Choice of Amps

I have an FT Audio LW-1 Passive with NEAR speaker's which have Metal Drivers.I have a choice of amps ,but cannot audition any of them.
My choices are:
Electrocompaniet AW-100
Classe DR-8
Monarchy 100DELUXE's

I was wondering which you would buy.The Monarchy's are the newest of the 3 .The Classe and Electro have been checked out.
NEAR's can handle as much power as you can give them up to 300watts.

My question is which would be the most musical?
What's your spending limit? New or used? Tube or solid state?
I recently was using Atma-Sphere M-60 II.2's to drive N.E.A.R. 50Me II's with two pairs of ZERO autoformers used in lieu of speaker cables in a special configuration. The results were sensational. ZERO information is available at Read the testimonials there.
I only have approx. $1k and I am serching for used stuff.

The NEAR's are great,huh!You have to have the right amps for them to shine though.They tell you everything.How old are your NEAR M50's?I have meet Bill Kietyka who is 40mi. from me.Really an astonishing designer.
Freakin Stereophile really put his Co. under the P^&*(!Thanks Dick O.!
I will be getting a used set of M50se's soon I hope!I have a set of Modified M15's at the moment.

Anyways I am looking at those amps listed and really am leaning towards the Monarchy or Electrocompaniet.
Need the Impedence and sensitity level for the Electro. as I am using a passive.

Any help would be appreciated!
Abex, Bill Kieltyka at one time recommended Aragon amps to me for use with the 50Me II's. I have heard really good things about Electrocompaniet products. I owned a Monarchy DAC at one time and judging from the experience would expect their amps to be excellent, along with the comparisons to Pass amps.

I purchased the N.E.A.R.'s about 3 years ago. I recently gave them to my son and his wife as a wedding gift knowing my son liked them so much. I also think they're great.

I modified mine with some Marigo dots. I was especially pleased with the Marigo Dynamic Tuning bands on the woofer basket arms. These tweaks along with the double ZERO configuration were phenomenal. They were excellent by themselves too.
I have never heard of these.

The best sound I ever heard using them was with Mark Levinson amps and ARC Pre-Amps.That was before the Mods that Bill did after the appauling review DO gave them in Stereophile.

They have the same Tweeter design as the Watt Series speaker's and someone said they had heard a Electocompaniet Amp driving them at the Bangkok AES and they were awesome.I am thinking of trying that combo.

Aragon is Krell's affordable series I think and I have a Modified B&K which is really a poormans Krell IMO.I would love to have Atma-Sphere's,but they are really out of my price range. A used Electrocompaniet is all I can afford unless I wait for the price of Monarchy's to come down which I have only heard good things about.

Anyway's thanks for the advice!
Abex, Aragon is owned by Klipsch, not Krell.
Were they not sold to Klipsch not so long ago and before that their designs were based on Danny Ag.'s designs?

That is what I remember,but it's been awhile.

How old is the Electro? Some of the earlier AW 100's (10+ years had problems as the boards were hand soldered). It is a wonderful sounding amp. An older AW 60 would sound even better. But for the 1K you want to spend, I would go after a DNA.5 and upgrade it as you get more money.
Abex, Mondial Designs started building Aragon amps in 1986. Klipsch acquired Mondial Designs and the Acurus and Aragon brands in 2001. If there is any Aragon history before 1986 I am not aware of it.
I did not check to see how old the Electro is.It has been checked out and the dealer has a return policy.That's a big plus!

I will look into the other amps mentioned.

Do not know why I equated the Aragon's being with Krell.Been awhile and it's hard to keep up with changes.

Have heard alot of great things about Monarchy's though,but I have to wonder why they are on the sell list so often.

The DR8 is a nice amp. Dave Reich (sp) (DR) is the current designer of the Theta amps. I would estimate it would give you a warmer sound. Will the dealer give you any sort of warranty? How old is the Electro? IS it one that Jason Scott (or whoever the current importer is) imports? Earlier Electros were know for good sound but problematic reliability - I have no knowledge of current production. My point is that if the Electro is early production and you have a problem it maybe difficult for your dealer to support you. If I offend anyone with these opinions I do not mean slander and apologize in advance!
I have a pair of DR8's that I've owned since 89 and they are very musical, a nice warm intimate sound for SS. They are not the last word in either bass or treble extension. They do sound better balanced then single ended. They are built like a tank except for the power switch which fails in the "on" position due to arcing of the contacts. I use a home-made external "switch box" to power on/off saving the amps switch.
Classe and metal drivers are a terrible match IMO. Or else Revel F-30's, F-50's, M-20's, Joseph Audio 33's are bad speakers. I heard all these with Classe.
Bad ringing, harmonics, overbright cymbals.
In a review of Classe pwoer amp, I think, Stereophile said all Classe amps are designed around the same basic circuit. So I don't think any Classe amp would be better than another to excuse the bad sound I heard.
Well I read that there was a Electrocompaniet\Wilson Watt combo that worked well.The Nears use an Inverted Ywetter which is of the same basic design which the Wilsons use.

I thought that might be a good combo to try with only some Electro's showing up on the used market.I would also think that the problem which someone had eluded to would have been caught by now this far along and would have been fixed.

What amps would you choose for Metal Drivers?
The only knock on Classe and metal drivers i've heard was a reveiw from stereophile on the m 700's - i can only speak for the newer classe's the ca series and they work extremely well with thiels which have metal drivers.
CDC - If you've never heard the original DR series of Classe amps, then your comments are completely out of context. Even so, to generalize all Classe amps as being a poor match with all speakers using metal drivers is equally unfounded and unhelpful. Let's keep the comments constructive.

I would bypass the DR-8 and pickup one of the three DR-9s that are available here on the 'goN. The DR-9 is a classic and will certainly give you the "warm" sound you're after. It's also way overbuilt and delivers a TON of current to control virtually any speaker you throw behind it. The DR-9 was frequently paired with Apogee Divas (straight 1 ohm resistive load).
Dan-If CDC has had experience with Classe' amps and found them not to a good match for Metal Drivers,esp. NEARs,then I would really like to know about it.That's being constructive by warning me of a vertual mismatch that I can avoid.
If on the other hand he has not had a chance to try the DR series and has not tried Classe Amps with Metal Driver's then you might be right.

CDC-Please post a update and explain your experience with them.

Just trying to narrow my choices.
Just to let you all know.After conferring with Paul Lam of FT Audio and considering the used factor I have decided on getting the Monarchy 100Deluxes if I can get them at a great price.

The factors that I based my decission on:
-Has not been on the market long and means that it is currently up to date with little wear .
-Power to drive any speaker I wish to drive.
-Matching for Impedence & Sensitivity imparitive.

Thanks for the help!