Our customers report good results so I think its safe to say that the JM Labs speakers do well with tubes.
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I had very good experience with Accuphase and Musical Fidelity (MF). A MF
integrated like KW-500 or KW-550 will be a very cost effective solution.
However, your choices are probably endless, e.g. Graaf, Jadis, ASR, Pass Labs,
YBA, Rowland, etc. I agree with Atmasphere that the Altos sing very very nicely
Thank you Paul for your recommendations, I have tried Accuphase E560 and it was OK, but not really a good match. It actually sounded better with my Dali Helikon 300. I think that Utopia needs good tube amplification to shine.
By the way I just noticed that you have a new room and a very nice upgrade Accuphase separates! Congratulations, do you still have your Jm lab Micros?
Zszwedo, OTL are just amplifiers. Like all amplifiers, they work with some speakers and not others, and some OTLs sound better than others.
People often talk about OTLs are like they are somehow something 'other'... but they compete quite nicely against traditional amplifier designs. If you like speed, transparency, neutrality and smoothness all in one place they can be a good option.
Tube amps in general need more attention than transistors. Some OTLs need a lot of attention. Ours tend to need very little- bias is automatic and the amps are quite stable- more so than most 'conventional' amps.
However in my last post I was not talking specifically about our amps, but they do work well on JM Labs. Our amps tend to run a little hotter, not (as most people think) because of the tubes, but because they are class A amplifiers.
Hi Zszwedo, I did not suggested you to pair the Altos with the E-560
integrated. You were talking about a pre/power combinations. :)
The Altos deserve/need a bit more power than the E-560 can provide (an
A45 or A46 power amp should be find though). The Helicons sounded better
with the E-560 because the amp was probably much more comfortable when
driving them. (I too have had the Helicons 300 and I have also listened the
Helicon 400 and the Euphonia 400 speakers. To my ears the Focal Utopia Be
speakers where much better than any Dali speaker.)
I was using the Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista 300 amps on my Altos, which I still have and need to moderately repair. I switched recently to the ASR Emitter II Exclusive, which drives the Altos much better overall, but they initially sounded too bright, so I flipped a couple of dip switches inside the main unit to calm down the tweeter a bit. Now they sound fantastic. The ASR amp has better bass control than the Tri-Vistas. However, the Tri-Vistas probably matched better overall. I've discussed the Focal Utopia line with dealers as well as with some folk here, and they have said that there heavy impedance curves with the Altos and so your best bet is powerful solid state amps with perhaps a tubed preamp if you prefer. At some point, i'm going to be selling my Tri-Vista amps, which are in 230 volt and can be converted. The repair work will involve resetting the RCA inputs, which are disintegrating on the inside because of the plastic piece connecting them to the circuit is falling apart. My plan was to send the amp back to MF in England and have better RCA connections made to the circuit board and then go through the entire retuning process. If you are interested in this amp and would like to do that work yourself, contact me and I can sell it to you at a good price.