Take a look at the PrimaLuna amps. They go fast here but you can find a PL1 model for under $900 (35wts) or a PL2 for just around $1000 (40wts) and has more punch. They are both auto-biasing, 4 inputs, you can use a few different tubes in them, add a phono stage. I have a PL2 and listen to evrything from folk to punk rock and love what I'm hearing. I'm using B&W DM602's and rarely turn it above 9 o'clock on the volume.
I purchased my first tube amp a few weeks ago - this is a little more than what you want to spend about $1500 - Sound Quest SQ88 , made by Consonance for Quest for Sound - Agon vendor - I am not affiliated - very nice amp - self biasing - Stephen at Quest is a pleasure to deal with
What speakers do you plan to use with it?
The TAD 60...A great value and extremely versatile..can be had for around 700 used..hard to beat
If you can go a little higher, pick up that used RM9 on Agon right now. Trust me, you won't do better at that price.
thanks to all. I will also research the ones set forth in your answers.
Can anyone comment on the ones I mentioned by any chance?
i use a modified 502b that i bought from an agon dealer. easy to bias, other than unplugging outputs to components it is a 2 minute job at most. new ones have built in biasing option i believe plus remote. has worked great for me and has 60 wpc which is plenty. fwiw, if you are serious about sound you better trash those speakers before you can appreciate any decent amp, regardless of tube or solid state. i hope you are already aware of this :)
I agree with Oz you can't go wrong with rm-9.
Over all the new economical Chinese manufactured tube amps showing up on the scene today I would recommend a restored Dynaco ST-70. It will meet your wattage needs and give you a sound that few new tube amps will approach, very musical. They have legendary iron and with todays modified power supplies and caps are excellent. There are several very reputable builder/dealers on AudioGon worth considering. I concede that buying a new retail product is virtually a "no brainer" yet, with a little research and education there are IMHO some greater Hifi choices out there than these. You get what you pay for and thats not just in cash currency. LOL
oh yeah those Bose speakers will have to go sooner or later but one thing at a time. I'm strongly considering the Onix SP3 because of the offer that comes if you buy their combo amp + speakers. I'm guessing those speakers are probably better than the Bose.
Thanks R_f_sayles! Dynaco ST-70 is definitely one of the amps I've also had an eye on. I see them on eBay a lot but I'm nervous about the quality of the mods and refinishing. I guess I need to figure out who are good resellers if I'm going to consider used amps.
Ditto Facten on the SQ-88, it has remote control for the volume as well. Sounds great and great build quality. Down the road, you will find it able to drive other considerations in speakers as well. The amps you have named I have not heard, some I have looked into. IMO the SQ-88 has more heft and for myself, a real pride of ownership.
killwhat, never heard the onix spkrs but fwiw, just about anything will beat the bose and spkrs are the most 'personal' foundation in any system so i'd definitely recommend auditioning quite a few before getting a 'deal' on a combo. of all your components the speakers will ultimately flavor the sound to your tastes. used hi end spkrs on a gon are a bargain compared to retail and will take you to a new level affordably. jmo. good luck!
I will second Grinnell's recommendation of the Primaluna integrateds . These amps are very user friendly with the
auto biasing feature . They will allow you to try many different tubes and , should you decide against tubes , will be very easy to resell .
I don't believe that your present speakers will allow you to hear what any of these amp choices are capable of doing . So maybe your choice should be guided by your desire for ease of use more than the sound of the amp or an available speaker purchase option . Just my 2 cents .
Good luck .
If you are interested in a Dynaco ST-70 I would highly recommend the ones made by Bob Latino here on Audiogon. After being a solid state person since the early seventies I purchased one of them as my first tube amp a few months ago and I am very happy. They are under your budget. Mine sounds great. Bob's are all new from the ground up and use the VTA driver board and all new parts including the chassis so you don't have to worry about old parts failing. And he gives them a one year warranty as well. I have no connection to Bob other than meeting him here on Audiogon and being a customer but I don't think you can do much better for around 800 bucks. I got the KT-88 version and it puts out around 40 wpc and to me sounds great. As a bonus Bob is a really nice person to work with.
Listen to Oz and Troyca, if that RM9 is available snag it. You simply cannot do better than that. In fact, with some minor tweaks here and there I am not sure one can do much better at any price point in a PP design.
I agree with the TAD-60 since it is so versatile. It allows you to hear a variety of tubes, it has on the fly feedback and on the fly switching between UL and triode modes. It can also be used as an amp or a single input integrated. I learned a lot about tube amps by owning one of these.