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By what criteria?
I can think of objective factors such as the quality level of construction & design; parts quality, which would include transformers, capacitor, etc.
Then there are more subjective factors such as how they sound, especially in comparison to stated competitors.
Then, there’s durability, warranty, fixability, customer service, and price.
The Tubes4Hifi Vacuum Tube Audio (VTA) tube amps are excellent bang for the buck. Their service and support is wonderful, and they have a significant following.
Their factory wired M-125 monoblocks (125wpc) are $2700 plus shipping, less if you buy in kit form.
Absolutely!!! I have had my Mid Monos since '15 and they are the best sounding amps I've ever owned. They are a huge bargain compared to a lot of other amps. If you owned Mike's new 120 monos you would not be disappointed.
I am having a new amp built... why? I don't know, late mid life crisis I guess.... one thing is certain, I will never sell those amps. In fact I just picked up a preamp and tuner to pair with them in a second system .
I have sat here many nights listening, saying to myself, why am I getting a new amp? They are that good for the money.
In response to reliability and service... I have had a few tube failures... it happens. The first time I called and Mike answered as he usually does and told me not to worry , probably no damage just replace fuse and isolate bad tube He was right, these amps are super reliable. Mine have many many hours on them. I listen every night for a few hours. All weekend long. They see a lot of use A LOT. I only paid $1050 used,they were a little over a year old but honestly I would gladly pay $2100 for these amps new and still feel like it was the bargain of the year.
My Mid Monos sound wonderful and are very reliable. I have owned ARC and Cary tubed power amps and they are easily in the same league soundwise. If you need more power consider the V4. The capability to use different output tubes which both the V4 and the Mid Monos is great. I prefer the sound of EL34 tubes to 6550/KT88s but you can use either in these amps as per your liking.
BTW, The mid monos at 40W/channel drive my 89db speakers to more than adequate level and play as loud as the 100WPC solid state Belles Power Amp I was using before. Tube watts seem more powerful and satisfying to me than solid state watts. I see there are some used Quickliver 80w monblocks for sale at Echo Audio.
Purchased my Quicksilver Minimite Monoblocks new and have owned them since 2006. I consider them to be some of the best sounding power amplifiers I have ever heard.
Regarding their design, they are simplicity itself, using point to point wiring and quality transformers. Mike Sanders is also one of the most honest people in this business, and stands by his products.
I love my Horn Monos. Quicksilver doesn’t play the “review game”, so he’s not sending out amps for free in return for good press. Instead he relies on word of mouth. I will say this; back in the day, Quicksilver was a darling of both TAS and Stereophile and reviewed very favorably against all the “giants” of the industry.
I´m a happy owner of a pair of 80W mono QuicSilver amplifiers for more than 25 years driving the Melior One speakers - in my secong equipment- and the sound and pleasure playing a Mozart Quartet or Kid Ory Blues is charming.
Power election it will depend on your speakers, but QS is an absolute bargain.
It appears that I can't be wrong with QS monoblocks and I need to get at least 100 WPC amps.@i
Yes you can go wrong but not due to the quality. Again, unless you are nearfield or in a smaller room, 100 watts on a speaker that's only 87dB in an average room won't be enough power. I would seriously consider replacing the speakers with something more efficient if you plan to work with an amp of only 100 watts. Otherwise if you try to push things a bit, if you want to rock out, you'll run the amps out of gas.
I was thinking of 80W Quicksilver monoblock, but decided to go for more power.
My solid state amp is Plinius SA102 (class A 125WPC). Plinius works quite well with Gershman Grand Avant Garde (87dB). I listen to fairly loud and I don't feel lack of power, even though Gershman may enjoy more power.
My room is not huge (about 15' x 7.5' x 30'). I sit about 10 feet from the speakers.
I contacted Mike Sanders and he said that they will have a new 100 WPC monoblock amps available in October. I am thinking of going for that amp, unless I find some sweat deals for used mono 120 or V4.
i have not auditioned QS. But experience with this kind of question in the past has always resulted in the support in your supposition. QS offers great value for the money, but not of the same level of performance. (No, the big boys are not there because VAC and ARC buyers are stupid and susceptible to marketing and biased reviewers).
No, the big boys are not there because VAC and ARC buyers are stupid and susceptible to marketing and biased reviewers
So very true. Marketing and biased reviewers can only take you so far. Companies like VAC and ARC have built their reputations over a very long period of time by consistently providing high levels of performance year after year, while many flash-in-the-pan companies fizzled out after their 15 minutes of fame.
Quicksilver is no flash-in-the-pan. Mike Sanders has been making great gear for 40 years. He will support anything no matter how old it is. My buddy tried to get his 10 year old Audio Research Hybrid HD220 power amp fixed and was told that parts are no longer available. He bought a pair of QS M120s and could not be happier. BTW, if you know anyone lookin’ for a 70 LB boat anchor there is one sittin’ in a basement collecting dust!
@incho - I don’t have much budget (under 5K) and my choice is either new QS or those other brands used.
Used or reconditioned units from "other brands" vs. Quicksilver new is how many end up buying QS. At first they are looked at as a "good value", and when paired with well matched speakers, and when the amps and tubes are well broken in, realization sets in that "hey, these amps sound good!". With great input/driver tubes, another step up.
With good tubes and my own cap upgrades (at your own risk), my Mono 120s and a good buddies Mid-Mono amps now sound well above their price point. Having owned several prior tube and ss amps, I’d now put my own QS Mono 120s up against other amps at 2-3x the price. Many of the QS amps in the lineup are nice, pairing with the right speakers for each level amp helps maximize the performance and sound. Best of luck.