Levinson, Krell, Classe, Plinius, McIntosh

Has anyone auditioned these amps:

Mark Levinson 436

Krell FPB 350MCX

Classe Omega Omicron

Plinius SA-250 Mark IV

McIntosh MC2102

If you have experience with any of these, please give me your impressions. If you own one of them and enjoy it, please tell me why you chose it or prefer it to others,
if you rejected one of these, same deal.

The MC2102 is magnificent, in terms of looks as well as sound. This will be my high-power tube amp in the future. It is so smooth, yet detailed, with coherence like I have rarely heard. The layering is done with great care, each sound getting special attention. The midrange space and air had my neck hairs on end the whole time. Great amp.

The Classe Omega was very nice too. Powerful with good body and soul. A different animal than the Mc however in the execution style - a little more agressive maybe? They were in different systems so I will refrain from making too many comparisons though.
Haven't heard the others enough to comment. Good luck! Arthur
All the power amp you mention are all good, I the Krell
350 mcx, I heard the ML from 331 to 335 they all sound
very close, In my opinion the Plinius its hard to beat
in terms of musicality,and price too. Look at AG used.
If you dont need much power check the plinius 102 I was
very impress on this amp, It made me feel Its 3 times
better than sa 100 IMO.Good Luck
I am extremely happy with the Classe' line of products. I have looked at Levinson, Krell, Atmasphere, etc. I have always found the Classe' products to be just as comparable if not better in build quality on the Omega line of products. To give you some history, I have full range electrostats manufactured by my Uncle's company, SoundLab. First, I started off with the Classe CA-201 in 2000. I felt I was missing the detail and fullness that my speakers could produce. I then traded the CA-201 in for the CAM-200 monoblocks in 2001. Very good monoblocks with excellent bass and midrange. However, the highs seemed to be rolled off and a little brilliant and more importantly felt that I was missing the ability for this amp to point out finite details and accurate sound staging. I demo'd the CAM-350s but felt they were beefed up CAM-200's as sonics and soundstage were exactly the same. As a side note, the only difference between the CAM-200 and the CAM-350 are the power ratings and the toroidal transformer sizes: 707 KVa for the CAM-200 and 1200 KVa for the CAM-350. My dealer recommended I look at the Omega line if I was particular in finding what worked well for me and my speakers. After listening to the Omega series I was hooked! The first thing that I noticed was that all of the detail and the frequencies were represented very accurately. The Omicron mates extremely well with my SoundLab M-1 electrostatic speakers. I am hearing my CDs in a new light and again the imaging, the highs, bas, and mid are near perfection.

Of note, I found no discernable differences in sonics and soundstaging between the flagship 450W Omega dual monoblock and the 350W Omega Omicron dual monoblock. I also did a side-by-side comparison of the Omicron and the Levinson No. 33. I felt they were on equal playing fields on performance. Due to phenomenal deal I went with the Omicron. Please keep in mind that Classe’ has launched their Omicron monoblocks at the 2003 CES show in January. Since the Classe factory had 4 new Omicron units left they were willing to slash prices at near cost of $5900 vs. the original retail price of $12,000 USD. In addition to the excellent price I received from my dealer (HiFi Centre) he drove from Vancouver to Seattle to personally install the unit for me. Great product and service!

Before purchasing the Omicron I compared it against Krell FPB 350, Mark Levinson No. 33, Atmasphere MA-1 MKII, CA-201, CAM-200, CAM-350, Bryston 14B SST and found the Omicron and the Atmasphere to work best with my full range SoundLab Electrostat speakers. The decisive factor between the Omicron and the Atmasphere was the price.

BTW...all Omicrons are MKII units. No MKI units were ever released for sale and that Classe decided to move to an MKII release of the product prior to public launch. This is according to Classe' customer service.
Very informative post, kuso! I read it with interest, since I'm a dealer for your uncle's speakers. I'm not a Classe' dealer, but the Omicron line must be quite good. I've tried several of the other amps you mention (and I sell Atma-Sphere), so that gives me a pretty good idea of the level the Omicrons come in at.

For the record, in my experience it takes a pretty darn good amp to make the Sound Labs really sing, so kuso's post is a strong recommendation for the Omicrons (whether or not Rsbeck has Sound Labs).

This is great information, folks -- thanks!
Duke...I believe my Uncle his New Orleans dealer in the past to me. It was all positive.
I bought a pair of 436's a couple of months ago and they dropped my jaw when I put them in my system. The soundstage on the 436s is W-I-D-E, W--I--D--E and the warm, open midrange is goose bump inducing - very much like some of the high end tube equipment I've heard. The highs are silky smooth without the loss of detail, as you would expect with Levinson. On vocals and piano recordings I've played recently on the 436's, well, let's just say I saw God... there's a reason why Levinson is the largest manufacturer of high end equipment in the World...