Mr. Shahinian himself insists on staying away from tubes and having an SS amp with reasonable power. Check with him and he'll be happy to make an in-person recommendation.
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I have Obelisks and use a Plinius SA100 with them.The Shahinian speakers in general need amps with high current so solid state is often recommended. Peter Thomson of Plinius uses Shahinian ( I think Diapasons) and I know Richard Shahinian thinks that Plinius works well with his speakers.I have also run my speakers with An ARC VT100 power- really sweet midrange but a bit lacking in the bottom end compared with the SA100. SO IMO I think the Plinius would work well.
I've owned Obelisk for more than twenty years. Without question the best amp for them is Bedini, at least 100 watts. The 25 watt amp will drive them and be very musical but will at some point run out of gas.I've used a Spatial Coherence pre amp with them and have turned plenty of high end heads with that combination. I don't know where you might find a Special but they are worth looking for.
Good luck in your search
its a classical music thing. they throw a big as life soundstage without sacrificing weight. though different than a bose 901 or an allison 1,2, or 4, or a gradient revolution, or the klipsch legacy designs,the speaker uses the room it is in to full effect. a music lover's speaker- not an audiophile speaker. like the others mentioned, its generally purchased by those wanting off the merry-go-round.
Bedini works alright, but I would second Plinius as being superior in build quality, reliability and resale value. A friend of mine just upgraded from the latest Bedini monoblocks to a single Plinius SA-10 for his Obelisks and Diapasons, and says it was well worth it. If you e-mail me, I can forward your mail to him.
I'll third the Plinius 9200 integrated or separate amps for Obelisks. Great synergy. I haven't heard the Bedini amps.
Shahinian also ships a ton of these to Oz and NZ. He used to voice with Plinius, don't know if he still does or not.
The Obelisks' most endearing trait, other than a very (VERY)wide sweet spot, is their ability to portray a realistic sense of large scale orchestral music. I also happen to think they're pretty nice on a lot of acoustic music as well. If imaging and hyper-detail are your be-all/end-all in audio, these aren't your speakers. But if a sense of a live orchestra or band is your thing, then these speakers do it well for the money. As do Ohm Walsh speakers. (As do my ALon Vs.)
I recently (two weeks ago) sent an email to Shahinian asking a question that is not answered on the website.
A reply was received late the following day.
From the Shahinian website:
Contrary to some feedback we have received, our loudspeakers have never been designed to work with only one kind of electronics; however, our preference in electronics has always been solid state, even though tubes can work well if done properly.
Our top 3 favorites for manufacturers of the most musical separates are Bedini as our long time #1, with Plinius and Dynavector as recent additions.
For more affordable separates, as well as what we feel are the world's best integrated amplifiers, no one rivals Creek.
I have an Accuphase 80/81 source going straight into VTL 300 monoblocks into Obelisks. It is the best I have heard.
I also have a Levinson ML-3, Accuphase integrated, and various other SS and tube amps. No one comes close to the VTL (in triode mode) with the Obelisks for full musical range. It is truly the most palpable sound I have out of a system (a Decware Zen into Klipsch Fortes comes close on vocal and accoustic solos). (I have also run a Sony SCD-777ES to Electronic Visionary (EVS) attenuators for SACD.)
I heard the Obelisk's back in 1977 demoed by Richard Shahinian personally. This was at that Fall's NYC Audio Show. Signal source was a TT (don't remember the make) with a MC cartridge. Amplification was a pre/power combination by PSE (Professional Systems Engineering). 100 watts@8ohms. Superb sound from the classical symphonic LP's that Richard played! Best sound of that genre of music of all the exhibitors!