Rowland amps are about as good as you'll find and for $5K you should be able to find a good one. I would also like to suggest a Plinius SA-250MKIII. Please trust me when I say that this amp has no sonic shortfalls, looks great, pure class A (250wpc), and is absolutely built to last forever. GOOD LUCK!!
Without Question. Save til you find the Lamm 1.1's
I also "own" a plinius SA-250 Mk IV... as it is owned by someone else but it is in my house... so i use it regularly and i dont like it. It has a very cold element to it. It is as solid state like as it gets in my oppinion. It is very clear and very lifeless... so its a negative on the plinius. Rowland, however, is supposed to be the opposite so i look foward to hearing some of their product. Thanks
It would be much more helpful if people say why they like certain amps. For instance i know that accujim always reccomends the lamms whenever a question like this arises but it would be far more helpful if they were compared to amps of a similar caliber. BTW - we both have similar systems (i believe you had talon khoruses at one point) so your comments are particularly valid. Thanks, - lordgorian
Even though you don't need it with your efficiency, you can still get a Krell FPB 600 for a little over 5k and it's going to hold it's value and be easy to resell. I just sold mine.
Well, I have not heard another solid state amplifier that could match the smoothness and involving nature of Clayton Audio.
I have heard similarly priced as well as mega-buck amps from Jeff Rowland, Linn, Plinius, Pass Labs, Mark Levinson, Krell, etc., but none of these have same level of pure musical involvement as Clayton.
That said, their M100 monos should meet, if not exceed your expectations, even if you desire at least 150 watts per side. The M100s will play 100 wpc into 8 Ohms, 200 wpc into 4 Ohms, 400 watts into 2 Ohms, and a staggering 800 wpc into 1 Ohm, and this all in Pure Class A form.
They are built like a tank and seem to last forever with effortless efficiency. They do run very warm (which is normal for class A models), but their huge heat sinks draw the heat away from the amps.
They list for $6,500/pr. new, so I don't forsee any problems getting a used pair for about $5k -that is, if you can find a pair for sale.
But if your looking for the best in solid state, compare the Clayton to any other, and I think you'll find that the choice will be obvious, if pure musical quality and convenience of operation and upkeep are of the utmost priority.
Pick up a used McCormack DNA-2 (not the deluxe nor the LAE version) for about $2300. Send it to McCormack Audio for the Rev A upgrade (about $2500).
I own the DNA-2 LAE (Limited Anniversary Edition) version. Peter Moncrief of Intern'l Audio Review rated it the best SS amp in 1999. Very powerful and extremely fast faithfully articulate across the spectrum with no weakspots.
A plain DNA-2 with the Rev A revision should be just slightly better sonically than the LAE version.
The krell amp is just overkill. I mean i would rather get the 250 monos over the 600 as it is just excess. The clayton amps are supposed to be awesome i did forget about them but everytime i see an S-40 come on (I think thats what they are called) i think about trying one out. As for the mccormack amps.... hahaha i knew thats what you were gonna say as soon as i saw your name. You always recommend them. Hmmmm i still have yet to hear one. I dont like the fact that its a hotrodded class B amp rather than the other amps which are really good class A amps. I get the impression that the McCommack is a very good amp that does nothing really great. All of its weaknesses are perfectly matched so that it does not appear to do one thing better than another, which is a very good thing, dont get me wrong. It is also supposed to be a very fun, musical and listenable amp but i wonder if its levels of detail and clarity compare with the other amps listed. I will certainly look into it. Thanks for all the help so far!!!
I am a dealer for Talon having the Khorus X, the Ravens, and the Kites in the showroom.
I also carry the Bel Canto amps, the Joule Electra's, the Pass, the Red Rose, the Electrocompaniet, and the Aronov's although they are being discontinued for a new design.
I will not talk about the Tube amps because you seem more comfortable with solid state.
We have had the Edge amps in here because alot of my good friends such as Caelin Gabriel from Shunyata and Mike Farnsworth of Talon are friends with the owner of Edge and like the product and it is one of the amps that Talon recommends.
We have taken in many Rowland amps in on trade and Talon used to show exclusively with Rowland and now Electrocompaniet.
You do not mention your preamp nor source which has a huge bearing on which amp is going to work best for you.
I will try to give you some indication of what many of the amps did with the equipment we used. I will state here that I personally highly recommend a tube preamp with a solid state amp.
In our listening sessions we used either the Red Rose Silver Signature preamp or the First Sound Paramount preamp both single ended, no remote, tube designs. A mix of Vahalla, Synergistic DR Square X, and Shunyata speaker cables and interconnects. Powercords were an Electraglide Khan to the Hydra, Anaconda VX to the Mephisto 2, 2 Audio Magic Clarevoyant to the Preamp, and Synergistic DR Square X to the amps.
The Lamm amps do a wonderful job of soundstaging and have no weakness sonically. If I was going to nit pick them it would be that they need to hire someone to design their chassis and they were not as seductive as I personally like.
The Rowland equipment has a very relaxed sound with good bottom end,looks and build quality are amazing. The Edge equipment is very fast and transparent with a touch of a bite. The Bel Canto amps which many people consider the cats meow with the Talon's are a great value and the new look is a very elegant improvement.
The Nemos are an excellent match with the Talons and like the Bel Canto's do not warm up a room which is a positive to some people. A very lush sound that in someways is more like a tube amp. I personally use the Pass 600's and have loved them from the day that I first put them into the system. Considering the fact that I have always been a tube person it is an amazing change for me. The Pass in the system described have a delicacy that none of the other amps can capture. Some of the amps mentioned are a touch more romantic, some have better bottom end, many are more aggressive. But in totality I love the Pass amps. But as any Audiophile I am always seeking improvement. I am waiting with bated breath for the new Electrocompaniet AW 220's which I have been told by one of my friends at Talon are the most amazing amps that they have heard. Pass is soon to introduce the new XA 150 and XA 200 I have been trying to get a pair since the last CES show. These are nowhere in your budget.
Let me close by stating that I listen to Folk, Smooth Jazz, and New Age music. I like a very relaxed comfortable listening environment that I can listen for hours on end without fatique. That is not the sound that every one prefers. Many of my good friends, especially younger friends like a more aggressive sound and I have absolutely no idea where your preferences maybe.
Hi stewart i have discussed this on the phone with you a few times. I have looked into pass amps but many of my friends who own talon speakers really dont seem to like them. They also only got a meager review in TAS. Still i must admit i'm sure that they go really well with the talons and they have a cleanliness to them that i really admire. Is the edge equipment as clear and clean as the pass and bel canto gear? As for the other reccomendations... I'll look into the new AW 220s but can they really be that much better than the NEMOs with the talons? I must say that i hear that the nemos are really pretty bad amps and especially with the talons. As for my other equipment please check the link i gave at the top of my page it clearly displays all of my equipment including the power cord that i bought from you. Thanks
Sorry the link did not paste properly... its a shame i didnt notice this sooner. Here it is in its proper form:
Sorry about that....
You suggest you to try Cary Rocket 88 either stereo or monoblocs. You also can search in Caryaudio.com to see their new V12i. I already listened to both Rocket 88 and V12. If you can afford should get the monoblocs V12 which are awesome amps, transparent, smooth and details.
I'm a big fan of Pass Labs SS amps.
Aleph 1.0 monblocks 150 watts list $12k
Aleph 1.2 monblocks 200 watts list $14k
I purchased a used 1.0 this year for under $5k. BTW, the
Aleph 0 monoblock 75watt list $8k is also a sweet sounding amp.
Haven't had the opportunity to hear the new PL X series. But I'm sure you won't go wrong there either.
Lordgorian another tube amp to consider is the Berning zh270. It idles at 70 watts, does NOT have a transformer but uses an impedance converter which is patented. This allows it to be used into low impedance loads where most tubes amps typically start getting into trouble unless they have a LARGE transformer. It also has 3 feedback settings to match to the speaker and taste, great flexibility.
The advantages of this design are lightning speed and clarity like an Output Transformer Less (OTL) tube amp and a great solid state amp, versatility (it has two inputs and a volume control so you can run the source directly to the amp but you don't have to) dead quiet (there is no power transformer but a regulated switching power supply. And it weights only 10 lbs. If you are into big and gorgeous you might want to look elsewhere. It is small and rather homely. I didn't say ugly, but on the other hand it will never bring attention to itself. Form follows function all the way.
The Berning offers the magical presence which tubes are so noted for but it is not euphonic as are some tube amps. It does bass like ss, down to 2hz into an 8 ohm load. Is it tube or ss? And no worry about tube replacement, the outputs are scheduled to last in the 20 year range and cost about 5 bucks each to replace.
It is a tube amp for someone who is afraid of tubes because of the downsides including heat and maintenance. How it will meld with the Perigrines I don't really know but I would think quite well with the 8 ohm nominal impedance of that speaker. 70 watts should be MORE than enough power. If you listen at 105 db on a regular basis you will ruin your hearing so I would stop that at once!!:) New 4.5K. Used, good luck trying to find one.
Have fun in your search. Very nice system btw.
Berning ZH 270 - zero hassle tube amp - world class sound and reliability. I think Will states it best :)
May I suggest the following:
Atma-Sphere MA1 MKII.2
Rowland Model 2,6,10,112
If you ever want to try tubes give the Atma-Sphere a listen. The run hot but the sound is so goooooooood. To me they just sound right. The Rowlands are some of the best amps around. All of the amps you mentioned are quite nice and you really need to just listen to as many as you can and buy the one that sounds right to you.
Lordgorian, Some of your comments do not appear to be as bright as you might be.
Besides your tremendous lack of logic applied above, I really like the comment you make elsewhere where you claim to own the "best college system in the country."
no contest...the musicality and accuracy of these amps is the best. forget the ss muscle amps.
if you don't want to deal with replacing output tubes, buy a new Aria WT-100, over 100 w/ch in a hybrid design (tube input, ss output), under $4k new w/ life warranty; you will thank me. Again, once you've heard sound this good you will not return to pure solid state again.
no connection to either company, besides being impressed with the products and the people.
Lordgorian, an error in my above post, the Berning idles at 100 watts not 70. 300 watts at full power.
Plinius & Electrocompinet, GamuT 200. I have owned several Plinius' and am considering the new 8200 MkII $2995 (NEW). I have heard EC at various shows over the years- they always sound good.
After reviewing your choices and the follow up posts, I would stick to your guns - especially your preference to the Edge, Gamut and Lamm amps. Do consider Kieth Herron's mono block amps - they are dynamic and musical.
I would not be overly concerned with the SS vs tube reliability issue. The tube hassle is every two to three years and the trade off may be significant to your ears.
I have not heard any of the amps mentioned but own a Sim Audio Titan which is what I am told basically a 5 channel w-5. I have been very impressed with this amp and I am curious why it has not been listed as a possible consideration?
Turns out that the sim audio stuff is really really good... but i think after a long phone call with mike at talon audio that im going to go with the bel canto mono blocks. The best supposetly is a rowland 8tihc but it just costs too much for what is supposed to be a very slight difference. Anyways i think im buying the bel cantos tonight ... but they are easily sellable and i will continue to look for possibly better amps. Thanks for all the help so far and i will continue to carefully research this subject.
I just finished up some monos from Parasound and you might want to give them a listen before you buy used....These retail for 6K/pr and are the best we can do with a very powerful amp (400w and 130a current), but more importantly in your case they have S/N of over 120dB.....10yr warranty.....These are known as the JC-1 and will be available the end of the month....
If you go with the Sim Audio let the seach end. You can always find something else that peaks your interest. I have not heard the Sim Audio but if that is the amp for you buy it and listen listen listen. Just remember the upgrade path doesn't always lead to better sound most of the time just different sound.
I have to agree with Thorty and Tubegroover that the Berning is a great amp. IMO it combines the best attributes of SS(great bass,extended frequency extremes,ability to drive most speakers) with those of tubes(soundstaging,midrange clarity,intimacy-you are there feeling). It is built to last, reasonable in price, and not finicky. Give it a listen. I think you will be very happy with the sonics.