Amplifier upgrade

I have an Aragon 8008 bb (mk.2), and was wondering if I wanted to upgrade from that what might be recommended. (Bryston, Halo, Pass).  I currently have an Audio Research preamp, Cary source, and Sonus Faber speakers.

Thank you in advance.    

Where are you trying to go? I have experience with the 8008bb. The Aragon 8008bb is a very nice amp, but it is a tinch on the warm side (a little bit slower than other solid state amps). The older Brystons have very fast attack and are the opposite of warm (it seems that the new Bryston b3 amps are warmer/laid back). The older Brystons may work with the AR preamp and others definitely like Bryston, but it may not be as engaging as the Parasound or Pass Labs (I’ve heard Bryston amps and they are fast/crisp/clear, but a little on the clinical/sterile side). If feedback on the newer b3 Brystons being warm is true (which I think it is, since the Bryston SP3 processor is definitely way too warm and laid back for me -- Bryston may be changing it’s sonic signature), then the Bryston may be even more laid back than the 8008bb.

If it were me, I’d try something like a Parasound A21 first, unless you had the $3500+ to go for a used ".5" or ".8" Pass Labs amp.

Thank you.  I think the 8008 bb is a still a very good amp as you said.  I would agree it's a bit warm and a bit slow, but has allot of drive.  A Pass 250.8 would be a big step up I would think.  It uses a Mosfet output stage, but I assume still would have serious drive and bottom end.  Have you heard the A21 in comparison to the 8008?

Yes, the 8008bb definitely has a lot of drive -- it’s a high current amp and has no problem driving a wide variety of speakers. I have not directly heard the Parasound, but I have heard many on this forum describe the characteristics. I have moved on to Emotiva monoblock amps myself, but that’s where I’m at. The stock Emotiva’s are very fast and nice, but just a tinch on the cold side -- upgrading the fuse to an Isoclean really helped and now it’s like a fast/engaging version of 8008. I would say the Emotiva amps (when fuse modified) are worth much more then what you spend on them, but there is definitely a perception that they are "cheaper" and not as good. I run 6 individual monoblocks in a home theater system, and it would be insane to buy Parasound/Pass monoblocks for this many channels, so Emotiva is what I ended up with. In reality, I suspect the Parasound Halo amps will sound sweeter than the Emotiva amps -- the Pass Labs "Class AB" amps are probably the superior amps all around. Please read the following thread on a huge amount of individual amp descriptions.

I recommended the Parasound A21 as a stereo amp upgrade from your 8008bb stereo (dual-mono), but JC1 monoblocks would be better (and much more expensive, lol). Based on the above thread, the Pass 250.5 would be better than JC1’s anyways.

Thank you for the detail.  I have not heard the Emotiva amps as of yet.  I think if I was going the Halo route I would go JC 1's for sure.  The Pass 250.8 seems to be a great amp from I have heard, and a step up from everything we are talking about.  Any experience with the D'Agostino Classic Stereo Amp for 12k?    

The Emotiva amps are an excellent choice if your budget is limited. It’s my opinion that you’d have to spend significantly more to get something better. I’m running XPR-1 amps for the main channels and it’s hard to bet something that has 1000W, 240,000uf power supply, 36 output transistors for that price. I’ve looked and the best I can come up with is a Bryston 28BSST, but at 4-6 times the price and the fact that I don’t really like the Bryston signature, it’s just not worth it to me. At this point, I have over $8k in amps.

I think you’re already in the range where you will get something better than Emotiva anyways. That D’Agostino is interesting. Definitely a beast:

If you’re already looking in this price range, Reno Hi Fi has a pair of used (demo) X-260.8 monoblocks for $10k. If I was looking in this price range, I might be leaning towards these Pass monoblocks. Monoblocks are -generally- fully balanced/differential whereas stereo amps are -generally- single ended.. The monoblocks will have completely separate power supplies which will probably help drastically with imaging (D’Agostino has separate power supplies, but with a shared transformer). Also, having two monoblocks there in your room can look more impressive than a single stereo amp (though the Classic Stereo is definitely huge -- but there is some empty space inside the amp case). This is completely an asthetic reason, though. All that with the penchant that Pass has incredible bass slam and overall excellent sound quality would tend to make me choose the Pass monoblocks. Please note that I’m making an educated guess based on what I’m reading on these amps and it could very well be that the D’Agostino is the superior sounding amplifier.

both the Pass X250.5 and X250.8 would be a big step up from the the A21 or the 8008.  The 250.8 is also worth the cost over the 250.5
I have the D'Agostino Classic Stereo in my system and it's a terrific amp! Was trying to decide between it and a Pass x350.5 when I was amp shopping.
The D'ag is slightly on the warm side of neutral with a very open sound, imaging is excellent, soundstage is noticeably deep. For a 300 watt amplifier, it's bass is not the powerful tight fisted variety but surprisingly a lot of texture and only shows its power when the music calls for it.
I do find that the Dag likes to be warmed up for a long time before sounding its best and this amp only gets slightly warm to the touch after hours of use. I remember my Pass X250.5 getting a lot warmer driving the same speakers.

My suggestion is to contact Mark at Reno HiFi. He is the distributor for Pass Labs nationally. He will loan you for a cc number an amp, preamp, or integrated. You can use it in your own system, the only way to make a reasonable decision. If you don't care for it, send it back. I recently purchased a 150.8 Pass amp and it has been one of the best audion changes I have made in quite a while. Reno gives super service and great deals on Pass equipment new and used. I am just a happy customer and not connected with Reno.
Since you already have a tube preamp & warm sounding speakers, I would go for a 2nd hand Boulder 1060. The Boulder is superbly built, natural sounding, powerful & neutral; an ideal match imho. And you can pick up 2nd hand 1060's for a relative bargain these days when them come up FS.
I have an ARC Ref 10 and it loves my Octave MRE 220's, which feed ProAc K-6's.  Immediacy and transparencey of very expensive SS and the realism and monster sound stage that only tubes can deliver.  Have fun with your hunt.  I've thoroughly enjoyed this kill from when I went on my hunt to upgrade my amps from the Ayre MXR's.  The Octaves smoke the Ayre.