Great review. I suggest you take it to the next level and look at the VAS preamp. Nothing does vinyl better.
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I forgot to include a note on my experience with subwoofers in my recent review. I tried several. A Velodyne HGS, Martin Logan Dynamo, AV123/Onix Rocket, and a 10" MJ Acoustics Ref III. I wanted the sub primarily for music as I thought something was lacking from concert memories, even with floorstanders. For instance, if I play some Fleetwood Mac with a sub in addition to my floorstanding speakers, the music suddently opens up and you feel and hear the beautiful rolling bass as it was meant to be heard, but sorely deficient with stand alone floorstanders with 8" woofers. The sound opens up and suddenly you go 'ah, that is what I remember the music is supposed to sound like'. However, though the Velodyne and Martin Logans could have that deep crushing sub bass which is great for home theater, they often stood out like a sore thumb on some passages listening to music. Of the above, the MJ Acoustics and AV123 Rocket were the most musical and blended well with the MJ Acoustics and likely its relative the REL sub being the better.
The MJ Acoustics is an REL knockoff made in England, produced by abandoned REL staff after REL got bought out and production was moved to China. It is a wonderful musical sub and some reports say, every bit as good, but lower priced than current REL.
Articles abound on adjusting sub woofer sound so I won't go into that. However, a perfect musical track for adjusting your subwoofer is the fourth cut (O'Farrel's Welcome...) on Paul Winter's Celtic Solstice Album. On it, several deep sounding Irish Kettle drums are played. One is at the upper end of the sub bass sound and the other is deep into the sub bass range. So, without a sub, you near a nice bass on one of the drums, and the second deeper one sounds weak and muffled in comparison. However, with a subwoofer in line and adjusted properly, the muffled drum will stand out equally well and enrichen the sound dramatically.
So, my recommendation and personal preference for a subwoofer is to choose a musical sub and crank it up a bit for home theater, or have a second sub for home theater if into that.
My MJ Acoustics sub blends well with the music and makes my floor standing Spendor S8e speakers (which already have great bass) sound much larger - as if they have a 12" woofer built into them.
A side note on preamps: My favorite was a Joule Electra LA-150MKII. The Joule to me is well worth its high price tag if you have the money and a system worthy of it. However, due to budgetary constraints I opted for the integrated Cayin and Olive music server, both purchased for a total price equalling the price of a used Joule.
One other note on listening to an Almarro 318B single ended triode amp: It had wonderful palpable midrange, but my reasonably efficient Spendor S8e floorstanding speakers could not be driven well by it. I couldn't turn the music up beyond low to low medium volume levels at all.
As my Spendor's floorstanders are driven as easily as most monitors, I don't think the Amarro is practicle unless highly efficient speakers are matched to it or you don't mind background only volume levels for your music. I have heard from a good source that those highly efficient speakers are often lacking in bass, though that problem may be reduced with a good musical subwoofer such as the REL or MJ Acoustics, etc as discussed. I would require those efficient speakers if I kept the Almarro or probably at least one Almarro for each channel with my current speakers - and would still have to give up on 'turning it up' but may have decent medium volume level listening.
One last note of mixing components for sound and some good tubes:
Earlier I mentioned I thought the Bel Canto Dac sounded a little dull. In keeping with the theme of the post, I should mention that I thought it was dull in line with my already lush Romantic sounding tube amp clone of yore the Cayin A88T. If someone thought there system sounded way to analytical, lean, hyperdetailed, etc, the Bel Canto might be the perfect Dac to take care of the problem.
For instance, when I installed the wonderful sounding Mullard ECC35 6SL7 tubes, I got what I thought was perhaps a little too much shift toward openess and clarity for the net sound I wanted (I prefer the warm midrange sound as a matter of preference). So, I put in the tonally rich RCA 6SN7 VT-231s along with Amperex 7308s, and the two pairs took the sound where I wanted to go, leaving me with more open sound that when I started, yet backing off a little by adding more midrange texture. So for me, the extended Mullards matched well with the lush sounding RCAs to produce a great net sound. I found using both RCAs for the 6SL7 and 6SN7 tubes in my amp was a little too lush. Though the mids sounded good, the highs no longer seemed natural and had an almost noisy overtone to them.
A wonderful thing about tube amps, is that if you don't like the sound out of the speakers or your amp, you don't necessarily have to run out and buy a new amp or speakers. The tonal balance can be dramatically changed with the tubes that you choose.
I have found the Mullard and Sylvania 6SL7 tubes to be more forward, but not sterile at all, the Mullard the better of the two (expensive but worth it). I found the RCA tubes in general along with their 6SN7 tubes to be a bit more musical and lush compared to most others. Another winner in the 6sN7 catagory except this time for a more open sounding tube (and very affordable) is the Raytheon 6SN7 T plate (I haven't compared the wafer plate though). Another one I couldn't afford that many seem to want in the extended catagory is the New Old Stock Tung Sol 6SN7 round plates (VT-231). From reports, the Raytheon is very close in sound at about 1/4 the price.
CD Players, dare I go there. Quickly, I liked the Rotel 1072 and the Rega Saturn even more for detail. Though both for me were slightly too detailed and bright in my system. I had a Acoustic Research which was still very detailed but not quit as bright as I found the Saturn. This was an older AR CD II if I remember right which wouldn't play computer CDs and would only play new CDs without scratchs (perhaps needed alignment). I ended up going with a Music Server with the tubed Monarchy DAC which I use today and am quit fond of. I imagine playing from a computer with a good DAC can sound equally good.
I mention these things as a resource to, perhaps, help others avoid starting 'cold' in trying out audiophile gear. If your are interested in tube gear, you couldn't loose starting out with a Cayin A88T, and if even with tube adjustment, you are not getting enough extension and detail, choosing a VTL tube amp such as the IT-85.
For solid state, I have heard good things about Parasound (found it too bright for me). Although technically the Musical Fidelity Nu Vista is a great tubed amp, the tubes in it are closer to solid state in presentation, but that is a great amp also. Others have been mentioned, Forte 4A (a price and great sound leader), BAT amps, etc.
By the way, I had some Merlin speakers which I put head to head with the Onix REF I from AV123. Both are sweet and extended type speakers. Although the Merlin was smoother, I actually preferred the slightly brassier REF I Speakers. They were clearanced awhile back for around $600 (down from $1,200) so I would look for a used pair for around $550 and team it up with a used AV123 tube amp or even a Harman Kardon 2 channel solid state (check JR dot com,etc) if looking for Budget yet wonderful sound system. You would have to spend several thousand more to get that extra 10% which I have with my Spendor/Cayin combo mentioned. Also, don't overlook the Spendor S5e used if going budget. They can be had for less than $1,000 these days. They sound close to the S8e. They just don't have the easy powerful presentation of the S8e nor the same bass of course.