Not tube, but the Luxman and Sugden Class A amps will run these infamously.
Never heard of ARS Sonum Filarmonia?
You can do a search on it here :)
I would consider the Berning ZH270 as good as it gets, if you have only two sources.
I have since moved to the ZH230 with a Berning ZOTL Pre.
It works well.
Class A amps may run them famously, this maybe true. Class A might help with the slightly nasal upper midrange I heard when I had them. I doubt you really meant infamously which means having a very bad reputation. I have heard them with the Berning ZH270 and agree with Egidius it is a fantastic combination. The Ars is good but not great in comparison.
Anybody tried the Eastern Electric M88 with the Merlins?
Egidius & Mechans, Please elaborate. What makes the Berning ZH270 so good in comparison with Ars and other amps? And given that all components have their strengths and weaknesses, What are the Bernings and the Ars?
Berning ZH270 is out of production.
pmb, the 270 is an otl and the fila is a class a transformer coupled amp. the otl will sound very open and natural and the fila offer wider bandwidth in the bass and expanse. both great but different. either of them will not be everything to everyone. i know of many that cannot live without the otl's uncomplicated character and know of as many again that cannot live without the superior tonal balance and depth of the class a transformer coupled amp.
The Cary SLI-80 would be a good choice for a tubed integrated. Although this recommendation comes without knowing the load specs of your speakers. But I use a Cary to drive a pair of Focal Be monitors in triode mode and enough volume is not an issue. I listen to primarily classical symphonic and chamber works along with contemporary jazz and female jazz vocals.
Thanks for your input, Chuck. The SLI-80 was recommended by Bobby Palkovis as well. I'd like to hear from MMI owners, however, since system synergy is paramount.
The Merlin website features a link to the ARS Sonum product. Presumably, if there weren't product "synergy," they'd not be implicitly endorsing the ARS. By reputation, Merlin is well-respected for quality so it's fair to assume the two products match well.
If you can get lucky enough to find one Joule made the VAMP integrated amp that is magic with that speaker. Only $1200 or so used. Rare to find, but worth me letting you know about.
I drive TSM-Mmi + RC with a Manley Stingray II. They sound great together.
Unison Unico or other hybrids? But what does one give up?
Driving mine with a Cary SLI-80 F1 Signature, All Triode, Zero NFB and love it. I listen to mostly acoustic jazz and chamber classical but female vocals are spooky.
Anybody auditioned the Bel Canto S300i with the Merlin TSM-MMIs?
Bobby has been at shows with the Ars Sonum, Bobby is no fool, other than the OTL route, I prefer, the Ars is one heck a good amp, especially matched with the Merlins. And, though only 30 watts, drives the VSMs about as loud as could take it, not sure how much easier or harder the TSM are to drive.
Very aware of the Ars as a possibility... Not the only possibility, however, so I want to do due diligence.
Well, if you don't want to go with the Ars, I think the Manley Stingray would be worth considering, though it has recently gone through a very steep price increase, and those that bought it at the old price are trying to sell based on the higher price to get an windfall - a problem for me.
Definitely haven't ruled out Ars! Like I aid, just doing due diligence and looking for substantive input rather than just "I like this , I like that."
IMO you've had more than enough substantive input on this thread versus other similar threads I've perused of late. Kudos to Grannyring for suggesting the Joule Vamp. Rare, but a killer suggestion.
No such thing as too much information.
I forgot about the Joule VAMP, just don't see it that often. Granyring? Anthony? is the VAMP switchable between Class A and Class A/B - the spec sheet seems to suggest so, though it may be a factory setting - it would be nifty to switch from 20 watts Class A to 100 Watts Class A/B when needed.
Ars Sonum Fila
Cary SLI 80
I would also think CJ MV55[?] EL34 integrated would be worth considering.
I never knew the Vamp to be switchable, at least not the integrated version. I had a big interest in the Vamp a few years ago and I think I would have recalled this feature. Then again...
The Vamp could not be switched, at least the two I have owned in the past. Ran it with Merlin VSM's going back about 7-8 years ago now.
Wish I had kept it as it is a steal for the money used.
Is it possible it was Class A/AB with 20 watts in Class A? The spec sheet shows both that spec and 100 watts AB. Sure would explain why some consider it to be such a nice hybrid integrated.
First 20 watts is Class A.
Makes me want to revisit it again, but alas, too many amps already.
Manley Stingray, Cary SLI-80, Ars-Sonum Filarmonia, DeHavilland 845, Berning ZH270, Joule Vamp! Wonder how they would rank?
Don't know how they would rank, but from the list, I covet the ZH270 - with a preamp.
I may be in the minority, but I owned the ZH270 & Joule preamp with the VSM's as well as the VAMP and the Thor TPA 30 mono block amps paired with the Thor preamp.
The best sound came from the Thor combination. Next was the VAMP. I did not care for the ZH270 and found it was a little lightweight for the VSM's which can sound thin if not carefully matched. I purchased the ZH270 hoping for a match made in heaven, but would say it was my biggest audio disappointment to date. I say this because I paid for a new ZH270 and it was big $$ for me at that time.
If your going to spend that kind of money, look to used Thor gear first! Great with the Merlin speakers. If you want great sound for little cash, then the VAMP is one that should be on your list.
Grannyring, Did you use a preamp with the VAMP? Ah, the Vamp, when will I ever see one for sale!?
Grannyring, Can't find a listing of Thor products. Do/Did they make a tube integrated?
Isn't there another company whose name starts with a "D" matches up well with Merlin's? I can't remember the name, but I know it's not D'Aquisto(expensive jazz guitars) or DiMarzio(guitar pickups). I think my guitar is calling me.
The DeHaviland is the one I was thinking about.
Thor is supposed to be back in business.
I don't think Thor ever made an integrated. I did not realize Jerry Ozemont got involved with their return to the market, that is a good sign; one the the great "behind the scenes" designers - his Audio Logic DACs were first rate. I expect Thor gear will be in a different price category when they do get product to market, assuming they can make it happen.
Sorry to confuse. Thor does not make an integrated, but rather I was referring to their TA1000 preamp and TPA30 amps.
No, I did not use a preamp with the VAMP. No, the Joule VAMP do not come up often used here on Agon, but I have seen one or two over the past 6-9 months.
Anybody care to weigh in on the Primaluna integrateds with the MMIs?
FWIW the guy I bought my Joule pre from was buying Thor gear for his Merlins. Are you looking to spend 4k because you keep asking about $1200 integrateds?
If 1.2k will do the job, so be it. If 4k is necessary, I'm down with it.
But I am seeking an integrated, not separates, so Thor, as good as it may be, is out.
Never heard the Prima Lunas, but I imagine Bobby would suggest the EL34s
versions rather than the KT88 version if you choose to take that direction.
And if you considering the Prima Lunas, it also suggests the possibility of
Cayins as well - they look beautiful, but only heard them briefly. 30-40 watts
should be enough power to make them sing.
Couple of other integrated have popped up on my radar: Mastersound Due Venti & Grant Fidelity Rita 880. ???
Mastersound is top notch. Very underrated OR unknown, however the el34 for sale has gone for as low as $1500. Good used deal at maybe $1800. Haven't heard any below the 300 B or monos but I don't think they would dumb down any model.
Thanks for the tip, Bjesien. How does it match up with the Merlins is the question?
I had my eye on those Due Ventis today, but thought it just not be enough juice to drive the VSMs, let alone the TSMs, but on paper they do sound like something I would have liked to have tried - like the Almaro 318s[?] = again, not enough power methinks, but also an intriguing unit.
20 watts, which seems to be the Due Venti's rating, is likely not enough for the TSM-Mmi, in my experience. The Stingray offers the option of 18-20w in triode or 36-40 watts in ultralinear. As much as I like the sound of triode power (I also run a 2A3 amp in another system), I found it to be inadequate in my admittedly large room. The midrange is wonderful but the top and bottom ends get a bit ragged. Ultraliner, though, sounds extremely good through the whole sonic band. Of course, YMMV.