Comparing accuphase to accuphase, I've always prefered to beefier AB amps to their class A. That said, the big macs sound 'right'and 'organic' with most loudspeakers you can name.
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I have never heard the class A Accuphase amps, but a mid power class A/B amp reminded me of some Marantz amps I remember from years ago. It was smooth and musical, but lacked the solidity and sonic architecture of the Macs that I have used. Still, a nice sound. And of course, the class A amps are supposed to be a different sound. If that E550 didn't sound very good, I don't think they would be able to get that high price for it.
E550 is a marvelous all-in-1 amp/preamp/integrated amp.
It's a monstrous amp and one should never under estimate its 20wpc Pure class A. It can drive big/multi-driver speakers with NO PROBLEM as long your speakers don't dip below 4 ohm or less than 88db sensitivity.
GO-FOR-IT and YOU NEVER LOOK BACK. You will write and thank me for this.
there is somethikng magical that happens when listening to music through class a amps that is magical. magical.
going back to class a/b amp is...what happened to the magic? is it becuase of the class a/b switching distortion? some have agreed.
class a all the way. btw, not familiar with either of the amps you mention or how well either is suited to drive your speakrs. That should be your first concern.
I agree with Oakleys, I love Class A amps. There is a naturalness to them akin to tubes, though many Class A amps are tubed of course. I find class A/B solid state, largely unlistenable in the long term. There is a grain, grey tone to them, I can'nt live with. There are exceptions of course, the only one I can think of, was the Lavardin IT.
I use a Pathos Inpol now, a 50watt Class A, tube mosfet hybrid, I just love it. Compare it to the A/B equivelant in the line, the Logos, it is totally different. I could'nt use the Logos long term. If you are looking at Class A then the Inpol or smaller TT, Pathos amps, are worth a look
I think it will be impossible to get an answer about the Accuphase with your speakers without trying it, there are just too many variables that could make 30watts problematic, or not, you have to try it in your room with the music you like at the volumes you need. Class A or not, 30 watts is awfully close to the limit of how low you can go in power with that speaker load and sensitivity. I have no doubt that Class A sounds better than A/B in SS IF you are getting enough power, and Class A SS watts cost alot of $$$. If you are underpowered, I suspect you will prefer what you might get from the MAC. Unfortunately, I would not trust anyone's opinion in trying to make this decision, you have to try it. Now, since you are obviously smitten with the idea of the Accuphase, I suspect you will have to buy it, try it, and if doesn't cut it, sell it back on AGON and hopefully get back you investment, assuming you bought it used to begin with. While it is true that in some sense watts are watts, that doesn't mean that all watts play the same, some amps are conservatively rated (Class A Pass amps for example)and does not account for dynamic power reserves for peaks -- you have to try it, but I suspect if you went with the Mac first you will always be thinking of the Accuphase, but not the other way around.
I have a fully dual mono, pure class A SS boutique amp that puts 200 watts per channel into 4 ohms. By design, it gets so hot you can't leave your hand on it for 5 seconds--on idle! I also have Mac MC501 monoblocks that put 500 watts into 4 ohms. You can play 'em all day and they're barely warm. Montana EPS2 speakers at 92 db with 3 ohm min. The class A amp is ultra-transparent and sweet and delicate. It's magical, as you say--a great amp. It also supplies very little bass foundation. The Macs aren't as transparent and delicate but they create a phenomenal bass foundation, even at low volume, and control the speakers far better. Their midrange bloom is also better--piano notes just hang there with all harmonics intact--and they're more organic and coherent from top to bottom. Great detail, too, if not as completely resolving and present as the class A amp (which is remarkably good in this regard, like SETs). The class A amp, which retailed for $11K in 1999 when I bought it, now sits in its crate. There's something about Mac SS amps that's just incredibly satisfying in the right system, even for a hyper-critical listener like me. And until I bought them, I was convinced that pure class A was the only way to do SS amps.
I tend to agree with Pubu57 in that it may be system dependent and you need to try for yourself.
I recently changed from a Mac MC402/C46 combo to a Luxman L590a II integrated, 30 watts Class A, and very much prefer it to the Mac combo, with my speakers. My speakers are relatively easy to drive, the Luxman drives them effortlessly, it seems much more powerful than the 30 watt rating; also, the bass is better with the Luxman.
We A/Bed the E550 and the MA7000 in the same system, the same day. There was no contest for us: the McIntosh had way more soundstaging, flow and rhythm. It made music. The E550 was dry and closed-in by comparison. It did seem more detailed but that came at a very steep cost in a variety of aspects. This was on Avalon Ascendants.
But it may well have been the E550 didn't have enough power for the Avalons, rather than it just being a lean-sounding amp. The dealer seemed to think it had plenty of power but it sure didn't sound at ease to us. Likewise, I think your speakers need more power than 30W. Amplifier headroom is key to good sound IMO and IME. Good luck.
Are you going to keep the revels long term;if so I would concentrate more on proper matching of the amp to the speakers rather than the amps make .
To me it seems that the impedance drop to 2.5 ohms may make the 30 watt amp a little short of power;but I don't know the frequency of that drop.
The only way to really know if to audition the amp(s) in your enviroment.