Amps for Sonus Faber Stradivari Homage

I have a pair of Stradivaris that I love, but I´m having a little trouble finding the right amps for them. My system consists of: Emmlabs CDSA SE latest version, Clearaudio Champion Level two/ SME V/ Benz Ruby, ARC REF3, MSB 202 monos.
I have driven the speakers with a set of Pass XA 100.5 before, but they sounded compresed quite quickly. The MSB´s offer more power than the 100.5´s and sound more detailed and airy, but also leaner and brighter.
I love detail and air, but I also crawe bass slam and body in the midths and highs. I absolutly hate lean and bright sound, no matter how detailed it might bee.
I have owned quite a lot of Krell gear in the past. I liked the bass of the ols stuf like the KSA s series + the first FPB stuff. The rest of the frequency range however, sounded rough and "solid state" to me. I liked the detail of the MCX 450´s, but they sounded to lean in the low frequences to me. I have tried tube amps as well, but I have not yet found a pair that did´nt sound like tubes in the bass region
So I am dreaming of a set of amps that delivers a full bodied, warm but detailed sound with bass slam and bass detail as well.
Any recomendations ?
NB: English is not my native language, so I hope for your understanding if my spelling is off !

Showing 9 responses by johnb30

I have ARC REF3 with MC501 on my Strads. It dosent sounds to good. Ive just ordered a pair of Pass XA160.5
The MC501 just dosent have enough power to drive the Strads. The matching betwen ARC REF3 and MC501 is ok.
Try to look for other amps then Mcintosh. It dosent really sound good with Strads. They deserve a better amp to do justice with them.

The amps should arrive this week or next week...i will let you know about the sound. Also let me know if u listened to X200.5 and if the upgrade is worthing or XA160.5 is enough for Strads even at very loud levels.
What preamp and what loudspeaker cable and interconnects do u have ?
My pair of XA160.5 just got in ! The sound is very good but it still needs some break in time. Does anyone knows how long it takes for full brake in ?
The Strads also have about 600 hours of playing.
I'm haveing about 250 hours of playing and it still needs to improve. The improvments until now are i think it will be a boom of performance at about 5-600 hours or something...there are 6 caps of 25.000uF which need to be full bruned in for full performance.
My power XA160.5 got about 450 hours and it sounds great. At this moment i'm thinking to change my pre from REF3 to REF 40th Anniversary. Does anyone ever heard this pre in this combination ( SF Stradivari + XA160.5 + ARC REF 40th) ?
Today ive just ordered my ARC Anniversary REF40 preamp. Now i'm waiting for it to come. I hope in one month it will be here. Thanks for advices and i will write my impressions after the 600 hours brake in.
I'll try...but my local dealer told me to not push the tubes to hard..and that the powers needs to get the signal to amplify i will run like 12-14h a day unfortunately. Do you think i can run it with the powers switched off ?

My XA160.5 got about 500 hours now and ive just noticed at 470-480 hours that the magic started. Your powers needs a lot more then 60 hours. I think both of us needs more then 6-700 hours. Dont even think to compare them at 60 hours because they are not even closer to the final sound that you will get in the end. About power, ive compared my XA160.5 with X350.5 and yes it can be more power but for Strads are more then enough the XA160.5.
Now i'm waiting my new preamp the ARC Anniversary REF40.

Will let you know when i will get it.

Is not a good choice to keep the tubes on the preamp that hot for such a very long period of time. The tubes will wear off more quickly.
My ARC DAC8 was played like this but this is a solid state.
And yes after 450 hours the capacitors just got braked in.
ARC recomands minimum 600 hours and they say that very clear on a big paper on the box of the DAC.