to help musical tastes are; soft rock, blues, new age, alot of female leads in my mix.
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For the Slant, I have never heard better sound than powered by a fine push pull tube amp. Ella Fitzgerald was standing right there in front of me. It was kind of a Princess Lea's image, where the princess sends a holograph message to the good guys. You don't need gobs of power to control your speaker.
Muralman, I know that tubes is probably the best match but...I'm an SS guy and had beeen looking to Mcintosh also, but I know know how good the Bryston could be. Am I looking wrong direction (as I'm staying with SS)? Should I be instead, thinking of just a cable change instead to slove the direction I want to go? The Classe/ARC/Apogee will out live me the way I treat them but I'm looking to get that "best" combo I can do and not change any more. Maybe I already am "netural" as set up and I'm looking too expensive with my change intention or am I wrong? The Bryston would kick the bottom again like the Aragon 2002 did that I had before, just don't know the sound, but help is what I need.
using strictly my ARC CD 3 as my front end, I think that the Bryston might be too revealing with ARC CD 3 and I'd be caught with an over anilitical or etched sound, it would be a boost in the bottom end again but, I think I have to look tword maybe a Mcintosh (MA6300 or MA6500)instead that might be a better fit, just can't find 'em locally at all to listen!
Well, I'm going to agree and disagree with Muralman1. You don't need a lot of power for your Apogee hybrids - unless you want anywhere near decent bass response.
If you were open to tubes, you could have a great sounding system with something like a CJ Premier 11A, maybe an MV-60 or better yet a BAT VK-60. This setup might be a little bass shy for rock music, but the mids and highs will be so sweet it will make you cry. The classic SS pairing for the Apogee hybrids is a McCormack DNA 125 or better. I use a Songraphe SA-400 with my Cepheus 6s and it kicks ass. The SA-250 or a CJ SS amp would also work well.
IMHO, is you want to use a SS amp you should consider a tube preamp. If done right, you can get both some bass slam and still retain tube liquidity. You have a lot of choices here: ARC LS-16/26, CJ PV-10/11/12 (L versions if you are a digital guy) or any Premier product. My favorite is any Audio Note preamp, but especially the M3 and above. (careful matching to a SS amp is required) I've also had good results with the McCormack RLD and TLC line stages. Lots of other good choices here.
Finally, I would try other CD players as well. I had an ARC CD2, and it didn't do it for me with the Apogee speakers. Too analytical and cold for my taste. I am much happier with my old standby, the Meridian 508.24, but I would trade it for a G08 in a second, or an Audio Note digital transport/DAC.
Being an owner of a pair of Apogee Centaur Major's, I'd say you cannot have enough power, whether it's from tubes or solid state. That being said, Apogees are unforgiving and any 'hardness' will be audible. But that doesn't mean SS amps aren't any good. There are many good designs that will work happily with the Slant's. I'd recommend amps like the older Threshold or current designs by Nelson Pass. Also the old(er) Krell class A amps will do the job, as there are many others. Just try to audition them in your own system with your own ears. I've tried a Bryston 4B SST in my system and didn't like it, but that doesn't mean you can't be perfectly happy with the B100 ST.
Contrary to the popular belief, Apogees hybrid need a lot of power, just to make the woofer keep up to the ribbon speed. I have owned Apogee Centaur Majors, which were my references speakers for eight years before I upgraded to all ribbon (and I was extremely happy). I drove them with tubes at the top and a very powerful SS amp at the bottom. Only with a powerful SS amp at bass were they able to generate good bass.
I suppose the Slants are no different even thought I have myself been looking for a pair of Slant 8s for quite some time. So unless you use a good powerful tube amp like the Jadis 200, 500, TRL, or CAT, you probably will not be able to get the max out of them.
Regarding the Brystons, I tried them on a long time ago. They clipped on the Majors.
Class: Good midrange but soft bass.
McIntosh: I owned 502, the monoblocks. I did not like them.
I have to agree with Satch and it seems like we have the same opinion. I also agree that the new Pass Lab amp should be a good candidate. In fact, after I had purchased the McIntosh, I had the opportunity to directly compare the Pass 350.5 with the McIntosh and there was just no comparison. I told myself that I had made a big mistake. However, I sold the McIntosh soon and moved on to TRL and thus did not have too look back at the Pass.
But give it a listen to all of these if you can. Who knows what might work for you. But please report it back to share your findings. Thanks.