How big is your listening room and how loud (in dBs) are you trying to comfortably achieve?
14 responses Add your response
For your specific needs you may be better off with a higher power amplifier
for your speakers ( or find an easier Speake to drive). There are certainly SS
or push pull amplifiers you may discover and love but they won't mimic a
good SET amplifier's strengths. It just depends on what you really want.
Your Wavac 300b is superb with an appropriate speaker match.All
amplifier topologies will have inherent strengths and inevitable limitations.
Amp-speaker pairing is definitely a marriage. I've heard the Esoteric A 100
and it didn't remind me of a SET at all, but it could be more suitable for what
you desire (thus the better choice). I suspect that the Tannoy line of
speakers varies and some models are easier loads to drive than others.
I attended a dealer demostration several years ago. The system was
Esoteric digital, their C-03 line stage and A 100 amplifier driving Wilson
Sashas. A variety of music was played and I listened for a good while. My
point is someone may or may not like the sound produced. It didn't sound
at all like what I'm accustomed to hearing with high quality SET set ups. It
was IMO drier, less fluid, less organic and mechanical sounding relatively
speaking. It lacked the life, emotion and vibrant presence of the SETs I've
experienced. However the Esoteric amp is more powerful and allow greater
flexibility in speaker choice. SETs really require the right matching
That's just me however and only reflects my taste, for what you want it
could be potentially ideal and preferable to your Wavac.
Your observations are very informative. Just to get some more idea, which Push-pull amps have you generally liked ? Please list some models please. Basically I am coming from a mixed background of solid state and pure SET amplification. I have not touched push-pull yet. I can easily relate to your SET reference. Have you heard any push pull amps which give you a similar sense of enjoyment as good SETs ?
Needless to say that my opinions are strictly based on personal
encountersand everyone's experience is unique. Prior to using my SET
amp I used a custom built PP amplifier (Response Audio Bella Extreme V
cap version) by Bill Baker (Purity Audio).This is a100 watt/60 watt triode
with 6550 or KT88. This and a friend's VAC Phi 300.1 were the best
sounding PP I've listened to compared to ARC, VTL, Quicksilver, Rogue etc.
What I came to realize is that regardless of the PP amplifier they just didn't
have the "thereness" presence or ultimate realism I get
convincingly with a proper SET -speaker match. In my case it was an easy
and in all probability permanent change. Of course your outcome may be
different from mine. I really enjoyed my Bella Exreeme PP amplifier until I
got the Frankenstein amplifier and directly compared them.
Based upon your comments I imagine you will be happier sticking with tube amps. Coincident, Atmasphere and David Berning all make not too expensive tube amps that can provide you with roughly 6dB more headroom. As a less costly alternative you might consider the Van Alstine Ultravalve 70. Keep us updated.
Charles, I have heard quite a few 845 tubes based amps, both SET and PP. They just dont make the grade for me. Yes, they have bone crunching dynamics and they sound big but they dont have the nuance and delicacy. Everything sounds blown up out of proportion, even voices sound unrealistic. Unfortunately I heard something similar even with Wavac 805 based models. Looks like some of these big tubes have been forced into audio.
I find it difficult to generalize due to the relatively wide range amongst products. Somec845 amps are better than others as is the case for 300b amps. Implementation seems to be the major factor in determining successful outcomes. I'm familiar with the Absolare and Viva 845 SETs and could be very happy with either. Other people have often touted the Audion Black Shadow as an excellent 845 amplifier. It's hard to avoid generalizations as we call only report what we've experienced. Pani it may be that given your speakers(and stated objectives) a PP amplifier might be what you're seeking? Your Wavac 300b is highly regarded but in your case it may not be ideal for your specific Tannoys.
From my current PP amp 35/ 25 wpc ( ultralinear / triode ) , In my next amp upgrade dream I have put as first choice : Lamm M1.1 which is a push pull hybrid amp with 90 wpc. I wonder if that would meet your needs , considering Lamm 's reputation it should be among the very best PP amps in its wattage rating .