I have tried Lamm, CJ Prem 8, Levnison 33/33H, and 436s as well. I prefer the 450/750MCx.
I have tried Lamm, CJ Prem 8, Levnison 33/33H, and 436s as well. I prefer the 450/750MCx.
You have many good options.
I used a BAT VK500 with BatPak & a Pass Labs X1 with my rig:
(Marantz DV8400 Universal - Nottingham Mentor TT with VDH Colibri Cartidge - Pass Labs XOno Phono Amp - Tandberg 10X-02 Open Reel Deck & TCD 440A Cassette Deck) & never looked back.
All the power & punch that you could want (Unless you are a tube freak & expect a more/sweeter midrange/with less bottom end).
If you want more power - try the BAT VK 600 with BatPak AWESOME!
I sold both the VK500 & X1 as I am now into 7.1 HT, but will not/never part with the Watt puppies & the rest of my system.
I also have another 7.1 HT system & 3 turntables (Phase Linear 8000 with Ortofon MC 30 Cartridge & MCA 76 Head Amp - Audio Meca Romance/with Romero Arm & Dynavestor XX 20H Cartridge - Wilson Benesch ACT TT with 2.0 Arm & VDH Frog.
I still smile everytime I listen to the Wilson's (probably the best investment I have ever made).
I understand that Wilson has been demo'ing with Spectral and ARC of late.
ARC uses big Wilsons, among others, to voice its equipment.
One of my dealers told me that the CAT amps have special synergy with Wilson Grand Slamms, but which iteration of the Slamms I cannot recall, and the WP 7 is pretty different from the Grand Slamms.
I agree with Siliab and just checked your system. I'd say you could use some tubes. In this regard, the CAT amps tend to work well with your Transparent cabling.
The Watts/Puppies are rushlessly revealing of the electronics you use. That's their strength and weakness. You have two different way to go.
I have used a pair of BAT-VK60 successfully. The midrange and imaging are simply stunning. The bass was very dynamic but not the tighest possible. The high is extremely smooth; there some information missing at the very top. The soundstage is large but not completely wide open (tube amps usually don't go high enough to provide the best soundstage).
Your best choices of solid-state amps are the ones with high current and very wide frequency response like the Spectral to take full advantage of the Watts/Puppies capabilities. The advantages are numerous: great bass, very detailed highs, and huge soundstage. Watch out, however, for a little hardness in the sound--just a smidgeon, mind you, but it's there and it is hard to remove completely. You can try different speaker cables for fine tuning.
I overcorrected with the Rowland Model 7 monoblocks: the hardness was completely gone but the sound was a little too polite for my taste. I get outstanding results with my new switching amp: very dynamic sound with great bass, smooth midrange, detailed high, and huge soundstage. There is a little hardness in the sound but most of it is eliminated with the right speaker cables (OCOS transmission lines, triple run; double Straightwire Maestro) and a good power conditioner.
The bottom line is the Watts/Puppies will reveal everything in your system, warts and all so you have to be meticulous about everything upstream, especially in the high frequencies. With bad ss amps, these babies will drill holes in your ears.
PS: I could not find any electronics in black lacquered piano finish as Jay Douglas suggested. Sorry.
I'll have to echo most of Justin times comments on the BAT VK60. I've since moved on to a BAT VK75SE. It considerably tightens the bottom end, goes lower, extends more on top but keeps that sweet warm lifelike midrange.
I've never heard my WP 6.0's with great SS amps. However, I've heard some other great systems, and I'm pretty happy with what I have.
Don't laugh, after living with and loving, my suggestion is the Musical Fidelity kW500 integrated. It has caused 2 of my audio friends to sell their seperates and a 3rd to tell everyone how good this amp sounds. This is my first posting on this amp. I have had it a while and every day I like it more. It's stunning. I lived with Levinson for years and Luxman before that, as well as Mac and cj. Don't dismiss this amp because people love to bash MF. Peace and Good Listening, Pat.
I have the Wilson/P7's and have tried the Edge,Classe,Krell, Bermaster, VTL,Quicksilver V4 monos, NAim,Lamm and Spectral amps. I Also the Mark Levinson Amps. I found that the Levinson 334 Amp the best. I was hoping to find a need for more power and therefore up grade to the 336 or the new 436. But Power and definition was not a problem. I also evaluated Preamps in various Combinations: Edge, Aestheticx calypso,Lamm,Classe and Levinson. I do not feel that tubes get the most out of these speakers. I really thought I would because of the great reviews of the LAMM and Aestheticx products. The transparency and tightness of instruments was lost. Also each Amp works differently with each preamp. Ultimately , I found the N32 Levinson preamp to work the best with the Levinson Amp and Wilson speakers. let me know what you think.
Hamburg, I did not have as many choices of amp and preamp as you did but I am not at all surprised by your choices and found myself in total agreement.
Overall I also prefer the sound of solid-state amp and preamp with the Watts/Puppies. I also found that tubes give me that magic in the midrange but at the expense of tightness and transparency as you put it. Your choices also support my findings that the Watts/Puppies demand the very best of ss electronics to really blossom.
I am also comforted by your findings that the Watts/Puppies do not necessarily demand huge power, just very clean power. I also found that high current/class A amps with stiff power supplies work best.
I think you should consider two sets of amps and two preamps. While I don't run the watt/puppies, I do run the Duettes. I too have found the Levinson to be a very good match with these speakers. In fact, I have usually run a Audio Aero Capitole direct to the ML amp with excellent results.
During the colder months of the year, I run the BAT VK 60s in mono (120 wpc) via a BAT VK5i pre-amp.
The way I see this, is that I get to enjoy the Wilson speakers both ways - so to speak. They are great, but different on tubes. They are great, but different with the ML SS amp.
In my opinion, (at least for the Duettes, but also based on my experience with Watt/Puppies) is that 100+ wpc with a good power supply is plenty with both tubes and SS. Many people want more power (and it doesn't hurt unless you drop in quality to get this power), but as Hamburg indicated above, I am in agreement that these speakers don't demand the same kind of power that other speakers do (large Thiele's for example).
I just changed my AMP from the Levinson to Pass XA 160. The overall sound was richer with a larger soundstage. The individual background instruments became more noticeable and therefore three dimensional. The base is more defined. The Levinson throws the vocals dramatically out toward the listener and demands attention slightly at the expense of other less powerful notes. This is not to say the Levinson is not extremely detailed and well imaged. It is, but after listening to the Pass I notice more air around the notes. The vocals are fuller and expand all around you. Suttle background Cymbals float effortlessly. I highly recommend a try with Wilson 6 or 7 but not 5 because of difference in ohms.
I have WP7's and tried a bunch of tube and solid-state amps. I didn't like the match of low-powered tube amps with the WP7's as much as I did with my Sophias, but as other posters have said, tubes give a fuller midrange and a bigger soundstage with better dimensionality of instruments and voices. I even tried a pair of Cary 15wpc SET amps and they just didn't have enough power to drive the WP's to satisfying levels. I remember listening to a UK pressing of ELP's Lucky Man and seeing the 300B power tubes flashing like disco lights to the music--I was driving the amps that hard. I thought the WP7's sounded best with big push-pull tube amps like an Audio Research VT100 Mark III and Conrad-Johnson Premier 140 I had, but again, the drawback was losing the last degree of bass and dynamics the Wilsons are capable of. So I tried SS amps like the BAT VK-500 and VK-600, and unlike the poster above, couldn't get used to the lack of soundstage size. Bass and dynamics were great but the music was just too laid-back and reticent in the mids for me. Now I have some Essence SS amps that have the best bass and dynamics I have yet found but with at least some of the dimensionality of tubes. Also great transparency and detail. Yesterday I was listening to Michael Jackson's Thriller--yeah, I know, but the strange little dude was pretty good back then, and there were some bass transients that absolutely startled me. Like the other poster said, WP's are extremely revealing of upstream electronics, so a lot of experimentation is necessary to get their best.