I've not used Wilson speakers before, however, there's a nice Boulder 865 recently listed for $7K that you may want to add to your list.
If price where no object, the VAC Phi Beta integrated would be at the top of my list. I think there's a demo listed for around $10K.
I tend to like tubes with Wilson speakers. VTL, Vac, Audio research and Antique Sound Labs Hurricanes
I have heard the Burson PI-160 can handle most of the speakers i've used. Worth checking.
^ its among the best integrated's i ever used.
I used my Musical Fidelity M3 NuVista on my friends Sasha and it did a very good job.
I owned WATT/Puppy and now Sasha. You will be in big disanvantage if you will not use highly powerful amplifier. You will have no idea what your speakers are capable of, what magic they can bring to you.
For example, if you want Pass Lab amplification - then certianly not A/B class 150 wpc! Get XA200.5 etc
You like tubes (who isn;t?) - get tube input stage !!!
My "integarted" consists of two fully upgarded Spectron monoblocks and Joule-Electra (first LA-300ME and now heavenly LA-450ME) line stage and combination of all is extraordinary. I never heard such sound in any system, mine or not.... You don;t have to have exactly the same amplification (it can be had for about $20k not a small change, I admit)but Sasha demands $$$ investment into appropriate components
Good Luck !
If you can find one, Audiomat Recital
I think the Diablo would be great. Mike was right about wanting some power, even if you listen at moderate levels.
You should consider Rowland Continuum as well.
Ayon Triton ll , Plinius Hiato, Pass INT 150, ASR Emitter II Exclusive
For build quality and sound quality, the best integrated I have seen in this thread is the darTZeel - it is absolutely best quality, and works extremely well with Wilsons.
for Sasha? I don't think Sashas will run correctly on a Dart or integrated in general.
You need Sophias if you want to use an integrated. The Sasha is difficult to drive correctly.
You are absolutely right. Even Sasha reviewer (John Atkinson, I believe) noted strongly that this is most power hungry amplfifier from all Wilson speaker line.
I don;t have Sasha so I don;t want to give any advise - as oppose to these people who states "I don;t have this speaker but..."
I owned Watt/Puppy V and I know more or less what power in right amplifier can do with Wilson's toys. I own now, also not easy (at all !!!) to drive B&W 802 Diamond and despite my love for tube equipment, my Spectrons are the best I auditioned (also I matched them with Joule-Electra "300") but they are not as expensive as other suggested here so will not be tested I am sure.
As a rule, integrated is of low power of even when with high power rms specs is of low or even very low headroom.
Mark Levinson No 33 monoblock was "only" 300 watts rms but weighted more then 400 lbs - so big his power transformer (*and asssociated headroom) was.
It's really hard to tell you which is the "best" for your system. It would be helpful to know the size of your room, the kinds of music you listen to and how loud you typically listen.
I don't think it is a matter of pure wattage/power as how stable will the amp be into a low impedance load. The Sashas dip down to 1.8 Ohms in the bass which can give some amps trouble. Also, sometimes more watts don't mean better sound. For example, I used to have a McIntosh 400 wpc amp. But my 100 wpc Lamm hybrid amps sound MUCH better with my Sashas.
And Stanwal is right, his MF Nuvista integrated sounded very good with the Sashas. If I was looking for an integrated, that would be high on my list and used it is a real bargain.
Keithr: You stated:
"for Sasha? I don't think Sashas will run correctly on a Dart or integrated in general."
With all due respect, you could not be more wrong. What did you base this statement on?
"I don't think it is a matter of pure wattage/power as how stable will the amp be into a low impedance load. The Sashas dip down to 1.8 Ohms in the bass which can give some amps trouble. Also, sometimes more watts don't mean better sound. For example, I used to have a McIntosh 400 wpc amp. But my 100 wpc Lamm hybrid amps sound MUCH better with my Sashas."
You probably mean under "pure wattage" the tms power at 7/5 Ohm load given as specs. Yes, in this case you are absolutely right. When I say power I really mean peak power or headroom with as low level of distortions as possible.
Probably the peak power as well as amount of current delivered by your LAMM added substantially to the magic of this amplifier as compared to your previous one, McIntosh 400
Correction: I meant above 8/4 Ohms load and power in "rms"
My apologies for typo errors
The 4th time I heard Wilson Sashas, it was with a Perreaux integrated and it sounded better than the previous 3 auditions (although there were more variables than just the electronics).
My point is, the combo sounded very good to my ears.
Keithr: The darTZeel integrated is stable into 2 Ohm loads and outputs 450 watts into this impedance. The power supplies on it are very stiff, which should come as no surprise given its considerable cost (I think the integrated is now something like $25,000). The issue isn't whether the darTZeel will drive a speaker like the Sasha, which it will, easily, but whether a speaker like the Sasha, which is well-made and does some things very well, but is not state-of-the-art, should be paired with extreme cutting-edge electronics like darTZeel (there are a lot of people running Wilsons with darTZeel who are extremely happy, but they don't know what their integrated is fully capable of).
I don't know about the integrated---just going back from memory on the stereo amp, in which multiple reviews said lower impedances weren't its thing (I believe Mike Lavigne told me that as well a long time ago). That would lead me to hesitate on spending 20k on their integrated to run on Sashas (which I've heard numerous times and like power imo)
I believe Jeff Dorgay had a Dart run out of steam on Logan CLXs---which could be a more difficult load.
btw- JTinn is the distributor for Dart and he should have disclosed that.
May be JTinn being distributor can arrange for you home audition of Dartzeel 8550 ?
I have no doubt that this great amp is stable at 1.8 Ohms load. What would be my concern is that if it operate at 450 watts at 2 Ohms then its current would be 15A...which is not that great....but if you love flute concertos or country music it may work fantastically well for you.
You can arrange Spectrons for 30 days or for 60 days if you wish home audition.
Nothing bit home audition. No pressure, you have time - its the best. You have great speakers, one of the best in the world and you have a chance to make extraordinary system... just don;t be lazy
hifinut, I don't see how you could go wrong with anything on your list. I would also suggest checking out the VTL integrated and the NAIM Supernait. It will all depend on what you like.
I have the Sasha but I drive it with separates from Nagra and Ayre.
As a Watt/Puppy 8 user, the lastest W/P incarnation prior to Sasha, I would never consider an inetgrated. Not sure what your amp budget is, but I would consider a higher power separate power amp either stereo or of mono block type. I used to drive the W/P's with an old Mark Levinson 27.5 which is 200 watts into 4 ohm load. I now use Pass XA-100.5 monoblocks which deliver pure class A power at 200 watts/4ohms. Those amps hardly break a sweat with my Watt Puppies and sound glorious. As other's have said..an integrated will not deliver the maximum performance out of those speakers (not enough peak current). Sure they will work and sound good with the right inegrated, like the pass, but you will enjoy them much more with better amplification (separates), imo.
ASR Emitter II exclusive, maybe?
Not cheap, and the maxed out version is a 4 box story!
Keithr: You stated: "just going back from memory on the stereo amp, in which multiple reviews said lower impedances weren't its thing (I believe Mike Lavigne told me that as well a long time ago)"
You are making a statement about an amplifier that has 2 1/2 times the power as the amp Mike was talking about. It is an assumption based on no experience and misused hearsay. Also there are no reviews that made that statement. The stereo amplifier does not have a problem with lower impedance speakers. It just need to be matched with speakers that have the proper efficiency just like any other amplifier. :)
I have had enough personal experience with Wilson and darTZeel products used together that I can assure you they work well together.
All the best,
darTZeel Distributor (Sorry for the forgotten disclosure earlier)
In fact, you would absolutely not want a "higher power" amp, whether it be a power amp or integrated amp, if you have reasonably efficient speakers, and certainly not on a 91+ db. efficient speaker like the Sasha, as the vast majority of such amps use a lot of global feedback to control the circuit, as well as numerous output devices (i.e., numerous transistors or power tubes) to achieve high power. Feedback imparts a muted, closed-in, two-dimensional sound, and the numerous output devices reduce transparency and just generally muck up the sound on high-resolution systems. In this regard, it is frequently said, with good reason, that the lowest powered amp in a line of amplifiers is the best sounding one - the simpler the circuit, the better.
The new Rowland 625, the Ayre amps, and the darTZeel amps use no global feedback and none has a rated output of more than 300 watts/channel into 8 Ohms. Most Pass amps do not use any global feedback, and a few models have only three gain stages. The darTZeel stereo amp uses only a single pair of transistors per channel.
If you have really inefficient speakers (84 db. or less), if your system is in a really big room, or if you listen primarily to disco at 120+ decibels, then there may be a compelling reason to buy a high-powered (400+ watts per channel) amp. If, however, you're running efficient speakers like Sashas and have a reasonably normal room, high wattage is not what you want.
I was just listening to a pair of very well set up Sashas last week. The electronics were the Audio Research Signature Anniversary line, specifically powered by their 110 wpc VS115 power amp
, a huge all tube beast rated at 110 wpc. All cabling was a high level (but not top level) Transparent.
The sound was stunning in every way. In fact, I've been going to the Seattle Symphony quite a bit lately, and this ARC/Transparent/Sasha combo had an immediacy and ability to energize the room and air much like a live performance. It's one of the best illusions of the more elusive aspects of live performance that I've heard.
Not that it's pocket change, but at $12K that ARC VS115 power amp is an absolute stunner powering the Sashas.
I used to on the WP/7s and drove them with a Spectron MIIISE amp and VTL TL7.5 preamp. I happily replaced/upgraded this combo to the APL UA-S4 integrated which is a single gain stage amp with extremely pure tone, which I still own although Ive sold the Wilsons.
JTinn- I looked on the Dart website and there are no specs or mainstream reviews, so I will defer to you.
Raquel- Sashas efficiency is misleading. They spend most of there time below 4 ohms with some tough phase angles---this isn't a 90db flat 8ohm impedance speaker---and not near as easy to drive as higher end Wilsons.
The darTZeel integrated was subject to a full review by Stereophile - here is the link: http://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/dartzeel_cth-8550_integrated_amplifier/index.html
The Sasha was also reviewed by Stereophile and subject to Atkinson's normal suite of measurements - its impedance characteristics are well known:http://www.stereophile.com/content/wilson-audio-sasha-wp-loudspeaker-measurements
In fact, all of the WattPuppies, and most other Wilsons, drop to or below 3 Ohms in the bass and feature moderately steep phase angles.
" Raquel- Sashas efficiency is misleading. They spend most of there time below 4 ohms with some tough phase angles"
I disagree and strongly, sorry. Amp/speakers will produce loudness exactly as Raquel predicted (I bet she was a good student at school).
Probably sound quality will be "slightly" below of that Vladimir Horowitz or Eugene Ormandy would expect but listening to this ultra expensive combo ($25k + $25k) one with the wallet (but no ears) will be highly satisfied and will have something to show his/her non-audiophile friends
Raquel- Interesting Dart doesn't post links to those reviews on it's own website. I wonder if that is due to JA's less than enthusiastic measurements.
Dob- I don't know what you are saying, but the speaker is not particularly easy to drive. Please read JA's measurements if you don't agree. I'm not going to speculate on the Dart integrated anymore, as I said above and left it for JTinn. My personal choice would not be to run an integrated on Sashas---but that's just me. I've owned Wilsons several times over the past 10 years, so do have some experience in this arena.
Anyways- I'm done with this thread. Good luck to the OP in whatever direction he/she goes.
I would agree that darTZeel may have chosen to deliberately omit that review, as they surely know that the majority of audiophiles, even some relatively sophisticated ones that might be expected to gravitate toward an esoteric product like darTZeel, ultimately lack the sophistication to assess how measurements correlate to sound quality. Put another way, if the hi-fi industry learns what to measure, then everyone has a chance to make gear like darTZeel. Lastly, I don't want to diminish the contribution that Atkinson's measurements have made to the industry, but it bears mentioning that he ran Levinson amps and B&W speakers until very recently - in this regard, I wouldn't go to a Rolex guy for enlightenment about an A. Lange & Söhne.
Anyone familiar with Swiss music? And what the hell is A. Lange&Sohne anyway? Rolex I heard of. Swiss sometimes have interesting ideas about things including prices. As a result of this advanced thinking most of their stuff is good and way overpriced. For $25k you can blow the f... out of those Wilsons with great separates. So who needs this? Swiss perhaps. Anyone else?
"So who needs this?"
It was the author of the thread who asked about darTZeel - it was not an unsolicited recommendation.
PS - Lange is a German, not Swiss, watchmaker.
To correct my earlier post, the ARC amp I heard powering the Sashas was the ARC Reference 110
power amp, driven by a line stage from the same Anniversary Reference series.
"Dob- I don't know what you are saying, but the speaker is not particularly easy to drive"
Hello Keith - it is poorly written joke. Efficiency is related to air pressure of sound not its quality...
Sorry, of course, you are right - sound quality at certain frequencies will be much worse then at other due to difficult loads.
I always liked the levinson 383
I use Accuphase e-450 as integrated amplifier of my Sashas. I´ve already ordered e-560 to replace my e-450, because I think I have never heard a better combination with my set. A friend of mine brought the e-560 to my house and the result was outstanding. I was happy with the e-450, but with the e-560 the sound is much better.