Are monoblocks the way to go?

I'm upgrading my system piece by piece. I recently bought an Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD Player and an Eastern Electric MiniMax tubed Preamp. I would next like to upgrade my Adcom Amp to a tubed Amp and I'm considering going with Monoblocks. While auditioning Preamps, I was very impressed by a pair of Quicksiver 100 Mono's - exceptional build quality and value. I had originally been leaning towards the Cary Rocket 88. I have vintage Klipsch Heresy speakers that I plan to keep. My goal is to create a system that is very transparent with a lifelike 3D soundstage. I need no more than 25 wpc since the Heresy's are 96db/1watt/1m. Any opinions on Mono's vs single amps? Thanks.
Your goal "to create a system that is very transparent with a lifelike 3D soundstage" is not likely to be realized with the Heresys. I am quite familiar with them, as my friend once had a nice pair of quicksilver 8417 monos driving his heresys, and it really wasn't anything special.

I'd go with a set of Quicksilver monos, audible illusions pre, and some more modern tube-friendly speakers like maybe coincident. Then I'd upgrade the source to the Sony SCD-1.
There are some strong points to monoblocks. However, in the medium price range, you may be just as well off with a stereo amp. A well-made stereo amp can be just as transparent as monoblocks. The main advantage of monoblocks is reduced crosstalk, and that can also be achieved to a very good degree in a stereo amp.
I'm not familiar with the Coincident speakers. I'm assuming that horn driven speakers tend to be less transparent and hold their strength in dynamics and speed. I've had the Heresy's for 20 years and have grown to like them but after hearing a pair of Vandersteen's matched with Quicksilver Mono 100's, it became evident of the Heresy's weaknesses. By the way, I am thrilled with the Ah! Tjoeb CD Player and Eastern Electric Preamp. Check out this Pre - there's quite a buzz on the net over this little gem.
FWIW, your amp selection should be made after you determine what kind of speakers you want to drive. They are interdependent. I agree with Gthrush regarding speakers - unless you have highly revealing speakers I doubt that you will gain from the benefits involved in using mono amps. Also, while the Vandersteens are excellent speakers in their price range and are easy to drive, I'm not sure I would call them all that revealing. For revealing speakers add Silverlines to your list for audition.
Monoblocks, tube or otherwise, really have only two advantages over a stereo amp

1. You can put the amplifier right next to the speaker, eliminating the cost and reputed sonic degradation due to speaker wires.

2. A high powered stereo amp, particularly a tube amp with two massive output transformers, can be too heavy to handle.

If the stereo amp is well designed, the shared power supply and circuit proximity of the two channels is not a problem.
The Rogue gear is nice too.
I have a some experience with both vintage Klipsch speakers and Quicksilver products. I've owned four different sets of Quicksilver Mono amps and currently use a set in each of my systems, as well as much expereince with vintage Klipsch Heritage series and their Forte II's. I'm currently running slightly modified LaScala's in my home system (reference) and slightly modified Heresy's in my work system. The LaScala's are 77's while the Heresy's are early 80's (both using the K55V with metal horns). I'm a big fan of both Mike Sanders products as well as the Heritage line of Klipsch. Although the Heresy's are probably the least appealing of that line, they still are cabable of big bang for the buck considering a pair in great shape will cost you about $400. I do think they mate well with tubes. As far as creating a "lifelike 3-D soundstage" I'd have to conditionally agree with Gthrush1: they are cabable of a very nice transparent sound, but there are better speakers. Still I do think they are very impressive considering their price. There are some very simple tweaks you can do to improve their sound. I found the stock Heresy to have a slightly forward/harsh midrange and highs, partly due to a lack of bass I think (I'm referring to the Heresy I with the E crossover and NOT the Heresy II which I have no experience with). I just recently did a whole bunch of experimenting with various tweaks to address this problem and managed to get them to sound a whole lot better (more balanced sounding) with only a few easy steps. I just outlined exactly what I did on the Klipsch forum page so I will cut and paste that here as it goes through the entire process I went through. The improvement is significant, though certainly not night-and-day, I would highly recommend the tweaks I ended up with. The overall results are a more balanced and less fatiguing sound over long range of listening. There are several threads on the Klipsch forum that do outline many folks attempts at tweaking the Heresy's. Most echo the sentiment that the Heresy's are pretty darn good as they are, and it doesn't take much to bring them to optimum performance. I mate mine with the 25 watt Quicksilver Mini-Mites running vintage Tesla EL34's. They are certainly not as holographic as the combination of 300B SET amps and LaScala's that I run in my home system, but the combination of Mini-mites and Heresy's with the mods I recently completed is eminently satisfying and non-fatiguing. 25 watts of tube power is plenty for the Heresy's and I'm listening in a VERY large space (1300 SF with 11 foot ceilings). No need for 100 watts IMO. I haven't heard the Quicksilver 100's but I did own a pair of his Silver 90's (KT88 based pentode monos). They were great amps if you prefer listening to punchy rock-and-roll, but he makes better more refined amps that suit my tastes which range more into acoustical, vocal and classical. OK, so I won't waste the bandwidth here to paste the entire thread from the Klipsch forum that outlines the mods, but will provide two links. One will be to the thread I started recently there which outlines my steps and the mods I ended up liking so much, and the second will be to an earlier thread on the same forum that outlines what I think was the most significant part of my mod, a very minor alteration to the crossover. I reference this thread in my posts to the forum as well:

This is the thread I started
And this one is a thread I referred to with the crossover mod

Originally with the Heresy's + Mini-Mites I thought it was a good combination, but ultimately was a bit fatiguing on long listening sessions (yes, "nothing special" in that regard). With the mods in place I am much happier with the combination and it is one I can live with happily in my work system. Were it my reference system I may be inclined to move on to further improve the sound at some point, but for the money I think the combination is outstanding.

Hope that helps.


Thanks for the in-depth response. I certainly will experiment with the Heresy mods you've come up with. Quicksilver now makes Horn Monoblocks specifically designed to match with horn driven speakers. They're also 25 wpc and retail for $1595. Presently, I have 60 wpc with my adcom amp and can't bring the volume knob much past the 9:00 position. The Eastern Electric preamp has 20db of gain so I need very little power from the amp. Sounds like you're impressed by Quicksilver amps and Klipsch speakers given the components of your two systems. Thanks again for the advice.
Happy Listening,
Hi Mike - Yes, I do like that combination of Quicksilver and vintage Klipsch. I believe if you ask Mike Sanders you'd find he was also a fan of some of the older Klipsch speakers with his gear. The Horn Mono is indeed made for high-sensitivity horn speakers. They have 18db lower gain (than the very similar Mini-Mites), as I recall, to aid in less tube noise. I have not found that to be a problem in combining the 92db efficiency Heresy's with the Mini-Mites though, and my pre-amp is also pretty high gain (I think it is around 24db). I've also used the Heresy's with a pair of 35wpc Quicksilver EL-34 Triode prototypes and also had no tube-noise problems. If you were using LaScala's or KHorns (104db efficiency), I might consider the extra expense. I think Mike also uses a beefier transformer on the Horn mono's too. It is a different design than the MM's and Mike would be able to tell you best what to expect and which might be best with the Heresy's. I don't have any direct experience to speak of with the Horn Monos, but would highly recommend giving Mike Sanders a phone call if you are seriously considering his gear. He is a straight shooter and tells it like it is. Absolutely no BS and right to the point, he is very knowledgeable and is willing to answer questions candidly if he does have time. You can try email too, but he tends to be quite brief in his email responses (it does take quite a bit more time to type a response after all). If he does have time to talk on the phone you would likely get much out of talking to him. I'm sure there are other recommendations that would also make excellent mates with the Heresy's too. I just happen to prefer Mike's gear as it has never disappointed me.

Good luck! I'd be curious to hear what you end up with and how you like it with your Heresy's.


i'll second the odyssey mono's
I just orderd LeAmpII's which from a spec perspective and build quality look very impressive. They are made by nOrh and if there are no synergy problems I will get another set. At the moment they can be bought for $400\pr..

My speakers are NEAR M50's which need alot of Power and I am eagerly awaiting to see how this set of Mono's can drive them.

Redrose is another Co. that has a set of Mono's that weigh only 10Lbs. and put out 50watts\Ch.. They go for $800\pr. I think.

Happy hunting!