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I think your speakers are a bit of a tough load for a tube amp. I’d look at using a hybrid integrated like the Unison Unico Due ($3700 new) that has a tube preamp section and a solid state amp biased toward Class A that should provide more of the tonal characteristics and warmth you’re looking for with enough power to properly drive your speakers. Or obviously a separate tube pre and SS amp. Best of luck.
Good Morning, gardner501:
Something to try which may work out or not (and it may or may not be something you'd be inclined to check out).
I have a SJ-502A which is very similar to your SJ-302A. Prior to my replacing a majority of the parts including the coupling caps with Obbligato Golds (4 in total), replacing the bias pots, and minor mods, I had contacted Jolida USA to inquire as to whether it was possible to use KT120 tubes. Their response at the time was - yes/possible.
Why not contact them to see if the SJ-302A's transformers and biasing have the ability to utilize the KT88s, 6550s, KT90s, or KT120s? It doesn't hurt/cost much to ask.
Note: I realize it may only result in a bit more wattage but it may open up the operatic/choral/orchestral aspects of your amp/system.
Also, I've tried a Rogue Sphinx Mk 11 which is obviously not the same as the Rogue 99 & 90 Magnum combo but I found the Sphinx (being a hybrid, tube pre and Class D power) similar to your remarks aside from the bass aspect. The Sphinx was a bit too neutral for my tastes any wasn't a huge step up/upgrade to what I already had so I ended up selling it. (Mind you, the remote was a nice feature to have but not a deal breaker.)
Thanks for the suggestions - I appreciate them all, and keep 'em coming! I'm intrigued by the idea of a hybrid amp, and am just now learning about GaN technology. I'd still love some more all-tube recommendations. My guess is if I want the same kind of power I heard in the 60 pound, 90 watt Rogue, that I'll need to be looking in the used market in my budget ($4500 or less).
For $3999, Canor Audio makes a 100w class D hybrid with a tube input stage. Canor is a Slovakian company that is just launching here in the US. The first amp arrived on New Years Eve for a review in Enjoy The Music. It has been available for a while in Europe and there are a bunch of foreign reviews.
Canor is an OEM for a few companies including Musical Fidelity for the items listed “made in the EU” so they are not new to this.
The model is the AI 2.10. I am going to be selling it direct and through retailers but it is so new I haven’t even listed it on my site yet.
If you are interested or want to learn more, PM me.
For used, all tube gear in your price range, check out the VTL integrated amp. They are not up for sale often, but are incredibly good sounding.
I obviously am the importer for Canor. I have no affiliation with VTL other than being a former owner of some of their amps.
I am going to agree wholeheartedly with Soix. These are not speakers for a tube amplifier. You should be looking at SS amplifiers and Tube preamps. The Ultimate would be JC1+'s with and ARC preamp but, that is beyond you price point even used. So, how close can we come without breaking the bank. I would keep an eye on Audiogon to see what comes up. Also, your local dealers for used equipment. You want at least 100 watts/ch preferably class A or a high biased AB amp. Mono amps even better. These are low impedance speakers and would benefit from very short speaker cables with long balanced interconnects.
A Parasound A23+ and a used ARC or BAT preamp or perhaps a new Cary Audio SLP 98P. Lots of choices.
Thanks for the continued responses - I appreciate all the input. @davebeegle , yes, I tried it both ways. Has anyone here tried Jolida's now discontinued JD1000BRC? it's an integrated that achieves 100 wpc with 8 EL34 tubes (twice as many as my 302a). My dealer has one that I may audition next. I hear what some of you are saying about the benefits of a SS/tube hybrid and plan to audition some of those, too.
Your goals kinda work against each other because part of what provides that midrange bloom is the inability to fully render the highs and lows. A higher powered amp will usually also come along with more bass and detail. Even for tube amps. I was surprised how much like a SS amp the Prima Luna HP sounds. Terrific amp btw. It might be easier to find a more efficient speaker and play around with different tubes since you already like the Jolida sound. You can also consider a few SS designs that have some tube like characteristics, many of the brands have already been mentioned, but I’d add Simaudio to the hunt.