A friend has Transcedents driven by Bat VK-75...happens to be one on Audiogon for asking price under $5000.00. I have heard Ascents coupled with early Rowland and Threshold amps. Both sounded very good to me. Front end, including preamp and cabling likely will contribute to the synergy.
You may want to consider Ayre. The guy who founded the company used to be with Avalon. I can't say for sure, but it will probably be a good match. Also, Ayre really doesn't sound like anything else. A lot of people who go from tubes to Ayre have been very happy.
Ayre weakest point is depth. I compared Ayre with Pass Labs. Pass Labs gives a much wider and deeper stage. Avalon can give a deep and wide stage so this will work better with Pass Labs.Beside this; you need a warm sound with Avalon to get a good involving sound. With Ayre it is less involving. With warmer sounding speakers Ayre works better. I sold Avalon over 6 years of time.
I generally prefer tube amplification same as you.If it is in any way practical
I'd advised you to listen to the Ayre prior to buying it (true for any
component if possible). I don't care for their sound quality based on several
listening experiences and they have little in common with good tube
amplifiers IMO. Their character is dry and a bit flat/sterile but again, others
will find them wonderful. They're recommended fairly regularly on this site,
so as always it depends on what your taste is. You may hear it and be
smitten by its sound, who knows? Audition with your Avalons if at all
possible. I've heard Avalon sound good with Jeff Rowland amps and not so
good with Spectral amps. You like the presentation of good tube power
amplifiers, that may
remain the best option for your long term satisfaction. Just one man's
Charles is right, I prefered also Avalon with tubes. Personally I never liked any demo with spectral. Because in mu opneion classical music sounds in real a lot different.
In the last few years I sold to a few cleints with Avalon spakers Audioquest cables. This gave superior endresults compared to the MIT cables they used.
One of the weakest points of Avalon is an extreme fysical snall and realistic individual focus of instruments and voices. It can give a wide and deep stage, but within this stage instruments do not have the sharpest individuel focus.
In real instruemnts and voices are very direct and small in dimension. I call this intimate focus. Audioquest give a much sharper and fysical individual focus than MIT gives. But also in timing and in resolution it outperforms MIT with ease!
You need to be aware that the weakest point of Avalon is what I call intimate sound. This is a physical small and realistic proportion of instruments and voices. Avalon is very good in a wide and deep stage, but within this stage you want a superior physical touchable stage as well.
The biggest mistake I found in many sets is the use of MIT cables. Because there limtation is also the lack of a very small and physical image. In the last years I have sold Audioquest to many MIT owners who use Avalon. I invited people at my home to let them hear what a realistic 3 dimensional stage can be. After this I came to their hoem with Audioquest cables. And it was very easy to show them the difference.
Have heard the Eidolon Diamond sounded good with VAC or Rowland at dealer, with Ayre front-end, cabling was Cardas. I believe Avalon characteristics should mate well too with the likes of Jadis. My 2c .
"You need to be aware that the weakest point of Avalon is what I call intimate sound. This is a physical small and realistic proportion of instruments and voices."
Just the opposite is true. Set up properly in a decent room, Avalon excels at imaging with a precise, realistic, wall-to-wall soundstage. I don't think that is even arguable and I suspect most audiophiles who aren't necessarily Avalon fans would agree.
Ayre weakest point is depth. I compared Ayre with Pass Labs. Pass Labs gives a much wider and deeper stage."
I don't get that with my Ayre equipment. The imaging is at least as good as it was with my Pass gear. However, the Pass that I had was some of their older models. Its possible the newest models are better in this regard, but I can't say because I haven't been able to compare them.
Also, Ayre likes Cardas. He even has Cardas make the Ayre cables. Cardas image size is very good, but the depth is not. When you heard the Ayre, maybe it was with Cardas cables. I use Audioquest. The depth is much better with them.
Pass Labs .5 series had more depth than Ayre. But I prefer the realism in the mid freq. of the Pass Labs over the Ayre mid freq. as well.
Audioquest is at this moment very good in every single part you judge a cable for. Depth the same thing!
Firstly, to my ears the sweet spot in the Avalon range before you move up into the Eidolon Diamonds are the Indra and Transcendent. Of those, I liked the Transcendent the most which sounded very natural & had wonderful sound staging, imaging & coherence as is Avalon's signature.
I've heard the Avalons sound good with Bladelius, Rowland & Vitus. A couple of others as well, but the above group's combination of natural sound, control, smoothness & resolution were a winner imho.
Physical image between a wide and deep stage is a different aspect. I have even proven this to Avalon owners.
One of mu best friends had a concertroom with A Steinway wing. Here he gave clasical concerts for about 60 people. Instrtuments and voices are very small and direct in proportion. I call it intimate sound. I never had this experience with any Avalon spaker.
There are Avalon owners who say and believe that this is a very realistic sound for classical music. I habe heard this combo many times. In real it sounds a lot different.
Had Avalon Rowland or Pass would be the best with a tubed preamp.
Bo1972...it appears that the word Avalon causes a trigger response in you. Previous threads regarding Avalon speakers have brought about your redundant criticism of the speaker's unrealistic, bloated presentation...even when the subject of performance is not in question. My experience with a number of Avalon speakers, when well powered, have not met your description. Far from it. Depending on the source material, the instrument represented may sound small and flat. Other times large and full-bodied.
So...I wish to ask...please...have you a reason to continuously castigate this speaker line? Also, have you heard this speaker in a truly well designed synergistic system?
Bol, that's an interesting perspective. I have to say I like the sound of the up end Avalon models, though up to Eidolon atleast they are a bit bass shy for my taste. I wonder if the Magico S3/S5 would give a more accurate portrayal of an intimate piano concerto? Certainly the Magico Q3 would be a champ on piano, but at a $10k+ price hike.
Have you considered one of the newer Class D offerings in your price range like the Merrill Thor monos, Auralic Merak monos, both based on the Hypex UCD modules, or the D-Sonic M3-1500M Pascal module based amps?
I have the Avalon Indras and use Rowland M312 Amp and the Synergy lli Pre Amp with very good results. Have heard the Avalon Indras and Eidelon Diamonds with Pass 100.5's, Chord SPM1200MKll, Hovland Radia and Accuphase A50 at Quintessence Audio in Chicago.
If I was going to try a new amp it would be the Pass Labs x series. Very different from Rowland. Rowland was a tad warmer in the mid range, both exhibited sparkling treble with excellent timbre, slightly less prominent bass then Pass 100.5's, but; still tight and accurate. I found the overall coherence and soundstaging crazy good with the Rowland Amp. Both are great compliments with the Avalons.
When you read back I will read that I love how it is build. They are different compared to others. I like brands who dare to be different. I sold it for over 6 years of time. I also sold it to friends as well.
It is personally not my speaker. We are talking about a personal taste. I can create a superior phycical stage with instruments and voices which are more apparent and realistic in proportion. Even those who own Avalon I have shown them that I have a much more touchable image than they have. Don't forget this is my job and world. As a perfectionist it never stops. It always needs to be better.
I prefer magico over Avalon. Again it is a personal thing. Nothing more, nothing less!
I also think the .8 series of Pass Labs whill be a great choice. I will buy a X350.8 this year. But for Avalon I would go for the XA series. Because Avalon needs a warmer mid freq.
I think Avalon will work great with XA100.8 and a tube pre amp. I owned the XP-20. It is a good pre amp, but it is not perfect.
When you play a cello or double bass with Avalon you get some
coulration in the low-mid freq. It is pronounced a litte more
than in real.
This year I sold a pair of Pl-200's to a person who plays a
double bass. He played a few songs for me. Here I had the same
experience again. It is more clean in the mid freq. With
Thiel&partner it is too much.
Monitor Audio uses speakerunits made of ceramics with
alluminium. This gives it a faster response compared to
Thiel&partner units. This gives it a more natural and