Using a Meridian 557 200 watt amp into 8 ohms and over 350 into 4 ohms on my SL3's. A Great amp that has been overlooked by the press. Very warm and revealing!More than enough to drive any ML speaker to below 2 ohms. Steve
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I have been using Bryston 7B-ST mono blocks. While these amps can drive the ML ReQuest to a loud volume, I find them get edgy and also produce too much base in my room. I have the -3dB switch on otherwise the base is too much even though I have Tower Traps in the front corners. Quite honstly I have not tried other amps in my room but lots of people recommended tube amps with the ML. So I went ahead and ordered a pair of Sonic Frontiers Power 3. I hope they would be better than the Brystons. Good luck.
I too have tried various amps with my ReQuests, tube & solid, my advice: don't buy ANYTHING until you've heard the lastest Classe amps. Listen to the CA301, CA401, or even the CA201. Classe is also recommened by the folks at M.L. who told me the pair-up is "a match made in heaven". I currently use the CA301 - the sound is incredible.
I sell Sound Labs, which are less efficient and a more difficult load than the ReQuests. The Wolcott Audio Presence amps are superb with the Sound Labs, especially the latest version with the ultra wide bandwidth output transformer. I would bet the Wolcotts would match up very well with the ReQuests. They are pretty much the tube amp of choice for difficult loads.
Logans really love tubes. Your Requests will really open up with any good tube amp. The Wolcott's would be a good choice as would be ARC VT100/200's, Sonic Frontiers Power 3, Mesa Baron and older amps like VAC PA160's. There are some real deals out there on new Wolcott's and Power 3's (like half of retail). Used VT100 MkII's seem to have dropped significantly in price lately (maybe something to do the the new MkIII). I'm using a Baron on my CLS's and it is a great match. Every tube amp that I auditioned was superior to the ss amps I tried with the CLS's. I would suspect similar results with your hybrids. You really owe it to yourself to audtion some tubes -- you won't regret it.
Wsmatau, I went the tube pre with solid state power amps for quite a while. Most recently, good results with an Audible Illusions Modulus3 and a McCormack DNA1 Deluxe. Better results still with NOS Seimens tubes (at $64 per tube, thank God there are only four of them). But, there is only so much you can do with the tube pre/ss amp combination. Don't get me wrong, this sounded good but when I finally went the tube amp route it was a whole other ballgame with my system. Yes, tube magic can be had for $2,000. That's what I paid for my Mesa Baron with new matched tubes. I looked at VAC's for less than this price (PA100's and PA160's -- wonderful sound and detail with my CLS's but the Baron had more balls and near infinite adjustabilty on the fly). There are many other new and used tube amps at just slightly higher price points. Don't get hung up on power ratings... even when running my Baron in 2/3rd's triode (approximately 90 watts) it plays at a higher level and more effortlessly than my 185 watt McCormack. And that's with fairly difficult to drive esl's. The McCormack was good to a point, but at it's best not nearly as good as any of the tube amps I tried -- and after that point the DNA fell apart (my speakers' fault). There are lots of reasonably priced tube pieces out there. Works for me. My foot is in the stirup, I'm hooked. Doesn't hurt to audition something different and decide what you like. Lastly, I think that, generally, tube amps are better with tube pre's. Anyone out there feel free to correct me if there are different experiences regarding this point. I'm looking to step up from my Audible Illusions Mod3 with the Baron (too much gain on the M3), any suggestions?
Hiflyer, Have a Baron (using matched 5881's)with the tri-tube mod (you can just plug in 5881's, EL34's or KT99's and set the bias accordingly). I don't have the soft-start feature on my amp, the standby mode is just fine and I have heard reports of the soft-start circuit creating problems but don't have first hand experience. That's about all you can get in a Baron. My Audible Illusions Modulus 3 (with NOS Seimens 6DJ8's) sounds good with the Baron, but the Mod3 has so much gain that adjustments and control are a bit of a pain -- can't get beyond 7 or 8 o'clock. I'm going to try and find out if the M3 gain is adjustable. Even so, I'm still going to step up (I've had the preamp for 6 or 7 years now). From a sonic standpoint, the AI is a good match with the Mesa. With respect to CJ, the Premier 5's are popular and a good value on the used market, but aren't my cup of tea. Although they have plenty of power, they still have what I think is a Conrad Johnson "house sound" -- warmer, more euphonic than I prefer. But, that said, lots of other people really dig these characteristics -- they do have their following. And I guess they would tone down overly bright speakers. Whatever tube amp you choose, just be sure to stick with a tube pre. While a tube pre/ss power amp can be a good combination, it tends not to work in reverse.
Hello Jim my name is Dave at [email protected] I have been using a BAT VK5i/Bryston 4BST. I love the BAT but have a connection for a used Mesa Baron. I think, after your comments, the Baron is just what I need. A shotgun of tubes going out to my ML ReQuests. Question though. Will the BAT have any problems with the Baron. The BAT is a first class built unit. Maybe a tube upgrade could only improve on excellance. What tubes are you using in the Baron. Appreciate your comments and thanks for the Baron info.
Hey, Dave. Right now I'm using AQ Lapis IC's and AQ Midnight speaker cable. I've had these for years, left over from my Apogee/solid state amp days. I'm pondering upgrades throughout and going back and forth on the silver vs. copper speaker cable thing. I'll probably audition both types from the same manufacturers. I'm using Mesa's matched 5881 tubes right now. Once I sort out IC's/cables I'll play with EL34's, supposed to be more detailed and more delicate although they are not as rugged as the 5881's. The 5881's do sound damn good, though. Also, I found that NOS tubes really helped my Mod3 pre. This is another piece that I'll be upgrading soon (thinking about a Joule). Hope this helps.