Clayton Audio - Alive and very well

Fellow members:
I have long been a huge fan of Clayton Audio amplifiers. I recently purchased a new S2000 Dual Mono Class A amplifier with 300 WPC.
I am thrilled with the state of the art performance, natural presentation, and black background of this amplifier. I believe the new M300 monoblocks with upgraded power supply offered by Clayton are similarly adept. I encourage those interested in high power solid state or tube amplifiers to consider the new class A Clayton Audio amplifiers. You'll be glad you did!
Happy listening to all!
I have always considered Clayton Audio(heard a S40 many years ago) as a great left field option. But there have been numerous reports(not everyone lies) about a very audible transformer hum. I hope this issue has been resolved so Clayton Audio can become an option for anyone wanting to build a near "state of the art" system.
Dayglow, I demo'd an S40 years ago and didn't hear any hum. I have owned a couple Pioneer M-22 pure class A amps and compared the Clayton S40 very comparable in sound. Can't speak for the transformer hum, but to me they were on the warmer side, pushing toward "tube like" class A. I really would like to give the M300s a listen! I wasn't sure they were still in business. Sure would love to find a good used S40! Cheers.
The mechanical transformer hum issue, yo my understanding, has long been resolved. However, there are a number of older units ping ponging around generating continued remarks. My S2000 is very quiet and very musically natural. The company is indeed very small but Mr Shen is very reputable, available and responsive, standing behind his products.
He is a knowledgeable electrical engineer, his class A topology a bit different than some other well respected names (Pass, Accuphase). Just to also state I am not a dealer or company representative, just a fan of Clayton amplifiers. My favorite high powered solid state amplifier is Clayton Audio, my favorite high powered tube design is VAC. Happy listening and thanks for your responses!
Audiobrian-Thx for the info! The S40/S100 is now on a short list of possible amp upgrades.
I'm a happy owner of M200 mono's.
I'd like to send them back to Wison Shen for current upgrades. Did you deal with him directly to buy your amps, or a local dealer. Do you have current contact info for Clayton?
Hi Dayglow and Jdolgin.
Thanks for your responses. Clayton Audio is now dealing direct and I did indeed purchase my S2000 direct. One thing to know, however, as Mr Shen shared with me immediately, that his current pricing is very fair but non negotiable. This is necessary when doing away with the dealer network, so all customers are treated equally. His amplifiers are not cheap, but as they are as good or perhaps (IMHO) better than amplifiers 4-5x the price, they still represent value as well as state of the art. I should mention again that Mr Shen is quite available and stands behind his gear.
He can be reached at (314 862 6017)
Audiobrian -
Do you know if Wilson adjusted his pricing when he started selling direct? The S100 stereo amp was listed at $8500 in a 2014 review, his amps being sold through a dealer at that point. Was your S2000 priced less than before he eliminated the dealer network?
Hi Weebeesdad:
According to the pricing Wilson forwarded me, the S100 stayed the same but his M200/300 and S2000 increased considerably. Wilson adjusted his pricing higher feeling that his gear was underpriced. I will try to include it below. His amplifiers are better today than my first M200 pair back in 2009....extremely musical and IMO as good as anything out there, including Soulution, Constellation, etc priced 4 times higher. Good luck!

January 1, 2014

S40​ Class A stereo power amplifier, 50 watts per channel.
Single ended, RCA input
9.25” W by 20.0” D by 9.0” H

S100​ Class A stereo power amplifier, 100 watts per channel.
Single ended, RCA input, High /Low Bias switch
11.00” W by 20” D by 11.50” H

M200​ ​Class A Monoblock power amplifier, 200 watts per channel.
Full Balanced, XLR input only.
9.25” W by 20.0” D by 9.0” H
$10,500.00 per Pair

M300​​ Class A Monoblock power amplifier, 300 watts per channel.
​​Full Balanced, XLR input only.
​11.00” W by 20” D by 11.50” H
$16,500 per Pair​

S2000​​Class A stereo power amplifier, 300 Watts per channel.
​Custom Order Only
Full Balanced, XLR input only.
16.0” W by 12.0” D by 20.0” H

M2000​​Class A Monoblock power amplifier, 400 Watts per channel.
​Custom Order Only
Full Balanced, XLR input only.
16.0” W by 12.0” D by 20.0” H
$30,000 per Pair

Clayton Audio 8151 Stratford Dr. Clayton, MO 63105 U.S.A. Tel: 314-862-6017, www.
Purchased some M100s off ebay a few weeks ago. Love them! they are really bringing out the limitations of my Thiel CS 1.6s. Playing around with preamps right now, trying to figure out what is going to work best with them.
Going to direct sales and increasing the price compared to when Clayton Audio had dealer network sound pretty nuts. Should be just the opposite. Good luck to Clayton Audio. Just my humble opinion.
Dracule1 : you're right that it is unusual to charge more direct, but Wilson has always undercharged for his gear, and each and every amplifier is hand built by him. IMHO Clayton's high powered class A designs seem to be more natural and musical than other highly regarded names at much higher pricing. Put the new M300s up against the $100,000 plus Soulution mono blocks and you'll have a most difficult time deciding on a winner!

Boonetrc : the Claytons sound wonderful driven with either tubes or solid state preamps but tubes such as VAC and ARC are especially satisfying!
Enjoy your M100s!

Did you hear his lower powered offerings, the S40 and S100? If one has efficient speakers, a moderate sized room, and does not listen at high volume levels, would, say, a S40 deliver at the same performance level as your S2000??
I picked up a pair of upgraded M300's here about 18 months ago. Fed by a PS Audio PCA-2 preamp w/ Cullen high power mod (also bought here) I've found them to be the most colorful amps I've owned. Plus they keep the living room warm this time of year. :)
Hi Weebeesdad
Sorry I've been away from the forums for awhile.  Yes I have heard Claytons lower powered offerings and the family resemblance is very much present!
Given the right speakers and room the S40 and especially S100 can indeed approach the S2000 in performance.  I recently heard some really good and $$$ Constellation and Soulution amplifiers.  I preferred the natural and spacial presentation of the S2000!  With a VAC preamplifier feeding a Clayton amplifier... Really special!!    Thanks and belated happy new year😊

"and each and every amplifier is hand built by him"... ...Maybe a cool thing to own an amp made this way but I don't think Id drop $5500/$8500 ++++ on a product with no customer support if and when this one individual retires or....just me, but I want a customer/ dealer support base that's broad and solid into the future and not based on one guy making amps..way too boutique for me

You present a valid perspective, one which I adhered to strictly in my earlier years as an audiophile.  I first owned a complete Mark Levinson system and enjoyed it. I also tried Krell and Pass, also very fine products and companies...but until I tried a, then, boutique manufacturer in North Carolina called VAC and also Clayton Audio in St Louis I never realized the true potential of high end musicality.
i have not looked back or to other manufacturers since (nearly 20 years) only upgrading to their newer products when feasible.  I feel fortunate to have strayed from the major manufacturer bandwagon when I did.  That said, we do spend considerable money on our hobby and I do understand wanting to safeguard your investment.  I've had great support from VAC and Clayton over the years, but fortunately the need was rare.  Good listening!

hi audiobrian,

with your extensive years of experience with Clayton amp, could you describe its sound charactertics? does it sound clear, no curtain effect, analog, velvet but not syrupy and ideally suited for movie soundtracks, trailer music, full orchestral with modern mix, e.g. E.R.A.

 lastly does it match with ESL speakers ? due to high phase angle pose by ESL speakers. Thank you, your opinions will be highly value


Hi Phil
Clayton Audio amplifiers are, in my opinion, extremely musical.  They sound very clear and detailed, but also full bodied without "syrup". They have great authority but deliver finesse as well.  They are suited for all types of music and home theater, if you wish.  They mate beautifully with solid state and tube                    preamplifiers.  Using my M200's and now my S2000 I have driven many low and medium sensivity dynamic loudspeakers.  Although I had a pair of Martin Logan
electrostats many years ago, I still had Levinson gear back then. However, I have no doubts that the M200/M300/S2000 would sound fabulous with your ESL loudspeakers.  Wilson Shen is a remarkable designer and electrical engineer and stands behind his amplifiers, but his company is relatively small, to missioncoonery's point.  If you're looking for a great full bodied, detailed and musical solid state amplifier to drive your ESL's, I believe you will be most delighted with Clayton Audio!  If within your budget, you might consider a newer unit as Mr Shen has improved his power supplies in 2012-2013. (Upgrades have been quite infrequent) They have a somewhat commercial appearance (the S2000 the most attractive) but are built like tanks, to last and deliver wonderful music for years.  All the best!

Thanks audiobrian,

Yes, indeed i'm using ML speakers now, your comments are also very informative. my concern is whether Clayton amp would suit my genre of music. I don't use it for watching movies, but listening to soundtracks like Lord of the Rings, Inception, Princess Mononoke etc... I also listen to Pop , R&B too.. 

due to my unique taste, i needs an amp to have a lot headroom for complex dynamics, also low noise floor to be able to hear subtle notes produced from instruments at the back of an orchestral, with fast slew rate for delineating between mass strings, horns, trombones etc.. and all these should be heard without feeling a thin veil between me and the stage.

am I too demanding?

Hi Phil
My preferences are jazz and orchestra, both classical and pop.  I do also enjoy rocking out to Infected Mushroom on occasion.  IMHO the Clayton M300s or S2000 would most pleasingly drive your MLs and meet all your demands.  I'm pretty sure the M200's would suffice as well, but your demands should be fully met with Mr. Shen's 300 wpc class A models. (M300 monoblocks or S2000 stereo model). I have never run out of headroom or heard the Claytons sound harsh or veiled.  These models are not inexpensive in absolute terms, but relative to other great sounding solid state amplifiers (class A or AB) I believe it's a bargain.  Good luck with your decision!