You did not specify price or how large a space you have to power.
If SPL and budget allow, the Lamm ML2 or ML2.1 are tremendous products and possibly a great match with your efficiency level. These are single-ended tube, 18 WPC continuous into 16/8/4 Ohms and pure class A operation.
Both these Lamm models are neutral, musical amps with very low noise and tremendous low level resolution. Something necessary with 93 to 98 DB sensitivity which easily reveal problems in those areas.
all amps are imperfect. thus there is no neutral amp. could you be more specific as to what you are looking for ?
Thanks for your reply. The room is 25'L X 17'W X 14'H. Budget can go up to $20,000 for amplification but would prefer not to stretch that far if I can find amplification that will provide the musicality I am looking for.
See if this helps. The speakers are analytical so I do not need amps that replicate this. Musicality is what I am looking for. Listen to alot of jazz instrumental music (live and recorded) as well as vocalists too. Blues is also a big part of the music library. Not looking to blast the music so that our neighbors hear everything we are playing--moderate levels of volumn.
The room is 25'L X 17'W X 14'H. Budget can go up to $20,000
A member of my audio group has a room 42L X 25W X14 H and powered Kharma Exquisites which are less efficient than your speakers. He was on the edge, not really enough power but since your able to play loud with less and your space is a bit smaller the Lamm may work.
The speakers are analytical so I do not need amps that replicate this. Musicality is what I am looking for.
The Lamm is musical, as are many tube amps. I can think of tube amps that are very modern and almost pass for solid state but Lamm is not one of them.
The other amp that would work is the VTL 750. They are half your $20K budget or less and have similar personality (overall tonally) to the Lamm. The Lamm is better at low level detail, runs cooler and is a less complicated circuit and it's personality shows in the music. Still, the VTL is wonderful if you want power and great tonal balance.
I just typed Lamm in the search box on the front page of Audiogon, there's a pair for sale at $11,000.00 (within your budget). I know nothing about that seller or the amps but if typical resale price it does fit your budget.
The good thing about used is you don't take nearly so much risk. If you buy Lamm , VTL, Audio Research or other well known product and don't pay too much, it's as close as you can get to money in the bank and still be able to try it out.
If your pre puts out a balanced signal, a pair of Atma-sphere MA-1 or MA-2 monoblocks might be a good choice. They are not romantic; I would call them fast, transparent, dynamic and relatively neutral. They do not sound like solid state, that's for sure, but not colored, either.
The Lamms are always at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Go have a listen. Beware though. The 3.0's are out, and they are definitely out of your budget!
Your description and speaker screams a great match for Atma-Sphere. The current mk III versions are best. The MA1 mkIII would be more than powerful enough for your speakers, and perhaps even the M60s would be a good match and save you money/energy/heat. Mate w/balanced preamp to get the most out of the design.
My Dehavilland Aries 845G would also be a good fit. They are SET, but more powerful than most SET, and mate well w/wide range of speakers. A tad sweeter mids than the Atmas, but still not euphonic like many tube amps. The newer model with the GM70 tube is even higher power if you don't mind a less common tube.
The Lamms are also a good choice.
Until I hear better, I'll keep suggesting the Dodd mono blocks with all the upgrades. My room is about half your size but with about the same imp & eff speakers. My musical tastes are quite similar to your own too.
I doubt if i ever tax these amps. they sound great with even complicated musical passages, are dynamic and definitely involving. Easy to maintain, and inexpensive to roll tubes in or re-supply tubes too. Are a slam dunk budget wise used, and a quarter of the budget new. the newer ones reportedly have still more headroom. They are single ended only however, no XLRs. Very nice however.
Albert P could shed more light I suspect, on the Dodds.
I think the answer to you question is the VAC 300.1 extremely
musical but very great low level detail.
Maybe even have a look at the amps that the german manufacturer audiovalve has out.
Without knowing more than your speaker specs I'll concur with the Atmas or used Lamm ML 2.1s. The Atma-Sphere MA-1s are neither inherently warm nor cool, they are very quick with extended highs and taut bass and music through them has a clarity of transparency that makes them worth a listen. The best rendition I've heard of female vocals has come through Atma-Sphere gear. The M-60s and MA-2s sound very similar to the MA-1s.
" Looking For Neutral Tube Amp Recommendation "
Get a solid state.
Trendy-What solid state would you have in mind;just wondering.
An excellent "neutral" SS amp is the Nagra PSA. Worth a listen for anyone who is looking for musical accuracy/neutrality and willing to consider SS. I alternate a Nagra PSA and a Luxman MQ-88 in my primary system. Both are great amps. And I have found the Luxman to be very close to the Nagra in terms of musical accuracy/neutrality.
I went from OTL amps to a Modwright 150 but there's certainly way more good SS amps.
The Modwright is one of the very best i owned, and i owned a few from Vitus, GamuT, Pass, Audionote, Atmasphere, Nuforce etc...
Its very natural, full but with excellent bass and control and it's just a bit soft on top while being transparent.
close your eyes and point to a tube amp, within your range of price point and power requirements. it will probably have enough resolution and not sound like solid state to satisfy your needs.
I second the VAC 300.1. I have 2 of them, but 1 should meet your needs.
BTW - My name got changed to Fplanner2010 from Fplanner2000 due to a few issues with Audiogon.
Atma-Sphere, ditto the other comments here about the A-S amps, particularly the Mk.III versions.
Another vote for Atma-Sphere.
I own MA-2's Mk III and when matched with the correct speakers, I haven't heard an amp I like more from top to bottom.
I pair my MA-2's with Vandersteen 5A's.
I have a speaker with almost identical specs and I am running a 8 watts 300b amp (Air Tight) amp. The Air Tight drives these speakers like I have a 300 watt SS. If you feel you need more power the above choices are all good. BTW my room is 18 x 14 x 12H. Good luck on your search.
Dodds would fit that bill as do the Atmasphere Amps
Correction on my post above...I own MA-1's - not MA-2's.
I love the T+A M10 Amplifiers --
My store also just took in trade a pair of Audio Research Mono blocks the Ref 250SE
Definitely Atma's. One of the best purchases I ever made.
It would be worth your while to audition Coincident 211PP Dragon MK. II
monoblock amplifiers. $11,000 new but I've seen them sell for less than half of that on the used market (although they don’t surface very often).
- all hard-wired
- 75W (Class A)
- One 6EM7, one 300B and two 211 tubes per channel
FWIW, Arthur Salvatore gives them his highest Class A ranking (review