Have ~$10-12k...what would you do?


Currently run:
-Melody SP3 (heavily rolled with Winged C 6l6's, NOS RCA triple plate ax7's, NOS RCA clear top au7a's, and have switched between either JJ 6922 or GE ecc88's)
-Graham Slee Era Gold Mk V
-VPI TNT IV with SDS
-Benz H2 Wood Body cart
-Warfedale Jade 5's (87db, 6ohms)

Listen to: Folk, singer-songwriter, jazz, alt-co, and some rock.  Lately been into early 1900's gospel, 60's/70's funk, New Orleans swing.

Thinking I would like to go with Triode...300b is tempting, but options open obviously. 

Just got a complete bargain on the speakers, so will hold on to these for a short bit and upgrade later.  Thinking ATC, Harbeth, KEF, Wilson amongst others, but that can be a different discussion. 

Looking to change up my Melody.  Had it for nearly 10 years, been a good trooper with multiple moves, etc, but time to step it up a bit.  

I have about $10-12k for components and really would love some input on a couple options. 

I've gone everywhere from just doing a better integrated and maybe saving some money (Primaluna HP, Octave, VAC sigma) to separates to mono's (VAC, C-J, Cary, Manley, Rogue, and a few others).  Don't mind used in the least.

I have the chance to purchase some VAC Ren 30/70 monos for about $6500.  These are very tempting, but I know the VAC pre's are rare to appear and unsure of other pre's to match up well. 

If you had my budget, what would you choose, configure, etc.  I've read great things (some better than others) of each of the aforementioned components, 

Thanks to all. 

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Coincident 211PP Dragon MkII monoblocks $11,000
http://www.coincidentspeaker.com/mpsip_amps.html

Output Power: 75w (Triode) / Push-Pull Class A
Output Impedance: 8ohm,16ohm
Frequency Response: 20hz-20khz ±1db
T.H.D.: <1%, 20hz-20khz (Ref. Output)
Input Sensitivity: 1v
Input Impedance: 100kohm (Rca)
S/N: >90db
Tubes: (6EM7×1, 300B×1, 211×2) / Channel
Power Requirement: Ac 115v Or 230v±5% 50/60hz (Selectable)
Dimension: 11.5 W x 20.5 D x 10 H
Gross Weight: 41 Kgs
Net Weight: 38.5 Kgs
Thanks for sending along..unfortunately leaves no budget for a pre... their 300b monks are tempting, but could they drive my speakers at 87db?
Then check out the Doge 8 LP preamp and Doge 9 monoblocks.

Very good value for the pair, ~$5,500, depending on which tubes you choose:
http://www.doge.audio/products/tube-power-amps/doge-9-pab/

Review:
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/doge-9-listening-experience
Get a pair of used Magico S1 big upgrade.
I'll take a looks at the doge, seems like quite a nice price point if indeed they perform around others at twice the price! 

EBM, I'll add the magico to my list of speakers down the road... would like to change out the amp and pre first... thanks! 
Phaun16,
I have the Coincident 300b SET amplifier. Yes,it’s an excellent music maker but I wouldn’t recommend it for your 87 db speakers. I’d suggest the Coincident Turbo 845 SET (5500.00), Line Magnetic 219ia 845, (7500.00) or the Line Magnetic 508ia 805 tubed amplifier.(5500.00). These 3 will provide you IMO a fabulous SET amplifer experience with suitable power. All three are intergrated but can also be usedc as straight power amplifiers if desired. These are very well built/implemented serious purposed amplifiers with excellent owner feedback. My 300b (Frankenstein MK II) requires an easy load and higher sensitivity speaker match in order to perform at its best.
Charles
Phaun16,
You mentioned the VAC REN amplifier and I am familiar with them. It is a terrific amplifier that is 300b push pull rather than SET, I believe  you must decide what type of sound/ direction you really want, this is important. The VAC REN will be different from the SETs I have suggested, both choices are superb for your preferred music taste (all genres actually). Amplifiers like the Edge you mentioned are fine but will take your in a different direction. What type of sound character are you after? Of course amplifier dictates speaker and vice versa is true. 
Charles
That Vac 30/70 is one hell of an amp….. I had a pair on loan, and played them on my Vandy 5A’s. Talk about a fleshed out, reach out and touch, gorgeous midrange. Unfortunately, they were just borderline in their ability to drive the Vandy’s. I also heard a 70/70 mk 3 with Kharma speakers that were 91db, and that was a nice comfortable drive for the Ren amp. The 30/70’s were signatures btw. Have you thought about a LOMC, and step up in front of your Graham Slee. That’s supposed to be an excellent phono stage. Maybe the LM 508i a like Charles suggested, and then address your phono. I’m not familiar with your speaker, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt. Cheers -Don

If you are open to an integrated, you might want to try a Raven Audio Reflection MKII, which is in your price range.  I've heard Raven on your genres and IMO may be a great match.  The imaging, sound stage, vocals, and instruments sound incredible to me.  And all the Raven kit are just beautiful to look at.

https://www.ravenaudio.com/Reflection-MK2-Integrated-Amplifier_p_12.html
Have you addressed your listening room yet? Without dialing that in, I wouldn't spend a dime on a new component.
Get Mastersound Evolution 845 integrated amp. USA tube audio markets them in the States (I bought mine form them). Its got 55 watts of 845 pure single ended triode power. Very few amps can touch their quality of sound at any price. Granted 845 tubes are expensive, but should last for few years. Its A reference quality amp. As long as you listening room is not much larger than 250 sq feet, you should do just fine..... Also, Their dealer may suggest Ayon amps as an alternative, but while Ayon amp sound ok, the Evo 845 is much more refined and reliable, as few audiophile of my acquaintance have owned them for the last 10 years and no one has wanted to upgrade, unless to the Mastersound monoblocks...
Thanks all for the input.

Regarding the SET vs. Push pull.. I know this is a big question to answer. I love both sounds, though seems the push pull triode may be a bit more encompassing perhaps...I mean if I only listened to acoustic music and jazz, I would be thinking SET; but worry about when I listen to some rock, funk, jazz with a little deeper bass/percussion. I guess always worried about SET with speakers. I know my speakers will be upgraded in the next year or so.

As for sound direction. I used to record live music quite extensively so bringing back that experience of soundstaging, imaging, depth would be nice. I would love to feel more enveloped and at ease when listening..sometimes I feel I"m straining or getting fatigued. I admit that even my setup now does have a rather distinct soundstage that drastically improved with the tube rolling. I would prefer a nice midrange, warm, fluid; solid yet tempered bass/low end that isn’t overtly muddy, and with high end, would love improvement on the grain and sibilance that occurs some with my setup. I would love to be able to adjust the volume and feel everything more developed in the sound, right now as the volume increases, the vocals can become overbearing and the tonal balance doesn’t quite pan out as well.

Great suggestions, as I have looked at the Line Magnetic line and been tempted by this one. The Raven looks mighty fine as well.

With the Vandy 5a’s being 87db as well as mine, that’s a bit concerning if the VAC 30/70 couldn’t drive those well. Though I would love to end up with a VAC setup.

I have thought about a LOMC and step up with the Slee.  However, I also ponder if I go with a LOMC, would I just change the phono stage all together given the step-up is about 2k.  I just did have the Benz H2 retipped which is another reason of maybe going this route later (probably even after the speaker change)

Any thoughts on Cary 805’s and the SLP05?

Regarding my room. It is 11x18; set up in the rule of thirds, with listening position at the front 1/3. The rear of the room I have my desk and workstation for my recording studio space, which is tucked in 2 closets in the back of the room. The electronics are set up in a bay window/turret with the speakers in front. The speakers are aperiodic loaded and the woofers fire down so rear setup isn’t as finicky. I am draping the windows of the bay, adding pillows along with bay sitting area and trying to figure out a place for a bass trap. The first reflection points are where my record shelves are. I have ordered panels for my second reflection point and the rear walls/doors of the closets where the recording equipment is. Wood floor, covered with a large persian area rug.
I think you'd be better off with a P/P amp with your speakers. According to Stereophile, the Wharfdales play mostly between 3-4 ohms which is not SET friendly.  I wouldn't hesitate to go with even a bit more than your Onix at 50-75 watts. A Jadis I50 is in your price range for example. You can also reach out to Hugh @ Melody and see what he recommends - great guy and product line.


Two things with that kind of money and taste in music:
1) https://www.audiogon.com/listings/full-range-devore-fidelity-orangutan-093-complete-accessories-2017...

2)http://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649322189-pure-sound-m845-set-mono-blocks/
phaun16 not sure where you're located but I would recommend giving Vu at Deja Vu Audio a call   http://dejavu-audio.com/index.html   they are in Mclean VA just outside DC. Vu specializes in tubed gear and analog and has the best ears of anyone I've ever met. Their current designer Aldo is a genius and is turning out some stunning gear. No affiliation just a happy customer running Deja Vu pre and power amps. Good luck on your quest and happy listening!
I would spend about about 3-4,000... and save the rest.   I would invest in a high end power conditioner. (like and Audience Adept)  For, more money does not get you better, unless what you already have, is being made the best it can be.
My impression is that the Pure Sound M845 is a very good quality SET amplifier. I do agree with Keithr that certain speakers are likely better served being driven by a solid state or push pull tube amplifier. The Jadis I 50 is a very good recommendation for the type of speaker under consideration. 
Charles 
Look at the Linear Tube MicroZOTL2 used as a preamp (it is also a headphone amp.) I just took home a demo and it is amazing. It is the David Berning design. The tonality and imaging is amazing. It compares favorably to preamps above your budget level and it is under 2k!
I rolled Tung sol round plates in it and it really sang. My wife is a professional musician and she even noticed. Read Terry London's review because it is spot on. The Doge is great for the price but this is even better. The Linear Tube amps are great also but microZOTL used as a preamp is amazing! Mine is on order and I hated to give back my demo! 

It is my opinion that audio companies are seeing the writing on the wall and putting their best designs into headphone gear because of younger generations preferences. There is another headphone amp where it's preamp section sounds better than their 18k statement preamp. The statement is being updated for this reason. Good luck on your search!
Buy something great. For example a great pair of speakers or an amp, and then get your next target. Buy something that you believe will be ok for you for the next 15 years!
Just been thinking a bit about your situation. If you want to keep your current speakers, it pretty much rules SETs out because of their low power output. To go with those speakers means to get the best out of them on their own terms. Also, I agree with hiendplay’s sentiment that it’s nice to get something special. So, here’s a combo that will play those speakers like nothing else can, and look good doing it. They’re also uncommon, but since they’re made in north american they’re easy to service should they ever need it:

The preamp: http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649315971-blue-circle-bc303dwbblockq-fully-balanced-dual-mono...
(You’ll pay about $1500 less than asking because they’re in Canadian $$$)

And the matching amps:
http://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649318813-blue-circle-audio-4-chassis-monoblock-power-amplifier/
I would say that low power 300b SET amplifiers like mine are not a suitable match.  I suspect that the Line Magnetic 508ia with its 805 output tubes providing 48 watts coupled with very stout power supply design and high quality output transformer is a very viable option. These type of rugged amplifiers with high quality watts often outperform their specifications when simply viewing them on paper. No doubt that the Blue Circle amplifier is a worthy option as well. 
Charles 
In my experience and observations, most preamplifiers are pretty bad sounding and many are noisy and/or have poor channel separation or other issues.  I am not singling out any particular preamps.
I can with all confidence tell you that the best preamplifier available today regardless of price or reviews is the Southerland Engineering N1. It has Ron Sutherlands best line stage and his finest phono stage in one elegant package. Complete freedom to select any phono cartridge.
It is completely dual mono. The N1 has no real sound character of it's own but lets you hear everything just the way it is supposed to be.
Mate this with your amplifier of choice and you will rejoice in your choice!
Happy hunting,
Steve

Buy Apple stock 
Forget the recommendation for Doge8. I have one with upgraded tubes etc. While it is a bargain for an ok line stage and so-so phono stage, for not much more, you can get a Vincent SA-T8. A massive step-up over the Doge8. Most "musically involving" Pre I've heard up to double it's RRP. You'd have to spend a truckload more to better it. That'll leave you plenty for a nice Phono and Power Amps.

Here’s a thought.

First go ahead and get a good subwoofer (or two).

I just picked up a couple of SVS SB-13 Ultras in piano gloss for $1,000 each. I have preliminarily put them in the corners of my front wall and I now have a panoramic soundstage and as much bass punch as I want.

With a wall to wall bass foundation, you can go hog wild on any [300B/211/845] SET amp/speakers of choice, because it/they won't be required for any bass reproduction duties.

@initforthemusic 
There appears to be no SA-T8 -- do you mean SA-T7?  Ive been looking a lot online for comments from users on the Doge8 which is now called Doge8 Clarity.  It seems to be having more PR  than what the Vincent is getting for whatever that is worth.   How is your experience been this far ahead in the time line?
Give it to Fidelity and grow your money by 18%
@skiroe
The SA-T8 has been replaced by the SA-T7. I havn't heard the SA-T7 personally, but a friend has heard both and prefers the SA-T8. I find it puzzling that the SA-T8 is a fully balanced Pre. and Vincent chose to replace it with the SA-T7 which is single ended. I havn't heard a Pre at up to double the SA-T8's RRP that betters it, once you upgrade the rubbish tubes that it's supplied with. You might get lucky and find one.

I have had some real success in getting much improved performance from the Doge 8 and have now revised my opinion of it. The Silver Litz RCA's I am now using with it now have upped it's performance dramatically. While I find the Doge 8 much improved it still doesn't quite match the SA-T8 in musical invovlement. The downside with the Doge 8 is the lack of soft start and if you're not careful you can get a big "thwack" through your Speakers.

Good luck in your search.


Thats interesting intoitforthemusic.   Out of curiosity  re/balanced as there is so much controversy on whether it makes much of a difference unless one is running 40 foot cables or so..  Is the SA-T8 true balanced?   Vincent may have deleted that as to maintain price level.    I am running a Sonic Frontiers line1 with recommended upgrades by PartsConx   --just a simple chip upgrade in the volume control if I recall correctly and some cap upgrades.    So,  a bit hesitant to think I can get that much improvement over a preamp that would cost probably around 5k in todays money.   But,  I like playing around so to speak and have been behaving lately so trying a new preamp that supposedly is something else would be a fun thing.   The thump at turn off is not something that I like to have in my system though.   
@stringreen,    as in money market?      18%?   


"I've gone everywhere from just doing a better integrated and maybe saving some money (Primaluna HP, Octave, VAC sigma) to separates to mono's (VAC, C-J, Cary, Manley, Rogue, and a few others). Don't mind used in the least."

phaun16-
Off topic, but if you're  serious about playing records,I would step up the phono stage with a serious tube unit. Your present amp,  and all the other setups you had, are not presenting your favorite albums in their best light.

The Graham is nice, but obviously will not have the tube vibe, which you have with your Melody. 

For the kind of scratch you're prepared to spend, a used $4-6K killer phono stage and a new Lyra, Koetsu...whatever would satisfy 
the itch, until you're ready for speakers.





Posts???
Where did they go?
I'll try again.

@skiroe 

The SA-T8 is fully balanced. The SA-T7 has a built in Dac, so it appears Vincent have put out an all rounder rather than a dedicated Pre-Amp. I am familiar with Sonic Frontiers. The 2 box Pre. I think SFL-2. Nice and a quality product. However I prefer the SA-T8. Just has more of that elusive magic, great Pre-Amps have.

Pity about the start up issue with the Doge 8. Could potentially damage Speakers if you lapse in concentration.