Going to try a tube integrated.


This past week I was traveling on business and I ran across a audio dealer that sold Focal speakers. They happened to have a pair of Focal Sopra 3s connected to a Octave v80se integrated tube amplifier. Since these are the speakers I own, I had to sit down and listen. I was really impressed with the laid back presentation and nice warmth in the mids. I’ve always been a solid state guy.

So since then I have been thinking of getting a tube integrated amp a try. Another Focal dealer today told me that the VAC sigma 170i is a terrific match with the Sopra 3s as well, however, that particular dealer is not close so it is not easy for me to hear the speakers with that particular amp.

Is there anyone that can give me some advice on this? Thoughts on the VAC sigma 170i vs the Octave V80se? This is my first foray in to tubes so I don’t have a lot of experience.

Thanks!
rshad0000
If the VAC Sigma 170i sounds anything like the Phi 200 power amp, it will sound full bodied with a solid bass foundation, but lacking on transparency, sparkle and air in the mids and highs.  I liked the Phi 200 with classical, jazz and blues, but found it lacking with female vocals and midrange magic.  I'd be more inclined to search for a vintage VAC Avatar or Avatar Super with quality EL34 tubes... its a classic amp with a cult following for its midrange magic!  If I ever go back to an integrated, the Avatar will be on my short list.

I've not heard any Octave products, but if you found the synergy to be exceptional with your speaker,  keep it on your short list.  Other tube integrated brands to consider:  Line Magnetic, Cayin, Prima Luna and Jadis.
I currently have a Gryphon Diablo 300, which I love.   I use it for home theater and listening to two channel.   I don’t plan on getting rid or replacing it.  Just looking for a different sound occasionally.

I do like female vocals so, pdreher, your comments are interesting.  That is what I liked about the Octave that I listened to.
 Good for you. It’s an exciting journey. I’ve use the Viva Solosta which is a robust and full sounding integrated but a total space heater. I’m now use the Trafomatic 300B integrated with Sophia Blue tubes and it sounds wonderful on my Trenner & Fried RA loudspeakers.   If you can try before you buy, that’s optimal. Try and find a dealer who can allow you that luxury. 
If you can find a Primaluna to demo do it. I currently run the Primaluna Dialogue HP with KT150s. Awesome amp! Powerful and tight bass and mids that are very close to the EL34s. 
One of the best things I ever did...