Does anyone have any experience of hybrid valve and solid state power amps?


Hi guys

I ask this question because I recently had a listen to a JE Audio Dyad S400 power amp. I was very impressed by its performance, but, correct me if I'm wrong there don't seem to be many hybrids around, or are there?


What are your thoughts on how they compare to other designs?

bazb
ARC HD-220 a hybrid as is Aesthetix Atlas as well as Vandersteen 
the HD-220 way underrated IMO


There is a Dodd Audio Hybrid listed here that sounds excellent (actually been watching it and the ad expires in an hour ) might get relisted ? . Vincent Audio makes a Hybrid too .

Lamm, Vincent and Conrad johnson offthe top of my head.

I have a Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista hybrid integrated that is quite nice.
PS Audio BHK Signature 250
@bazb , 
hi, i'm also interested in Dyad amp. would you describe how the sound image portrayed in that setup ? what kind of music you tested in the audition? 
does it sound forward but seemingly relax and lean, airy and have more SILKY sparkle in the high ?
is it more spacious, orchestra instrument separation, airy presentation ?
is it capable to resolve complex passages & pop electronic music better ?
lastly, does it sound slightly veil or clarity with hear through effect ? 
any info would be appreciated. Thank you.
-phil 
PS Audio BHK Signature 300
I had the Rogue Medusa in my system on demo and it was a really good piece.  Outstanding dynamics, imaging, and soundstaging.  The fact that you can tune it with the input tube to cater to your system and tastes is such a nice bonus.  

The LSA Statement is an incredible hybrid integrated. You'll find them every now and then here and should jump at the chance to own one. 


@bazb ,
hi, i'm also interested in Dyad amp. would you describe how the sound image portrayed in that setup ? what kind of music you tested in the audition?
does it sound forward but seemingly relax and lean, airy and have more SILKY sparkle in the high ?
is it more spacious, orchestra instrument separation, airy presentation ?
is it capable to resolve complex passages & pop electronic music better ?
lastly, does it sound slightly veil or clarity with hear through effect ?
any info would be appreciated. Thank you.
-phil


Hi Phil

I have heard this amp on several occasions now, both at the dealers and in a friends set-up. It's difficult to evaluate in my friends set-up because it's difficult to tell what exactly each component is contributing. However, in his set-up it sounds excellent. He likes to play the music much louder than myself, and despite the high volume I can happily listen to his set-up for several hours without any listener fatigue.


The listen I had in the dealers was more illuminating. When I heard it I was actually auditioning amps retailing for less than a quarter of the Dyad's price. If I was rating these amps at around 4 or 5 out of 10 then by comparison I'd have given the Dyad 10 out of 10. It was simply in a different league. I listen mainly to rock/heavy metal and many of my favourite records sound lifeless and compressed. The Dyad opened up these recordings and delivered a level of transparency and space around the instruments that was stunning. This scale and depth of sound was also apparent on well recorded tracks. It sounded very musical and brought recordings to life.


Unfortunately, its well outside my price range otherwise I'd have bought it. I hope these comments are helpful, and if you can afford it I would urge you to audition one and let us know how you get on!

Vincent audio SV -237. Great amp and when you factor in cost it's even a better bargain.
I’ve had both an Aesthetix Calypso and then a new Aesthetix Janus driving an Atlas with very good results on Thiel 2.4s. I am contemplating selling the Atlas...its a beast which at age 60 I'm tired of wrestling...so I had been looking to Bel Canto but was disappointed in the Ref 600s I trialed for a week. That led me back to solid state gear. At the moment I am utterly shocked that I’m liking the Bryston cubed amps which are sweet an delicate completely UNLIKE what I experienced a few years ago with the Bryston Squared series which I hated...very very harsh and metallic upper midrange. I’m also seeking to somehow trial a Pass Amp.  Both of which of course would just put be back into another 100 pounds amp but I'm looking for bullet proof and I think both the Bryston and Pass products are pretty much that.  But back to your question the hybrid tube front-end with the solid state driver stage on the Atlas was a very very good design involving Jim White. The amp has absolutely top quality parts and some innovative engineering in it. Consider an Atlas. It has not been trouble free though ... its in California right now getting a new board that developed a short. It will come back good as new to Atlanta soon I hope.  I may or may not sell it.  Still pondering.
I love my Vincent SP-331 with Vandy 2Cs
Einstein Audio:  The Light in the Dark
+1 For NYAL Moscode 150! Designed by George Kaye. A four-tube front end driving a set of 4 MOSFETs per channel. Also available: the 300 and 600 (150 WPC and 300 WPC). 

Most hybrid amps have a valve input stage and solid state output. Roger Modjeski instead went with a bipolar input stage and valve driver and outputs stages in his Music Reference RM-200 amp. It’s a great amp (100w/ch, from only a pair of KT88 or 6550 tubes per!), residing in Stereophile’s Class A/Tube category for many years, where it is by a wide margin the lowest priced amp. Unique for a valve output-stage amp, it puts out more power at 4 ohms than at 8 (1, 2, 4, and 8 ohms taps provide. 1 and 2 ohms in a tube amp?!)) and has an unusually low output impedance for a valve amp, resulting in a more even frequency response than typical.

A well-kept secret (it’s not expensive or fashionable enough?), Music Reference having few dealers, doing no advertising, and infrequently reviewed (just like Eminent Technology products, designed by the great designer/engineer Bruce Thigpen). Modjeski (and Thigpen) has no interest in playing the frequent model-revision (one change to the amp in twenty years, now in Mk.2 guise), endless-update marketing game. His amps are keepers, rarely coming up for sale used. Buy one and concentrate on your music.

"A well-kept secret (it’s not expensive or fashionable enough?),"

Perhaps a well-kept secret but at $8,000 it's certainly not considered inexpensive. And there are a ton of other options out there at that price point. 
Available used for around $3000, occasionally.
Vincent makes various hybrid amps and I assume they all work, and I've listened extensively to my friend's SV236 integrated and it's very clean and musical.
Van Alstine (AVA) has three hybrid amps in their line up.  The Fet Valve 600 R (300 wpc), 400 R (200 wpc), and the DVA 850 monoblocs (850 wpc).  I have no personal experience but have read multiple rave reviews.

Based on all these responses there are more hybrids offered than might be imagined.
I have heard these amps and think they are quite good.http://www.musicaldesign.com/MD_T75.html
Ypsilon Electronics is some of the best hybrid at any price, i have demoed the pre-power combo at home.