Devore 0/96 - Integrated AMP help


Hi everyone,

I am in the process of securing Devore 0/96s with A23 cables.  My source will be an Auralic Vega G2.  I have narrowed my list of integrated amps to some tube and SS (Class A) gear.  I am looking for some help from those that have experienced this speaker and amp combinations.  I am moving from a very transparent system and looking for a little more warmth, musicality, and a system that is more emotionally engaging.

Tube amp potentials:
Leben CS300
Leben CS600
Line Magnetic 845
Maybe a simple SET (Unison Research Simply Italy)

SS Class A potentials:
Pass Labs INT-25
Sugden A21se or Masterclass IA-4

Looking to end my constant desire to make system changes once and for all! LOL
crandell25
A New Audio Frontiers 2A3 or 300B integrated would be lovely.

Feel free to search for thoughts on this pairing; lots of glowing user reports out there.

Heads up I'm a NAF dealer.

Thanks for the suggestion @gestalt.  300B is also an appealing option.  I will check the products out.
For serious listening I run a Line Magnetic 805ia with my O/96's with fantastic results...very emotionally engaging with a dynamic, massive, immersive soundstage full of air and detail while providing a rich textured sound and a bit of that SET magic.  I also have a SugdenA21SE that I run mainly for casual/background streaming music while I'm working during long periods of the day.  I'd say the Sugden gets me 75% of the sonics of the Line Magnetic.  While the Sugden is great match with the DeVore, delivering a very rich and dynamic sound, it's presentation sounds almost 2D in comparison without the air and soundstage of the LM.  The Sugden also sounds a tad rolled off in the bass comparatively and loses in details. 

I strongly recommend going the SET tubed route with the O/96's.  Having some extra power (like the 48W of the LM805) really helps control the O/96 woofers.  A 20W-40W push-pull amp using EL34/6L6GC (like the Leben) would sound very good as well.  The Leben CS600x will give you a ton of flexibility to tube roll.  Head to head I think the LM805 sounds more dynamic and brings that SET magic to the table that the Leben doesn't but it's a matter of preference.

I think 300b could be a magical combo for certain music but the more I talk to other O/96 owners the more I realize that a 300b probably shouldn't be a primary amp for the DeVore's as you may feel that the combo doesn't shine across a full range of musical tastes - focusing mainly on its brilliance with vocals and simple instruments.
@three_easy_payments, thanks for the detailed response on your direct experience with the 0/96s and some of the components I have on the list.  There is definitely something magical that SETs seem to bring.  I built a Bottlehead Crack for my headphone setup and I thoroughly enjoy it.  I have read on the Line Magnetic amps and the comments seem to echo your experience with lots of dynamics and huge soundstage.  I was looking at the 845 so I will need to check the 805 out.
@grinnell   I'd really like to hear the O/96's with an amp like the Decware TORII MK4.  On paper it looks like a really good match.  My only "concern" is the 36 lb weight of the entire amp.  The quality of the transformers is so critical and it makes me wonder how these lightweight transformers perform.  The similarly designed EL34 amps that I've heard and sound nice come in around 50 lbs.  My LM805 weighs 90 lbs, much of it attributable to the beefy transformers which play a huge role.
Agree a single 300B isn't universally ideal on the O/96. A push pull 300B sorts that right out and is lovely.
I have push-pull 300b, Nagra 300p, that works quite well with my O/96. That being said I have been tempted to get a SET amp for these speakers. Don't go for any SS other than Accuphase IMO. My E-650 Accuphase also works quite well with these amps, some others didn't. And its plus point is tone controls, loudness compensation etc for night listening and bad records.

If I were to do it all over again. I would get the Luxman LX380, it would give me tone controls etc, as well as the tube goodness of 6L6. Recently heard it, it sounds amazing too, and looks gorgeous, pics don't do it justice.
@gestalt, is there any place in NYC area that I can audition the NAF, am super curious about the 2A3 that is raved about as the ideal combo with O/96s by someone in WBF.
@essrand High Water Sound has the NAF 211 monos & linestage on display. Jeffrey is one of the good guys and might have a line on a 2A3 in NYC; worth calling.

I have a 300B integrated in Nashville if you find yourself in the area.
I don't think amplifiers should be judged by weightage.

In fact it should not be a factor at all. I don't understand why amp manufacturers and buyers keep touting that as if it is a good thing. I see it as a negative: hard to move around, transport, re-sell, breaks your back etc etc.

If someone can produce same SQ at half the weight, that should be highlighted not that an amp weights 100lbs, I am not buying grocery. More weight is not better.

What I love about Nagra is that their products are petite but super high quality sound and built like a Rolex. Transformer design matters more than weight. Nagra's transformers are built in-house.

If Nagra can built superlative 300b amp at 10kg and NAF takes 35kg to built their best PP 300b amp, who is better at design and execution?

35-10 = 25kgs of aluminium only costs 30$ :)
@essrand 

I don't think amplifiers should be judged by weightage.

I totally agree and I think my sentiment about transformer weight was overstated.  Great sound trumps weight by far - it's just that so many truly great sounding similar topographies weigh more, with an emphasis on high qualities transformers, that I'd want to confirm with my ears.  I wouldn't hesitate to buy a wonderful sounding amp regardless of weight!
@essrand the Accuphase E-650 looks interesting from a class A SS perspective.  How would you describe the match and sound with the 0/96s?
I run my Decware mini Torii 4wpc with Ref 3A de Capo i 92 db
Plenty loud, not concert loud in a 22x12 room with openings on the sides
I would love the Devore, just a bit $$ for me :)
I would try an accuphase or a luxman class a integrated for that off the upgrade bandwagon for your speakers.
If you’re on Facebook please join us on the devore fidelity fan group. You will get a lot of useful information there too about good matching amps for your orangutans.
I drive Focal Aria 906 speakers with a Quicksilver Integrated Amplifier. The speakers have a specified sensitivity of 89.5 dB; your Devore's 96 dB. In my set up, at moderate listening volume, the volume control stays around 10:30 o'clock. (Except when a phono preamp rather than my DAC provides the input; then 12:30 o'clock.) If you don't need rock-concert volume, this amp should work for you. And I would infer that you don't want a subwoofer.

The setup, both from DAC and phono pre-amp,sounds great. It is smooth and detailed. Speakers are probably the more important choice for warmth versus bright, etc.

First watt amps are really good especially the J2. I use the audio research ref 75 with my orangutans and love the combo. VTL 5.5 as a pre.
I liked the line magnetic 518ia set amp too but not my cup of tea for all genres of music. The refs 75 definitely makes me happy with everything I listen through it. I wish I still have the line  magnetic for jazz and smaller ensembles. Especially vocals and acoustic guitars
I have owned the Devore 0/96's for several years and owned the LM805 and Pass INT XA25 and powered the DeVore's with these amps. Both sound great but in my experience there was some magical moments with the Pass INT 25 that the LM did not have. The Pass took about 200 hrs. to come into it's own. Another option would be the SIT 3. Reno HiFi has home demo's for the Pass equipment.

Don't get me wrong the LM is a great amp but the overall tone of the Pass was special.
A 300B is definitely a good pairing. The Airtight ATM-300 Reference sounds awesome with this speaker. There is also a youtube video of DeVore where he shows his gear and tells about the amps he is using. He has an AirTight as well.

Also, the Nagra 300i sounds lovely with DeVore.

If you need to crank up bass-heavy music often, the Line Magnetics amps with 300B/845tubes are badass matches. 
I heard the O/93 with a Bryston SS amp and that worked great. Just another thing you may want to check out.
Hello,
Another option is Rogue Audio. The Sphinx integrated amp is really nice for $1500. They have preamps and amps too. I know Decware is really great but you might have to wait for a while. When you have to wait for a product like Raven, Decware, and several others I believe it to be a sign that it must be pretty good. Not always but the reviews help to confirm the product. 
May want to look at the Esoteric F-03A
30/60 wpc, dual mono, over the top build quality...


I would strongly recommend the Line Magnetic 805iA. I currently have my LM amp paired with a pair of GoldenEar Triton Reference. The LM is excellent in build quality, and superb at music. I upgraded the fuse with Orange from Synergistic Research, feet to GAIA I from IsoAcoustics, power cable to Acoustic Zen Garguntua and input tubes. It sounds absolutely stunning. 
@crandell25

Accuphase E-650 really took me by surprise, I have never liked SS amps before this (except a megabuck integrated - Technical Brain). It has great tonality of a tube, and amazing bass of an SS. It is still breaking in, so will have to wait a few more months before I can say anything with confidence.

I took the risk it because I found a user from this forum who switched from Shindo separates to Accuphase SS for this Devore O96 and claimed that he didn't missed the Shindos at all (BTW Shindo/Devore is a well know synergistic pairing). Then I got an home audition, and then bought it.

My amp is still breaking in, and if it opens up as I suspect it would in the next few months, I think my Nagras might get sold :)

Of course the Accuphase is not as sweet as the Nagra 300p but .... if I decide not to have two amps, I might sell it.
@ everyone, thanks for all the great suggestions!  Leaves me with a lot to look into.

@essrand that is great to hear!  One last question, did you hear the Luxman 380 with Devores or with a different speaker?
Line Magnetic all the way. My 508ia with 845 is the most musical gear I’ve ever heard. First ran Harbeth SHL5 plus and it was magic but too big for the room so I moved to Peak Consult Princess IV Signature and WOW. 

Lots of Line Magnetic recommendations!  I would have suspected more Leben pairings out there with Devores.  Questions to the Line Magnetic owners:
1) Are the big power tubes (845, 300, 805) easy to source?
2) Are decent tube replacements expensive?

The Line Magnetic is one of the cheaper alternatives recommended in this thread for sure but I am curious about longer term ownership with these big power tubes.

Thanks!

 
It’s interesting that @rs67 felt his Pass edged out the LM805 when my experience was just the opposite - I had the Pass XA30.8 paired with a VAC Ren MKV pre and the LM805 was actually quite a bit better when paired with O/96’s. The only caveat I will add is that I do tend towards jazz much of the time but the bass extension, texture, air, and 3D soundstage was simply much more impressive to me with the LM amp. I do run the LM805 with the VAC pre and found it makes a material improvement versus running the 805 as an integrated. I suspect VAC integrated the volume control much better than LM.

@crandell The LM805 does benefit greatly from replacing all of the stock tubes and it can get a bit pricey depending on your tolerance, but it doesn’t have to. I run a vintage Mullard ECC35, a pair of 60 yr old Tung Sol 6SN7GT round plates, a pair of Psvane ACME 805’s ,and a pair of EML 300b-XLS tubes. Really a stunning presentation of music.

The Leben is a well-known great match with the O/96’s and offers more flexibility because of the tube choices it accepts but you may feel it doesn’t quite comparatively deliver the dynamics and certainly the "SET magic" of the LM805.
The XA25 has a different SQ compared to any other Pass amp. Once broken in it has a very SET like presentation that works well with DeVore speakers i also had the DeVore super nines which were my favorite DeVore speaker.
In a few weeks I should be able to tell you how an eight watt SE zero negative feedback Class A amp sounds with O/93's. I also use Auditorium 23 loudspeaker cable which is a match made in heaven for the Orangutans. The amp in question is https://ampsandsound.com/products/nautilus
I will run it balanced between preamp and amp with my ARC Ref 6. 
This amp will be quite a contrast to my other amp, an ARC Ref 150 SE. 
My room is on the small side-18 x 14 x 8. 
I am also biased in favor of heavy transformers. But transformers come in all levels of quality and engineering. A lighter Japanese precision hand-built all silver transformer can sound far better than an off the shelf no-name transformer built with average wire three times its size and weight. Very few amp manufacturers build their own transformers and even those can be outdated designs. Finding a source of precision made well engineered trannies is a challenge for any amp manufacturer. I am also biased against ALPS volume controls. I just don't like them. In my view, they are cheaply built. I intend to bypass the stepped attenuator that comes with the Nautilus-even though it should far surpass any ALPS, and use the more sophisticated volume control in my Ref 6. 
@rh67

The XA25 has a different SQ compared to any other Pass amp.


I was wondering if perhaps I extrapolated my XA30.8 experience too far when comparing it to the XA25. This is good to know!
My first thought was, ’I find it hard to believe that the Pass Labs XA 25 would have better sound quality than the Line Magnetic 508ia amplifier.’ But then I have to acknowledge that this is pure subjectivity and people simply like what they like,. Preferences span a very wide spectrum.

This is the way it should be and one of the major factors that make High End audio and listening to music such an interesting and enjoyable endeavor. So I happily say to each their own. There’s an audio component out there that will suit an individual’s taste whatever it happens to be.
Charles
@fsonicsmith,
That is indeed quite the contrast between two amplifiers.  I'm very interested to read what sonic distinctions you hear between them.
Charles 
Will do so charles1dad. You and prof are easily my favorite regulars on this board. You both write well and with a certain sense of decorum and maturity. 
@three_easy_payments thanks for the tube recommendations.  I will look into them.

@fsonicsmith Keep us posted on how you find the 8 watts for the 0/93s!
Check out the Canor AI1.10.  Andrew Robinson (Recovering Audiopile) just did a review over at the recovering audiophile and simply raved about it.  It is a push pull KT88 that delivers 20w in triode, 40w in Ultralinear.  If you aren't familiar, he has a YouTube video channel and 200K followers.  If you are, my apologies.  No intent to be condescending.  Just trying to be informative.  

I am the importer so I am clearly biased, but I have been listening to one for a couple months driving Vivid's in a small space.  I think it will do the job well on your Devores. 

Otherwise, Sugden is my favorite amp of the ones you have listed.  

Line Magnetic is easy to get tubes for but good ones are pretty expensive.  Upgrading tubes in that whole amp to the best options will add quite a bit to the cost.  
With the O/96, you may get on well with the Riviera Labs 10w amps. They have an integrated as well as a pure amplifier. Hybrid tube/SS in pure Class A. If your dealer carries Devore/LM/Sugden/Auditorium, they likely also carry Riviera.

I have the 30w/120w Levante. Devores (though not the 96) on order -- should have impressions on the pairing in a few months.
Everyone has slightly different sonic priorities, and that’s cool. So mine is but one opinion. 

I have lived with O/93s for 8 years now and don’t have any desire to replace them, even though I can see how some might prefer something else. Same with the A23 cabling. 

I originally had them paired with a Leben 600, but was never quite happy with it. Tried tube rolling, cables, tweaks — ‘just didn’t do it for me. I think the smaller 300 has a bit more character and appeal.

I’ve heard multiple Devores with the LM 845. I can see why people love the combo. For me, 845 amps are a bit limiting — everything is presented with burning intensity. 

I quite liked the LM 300b integrated into O/96s at brief listen, but the LM integrated doesn’t have the purity of some higher priced 300b amps. (That Air Tight 300b mentioned above is wonderful, for example.) Unfortunately, really good iron costs. 
For the past four years I’ve run the apes with a push-pull class A 300b amp by New Audio Frontiers. (I got them from Jeff Catalano, along with a NAF phono stage, a turntable, two tonearms, three cartridges, and a partridge in a pear tree.) I spoke briefly to John Devore a while back; when I told him what I had upstream he remarked that a good push-pull 300b amp provides subtlety, finesse *and* a certain  confidence and freedom that SE 300b amps don’t always have — a good summary of what I appreciate. 

Good luck with the quest. 

Ping
Thanks for the additional responses everyone.

@pingvin - The New Audio Frontiers amps look very interesting indeed.
@pingvin   You're not the first person I've heard make really favorable comments about the NAF amps paired with DeVores - particularly their 2a3 and 300b amps.  A bit out of my price range but I'd love to try one someday.
Not pushing, but NAF makes a more affordable amp. Push pull, class A, with KT66 tubes run in triode mode. Might be worth a call to Jeff Catalano to see whether it could fit your budget.

The problem nonetheless is that you won't be able to hear the pairing of the O/96 with NAF amps -- in my case, it was more accidental than planned: I was replacing my equipment with items from Jeff from source onward, starting with the turntable, and stopped when I found the NAF-Devore combo so compelling. 
Not to stray too far off topic but has anyone had the opportunity to compare Devore with Coherent Audio speakers from Canada?
My Devore Nines never sounded better than with the Linear Tube Audio Ultralinear amp (18W), across the entire frequency spectrum. Better than my previous pairings: Almarro A318B (had beaten all comers ’til LTA), Leben CS300xs, Firstwatt F7, Elekit TU-8600 (300b), Line magenetic 211i (el34), Red Wine Audio (hybrid). I have the version in the larger case that has a volume control, but mostly drive it with an eastern electric minimax preamp. Body with articulation, clarity and soundstage, worth a listen!
@roncagg I finally had a chance to look up the Ultralinear amp.  Very interesting indeed with rave reviews.  I will need to consider it as one of the options while I wait for my Devore's.
I would love to check out the LTA amps at some point.  Hearing so many good things about them.