A CTC Blowtorch or an Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk.III would be a great choice. I know of a couple of the former that are available.
The very best sound I've heard from Soundlabs was with Viva electronics driving them. Astonishing. This combo readily proves how bogus most power ratings are as applied to the ability to drive a speaker.
If you can eval the Vivas in your system, I'd think it would be worth your time to check them out.
Keep the JC-1s and acquire an Aesthetix preamp (mine happens to be a Janus, but a Callisto would do in a pinch :) ). This, in my opinion, is sonic nirvana.
Yo John, why didn't you tell him to run, not walk, to scour the streets for a CAT??? After all, the question was about amps as well! Wish I could visit with you and Brian in January, but alas, work calls.
Curriemt11: I did not want to obliterate his bank account all in one day. You gotta do these things slowwwwwwwwwly. Yes, I am a big fan of the amplified felines as well. These with the Io/Callisto results in sonic nirvana indeed. Mighty nice. Just wish my room were bigger!
I am in the western burbs of the Minneapolis area so if Seadogs1 is anywhere nearby, a friendly visit is always welcome.....after the holidays of course.
Hey Brian. Sure I agree that in the real world, just as I learned in engineering school, that "power and dB are related logarithmically". But...in our audio world, an amplifier's power specification is derived from standardized tests that in many instances has little correspondence to the amount of power available to drive a speaker. Among other issues, the power rating is based on an amplifier driving a dummy resistive load. As most speakers have impedances which are a much more difficult load to drive than a pure resistor, the power ratings, most of the time, are but vapor wear. The specs are great for marketing, but do not necessarily correlate to a given performance level in a real stereo system.
Seadogs, just noticed a previous thread that dealt with some of your questions. This gets into using 845 based SET amps on Sound Labs.
SoundLab 845 SET Link
Per preamps, I love the Viva preamp which is quite the combo with the Viva amp. Enjoy your speakers!
Gee, 711smilin, why the crude remarks, especially since I was polite to you at your house, the fact that enough equipment has been in and out of your system in the past couple of years without sufficient time to break in and enough to make anyone's head spin, and the fact that you insulted me after asking my advice on amplifiers, saying you only buy used on the web. Furthermore, I didn't think it necessary to mention I'm a dealer because I didn't mention anything I sell, it's not my place to do so. It's worth saying that Jafox has been to my house twice, both for long auditions, and he has a better ear and a better system than you, and is a gentleman. In my opinion, of course.
WTF??? Brian has been around here long enough for everyone to know that he's a dealer, and which gear he sells. And who in their right mind would question either a Blowtorch or the Atmas as serious contenders? If there's something personal going on here, please take it private, OK? Thanks.
Hi 711smilin: I have to chime in here to give a different perspective on the sound of Brian's system with the U1's. This system has the biggest dynamic contrasts and highest resolution of a system that I have heard....especially when you drop in the CAT amps. Brian's sonic priorities here are very evident. On a number of tracks that he played for me, we really had his system creating quite the "boogie" factor. Talk about a lot of fun and musical enjoyment. But I have to admit with the Blowtorch, I liked the Atmasphere MA1 amps the most to drive his U1's. On some music, this really created quite a different musical attachment for me.
I tend to like more of a full and rich lower midrange and for this I can give up the other strengths of a system for these traits. And this is why I tried to sneak in a vote for the Aesthetix while Brian was not looking. But the Blowtorch, like the CAT Ultimate line stage, does some sonic magic in a few areas I wish the Aesthetix did. I would think the Blowtorch would be an awesome match with SET amps driving the SL speakers.
We all have to bounce between neutral, natural, emotional (aren't we all emotional here!), resolving, etc., when it comes down to the final sound of our system. And the more we get to know the priorities of others here, just as with the case of reviewers, the more we can put their comments and recommendations into perspective.