Audion Silver Night PX-25 vs. Almarro 318B vs....

Fi 2a3 vs. Blue circle DAR. Matching them with either JM Reynaud Trentes or Twins - Source is up in the air ( any recomendations welcome (might give the cheap route a try with the Play Station 1) Looking for an amp that is warm fast tempo(PRATy), magical in the midrange, and definately has that "fleshy" lower midrange center. Could anyone compare between the four integratedes here? On my research any should be a "good" match with the Reynauds so more description or experience matching with reynauds would be helpful.
Well, I owned a 6wpc Art Audio PX-25 and the Almarro A318B both at the same time with JMR Twins. I did borrow some Trentes for a short period.

Unless you listen strictly to acoustic guitar, folk, and chamber music in a small room at fairly close distances, 6wpc is probably not gonna cut it in the long run. You just won't be getting everything the JMR's have to offer, especially with the Trentes.

The A318B is about the low end of what I would use with them. It will do a great job for a lot of music. But, 30-50 wpc would be optimal.

The same goes for a PX-25 SET amp. 90dB will only let you get a whiff of the amp's full potential, at best. I'd say 95 db and up, more like 97-100+dB.

Now, to throw a curveball in all this. I also owned an ~12wpc Audion Sterling ETSE EL34 SET integrated at the same time. Actually, I still have it, but it's totally disassembled.

Anyway, it was warm and lush sounding with a slightly loose low end. But, the 6wpc Art Audio PX-25 actually was able to drive my speakers better than the Audion. (As it should, costing 4x as much). Art Audio is known for incorporating overbuilt power supplies within their amps resulting in unusual current drive capability.

The ETSE paired with Reynauds was a little too much of a good thing when it came to warmth, which Reynauds already have a healthy dose of. The PX-25, A318B, and even DRD 300B all helped move the needle back towards neutral and more balanced.

I guess my long-winded point is that I would choose between the A318B and Blue Circle DAR. The ALmarro is not "lush" or "fleshy" tube amp in the sense that EL34's or others may be. It comes from the more neutral end of the spectrum with just the right amount of holographic tube highlights thrown in.

If you want that kind of midrange weight and richness, look to Cary Audio. I have never, ever, herd a more velvety rich midrange and midbass than the 12wpc Cary 300SEI integrated I had for a short period of time. Although the frequency extremes seemed to be a little rolled off or less focused. Not suggesting you get that particular amp, just one of their tube amps with more power like the SLI-80(40wpc Triode/80wpc Ultralinear).
Some advice on your Playstation idea: If you want to get the best out of it, you must, at the very least, fabricate an RCA outlet connected to the onboard multipin output. The onboard RCA's invert phase and send the signal through an additional IC and capacitors. If you find this sound appealing, then you will want to explore the more invasive mods as described on Mick Feuerbacher's site. Just plugging the thing in and giving it a listen through the stock RCA jacks will leave you wondering what all the fuss is about.

Thanks for the responce. For a reference on a sound I like my main rig is Audio Note (amp is OTO SE) I like EL 84's have not heard much of 2a3's and not the tubes that the Almarro have. I like the mix warmer than neautral but not quite as much as Cary. I tend to greatly dislike Cary because of its slow tempo and very rolled off highs. So if the tone is coming close to an OTO I would be happy.

I found the Audion by some old threads stating that back in 01' JMR teamed up with Audion and had the PX-25 running some Trentes and people said it was a great match. Another possibility is the Fi or the Manley Stingray - Great Amp but trying to shoot a bit above it in midrange "refinement".

Anyone have experience with Fi and JMR's? Maybe the Audion is the way to go, and the right cables may be need to balance things properly. I should contact JMR to see what they combined at the show back then.
Hi Greg,

The guy who I bought my JMR Twins from used a 2A3 SET with them and loved it, but I just cannot see 2-3wpc ever working for me. They will run out of gas on complex or dynamic passages of music.

I'm glad you gave a reference point of EL-84's. I have not heard the AN amp, but I have heard Almarro's A205A EL-84 SET and it is absolutely superb. I actually mean it is one of the best sounding amps I have ever heard, regardless of price. There is something just "right" about it's tonality and focus.

The A318B is going to be much closer to the EL-84 sound than not. The 6C33B tubes are incredibly clear and transparent, like a 2A3, but not as absolute. I like to think of it as tonal purity because there is almost no artificial coloration. To me, they get as close to literal reproduction as possible with seeming like a microscope. Yet, they still create that special tube/SET spatial environment.

The PX-25 will be kind of similar, but more vivid in it's tonal presentation. The best description I've ever read of the PX-25 was a magazine review where it stated that "Notes seem to be lit from within". It comes close to the focus of a 2A3, but just a hint more tonal warmth. It's different type of presentation.

Your OTO SE w/ the JMR's might be a terrific combination. At 10wpc, it will give you a good indication of how 6wpc will work.

A Manley Stingray would kick ass with the JMR's.
I suspect that you haven't really heard at all what an Almarro 318B can sound like until you put in Mullard Brown Base ECC33 and CV569 (ECC35) tubes (previoulsy it sounded dull to me) (both comparisons done with 6C33 Svetlana power tubes - better sounding than Sovtek)

I owned both the Cary 300SEI and Almarro 318B at the same time. For me, the sound with the Mullards was much richer than what I got through the Cary 300SEI with old stock Western Electric tubes. As for comparing the Almarro 318B with the Mullard brown base tubes mentioned to the Silver Night, I haven't made that one.
09-18-10: Plangco
I suspect that you haven't really heard at all what an Almarro 318B can sound like until you put in Mullard Brown Base ECC33 and CV569 (ECC35) tubes
You're right, can't say I heard that combination. I've only heard it with the stock compliment, but it was definitely not a "dull" presentation by any measure.
I owned both the Cary 300SEI and Almarro 318B at the same time. For me, the sound with the Mullards was much richer than what I got through the Cary 300SEI with old stock Western Electric tubes.
Wow, that is surprising to hear. I had the 300SEI for a very short period and it was so over-the-top rich sounding, that I eventually grew tired of it's hyper-reality and loose bass. The midrange was definitely luscious, or possibly even "over-ripe" depending on one's taste.
Returning to the Greg_p's question about tubed integrated amps to pair with Reynaud Trentes or Twins(I would take Trentes or even better Offrandes), Audiomat products have to be added into consideration. Check any of Bob Neil's online Enjoy The Music or Positive Feedback reviews for how they perform with Reynauds.

There is an Arpege Reference and a Prelude Reference for sale here in Audiogon right now(I have no connection).