Hall of Fame: BIGGEST BADDEST Monster Amps

There have been a lot of posts on:

"tube amps with balls"
"amps to drive my 1 ohm, inefficient speakers"
"amps for rock and roll"
"Levinson, Krell, Bryston, Pass Labs etc"
"sounds more powerful than its rating suggests"
"despite low rating, puts out huge current" etc.

But I somehow find these threads divergent and confusing and still cant seem to short list a new set of monoblocks to biamp (low end) and COMMAND my Magneplanar Tympanis, fill up a large room with EFFORTLESS dynamics and CONTROL the bass with no debates, questions, reservations or tweaky failures.

So let's please hear your thoughts:

What are the all time, hall of fame, MONSTER power amps, where there should be no doubt whatsover about HUGE amounts, of effortlessly dynamic, clean, smooth, audiophile power.

I have to think that for the low end of biamping, this should be a solid state amp, unless someone can really suggest an unusually robust and low maintenance tube amp.

Mark Levinson 20.6?
Pass X-600's?
Bryston 7 B monoblocks?
Parasound monoblocks?

Thank you.
Sounds like you are asking about vertical biamping? So, you are looking for 4 mono blocks? Why not just get a Theta Dreadnaught and use 4 of it's channels or 250 watts each to vertical bi-amp? It would probably equal all of the mono blocks you listed for a lot less money.
If not, and you are talking about just "normal" bi-amping. I would take any of the bigger ARC mono blocks over the ones you have listed. But, there is a cost factor.
Krell Master Reference Amp Monoblocks
Musical Fidelity kW Monoblocks
PassLabs X1000
Edge Reference
I'd have to say:

Solid State: Pass X-1000

Tube: VTL Wotan MB-1250 Reference

I'd need a much larger room to look into either of these monsters!

You've already got a pretty good list above, but you might also want to consider the McCormack DNA-500.
That's easy. McIntosh MC1201 monoblocks. Simple, direct, bulletproof, Amazon power flow and almost triode-like revelation and relaxed demeanor.

And then there's this:


That is, if you have room for a total of 6 boxes to get 2000 wrms per amp, with 8000 watts peak.


In it's day it was quite an amp
Sim Audio Rocks.

For tube maybe the Rogue Zues?
Rainbow Electronics 800 watt tube mono's made here in Sacramento.
Rowland Model 9t.
Wavac 350k tube mono's.
Levinson 436 is a superb amplifier. Probably one of the best at $12,000. Beyond this surely the 33h and 33 qualify!
Another amp I have lots of experience with the Krell KSA-250!
if you can find one.... NRG
In 1970, in Edmonds, Washington, Bob Carver launched the Phase Linear 700 power amplifier. The hum and noise figures were better than 100 dB below the 350 watt per channel output. For short bursts into low impedance loads, this amp could approach 2K watts!

It came out when rock music was the rave, when low sensitivity speakers like the B&W 70 and AR LST were popular, and when you could get high voltage transistors at a reasonable price. It was a breakthrough amp providing super power at low cost ($599).

This is a must for the Hall of Fame.
Why not pick up a Levinson to match the one you have? The old Krell Ksa-300's have (I think) 5kva transformer so it fits the hall of fame as a stereo amp.

The Krell mono MDA-500's must also be up there in the mix I'd guess...ie, two 4.5 kva transformers.

You do have dedicated 20A circuts don't you?

How about Great American Sound's Godzilla mono power amp? It put out over a kilowatt into a 2 ohm load. I saw one at a hi fi show in the late '70s and my memory is that the Godzilla needed a 220v AC line, like a big window air conditioner. Unfortunately GAS only made a couple of dozen of them and most went to members of the Grateful Dead who used Godzillas in their backline. Bob Weir used something like 4 of them on stage.
You asked for it...

Can anyone comment more specifically on the Levinson 20.6 amps?

Or the Pass 600's?

Any other famous monsters?
"Monster" amps should be those that are not current limited into real world loads.

The only amps made that have the ability to double current into halved impedances are those solid-state-of-the-art pieces made by Levinson and Krell. And Krell does it biased as Class A.

Rowland, McCormick, Pass, Theta and others don't do it.

Which models do you consider "state of the art" for induction into the "monster" hall of fame?
Why not the Gryphons? They are some of the biggest and BADDEST!!!
Of those currently available, two I would vote for include:

Levinson 33H monoblocks
Krell 750cx monoblocks
Parasounds are lightweight compared to the monsters mentioned above. If I had to choose one it would be the Gryphons, those things are... well, monsters!

But my Classe Omicron weighs almost three hundred pounds.
Burmester 909
Boulder 2050
Jadis JA800
McIntosh MC2KW
The Yamaha MX10000. Rock solid, solid state powerhouse amp employing some of the highest quality components available at the time (late 70's-very early 80s). Built like a tank. No coloration of the sound. NONE. Simply pure power. I owned MX10000 /CX10000 combination some years back and am SO sorry I let these go. I was driving 3 pair of McIntosh XR-7 Isoplanar Radiator loudspeakers (8ohm), each pair paired with a McIntosh MQ107 Environmental Equalizer. The Mac's really drink up the power in order to really drive the base but boy, the Yamaha had no trouble at all. With the 3 pairs of speakers running simultaneously I was readily able to push the OHM switch on the Yamaha to move from 8ohm to 4ohm for even more distoration free, driving power. I did not venture too often in the the 2ohm range that the Yamaha offered via the switch. I did and do listen to ALL categories of music and found no shortcomings from the Yamaha with any of them. This includes running the amp at very low volumes where I found NO loss of detail and the base still managing to punch me in the breastbone. And hey, this was before the use of the higher quality speaker and interconnect cables hit the scene.
I still have two pair of the XR-7s being driven by a Yamaha MX1000U /CX1000U combination and it sounds terrific (the air moves my trousers when I really crank it up on a more base-laden soundtrack).
For some reason the solid state Yamaha's of yesteryear are overlooked by serious audiophiles. I figure, great, helps keep the price down.
If anyone knows of an MX10000 for sale I kindly invite you to contact me.
Probably blashpemy, but why not one or two Crown K2's to run the low end?

S/N ratio >100dB
Damping factor >3000

500w/ch @ 8
800w/ch @ 4
1250w/ch @ 2

1600w bridged @ 8
2500w bridged @ 4

All stable/continuous power ratings...

Not saying it's the baddest, because Crown also made a 10kW amp, but it required a 3-phase power circuit.
Here's another pair of big tube amps,

Tube Research GT800

4 Chassis, 1240 pounds and a bargain at $140,000.00 :^).

I thought about Crown briefly, in particular the Crown "macro reference" which was monstrously powerful, but also had a bit of an audiophile reputation.

But I never heard one, and it mysteriously disappeared from the ratings as well as the audiophile scene.

So I dont know if they are really worthy of our hall of fame discussion here.
classe cam 350's.... finess with incredible current.... steal at the price imo....( i might be a bit biased since i own a pair)...

btw, muse monos are pretty good too...
Cwlondon, perhaps not. But I think often gear that does not have a certain name is usually deemed unworthy by audiophiles.

However, one thing that occurs to me is that reproducing "live" sound in the home is sometimes referred to as a goal. The point is that pretty much any live sound that is amplified is almost certainly amplified by pro audio amps such as Crown; not Levinson, Krell, or Halcro, et al.

You make a reasonable point, but this brings to mind one of the creators of the "high end" industry, Harry Pearson aka HP of the Absolute Sound.

When that magazine had more integrity than it has today, the "absolute sound" was the benchmark for our "goal".

And it was defined not simply as live, but as the sound of live UNAMPLIFIED music in open space.

An update on this thought could easily create a thread of its own, but philosophically, the high end goal has never really prioritized the recreation of the live sound that you might get from stacks of Crown amps, for example.

You might also find it interesting to know that some live, amplified bands, who were well known for masterful production and great sound, actually did use audiophile brands.

Weather Report apparently used stacks of Levinson amps and put on an amazing show, although that was just slightly before my time so others might have more detail.
One word. Boulder.
Here's one more for you....Audire Otez. A very over looked hand built monster amplifier with 16 pairs of bipolars per channel. Weighing in at 85lbs and pumping 800 wpc into 2 ohms.The company has been around for over 30 years. I've seen these units go for as little as $1200..which is an absolute steal!!! One of the best kept secrets in quality and extreme power.The b&w pictures on the site don't do these amplifiers justice.
MBL's of course! The MBL 9011 are Mono's with 5000W; dimensions 480 x 320 x 870mm.
Denon POA S1 mono amps.
These amps were massive and awesome sounding.
The Absolute sound rated them as one of the best amps ever.
Here's a pic of the Denon.

The Gamut S300 is a monster amp.
Here's a pic.
In this case big is beautiful.
Atma-Sphere MA-3 OTL ... 475 watts of pure Class A, Triode, OTL exuberance!

from: http://www.atma-sphere.com/products/ma3.html
I own a simaudio Limited Edition, best power amp for the money.
tango tilingo

do you mean this:


nice looking amp....
Threshold SA 12e
Threshold SA 4e
Krell KSA 250
Rowland 8ti
The pics Twilon posted above is not of a POA-S1, but of a POA-S10, which is very less impressive in terms of size, finishes and performances.

Here is a pics of two POA-S1:

I've owned and used the Denon POA S1 and compared it to Atma-Spher MA Mk3.1 tube amp for six months before I could decide which amps I wanted to keep. I chose the Atma-Sphere but would go back to the POA S1 any time. 235wpc effortless and especially good for the low end. A truly remakable amp.
CAT's! My Levinson 336 went bye bye after a very brief comparison with CAT JL1 mono's. When compared to my Levinson, the CAT's absolutely controlled my Soundlab M1's and at "only" 100w/ch vs the Levinson at 350w/ch.
How about the new McIntosh monoblocks. I have seen them only in pics, they look powerful.
For me it would definetly be my Levinson 336. It's quite a step up from my Linn 5125 (which itself is not a bad amp).

I love this thing!
I had a HUGE Altec 9440 amp connected on my pretty inefficient spendor BC3. When I would play it full blast, the huge level meter would barely oscilate! Never seen anything like that. It felt like it had no power limitation. And it sounded really well too. But it was a bit heavy to move... 56 pounds!
they have to be denon pao s1 or boulder 2000 serie mono block amps
The Karan monoblocks that pump out 1200 watts with a damping factor that is above the measureable ( 10,000)theoretical limit.No other amp can control a speaker the way it Karan !!
I'm lovin' my McCormack DNA-500. Tons of power when called for, lightning fast without being edgy, but can be incredibly delicate and detailed when the music calls for it.
The Tower superstore in Vegas used to have the full Denon(including the mono amps)set-up in a semi-private room.
what about the crown MA10000. 10.000 watts

http://www.crownaudio.com/crntime.htm 1987
I'll throw the following into the fray:

Gryphon Antilean Monoblocks (175W-Class A)
Boulder 2050 Monoblocks (1000W-Class A/B)
Classe Omega Monoblocks (500W-Class A/B)
Karan Acoustics Monoblocks (1500W-Class A/B)
May be not hall of fame but Bryston 28b sst is defiantly a monster also Krell's FPB 600.