Amp for Sonus Faber Elipsa SE


Any recommendation for an amplifier for Sonus Faber Elipsa SE?

Would you select tubes or solid state?

On my stradivari, I preferred tubes for voices but SS for dynamics, bass.

Cary 211FE was my tube amp
Classe M600 was my SS amp
On my system, I use a CJ 2500A with the Elipsas SE. Great sound for my ears. Best,Ari.
What do you prefer? Tube or solid state?

I rotate through amps on my Strads. Bryston 28BSST2's or Hegel H30 with a low output impedance tube preamp, like my CJ GAT, is superb on mine - superb control and soundstage. Strads need power to show their best but quality is better than quantity. I suspect the Elipsa SE are similar. If you want a sanely priced option, the Job Monos will be awesome. I had the Job 225 on my Strads and while, for the majority of my listening it was fine, I do feel the more powerful Job monos will be better.

Tube gear is buyer's choice. Believe it or not, one amp that gets a fair amount of use on my Strads is a Jolida Fusion 3502 with KT-150's (under $2K retail). A wonderful combo that will not break the bank. My taste runs more towards Conrad Johnson. Buy what you can afford. Audio Research and McIntosh are another superb combo depending on your taste. 

Do you have a budget you could tell us? We could point you in a better direction. What is your preamp? Or are you planning on amp and preamp at the same time?
One more thing regarding solid state amps for the Elipsa SE, I heard them once, briefly, with a Krell sliding bias amp.I forget the model. It was really good and confirms my belief that amps like that (Odyssey, Bryston, Parasound, Pass, etc.) will be great with appropriate preamp.

pkelly1504 Hi,

Really nice speakers you have there, but to get them to sing right, especially in the bass, for these Sonus Faber’s you need an amp that can almost double it’s wattage from 8ohm to 4ohm to 2ohm (eg: 100w 200w 400w) And that means amps that deliver hefty current. No tube/ Mosfet/Class D amp for these. You need big amp/s that have "bi-polar (bjt)" output stages this type of amp will do these speaker justice. As right through the bass and upper bass they are 2.5ohm, and at the low bass with 4ohms and -50degrees phase angle load (EPG), this can look like 1.5ohms to the amp.

Just a snippet from the Stereophile test results on these speakers.

"With an impedance magnitude that drops to 2.5 ohms throughout the upper bass (fig.1). There is also a punishing combination of 4 ohms magnitude and –50 ° electrical phase angle at 70Hz that will suck gobs of current from the amplifier."

joeinid has mentioned two amps I believe that have the goods to deliver big current. Big earlier Krell stereos or mono blocks Dan Agostino designed ones. And my favourite would be the Parasound JC1 mono blocks which you can user adjust the Class A bias with a switch, cool for hot days class A for cold days.

Stereophile in the review above used Mark Levinson No.33, Boulder 860 and the Parasound JC1’s these are all bi-polar (bjt) output amps.

Cheers George

Unfortunately it seems like you'll need a tube amp for mids and treble, and a powerful, class A, SS amp for bass.  If I had to choose only one, I would get the biggest tube amp, that both sounds good and is affordable .  You might want to add that bass amp later or add a sub later.
Hello & thanks for the responses.

I currently use Cary MB 500 mono blocks, a CJ ET3SE, Audio Research PH7 for a phono pre, a Project Extension 12 Turntable with a Sumiko Pearwood II Celebration cartridge to go along with The Elipsa SE's

The sound is great I am always looking to upgrade the sound. 
Would the best option be to buy tube mono blocks with the most power for the $$?

There are a pair of Carver Cherry 180's for sale for $4100. They are 180 watts per amp I believe.

It seems like I will gain in the mids & highs but lose on the lows by switching to tube amp.

Any input is appreciated.
At this year's Axpona Audio Show in Chicago (O'hare actually) I was extremely impressed with how musical the Sonus Faber Lilium Loudspeakers sounded with the AMG v12 as the source driven by the latest Audio Research GS Preamp and GS150 power amp. I felt it to be the best sound of the show and visited the room several times during my 3 day stay there.  I'm not sure how the Lilium compares electrically speaking to your Elipsa SE, but the Audio Research GS150 amp was a match made in heaven with the Lilium speakers.

Good luck and enjoy your search!
pkelly1504Hello & thanks for the responses.

Would the best option be to buy tube mono blocks with the most power for the $$?

No, just throwing tube watts at them is not the answer. Wattage is not the answer here, current is, and for that you need what Stereophile is saying and recommended. Amps like these, Mark Levinson No.33, Boulder 860 and the Parasound JC1’s these are all bi-polar (bjt) output amps. Only then will you get control over these speakers, especially in the bass.

A really great amp for these even though party loudness music would be out, and to show you wattage is not the answer, would be the old massive 1977 Mark Levinson ML-2 mono blocks another John Curl design "real current pushers", they are only 25w each but they keep doubling that wattage down to .5ohm.  

Amps that can "almost" double their wattage into each halving of impedance, means they have good current delivery eg: 8ohms=100w 4ohms=200w 2ohms=400w. When an amp can almost do these halving = doubling figures then it is capable of giving good current delivery.

Cheers George

Curious if anyone has tried the PS-Audio  BHK Signature 250 with these?

Doubles down to 500W at 4 ohms and being a hybrid it in theory has the tube flavor, although I've not been able to audition one

My thought was to do this amp and do without a pre as the DAC allows input and column control