Best SS amp for Zu Druid Mk IV speakers

Down-sizing and want low cost Solid State option that I can leave on all the time - I know its sad
What do you consider low cost ?

Name a few or tell us your budget so that we can get some kind of idea of what you are looking for.
Try the Amp 1 integrated by Peter Daniel, or one of his Patek amps if you have a pre-amp. Either bring out the dynamics, detail, and texture that the Druids are known for.
Try one of Nelson Pass' First Watt amps. The F3 and F5 are great with Druids.

Keep in mind both amps operate in Class A mode and draw a significant (200W and 180W) amount of power if you intend to run 24/7.

Disclaimer: Pass retailer but not a First Watt retailer.
The Bel 1001 MK II listed for sale today.
AudioFeil, I realize you sell the Zu line. I was wondering what you consider the best SS (price no object) watts to drive the Defintions? thanks in advance.
Sorry, Saffy, for getting a bit off topic, but while I have Bill, I'd love to get my this question anwered.
I've heard tell...from a dealer of Zu Audio and Pass Labs...that the XA-30.5 is a great amp with the Definitions.
I will second Bill's recommendations and add RWA 30.2 battery chip-amp to the mix. But First Watt might be the better choice - depending on your personal taste.
It is not the question of which is the best SS amp but what works with Zu speakers. There is no definite best but what works and what doesn't.

If tube amps are open for consideration, I would suggest Melody M2A3 monos or M300B monos (I own these and heard them with Zu Definition and Druid - perfect match IMO).

I have used several low power SS amps to drive my Druids, and the the First Watt F3 wins hands down. Other contenders where:
1. Various chip amps ala Patek
2. Class D (tripath)
agree with the BEL
Judging by your answers, I can see that my question was not specific. What I am or was (doesn't seem like I'm going to be able to leave SET) considering, is 100 of the sweetest SS wpc that would bring out the best in the Definition 1.5s and [if possible] retain a tubey sound? Better?
100wpc for 101dB Definitions?

32wpc yields 116dB peaks. Do you require this volume?
"udging by your answers, I can see that my question was not specific. What I am or was (doesn't seem like I'm going to be able to leave SET) considering, is 100 of the sweetest SS wpc that would bring out the best in the Definition 1.5s and [if possible] retain a tubey sound? Better?"
12-29-08: Warrenh

Do not count my wasn't directed towards you.

As to the original author's question.............if it has to be on all the time, please consider RWA 30.2 amp. It runs cool all day long has about 40wpc (which is more then enough), sounds great with Zus and has SET amp characteristics. did not fool me or anything like that but it is definitely on the warmer, richer side. Since it runs on batteries, it is extremely quiet as well.
But do not take my word for it, check the 6moons reviews and users feedback.


stanley clark
bela fleck
Le sacre du printemps/petrouska/firebird
barry white
-plus oodles more-

you get the idea? every once in a while it's nice to hear what (12) 10" 101db speakers can do at 119 or 122dB. my question is more of a curiosity, given, as you said, my 32 very sweet SET watts and 116dB peaks. Highly unlikely that I would make the switch, {SET to SS} but still curious. I would love to hear a YBA Passion amp in my rig.

I get the idea.

Barry White at 122dB paints a vivid picture.
Hell, I've run my Druids with Gilmore Raptors - 500wpc into 4 ohms, 250wpc into 8 ohms. They sound excellent as well, and my oh my when I crank up the AC/DC!!!
Now to Warrenh -

If you are willing or in "need" to use 100wpc for your Definitions and do not want to spend a fortune, I would recommend a hard look into some SS vintage gear and have it recondition or modified to your heart's content.
I might not be a good source of information on SS amplification since the tubes rule at my home but one piece that I own and like a lot is Accuphase 202 integrated from the mid 70's. I believe its power amp counterpart was P-250 rated at 100wpc as well. These babes are hard to find in good condition but they do show up from time to time. $400-$1000 is what they usually go for. Be prepare to spend anywhere between $250 for cleaning up/reconditioning , up to $700-$800 total restoration. I believe Accuphase might still be doing it for around $700 - that includes transistors, caps etc.

But honestly, I do not think you need all that muscle but the finesse and noise reduction to the possible zippo to bring the best in Zus.

Good luck
"Barry White at 122dB paints a vivid picture."

Vivid, yes; pretty, NO ;~)'s not Barry White's voice I wish to hear at 122dB. That would be scary. I'm thinking of a BW album I own, that has bass as low as I've ever heard on a recording. Electronic, of course.
OK, thanks for the clarification, Warren. I feel much better now ;~)
Everyone is missing the boat. Luxman is the way to go with Zu. They voice everything mostly with tubes. I love there power cords and speaker cables. Go with the class A Luxman.
Luxman is the way to go with Zu? What model Luxman are you using to drive your Zu Druids? Definitions? Presence? Please furnish some of the specs. thanks
Thanks all - its just that my budget is around $1000.00 for a SS solution for the Druids, any specific recommendations based on that price point?

Im coming from a 300b....and will have the Empirical "Pacecar reclocker + Modded i2s Benchmark DAC" front end soon.

Warrenh - If you weren't such a nice guy I'd call you a highjacker
The question was "What low cost solid state option for Zu." Luxman 550A II at 20 watts class A is more than enough for any Zu speaker. Luxman sounds "fantastic" with Harbeth 40.1, spent several hours with this set-up. Spent weeks with it driving my Kharma 3.1 ce's. One can be had here used for a good price. Luxman will sound great even with stats. Read the review. I also heard it with Maggies. I'm not a stat guy, but it was a beautiful mid-range experiance. Peace and Good Listening, Pat.
Warrenh, FWIW, ZU has made a 30 ohm version of the Definition (and your set can be easily modified). It works great with our S-30 and the power is nearly unlimited as the S-30 will make nearly 50 watts into that impedance. ZU knows this- they built the 30 ohm Definition for the S-30 as they had one on hand for years. This amount of power will get you on target.

I know a lot of people think its crazy to run power levels like that on a speaker of that efficiency, but IME you have to if you want to reach life-like levels that real live music often plays at. A typical orchestra can easily hit peaks of 115-120 db. You can't do that without power and without efficient speakers. The key is make sure the system does not produce excess loudness cues, else it will be too harsh to run at volumes like that!

The loudness cues I am referring to are odd-ordered harmonics, and at vanishingly low levels, but our ears can detect very slight amounts (100ths of a percent) with ease since the presence of odd orders is how the ear detects volume. Most transistors will generate too much odd-ordered content to be usable on a speaker this efficient- you really do have to use tubes, preferably triodes for linearity since you can't run any feedback either. This is BTW exactly the sort of thing we built the S-30 for :)
Saffy it's the nature of the 'gon beast. I am sorry though, but I couldn't resist. I'll try to STFU. That wasn't, however, one of my New Year's
Atmashpere, are you saying that my Bel Canto SET 40 (35wpc) will give me more dB than 116 with a 30 ohn version? Sending my Defs round trip to Utah, and the cost to modify the Defs to 30 ohm, may not be worth it. I don't have a clue how expensive that conversion would be. Thanks so much for the info, though. It would be a tease if I got 119dB. 122? --- a sure thing.
Maybe you would email me on this so I don't clog up saffy's thread with my stuff? thanks
The Definition is rewired by putting the drivers in series rather than parallel. It should not be all that expensive. Your Bel Canto will have an easier time with the high impedance- it should sound better with more extension- low impedances are not easy for tubes or transistors- they both sound better driving high impedances.

So this is a very good argument for the First Watt as well, which IMO is almost the only game in town if you want transistors for this speaker, or any other high efficiency speaker for that matter.
Im using a Nuforce IA-7 with my Druids, and am very happy with the results. THe Nuforce hasd great control over the bass.
Atmashphere, what about the dB level? Figure my Definitions are putting out 116db, now. Will I get a higher spl? Thanks again.
Hi (Bill) Audiofeil. I know you are a Zu dealer and wonder why you haven't answered my questions regarding the Zu products, particulary since I emailed you on the aside. Anyway how 'bout this one? Will Zu mod my Defs to Atmasphere's recommendation? How much will it cost? I would love to have an answer to my original question, as well. thanks again.

Ralph, what is given up by high-efficiency, high-impedance speakers? I figure something must give, otherwise why would many well-known high-end speaker manufacturers make speakers that drop down to 2 or 3 ohms with efficiencies in the 80s? I've read where you like the Coincindent Speakers.
Frequency Response: 30hz - 30khz
Impedance:8 ohms ( min. 7.9 - max. 10 ohms )
Sensitivity: 92 db - 1w @ 1m

How can they have these kind of specs when you've got near top of the line Aerials, Wilson, Avalon, etc. with low impedance dips and lower efficiencies?
Sorry for my slow reply- I'm on the road to CES. First, Warrenh, the output level will be the same, but it will be easier for a tube amp to make more power into the high impedance than into a low impedance, and the amp will sound better too.

Wireless200, what is given up is the power that a transistor amp might be able to make into the lower impedance. So if sound pressure is your goal, you want the lower impedance. If sound *quality* is your goal, the higher impedance will be preferred. If you are running tubes, that higher impedance will offer better sound and output power at the same time, without tradeoff.

These days there just is not the profound argument for 4 ohms or less anymore, since even transistor amps sound better driving higher impedances.
hell just to sidetrack abit i use a mccormack dna 500 w/ druids to great effect. but the older mccormack amp sound great priced right and can always be upgraded. 500 into 101 = W O W damm near 130dbs coooooooool