I have been thinking of getting an older Cremona myself sometime. I think the amp I am currently using, a CJ Premier 350, would be very good with them. They will run between 4 and 5 thousand $ if you can find one. One of the best amps ever made.
Fundsgon, you might want to see if you can locate an ARC D-70. You can see in my review of this amp in the amp review section how impressed I am with this ARC and my SF's. YMMV.
The Cremona can punch way above it's class if powered correctly. Forget about it's 90db/w/m efficiency rating. It needs big, smooth, creamy power.
By far the best I've ever heard Cremonas was powered by a pair og McIntosh MC1201 mono blocks, 1200w each. Sensational! Too much or too big? Then work down the line to your price point, used or new: MC501s, MC402 -- you want one of the big power auto former amps, quad-differential if possible. But the MA6900, MA7000 and even the MA6600 integrateds will sound great on Cremona.
hello, currently using ayre V-5xe amp and K-5xemp pre. with original cremona's, as i type this, the sound would be the best ive ever owned. [ not that ive owned alot ] but for the first time in awhile , im just enjoying the music, and not worrying about the next upgrade.
Thanks all - I've read good reviews about all of your recommendations. I'm in no rush - probably will demo this summer and purchase in the late fall. 1200w? OMG that must be otherworldly.
I think my budget will be <$10,000 for preamp / amp combo, depends on WAF.
Any other Cremona lovers care to recommend an amp/preamp combo?
I have older cremonas and I use audio research vs 110 and ls26 pre amp and sounds great, was listening to Mac 402 and sounded very dry and lifeless ,not a good match in my opinion. Also with there new replacements out you should be able to great value here on the used market.
I have Cremonas in my living room. They have seen:
ARC LS-25 w/ARC VT130SE (hi-power tube), Odyssey Stratos monos (hi-power SS), Prima Luna 7 monos (mid power tube).
Also Bel Canto 300i integrated (hi power class D SS) and Pathos Classic One integrated (mid power hybrid).
All of these combos sounded pretty good, if slightly different one to the next. Both the ARC and PL aren't the "tubiest" sounding tube amps in the world, but that side of their character was evident with this speaker. The Prima Luna might have been a stretch, but all others were comfortable at high volume - including the Pathos which was the long term choice. (That was based as much on cosmetics as sound - this is my living room system, so it doubles as furniture/sculpture.)
Bottom line: There's lots of flexibility here, but if you go with tubes make sure that you have enough power.
Not sure if this helps or not but I have the original Cremona Auditors and when I first got them I tried them with the a Conrad Johnson Premier 11A tube amp and a Pathos Classic One MkII tube/ss integrated (both ~70wpc as I recall). Even though of similar power the Pathos seemed to control the speakers much better. They seemed faster and more dynamic with the Pathos. Shortly thereafter I switched to Crimson 630E monoblocs (~170wpc) and 710 preamp which took the speed, dynamic transitions and overall musical involvement to a completely different level.
That said I would have been happy with the Pathos except it suffered from reliability problems which got me searching for something else (namely Naim). I suspect I just had bad luck though and I wouldn't hesitate to suggest giving Pathos a listen. They sound great and are LOVELY to look at.
Hope that helps a bit.
I use a Classe CP-65 pre and a Levinson 432 amp (400 watts at 8 ohm) with my Cremona. I have tried big Classe amps with the Cp-65 pre and find the sound a little harsh. Likewise, a Levinson 32 or 326 pre is too laid back with the 432 amp. So, a neutral to slightly forward pre (CP-65 and a neurtral to laid back amp (ML 432) works for me. I really like the 432, although you need to be aware that support can be a expensive these days with them, although I have never had any trouble with my amp. I would also suggest you try the various McIntosh if you can. I have heard the Cremona with the large Edge amps and really like them, although I have never had them in my listening room. I would also think about what cables you have. I tried several and ended up with Transaparent Audio Ultra.
I have been using Sonus Faber Concertos with Pathos integrated in monoblock mode for two years and its been a great combo. I am going to be upgrading to the Cremoras with the Pathos very shortly. I have heard that combination at my dealers and it sound even better than the Concertos. The Cremora is a better speaker so it should sound better. I would seriously look at Pathos. My two integrateds have worked perfectly for two years.
I currenlty have some Cremona Auditor Ms and I use a McIntosh C2300 pre and MC252 amp and am very staified and have stopped my upgraditis. IF I were to upgrade again I would step up to the MC501 monoblocks, but at htis time it does not deem as a necessary step. I also have a REL B2 sub base system to compliment the Auditors.
Rudge - I have Conerto Homes with a Pathos Classic One mark III and love the sound. I would like to hear the Cremona with 2 of these in mono mode. Are you going to the original model or the M?
Miner42 - the general reports are that the M's are much easier to drive than than the original Cremona. That said, I think McIntosh can be a nice fit with the Cremona. But, no blue meters are allowed in my room.
I am going to the M and trading in my concertos. I have been very happy with them, but then M's sound even better. It woudl have been necessary for me to have long speaker cable runs so I decided to use the Pathos monoblocked. I have been very happy with them and will continue to monoblock them even though I don't need the power.