Audiomat Arpege Is it really that good ? Help

I have auditionned an Audiomat Arpege at a friends house recently. He let me have it a week or so afterwards. Let me tell you, I had it up to ''here'' with this whole audiophilia thing, never finding the right amplification.
I tried everything from CARY monoblocks to the Krell 300il, to Sonic Frontiers separates. NOTHING sounded finer than this Arpege. I also tried the ''higher end'' Solfege reference. I keep reading that this is an ''unforgiving'' amp. Well it may be, as it came nowhere near as the Arpege as far as overall musicality. Maybe I could never get into a 6550-based tube sound after all. The Arp├Ęge uses EL 34 ( Electroharmonix I think) and I just hear more of everything. I own Sonus Faber Grand Pianos, and my room is not ''ideal'' as it has much hardwood flooring. I would like to know of anyone with experiences on the Arpege. Is it my hearing that has gone bad or is this amp really as good as everyone say it is? One member of the Chicago Audiophile Society told me it was the best integrated they had ever listened to, including the more expensive Audiomats. What gives here? Thanks all...
I too own the Audiomat. I think I bought it from someone in the Chicago group.

I am completely pleased with the amp. Just sooo right. I upgraded the input tubes to mullards and they made a huge difference. I loved the amp before and it is many times sweeter with the mullards. While I cannot say that I have a/b'd this amp with other tube gear in my house I can say that you just cannot go wrong with this amp, especially if you want high end sound without shelling out high end bucks.

BTW, there is plenty of power in this amp to get REALLY loud if you like to crank rock n' roll. Classical (especially piano) is just perfect. And jazz is like sitting in a small club breathing cigarette smoke.

Right now I am running an Ah! CD player (with all upgrades and amperex nos tubes)and the Phillips 1000 trough the amp into Reynaud Twin speakers. I just bought a pair of Reynaud Offrende speakers here and they should arrive by the end of the week. Can't wait!

Highly recomended.
I did not compare it to other tube amps when I bought it last November. It replaced tube-pre and SS-amp seperates driving my SF Concertos. I have been enjoying music without thinking too much about upgrades all this time.

I own a VAC Avatar and just gave a rave review in response to another thread posted above. However, if I were buying another tube integrated, it probably would be an Audiomat. I have heard the Arpegee twice, w/ Reynaud and Equation speakers and it was very impressive. In some ways very different sounding than my VAC, but quite enjoyable. I never had a chance to compare the two in the same system; would love to do so if the Audiomat dealer in town were still in business, but I suspect it is an apples and oranges comparison (different approaches to musical truth). Moreover, the Arpegee is only about half the price of the Avatar. I have also owned another contender, the Aronov integrated. Also a fine amp, but I would probably rate it as third best behind the VAC and Audiomat, unless you prefer a very warm/tuby sound. For reference, I have heard VTL, CJ and ARC integrateds as well as Jolidas, and owned Antique Sound, Golden Tube and Anthem tube amps as well. Of course, only my own personal opinion. Good luck in your search.

I own an Arpege Reference and play it through a pair of B&W CDM 7 NTs, in a room with hardwood floors. The thing kicks ass. Nick Gowan of True Sound introduced me to it (I found out he is the ONLY authorized repair person in the US for their equipment). A special note about the tubes--one of the respondents said he had upgraded the tubes, probably a bad idea because the tubes Audiomat supplies have been rigorously tested and selected for the specific requirements of each amp (they really do keep these records), so when you buy a set of replacement tubes, they are for your amp. Messing with this is messing with elcetronics that are not forgiving, and it may be a quciker ride to Nick's shop for repair. I will probably uppgrade my speakers in the futrue, though, if I can't bring them home to audition in my room, I won't buy 'em. The room requirements dictate a huge amount about what will sound good.