We can build you a tube amplifier optimized for your speakers. If you would like to learn more please contact me at my email
We can provide quality tube amps at reasonable prices; they are good values although not inexpensive. I am listening to one of our SET 300b amps right now and it is as good as any Kondo amp I've ever auditioned (Kassai, Shinri, Ongaku).
Ten watts is ten watts....no matter what people say about it.
In your case, with the Harbeths, it simply is not enough power. The Plinius is 5X's the power of the tube amp. Harbeth
recommends a decent 100 watts for best results with that speaker. I'm not surprised they sound better with the Plinius as I wouldn't be surpried with any number of real good 50 to 100 watt amps with those. It's pretty simple....go listen to a few 50 to 100 watt tube amps and then some good solid state amps in the same power range; see which flavor you prefer, then buy the one you like the best! Happy hunting.
I recently listened at length to my friends Harbeth C7's using a modified Cary
SLM70 (50 watts in triode and 70 watts in pentode). In his moderately sized
rooms with high ceilings this seemed enough tube power to me (in either
mode). They are of the most laid back speakers I've ever listened to, but
really have a nice, detailed midrange that seems very revealing. I liked them
very much overall, but they are a bit too laid back for my preferences. He
also had a Odyssey Stratos (180 watts of SS power). I have heard them with
this amp, but did not do any comparisions this time. Peter claims the sound
excellent with that amp. I've heard it in another (less optimized) room and it
did sound quite good with the extra power, but I have to say the tubes
sounded great in his treated room. I'll refer him to the thread and perhaps he
can chime in with more thorough input as he's had them a while now and has
tried them with several different systems.
I left Marco to his wiles at my house and he explored the Harbeths with the Cary amps. I haven't even listened to that combination yet! He's a tenacious experimenter... I'll have to do that. I have heard them with other tube amps though, and with the Odysee Stratos dual mono. I think they sound great with the Odysee - very warm and involving. I heard them at CES with a Plinius 102 amp (I think that's the model, it was new 2-3 years ago. I thought that combination was excellent - it sold me on the speakers. Word is that more power is better with those - over 100 SS, better 150-200. Let us know what you come up with.
All the Best, Peter
Thanks, guys. I know the Air Tight is only 10wts but it's done some amazing things in my small room including driving 85db Spendor 3/5s. Of course, the amp has those massive Tamura trannies which gives it quite a wide bandwidth.
However, I also know it does not push a lot of current and that's what the Harbeths seem to need. I was just wondering if anyone had a specific tube amp that properly drove them like the Cary. I'm also checking out Quicksilver V4s which at 120 tube wts should work pretty good.
I do have to say that after listening last night for about 2 hours the Plinuis makes some excellent music so I've decided I'm in no hurry. I still miss those tubes and trannies, though.
I had good luck driving a pair of HL5s with an ASL 1001, Granite Audio 861 monos, and Primaluna Prologue 1. All of these put out 30-40 triode watts. The Harbeths are easier to drive than their specs would suggest. KT88s, in particular, seem to balance well with the somewhat laid-back Harbeth sound. Would be surprised if the 10W 300B would be enough.
stick with ss for the harbeths. all bbc monitors and offshoots are perfectly matched for ss. just ask someone at the bbc
I've been told that the Radial driver, as used in the C7, requires quite a bit of current to work properly. This was told to me by someone at the Harbeth distributor but I can't remember who. How did the Granite Audion in particular work? I've been interested in them since deciding a few months ago to try something other than the SETs I've using for the last 7 1/2 years. I wonder if a 40-50 SET would also work?
Tomryan- The Harbeth's never really struck me as all that hard to drive with tubes (my current Usher CP 6371s seem like a tougher load). Other than Plinius 9200 and a Jungson JA88C, never tried any other solid state- maybe something like Bryston would give a different perspective.
The Granite Audio monos are excellent- I have a pair of the 861s upgraded to what they are now calling the 864 model. Nice build quality. They have a well-balanced sound- neutral in a good way. Fast, very detailed, good bass, and touch of midrange warmth, but still tansparent. They work well driven direct by a source, but I recently added a Dehavilland Ultra preamp, which has made a definite positive improvement.
I was considering the 7ESs and heard that the Audiomat Arpege(tube, push pull) is a good match, 50 w/ch i think, and also the Naim NAC 112/ NAP150 is even a better match(ss, 50w/ch also
An excellent solid state amp that goes reasonably and is very, very good is a Spectral DMA50 and DMA80. Wonderful solid state amps with great bass and a wonderful midrange and highs.
I would recommend the Leben HiFi CS 600 Integrated valve amplifier ( 32 watts Push Pull) or the Leben CS 660P stereo amplifier (40 Watts Push Pull) to match with the Harbeth C7ES-3.
As a more power valve option I would recommend the Air Tight ATM-2 stereo Push Pull valve amplifier at 80 watts a channel in to 8 ohms.
Push Pull valve amplifiers are a better match with Harbeth speakers than Single Ended Triode designs.
Harbeth audio distributor in New Zealand.
The ARC vsi60 is great with the 7's.
For less money the Naim Nait 5 is amazing.
Disagree with using Leben. Boring. Pair the Leben 600 with Harbeth 5's, that's another story. Wonderful.
All about the synergy.
Have used a Mac 275 and Mesa Baron with great results on my compact 7s.
Anything goes with the c7es3 s. They are not that choosy.
For tube amplification, Rogue Audio has several options that should drive Harbeths very nicely.
I would personally also look at SS amps to drive Harbeths. My immediate options would be McIntosh, Bryston, McCormack, Plinius, and Rowland among a few others. My suspicion is I might not need to look beyond the Bryston B100SST which would provide a very simple system with analog/computer sources.
If you like the SA50, I'd try to track down one of it's larger siblings for an audition
My 2 cents, YMMV.