Amp Upgrade - 3k to 4k used?

Hi Folks:
I’m thinking of upgrading my amps and would value some advice. I currently have Blue Circle BC2 Monos. I’ve been really happy with them, but the upgrade bug is starting to bite again. I could spend about $3k to $4k on the used market. I’m particularly keen on tube amps (especially low powered SET), but not sure if my speakers would be efficient enough. I know my CD player is a little old too, but don’t think an upgrade here will get me a big bang for the buck. I’ll also consider upgrading IC and SC as well a little later on, but want really really good stuff (FIM or Valhalla likely). Another option may be to get a Shunyata Hydra. The rest of my system is:

Audio Physic Virgo II (89Db efficiency, I think)
Sonic Frontiers Line III – (but expecting delivery of Supratek Chardonnay in a month or so).
Nordost SPM IC & OTA Sakura IC
OTA Sakura Speaker Cable
3 Shunyata Sidewinder Power Cords, 2 YBA Diamond Power Cords, 1 pair of Bybee IC Filters, FIM outlets.

All advice and recommendations welcome. Thanks,
Pass, Krell, Levinson, or BAT. Any1 of these maunfactures should make something that works well with the rest of your gear. Just bought a Line 1 and am very come your selling the Line 3?
I'm very happy with my Bat amps,especially
when I started changing out some tubes with
new old stock.
I don't think you could go wrong with a BAT, in particular there tube amps are super! Also worth looking into would be perhaps a Atma-Sphere otl amp of some sort, if I don't go from a VK-60 to a VK-75se I will get an Atma-Sphere and enjoy this OTL thing so many rave about. Which reminds me check out the Berning OTL(fake OTL but close enough) amps they are suppose to be giant killers for the money. ~Tim
Thanks for the advice. Yes, I used to think about getting a VK60 - would be a bit cheaper than the Blue Circle BC2s, so not sure if it would be better, but it might be worth trying. The BAT tube amps definitely look like they mean business. I tried a couple of times before to get VK120 but other buyers beat me to it. One issue is that my upcoming Supratek Chardonnay has single ended inputs and outputs only, and I believe the BAT amps are all balanced. I know one can get adaptors, but I may fare better just getting an amp with single ended outputs. I might end up keeping the Line III though if it's as good as the Chardonnay.

Mdomnick, yea, I love my Line III as well - it's so quiet, neutral and does it's job really well. I'm getting the Supratek Chardonnay to try out because from what I've read it looks like it may be a killer bargain (see thread on best preamp deal ever, or something like that). It was too difficult for me to resist ordring one - it is a thing of beauty too. I'm not sure how I'll get on with it.

Overall, I find I like to switch and change equipment over time - as long as the replacement is at least as good (if different) than it's predecessor, I'm happy. I've had the Line III for about a year and a half now, and that's a long time for me. I just like to change now and again. Next speakers may be JM Labs Mezzo Utopia, whenever I can manage to save up.
John- On the used market, don't forget about checking out a Cary 805b or c, and also the WAVAC 572. These SETs have power and sonics. I also like some of the OTLs, but they usually require a bit more "user involvement" in their care and feeding. Good luck.
WARNING! Philosophical Viewpoint Coming -

I have been on the upgrade path for 25 years and still can't get off BUT I recently put an early 1960s integrated
full function amplifier in my system for "fun" and "nostalgia". Guess what? It sounds quite fine - price $200 US. It will even let me listen to my moving coil equipped 'table ( not real loud). I will likely stay addicted to the upgrade bug but I could live with the "old integrated". Perhaps some of our current gear will become "classics" and be appreciated for what it is and what it can provide as enjoyment. Enjoy what you have; enjoy the MUSIC.
If I were you, I would find a pair of Pass Aleph 2's... There is a pair on Ebay right now for ~$2500...

You will never deal with tubes again... Same mids and highs, much better bass, and no hassles...

Just my $.02...

Good luck,

The Hydra will do wonders-it did for me anyway. Do you have dedicated outlets with iso grounds? That'll help to. I had a pair of Virgo II's for 3 years. A single BAT VK60 drove the heck out of them. However, I've heard running 2 in mono is even better. good luck...
John -

You might consider a pair of Atma-Sphere M-60's with a pair of Paul Speltz's "Zero" autoformers. This will give you true OTL magic, and you'll still be able to drive your 4-ohm Virgos. OTL's do some things better than other amps.

Sounds like a wonderfully enjoyable quest you're on. Best of luck to you!

Duke just give such great, honest advice!
Try the Classe CA-201 or CA-301. These amplifiers are musical, dimensional, transparent have row upon row of layering and the uncanny ability to flesh-out varying instrument and vocal tones/color like the real thing. Great staging --depth, height and width. Fully balanced (works great with SF pre's --particularly the Line-3), also SE inputs, bridgeable, gobs of current and simply does not lose control with virtually any speaker or at any volume level --it always remains musical, composed and focused. A great bargain and built to a very high quality --inside and out. You won't be disappointed.

peter jasz
Ain't it amazing Ric!!! Duke gives great advice- a truly valued member here. ~Tim
John, you might consider the Rowland 112. i know it is solid state but i owned one for 6 months and was very impressed by the top to bottom musicality and lack of ss etch.

i am a tube guy (Tenor 75Wp monoblocks) so that is where my heart is but at $3k to $4k used it is hard to beat the overall performance of the Rowland 112.

it doesn't hurt that the Rowland is a built like a tank and is one of the more beautiful amps out there. the older 112s have the polished case (like the #10 and #12) but the newer 112s have a cheaper black try to find one of the earlier models (it was costing Rowland too much to use that polished case for an amp in that price range).
Thanks for all the advice guys - some very good amp options mentioned - good food for thought. Cheers,
If you're eventually looking to upgrade to JMLabs Mezzo Utopia's, you may just want to save the $3-4k you're looking to spend on amps and allocate it to the JMLabs.

I suspect the change in speakers will be much more dramatic then changing amps. Besides, the amps you buy now may not mate as perfectly with the JMLabs.

Nevertheless, I think it would be worthwhile checking out the Manley, Rogue and Audio Research gear if you're looking for something that may give you a different perspective from the Blue Circle.
Keep those BC's, and send them back to Gilbert to update to BC2-8's (2500) or the BC2-8000's (4000.00). I would send my 2.1's back, but I spent way too much on audio lately. Check out the web page, getting 80% of the AG8000 (14,000.00) for 4k is a deal.
If you really want the BAT's with the Chardonnay, Mick will make 1 of the sets of outs XLR for $50. I know that doesn't make it balanced, but you could skip the adaptors.