VTL amps sound very poor in triode. Triode rolls off the highs & lows so whatever you heard should sound awful. But in tetrode (which the amplifiers transformer is designed for) it should sound very good depending on the synergy w. the speakers.
I recently was in NY and dropped into In Living Stereo, which is an authorized dealer of both products. They had a nice demo going of the DeVore 8s and the Shindo Montille amp. I was very impressed on the overall musicality of the system, especially for a small room.
Bass was a little tepid, I think in part due to a tubed PrimaLuna Model 8 CD player they were using. The mids were spot on.
As you can imagine you've got a lot of variables to fill in. I've owned a montille for almost 5yrs. Wonderful amp within it's limitations which are it's 13watts of power. I used it for almost 4 yrs with the devore gibbon 8's in a 12x20 room and I never got the upgrade bug. Recently though I moved into a larger room and the combo fell a little flat.
All the shindo's I've heard are colorful, but not syrupy. Transparent, but not analytical. There are some more powerful shindo's of course that may be more appropriate for driving the nines in a larger room. FWIW, I am trying to hold on to my shindo and find a better speaker for it. While it may be easier for me to just sell the shindo and find a more powerful amp, I'm having a hard time parting with it.
Dgad, having owned the 750's, I agree with you. Certainly as far as driving Vandersteen 5A's go. They just couldn't get out of their own way. Although, I would never recommend the older VTL amps with Vandersteen's period. As far as the Nine's w/ VTL and Shindo preamp demo, I just cannot take home alot from it. I thought it sounded very good though. It seems the ST-150 in Triode was a good match with the Devore. Likely just because the Nine's may be a faster, clener and more open sounding speaker than I am used to. They are not following the pack sonically, that's for sure. They may in fact tow the line quite nicely between forward sounding speakers and darker more laid back ones. That said, I would still like to hear what a Shindo amp/system would bring to this. Bongofury and PrFront, thanks for your thoughts and keep them coming.
My take in my system is a bit different. I doubt I can better the VTLs without sacrificing some other area. But one thing I tell all my friends is buy the amp & speaker as a system. Not apart. VTLs have a wonderful synergy with Ribbons, Metal dome tweeters, and quite a few electrostatics. Correct me if I am wrong but the Vandersteens are an active bass speaker. That would preclude getting the most important aspect of the VTLs performance to show through. Also, if you see those who are using VTL successfully (older models) Albert Porter for one, is using a hybrid ribbon design. The VTL is definitely a "laid back" sound that when balanced with the correct speaker can give you a sense of the SET magic but with power. But this is never experienced in triode mode. For me it just rolls off the highs.
As for Shindo amplification, due to the designs being all fairly different between models I would strongly suggest that the question is Shindo, but which Shindo.
Dgad, No doubt on both your points. I just decided to move on from VTL due to the marriage. If my room was a bit larger, I may have explored some other speaker options. There is no doubt that the VTL is a premier amp matched with the right speaker. I heard them driving Magnepan's, and it was a whole different ballgame. The Shindo amp's as you said seem quite different. Not only push-pull and SET like the Lamm's, but using quite a few different tubes from model to model.
The Shindo/Devore combo is quite popular and for good reason, there are good synergies there. I have the Aurieges/Montille combo and used to have the Super 8s. In my room the mids were wonderful, natural very uncoloured. However the bass was lacking but I'm sure it was a function of my room because my friend with a Monbrison/Montille combo once borrowed them and was able to dial them to produce glorious sound - including a very tight articulate bass. I never did hear the 9s with my gear but I did hear the Super 8s vs the 9s with Naim gear and I really liked the 9s, the same lovely highs and mids, but with a more fuller sound with a deeper bottom end. Shindo preamps have a loyal and dedicated following, and for the money I don't think they can beat. If you can swing for also a Shindo amp you should, because the synergies are truly magical.
Thanks for your comments. I have recently added the Monbrison to my system, and it has been very impressive.
To consider one of the Shindo amps, it would also mean that
I would have to chose a speaker as well. Mine is not suitable for 40 watts or below. It's been a while since I have made such a large move system wise, so I want to get
a feel for the Shindo/Devore sound first. I am not sure what other speakers to consider, but am leaning toward a conventinal cone driver right now. It would have been an interesting comparison to have heard the Nines with Shindo after having heard them with Naim. It seems like making a move on the speaker first would be a better.This would then make it easier to check out a wider variety of amps. Especially with a speaker like Devore that has such a stable impedance curve and is 90+ db.
I thought I'll chime in on my impressions with the Devore - Shindo Montille 6v6 match. I did get to hear Mickeyc8's Devore Super 8 in my system for a week (as Mickeyc8 mentioned above) and got some insight into what makes the speakers so special:
I really enjoyed the evenhanded and uncolored presentation of the Devores. They completely managed to disappear - sonically and spatially - and just let the music through. Their presentation does not draw attention to itself at all. It is easy to differentiate between instruments, different tonal structures, and carefully follow the development of a piece. We had a couple of really nice evenings just immersing ourself in music. Beyond that the Devores are very articulate, balanced, with a natural tone and texture. The soundstage is very structured and very wide much beyond the speaker, instruments are well separated and placed, no blurring of images, with a decent sweet spot. In Michael's room they were a little problematic with respect to bass (as most speakers do in his room) . In my 14 x 18 room the Super 8s nicely opened up and with the Monbrison and Montille 6v6 the Devore were far from thin sounding. I find the Devore's very well balanced; the bass is well defined and articulate rather than boomy and exaggerated, and some people may find the Super 8 slightly on the lean side.
In direct comparison, my Abbys still offer a little more midrange detail and texture - the Abbys capture the brassiness of trumpet and saxophone or the resonances of a cello a tad more. Images are taller and larger. Bass extension is similar although the Devores go a little deeper with a more articulate bass. In many ways it is a bit of a trade-off and they are kind of at different ends of musical speakers - the Abbys are more colored but also offer more texture and richness. I haven't heard a speaker that puts a solo cello into the room quite like the Abbys (short of the Shindo Latour of course).
I wouldn't have really considered a two-way like the Devore, but the evenings we listened were quite special and we really did appreciate what they did.
Also, I should mention that I absolutely love the Shindo Montille 6v6 amp - in many ways I was even more impressed by the Montille than the Monbrison, it was such a big change from my already excellent Fi amp.
I haven't had the pleasure of hearing the Devore's, but I have the Montille 6V6 with the Aurieges MM on Altec Model 19's. The Montille 6V6 is a wonderful amplifier and highly recommended with the right speakers. My room is 18 x 26 and with the Montille's input pots at 1:00 and the Auregies volume at 10:00 I get all the volume needed with plenty of quick articulate bass.