Coincident Dragon Amplifier


I'm starting to think about a power amp upgrade I'll probably want to do within a few months, and I'd appreciate experienced-based comments on the Coincident Dragon monoblocks.

I would be using them with my Daedalus Ulysses speakers. Even though the Ulysses are 97db/1W/1m efficient, I want amplifier power that approaches the Dragon's 75W rating because I listen to a lot of classical symphonic music having wide dynamic range. The Dragon, with its push-pull 211's, therefore strikes me as an amp that would hopefully provide a nice balance between directly-heated triode sonics and relatively high power.

Its $9K price tag, btw, is at the extreme upper limit of what I would want to spend.

Thanks in advance,
-- Al
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Don't have any experience with the Coincident Dragon. That said have a 211 amp, pure class A and 36 watts, monoblocks and about 110 pounds each.
Yes, that is about half of what your looking for in power. They are Wyetech;s and I bought mine for slightly less than your upper limit used. They come up from time to time. The output tubes have their own transformer as do the input tubes. I am a definite fan, from first hearing onward. So take that into consideration.
BTW I have really enjoyed your comments over time and have very much appreciated your responses.
I'm biased because I've owned VAC Renaissance amps for over ten years, but the VAC Renaissance 70/70 (either Mk. III or Signature). It's 65 watts/channel, with very stiff power supplies and excellent output trannies, making it sound a lot more powerful (it can drive 2 Ohm loads). Totally dual-mono with two power cords and two on/off switches and weighing 135 lbs., it's a zero-feedback, Class A-biased push/pull design that uses eight DHT 300B's. It autobiases and has a "sentry" amp protection circuit that shuts down any output tube that goes out of spec. Fully point-to-point wired and featuring very high parts and build quality, the Signature retailed for $18k and Mk. III $14k ten years ago, but they can now be had for less than $5k. The only negative is the hotrod circuit, which requires carefully vetted 300B's.

PS - I run Coincident speakers.
Hey Al - Did you ask Lou for his suggestions? I know he likes the Modwright amps I use, and I can tell you that combination is outstanding (Disclaimer: Modwright is a client). I also heard the Ulysses the first time via what I'm pretty sure were 211 based amps - Lou was showing with this manufacturer at RMAF '06 and it was also a magical combo that had me glued in his room for over an hour as I recall. Great choice of speakers!
Almarg,
I think it will be difficult to find an amp with the power and scale along with the true sonic character of a DHT tube that the dragon provides. It`s a brillant design that sounds fantastic.Not quite as nuanced as the Frankenstein MK2 300B(which I own) but with additional power for tougher speaker loads. I don`t feel you can go wrong here.
Almarg, I apologize for posting off topic, but I'm so enthralled by your room that I had to say something. How tasteful; you have everything working together for a warm, classic look. I could listen to my ipod in there.
I strongly recommend that you give a less expensive pair of monoblocs which run 6CA7 EH fat bottles two pairs in parallel PP per bloc yielding 75-78 wpc. The supplied 6922 should be rolled but the NOS 5687 input tube is fine. The amps I use and think are superb are Opera Consonance Cyber 800 monos. They are now available with triode switch if you find that preferable. The google the 6 moons review by the late John Potis who conferred the Blue Moon award on them.
Stephen Monte an Audiogon dealer has them and I promise you will be shocked by these amps. The fact that they cost less than half you extreme upper limit is a bonus. I don't know if you can audition them but as I said Quest For Sound is a dealer and may be able to work something out.
Good luck and thank you for the forums most comprehensive technical explainations.
No financial conflict of interest to declare.
Thanks very much to all for the good comments and suggestions, and the nice words. Further comments and suggestions will continue to be appreciated, as I will not be finalizing my decision for a couple of months or so.
01-15-11: Jax2
Hey Al - Did you ask Lou for his suggestions? I know he likes the Modwright amps I use, and I can tell you that combination is outstanding (Disclaimer: Modwright is a client). I also heard the Ulysses the first time via what I'm pretty sure were 211 based amps - Lou was showing with this manufacturer at RMAF '06 and it was also a magical combo that had me glued in his room for over an hour as I recall. Great choice of speakers!
Thanks, Marco. Re "great choice of speakers," it was actually your comments some time ago, in addition to some comments by others, that led me to the Ulysses, which are as magnificent as you had indicated!

I will make a point of touching base with Lou before finalizing a decision. Re the Modwright's, I'm certain that they are excellent amps and excellent matches for the speakers, but I do want to stay with tubes, and preferably DHT's for this upgrade.

Best regards,
-- Al
Thanks, Marco. Re "great choice of speakers," it was actually your comments some time ago, in addition to some comments by others, that led me to the Ulysses, which are as magnificent as you had indicated!

I will make a point of touching base with Lou before finalizing a decision. Re the Modwright's, I'm certain that they are excellent amps and excellent matches for the speakers, but I do want to stay with tubes, and preferably DHT's for this upgrade.

Cool beans, Al! Glad that worked out. Totally get the preference for tubes - Yeah, check with Lou on which amps he was using in his room in '07 (my mistake on the date before) - They sounded GREAT. I'm fairly certain they were Art Audio amps. I think they were the Carrissa amps which are actually 845 amps. Worth looking into. I listened to a pretty wide variety of music in that room - I was consistently impressed.
The Daedalus Ulysses mate well with a number of different amps and topologies, from tube, to hybrid, to solid state. Owners of the Ulysses have even run them with SET amps with good results. Therefore, you have a number of options to consider including Atmas-Sphere M-60s (or MA-1s if you can find them in your price range), Pathos Inpol2 (tube/mosfet hybrid), and 845 amps as noted above.

I'm not familiar with the Coincident Dragons but if they appeal to you based on design/specs, and if they also can deliver relatively high current, then I think you'd probably be very happy with them.

What is it that you are looking for that you are not getting from your current amplifier?
Finsup, thanks very much for your comments. Regarding what I am not getting from my current amplifier, nothing in particular that I can identify at this time. I've been pretty happy with it, since retubing it with "Winged C" EL34's and Genalex reissue small signal tubes.

But it would stand to reason that my very inexpensive, though seemingly well built and good sounding Paxthon amplifier, would not bring out the full potential of the speakers. Plus I would like to give DHT's a try, plus I suppose my immunity to audiophile upgrade-itis is only partial :-)

Best regards,
-- Al
Al,

Your posts on this forum are informative and helpful. Good luck in your search. I meant to say that if the Coincident Dragons appealed to you based on design/specs, and if they also can deliver relatively high current, then it would be a good place to begin your investigation. I only write this to rebuke myself for writing something that suggests that you'd like something just based on design/specs alone. :)

And Lou can definitely give you some ideas. Even though he usually shows them with Modwright gear, he'll be a good resource for considering alternatives.
At 2007 RMAF, I think Lou was showing with Red Dragon.
At 2007 RMAF, I think Lou was showing with Red Dragon.

Well, then perhaps it could have been '06 because it definitely was not Red Dragon. It was in a huge room and I'm pretty certain it was Art Audio.
Looks like Marco is correct about RMAF 2007. Scroll down about 1/3 of the way on this page.

Finsup, no self-rebuke is called for. I interpreted your comment in a positive manner, as you intended.

Thanks to all once again.

-- Al
My amplifier upgrade recently occurred, and so I thought I would provide an update to this thread:

While the thread was active I received a helpful, credible, and experience-based email about the original (and then current) version of the Dragon from a member, which caused me to have some doubt that it would be all that I was hoping for sonically. At around the same time, a post by a different member in an unrelated thread made me aware that a Mark II version of the Dragon was in the works. I decided to wait until it was introduced, and the details became known.

That introduction occurred in the past couple of months. The Coincident website describes several very substantial changes and improvements in the Mark II version, reflected in part in a considerable increase in weight, and an increase in size as well. Its price, though, increased by $2K, which strikes me as very reasonable in relation to the described improvements, but which put it beyond the limit of what I wanted to spend.

Meanwhile, the more I researched and reflected upon the suggestion that was made by Drake (“Raquel”), of the VAC Renaissance 70/70 MK III, the more enthused I became about the idea. An opportunity recently arose for me to purchase one in excellent condition, at a very reasonable price, and within local pickup distance. And that’s what I did.

It came with a brand new set of Chinese 300B-98 and 6SN7 tubes which the previous owner had purchased from VAC. I emailed Kevin Hayes at VAC to confirm that those 300B’s are suitable for use in this amp, and that they could have been purchased from VAC. His very gracious and almost instant response provided both confirmations.

I am thrilled with this amp. Its combination of purity (for want of a better word) and power amazes me.

I did have a very anxious several hours, though, when after about two hours of use all of a sudden there was an eruption of loud static and squealing (through the speakers). I eventually determined that one of the new 6SN7’s had failed, developing a high impedance grid-to-plate short. I then replaced all four small signal tubes with 1960 CBS 6SN7GTB’s which I happened to have on hand. All has been well since, and I think the vintage CBS’s sound slightly better than the new Chinese tubes did, during the brief amount of time I was able to listen to them.

Thanks again to all who responded, and especially of course to Drake.

Best regards,
--Al
Welcome to the VAC family as Kevin would say.
You won't be disappointed the VAC's are great. You may want to upgrade to one of their preamps as well.
Al,
This is one situation where there`s no bad choice either way. By all word of mouth accounts, the Dragon MarkII is simply phenomenal! However the VAc 70/70 I know pretty well and it`s a genuine all time classic amplifier. These don`t grow on trees, so the chance to buy one in great shape and at an apparently good price, well it makes sense to me. Push-pull 300bs(and a superb power supply) with your speakers must sound splendid.
Enjoy for many years to come.
Great speakers I have the DA-RMAs and power requirements are very similar. I prefer integrated amps and would recommend, as someone has mentioned, the Pathos Inpol2. It is only 50watts, but all Class A and I think it goes very well indeed with Daedalus. Lou was over in the UK recently and he thought it a good match too, unless he was being polite. I like Classical and Opera also and find the power very adequate, though I have a smallish room.

I have now bought an Ayon Spark integrated too, as a change of pace. That is excellent, but different, not such perfect soundstaging, imaging , but a wonderful rich tone.

I am well aware what a good reputation Coincident have, but Ayon to me, seem to be making one of the best range of tube amps out there, with choices at every price level
Al, Congrats on your purchase.

The VAC may have been serendipitous. I have no doubt you would have enjoyed the 211 Dragons but owning/living with an excellent 300b amp (SE or PP) is a great reference point. A 300b amp is at the top of my favoites list.

I also have an SET amp that uses the 211 (Cary 805AE which can also use the 845). It's an experiment to see if I can get an SET to work on my Magnepan 3.6's. For the last year it has worked for me. About a month ago I got a custom 300b push pull and got that AHHHH feeling when I hooked it up to the Maggies. So I can imagine how happy you are.

The Cary still does well in the shootout probably, for me, because it uses a 300b to drive the 211/845 which gives me some of its flavor and it's single ended. I hope one will come out the winner for me, too many amps :-).

Anyway, I'm happy your happy. Enjoy.
David12,
He selected the VAC70/70, believe me he`ll be fine.

Almarg,
Ironically, I have this exact same pairing, having bought a VAC Renaissance 70/70 MkIII a month or so ago (in an auction) to try with my Ulysses speakers. I am trying KR 300B tubes, which I literally lucked into finding at a crazy good price. I believe they are a big improvement over the JJ 300Bs that came with the amp (although they sounded quite good as well). I am still messing around with different 6SN7s. My favorite combo so far is Ken Rad Black Glass and Raytheons, which sound great.

Like you, I am very, very happy with the way the VAC amp sounds on my Daedalus speakers. What a spectacular match!

Enjoy!
Thanks very much for the nice comments, guys.

Waltersalas, you're most probably already aware of the need to make certain that any 300B used in the Renaissance amps conforms to the original Western Electric specifications (which many 300B's that are available do not). But to be sure, let me point out the following statement on page 9 of the manual (which is available at their website), concerning KR tubes:
KR Enterprises: Many versions produced, most deviant from 300B standards. Be certain that the version you use conforms to the WECo 300B standard for filament current (1.5A) or amplifier damage may result.
The email from Kevin that I mentioned in my previous post specifically suggests checking with him when in doubt.

Consistent with your findings, btw, the manual comments somewhat negatively on the sonic performance of the JJ's in the amp.

Thanks for joining the thread and sharing your experiences. As you certainly know, while the Daedalus speakers are very easy to drive and unusually versatile with respect to amplifier selection, at the same time they will make the sonic character of the amplifier that is used very evident, which in this case is clearly something special.

Best regards,
-- Al
Hi Al,

Want to say congratulations! I am glad you are pleased with your amp. Hope it gives you many blissful hours!

Best,

Dave
Hi Al,

This is Jim from Shanghai China, I'm an audiophile and starting interested in vintage radios since months ago, gladly to see your posts with several pics of McMurdo Silver Masterpiece V console from your collection, and you've mentioned you have another Masterpiece VI to be refinished, so do you still have them in your room by now? if a yes and you may consider to sell one of them to me, I will be glad to hear your quote.

I'll fly to Buffalo on May 14th and will be hanging around in east coast area for 2 weeks, if possibly and you don't mind maybe I could come to visit you.

During my trip to the US I could be reached via email to jim2wang@yahoo.com, or my Skype ID is jim2wang, I will get a phone number when I arrived Buffalo 14228 NY.

I looking forward to hear from you soon.

Cheers
Jim
Hi Jim,

Thanks for your interest. I still haven't gotten around to having the McMurdo Silver cabinet refinished; it's a low priority for me right now. Also, I don't envision selling any of my sets in the foreseeable future.

Since you are relatively new to the hobby, I'll suggest that if you already haven't you check out the site of Antique Radio Classified, including the links it provides to other sites, and the books they offer for sale.

Regarding a visit here, personal circumstances make that impractical for me in the coming weeks.

Regards,
-- Al