Intergrated amp for Totem Sttaf

I am running the Sttaf with Arcam AVR300, bi-amped. They sound good but, I still want them to sound better (sound familiar?:)) What intergrated amp do you think will sound better than the Arcam? I am thinking of Classes, Sim, Naim, and Bryston. Please give me your advice.
Naim Nait 5i -- works very well with my Harbeth and Spendor speakers, might sing with your Totems too.
Have you considered a tube integrated? I've heard the Sttaf driven by solid state and thought they were very nice, but I bet tubes will really bring them to life. At 88 dB efficiency, the Sttaf should be fine with 50-60 watts. There's an upgraded Rogue Cronus (55wpc) in the classifieds right now that would be a nice match.

I've owned the Sttaf's for many years. In that time, I must have gone through dozens of integrated amps (more than I'll ever care to admit).

If you're looking for bang/buck, I've found NO better match for the Sttaf than the wonderful Vista Audio i84 integrated amplifier. Don't let its power rating fool you, it's got some drive and can handle the Sttaf with ease. There are a few folks that run this combo with great success. Vista Audio also offers the i34 - I haven't had a chance to hear that piece yet.

Solid-state wise; I've found that the Sttaf is extremely particular. So far, the only solid state piece I've found that I could live with long term on this speaker is the not so affordable, yet otherwise wonderful sounding Karan Ki-180 integrated amplifier. It's worth it if you have the green. But you wont get a trial period Vista Audio offers, and you may be in for a long wait if you hope to find one used... Still, its worth mentioning just the same.
Can't speak from experience, but if you search the archives for Totem and integrated, a consistent recommendation is Plinius. It is consistently described as a great amp with a somewhat rolled off high end to tame the Totem's tendency to fatiguing forwardness. You might also search Virtual Systems for "Totem & integrated". You might find some actual owners that could help.
Wow...4 replies with 4 different amps! I am sure they are all wonderful amps but I can not buy all 4. I will study them to see which one will fit to my style. After I listened to tube at some audio store, I fell in love with the sound right away. Are they easy to maintenance? What is the minimum watt can drive my speakers? Thinking about Jolida?
I have heard 2 integrateds with Totem Staffs and Forests: Conrad Johnson CA200 and the Blue Circle NSCS (The only drawback of the NSCS is the lack of remote control). They sounded great.

But the best sound with these came from Nuforce 9v2+Nuforce P8. I guess that the IA-7V2 is also a good match.
Are they easy to maintenance?
yes, but occasionally you need to replace tubes. This doesn't happen very often. Depending on use, it might be every few years.
What is the minimum watt can drive my speakers?
I found that 50 tube watts was enough to drive my 87dB speakers to a reasonable volume. Your Staff are 88dB. Doubling the power to 100 watts will only increase the SPL by 3 dB, but the difference in cost between 50 and 100 tube watts is huge.

A watt is a watt, but tube watts go further than SS. When a tube amp is pushed beyond its limit, there isn't a harsh break up like you hear with SS. SS clipping can damage your speakers which is why it's a good idea to have more than enough power when using them. Musical peaks can push a SS amp to clip. A tube amp breaks up much more gently and forgiving.
What about upgrading your source? I don't know what cd player you use but the amp is only good as the signal it's fed, a good source makes all the difference on gear that can show it. The recommendations already offered will be worthy but more than likely, just different than what you have. To get a whole lot better sound in an integrated you may need to spend quite a bit more as the Arcam 300 in direct mode, bi-amped holds it's own with any sub 2K unit I have heard. You can get different, but one persons different may not be better. The AVR350 may be the ticket as it is similar in sonic signature to the 300 but more open and detailed with much better low end from a better power supply, caps and pre-section. I've had both and the upgrade is substantial, I was quite surprised. Another logical upgrade may be the Arcam FMJ32 but I haven't heard it. I've had the Bryston B100SST, Naim Nait 5i, Exposure 2010, Sim I5, Unico, Plinius 8150i. They are all great amps but I wouldn't put any in a higher class than the 350 bi-amped. In fact, to me the Arcam has the best balance of all and it's versatile.

I would strongly advise against the Jolida/Sttaf combo. It's flat out a nasty.

High quality tube amplifiers are relatively simple to maintain. The easiest way to dip into the tube world is to start by finding an amp that uses auto-bias, is outfitted with current production tubes that are easy to find and affordable. (whispers, the Vista Audio products fit all of the above). As Mingles said; you'll have to replace the power tubes every so often. Otherwise, theres not much effort that needs to go into enjoying the tube sound.
"What about upgrading your source?" - I am using Naim CD5i and like it a lot. It's better to my ears than the Rega Apollo.
Can tube amp sit inside the cabinet? I need to hide it from my little boy.
I'd think seriously about a Tube integrated - and while 50-60 w/c would be nice, 30 will do just fine. I had played Sttafs for a short while on a vintage Fisher tube integrated. It was rated at ~20w/ch and it drove the Sttafs very nicely. Unless you want to rock out (which Sttafs don't do in the first place) you can do very nicely with 20-30 w/ch. If you only need one input the TAD 60 would be amazing with the Sttafs. Otherwise there's an abundance of tube integrated in the <$1000 price range (used), and some ~$500 range that would be worth a try IMHO. I no longer have the Sttafs, but I've driven my Mani-2s with my TAD 60 running in triode mode (30 w/c) and it was quite nice. The Manis are much harder to drive than the Staffs.
Sim 1-5 would fit the bill nicely. I think your concern about your son is very valid and feel that the Sim is better ( if you want true to source sound without the bloom of tubes). That being said a good tube amp can be addicting for the price point and money spent.I do know that Sim mates very well with dynamic drivers and would be able to sound very good ( a friend had a set-up very similar to yours) and was happy with an 1-3.If you can afford an Sim 1-7 ,then this would be a killer piece that would last a long time.I am running w-10 monos and must say that authoritative and amazing imaging and soundstaging are very addicting when done well.Enjoy your search and hope this helps Dennis
Rumadian -
You wrote, "I would strongly advise against the Jolida/Sttaf combo. It's flat out a nasty."

Would you mind being more specific?
This came up in the past...paste this link into your browser window. Good luck.
I read through the thread but didn't see a budget. Are you looking to spend $500 or $5,000? I would look at amplification more than source.
Thanks a lot to all of nice folks here :) My budget is around $1000 for a used one. The Sim I-5 is nice but over my budget. I am thinking about the Naim Nait 5i to match with my CDP, but I heard that I have to leave the power on all the time, and I have to buy their speaker cables at least 2.5 meter long to run with the amp make me think twice about it. The tube amps are nice too, but, I see alot of folks here recommended a lot of tube amps that make me confuse.
I'd recommend the Simaudio i-3. You should be able to find one well under your budget. I owned one and used it with Totem Arros, but also listened briefly to it powering Sttafs. I thought they complimented each other nicely.
The Sttaf is a very good rounder in the Totem family recommended by Vince B. and HT magazine. Sttaf are 8 ohm floorstanders so they are easy to drive and not that finicky as the Mani 2, Model 1, or Rainmaker in terms of amplification, be that tube or solid state.

Vince B. has said to me that Naim and Sim complement Sttaff very well. He has also recommended Plinius to me when asked. I don't know much about Naim but a decent Sim or Plinius integrated amp will do your Sttaf justice.


FYI, Classe 151 is also a great solid state integrated that you can get in the used market on Audiogon for less than $1K. Classe 151 should have enough juice to help your Sttaf really sing.

Tube amps sound great. The down side is that it takes a few minutes to warm up the amps before you can extract the most out of the tube amps. To me, tube makes you pay more than you should to SCE.

Good luck with your search.
Post removed