Budget Amp for Avalon Eidolon

I noticed here a few conversations already about Avalon Eidolon and best matching amp. It appeared Eidolon sounds best with CAT and Jadis. But I can't afford to buy Eidolon and recommended amp electronics.

Could you please let me know if you had a good experience with 'down to earth' amps with Avalon Eidolon.

My current system is

Meridian 508.24,ARC LS15 Preamp,ARC VT100 MkII, Proac2.5, interconnect(XLR)\speaker cable - NBS Master III, Svetlana valves.

I was considering
1) change only speakers
2) change ARC VT100 for more powerful Mcintosh (don't know which one yet. I found suggestion to bridge MC275 and get 150W per channel.
3)change ARC VT100 for Electrocompaniet AW120 ( Nice SS amp can produce 200W into 4oms)
4)change VT100 for Gamut D200 MkIII ?
5)change VT100 for Ayre V-1xe ?

What are your suggestions?

Please write only if you had an experience with Avalon Eidolon and 'down to earth amps' (under US$10000)
Check out this post.
My buddy uses the Lamm M2.2s (220 wpc) with his Eidolons, and they sound incredible. They have tight, authoritative bass response; great treble extension and treble decay that is unbelievable; and just a touch of that tube magic in the mid-range. (Vocals sound especially impressive!)

(They sound better than any other amps he has owned, including the VTL MB-450s, Manley Neoclassic 250s, Classe CA-401 and the Rowland 501s. Yeah, he was searching for a long time for the right amps. He says he is done searching now.)

You "might" be able to find a used pair of M2.2s for around $10K, but they are really new, so the price might still be up a little above that. However, you should be able to find their predecessors, the M2.1s (200 wpc) for around $7K. These sound very, very similar to the M2.2s.

I use the M2.1s with my Revel Studios, and they have really opened my eyes as to what a fine set of amps can do.

Good Luck in your search!
You have really good speakers currently, and for 10K I'd look at replacing your ARC front end with Ayre before going up to the Eidolons. Of the amps you've listed, the Ayre V-1 is far and away the most musical and best sounding IMO. Next, unless you are really happy with your LS15, the Ayre K-5x is much better sounding to my ears. You should be able to sell your ARC equipment for a little over $3K, and buy the V-1 and K-5 for around $7K, costing you $4K total.

And you will hear a noticeable improvement. I'm not sure what type of music you listen to, or if you require a phono stage, but you'd be amazed with how good your speakers sounded if you went that route.
The Rowland 302, which can be had used for under $9000 is a great match as well.
I enjoyed the Classe CAM 200, which only occassionally lacked the neccessary juice. The Ca-301 was not a bad match, giving these power hungry speakers more of what they desire. Classe amps in this power range and incarnation are well within your price point. Much may be dependent upon room size and ancillary equipment. The front end of this Classe driven system was a Jadis preamp, noted for it's musicalness and a Koetsu/Clearaudio analog rig. This introducing of tubes added body, shimmer and image density.

A friend with Eidelons has had succes with Lamm's and Atma-Sphere. Both of these may be in your price range on the used market.

I presently use Joule Rite of Passage amps, purchased for $10,000 used...and I cannot overstate how well they play together.
I personally know of one person who used to run his Eidolons with Atma-Sphere MA2 Mk2.3's. He sold the amps to me only because he had a modded Jadis preamp (single-ended only) that he did not want to part with. He kept his Joule-Electra Rites of Passage OTL's. The big Atma's can be had for $10-12K if you keep your eyes open.

Also, there is an individual here on Agon, Rushton, who uses the big Atma's to drive Eidolons. Maybe he will chime in on this.

You have made an excellent speaker choice! I have heard Eidolons sound magical with BAT VK-150 SEs, which are not outrageuosly expensive. Of course the likelihood of finding those used is not great, but their new price of around $15k is not outrageous by high end standards.

Obviously, the Avalon Eidolon is much too good a speaker to use with a "budget" amp. The better the amp, the better the Eidolon sound - - - however - - - there are a number of very good amps that may be purchased for under your $10,000 figure.

I sold a pair of Eidolons just over a year ago, and have regretted the sale ever since. I owned the Eidolons for almost 5 years and tried them with a number of "very good" amps.

You may recall that Keith Johnson (yes "that" Keith Johnson) had a hand in the design of the Eidolon speakers and is also the designer of the Spectral amplifiers. You might say that Eidolon speakers and Spectral amplifiers are made for each other - - and - - if you have ever heard them, you might say that they are a match made in Heaven.

The Spectral DMA-250 is the latest design from that firm and sells new for about $8500. This amp is unbelievably perfect for the Eidolon speakers. The problem with Spectral is that most of their amps require the use of a Spectral Pre Amp and dedicated MIT cables. This is not a problem sonically, because these component parts add to the wonder of the sound, but it certainly adds to the financial commitment.

Spectral, however, does offer amplifiers that work with other preamps and cabling. I've just not heard those amps. I own the DMA 250.

The Eidolon speakers are incredibly refined in their presentation and the Spectral amps allow the speakers to perform at their very best. If you have ever heard the term "holographic" applied to speakers, the Eidolon/Spectral combination will take the term to a new level. The sound will wrap around you and hug you.

I'm sure that the amps listed in the previous posts are excellent choices for the Eidolons because they are "good" amps. You just need to listen before you buy. There are also lots of other "great" amps that may be had at your price point.

I've actually heard the ARC VT-100 amp used very successfully with the Eidolons, as well as the VT-200. You actually may have just what you need already. You might find that you need more power, but you can evaluate the sound with the your 100 watts, and go from there. In my own situation, I preferred solid state on the Eidolons but tubes also sound wonderful.

I used Mark Levinson and Krell equipment for extended periods with the Eidolons and found the Spectral to be far superior. The Levinson and Krell amps just didn't match up well with the Eidolons. They lacked the refinement, speed and finesse that the Eidolons need to sound at their best.

I tried a Rowland amp (good), Classe (the Omega amp - great, but Spectral sounded better). I also tried a pair of Accuphase monoblocs that sounded wonderful but I couldn't afford them.

All in all, the Eidolons can provide astonishing sound within an incredible soundstage but the choice of a synergistic amplifier is critical to the overall sound of the speakers. It is hard to make the Eidolons sound bad but with a little work, you can make them sound fantastic.
Awhile back a friend and I compared Spectral vs ARC on the Eidolon (old version, not vision or diamond). No comparison: the Spectral just blew away the ARC. I use strictly solid state gear on my Avalon Radians( which in my opinion is a better speaker than the original Eidolon, particularly if you like chamber music like I do). I use the Spectral DMC 30SL with the DMA 180. mk1 version with the Spectral 2000/3000 DAC and player. Unbelievable separation of the players in a string quartet with unbelievable lack of blur unlike tube amps. Of course this is not a warm unnatural sound like tubes, but a true vibrant, edgy sound, like a good string quartet should sound like. The Emersons' version of the late Schubert quartets with this setup has yet to be equaled, nobody has come close, particularly tubes, just stay away from that syrupy sound with at least non OTL tube amps.
Hi Bill, I did chime in about Atma-Sphere amps with the Eidolons on Eavr11's first thread "down to earth amp for Avalon Eidolon." Thanks for thinking of me.

FWIW, I've listened to Eidolons with a variety of amps in other people's systems over the years. For my listening priorities (and I listen primarily to classical music, jazz and acoustic blues), none of the solid state amps combined with the Eidolons make music that is as involving and as true to the timbre of acoustic instruments as are good tube amps. And none of the tube amps I've heard are as articulate, resolving and neutral (with absolute authority at the lower frequency range of the speaker) as the Atma-Sphere MA-2s. (And, yes, I've heard various Spectral amps matched with these speakers several times, in all Spectral systems and with MIT cable. No offense intended, it's simply not the direction I would chose to go given my listening priorities.)

Of the large tube amps that I think would be a good match, my first preference would be Atma-Sphere MA-2 or MA-1 (no surprise there), followed by Joule Electra, Wolcott and BAT 150SE. All of these are available from time-to-time on the used market at prices that are more "down to earth" but certainly not "budget" category.

Eavr11, you've acquired a marleous speaker with the Eidolon. I hope you will enjoy it!
I have just given back to the dealer a pair of BAT 150se amps I have had on loan for a week. And although the BATs are competent amps, and do not think they are any special.

You can get an used pair for $8000 here on AgoN.
Three recommendations based upon prior (and expensive) listening experience:

1) Gamut D-200 III -- really great all-around solid state amps. IMHO less solid state sounding than other SS amps I auditioned before.
2) Cary Rocket 88 -- Dude! 50 watts that will beat the gamut in terms of 'fun' sound. Bass actually felt more extended than the Gamut! Insane soundstage and very 'tooby' sound.
3) Rowland Concerto integrated. I sold all my crap and got the Rowland 'cause I was sick of the upgrade bug. Sound is like the Gamut, only more of it. Soundstaging is spot-on. Not tubey like the Rocket 88, but since I have no intervening cables and electronics between the amp and the source, I get more "there" there. My new long-term reference for Avalon speakers.

Hello Whitewind,

I'm sorry to hear that. The BAT 150se mono-block amps are very special to me and I wouldn't trade them for anything I've heard this far.

I've auditioned many of the top well respected amps both tube (hybrid, OTL's) and solid-state in my system and others and IMO the BAT's have more than held their own and in some cases have embarrassed the competiton.

Eavrll, I had run my Eidolons and now my Eidolon Diamonds with the BAT 150se and the 51se pre-amp and IMO it is a great combo that has taken on all competitors and stood up against the test of time bringing musical enjoyment to me on the highest level. At the going used price I think they are a steal!

Good luck in finding what makes you happy.

All the best,

Do I have to use Paul Speltz's Zero autoformers if I'm using Atma Sphere MA-1(OTLs) with Eidolons (3.6Ohm)? Do autoformers deteriorate a quality of sound?
I have heard eidolon with many dif amps this loudspeaker realy needs hiquality powerful amps to sing.We tried Krells ended up with 600watt,Also MF kilowatt this was the best match the audio research 200 watt monos where not near as good as SS. We also tried Aloia 30 WATT and Jadis 80 watt tube monos.They always sounded good but to realy shine they needed the best and lots of power.As allways YMMV
Eavr11, I believe the Atma-Sphere MA-1 will drive the Eidolons just fine with probably a bit less control and authority in the bass than the MA-2 provides, but I've not heard this combination myself so I'm working second hand here and extrapolating from what I hear with the MA-2s. Ralph tells me his customers using the MA-1 with Eidolons are reporting good things to him. If you're interested in considering this combination, I encourage you to call or email Ralph directly to hear what he has to say. As compared to other amps you might use, what you may not quite have in terms of ultimate bass authority, you will more than offset by the benefits these marvelous Class A Triode OTLs offer in terms of transparency, resolution, speed, timbral accuracy and the superb rendering of harmonic overtones.

Be aware that if you buy a used Atma-Sphere amp, you can have it shipped to the factory for them to check out and upgrade to current factory spec. If they do that, they will extend a "new" warranty to you with the update. As I've commented elsewhere, the update from the MkII.2 to MkII.3 on my MA-2 was a very significant improvement, and I'd encourage anyone with a MkII.2 Atma-Sphere amp to seriously consider making this upgrade.

As to the autoformers, clearly don't use them unless there is a need to change the speaker's impedance. I hear both very positive things from owners who use them, and I hear more neutral comments. From what I've gathered in talking to people who've tried them, I think you have to try them in your system relative to your listening priorities.

Tom (Trcnetmsncom), I agree with your assessment of the BAT 150se monobloacks driving the Eidolons. The sound I heard on your system with the BAT electronics driving your Eidolon Diamonds was very good, indeed. To my ear, the combination presented a very neutral, detailed and dynamic sound, with excellent soundstaging, that is very pleasing for long term listening. I would far prefer this combination to any solid state amp I've heard with the Eidolons, and to quite a number of other tube amps as well.
Thank you everyone for your response. I decided to buy second hand CAT JL2. CAT doesn't have distributor in Australia and I can't audition the amplifier. But after having numerous conversations with owners of CAT and Eidolon speakers I'm inclined to obtain CAT JL2

As for Atma Sphere MA-1 Mk2.III I received some great and some discouraging opinions in regards to matching it with low impedance Avalon Eidolon. I'd love to listen to this great amp but Atma Sphere dealer is in another state and asking $500 for transporting for an audition in my place. Taking in account discouraging opinions and 50/50 chance of leaving the amp in my place after audition I decided not to go ahead.


Just wanted to wish you well with the new amps.

Eavr11, even though you already made your purchase decision, I wanted to weigh in here with another recommendation for others who may read this thread. I have used the Avalon Eidolons for nearly 5 years now, and have tried several amps with them, tube and solid state.

I recently decided to try a Class D amp to see what the fuss was all about. After reviewing the offerings in the market, I acquired a pair of the Gilmore Class D Raptor 500D's. These class D monoblock amps offer 500 watts per channel into 4 ohms, and they are priced at a very reasonable $5000 for the pair.

I was blown away by what these Gilmore Raptor amps could do with my Eidolons! They easily and substantially bettered the Parasound JC1's I used for over a year, which sell for $6000 a pair. Soundstaging, a great strength of the Eidolons, was even more fabulous with these amps. The level of detail that comes through is also incredible. I particularly enjoyed these amps with good rock recordings. I'm so impressed with these amps, I plan to write a review on them in the near future, but wanted to offer this recommendation now for those seeking a reasonably priced pair of solid state amps for their Eidolons.
Congratulations Eavr11. Please report back with how everything has turned out. And did you ever decide on a line stage? Sounds like the Aesthetix Callisto might work here? 8-)

As you know I am a huge fan of the CAT amps. And before I bought the SoundLab speakers, I wanted so much to hear the Eidolons but it just never happened as I could not find an owner or dealer nearby who had these. And I destroyed my speaker budget when I got the CAT amps anyway. But I knew with the CAT amps, they would drive the Avalons with ease if and when I ever made the switch. But for now, the SoundLabs are keepers.