/ch OTL and produced spectacular sound. Alot of what you like about the 300b SET amp but much greater speed and transparency. Also the 30 watts/ch gives the headroom power you miss. I agree with your comments using low power amps. I think you need around 20 watts/ch to really hear everything these speakers are capable of IMHO. In my setup the S30 was capable playing very loud in a large room.
I have heard the Cary 805B's and they sound terrifc as well although I thought the S30 was more transparent and faster. But if you love that SET "inner glow" well...
I would also think that many of the 845 based SET amps might also provide the sound and power your looking for.
One amp that is truly spectacular in general and specifically with the TV's is the Lamm 2.1's, 18 watts/ch SET. The best imaging I have ever heard. The price is very high $30,000 new, around 15,000 used. The S30 was shocking close considering the large price difference. I've since upgraded the S30 to the latest 3.1 version and I suspect the difference would be even smaller still.
Good luck
I have owned two models of Coincident speakers (and many others used w/ Coincident gear), Frankensteins, Dragons, and the line stage. Their speakers are usually very synergistic w/ lower power, and also sound good with higher power. Personally I highly recommend the Frankensteins as they seem to perform well above their 8wpc rating. I owned the Dragons and I would definitely lean to the Franks.

I'm wondering if when your speakers were made Israel was still using Manley gear that was much higher power. I think I'd just call him and ask him. Israel is a very approachable guy, and I'm sure he will steer you in the right direction.

One final thought is to try an EML 300B xls if your amps can take them. That will give you a bit more power than a standard 300b, and of course the sound quality is top notch.
I agree Israel is quite approachable and refreshing candid. Dave See if you could arrange an in home audition.I`d hate to see you judge 300b amps based on your Cary. As a number of posters have stated the Frankenstein amp is of a diefferent caliber.I don`t believe the issue is simply more watts(you`re using less than 1 watt at most listening levels most often) but probably higher quality.
Best Regards,

A friend of mine has the Coincident Dragon and another has the Frankenstein. On the Dragon system he is driving a Coincident Pure Reference and it sounds superb. My other friend has the Frankenstein's driving a pair of Coincident Total Victory IV's. There is something that so right with the Frankies that it is hard for me to get my head around. There is such purity and grain-free performance that the music just seems to float in mid-air.

If I could away with the Frankies for power, I would definitely use them. They are just a bit better in performance and their 8 watts per channel seem to be much higher when driving Coincident speakers, probably due to the Coincident speakers friendly and consistent sensitivity throughout its range.

I'll add to what Charles1dad said regarding the Cary's: Don't judge a 300b by it. I love/have their 845/211 based 805 AE's but their 300b SE monos just weren't for me (had them/sold them). I don't know if it's because they run it so near the max's but I did not hear the sweetness I hear from my Art Audio Symphony II or my very favorite custom 300b amp.

FWIW, the "right" 300b amp is at the top of my favorites list, mated to the right speakers of course. I have Maggie 3.6's in another system and bought the Cary 805 AE's to see if I could get away with using a single ended amp on them and it's working for me. This amp uses a 300b to drive the 845 or 211 choice of output tube. Even though it's an 845/211 amp, rolling different 300b's in them gives me some different flavors I enjoy. If you find you need a more powerful amp, these might do it for you. Older ones might be in your price range. Try and go for one with a 300b driver if you can.
Hi Al,
I would suggest getting in touch with Israel at Coincident regarding the Dragons. They are in the final developement phase of the MK II version, an over built version of the current version.
In talking to Israel, he said that these new Dragons will have a 50 percent larger power supply among other major upgrades. It is larger and the weight per monoblock will go to over 80 lbs from the current 65 and runs much cooler. As a Frankenstein owner of close to three years he enlightening for me to hear it.

We have a set of Total Victories- they are an easy load but you really need some power to really make them sing (IMO). 60 watts is plenty.
Greg, Mike, Montejay, thanks very much! Excellent info, particularly that a Dragon Mark II is in the works, as I wasn't intending to purchase immediately. Hopefully the price won't increase commensurately with the weight :-)

Best regards,
-- Al
It's nice to hear the there will be Dragon Mk2. I had a friend's Dragon in my system and although I was impressed with the sound, the build quality left a lot to be desired when compared to other amps in the same price range.

I auditioned the TV2 against the Total Eclipse 2 using a KT88 PP amp, a 300B DHT, a 300B parallel PP, and an 845 DHT with 300B driver. In each instance, the TV2 benefited from the extra power when compared to the TE2. Although the TV2 has impressive specifications which would lead one to believe that 8w should be enough, the 9 driver configuration needed more power to get it jumping. I ended up purchasing the Total Eclipse speakers because of their versatility with respect to suitable amplifiers, plus they sounded awesome.
Like you I own the Total Eclipse II speakers and they are brilliant with the Frankenstein. You raise an interesting point. The T.E. has 2 10 inch woofers and the T.V.II uses 4 8 inch woofers, I had`nt thought that a major difference but it`s certainly possible. There`s such a variety of personal accounts and opinions with the many posts here. Arthur Salvatore says a 5 watt amp drove the T.V.II well, yet you preferred more power with your encounter. Perhaps the T.E. though 3db less sensitive is easier driven with low watt amps. I do prefer the Franks over my 100 watt push pull amp. Horses for courses I guess.
There's also the difference in impedance - the TV2 hovers around 10 ohms, while the TE is around 14 ohms. While seemingly insignificant, the added complexity in the crossover of the TV2 probably makes it a less benign load.
IF you can find them used, you may want to look at Manley Neo-Classic 300B SE/PP monoblocks. Unfortunatley, I thinkt he price went up to $9200 per pair today (might be tomorrow) from the previous $7400.

I just bought a pair about a month ago. First, the amps are selectable between SE at 11 wpc and PP at 24 wpc. They also have variable feedback setting and a switch to optimize speaker impedance.

I am using them to drive my Zu Essence speakers in a 12*16*8 room, and I can promise you that they are VERY dynamic and will play ridiculously loud in either SE or PP. The Essence are listed as 97 dB efficient, but Stereophile estimated their real efficiency to be around 94 dB.

Now that the amps are beginning to be fully broken in, I am literally startled at the dynamics and bass that they are capable of on material that I thought I was intimately familiar with when listening to it on my former solid state gear (Rega Elicit). Imaging and soundstage depth, width, and height are also in a different league.

I believe that Manley gear is supposed to be a synergistic match with Coincident speakers, and I think at one time, Israel had purchased a pair of EveAnna's 300B's.

If the Frankenstein is even better than the Manley as some tend to think-- then HOLY COW!

I, for one, have NO desire to switch out my amps. I may do some tube rolling to replace the stock Electro-Harmonix with something like Treasures or EAT's, but that will be it.

One caveat, I don't think the Manley's are as tonally neutral as some other gear, but I am personally fine with that. Rachel Yamagata was in my living room last night. The Manley/Zu combo is so dynamic that you can feel the pressure variations on the phrasing of the vocals on tracks on this disc.

Charles1dad, if the Frankensteins are even better, I am super-jealous.

Palasr, the TV2 is benign enough that our smallest amp, the S-30, does quite well with it. Its been my experience though that you really want more power- 60 watts is plenty to really make them sing.
PMB,who knows which is better, what`s obvious is that you`re very pleased with the Manley amp and it`s providing you much happiness.I`m curious about the transformers in your amp.I always thought SET transformers were different from those used in a PP amplifier.Continue to enjoy.
Charles1dad, I am enjoying my Manley's very much. It seems that you are enjoying your Frankenstein's as well. If you like them as much as I like my Manley's, I'm still jealous :)

Apparently there is a long-running debate about these particular Manley's and the transformer design. My understanding is that Manley traded some overall output level and efficiency in order to optimize them for both operating conditions. I'm not too much into the physics of it. I can tell you that it works. Some will tell you that you get better performance for the same money if you choose one operating mode over the other. That may be true, but I don't care.

What I do know is that the transformers are obviously designed in such a manner as they have no problem delivering the necessary current to track dynamics and are not "soft" and "mushy". Bass and dynamics are actually better than my Rega gear which was no slouch in the PRAT department.

I suspect that the Frankensteins offer some of the same characteristics that I love on my Manley's. My understanding is the Manley and Cary 300B SET's are pretty much on opposite ends of the 300B SET spectrum.

Dave, you may want to try to audtion both the Manley's and the Frankensteins. Hopefully, you could then let us know your impressions with your speakers. I'm curious as I am still trying to decide if I want to "upgrade" my speakers, and Coincident is on my short list of manufacturers. BTW, thanks for starting a good thread.


For the sake of followup after such an interesting thread, what amp did you decide to go with?
You may be listening to the wrong tube.
I'm driving mine with el84 based Leben CS 300 (new reproduction mullards), 18 watts on a good day, and routinely blast Mahler. Nothing is missing.
I don't do Rock n Roll.
See Art Dudley's review in S'phile.
I'm thinking of going vintage and selling the Leben for another older EL84 amp.
By the way, Israel has TERRIBLE press on Audio asylum. I have never spoken to him though.
Message me as Fstein if interested.