By the way, I have to admit, I'm kind of hoping that there are SS amps out there that are: 1) better than the Omegas with the Avalongs, 2) cheaper than the Omegas, so I can make up part of the money I spent to upgrade from Indras to the Diamonds, and 3) smaller than the Omegas, so I can reduce the real estate of my system. A stereo amp would be acceptable (rather than mono blocks) if it is particularly synergistic with the Diamonds.
There's an amp that just went on sale here, on Audiogon.
It is called Newclear. Check it out. It uses the B&O Ice module. I must disclose I do know the dealer/distributor.
I have purchsed (5) 1000 watt Ice monoblocs from him, and (2) 500 watt monoblocs. These were called Muranos..
This amp is about to be reviewed, email the seller & he'll tell you about it.
I've been using my P1000s on my Avalon Avatars for about 3 years now, always with a Pass preamp. They sound very good to me. These Ice amps are fully balanced, and do sound better in a balanced system. My CD player is the Electrocompaniet EMC-1Up.
I always perceived Boulder as hyper-detailed. Maybe it was just the demos at the shows. I definitely fall more along the line of musical above detailed. Do I have a mis-impression of Boulder?
What did you find lacking in your Indras?
The Indras are great speakers. A bit light on bass - so I purchased a JL Audio 113 subwoofer. But I've always wanted the Diamonds. They are just slightly more refined, and if my memory serves me right, I recall slightly better imaging (which is already good with the Indras). I'm hoping that I can get adequate bass with the Diamonds as well, which would allow me to sell the sub.
You should try Spectral. I used a Spectral 250 for many years, and it was great. The problema is that
you will also need a Spectral preamp.
I would limit myself to the best amplification...Ayre and Audio Research since you have such revealing speakers. If money is an issue, either of them have great support facilities so that buying used would not be an issue.
Cpcorreia - I read that the newer spectral models also allow you to use other preamps. Can you still get the same level of performance using a mixed combo? Which Spectral individual amps or amp/preamp pairings should be considered? I'm hearing good buzz about the 260.
Stringreen - which Ayre amp are you referring to? I've got the K1XE preamp now. I've had the V5XE, and while it is a great amp, I can't imagine it getting the best out of the Diamonds. The MXR's are pretty expensive.
I definitely would not use a digital amplifier with the Eidolon Diamonds. Not a good match with the mids or tweets.
I have heard wonderful sound with the Eidolon Diamonds and the Pass Labs XA160.5. The amplifier is Class A and can drive almost anything.
Hi Peter - If you already have a K1xe...and don't feel the need for monoblox, try using Anti-Cable's new Reference balanced interconnects. I've just got a meter pair and am amazed how it simply removes hash and junk that stands in the way of the sound. If you don't like these interconnects, send them back and get your money back....however, it is very worth your while to at least try your Ayre with these interconnects. Let me know the outcome if indeed you go ahead with it.
The speakers sound great with Spectral gear.
Stringreen - which Ayre amps are you referring to? Also, why are the anticables reference interconnects not intended for monoblocks?
I couldn't disagree more with Jtinn.
I have Indras (obviously not the same tweeter), but I am driving them with a Hypex UCD400HG with HxR and all solid ocre Neotech wiring, upgraded RCA's, IEC, etc. and the sound is amazing. Best sound I've had yet with any amp on my Indras. Detail, amazing layered 3D soundstage, bass slam, terrific imaging, air, unreal clarity, etc.
Not all digital amps are created equal. To make such a blanket statement about digital amps is nonsense.
Fiddler: I respectfully stand by my statement. I have tried the Hypex and Spectron amplifiers as well as many other digital amplifiers and none, so far, have approximated the sound of a good analog amplifier.
The most remarkable part of the leap from the Indras to the Eidelon Diamonds will be the tweeters. The diamond tweeter is absolutely phenomenal in its ability to convey unlimited high frequency with total cohesiveness with the other drivers. When optimized, it is totally clear, clean, and grain free. It does not overload, and it makes most other tweeters sound distorted. The tweeter makes music sparkle with energy and momentum that keeps one interested and connected to the music. And somehow, it is seamless with the entire presentation and does not draw attention to itself.
Optimizing the tweeter is a trick. If your cables or power are not optimized, you will her the grain in your cables and power. Any component or cable that is non-linear will accentuate the tweeter and make it less seamless.
I would second the Pass XA.5 series. You could probably do the 100.5 if you have a smaller room and don't listen to full-scale orchestral music. While the Pass is a key component to an effortless sound with palpability and weight throughout all frequencies, it is one part of a synergy that is necessary to really get the midrange and tweeter to the full potential. You can see the supporting components on my systems page. Finding components that work together on the Avalon has been a journey over several years. Luckily, the constant experimenting and trials have paid off.
I understand Jtinn.
Sometimes it just takes a while to overcome our prejudices :)
And no need to be sorry. You can eventually open your mind if you try hard enough.
IMO ,I completely agree with Rtn1(Avalon and Pass).....and on a side note he has an amazing system,congrats!
"Sometimes it just takes a while to overcome our prejudices :)"
It is not prejudice, it is experience. :)
I am always open minded whenever I listen to anything.
"I am always open minded whenever I listen to anything."
As long as it's Dartzeel, Evolution Acoustics, Playback Designs, etc. :)
I'm going to say this one more time, and try to put it in perspective.
I have (2) long term amp(s) that I've had for 10 years.
My Pass Aleph 2s, and my Rowland Model 2 (with BPS).
My Rowland was the best sounding amp I ever owned. The Pass Aleph series came out & sounded just as good to me,
with more power.
I bought a used Pass X150.5, some years ago. It sounded just as good as the Rowland, with twice the power.
I sold the X150.5, expecting to move up in the Pass line.
I heard the Murano Ice amps at my dealer, took them home & compared them to the Rowland. They sounded at least 95% as good to me, especially on my favorite music - female vocals. I now have (7) of the Murano amps.
I recently purchased a Pass XA-30.5. It's in the box, waiting to be heard with all (4) of my current speakers:
Sonus Faber Concerto Domus
All my speakers were chosen because I like their tweeters-
the most important element in a speaker, to me.
I'm quite happy with the degree of resolution all these speakers have.
If I hit the lottery, I'll probably buy a Rowland 625, or Pass XA100.5s.
If that doesn't happen, I'll bring home a Newclear & try it.
These ICE amps sound very good to me. My reference standards in my system
Peter...what are you talking about....Im suggesting using these interconnects.
I have tried many amps with the Avalon Diamond & Isis. The more expensive ones includes: Boulder 1060, Rowland 312, Vac phi 300.1, Spectral, luxman M800a, ayre mxr, levinson 432, MBL 9008, conrad johson 140 (monos), Jadis da88s.
The lower prices ones includes: antique sound 1009 a& the hurricanes, vac phi 110, musical fidelity kw500, pass x350.5, naim 250.2, rowland (small switching ones) , classe 2200, Mcintosh 275V, nuforce, atma m60s.
My real surprise is that Rowland and Spectral did not work that well in my system. Many dealers in USA and Asia showed Avalons with these two. It could certainly my own room issues/personal preferences.
I could not make good sound with any of the switching amps that I tried. I really wanted to like the Rowlands because I had been impressed by the older Rowlands designs. I think stepping back to class AB design in the 625 is the right direction. The switching amps sounded bland and were unable to portray adequate tonal contrast among different instruments. None of them are bright and microdynamics are OK. The 312 had decent macrodynamics but the Boulder, Luxman, MBL are much better in all aspects for me.
Of the lower price tiers, the Pass x350.5 striked a good balance betw a liquid, natural midrange, detail, bass control and macrodynamics.
Of the more expensive ones, they all sounded very different and tough to guess what your preference would be. What you would be looking for is an amp with very liquid yet detailed midrange (possibly something to do with low global FB) and yet with good bass control and macrodynamics. The CJ had a very high noise floor and lacked detail and had notable dynamic compression. Jadis has a unique sound but not very neutral or transparent, transients seems a little slow. Vac phi 300 had great midrange, bass control was not the best but acceptable (may be a real winner in monos). Levinson sounded a little dark and opaque but otherwise not too bad. The ones I like are Luxman/MBL/Boulder/Ayre.
I used to have a pair of quad 2805 along with the Avalon Diamonds. The midrange of the quads is truly unique. I ultimately stayed with the Avalon line for better dynamic realism.
Good luck on your journey.
..my take on your suggestions Glai.... Boulder amps have grainy highs which will mercilessly be revieled by the Diamond's tweeter. Rowland has a more polite sound (maybe a bit rolled off) which will not bring out the best in that tweeter. Ayre is generally faultless in this area and would be a great match if the right cable is use...Audioquest Sky/Everest, or Anti-Cables Reference...both silver but without the "Nordost" lift. I haven't heard Luxman in a while, but I remember that I had positive feelings about it when I last heard it (about 1 1/2 years ago.
Glai - thanks for your detailed advice/information. My second system is going to be Quad57's and whatever (inexpensive) amp I find that drives them well. But back to the Diamonds: I still don't know how my Classe Omegas are going to sound. Perhaps they'll be great, who knows!!! If they are great, I might try a lower priced amp (e.g. Pass) to see if I can get the system price down and simplify it to a stereo amp. I think that the CAT JL2 will do the job for the tube amp, so the question remains which will be the solid state amp available... just in case the CAT flames on me!!!
Stringreen - my question was on your first post about Ayre amplification, not about your interconnect suggestion.
Not to hijack the thread but has anyone heard the NewClear amps with Magnepan speakers? That 40A current delivery worries me.
Speaking as the manufacturer of the NewClear amps, I can comment on the compatibility with Magnepan speakers.
Maggies typically need an amp of vast power and refinement, something that costs several multiples of the speakers themselves.
The NewClear NC1000L has been a perfect match with Magnepan MMG, MG1.6/QR, 3.6, and 20.1 systems. Power, detail, extension, control, and sweetness. As an example, the owner of the 20.1 preferred the NewClear to his 200 Watt Audio Research tube monoblocks.
NewClear amps have replaced many very nice big Class A and tube amps such as the Pass X-350, Cary 805, Krell FPB-700cx, and Audio Research 200 Watt tube monoblocks.
div of Audio Video Choices, Inc
I havent heard the combination, but I would think that the JL2 you already have would sound amazing with the right tube pre-amp.
KWB - I imagine that it will make a good combo, but I was looking for solid state amp suggestions. Thanks, Peter
Both the CAT JL2 and the Omegas sound very good. I'm going to try a Musical Reference RM200 and see how that compares to the CAT.
Peter completey biased but consider karan acoustics. We showed avalons at CES several years ago and they were very well received.
I'd second the Karan's. I've heard various Avalon driven by Karan's inc Isis with KAM1200 which was wonderful. That system got out of the way and left the music in a way I've not experienced very often. I've not heard Eidolon or the Diamond with Karan. A guy I know was very happy with his Conrad Johnson 350 and Eidolon Diamond combo when he had them.
Karan makes wonderfully musical amplifiers. The UK distributor of Avalon and Karan uses the KA M2000 monos in his reference system with Avalon Eidolon Diamonds and Isis as far as I know. I'm partnering them with Sonus Faber Futuras myself.
It seems that you have a goal or at least a direction but you're enjoying the auditioning. That's the hobby up until your taste narrows and you become goal orientated and that's the hobby too. So, good for you.
I've auditioned many amplifiers in my system, this is a list of amplifiers I've actually owned and lived with: Marantz 8Bs, highly modified Cerwin-Vega A-1800, GAS Ampzilla, Phase Linear 400, MFA D75, Ayre V3, Ayre V-1/xe, PS Audio HCA-2, NuForce 9SEs v1/v3, Hypex NC400s, Bob Carver VTA 180s.
I won't get into my personally subjective tastes of each amplifier in the list above driving my ceramic Eidolons. My goal eventually became to find an amplifier with the presentation of the Marantz 8Bs but with enough power to drive the Eidolons in a largish room to satisfying levels.
I'm a 64 year old Bass player. You'll notice from my list that I held great promise for both linear and switching solid state amplifiers, the reason is not important.
Since no amplifier does it all their have been some stand outs that I've heard in my system. Ayre, Rowland Model 8, (definitely try the 6/724), Atma Sphere MA-1, Sanders Magtech (free trial and stunningly underrated).
Currently I'm rolling tubes in the Carvers and things are just getting better and better. The Carvers seem to have a similar tone of the 8Bs yet with enough control and power to drive the Eidolons to my satisfaction.
I am also using the Hypex amps to power the Avalon Monitors in my studio. The $1300. Hypex amplifiers actually do more than any other amplifier I've used to date and are simply ruthless in the studio. Personally, I'm more comfortable with second harmonic distortions of tube amps for entertaining listening in my main system.
I have yet to hear a truly full range passive speaker so I supplement with two Velodyne DD-12+.
["Thanks for the mail, and glad you like the Eidolons. I still think they are amazing, and expect to continue to sell their current iteration.
My first experience with tubes and Eidolons was with Audio Research 100's. Clearly not enough power to have the full bloom of the capability of the Eidolons, but, there was still enough info to let me know that with a bit more power there would be some very nice results. Indeed, I later heard them with both the AR 300, and later the 600. These are both super amps, and priced accordingly, but in the interest of letting you know that it will work, I give you those examples. On the other extreme, if you can find a small tube amp, called the RM9, RM10, or RM2000. These little tube amps are quite extraordinary. Probably on the
low end of power requirements, and admittedly I have not heard them with Eidolons, but many years ago I lusted for the RM9 for myself. The company is very small, but passionate, and is still in existence, and I believe in California. Also, a bit more mainstream, is VTL, also a California based company, with a variety of 'affordable' mono and stereo tube gear. We shared a room with them at the recent Audiofest show in Denver in early October. Always a good match, and we share a number of dealers and distributors around the world. David Berning also makes a few very good amplifiers. We used their amps at CES a lifetime ago, and never forgot that sound, and now people have started to tell us how good the combination still is.
On Nov 24, 2009"]