Not really familiar with any of the amps you have listed ... some of my favorites in the same "used" price category are as follows (in no order):
1. Krell KSA50s
2. Plinius SA50 Mk III
3. BEL 1001 Mk IV
4. Rowland Model 1
First three are 50w/ch, Rowland is 60w so they are all less wattage than any of the amps you mentioned. All of the above are VERY good even by todays standards, and in my opinion, are some of the best ss amps ever manufactured (at least of those I have heard).
Trust your ears, if you can't hear these in your system, you might as well buy whatever is on the goldenarse award list.
I use to own a Classe amp matched a Classe pre-amp and used Harmonic Tech cables throughout. The sound was amazing and far from fatiguing. You don't seem to mention any tubes so am just going to throw one in there. I own a Golden tube SE40 that is great and is a legendary piece.
I've heard wonderful things about the McCormack DNA-1 and the fact that the amp can be upgraded by Steve McCormack himself, is something to consider. This amp is supposed to be very good and I've heard people rave about them even more after they have them upgraded. I do agree with Jbello, trust your ears. The best way to evaluate them is in your own system, but if you can't, try them in the shops and take all the variables into consideration when making your decision.......John
I agree with Jbello but since you asked, I would pick the Classe CA200 because it has a wonderfully warm sound to it. the McCormack DNA125 is leaner, like the Krell (I had a KSA100 for a while) and I don't enjoy it as much as Classe. Jeff Rowland is very nice too but more expensive in general than your list (or less power). Same goes for the McIntosh MC202 - a very sweet and rich sounding amp. Depends what type of sound you like though. Some people like it leaner - listen to whatever you can in your own system and decide for yourself. Arthur
The Classe,..on the used market, most everything they make is a value...and sound like music.
I sometimes quite confused by watts and current. Which one should I look into to determined how well can an amp handle speakers? What happen to amps that do not go down to 2ohm?
can they give good bass? at what frequency range a speaker will dip into 2Ohm? I'm using a Hales Revelation2. 6ohm 86db
acoustic suspention design 3 way with 8" woofer. Driving these are Electrocompaniet ECi3. Class A 70W @8, 120W @4,
160W @2. Source is Cary 303.
I've had a Classe CA 200 for about 6 maybe 7 years with no disire to move on, surround it with reference level components and cables and it gets better. The ca 200 doubles down to 400 at 4 ohms, I drive Thiel 3.6's to loud levels with no strain or congestion.
There is no clear spec for knowing how an amp handles a certain speaker. The relationship between power and current is Power = voltage * current, so it depends on the voltage which is where marketing comes in. How the power is measured is also dictated by marketing. All you can do is make a "rough" approximation of what an amp can do with the power rating. For your speaker specs, I would say look into 200W or more. How do you feel your ECI3 does - is it weak? Perhaps you don't need much power - depends on your preferred loudness level and room size too. Arthur
Like others I am not familar with all of the amps in your list, however I have very revealing speakers with a nominal impedence of 5 ohm and 86dba and I use a Muse 100 as my summer amp in leiu of 160wt tube monoblocks. Except for some loss of upper frequency air and extension I find it more than adequate, in fact it is the only reasonably priced SS amp I have enjoyed in my current system. The 160 Muse is an improvement over the 100 and at its typical used price I would give it strong recommendation for consideration.
The Muse 160. I have heard all of the ones you list, and chose the Muse. It was designed for unconditional stability into all speaker loads. A really good amp. (I have one that I have listed for sale, but I am its original owner and it's mint, and I think second owners in the current economy may have driven the market down to a price where I'd just as soon keep it. I was always ambivalent about letting it go anyway. You can probably find one for less from someone else.)
I have a fully upgraded McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe (drove it to Steve McCormack's house for the upgrade) which is just killer. I lived with the std DNA-1 Deluxe for 2 years with Apogee Centuar Majors, Audible Illusions Mod.3A, Linn LP-12, and Meridian 508.20 (pretty revealing). The update was well worth the $1200 (price from memory, might be wrong). The bass fundamental is rock solid and dynamic, the midrange and highs opened up even more. I've since picked up a pair of JM Labs Mezzo Utopias and Perpetual tech P1/P3 with Modwright 2. The McCormack still sings beautifully. You might check out a used McCormack 225 which might be cheaper than a DNA-1 Deluxe plus an upgrade.
Nice system Sjsanders - what wire are you using?