Cary SLI-80 mated with Spendor S3-E

Hello fellow A'goners:

A while back I have switched gears, sold my Dynaudio Contour S3.4s and other front end equipment. I did however, at that time pick up a beautiful pair of Spendor S3e's. I don't want to derail the main point of this thread, which is about cary sli-80 compatibility, so i'll keep my impression of the spendors short: I love them; they have a way of conveying musical realism that still surprises me.

I am currently driving them with a friend's Aragon 8002 power amp, a McCormack TLC-1 deluxe volume controller, and my source is the amazing squeezebox touch (i've had a bel canto dac3 twice along the years, as well as other high end digital players; the Touch with upgraded power supply, while not the last word in sheer resoultion, is immensly enjoyable).

I think there may be a wonderful synergy in the Spendor/ Cary SLI-80 integrated, but I am looking to you to let me know your experiences are with this combo, or close to it (ie other spendor speakers mated to the sli-80).
I don't get the sense that the S3es are power hogs (pretty benign 8 ohm impedance curve) and i don't listen all that loud. The aragon 8002 at 125 wpc into 8 seems more than enough, and the sound is very focused and has good musical presence.
I think that swapping the TLC-1/Aragon combo for the sli-80 would advance the quality of sound in many aspects-- especially in complementing the excellent midrange tone if the spendors (voices are reproduced with incredible realism). What do you think?

Thanks for your time.
Can't speak to the spendors but I run an SLI-80 into a pair of focal 1007be monitors in triode mode and have plenty of volume .. Listen mostly to classical and female jazz vocals ..

I don't get the sense that the S3es are power hogs (pretty benign 8 ohm impedance curve
The nominal impedance doesn't tell you much about the impedance curve. You really need to see the graph before deciding that it'll be a decent match for a typical highish output impedance tube amp.

If the S3e is anything like the S5e, tubes wouldn't be the best choice.
I have to disagree with above post. I have owned many spendors 8se,6se and 3/5's and they all sound magical with tubes!

Yes you are correct. I meant to say 8 ohm nominal. I do understand that impedance is a function of frequency, which gives rise to the curve. The S5e has an additional parallel driver in addition to a more comples impedance mathcing network. I'm sure that the S55's present a more challenging load for any amp than the S3e's. That being said, i've been surprised on many occasions when, on paper, a given combination seems unlikely to create good sound, but in practice the combo sounds fantastic.

Thanks all for the posts so far.

Dpac996, it's not that the impedance curve presents a challenging load that I (or JA) was referring. The issue is when the impedance curve has a wide variation (it can be nominal 16 ohms -- doesn't matter -- that's not the point) over a frequency range that when mated to an amp with a highish output impedance (typically tube designs), the speaker's impedance curve dictates the frequency response of the amp. It's a case of the tail wagging the dog.

It's not that the resultant amp/speaker combination will sound terrible -- many people, as Yogiboy attests, will enjoy the sound. But, that does not change the fact that the combination is a poor match. You are not hearing the speaker (or amp) as the designer(s) intended.
Hello Dpac -

I have the S6E's and I did auditioned the SLI-80. My impression was that it was an absolutely gorgeous sound when listening to Jazz, female vocals, acoustic or music in the ilk of Jack Johnson.
Problems? Well after a week of listeing when I played some rock -Incubus, Kings of Leon, or any music needing some slam I felt it was lacking.... a bit in the bass as well.

I returned to my SS Classe CA-101, missing the musicality of the SLI-80 but in the long run I felt I needed a more punch and bass.
The SLI-80 is precisely as you describe, in my personal experience Lougiants. I have had solid state or hybrid ss/tube amps in my home that offered far more grip in the bass and made rock&roll very enjoyable as compared to that of the Cary SLI-80, or for that matter, other all tube vintage systems such as my older Conrad Johnson systems.

But I so love the beauty of the sound of the all tube systems on jazz, female vocals, acoustic, etc.

Decisions decisions. Well I live in a condo where playing rock and roll at enjoyable volumes in a large room is out of the question, so for me retaining the SLI-80 is a good solution. I blast rock in my car and iPod at gym.

I also use a REL sub at low volumes to provide that sonic bass foundation. Oddly, the sub seems to add color to the entire range of music. I always wonder why.

Thank you for the responses. Now, how reliable and user friendly is the cary? I have had two arc vt100mkii's over the years. When biased properly those amps sing, but one of them blew a plate resistor that resulted when a new tube arced. Long story short the arc tube amps I had drove me nuts. More downtime than listening time. I just about swore off tube amps for good but I have heard some positives about the cary in terms of ease of biasing, less picky about matched tube sets, not eating tubes as fast as the arc (relative I know),etc. So what is your experience? How does this cary model rank with the rest of the pack? Thank you
I haven't owned an SLI-80, but I always wanted to try one. The easy solution is to buy a used one at a fair price, try it, if you don't like it, sell it.

I have owned 2 cary components, & love them, & also an arc vt100mkii. A vt100 is a totally diff. animal from a SLI-80. I liked the vt100, but changing tubes & biasing was a bear. One suggestion would be to buy a tube pre-amp, maybe a cary, or C-J, name your poison, & use your SS amp.

Lots of diff. ways to go with this, but I am a cary fan. You can "fall in love" with cary components. Whether an SLI-80 will work with those speakers, I don't know.....
The SLI-80 is a nice amp but personally i rather have a more powerful and incisive amp than that to drive the Spendors.
Spendors are already warm per se and I would prefer something neutral & more powerful to get them to wake up.
Yup, I agree. Spendors (at least the S series)need an amp with some snap to make them sound their best IMHO.
I have not heard the F1 version of the SLI-80, maybe that has more kick to it.