Audio Research TUBE amps are often mated with the Vandersteens ... I think you would have to spend alot of money to signifacntly upgrade from the Belles if you are looking for a solid state amp
What is it about your Belles that you don't like? Change doesn't necessarily mean you're gonna like the change, no matter how much hope you have.
I agree with Jrinkerptdnet with regards to the Belles.How did you decide on 150 watts? Vandys do not require a lot of power. I have heard them with quicksilver amps and they sounded VERY good. 150 watts of tube power is expensive and probably unnecessary
Symphonic RG-1 or bigger brother,Gamut 200 MK I/II or Lamm M1.1s.What are your budget limitations??
CJ CA200 would be an excellent choice.
Another recommendation for Plinius (it's what I use with my 2Ce Signatures)...
Thanks for the suggestions. I returned to the Hi-Fi arena after a five year break and bought everything based on recommendations versus a listening test. My Belles equipment is very good but I didn't gain much low end control over the Rogue Cronus Integrated Tube amp, which was fantastic. Tubes to my ears seems to have a special quality that enhances the listening experience. After some serious listening, the equipment I have may be what I keep but I owe it to myself to something different.
I didn't care for Audio Research in the late 90's but will look into auditioning a SD-135,VS115 or a Bat. I'd love to hear any other you come up with.
vandies are designed around arc(tube) and pse(solid state). it is too bad pse isnt making amps anymore.
i would suggest herron, belles.
I think you would be hard pressed to do better than the Quicksilver V4s to match up with the VSs. I think Richard used them for many years. I think they are 120 watts with the KT88s - that is a lot of tube power. But, I do think you already have pretty darn good equipment.
The Belles 150A Reference is tough to beat. In my system, it took $10,000 Pass Labs amps to do it, and the difference was subtle (but worth the price to me).
I'm assuming you're running monoblocks?
The monoblock suggestions is a good one, not sure why, but I think the Belles in mono put out 4x the power than in stereo. I guess I just think you've got something good and I'm not I would make the amp change. If I were you and the room permits, I think you would really "move up" by upgrading the 3A speakers, that I think would be an unquestioned upgrade.
Thanks for your advice, you've nailed down what I already felt, just needed some encouragement I guess. I have considered upgrading to the Quatros and that's what I may actually do.
That sounds like a really good move, at least before considering an amp change, it will be a big change for the better in almost every way. If you do look to make a change down the road on electronics, you might want to consider the Ayre gear which has sound really good with the VS speakers at shows.
I'm using a single 150A Ref amp, wished I two, that's some serious power!
Two will make an audible difference.
They can sometimes be found used for around $1500 or less.
Thanks guys, I've picked up a 350A Ref! :o). Can't wait to hear the difference.