Better Amps For Talon Khorus CAT JL2 or Tenor 75?

Anyone have experience: better Amps for Talon Khorus X MKII
CAT JL2 or TENOR OTL 75wi or wp.

The tenors are the best amps I have ever heard and I have listened to a JL2 for a long time. There is something about an OTL tube amp that is simply magical. I think the JL2 is a great amp and for some speakers would probably be the better choice, how ever due to the impedence and sensitivity of the Talon I couldn't urge you strongly enough to try the tenors.
2 participants in these forums have had the talon/tenor combos: Jtinn and Lakefrontroad. You may want to check with them.
Disclaimer: I am a Power Modules/Talon dealer.

The Tenor is VERY good, no experience with the CAT. However, I prefer the new Power Modules (Belles) 350A monoblocks (the stereo version is also incredible). Absolutely STUNNING sound (we have them running on the floor now driving the Talons). Contact Mike Farnsworth at Talon Audio for his thoughts on the Tenor and Belles (he has extensive experience with both) with the Talon speakers.

Best Regards...Mike - Father & Son Audio
The tenors are the best amps I've heard. I have heard them several times with the talon khorus X and they are a wonderful match. The talon's are efficient enough that 75 high current tube watts drives the EASILY.
Not that you asked but just for the record, the Edge NL-12 (or NL-10) solid state really matches incredibly with the Talon Khorus X MKII. I have this set-up and couldn't be happier. It actually is very tube-like for a SS and yet feeds the Khorus with deep bass and punch which tube amps tend to be shy on.
One of my friends has the Khorus Xs---has had Cary V12i monos, Pass X350, Edge NL10 (or 12-can't remember), and now the Tenors. He said the Tenors are so far ahead of the others, he has lost any reasone to go amp shopping again.
The Tenors are incredible and indeed very special amps, but every time I have heard them with Talon, the bass was soft and not controlled, YMMV. As mentioned above, the Pass and Edge amps are also very good.

However, there are two critical issues at hand (at least I think they are critical):

1) The entire Talon line absolutely THRIVES on high-current solid-state. Feel free to ask Mike Farnsworth about this. Well designed tube amps sound great with Talon, but to get those dual midrange/woofer drivers moving and keep them under control, you MUST have the current. For example, at the CES show, the Tenors were driving the new Talon Firebird speakers, the midrange on up was absolutely STUNNING, but the LF was NOT that good. To be fair, I do not attribute this to just the amps, but also the fact that the room was WAY to small for those speakers. But, the majority of the LF response isuue was due to the Tenors (this is just my opinion, so don't get all upset on me). Also, the Khorus X MKII were featured in the Joule Electra room. Again, a very seductive and liquid presentation, but the bass, dynamics, and detail was just NOT there.

2) With the Talon line, to get the liquid and lush presentation of tubes, PLUS get the bass, dynamics, and detail, you do NOT need to spend megabucks on amplification. There are some fantastic well designed, high-current solid-state amps out there for a LOT less money than what the other amps mentioned go for (if you want recommendations, let me know), that will allow you to appreciate what the Talon line is capable of.

Ok, I have said my peace ;-)

Best Regards...Mike - Father & Son Audio
Mike- At CES this year I thought they were using the joule electra right of passage amps on the khorus X mkII, right? I don't think there are many speakers that could ask for a better amp then that(I like the joule amps nearly as much as I like the tenors- I did say nearly!). I don't think you could hold that amp responsible for poor bass, room, maybe but I don't think those babies would have any problem trouncing the Khorus's needs- though I have been wrong in the past. Just food for thought.... Happy listening
In the Joule Electra room, you are correct, they were using the "Right of Passage" amps. And don't get me wrong, the sound was wonderful, but I have heard much better bass output from the Khorus X.

The OTHER room with Talon featured the new Talon Firebirds being driven by Tenor. Please understand, I never stated that either the Electra or Tenor sounded bad, just that I have heard the Talon line sound more to my liking with other (and cheaper) solid-state amps.

Just reporting what I heard and my experiences with Talon speakers and MANY different amps. Again, this is all just my opinion. I just would hate for someone to get focused on a particular amp or two, without giving others (that may cost MUCH less) a fair shot. I stand by my statement that the Talon speakers LOVE high-current solid-state. At least that is when they sound the best to my ears, YMMV.

Regards...Mike - Father & Son Audio
For what it is worth, I agree 100% with Mike at Father & Son Audio. I heard both Talon rooms at CES - and they more or less sounded exactly as he described them (I did not bother to report on the Joule Electra room in our trip report - the sound was neither remarkable nor overly dissapointing). Mike has much more experience than I with the Talons - and even though the 'Tenors and the Joules' (sounds like a hit TV show... :-) are two of the finest lines of tubed amplifiers in the whole blamed world - the Talon's bass was just not very present, detailed nor dynamic at CES and really did sound like it wanted something to drive it that can as tightly control the bass as, as... (I really wanted to put something humourous here but I just think it would get me into a lot of trouble - so use your imagination... :-) one of the better solid state amps.

- Mike (Audio Federation)
hi Guys; this looks like a fun i'll give my Tenor-lovin 2 cents.......

it may be interesting how the Firebirds do when they are completely mature as a a proper room. i was in the Firebird room at CES early on Friday morning and Mike had still been tweaking with the Firebirds.....trying to get the bass to behave and integrate.

then on Sunday the bass was much better. turns out that Rives Audio ( installed a mid and low bass equalizer called a PARC in the room to reduce/eliminate the bass nodes. the bass was still possibly not perfect.....but these Firebirds are still it is hard to fix any specific cause for that. in my experience with other speakers.....lots of ss current will possibly tighten bass but at a critical loss of bass texture and nuance compared to the Tenor......and to me live acoustic bass sounds more like what the Tenors do than what ss current might do.

so 'can' the Tenors be the ideal amp for the Khorus X or Firebird?

i'll answer that by describing my experience with my previous speakers, the Wilson Watt/Puppy 6s. i had a few very well respected ss 'muscle' amps on the WP6's.....the Levinson #33 and the Halcro DM-58.....and another couple of relatively high-current tube amps....the Atmasphere MA2 MkII.2 and the Red Rose Amp 1. after trying the Tenor on the WP6, it was crystal clear that none of those very nice amps were in any way close to how the Tenors did bass with the WP6....i heard texture and definition that made things sound real. did the bass performance move as much air.....maybe not.....but it sounded more like what i would hear live. the speed and 'jump' factor were there on the Tenors.....but not with quite the 'hifi' impact of other higher current amps. the Tenors presented an overall believable picture compared to pieces here and there.

so in comparing the WP6 to the Khorus X or Firebird......the Khorus speakers are certainly much more OTL friendly and should be less likely to benefit from ss amps than the WP6. the WP6 is notorius for liking lots of current.....which i certainly had with the amps i tried.....yet the Tenors were the best that i had heard on the WP6.

this may come down to taste.....what flavor of bass do you want? if you are looking for "Rock Show" might be a good choice.

personally, i'll choose naturalness over impact every time.

when you add in the fact that the top to bottom natural clarity of the Tenor is simply not availible in any other amp i have heard it becomes an easy choice.

my point here is not that any of the choices of the above posters aren't excellent or that they might not do certain things that that poster might prefer with the Khorus speakers......but if the question is what amp is the overall best amp with the Khorus X speakers......IMHO it is the Tenor.
That is a pretty darn convincing argument, Mike - though one *could* point out that those solidstate amps (the Levinson 33 and Halcro) are two of the more laid back and boring (Oops, I mean neutral :-) monoblocks out there (compared to the sweet Accuphase A-50s, the natural Lamm M1.1s, the PRaTly Edge Signatures)... no wonder you liked the Tenors (one of the most liveliest amps of any genre/species) so much more on the Wilsons.

It must have been like walking out into the Spring sunshine after working a looooong Winter in a basement somewhere...

Sure would like to just hear the Talons driven to their fullest potential, or the Rockports for that matter. Hmmmmm... hope to see a lot of those 300 watt Tenors at the next show :-)

Sorry about all the parenthetical statements in that one sentence paragraph - I know it can be kind of challenging to the brains parsing skills (it was certainly easier for this old brain to write than to read :-)
With any dead and “inverted” speakers the Tenors will do good job to impress an average “sounds listener”.
Justa.....plausable response.....except.....i spent about an hour in the big Edge room. i heard a few different types of music......i never heard bass texture, micro dynamics or toneality like what i hear from the Tenors......i actually like the Edge of my favorite ss amps for sure.....ditto for the Lamm 1.1.....but....they just don't play the notes like real music IMHO compared to the Tenor. i'm not a big fan of the Wisdoms......or the prototype speakers with those obscene pyrimids.....but those amps have some limitations in areas that are essential to me.
*** i never heard bass texture…

Are you talking about the farts form the Kharma’ ports? Did you measure/heard what Tenors do against any not reinforced or artificially equalized bass? Ah! Someone get the Kharma’s bass when the VC jumps out the gap as the evidences of “cool bass”? Why don’t not you call to your Tenor designer and to ask him about the Tenor bass? Tenors do have some very specific positive qualities (so far non of the were not named by you) but the Tenors bass (or anything under 500Hz + the lower harmonics of ANY tone) is something that disqualifies this amp from a serious consideration. (Unless one use the speakers that introduces a huge negative masking effect under the bottom that would deceive any low discrimination listener. Welcome to yourself.)

*** micro dynamics…

You still have to explain what it is because you picked a lot of terminology form AA but have very little comprehension what you deal with.

*** or toneality like what i hear from the Tenors

What do you mean: the Tenors have a special tonality? What dose it mean?
Verybigamp- This is hardly the first thread I have read which you posted asinine comments- I happen to be VERY familiar with what the Tenors are capable of and Mikelavigne is describing there sonic signature(yes they do have one) very well. Your less then wonderful word useage doesn't really help your credibility(which in my opinion is nill thus far), perhaps you could share with us what you feel to be a good amp/speaker combo or better yet an amp that you feel would mate up well with the Talon Khorus X, and why....That may help the users of this site far more then your attempts at stirring controversy- trolling isn't very attractive. In other words are you gonna bark all day little doggy or are you gonna bite? this site is dedicated to high end audio and those who are devoted to it and not hersey and/or assumption there of. Good day.
Hey! I think those pyrimids are awesome looking! Anybody with ears can see, I mean anyone with eyes can see they are so modern and cool... :-) I really do think that are a work of art. I think it is easier to agree on what sounds good than what looks beautiful - esp. given the other threads on 'most beautiful...' and 'most ugly...'. Funny how that is.

I can offer up a number of explanations of why the sound in the Edge room did not show off the Signature monoblocks or the Reference monoblocks to their best effect (a number of the Shunyata Anacondas and the Audio Aero Capitole in that room were ours), but I think a more fruitful discussion might revolve around amp/speaker synergys:

It is my belief and experience that amp A will sound better with some speakers than amp B, and visa-versa, amps A and B both being of relative high-quality but different designs.

Now, one might argue that, on a hypothetical speaker presenting an infinitely easy load with a perfectly flat response curve, etc. - that one can rank amps and have one at the top that can be recognized as the very best.

Or, one can argue that on a particular speaker, amps can be ranked as better and best for that particular speaker.

But a single amp that ranks best for all possible speakers? That, my friend, is one helluva amp! :-)

I think you are saying that speakers presenting any kind of a decent impedance curve, like the Kharmas do (and the Talon is supposed to :-) will sound best with the Tenors. You may be right (the Kharmas sure sounded excellent!); I am not intimately familiar with the Tenors (tho I have heard them on pipedreams, churchills, hyperions, antares, talons, midi-grandes - but unfortunately missed them on the vandy 5s - all under show conditions).

Unfortunately some very nice speakers are hard to drive, and so on balance the Accuphase, Edge, Lamm etc. amps will sound better than the Tenor 75s.

The Acapella Campaniles, for example, are on the borderline drivability-wise - we love the Edge Signature monoblocks with them (I am not sure you have heard them in an optimal listening situation such as ours (if you are ever in Boulder, let us know) - they do sound better to our ears than the Tenor/Kharma at CES with respect to the attributes you mention, but I realize that your particular situation is likewise optimized to a high degree), but we will be trying the Lamm ML1.1s tomorrow and we have driven them and got excellent results with a 50 watt push-pull Audio Aero Capitole. You are making me think that if we get bored before we can get our hands on a Tenor 300 that we should try the 75s :-) Couldn't hurt, as they say :-) Uh, Neli...!

-Mike (Audio Federation)

*** This is hardly the first thread I have read which you posted asinine comments

I sincerely feel that of you find my comments absurd then I am a healthy person.

*** I happen to be VERY familiar with what the Tenors are capable of and Mikelavigne is describing there sonic signature(yes they do have one) very well.

So what, there are thousands Mikelavignes out there and you just one of them. What it has to do with me?

*** Your less then wonderful word useage doesn't really help your credibility (which in my opinion is nill thus far)

If I were interesting to spared wisdom for your level of comprehending then I would write for you so-called audio reviews. Sorry, I so not find the readers like you stimulating enough. Guilty as charge….

*** perhaps you could share with us what you feel to be a good amp/speaker combo or better yet an amp that you feel would mate up well with the Talon Khorus X, and why.... That may help the users of this site far more then your attempts at stirring controversy- trolling isn't very attractive.

Nope, I will not. And I will not because you do not read ME but me-edited by the local administrations.

The most useful and beneficial posts will be filtered out (as it has happened before in the multiple occasions) So, stick with garbage
Tireguy, don't worry about Romy.....consider him like gum stuck on the bottom of your shoe. Justacoder, i don't expect that the Tenors are better than every amp on ANY speaker.....just every one i have heard the Tenors on so far and then listened to with another amp. i do consider myself open-minded.....but there is simply a natural clarity to the Tenors that is completely unique in my experience. i haven't been exposed to anywhere near the amp/speaker combo's that you (or many others) have. but in my experience the Tenors are on another level. i have no doubt that there are other well-meaning audiophiles that see their particular amps or speakers as invincable.....nothing can touch it....don't they understand. this thread is about amp recommendations for the Khorus X......i think we have a few good ones. i hope that you can have a chance to live with either the 75 watt OTL's or the 300 watt Tenor hybrids in the near future.....i respect your opinion and will value the feedback you can give regarding how the Tenor will rank compared to your refereces. if there are better overall amplifier solutions on particular speakers than the Tenors then we all will want to know about that.
After reading this thread, and many others on the Talons, it's obviously a credit to their design that they present an easy high efficiency load, which offers the their owners an opportunity to get good result from a wide range of amps. I'll bet in a smaller room, Talons with Tenor's 75 watts cook.

I didn't get a chance to go to CES, but a friend from Maui went. He got to hear the Firebirds, which he described as
a interesting speaker,in need of a good 300+ watt/channel amp to make it rock.

In the Firbird's price range, maybe they should offer a biamp version, so the deep pocket folks can run their exisitng Tenor OTLs on the top and Tenor's new 300 watt monos on the bass. Or for $10K more, how about a set of Gamut S600Ms. I'll bring the kava.

I have recently tried an Aloia 15.01 amp that is "rated" at 70 watts but has an inductive power supply that weighs about 70lbs with my Khorus speakers. I have heard the Pass X350 as well as Alchemist 200 watt dual mono class A amp which I own. All good combos. The Aloia has the best PRAT of all of these amps. Maybe not the end all in dynamics or extreme volume or the lushest/warmest (Pass) but in most areas the best sounding amp I have heard to date on my speakers. My Alchemist for info is the limited edition that retailed for aprox 8k. I am having a hard time deciding between the two...leaning toward the Aloia...Must listen to this amp. It is definatily a "sleeper" and probably one of the best values in amps out there. Very fast punchy bass,smooth mid range, almost tube like, and an ability to pull things out of recordings that I have never heard. Articulation throughout!! And transient speed-wow! Like live music. Not your "old man sound though". Just right if your like live music. The Talon line LIKES high current! Does not have to be high power so I have found though. But who relly knows haw much wattage the Aloia really has? Try it-you will like it...
I have had good success with ASL Hurricanes. These 200 watt a channel tubed amps, with the right tubing, have exceptionally deep and controled bass. They also have a magical midrange. If you haven't you should read the review by Harry Pearson on website.

They match very well with the Khoruses, my current speaker. You get the bloom and three dementionality of a great tube amp with a very solid bottom end.

I had both the older version (MIT caps) moded by Israel Blume and the latest version (new grey green PIO metal can caps). The newer version is my preference.

A word of advice - you must replace the stock tubes to get any where near the capablities of these amps.

I replaced the power tubes with the new Electo-Harmonix KT-88s. The new version come with the Value Arts which are good. The EHs are vastly superior. I encourge you visit this web site:

Jason gives a great discription of the various 6550 and KT-88s.

Next, I replaced the driver tubes (the orignals are Chinese copy of the metal based Slyvania 6SN7 Ws). Here I have tried just about every NOS 6SN7 there are (notable exception the NUs)and even a set of Mullard ECC32s. Here is a list: Slyvania 6SN7W (Metal base & black base both short and tall),WGA, WGT, Tall boys , VT-231, 52s, Kenrads VT-231, dark and clear glass, Tung-sols Vt-231 grey glass, RCA VT-231 grey glass.
Hear is the best combination I have herad yet RCA VT-231 Grey Glass in position 1, Sly metal base in position 2 ,and Tung-sol Grey glass in position 3.

The sound improvement is unbelieveable. Same tonal neutrality with major improvements in resolution, imaging depth and width of sound staging, three dementionality. More extended on top, and much more extended in the bottom.

Before you judge these amps you have to hear them with at least a decent set of NOS drivers.

The addition of top gun power chords and a set of richard greys also helped overall, but no where near the NOS and Power tube upgrades.

I have had no reliablity problems.

For the $4400 these amps cost, they are a steal. They have beaten amps priced five times as much! I can see why some people who have $20,000 amps are a little testy about some of the positive reviews these amps have recieved.

I have listened to Tenors + Khorus X MKII system and found them to be a great match. We listen to quite loud jazz, pop and acoustical music and the Tenors showed no sign of sweating at all. More than enough power to drive Khorus.

The system is very involving and warm. Great!
I haven't heard either amp on the speaker in question, but I once had a chance to compare the two amps on another speaker (the new Cheskey speaker) and I can tell you that the JL2 outperformed the Tenor by a huge marin. Most obvious was that despite the JL2s warmer sound (versus the Tenors slightly hard and forward sound - especially when pushed) the JL2 was far more transparent. Also the JL2 seemed to have MUCH more power, more so than the small difference in the specs would indicate. The Tenor sounded like it was clipping at modest levels - but perhaps it was just getting overly stressed out by the speaker load - although the speaker is supposedly easy to drive. Bass was also superior in the JL2 - but nobody ever bought an OTL for the bass! Some people thought that the Tenor had better highs - but I thought that it was a bit tinkly and that the JL2 actually had a more natural sound in the highs as well as everywhere else.
Pay attention to someone who has experience with both the Tenors and Belles monoblocks, the Belles is stunning in ways you have to hear to believe, massive power reserve leads to huge dynamics, the best bass control you've ever heard, total instrument separation at any volume under any massive barrage thrown at them, and best of all they are as involving as any amps you'll ever hear
I have owned the Belles monoblocks in my system with the Khorus XII's , Opus 21 CD player and Tom Evans Vibe preamp.
The bass was over-damped and almost muted. The highs were a little "steely". I now own Parasound JC-1 monoblocks and they easily bested the Belles 350 mono's. A match made in heaven. The Belles amps are good and my above comments are in reference to the JC-1's only.

to take the full benefit of the khorus II you will need to go for the new cross over,you don't reconise them,you may think you have change for another speakers and that's what hapening with mine as for the amp,viola symphonie +cadenza preamp.
I heard the khorus speakers with a marantz a/v reciever in 2 ch mode and an electrocomp cd player. the speakers sounded great.I thought even with this moderate eqiptment and lack of known program, the talons were in the range of the last high $$ system I heard. Full $40 000 elgar top levenson pre& wilson watt/puppies and this system was set up in a great room.

I can not say this was a fair audition, since I don't know any of the eqiptment that was involved.So I am wondering given my limited knowledge what all the hoopla about $20-30000 amps is.Was my experience just one of those lucky situations.
I am not so much an audio geek as a music person but I have some experience with systems. Mine,linn-astetix lo-cj17-cj140-orig ref 3a royal masters.To close given the low prices these speakers are being sold for what amp would it take to drive them for someone who wanted to base a system around these speakers.
thanks coco49