Dunlavy SCIV - What amp are you using?

I noticed lately a lot of talk about Dunlavy Speakers. I was wondering what your favorite amplier of choice is with the SCIV or SCIVa?

I've been using a Bel Canto SET40 stereo amplifier that uses 845 Triode Transmitting tubes in single ended mode that puts out 35watts rms and gives 75 watts peak. It is very extended at the extremes and has a breathtaking midrange to die for.

I'd love to hear what others have been using.

Thank you.
I have heard them with Classe power and sounded great.
a friend of mine powers his with a Rowland Model 2 w/ Battery pack ... excellent
Like Chadnliz, I have often heard them with Classe power. Wonderful.
BAT tubes were the rule at the local dealer.
They do seem to be paired with Classe quite often, not sure why, but of course they do make good SS amps. Are they like Thiels and B&W in that they really are best suited for highish powered SS amps, and only the most powerulful, high current of tubes amps?
I had a close friend use a pair of B&K M200's running his SCIV's with nice results. When he added another factory matched pair of B&K M 200's I couldn't believe the improvement.
In my conversations with John Dunlavy he recommended amps from Spectron, Rowland and Edge. He was very enthusiastic about switching amps (Class D) and not very enthusiastic about tube amps.
I have SC-IIIA's and am running them with a current model Spectron Musician.
As I recall at various CES shows John used Spectron, Bel Canto (likely the SET 40), or Audio Research, depending on the year.

I'm more familiar with Duntech models but I believe the DAL designs presented an easier load, thus lower output and tube amps were better matches (than with Duntech models). But one thing to keep in mind with all of his designs, they are very revealing so quality of all upstream equipment is most important.
I always ran my SCIVs with tubes. I have used custom built 60 watt monos and Audio Research amplifiers with exceptional results. I personally have not used solid state, but I have heard SCIVs with Electrocompaniet and they sounded very good.

SET amplifiers? Maybe on simple music, but more complex music could be a problem.
I feed my Dunlavy SC4s with Air Tight ATM-3 monoblocks. Tubes used are Tesla E34Ls, Mullard "boxplate" 12au7s and Brimar longplate 12ax7s.
I have Dunlavy SC-IV Signatures (revised). I run them with a Bryston 4BST and a Audio Research LS3BR. The sources include a McCormack UDP-1 Deluxe. The interconnects are Kimber Heros and the speaker cable is Alpha Core Goertz. The sound is glorious, full, rich. It feels very complete to me in my large room. Hope this helps.
The Dunlavy SCIV have a very benign electrical load and phase angles thus making life very easy for amplifiers. As long as the amplifier is of a quality design, both big wattage solid state amps as well as lowish powered tube amps will work well.

Sometimes I wonder if when some people see the sheer size of these speakers and all of the drivers that it gives them the mental impression that it surely must demand a huge solid state monster amp to match the monster size of these speakers. Don't get me wrong.....these Dunlavys will handle the big amps but they can really sing beautifully with smaller wattage tube amps too! A lot will depend on the size of the room you are trying to fill.

As it was mentioned earlier, these speakers are hugely transparent and quite capable of revealing the slightest of changes upstream, whether it be switching out cables, different types of tubes, etc. But, when you have everything sorted out up stream, they are truly wonderful. They have been the only speaker that I have found that does more things right than not. They are capable of reproducing both micro and macro dynamics in a very believable way. They through a soundstage where the musicians and their instruments are of realistic size. They get the complex harmonics of the human voice right. The sound of stringed instruments...violin, cello, etc are wonderful hearing the beautiful resonance of the wooden body. The bass is very well defined...not one notish or boomy at all and very well integrated. I'm not sure if it has to do with it being a sealed design or what really, but it is done right.

I have had and still do have other great speakers....K-horns, ProAC's, vintage Tannoy Monitor Golds in custom cabinets, etc and also they all did some things really great, none of them seemed to everything all around well enough.

I appreciate everyone contributing what they are using to power their great speakers with. I hope you continue to enjoy them as much as I have...I've had mine for over a decade, with no problems whatsoever, and never plan on selling them.

For those of you who havn't had the opportunity to hear some yet. Try to do so if you can. You can find these at very reasonable prices on the used market and I believe they still compete very favorably with much more expensive speakers that are currently for sale.
No_regrets, I see what you mean about easy load - what I fine odd is that anyone would choose to use a powerful SS amp when a low powered tube amp (40 watts seems enough)or low powered Class A (not Classe)SS amp (60 watts?) would do the trick. I do wonder what a Music Reference RM10 (35 watts) or Atma-sphere M60s might sound like with the Dunlavys - they are superb on my equally easy to drive Merlins.
Pubul57, On the surface your point seems well taken. Still I can't over emphasize what a positive (with an already positive start) change it was going from 2 X 200 Watts per channel to 4 X 200 Watts per channel. If I recall correctly John Dunlavy recommended 40-150 Watts per channel. The Dunlavy's do drop below 4 Ohms. I've been seriously considering going to SCIVA's should good pair shows up locally. Considering everything, I don't think I would power them with much less than 150 Watts per channel of ss amplification.
No Regrets, well said about Dunlavy's performance and its 'timeless' performance parameters. Agree with you completely!

In keeping with thread's topic, I used Jadis Orchestra Ref (40 watts using KT90'S)for couple of years in my bedroom set up (smallish room)and it worked really well not wanting any more oomph. Currently the IVs are in storage sittting idle. but still looking gorgeous (i had custom black piano finish done)

My main system has the sig Vs and I have used Classe CA400's, then MBL 9011 and now relatively small wattage Zanden 9600 monoblocks (60 watts nom, 90 watt max/ch) and performance is without any complaints. Tubes give best overall performance compared to the SSs. Best performance is being had at 2 ohm tap, 4 ohm still okay (probably optimal)and 8 ohm will simply not work coherently. Hope this helps.
Hello Pubul57,

I've never heard the Atma-spheres with the Dunlavys. I might be wrong, but I always thought the Atma-sphere amps liked to see high impedance loads, something that the Dunlavys certainly are not. Ralph would be able to answer that much better than I.

As for the Music Reference RM10......all I can say is WOW. 35 watts from a pair of EL84's per channel is something else. Usually you get about 12-15 watts from a pair. With that being said, I love the sound of EL84's! I've got three EL84 amps driving three different sets of speakers....that's how much I love them! My custom EL84 amp has a very beefy supply to it and is very well built. Very low dcr and is incredibly dynamic, fast transient attachs, with great body and harmonic resolution. It is using some fantastic vintage Pilot Corp output transformers that sound great, although rolled off on the bottom end.....but very tight until they hit the rolloff point. They put out a very "powerful 15 watts" and yes, I have used them on my Dunlavys. Great in a smaller room, but not enough juice for larger rooms. I'd have to believe the 35watt RM10 would be powerful enough. I have read a lot of people do love that amp, so I wouldn't hesitate trying it. I'd love to hear it actually. I'm not sure where you are located, but I'm in Wisconsin and would be willing to have you come by for a listen.
Hello Nilthepill,

I am jealous. I have heard and lusted over the sig V's for many years. As much as I love the IV's the V's are so much better providing you have an accomodation music room for them. Unfortunately, I didn't think I had a large enough room to do them justice and therefore thought that the IV's would serve me better "in my room". I agree with you too. I love what a good tube amp does with these speakers especially with the types of music that I listen to. I had spent some time with a solid state Forte (model 4a if I remember correctly) that put out 50 class A watts into 8ohms....can't remember if it doubled into 4ohms. It reseasonably well, but honestly my custom EL84 amp with 15 tube watts with tubed rectifier sounded more dynamic and really seemed to put the flesh on the performers, so to speak. With the 845 single ended triodes....it is pure heaven.
The RM10s can be mono bridged for 70 watts - alot of EL84 power. The OTLs do like high impedance, but smoothness is very important and you can use the Spelts autoformers to raise the impedance load the amp sees.
Hi Pubul57,

That is good to know about the Spelts autoformers. I did not think of that. Thank you.
I ran a pair of Dunlavy SCIII's with a cary slam 100 monoblocks (90 watts triode mine was the first gen no ultralinear) with great success.
No_regrets, you make a VERY important point concerning room matching.

As I've mentioned before, I owned a pair of Duntech Princess (older sibling to the SC-IV and IVa) for 19 years. During that time I heard the Sovereigns maybe half a dozen times, at the CES, at dealers, and in private residences. I always preferred the overall presentation of the Princess because it seemed the Sovereigns required a larger space. Several factors are at play here.

First is the appropriate listening distance to allow the drivers to integrate. The manual for my Princess stated that all measurements were taken at 3.5 meters. That told me John Dunlavy believed this was the minimal distance for full integration. The DAL SC-V and VI and the Duntech Sovereign are all taller so may require even greater distances to optimize.

Second is the distance out from the front wall. After measuring for smoothest bass response I ended up out roughly four feet. I suspect the Sovereign and SC-V and VI require more distance because of their additional bass drivers.

Third is the distance from sidewalls. My room configuration only allowed about two feet from the wall for the right channel (much more for the left). I had four friends who owned Princesses and they all had greater sidewall distances. Their soundstage and imaging were all better than mine. I've always believed this is why Dunlavy often recommended long wall placement - to allow greater distance from sidewalls, thus providing longer delays in sidewall reflections and therefore better resolution.

Now there will always be someone who says, "my SC-IVs are in my den/bedroom/other limited space and they sound great". I would not say they don't. But I believe they would be BETTER in a larger room.

So whenever someone considers Duntech or DAL speakers, cost will not be the only factor, appropriate speaker to room size should be accounted for as well.
I used Pass Aleph 2 mono with the SC IVa. It was a very good match. I heard that Dunlavy had those amps in house and that they liked the match.

Interesting to see the number of people using tubes, but maybe not as I recall the IVa to be a "easy" load even if it is lowish for tubes at a nominal 4 ohms.

My HT center channel uses an ARC VS 55 driving a Dunlavy SM1 in a vertical biamp setup - works great.

i have SCIV's and bi-amp them. bought the Dunlavy's new in 1995. have EAR 509 monoblocks for mids and treble, a Carver Sunfire amp for woofers. it sounds great. they are very easy to drive, very stable load, 91db efficiency.....
With all of you Dunlavy owners congregating in this thread, can I ask if any of you have put your speakers up on something -- cones or whatever? Any good?
Drubin- I stuck my SC-IV Improved on some home made spike/sands. Basically just some 16" wide cherry stock with 2 3/8" spikes drilled in and leveled. The strips sit just inside the base dimensions and elevate the speakers about 1 7/8". My floor is carpet over sprung wood with a basement under the room so in MY ROOM ( note emphasis to avoid possible flame jobs ) I found the bass to become faster, more well blended and in my opinion, better. The second benefit to me was the raising of the tweeters. My couch is a bit taller than average so the elevation helped the 'stage and image depth.
I have considered going with some Mapleshade brass footers or even some older Audiopoints but the cost just seems tough to justify. I have about $12.00 in my home brews and the cheapest I have seen the right size cones go for is in the area of $150.00.
Just to keep on thread topic, i am running my speakers with and Ayre v3 w/ K revision and Ayre Condtioner.
Anybody ever run SC-IVs with a BAT VK 60?
After having lived with the Dunlavy SC4s for nearly 17 years, I would have to give a pat on the back to No_regrets for his very apt column above. I simply could not have provided any better description of these extremely fine speakers. Some time ago, and for a period of about two years, I put the Dunlavys aside after a very talented friend had produced for me an excellent sounding dipole ribbon/driver hybrid pair of speakers. Then, one day I decided to reconnect the Dunlavys. I never switched them out again. Chalk it all up to clarity, coherency and convincing tonal balance. The spirit of John Dunlavy should have no regrets either about what the man created.
I had the Snell B Minor before upgrading to the SC-IVs, driven by CJ Premier 14 pre amp and first a CJ Premier 11 which is recently replaced by a CJ MF2500A as I find the solid state version overall more detailed and produces tighter bass, a trade off for the sweet mids and airy highs of the P11. NordOst Blue Heaven ICs and speaker cables.

Off topic but would a Von Schweikert VR6 sound better than the SC-IV for classic and Jazz?
Hello Drubin,

Although I have never had my Dunlavys placed on anything, I have read some threads in the past of others doing it and if I remember correctly....they had liked the results.

I have liked how mine sound in "my room" well enough to not try and deal with the hassel of it. These are very heavy speakers, I have hardwood floors, it would raise the level of the tweeter and so I'd have to also raise my listening chair to compensate, etc.

Of all the places that I have heard the Dunlavys, none of them had them placed on anything either.

Sorry I can't be of more help.
Hello Opus88,

Thank you for the kind words. Although my Dunlavys have always kept the primary residence in my reference listening room, I have also tried other speakers from my other systems in this room. As good as they have been, none have eclipsed the Dunlavys. That is not to say there aren't better speakers out there than these beloved SCIV's, but only that I haven't had the pleasure of hearing any that I enjoy more than what I currently have.

One brand that has my curiousity, that I personally haven't heard yet is the Horning loudspeakers. I'm planning on hearing them this fall at the RMAF in Colorado.

By the way, Opus88, what amps have you enjoyed using with your Dunlavys?

Thanks again for your comments.
Hello Polyglot,

Thank you for sharing your choice of amplification with us in regards to the Dunlavy SCIV.

As to your question about the VR6....the best thing you can do is try to audition a pair and let your ears decide. What sounds great to "me" might not sound quite as appealing to "you" and vise versa. Our ears and how we each hear things are as individual and unique as the speakers that we are discussing.

But in another effort to try and answer your question. My catalog of source material consists of several hundred pristine vinyl albums and are split pretty evenly between classical and jazz. I feel the SCIV's excell with classical music....everything from solo and sonatas to the big full orchestral pieces as well as small combo jazz groups to the big band swinging of Duke and Basie. I have not found a speaker that does these types of music better in terms of getting the tone, micro and macro dynamics, soundstaging, etc better.

If the SCIV's fall short anywhere, I think it would be in the rock, or rap genre's....but for me, that really isn't "my" cup of tea anyhow.

I only heard one pair of Von Schwikert's and it was a long time ago, but was at a time while having my Dunlavys. I can't remember the model number, but it was their reference at that time. I didn't feel they were in the same league as the Dunlavys. That's not to say they havn't improved over the years.....I haven't listened to their offering since.

Give them a listen and let us know what you think.
Hello again...I just caught these latest additions to this thread. No regrets: In response to your question about what other amps I've tried with my SC-4s, years back I recall using two Moscode 300 hybrid amps, one for each of the speakers. Prior to that I had used a Conrad Johnson Premier 4 tube amp. Though I enjoyed both, I preferred the sound from the Moscodes, which gave me a bit more dynamic life and up front presence. But since I've owned the Air Tights I've had no desire to go with anything else. The only things I changed with them were their stock tubes, the EL34 AEG Siemens' and the 12au7s and 12ax7s whose brands I don't remember. For quite some time I've been using Tesla E34Ls, Mullard "boxplate" 12au7s and Brimar 12ax7s. In synergy, these tubes are the antithesis of hi-fi super clean, with a very musical, life like concert hall sound.

Incidentally, mention was made above about placing spikes or cones under the Dunlavys. I tried that on a carpet over concrete floor many years ago. While I can't remember exactly how the sound compared with no spikes or cones, I do know I preferred the Dunlavys' sound without them.
I've been using a Marsh A400 for many years after trying various amps. The Marsh is a revelation and a wonder.
I once visited John Dunlavy at their shop in Colorado Springs and he domoed his speakers with Spectral amps and a passive pre-amp (don't recall the brand). For what it's worth.

Happy listening...
I am still plugging along with an Ayre V3x for my SC-IVs and loving it. I keep playing around with the idea of a good 75 to 100 watt KT-88 or 6c33 based amp but jut can't seem to pull the trigger as the Ayre just works, never gets too hot, does not blow fuses, never needs tubes, etc.
SCIVa-McCormack DNA225 w/Platinum Level Mod by Steve McCormack which pretty much makes it a different amp.
With reference to my earlier question about putting Dunlavys up on something, I've just ordered a set of outriggers to try with my SC-III.A's. The speakers rest on a detachable base as you all know. If I attach the outriggers to the base, I will raise the height of the speakers by whatever amount -- probably 1.5 inches or so. I could also remove the base and attach the outriggers directly to botton of the main cabinet. But the III.A's have a downward firing (sub) woofer at the bottom of the cabinet. If I remove the base and install the outriggers, the distance from the woofer cone to a solid surface (the floor) will be a bit greater than the current distance from woofer to wooden base. Anyone have an opinion on which way to go?