Joule Electra or Wolcott Tube Amps, or...?

Hi Folks:
I'm tempted to get either a pair of the Wolcott 220M monos or a pair of the Joule Electra VSN160 (both available used on A'gon). Does anyone have experience with both of these amps per chance, and have a preference?

For now, I'd be driving a pair of MBL 121 monitor speakers, which are quite inefficient at 83db. Hence, some folks may side with the Wolcott which are supposedly great at driving difficult loads. However, I got a lend of a VSN-80 from my friend for a week or two, and it proved to be great in my system. I was 'very' happy with it, across all types of music. So, somehow it worked, and if anything the VSN-160 monos would be even better. So, I'm most interested in other comparison factors beyond 'ability to drive difficult loads'. I think both will make the cut.

Anyways, let me know if you have thoughts or suggestions. I'm currently using Spectron, but am tempted to get back into tubes. I'm a tubeoholic.

Ad3dd209 f1c2 428b 9060 a6e7ac9e0ed0outlier
Hello John,

Efficiency of your MBL speakers has little effect on the performance of Joule-Electra power amps (if they are sufficiently powerful that is). The impedance behavior is much more important. I would suggest 2 Ohms as the limit for Joule-Electra and only because you can adjust output impedance of these family of amplifiers.

I am not familiar with Wolcott amplifiers so I should avoid answering your question. If these amplifiers are not OTL but regular tube amplifiers with output transform then, THEORETICALLY, you will introduce enormous amount of distortions into your signal. While all my life I was (and still am) tube-phile when there was need to high power outputs as your speakers demand I moved to switching amplifiers.

I wonder what Spectron amp or amps you have. It is possible to improve their performance too and make them even more life-like

From the Wolcott ad:

"Product Weakness: In the overall sound equation I don't really consider these as weakness's but more my nit-picks to strive for perfection:
The leading edge is not as realistic as the inner resolution and decay,needs a tad better definition.Could do a better job with spatial seperation during complex passages on rock & roll and full orchestration.On a few recordings there seems to be a very slight emphisis on the top end.A noticeable loss at very low volume,but more an overall system issue than just the amps."

The Joules attack, inner detail and spatiality are excellent as you already know, I think the "big" question is, do you have a circuit that can handle 1000 watts constant draw from the one variac?. If you do, Donaudio's Joules are a steal. Of coarse I'm extremely prejudice.
I have never experienced Joule-Electra amps, but thier reputation and your positive experience speak volumes.

Just want to inform that the quote that was posted 'From the Wolcott ad' is actually a small section from an ameturist review I did for the Wolcott amps a few years ago. It is at audioreview.

Have moved on to set amps, but the Wolcott 220M are excellent amps that I truely enjoyed. I can only imagine that you would be pleased with either, although the Joule may be easier to re-sell if necessary.
Have you considered VTL,Manley,Audio Valve, or maybe even a Hybrid like the Moscode 401-HR?
Maybe give the speaker manufacturer a call and get their opinions as well.
Outlier, mbls have low efficiency ratings as they radiate to 360 degrees, which means that the mic making the measurement will not pick up all the energy the speaker puts out.

The result is that if you have the speaker in a room, the radiated energy will be present- the speaker is really not that hard to drive.

We had a customer using our 220 watt amp on a set of 101es and could not clip the amp in his room.
Thanks for the useful comments guys. I'll take all into consideration. Samhar, your comment about my possibly not having a good enough circuit to handle the 1000 watts does worry me. I'm renting at the moment, so there's no chance of my investing in new power lines for this house, alas. Mmm, I'll have to think about my options. Rleff, I have considered the Moscode - it's an option, although all things considered, I was taken with the beauty I found with the Joule amp I got a lend of, so am leaning in that direction. I've made too many mistakes in this hobby by trusting ears other than my own ;-) . Sometimes I take a chance on things I haven't heard but have just heard good things about, and it works out great (my ever present Supratk pre is a case in point), but there's no substitute for trusting one's own ears. Thanks everyone for the comments - all food for thought.
Outlier; I think since the Joule is in the running for you then you need to take Ralph's comment on his MA2 as well and see if you can hear amps also.
or.... new speakers?
BTW my Joules use two variacs 500 watts each so there is the possibility of getting another variac and using two different circuits. This might be a bit of a hassle but the reward for the effort is huge.