Amps for Egglestonworks Andra II or Sophia 2


After many years, I'm interested in upgrading my system with great full range speakers. I'm currently using really old Meridian active speakers, so I will need amplification too. I have a Meridian 508.24 CD player and a Sonic Frontiers Line-2 pre-amp, and I intend to keep those.

I don't really want to spend more than $9K total.

The two speakers I'm most interested in are the Egglestonworks Andra II and the Wilson Audio Sophia 2. I have heard neither of these speakers, but they both have glowing reviews. Years ago, I had heard the Egglestonworks Rosa and I liked them, though they were close together in a smallish room. The best thing I've ever heard was a high dollar setup with Wilson Maxx 2 speakers in a large room. I guess I'm getting at the fact that I have enjoyed the sound of both families of speakers, and would probably adapt to either and be happy if I could integrate them into my challenging room. The reported mid-bass hump of the Andra gives me a little pause, but most people seem to love them.

It looks like the Sophia 2 is going to be somewhere around $7200 on Agon, and the Andra II might be a grand cheaper. I've seem many people state in these forums that the Andras don't shine unless you have big amps driving them, and that makes me wonder if the total system cost will be higher with them.

I did a little looking around and it sounds like the Parasound A21 is a good amp for the money. Can anyone advise me as to whether that has enough gusto to run either pair of these speakers near their potential?
sboje
If money is tight, try a BAT VK-300SE integrated.
These sell for ridiculously low prices, have 300 watts @ 4ohms, and will spank the Parasound in the musicality dept.
You WILL need to upgrade the 6H30 driver tubes to NOS "DR" version as the new ones are unreliable crap (and don't sound very good).
The VK-300s have been around a long time so look for a serial number whose last three digits are greater than 400.
Skip the phono stage if you have a choice (mediocre).
P.S. Your speaker choices are on my list as well!
Sboje-

great system that you are attempting to build. If you want solid-state look into Bryston-sounds great on both speakers.

If you want tubes- ARC, Conrad Johnson or B.A.T.
Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
LAMM M 1.2 OR LAMM M 2.2 with success in my ancient set up. Those two speakers are a bit on the analytical side ....

Be carefull !!!!!
Do you plan listening to any of this stuff before you but it?
I wouldn't be able to listen to either of these unfortunately. With the Andra II, I could afford a bigger amp, but I assume they'd probably need it.

I do think I want solid state amps. I know some people get excited about trying new tubes, but the process always gets on my nerves a bit. I will look and see if there are Bryston or LAMM amps for $2k or $3k.

I know I'm not going to get 100% out of either speaker with a used amp in these price ranges, but do you guys think they'll still get me 95% of the way there?
This is a really difficult situation. The equipment you are considering is very detailed. And because of that, system matching is more difficult than average. On top of it all, to do this right, you pretty much have to listen to anything you buy. At this level, even though the components are considered "better", what makes them better also makes system matching much more difficult. I know this may sound odd, but if you were looking at less "high end" gear, it would be much easier to recommend something. I have a lot of experience system building and looking at all the info you've provided, I couldn't even begin to make a responsible recommendation. And I say this even though I've owned at least 2 of the components you list. If you could narrow down your choices by doing some listening, it would be much easier to recommend something.

One thing I can tell you for sure, is that if you are going by reviews, professional or otherwise, the components you read about won't sound the same when you actually get to listen to them. Sometimes they sound close to what the reviewers say, but sometimes they sound completely different. Its a very risky way to shop.
The only complaints I've heard about the Andra speakers regarding system matching is that they don't sing without powerful amplification, but everyone says the high end of them is sweet. Maybe it's a better gamble than the Wilson?

I know this may sound somewhat foolish, but the high end audio landscape has changed remarkably. At my local place, they have 3 rooms. Room 1 has Rockport Altairs with TWO different stacks of electronics worth $200K each. In the smaller room #2, you have Rockport Aviors with probably $60k in electronics. In room #3, you have stuff I can't stand to listen to. I don't blame them for catering to the rich; they make a lot more money that way. I feel like the only way I win in this market is by buying the used gear of people who have a lot more disposable income.

I recently went on the quest for new speakers. I can not imagine buying a pair of speakers of that caliber without listening first. Speakers can sound so different in different systems.

Like you I tend to buy used as I just can't afford what I like new. I listened to every pair of speakers I could to see what brands I preferred. Most brands have a house sound. I did a search for speakers with in a 250 radius here on Audiogon. I also used Hifi Shark to search sites as well as browse US Audio Mart. I did not want to deal with shipping floor standing speakers. They can be very heavy and it is expensive.

If I saw a local ad for something that interested me, I would email the seller and ask to see and hear them. See what they were driving them with. I also looked around at dealers for used or demo pairs. Some dealers don't like dealing with used gear. They will give a low offer because they don't want used stuff. They will also sell used equipment cheap just to get rid of it.

After a long search I ended up buying a pair of 1 1/2 year old Sonus Faber Elipsa SE {Red} for around half price. I am very happy with them, they are magical and an excellent match with my Audio Research amp. I could not imagine having them shipped and taking a chance on them being damaged.
"05-02-15: Sboje
The only complaints I've heard about the Andra speakers regarding system matching is that they don't sing without powerful amplification, but everyone says the high end of them is sweet. Maybe it's a better gamble than the Wilson?"

You can do what you wish. Its your money. But I highly recommend taking a different path to achieve your goal. The speakers you are looking at are very revealing, and not all that forgiving. When you say that the speakers will sing with more power, that can be true, but its only 1 small piece of a much bigger puzzle. For example, you can find 10 different amps that have enough power to easily drive your speakers, but all 10 will sound very different. At this level, component matching is everything.

You talk about gambling. Buying new components is always a gamble. You really need to look at the odds. The best example I can think of is a roulette wheel. You can either play black or red where the odds are somewhere around 50/50 (I forget the exact odds). Under that scenario, you have a respectable chance of winning something, that's why the pay-off is so low. The way you're going about putting your system together, is something different altogether. It's like betting on just 1 number. The odds are winning are very low. You really want to try to improve your odds or you're going to be very unhappy.

"I know this may sound somewhat foolish, but the high end audio landscape has changed remarkably. At my local place, they have 3 rooms. Room 1 has Rockport Altairs with TWO different stacks of electronics worth $200K each. In the smaller room #2, you have Rockport Aviors with probably $60k in electronics. In room #3, you have stuff I can't stand to listen to. I don't blame them for catering to the rich; they make a lot more money that way. I feel like the only way I win in this market is by buying the used gear of people who have a lot more disposable income."

I wouldn't judge the entire audio industry on what 1 store does. But, to get at the heart of the matter, the reason you feel the way you do has nothing to do with you being rich or poor, or even who the target market is for expensive goods. The magazines never tell you this, but the level of difficulty goes up the more revealing and specialized the gear becomes. Generally speaking, its much harder to put a system together based on a pair of Wilson's than it is to put one together around a less costly speaker that is not as revealing and works with a much broader selection of gear. Once you gain more knowledge and experience, you'll be in a much better position to make better choices. That's why I can't make any type of recommendation in your case. I just have to little to go on, and it wouldn't be fair to you if I just guessed.
You can do what you wish. Its your money. But I highly recommend taking a different path to achieve your goal. The speakers you are looking at are very revealing, and not all that forgiving. When you say that the speakers will sing with more power, that can be true, but its only 1 small piece of a much bigger puzzle. For example, you can find 10 different amps that have enough power to easily drive your speakers, but all 10 will sound very different. At this level, component matching is everything.
Do you care to list the associate components in your system driving the Andra IIs? I'm curious what made it unforgiving.

One thing I can tell you for sure, is that if you are going by reviews, professional or otherwise, the components you read about won't sound the same when you actually get to listen to them. Sometimes they sound close to what the reviewers say, but sometimes they sound completely different. Its a very risky way to shop.
From my experience, I found Paul Bolin's Stereophile review dead-on. http://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/719/

I had Andra II for 5+ years. It's NOT analytical or too revealing but very musical with the amazing Morel midrange drivers and Esotar tweeter. Only problem I encountered is a midbass hump but was able to tame 99% with proper associated components.

I found high powered SS amps worked best. I had a 275 wpc tube mono but still no match for SS. In your budget, checkout Pass X350.5 (Reno HiFi had a refurbished in $5K range), Krell 302e, Parasound JC-1 mono and McIntosh MC501. Krell FPB600 was awesome but SQ was unrefined compare to latest.

I had many SF preamps and found the more neutral Siemen and Telefunken e88cc worked best with the Andra IIs.

As far as cables, I found ASI Liveline ICs and SCs worked best. Settled on 2 pairs of ASI Liveline SCs. SR Apex was also very good but no match for ASI and much much LESS $. I heard many found Nordost Valhalla also a good match.

Ideally it's best to demo before purchase. Speakers are tough to ship and I bought mine new but buying used, it's a very low risk IMHO. The only reason I replaced Andra was to try something different.

I'm not familiar with Wilson Sophia II so will refrain from commenting.
"Do you care to list the associate components in your system driving the Andra IIs? I'm curious what made it unforgiving."

No. It's not relevant for this discussion.

"From my experience, I found Paul Bolin's Stereophile review dead-on. www.stereophile"

That's great.
05-03-15: Zd542
"Do you care to list the associate components in your system driving the Andra IIs? I'm curious what made it unforgiving."

No. It's not relevant for this discussion.
You're offering advice and must have experience on the subject so it's relevant in how your conclusions are drawn.
"05-03-15: Knghifi

05-03-15: Zd542
"Do you care to list the associate components in your system driving the Andra IIs? I'm curious what made it unforgiving."

No. It's not relevant for this discussion.

You're offering advice and must have experience on the subject so it's relevant in how your conclusions are drawn. "
Read through my posts again. You'll see that I'm not recommending any equipment at all. Its just the opposite. The only recommendation I do make is to not go by recommendations.

Look at the situation. The OP wants to buy a pair of expensive high end speakers without listening to them first. Not only that, he won't be listening to the components either. Given that, how on earth can someone make a meaningful recommendation? We have absolutely no idea what the OP will like, or dislike. The whole thing is a disaster waiting to happen.
Exactly how many people end up testing everything they are interested in buying as a complete system in THEIR room anyway? I'm sure dealers are happy to just roll 250 pound speakers around town every day so people can listen to them.

Yes, I'm sure buying speakers 1 generation newer than I've heard and a well regarded amp to go with them would be a disaster.

And even if you are right and it's a "disaster", I bought the stuff used and I'm not going to take a $12,000 bath.

If you really have nothing to contribute here, I'd appreciate it if you would leave the discussion. I was hoping for advice from people who have experience with these two speakers.
"05-04-15: Sboje
Exactly how many people end up testing everything they are interested in buying as a complete system in THEIR room anyway?"

I do. But that's not the issue. What makes this situation so difficult is that you're testing nothing. Why would you expect good results?"

"I'm sure dealers are happy to just roll 250 pound speakers around town every day so people can listen to them."

Any good dealer will do just that.

"Yes, I'm sure buying speakers 1 generation newer than I've heard and a well regarded amp to go with them would be a disaster."

Absolutely true. You may get it right, but aside from luck its probably going to be a disaster.

"And even if you are right and it's a "disaster", I bought the stuff used and I'm not going to take a $12,000 bath. "

The whole trick is to avoid a disaster in the first place.

"If you really have nothing to contribute here, I'd appreciate it if you would leave the discussion. I was hoping for advice from people who have experience with these two speakers.
Sboje (Threads | Answers | This Thread)"

If you had half a brain, you would see that I'm giving you the best advice. I do have experience with both of those speakers. But you don't. And you're going to learn the hard way what that means. But don't worry, just have the massed continue to pat you on the back and tell you you're doing the right thing. I'm sure it will all work out. What could possible go wrong?
I think the speakers are rated at 85-86db which does mean you should drive them with some power.

I own the Andra 2 and I'm using them with a Pass Labs X350.5 Amp. Check out my systems page.
Ozzy, that seems to be the go-to amp of choice, but it's just out of my price league. I figured I get something "good enough" for the time being, and hopefully upgrade sometime later.
I've had good and bad luck in my room with *both* auditioned and unheard equipment. Lot's of us around here take chances without listening first: doesn't have to be a disaster if the piece is in demand enough, or the price you get is low enough, to make a tolerable net on resale possible. I've taken pretty good hits on stuff I heard several times and loved, when it just didn't work in my room.

I'd be inclined to suggest opening up the search a bit, and rethinking the relative allocation to speaker and amp, but I respect that one has to narrow the search eventually, and maybe you are at that point.

My hunch is that the Wilson's might be the riskier choice, because of the fairly widespread tendency for people (like me!) to experience them with glare and edge. You liked the Maxx, but I'm not sure that is enough basis for confidence that the Sophia won't be a fatiguing disappointment in your room. (Of course, you could be one of the people who swear by Wilson.) I've only heard the Eggies briefly, but they might have less potential downside.

If you stay the course, Odyssey makes excellent amps in your stated price range with the power you need. The owner, Klaus, is a helpful vendor who supports second owners. I had a Stratos Dual Mono and really enjoyed it. Won't be as good as the big Pass Ozzy commends, but this is very amply reflected in price.

Good luck!

John
Sboje , why not contact the Eggleston folks and ask them for some recommendations on a SS amp for the Andra.