I have heard the V3's with Pass XA100's, Hovland Radia, Bryston 7BSST, Chord Monoblocks ($26,000; can't remember model number) and Rowland M312 in the same room. The Pass Amps were the best to my ear...excellent synergy with V's. May be a tad out of your price range used. Rowland M312 was a close 2nd, perhaps lacking in bass slam/depth compared to Pass amp....not by a wide margin. Bryston Monoblocks were a bit thin or perhaps lacked the warmth of the Pass/Rowland variety. The Hovaland Radia was too polite across the frequency spectrum for my tastes.
I'm surprised the 500 watt Rowland M312 would lack bass compared to the XA100.5, I guess we're comparing stereo to monoblocks. I had a X250.5 years ago and it sounded great which is why I'm considering Pass Labs again.
What's the difference between the later X350.5 compared to earlier, the specs haven't changed.
Thanks for the input guys, I'm researching each amp you've recommended.
to me the .8 is all positive. I had the 250, 250.5 and the 250.8 just broken in. I mostly find great accuracy, more natural timbre, more openness. Also better bass definition. All who heard my system prefer the .8 I sometimes wonder if the more natural timbre sounds less exciting during a brief listen
If you are still using the Audio Valve Eklipse preamp listed in your system description, I would certainly expect the Pass .8 series to be preferable to the .5 series, as the input impedances of the .5 amps are too low to be optimal matches to the output impedance characteristics of that preamp.
See the second paragraph on this page, in which John Atkinson's measurements indicate that deep bass performance will be compromised if that preamp is asked to drive an input impedance of less than 30K. The Pass .5 amps have specified input impedances of 30K balanced/15K unbalanced, but since per JA's comments your preamp outputs an unbalanced signal on its XLR connector I believe it would be seeing a 15K load even if you connected via a balanced XLR cable.
The Pass .8 series amps have specified input impedances of 50K unbalanced/100K balanced, which would be fine.
Also, the MC402 which was suggested earlier has an input impedance of 10K unbalanced/20K balanced, which is too low to be suitable.
Finally, although Audio Research hasn't been mentioned, be aware that many of their balanced amps which provide only XLR inputs will not work properly unless provided with a balanced pair of signals on their XLR connectors, which the Audio Valve preamp will not provide. The same caveat MIGHT apply to some other balanced amps which only provide XLR inputs.
Good luck as you proceed. Regards,
AL, why are you stating amplifier input specs? The original post was for a AMP recommendation, I assumed the poster would purchase a pre amp that would match the amp. The bottom line is the MAC 402 will drive the speakers mentioned in the original post no problem. That is what I was responding to, where is the original poster asking about pre amp and amp combos?? LOL.
There has been no indication in the thread that the OP has purchased or will be purchasing a replacement for the Audio Valve preamp that is listed in his system description. Therefore, while the question that was posed relates to selection of a power amp that would be a good match for the OP’s Magico speakers, it seems appropriate to point out that some amps which may be good matches for those speakers will not be good matches for that preamp.
I still have the Eklipse preamp and much of my system remains the same, what's different is I now have a dedicated room and will update the pics in my system in the near future.
A member here PM and alerted me to the D'Agostino Classic stereo, I decided to pull the trigger on it unseen in the flesh and unheard. There's a review on it in the newest TAS and a few who's heard it says it is very good, smooth, detailed, and not sterile. It is a 300 watt stereo amp with core technologies based on the D'Agostino Momentum but in a larger chassis, it also has input impedance of 100k ohm which should match more preamps. I imagine this amp to be some what similar to either the Pass Labs X or XA amplifiers.
scar972, it looks like the D’Agostino Classic does not provide RCA input connectors, and as I mentioned earlier your Eklipse provides unbalanced signals on its XLR connectors. Which creates a bit of concern as to whether the Classic will work properly when provided with unbalanced signals, similar to the issue I cited that definitely exists with many Audio Research balanced amps which don’t provide RCA input connectors.
I suspect that you’ll probably be ok in that respect, but if you already haven’t I’d suggest that you raise that question with D’Agostino or some other source knowledgeable about the specific design. In the event that it does turn out to be a problem, a suitably chosen Jensen Transformer (ca. $300), or at a higher price point ($1895) an SMc Audio Flex-Connect, would most likely be good ways of converting the unbalanced signals from the preamp to balanced.
Good luck. Regards,
Al, the D'Agostino doesn't provide RCA input but does provide XLR-RCA adapters with their amp, if they offer this, I would expect it to work flawlessly with an unbalanced signal. I have a feeling even though the connector on the back is an XLR, it is in fact unbalanced.
Same goes for the Eklipse preamp, it has XLR output, but the signal is unbalanced.