Amplifiers:A Keeper for Life. Do you know of one ?


Just wondering, with this audio merry-go-round of buying and selling, if anyone has an amp that will be a keeper for life. I haven't yet but came verrrry close once...
sonicbeauty
yeah, a parasound 2200 mk2.

w/ a few parts upgrades / removals, it makes a cheap, wonderful SPARE amp that approaches the high end. i'll keep it forever.

main amp? hah! all are subject to change.

(but i think jctubes is probably right too...i've got a cheap wavac that routinely blows me away).
PASS LABS Aleph 1.2's. Amps that offer everything.
The GamuT D-200 Mk.3 SS amp is very musically authentic sounding and satisfying. This amp is in league with the finest sounding SS and tube amps in the world. It runs cool and built to last for decades. I could enjoy this as my last amp!
This product does not exist. I owned a SUN 300B 20 watt push-pull amp that was great & my current amp Bruce Moore Dual 70 is also a keeper. Both of these amps I could live with forever but yet I find myself thinking of another SET amp. Isn't this part of the fun spending thousands of dollars and then lookig for the next amp months later?
Sonic Frontiers Power 1 amp. 55 watts of tube bliss. I've never been in a high-end audio store that had a system that sounded better than mine. Bold statement, huh? It's so musical, I can listen to it endlessly. I probably show up to work late 2 days a week just because I couldn't stop listening and next thing you know it's 3:30 AM.
When I get fired for being late so often, it'll be for sale on the 'gon, so be watching!

Cheers

Tom
I would say an OTL amplifier such as Atmasphere would be a keeper. You get the best of both soldstate and tubes in one package. Except for maybe the bass of a solidstate.
I did own an Atma S30 at one time and if I every regretted selling something, it would be the Atmasphere.
I never say never, but I don't plan on changing amps soon. As long as 8 watts is adequate, my Audionote Kageki's are a keeper.
Tube Research Labs GT 200 monos. By far the best I have owned or heard. It is the one component that will never rotate out of my system.
Keeper for life? Not yet!
We usually last longer than most of the amps, I certainly do not want to carry one on my final journey if it is dead.

Marco:

What about your deal with God, have you concluded it?
Art Audio Jota for my life
Ain't dead yet Quadophile. Still loving the 300B SET sound in THIS world for now. Don't know whether I trust the dude with the beard and and sun rays all around his head though...something about that tail and that damn pitchfork he carries around with him. All those grand promises don't quite sound the same with those beady eyes staring you down, and all the carnage, suffering and hardship in his wake. Oh, wait a minute, I think I'm mixing him up with George Bush!

Marco
My Cary Cinema 5 is a keeper. Even if the whole Home Theater thing changes radically, its also excellent with music and I'd always be able to use 4 of those 200wpc channels to bi-amp. Not that I see Home Theater as a passing fad, far from it.
Two amps come to my mind (fortunatly enough I currently own one of them)

Gryphon Anthileon
Pass X250

Fernando
Let me put it this unambiguously: If a gun/knife/bomb toting thief came into my house and told me he was taking all my equipment except one component, (because he was a compassionate robber), I would give him my DCC2, MP-1, DV-50, Kharma 3.2s, Indra XLRs, Dominus XLRs, PCs, but not, ever, my Atma-Sphere MA 2.2s (with 7 driver tubes each )(please note, Glacier Audio, yours is not the only one in existence) - those I die with. That's how much better they are than any other amps I have heard. Clear enough:)?
Everyone is talking about possibilities. There are many Mcintosh 270 owners who have owned them for better then 35 years. McIntosh just started manufacturing them again. I owned one once and sold it for $300. Stupid stupid stupid.

Sold it in 1975 and have had 8-10 amps since then. I love my current Krell KSA-200s...but I hear there are new amps I should audition...........
Audio Research VS110...unlike any other tube amp I've heard. No roll off at all on either end nor any hazing, quick, controlled and dynamic with tremendous soundstaging and color. Sounds as powerfull as my Krell FPB 600 and 400cx did...superior to the ARC VT100 and VT200 models!!
Conrad Johnson Premier 17LS into Pass Labs Aleph 3, not very powerful but they will do me. How long is "for life" by the way?
i'm still in love with my cary audio slm-200 monoblocks. after i hooked them up, i thought to myself, "this is it. my amplifier search is officially over."
What about McIntosh 501 mono's - I'm gonna give them a listen with my thiel 3.6's
The Krell FPB 700cx has never failed to amaze me, but the fact that it is for sale would preclude the possibility of it fitting in with the 'Yes' responses. Unfortunately I need to raise some cash, so discretionary items are the first to be eliminated.
I had a Spectral DMA-80 for over a dozen years and was extremely pleased with it until I changed speakers. At that point it wasn't optimal and I initiated a very long search for a replacement. Ironically, I wound up going with one of the least expensive of my favorites, the Music Reference RM-200. This has all of the characteristics of a long term keeper including; wonderful sonics, robust build quality, and electronic stability. Given my history, I'll be enjoying this one for a very long time, but for a lifetime?
as im sadly discovering as time goes by there is no such thing as a keeper for life.

after a while we tend to get bored & off it goes to the auction!

mike.
I love my Spectral DMA 180. I had a DMA 80 for years and was very pleased. I only upgraded because I have Apogee Calipers and could not really drive them as I wanted with the lesser powered 80. The unexpected thing about the 180 was not the louder volumes it could safely play, but the low level detail it rendered was astonishing. I was amazed at the things I'd never heard before from my recordings, especially during soft passages. The Spectral, however, is extremely revealing and will definitely show the faults of whatever it's driving as well as any weaknesses of the preceding components. MIT cables are a must and the better cable you can buy, the greater the rewards. I had the 80 for 8 years and expect to enjoy the 180 for at least as long.
Original Son of Ampzilla. I am stunned by the effortless, deep delicate, clean sound. I know that a lot of the original Ampzillas were unstable and a pain, but mine is fine. I use a tube pre and the combo produces a sound that is warm, clean and tight.
My modified Music Reference RM9 has taken on several comers and whipped 'em all. The latest was a CJ MV60SE last weekend. I'm not saying I'll never sell, but something better hasn't come along yet.

Oz
H2O Signature. The amp that owners of above amps are abandoning them for.
So many different keepers. Interesting.
Pubul57- You can pretty much expect that with any similar thread. It's kind of like asking a large, diverse group of individuals; if you could only have one food for the rest of yourl life (assuming you could survive that way), which food would it be. I'd bet there'd be a diversity of answers there as well. Or, in the other variation on the thread; What's the "best" flavor of ice cream? Viva la difference! You say "tomato" and I say, er, well, I guess I say "tomato" too. You get my meaning. Oh, and chocolate is the best flavor of ice cream in case you were wondering about that.

Marco
I am asking myself if the CAT JL-3 TUBE POWER AMPS will be good match for my Dynaudio Temptations speakers? I have no doubts about quality but I dont know if there is enough power for this very powerfull speakers?! I will buy and forget about power amp for a very long time.Another amps which I have in my mind are: Lamm M1.2 or M2.2,Tenor HP 300 and Pass Labs X-600. What do you mean about my problem?
Thanks and Happy New year 2005
I've had my Quad IIs since 1981 -still use them in my main system. I've had them rebuilt twice by Quad first and then GT Audio (manufacturer of Tron high end tube amps). They now sport phono sockets instead of the 6 pin Jones plugs and have separate power cords (not reliant on Quad 22 for power). I've bought enough NOS valves to last until I'm 70 - reckon my hearing might not be so good then. Even if I upgrade, I'll probably hang onto them.

My current system is
Platine Verdier, Schroeder Model 2, Allaerts MC1B
Verdier Control B tube preamp plus dedicated valve rectified PSU (soon to be upgraded to Tron Meteor)
Avantgarde Duos 2.2
oh and my old Meridian 206B!
My Quicksilver V4's. My gosh, what depth they posses. I love them so much I just bought a pair Bruce Moore Custom M 120's. While the BM's are on a boat heading my way, I'm thinking, these V4's sound so awesome, how could something else sound better than these? Still, they'll have to go when the new amps arrive. Or, the new amps will have to go. Will the Bruce Moore's really sound better at 3 times the cost? Maybe I just need a twelve step program for audioholics....

David
The CAT JL-3 Signatures are the end of the road for me. They are rated at "only" 150w but this is very misleading compared to the rating of many other amplifiers I have tried on Magnepan series 3 speakers. Of course the JL-3s are a lot of amp to use with these speakers, but it quickly showed me that these amps are affected by nothing.

The JL-3's each have 16 6550 power tubes driven in triode. The older ARC Classic 150 amps used 8 of these tubes to achieve the "same" rating in triode mode. And the CL150 amps shut down just as the Maggies were starting to play their magic. With the JL-3s driving the Magnepans, the only limit here is the speaker itself.

And the JL-3s are claimed to drive the very difficult MBL 101s and also can be configured to drive the difficult 1-ohm Apogee speakers. So driving the Dynaudio speakers should be a piece of cake for the CATs.

And not only do they have phenomenol drive capability, they have a dynamic contrast and resolution potential that you have to hear to believe.

So all of this adds up to an amplifier that I suspect will be with me for a long long time.

The only issue is that they need dedicated 20A circuits as they take quite a surge when powered on.

John
with an ARC LS5mk2 preamp. Tube/SS heaven for almost 9 years
now with not a single itch for change. Only music matters now.
Vertically biamped ARC D400mk2 amps with that LS5....
Okay, the follow up to the V4 is here in the form of a pair of Bruce Moore Custom M 120 amps. Yo can run in regular or Triode or "partial triode" mode at full power. These use the marvelous Citation Transformers. In triode they are mezmerizing.

Rolloff
I am sure I will own many different amps, but I will never get rid of the Marantz 8B that my father bought 40 years ago. The fact that the Mullard tubes that are currently in it are still working certainly does not hurt.
Music Reference RM-10. A back up and summer time amp for life. A very capable, efficient, light and fast amp. A best EL84 amp there is.
Audio Research 100.2 - Very Musical, non-fatiguing, smooth, grain-free, yet transparent & nicely detailed. Lot's of very clean power. Only 2 gain stages helps produce a purity of sound that is hard to beat. Not the deepest/tightest bass, but the best SS from mid-bass through treble I have heard bar none. Can listen to it all day - draws me into the music at every volume level. Excellent match with Bent Audio NOH TVC. An absolute steal at used prices from $1400 to $1800. Done.
Post removed 
Jadis JA30

Got them new at 40% off retail 3 months ago. I will always keep these babies, although I have heard better amps (but they are also 5+ times more expensive).

The JA30 simply sing and charm. Tube rolling is also easy and inexpensive (2 x KT90/EL34/6550, 1 x 12AU7, 1 x 12AX7 per channel).
Audio Research 100.2: I agree with everything Loudandclear has stated (except the bass. No complaints here...). This amp drives my Dynaudio 1.8mk2's easily, as it did a friend's set of Contour S3.4's, which prompted his sale of a BatVK500. Simply awesome musical performance in a modest package.
Vocal's are to die for as they are presented with a rich golden hue reminiscent of roasted duck with fire-glazed sweetend potatoes served on warm wedgewood fine china (but not made there) and accompanied with a nice italian amarone vallpolicella...after a plate of fresh honey-glazed shrimp scampi... Seconds? You bet.
Seriously, this amp has stopped the monthly itch.
wichever amp you own when you die is your amp for life:)
Audiopax Model 88 - I hope anyway.
I'm still on my honeymoon with my Levinson 336.

Actually I have a few items that I don't see parting with. Among them my 10T's, CC5 and my Meridian 861.

My wife ain't bad either! :)
DarTZeel NHB-108. Heck it's got my name on it, how can I get rid of it. ;-)
Fender Twin Reverb or Marshall JTM45
Plinius SA 102s in XLR Dual differential fully balanced mode. 460 beautiful watts into an 8 ohm load, with a 4000 watt peak current capability for dynamic lift.
Really love they're line { Plinius } musical, smooth, non fatiguing sound yet assertive and masculine with proper dynamics.
Really the end for me, with tubed 2 channel sources and other various equipment/cabling and more Plinius electronics driving my speakers in a home-theatre/ stereo music setup, very gratifying products to come home to!
Exceptional pride of ownership as well as unique visual appeal.

As with any outstanding caliber of equipment it deserves the best partnering equipment and dedicated mains, and when all these parameters are met you'll be rewarded with fabulous sound reproduction in the home.

KEEPERS...

Regards

///Tim W.///