I have Salon 2s too. All of your amp choices are of such high quality and so high power I'd bet you'd be hard-pressed to hear any differences. But if you want to be discerning anyway...
For complex multi-driver systems like the Salon 2s I tend to prefer amps that are a good voltage source, just because the loads of the drivers and complex crossovers tend be demanding. The AR amp is not specified to do well into low impedance loads, though with 450w/ch how bad could it be? Still, I'd pass on the AR.
I've always found McIntosh amps to be weird animals, because they add a lot of cost and weight in those output autoformers, and I prefer the money gets spent on the power supply & output amplification stage for high current, but that's just me. I also don't care much for McIntosh styling, but that's pure personal preference, of course.
The Halo is a nice amp, and claims better low impedance performance. Parasound is a good company, but I don't like the overseas manufacturing in such premium products.
The Classe amps are nice too. Of your list I'd probably choose one of the Classes.
If you can afford it, the new Krell 302e looks very interesting. As usual for Krell, it's claimed to be a constant voltage source down to 2 ohms, and it's a new design, so the standby power is only 2w. At 600w/ch into 4 ohms (and likely more, knowing Krell) it has a ridiculous amount of power. It'll probably last forever too, just like the McIntosh. I've always admired Krells.
I also like the Levinson amps (that's what I run). Another constant voltage choice. Very innovative designs, and perhaps a better value than the Krells, especially if you stay with the lower wattage models. My experience with Levinson service leaves a bit to be desired, but that was on a CD player, and their amps are well known to be absolutely reliable.
I've heard them with both McIntosh SACD/tube pre/MC501's and Ayre's top of the line.
The McIntosh was warm and musical, but more of a 20th-row seat perspective, where I like a bit more forward sound. I was also a little surprised how easy it was to peg the meters on the MC501's - these speakers do like some power. Still this was in a rather big very damped room, so real-world this might be a very nice combination.
The Ayre's didn't impress me too much. The combination had a more forward perspective - just the way I like it really, but the system didn't push my buttons at all. To me, it seemed to lack warmth and transparency, despite reviews listing these as major strengths. It goes to show we all hear differently I guess.
I heard the same components driving the Wilson Sasha W/P on another occasion and liked them even less with the Wilsons(but for the same reasons). YMMV of course.
I would have been tempted to try the JC1's next, and perhaps give a longer listen to the McIntoshes.
The Salon2's are terrific speakers - you should be able to get amazing sound out of them.
Thanks for your thoughts.
I would definitely consider ML but I've heard and read of concerns with reliability and support recently - including amps. Glad your amp(s) has/have been reliable. Which model(s) do you have?
I've heard of very positive comments on the AR DSI 450. A former owner of Salon2s changed his Ayre mono blocks to this particular amp and was extremely impressed with the outcome. Very much supports Auxetophone's comment on the Ayre with the Salon's.
Thanks for your comments. I did hear the Salon's with the Ayre at my dealer. The entire setup was Ayre - CD/Pre/Amp. The Salon's sounded better than they do with my Anthem - more detail and more bottom. However, they did not have enough "juice" to drive them to reasonable loud levels (not suggesting ear shattering).
You should really listen to an Autoformer coupled McIntosh before you adopt the belief that Autoformers are a waste of weight and money.
I run a pair of ML 334s, in vertical bi-amp configuration.
I have heard more than one solid state McIntosh amp, and they both sounded fine. I'm not a good one for hearing differences between high-end amps, perhaps because I don't believe there is much in the way of audible differences. My bias against the autoformers is only that I believe investing in robust power supply and output stages results in a better amp for many modern multi-driver, passive crossover speakers with low impedance dips than investing in a big hulking matching transformer. If you like McIntoshs, cool.
I used McIntosh MC501 monoblocks with very good result and would enthusiastically recommend the pairing. . YMMV.
I am using Lamm M2.2 monoblocks with excellent results. these speakers are extremely revealing and very neutral. You are basically hearing the amps more than the speakers. So choosing proper amps is very critical.
I still think the Parsound JC1's are a great amp if not the new kid on block anymore.If you want power and build quality Bryston would be for me before Classe.I used to sell Mac and think it would be fine combo maybe not as much detail as others but really musical.You just pay a bit more (not as much as Ayre or Krell the latter of which I sold as well).The Revel though neutral is pretty forgiving to begin with (though not like say B&W) so you have some choices.I am value nut even at higher prices.JC1's.Good sounds gobs of current.They make a damn good high end pre so what follows should matter too.
Levinson, Krell, Parasound Halo JC1
I also have the Revel Ultima Salon2's. I have them bi-amped using Mark Levinson 532H amps. It is not necessary to bi-amp these. I only notice a 5% increase in quality... I believe.
"I also have the Revel Ultima Salon2's. I have them bi-amped using Mark Levinson 532H amps. It is not necessary to bi-amp these."
I agree, if you have a really beefy two-channel amp. I thought the ML334 was little lightweight for the Salon2 in my room. One 334 probably would have worked well most of the time, but two amps put me in the highly coveted overkill scenario, and look cool too. :)
pass labs x 350 would be a match made in heaven.
Hi- I am curious as to why went with a bi-amp approach using the 532H instead of a single higher quality 532?
I'll second and third the motion to go with Levinson for powering the Revels. I personally have a couple of the new 531H mono's and am totally impressed. Powerful, cool, and quiet!
I've experimented quite a bit with amplification of Salon 2s nd found that bi-amplification of these speakers to be absolutely essential. The problem is that while you can power the salon 2 with hefty Mark Levinson, Boulder, Krell, Pass Labs or any other high quality high power amps (in my case MBL-9007 dual mono amps 400watts/8 ohms), the back EMF caused by powering three 8 inch aluminum cone bass drivers below the 150hz crossover point to the amplifier is polluting the three high pass drivers. The high pass drivers which consist of 1" beryllium tweeter, 4" inverted titanium cone mid driver and 6.5 inch inverted titanium cone mid bass driver really don't need much power. In my case I had the best results with Nelson Pass First Watt J2 30 watts Class A amplifier to power this high pass section. I dedicated the MBL-9007s just for the three 8 inch bass. The difference in this configuration is night and day. Salon 2s just came to life. Interestingly enough when I measured the frequency response characteristics of the low pass section of the three 8 inch drivers there is a cliff like steep low pass cut off slope at 150hz. Can you imagine the amount of passive components ala inductors and capacitors that gets in the way of music to achieve this. By the way, no matter what amplifiers I used powering the low pass section driving the three 8 inch aluminum bass drivers, althought the frequency response curve truly confirm an amazing deep linear bass response down to 20hz, I feel as though the bass transient speed and amount of air it moves to recreate a true symphonic event is not quite there. I think Revel could have used larger diameter lighter mass cone drivers with heftier magnets which would also improve drive ability of these speakers for folks that only use one amp.