Is the Almarro 318B For Me?Any Others?

Hey folks.Quick backstory.Last year circumstances forced the sale of the Moon I5.3 that was driving my S.F.Toy Towers.Pressed into full service was the little Peachtree Audio MusicBox that was acting as PreAmp/DAC.This little marvel uses a 12AX7 Dual Triode run full Class A into a single pair of Toshiba MOSFET's running Class A/B.Over the past year about the only thing I missed with this amp is more depth in the SS & better imaging(both of which even the i5.3 was lacking).One thing that the PTA has taught me is that 20wpc is PLENTY of power for my needs.Fast forward to the present the time has come to upgrade & I have $3000.00 to spend.I am TOTALLY head over heals for my S.F.Toy Towers,believing them to be one of the greatest bargains in all audio land & the MusicBox will stay as the Pre Amp/DAC as steaming is now my primary source(can't remember the last time I listened to a CD).After a lot of thought & MANY hours pouring over reviews & owners systems here I believe that an SET amp holds the keys to musical bliss for me but REALLY want to keep the Toy Towers's & don't think 10wpc.will drive them sufficiently which led me to investigate the big 845's(too heavy) which in turn led me to the 6C33C driven Almarro 318B integrated amplifier.Even though I'm using a PreAmp I still want an Integrated in case I need to use the MusicBox somewhere else.Another consideration is weight.50 lbs.maximum weight as I'm growing long in the tooth & have severely degenerated lower discs.Can't be humping a 80 lb.amp around.2 things that worry me about the Almarro are that I read the tube bases need to be replaced every now & then as they are not designed to take the heat & voltage they incur & that reliable tubes are hard to get.I looked into the Decware Torii Jr.but a 4-5 month wait won't work(I want something for the holidays).With my musical taste which is pretty much everything from solo classical/celtic harp to classic rock(Rush/LZ/PF/BadCo etc..)to Reggae's Big 3(Marley/Tosh & Cliff)with some Big Band & Classic Jazz(Coltrane/Davis etc)thrown in for good measure do you think I'll be happy with the 318B?Listening levels aren't loud(most of the time)& room is smallish(18'x15'x9')& is acoustically treated(see my system pics).Any competition for the 318B that I should look at?Thanks very much everyone.Looking forward to your thoughts.
I have used an Almarro A318B for some years in a second system with Sonus faber speakers (89dB/4 ohm) - great match. The A318B is an outstanding amp and should not be regarded as "just an integrated".

Also you can use a preamp into an Almarra if you so wish.
The Almarro is a very nice amp (I had the 318A, but still...). There are still plenty of those big Russian power tubes around. Some say that the bases do need to be replaced regularly due to the heat, but when I had a Joule stereoblock that runs 8 of them in a space not much bigger than the Almarro I did not have a problem w that part of the amp. If that really concerns you, I'd just buy a few pairs of the sockets. I will say that the heat those babies throw off is SIGNIFICANT. Make sure you have enough space around and esp. above the amp and if I had a small child or really inquisitive pet I'd think twice. Another plus of the Almarros is that they are quite attractive. You also might try comparing the sound using the Musicbox vs. the Almarro as a volume control; just run the other wide open.
I am running the Almarro A318B in my current setup, and having had a ton of other amps (SET, SS, Tube PP), this one really sings and really gets out of the way of the music as much or more than the others! While it was decent out of the box and certainly very usable, I felt that I got the best out of it by having it modded. I took the volume control and input selector out of the signal loop, and basically made it a standalone amp. I also replaced the stock caps with Jupiter Copper Foil caps. In my opinion, it now sounds at least 2x better than its price suggests. Couple that with power tubes that substantially cheaper than their other SET counterparts like the 300b, 845, etc. tubes, and you have a solid winner that you will be happy with for a long time.
To Swamps point, yes, they do run hot! I am using a maple butcher block cutting board under the amp. I cut a hole into the middle of it, and installed a quiet computer fan in it so that it blows cooler air up into the amp, and keeps the amp running much cooler.
Yamaha AS2100

Had one of these though here a few weeks back - it is an astoundingly good sounding integrated amplifier.

Good Listening

Out of pure curiosity I'd love to hear a direct A/B comparison of the Yamaha and Almarro amplifiers. In terms of topology, company philosophy and design, they are strikingly different. How different would they actually sound? This would be fun and interesting.
The Almarro 318B was quite a disappointing amp on my Zu loudspeakers. I didn't find the frequency extremes extended at all nor did the amp have much dynamic capability.

I much preferred the Mastersound Due Venti at a similar price point.
"... the only thing I missed with this amp is more depth in the SS & better imaging."

This is where I felt the A318B missed the mark. Somewhat flat and diffuse. If you are really high on that "you are there" imaging, I wouldn't recommend it.

What you get, however, is gorgeous tone, bass depth and power, and quite good macrodynamics given the power rating. I think this review gets it right:
I agree with that PF review as well.... just note that was a stock Almarro amp.

I am happy to report that my modded A318b has none of the shortcomings described. It excels in the soundstage and imaging arenas, while keeping the intoxicating tonality and midrange, with really good speed, macro and micro dynamics. Its a great sounding tube amp, IMO.

Couple it with efficient speakers, like the wonderful Omega Super Alnico monitors that I have, and enjoy the music!

Oh, and don't forget to roll the tubes in it too. I did not like the stock tubes.
I  am happy to report that my modded A318b has none of the shortcomings described. 

Who did the mods?  Details on the mods, please?
I had this amp with a pair of fairly easy to drive Devore Nines. I really enjoyed it. It has nice depth and a relaxing quality that made it a joy to listen to. My wife liked it too. I agree with the above that it wasn’t the most dynamic but I think that had more to do with the speaker pairing. 

The slightly constrained image depth is true.Thst is because the 318B was designed with a moderate amount of negatve feedback so it could drive/control most mainstream sort of speakers.Which also gives it quite tight bass by SET standards.So it is a very good all-rounder .I had a variable negative feedback dial installed on mine and found that I preferred it with less negative feedback but not no negative feedback [I believe the 318A uses no negative feedback]. With slightly less feedback the image depth greatly improves and it sounds a bit warmer and sweeter.Of course with less negative feedback you need genuine 8 ohm speakers.