I'm sorry but anyone prepared to spend $55K on a pair of amps without listening to them himself is insane. I don't care how inconvenient it is if you're spending that kind of money you can afford to travel to wherever they are to listen.
Oops, sorry! You did listen to them, glad to hear that you liked them! I'm guessing they blow the Levinson's away but I've never compare the two. Have fun with your decision and take your time. Also consider the amazing Boulder phono stage, I've hear nothing but raves. Happy listening!
I heard the less expensive (only $30K?) Boulder monos at my dealer a while back on Dynaudio Temptations and Wilson WP7s. The thing that most struck me about the Boulders that I remember to this day was that I had never heard such detailed, textured, "fast" deep bass from an amp before in my life, and I have heard the Levinson 33s on Dynaudio Evidences. While I think the bass from a Lamm hybrid amp might be a little more more natural to my ear (definitely fuller), given your stated preferences I do not think the Boulders will disappoint you in the bass.
I suggest this is certainly not the right place to find out which amplifiers you prefer. What speakers do you have? Or are you considering others? You cannot determine what works best without hearing them with speakers you own. Dealers should be expected to offer home auditions to qualified customers, and if they won't, vote by spending your money elsewhere. I have other thoughts but won't post them here.
I agree with Rcprince. Lamm M1.2 is a fine amp. Back to Boulder, 2050( 1000w/ch mono ) is $71K/p new in US. Just to let you know. For me these are the best solid state amps availabile, maybe new Krell Evolution One will be an alternative? Stereo 2060 ( 2x600w $39K ) is also excellent choice. They will sound even better( to me ) with 2010 preamp. Some other guys have good results with tube pre like ARC REF3. 1000 series is almost as good, 1050/1010 combo is a lot cheaper, differences in sound are not that big.
What speakers are you using?
Having owned both the Levinson No.32+No.33H, and the Boulder 1012+1050s pairs, I can honestly say the Boulder pairing was more neutral and natural souding.
The Levinson combo was excellent too, but just a tad too laid back. While the Levinson pair was quieter, it did hide some level of detail, which the Boulder pair excelled at retrieving (both pairs were used with Revel Studio speakers, and Linn Undisk 1.1 as the source).
Before, any other option choice, you need listen the VIOLA AUDIO LABS, BRAVO AMPS 2 chassis, Viola Audio Labs (ex staff Mark Levinson and Cello) by Tom Conlongelo and Paul Jayson.
I heard them at CES in The Aerial room driving their flagship 20 t speaker . It was lightning fast , had iron control over the bass and was stunning in its dynamics . Mated with their preamp it was possibly the finest sound at the show I heard .
Some of you have said that it is plain crazy to consider the purchase of $55K/pair monoblocks without an audition. However, there are so many interesting amps on the market that I would have to spend 6 months flying around the country to hear them all. I could also consider, Krell, Classe, SimAudio, MBL, Goldmund, Chord, Halcro and many others which I am sure are very fine amps. Ultimately, you can never be sure if you really have the best amp unless you heard them all, which is nearly impossible.
Then, even if you do hear them all, it is then nearly impossible to hear them on the same speakers.
Ultimately, I have to rely on reviews and the opinions of others. Again, I am looking for an amplifier with the best bass performance, not necessarily the most "natural" sounding amplifier. Any suggestions?
Audioaril, I'll just accept your position that it is just not possible to audtion all the great amps of the world. However, after narrowing down the field, you could arrange home audtions, you just pay the shipping back after your audtioning process. This is exactly what I did and was able to listen carefully and at home to seven very highly regarded amps, including Boulder, until I found what I was looking for. I'll give you two more entries of amps to put on your audtion list:1) Pass LabsX-600.5 monoblocks 2)Edge Sig-1 monoblocks. They are both great amps that offer many sonic virtues, but if your looking for balls/bass they both have it in spades. So, don't take my word for it, or anybody else's, use your own ear's and get busy arranging some home audtions.
Why don't you consider a tube amplifier, for example a CAT JL3 signatures ?
I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT YOU WILL HEAR THUNDEROUS BASS WITH SLAM APLENTY AND MIND BOGGLING LEVELS... WHAT I'M NOT SURE YOU WILL NECESSARILY HEAR IS LIFELIKE BASS WITH MUSICAL INTEGRITY...
THOUGH LOUD, LARGE AND WONDERFULLY TIGHT [YOUR RECQUSITES ] THE SOUND OVERALL IMHO IS STERILE AND ONE DEMENSONAL AND WILL ROB YOU OF LIFELIKE NUANCE SO VITAL FOR MICRO PASSAGES!
THE MUSICAL EQUAVALANT OF A HAMMER STROKE!
I REST MY CASE BY THE WORD "FATIGUING"
I'm the very happy owner of a Boulder 2060 stereo amp. i have it mated with the new ARC REF# preamp. They are driving Dynaudio temptations, which are surprisingly power-hungry. i find the combination to be very satisfying. Vocals, bass it's all seamlessly integrated and very natural sounding. The system isn't boomy at all. I do use a REL Studio 3 sub, but that is due to the limitations of the speakers , not the amps.
FWIW, I've gone through Rowland 9Ti's, Pass 600's and Krell 750 MCX' monos, before settling on the Boulder.
What about the new Boulder 850 mono blocks? I guess they had them on display at the Rocky Mountain Hi Fi show. I was trying to find out how much they were going to be, guessing around 15 grand for 200 w/channel monoblocks.
Rhohense, Boulder 850 will be around $10K USA retail. I saw the pictures of them and they look cheaper than 1000(or 2000) series gear-they have silver faceplate but, casework is black and they are half width of 1050. 810 preamp will be 850s natural partner for another $7.5K and both of them will be introduced to the market at CES 2006.
Theta Citadels are much cheaper and better than both of those amps!
Worldcat, this is only your personal opinion... I would allways choose Boulder,Krell or Lamm over Theta amps.
I tried Theta Enterprise/GenVIII/Compli combo with Sonus Faber Amati Anniversario's and sound was...well, not very good. Finally I bought all ARC system(REF210/REF3/REF CD7) and IMO it is much better then Theta combo that I tried.
Many guys here on Agon who owns Wilson speakers(as you do) and Lamm amps said that if they ever go back to SS, it will be Boulder!
There is a big difference in Citadel and Enterprise! The Gen VIII smokes. I have AERIAL 20T's.
The 850's debuted at RMAF. These blocks were - literally - brand new, not broken in. They were mated to the new Accuphase DP57 and were driving a new model of the mid-line JM Focals. Very, very good sound. I also listened to the 2060 which was driving JM Focals as well. Certainly, at $10k retail the 'entry-level' Boulders are worth a listen, which I intend to do as soon as I can borrow a pair for audition.
heard the Boulders with the Boulder phono stage and boulder preamp....Maggie 20.1's and Transparent Opus at Audio Consultants Evanston IL......listened to Muddy Water snad it was increduble...not in a I've seen the light way...but rather in I am siiting here drawn into the music...I forget I am trying to listen and evaluate a component....it felt as though time slowed down and it was the most realaxing audio experience ever.....when it was done it was like "Wow, how relaxing and how so right"....hard to describe but it was revelational in the fact that something could be that relaxing and drawn you in in such a subtle and quiet way yet be so revealing...
I strongly agree with some of the views here. For that kind of money any reputable dealer would allow you a home audition for a week or so. Any dealer that would not allow this even after taking your credit card information is trying to sell you something. Oh wait, they all are. But seriously, no way on this planet would I purchase without a week long home audition. The reputable dealers that I work with would allow this. Maybe even the manufacturer would supply a home sample for your use.
Don't take no for an answer.