Looking to get into integrated SET with my Abbys, but on a PP budget. I actually aquired an very inexpensive off-brand 845 integrated that sounded amazing until it blew a transformer after a few hours of play (!). I loved the richness of the SET sound and the fat-mids of the 845 tube (while it was working!).

That said, could I find that same sound with a less powerful tube, say the 2a3? These tend to be a lot less expensive that the 845-based models and I can probably find a more established brand.

I don't much power with the Abbys. However, I do listen to many different kinds of music including rock and was kind of wowed by the punchy mids from the 845s.

My budget is somewhere between $700-$1000.

Could you share your amp experiences please?
Well "punchy" mids ain't really the forte of 2a3's SET amps. They
definitely do midrange like no other amps, but I would never call them
punchy. Delicate, natural, airy, presence...all those words come to mind
when I think of 2A3 mids. I don't think you'll find that "punchy
mids" come to mind going that direction. Not that it would not sound
potentially wonderful with the Abby's...I'm not sure. I seem to recall given
their efficiency that 3.5 watts might be pushing it a bit, depending on room
size and expectations. I corresponded with Terry Cain a few years back about
the Abby's and I recall he suggested push/pull designs as a good match as
well. You could probably get more bang for the buck with a P/P amp in that
range, than SET, and I suspect it will come closer to the "punchy
mids" you might be after. Write to Terry and see what he says. I'd be
careful with the flea-powered direction though. I don't think it will match
your 845 experience. In P/P there are plenty of options in that range. Top in
my book would be Quicksilver Mini Mites. There are a pair on the 'Gon for
$699 right now. If you're talking integrated look at the Jolida or Prima Luna
stuff I'd say. I think if you liked the 845 sound you'll need to find another
845 amp to give it to you as the other options in SET may have similar
qualities, but none will sound quite like the 845. The other bottlehead tubes
put into SET service tend to sound a bit more 'delicate' for lack of a better
word. Not necessarily a bad thing at all, but it depends what you are after.

Good luck.

Hi, I think you should look into the Decware Taboo. Its a single ended pentode that puts out about 6 watts. There is one on the GON right now for 650.00 and there is a used one on the Decware forum for I believe 625.00 or so. Check em out! Randy
There is an affordable good SET amp that works with the Abbys: The Fi X
integrated. I have a Fi Y with Super X amp (the next step up) and have not
found an amp that works better with the Abbys. Tight bass, sweet mids, great
stable images, with a slightly forward sound. The basic Fi X is 1000 new, but
takes 2-3 months for Don to assemble. The best looking amp out there as

I tried a Jolida 302b (great amp but a disaster with the Abbys), Pass First Watt
(nice amp, but too polite compared to the Fi), Decware 84C (again for some
reason not the greatest match, mids sounded off, not so great images, sloppy
bass), Linn Classic (surprisingly good for a solid state amp).

Also, another good amp we recently tried on my Abbys were the Bottlehead
paramours 2A3 amps. Slightly sweeter highs than the Fi and slightly less
forward presentation. Also slightly softer bass, but the mids and highs were
beautiful with this amp. With the Bottlehead foreplay this would be a great
combination as well.

The only other affordable SET amp aside from the Fi that has gotten good
comments with the Abbys is the Almarro 205A. While I have not heard it with
the Abbys it is a very good amp.

For Rock music my choice would go to the Fi (probably with active preamp
though for more drive).

Enjoy the Abbys - they are incredible speakers with the right amp. Also let
them break in for about 300-500 hours.

thanks for the suggestions. you actually inspired me to cast my net a little wider. i also considered the almarro a318a, but I've seen dicussions here that it sounded a little dry with the Abbys. I ended up going the safe route - i.e. with an 845-based integrated unit: a dared VP-845. It's new and more than i wanted to spend, but the sound of that big triode really got to me. thanks again.
One of the best amps I have heard driving the Abbys at any - yes, that's rght any - price range is the $800 SEP (single-ended Pentode) Almarro A205A. You can find them used here for ~$550.

I have heard this combination several times and it always blows me away with it's tonal purity. It simply sounds perfectly "right" in so many ways. The combination is a classic example of synergy where price really has no bearing.

For reference, I own the 7x more expensive Cain & Cain IM-Bens(opitonal brass ring) and optional Fosex T-900A supertweeter. Toss in the pair of C&C Bailey subwoofers and that is the best the Cain Company has to offer. I use a S&B TVC into Art Audio's best amp, the PX-25. I also have Welborne Labs DRD 300B monoblocks. (check the rest of my system here)

Yet, the first time I heard the A205A/Abby combo w/ Bailey sub I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of regret, buyer's remorse, whatever you want to call it. I am not kidding, this was magical. When you take price into consideration, it is a steal.

Of course, coming back home to my own system quickly reminded me of all the ways my setup outperformed the A205A/Abby combo. Specifically richness of tonality, scale, depth, etc, etc. But, every time I hear the combo again I am just as blown away as the first time.

Oddly, the A205A actually sounded as good or better with the Abbys than the AA PX-25, an Almarro A318A, and Audion Sterling ETSE EL-34 integrated that I own.

Please don't take this as a raving claim that the Abbys and A205A are the "greatest ever", no amp or speakers are. I'm just saying that the combo performs far beyond it's price range and what would be expected. And is definitely worth checking out.
Darkmoebius, great you responded to this thread - I remembered someone telling me about the Abby/Almarro combination, but could not remember who.

Gfields, I am not sure how much you are planning to spend, but if you will consider separates you might have some more choices: Fi Y with a Fi 45 amp, Welborne 45 amps, etc.

Also, one of the best sources out there is Terry Cain himself. He has tried a wide variety of amps.