I've always liked warm-ish sounding amps with Carl M's various speakers - Carl himself believes his gear should be paired to tubes. If SS then I'd try (in no particular order) Classe, Plinius & Sim Audio. I'd definitely stick with the 200W minimum though. Wouldn't want those Circes to get sloppy - @ 87db they're not exactly super efficient.
If tubes... well, I'm not one to give an opinion on them ;)
I have similar listening preferences to those you describe, but also listen to some classical. Full scale orchestra would suck up a lot of juice!
Nice choice in speakers! BTW
Great speakers! I have the Alon Lotus SE MKIII and I love them, they're the last speakers I think I'll own. They are quite a bit more efficient than the Circe's, I run them on Cary 300B monos at 12 watts per side. You can't get away with that, but you should definitely go with tubes, that's how Carl voices his speakers. Go with something medium to high powered, perhaps something from VTL or conrad-johnson. Home demo as many different amps as you can, your speakers are good enough to really spend time finding the perfect amp for them. And when you do you're in for some real magic. Enjoy!
I would agree with the VTL recommendation, as well as Audio Research VT200s, both of which I have heard with the Circes and think sounded quite good with them. I agree, nice choice in speakers, great ones for listening to music.
Thank you all for sharing your experiences. One thing I should have mentioned in my original post is that I intend to go with tubes, or possibly another hybrid amp because the Circes were designed with them in mind.
Awdeeofyle - Thank you for the ss suggestions!
Jond and Rcprince - I agree that the Cary 300s are not the best match for these speakers due to their power requirements. VTL is on my short list to audition.
Would the Lamm M1.1 (100 w mono block, hybrid architecture) be an appropriate match?? If so, why?
Why would the Lamm be an appropriate match? Because it's better than any of the amps mentioned in this thread, for starters. It has plenty of power, but unlike the ss amps mentioned, it doesn't screw up timbral reproduction. And unlike the whitish, hazy VT200's, the Lamm is essentially transparent. Best of all, as J10 said, "it's got soul, baby."
The Lamms are better than the other amps mentioned, although I'd stretch to get the ML1s (used) if I were going that route. They are superb amplifiers.
Kevinkwann - The Lamms have an extraordinary reputation, but where I live (Seattle), there are no Lamm dealers to arrange an audition. No doubt the Lamm M1.1 (like many other power amps) can drive my Circes satisfactorily. And I value all of the Lamm characteristics you listed. My question is whether anyone has actually listened to the Lamm / Circe combination specifically, and what are their notes from the listening session? Is this specific combination complementary, or not? Two great components don't always make music when combined together, right?
Rcprince - I have read (but unfortunately not auditioned) that the ML-1 is sonically superior to the M1.1, although the differences are subtle (Soundstage review), and naturally dependent upon the load applied. My initial thought was to find a ML-1 to audition with the Circes, but Vladimir advised the M1.1 as a better choice for the Circes. Have you had the opportunity to listen to the ML-1 / Circe combination. If so, what were your impressions? thanks!
I unfortunately haven't heard the combination of the Circes with Lamm, by the time my dealer started carrying Lamm he'd sold his Circes. If Vlad feels the 1.1 is a better match for that speaker, I'd tend to go with his recommendation, he knows best the capabilities of his amplifiers, and the review was right, there's not a huge difference between the ML1s and the M1.1s in the auditioning I've had. I've owned my ML1s for about 6 months, and have been amazed at how good these amps, and all the Lamm products, are. I recognize that they might not work with every speaker, but they are so good on the Wilsons, Dynaudio Temptations and my speakers that I would expect they'd sound great on virtually any well-designed speaker. Perhaps there's someone in the Seattle area who owns a pair that you could arrange an audition with.
I have heard M1.1, ML1 and Circe separately. I agree with Rcprince original post. If can afford much extra dollar for ML1 it will be the amplifier of choice with Circe. It has more resolution than M1.1. Spectrally the Circe is warm and therefore would mate perfectly with the ML1 if you not headbanger. If you listen to loud music in large room, M1.1 better only in that case.