Best Solid State Amp For 10k Or Less

I'm auctioning off my Aragons to put towards the purchase of 'my last amp'. Wondering what people think. I have a Krell HTS as a preamp and Dynaudio 3.3's as mains. All I'm concerned with at this time is two channel sound...home theater can take a back seat for a while. My 'short' list is made up of Mark Levinson 335 or 336,Krell FPB300C or perhaps the FPB600c if I can find a deal,Classe 401, Plinius SA250. My musical tastes lean towards classic rock and jazz.What do you think?
I'm pretty darned happy with my Pass Aleph P and mono 2s setup. Great soundstaging, dead quiet, natural midrange, forgiving yet detailed, and ultrareliable; fun-to-use remote, too! Should net out around $5-5.5k used. GREAT synergy between pre and monos. Possibly less bass slam than you might want for high SPL rock with inefficient speakers, but I'm continually thrilled with 88dB/w 3-ways playing lots of acoustic jazz. (Heard Charles Lloyd's latest: Water is Wide?) Good Luck.
I'm using KRC-HR and ML335 with B&W N802. I haven't been happier. I used to have a KSA-200S which I got rid of in favour of ML. I'm 80% jazz, 20% classic. Again, this is what works for me (in my room, my front end, cables, etc etc). Which might - or might not - work for you.
Without any doubt I would grab a pair of Pass Labs X600 monoblocks. They are terrific and you can find them used for under $10k. The Classe Omega is also very realistic.
I have the same setup as subaruguru. Dead dead quiet with no distortion, dimensionally accurate soundstage, and an incredibly detailed midrange. You hear singer's every breath, and things like people brushing their hair back or brushing against an instrument. The krell FPB, KAV, LEVINSON 23.5, and my old dna1/Gold all had a transistor 'background noise' by comparison. It's almost not worth mentioning. I didn't know it was there until I'd heard a pass amp. These amps are a little wimpy in the bass. Not even close to my house shaking DNA1. My vt100m2 actually walks all over them for bass. The pass preamp did take the system up a notch. More of the quietness and with a better soundstage. What cables are you using subaruguru? Did you find XLR's to help a lot? I have red dawns rca's. A guy I know who uses dynaudio 3.0's commented that the alephs were a great match for his system. He had tried a plinius and found it was not as good. Another great solid state setup is all spectral w/MIT cables. One of my friends has that. Could be warmed up a little, but ruthlessly revealing with great depth. Hey Jtinn, are you in Portland?
Do yourself a favor and check out Gryphon and Goldmund for solidstate excellence as well. They may not have the advertising budget and therefore name recognition of some of those mentioned, but are sonically superior IMHO. I'd also agree with Pass recommendations. Though I also like Spectral/MIT, the combination costs could easily push you past your budget. Caveat: Though I suggest these ss units, I'm a total tube believer. Goodluck.
Check out Aloia's with inductive power supply. You can buy one new for less than 4k. They are relatively new on US market. In my system they have been the best I've heard compared to the Levinson334,Cary slm200's and the Wolcott Presence and these amps were 2 and 3 times the price. Lars fredell also had a review that they bested $30k in Lamm gear
If you must have SS amps.. I suggest you give the Bel Canto Evo a try.. This is a wonderful sounding amp for the $$$. Also check out the Llano trinity series amps. These amps will drive ANY load with ease yet the sound is delicate and musical. mike
Sg69, I would get the Adcom 5802 with Stan Warren modifying it. Or i would get the Marsh A400 Amp.
there are any number of accuphase and jeff rowland design group amps (new or used) at the $10k pricepoint that will better any of your current selection of alternatives. they may not mate well with you krell pre, but then what does? well worth hearing, nonetheless.
I agree with MikeM .... go to and look at the Llano's. They have lots of class A power, lots of current and sound fantastic. You can either go solid state or go to their Trinity design which is a hybrid design with a tube front-end and solid state back-end.
Power Modules 350A,Dave Belles makes a winner here. 250 watts per channel. They sell for $3500.00 new and I doubt you will find a used one. Best solid state i've heard. E-mail me for info. on how to get one, if interested.
Hi John! I'm using Red Dawn throughout: 1m RCA Rotel 855/AlephP, 4.5m XLR between P and 2 monos, and 2.5m revII to Verity Encores. Spectral balance is great, but top octaves "clicky" and gritty, probably due to the Rotel. I was surprised to find that the BelCanto DAC sounded uptilted and "whitish" up top in this system. I decided to return to my Rotel rather than band-aid the BelCanto system with a "warm" IC. Still not sure how to upgrade the front end....suggestions? Local dealer's Rega Planet 2000 MAY be worth a demo--can't get anyone to respond to that thread, however. I know some have characterized the Nordost as wimpy in the bass, but I notice NO difference in bottom slam if I parallel-in some 12 gauge in an A/B test, so in my setup the 13 AWG-equivalent RD revII works fine (it's only 8', afterall). Nonetheless do you think the Red Dawn IC exagerrates treble transients...that "clickiness"?...or is that my Rotel CDP? Sorry to sidetrack the thread...happy holidays to all. Ernie
I listen to mostly classic rock myself and I have really enjoyed my Electrocompanient amplifier. The AW180 dual mono is ss bliss. I have the AW120 and it sounds equally as good but with a little less power. I listened to alot of the amplifiers you mentioned and I personally liked the character of the EC better to my ears. It really shines with great IC's. The EC sounded right on rock and roll and alot of gear does not. If you are in the market for a ss amplifier don't overlook EC. Gryphon is also quite nice. No advertising budget either, just quality gear that sounds great. My 2 cents
Hi Subaru. I think you're right on with the grittyness being in the cd player. I put a cheaper cd player into my system it displayed this exact characteristic. I'm really happy with my Sony XA7ES. It's within a wisper of my friends Levinson 36 DAC. Can pick those up used for 1100ish. The Levinson guy also had a rega planet as his transport for a while. The system sounded very good. He upgraded the planet to a dedicated (EAD 1000?) transport and found the system has greatly improved. He's got a full blown spectral/MIT setup which is the quietest and most detailed I have ever heard - so keep that in mind.

I think the nordosts aren't weak in the bass, but they do emphasize the treble. I tried some 'ace of bass' $2000 speaker cables this weekend. The treble was turned down and the bass up little. Red Dawns were a much better match for my system. Never seen such an extreme case of system compatibility. I'm trying to find some Yamamura 6000 cables to try - heard those are another 'ideal' match for pass labs/virgo's. Take care.

By the way, Subes are great! They ( and 4x4 toyota pu's :> ) were a great choice for outdoors in Colorado. On dirt road trip one time, I swear to god the Sube Outback was eating a Ford Explorer and 4x4 S-10 for lunch! It actually had better ground clearance than the trucks!
i agree with snook2. the aloia amps are the best around.lars fredell is having a hard time deciding whether he likes his aloia system or his lamm system at almost 5x the cost.
They're little more than station wagons and make terrible off road vehicles. Subarus, OTOH, are great vehicles. There's no surprise at all that an Outback would out perform the Fords.
I love my pass x series. x-150($4k) or x-250(6k)
krell...never look back...fbp cooks!!!!!200c is all u need
Going along with snook2 and calloway, the Aloia is the best amp buy on the market. I've owned Pass, Mark Levinson, Plinius and this amp blows the others completely out of the running. If you must waste the extra $6000 and have a "name" I would look at Jeff Rowland first. If you save your money and get the Aloia, upgrade your front end or save it for something else.
The Mark Levinson 336 is very smooth, but it still isn't tubes.
I wouldn't do anything until I try a pair of Lamm 1.1's
The Levinson 334 and 335 amps are terrific. I compared the 334 to the Plinius SA250, Bryston 4B, Ayre V1, Coda 10.5, Pass Labs X350 and Classe 101. The Levinson was the best overall by a substantial margin. I bought the 334 and truly enjoy it (the 335 sounds just as good and is more powerful).
Put the Ayre K-1 amp on your short list. VERY musical and natural sounding.
The Aleph 2s powering the top of the Apogee Mini Grand, the Classe 25 powering the lower half. Turn the lights off and enjoy!
You can buy a mighty fine sounding tube amp for 1/2 your budget that will play music better than everything mentioned above.
I'm using Classe CAM-350s for my Confidence 5s and love them ($7k)
I bought a Sim W5 this week. I am amazed at the speed, dynamics, neutrality and sense of ease this amp has. Also, it is amoung the best looking amps I have ever seen. I know there have been many great amps mentioned in this thread, but at under $5000, the Sim is definately worth a listen.
Best Solid State Amps, Levinson 335 or 336, Mcintosh MC 352, Ayre V1, Alchemist Statement, Meridian 557 Amps bridged, Bat VK 500
My favorite or best amps under 10K are as follows: Goldmund 28+,Spectral DMA-150S2,Jeff Rowland 10,Mcintosh MC 352,Mcintosh MC 602,Ayre V-1X,Pass X-350...go and listen :-)
Try a Cello Duet 350, if you can find one. Sweet, fast, and 350wpc.
Far and away the best Solid State amp under $10,000.00 I have heard is the Gamut D200 ($5,500.00). Hell,it may be the Best Amp of any kind at ANY PRICE for a stable load that operates efficiently with 200 WPC. see for tech info.
The Aloia is an excellent choice here. I have been using a number of amplifiers well over 10K and find that the Aloia is easily a contender in the 10-20K amp wars.
smooth and clear. a must audition if you listen to jazz and vocals. anyone using a tube front end?(sugg). what cables are you using? anyone biamping? I might get another one before demand drives up price.
aloia amps. see previous post.
Hey Slick2, I believe Snook2 is bi-amping in a up/down configuration. You might want to email him, we've talked a few times, a real nice guy! I'm using Audio Tekna interconnects and speaker wire with a Kora tube pre-amp. The pre-amp is over kill for this amp maybe, or the amp is way undervalued. I think the latter. The only system I've like better than what I have now, (with alot of tweeks) was a full balanced Krell600 driving Wilson Grand Slamns in a $125,000 custom room. My budget is a bit less, and I give up very little to that system. J.D.
Slick2 there's one for sale on audioweb for $2600. Bi-amping is a plus greater soundstage. I'm using audiotekne cables throughout. That's a steal
MUSE ELECTRONICS model 160 (stereo), model 175 and model 300
(monoblocks). Good luck finding a better amp for the money
($2000 , $4000pr. and $4500pr. respectively) All are MOSFET designs.
Rowlands for a musical SS sound, (Cornfedboy is right!), or at least audition some tubes-ARC VT100's, VT200's come to mind. I have heard Rowlands and they have done a great job with even Apogees- your Dynaudios will be a breeze. I have heard Dynaudio's with Levinson - OK, but perhaps not the ultimate match. You may want to borrow some other pre's to try with your amp auditions, unless you are married to the Krell.
After all, why Pass up a killer amp match for the Dynaudios when you have enough bank for a great amp and new
pre if necessary? WIth a little fortitude and elbow grease,
you could be Rowland in sonic bliss. Accuphase are awesome, quality untouchable, but Rowlands(especially older models),
have a sound all their own, and under ten are a better deal than most of what's out there.
Happy hunting.
Jeff Rowland Design Group
The NEW YBA Passion Integrated. It will connect you to music in away you knew not possible, in a way a Krell never can.
spectral dma- a80...easily available used at a good discount.
My Pass Systems is just awesome,, Aleph P Preamp, Aleph 2 monoblocks.
If I had ten K to spend on a solid state amp I would get a used Classe Omega. All you aloia fans, do they have enough power for Sg69's Dynaudio 3.3's?
Shouldn't be a problem using the Aloia (inductive). This is mere speculation though. How inefficient are the Dynaudio's. They can easily control all the Dunlavy speakers. You can bi-amp for less than 8k.
Sensitivity is 89dB. Impedance is 3.2-9.8 ohms. Dynaudio recomends amp >80 watts in a large room.
The Jeff Rowland Model 10 is the best amp for under $10,000. Period. Here's all I have to say about the amp: it is 50% more efficient than an amp with a normal power supply, it's smaller, it runs cooler, has better detail, more realistic bass, no grain, and looks gorgeous. You thinking of a Krell or ML or anything else? Take the top cover off of the JR and then look inside anything else. You'll never look back.
Naims!! Nap 250 or Nap 135's!
I would suggest the McIntosh Mono Blocks MC1000 alot of dealers are blowing out these MC1000 to make room for the MC1201, you should be able to get a set NEw in THE BOX for under 10K I would also try as well The Krell 250 MonoBlocks Sweet sound of success!
Good Luck and when you fing the MAGIC* please post up what it is, so we can pass along the information to everyone