Amplifier progression and change


I have Harbeth SHL-5s with vintage Accuphase P-300/C-200 amps. It's a nice combination, but I'm thinking of updating the amplifier with a smaller newer integrated, but is it that easy? My question is this: will new amps from companies such as Blue Circle, Plinius, Luxman, LFD, Accuphase, etc. clearly blow away 35 year old Accuphase separates? Have enough advances been made that a new $2000 - $4000 integrated can best an old amp that was built nearly with a cost-no-object standard? Whether solid state or tube, what would one have to spend to get an amp that is head and shoulders above the P-300/C-200? Thanks!
jtnicolosi
This is not an answer to your question but I had Super HL-5's for about 6 weeks and the best sound I ever heard from them was using a Vac Avatar Super.
I do not think they make an integrated but check out Bel Canto's eVo series. They ae magic. And BTW different technology from that of 35 years ago and other of today's SS amps for that matter.
I'm guessing the Accuphase is a solid state amp, and if that's the case, a modern solid state amp will offer sonic advantages over what you have. A relatively inexpensive amp that I can recommend is the W4S ST500 with WBT outputs. They also make an integrated STI 500. If you are ennamored with Accuphase, check out some of their new models.
If it is a tube unit, you may not find a significant improvement.
I don't want to burst your bubble but I owned those Accuphase amps over 35 years ago. At that time they were made by Kenwood and sold at circuit city type chains. They were nice but not state of the art. With the speakers you now have you should invest in better electronics; there are many out there in your price range.
No bubbles to burst here. It will only help with my decisions. It's difficult to get out and audition amps out there, so research is my main source. Yours and any other input is very appreciated!

A few years ago I had a modest Unison Research Unico powering my Harbeth M30s (and before that my Spendor S3/5se). This made for some really sweet music without costing the earth.

After trying various ss separates I have reverted to an all tube integrated, the Graaf GM50, which drives my Verity's. This is by far the best integrated I have owned, and a keeper for me.

Anyway, there are lots of good choices for integrated amplifiers depending on your budget. You may wish to visit the Harbeth user group for suggestions (I think they also recommend Lavardin & Sudgen amps with Harbeths etc).

good luck!
Perhaps one of the recent line of Luxman integrated amps like the L505u would be worth looking into.
Don't get all hyped up on specs and newer is better;I would audition pieces(in home is best) that you are interested in,research and always let your ear decide for you.
"My question is this: will new amps from companies such as Blue Circle, Plinius, Luxman, LFD, Accuphase, etc. clearly blow away 35 year old Accuphase separates?"

Maybe, but do NOT be sure about that, as always, LISTEN BEFORE BUYING in your own setup is very VERY important.
I think 35 year old amps with replaced capacitors, etc can be every bit as good as "modern" gear, but I do think a move to tubes would be an improvement, even if your amps were 2 years old. That being said, if you want to keep the simplicity of SS, I think the Luxman that Clio9 recommends would be very good indeed.
I agree 100% with Pubul57;especially in moving into tubes.
If you live with only 2 sources and no remote, I'd check out the Burson integrated.
I just got the older model and it is stunning. I can't believe it but from what I've read, the newer model is even better sounding.
Chech out Rogue Audio Cronus integrated,that will get your foot in the door for under 2k,it is a 50 watt tube unit that will make your Harbeths sing.My friend has a 50 watt Rogue power amp driving Spendors and they sound great!
How much power is recommended for the Harbeth's
I think you can get a heck of a good integrated for your price range, in the $3000 range, I think the Manley Stingray II is well worth looing into. They use EL84 tubes which I really like in one on my amps, and if the triode setting is enough power, all the better.
04-23-10: Pubul57

I think you can get a heck of a good integrated for your price range, in the $3000 range, I think the Manley Stingray II is well worth looing into. They use EL84 tubes which I really like in one on my amps, and if the triode setting is enough power, all the better.

Pubul57 (System | Threads | Answers)

The HL5 is 86 db at 6ohms. Not sure how uniform the impedance is. From the Manley website: "Following the mighty 6414 driver/phase splitter, the trusty EL84 output stage can be switched between either around 20 watts of TRIODE or 40 watts of Ultra Linear mode push-pull operation."

Depending on listening set up, room size, music type(s), and listening volumes I would have some reservations about this combination. I did have HL5's for a bit and I found 55-85 to be a good tube amp range.
I agree, I think you would need 60 - 80 watts to drive those speakers with some margin for different rooms and listening levels. Maybe something like the MAC 2275 or a used VAC Avatar with KT88s. Some say the Cayins are good, but I have not heard them but briefly at a show, but at least on the outside, they "look" very solid and well made.
Bingo. In my first post I recommended a VAC Avatar Super. The standard Avatar is no more powerful than the Manley. There are other for sure but those Harbeths came alive for me with tubes, especially on the VAC.
OP, what are you thinking?