Low Watt Solid State Amp


I am a tube guy.  Have been for the last 20 years.  I have various tube amps that I rotate depending on my mood.  More recently, I have had the urge to add a solid state amp to the rotation.  Looking for something clean, detailed, natural sounding that is in the neighborhood of 20 to 50 watts.  I use a deHavilland Ultraverve 3 preamp with relatively high efficiency Tonian Lab speakers.  Firstwatt comes to mind but is higher than I want to spend right now.  Budget is about $1,000.  Looking for a diamond in the rough kinda piece.  For example, one of the tube amps that puts a smile on my face every time I plug it in is my Dynaco ST-35 -- not a huge investment, but just always sounds right.  Any ideas are much appreciated.  Thanks
gotog
First Watt is certainly what you'll hear... you might want to take a look at DIY Audio, they have First watt kits that you can build, some are very good..
If you like Pass,  Here is a Chinese clone from a guy in the US that tried it, he is taking offers. 
https://www.ebay.com/itm/PASS-A3-30W-Class-A-Audio-Power-Amplifier/282976139172?_trkparms=aid%3D2220...


High quality lower power class A transistor amplifiers that come to mind ,
Valvet Audio 
First Watt
Pass Labs XA 25
These will unfortunately exceed the 1K  budget (even ised).

Timlub"s suggestion of DIY kit is likely to be the most viable route.
Charles 
The Dynaco ST35 beats so many amplifiers, sonically.

Less easy to find these days, but the Bedini 25/25 sounded terrific, and better than most amps before or since.
I agree with the Bedini 25/25..... Very similar would be the Sumo Nine if you can find one properly refurbished. (60 watts) With a parts upgrade the old Sumo's sing.  
Hi

Very curious about DIY First Watt F6. Also, this was released, but is sadly sold out already.

https://diyaudiostore.com/products/amp-camp-amp-kit?variant=7072933085218

The F6, from all accounts, is amazing. And, you can go as crazy as you want with caps/transformers in the DIY kit.
The Forte Model 1 A was a good sounding amplifier too

Good Listening

Peter
Look into Sumo amps.  The other one that pops into my head is older Yamaha M series, M80, M60 and so on...
Thanks for all the ideas.  Much appreciated.

@gotog I can recommend any of the Yamaha RX-A30 series eg A3030 and up. Great Stereo, 9.2 channels to play with, Audyssey room correction. Good solid clean sound and should be in your price point. Only down point is that it doesn't support 4ohm speakers on the primary pair. Buggered if I know why. A.
I was auditioning some speakers at a shop and because I told them I had a 12 watt per side single ended tube amp, they used a 25 watt per side Luxman M200 that sounded great...weird little seemingly well made SS amp with a display of the watts it was using.
I am the original owner of a Bedini 25/25 (bought new from Innovative Audio in Brooklyn, NY in 1981).And I agree with trelja - it is still the amp (SS or tube) to beat in the sonic sweepstakes! I have never found a tube amp to equal it - though my Futterman's came the closest!
If you can find a pre-owned Bakoon 11R or 12R. . .
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I don’t mean to divert away from your original question but have you considered a class D amp which can be very tube-like in sound and be well within your budget.
I was shocked at how good and tube-like my amp sounds that I purchased from Class D Audio. 
BTW; besides the class D amp I use in my secondary system I also use a CJ Classic Sixty SE amp and an Allnic T-1500 Integrated 300B.
Thanks again for all the good input.  The Bedini 25/25 is interesting but I sense it will be difficult to find one. I am educating myself regarding the other options mentioned.

I owned the Monarchy SM-70 (now Mk2) and it was terrific at 25w/ch. If you have really high efficiency speakers the noise floor can be a little bothersome, but with most speakers it’s fine. New it would be just under your budget, but I got mine used for significantly less.

http://www.monarchy-audio.com/SM70_MK2_Main_Frame.htm
I own a First Watt F5,and a pair of Monarchy SM-70mkII's. I picked all of them up on the used market. The F5 was slightly over your budget.(and I do mean slightly) The pair of Monarchy's were well under your budget. Very nice amps in tasty class A. 
If you are into tubes (and BTW, there are some very nice mods available for the SCA-35 at this link: http://www.tronola.com/html/a_new_look.html), the devices that are closest to tube operation are Static Induction Transistors (SITs).
They have linearity not unlike triodes and even have soft clipping like tubes.

The old Sony VFet used SITs, but Sony didn't have a good grasp on how to use them at the time and so the amps were a bit unstable. Nelson Pass has designed a new circuit employing the SITs. The problem of course is that SITs are no longer in production, you have to build the amp from a kit (if you can still get one, check with the DIY store on DIYaudio.com) and the amp only makes about 20 watts, but at least the latter is in the ballpark for you.
Last summer a generous audiogon member loaned me his D.I.Y. Nelson Pass  S.I.T. (push pull version 35 watts) amplifier.  It was well broken -in and I used it for about 4 weeks. It was one of the best sounding solid state amplifiers I've ever heard. 
Charles 
Gainclones/chip amps are another fine option.  I had the Audiosector integrated and the transparency & detail were strong points.  I later bought a DIY gainclone here on A'gon and it was even better.  There are several available presently, here and on the Audiomarts and Ebay and most are way below your $$ limit. 
This is stating the obvious but for a $1K budget you’re better off looking for a high(er) power SS amplifier even if you don’t need the power. The newer low power SS amplifiers, except older/vintage receivers, tend to be almost all class A and hard to find in that budget.
You may want to take a look at the Teddy Pardo ST-60. Great little amp and excellent build.
to those who have used the monarchy sm-70, does it run hot?

thanks -andre
I too have an appreciation for low watt solid state amps and I use an Arcam CX Alpha 5 integrated amp, which is rated at 45 watts rms. The built in preamp of this unit is exceptionally clean and simple so that it impedes as little as possible the output and runs very cool. However, regardless of its low wattage, as in the Dynaco, (which are amazing as you say) the Arcam easily drives fairly heavy loads, as in my Def Techs. The earlier Arcams (say 1988 through the mid 2000s) were still being made in the UK, and I'm not sure about present models. I think that these are fairly accessible on Ebay, etc. 
Try an SAE Mark 31B for about $100. I think you'll have a lot of fun.
I run a pair of Monarchy's. I have never checked the temp,but they do get warm to the touch.
As another in the "I am a tube guy" camp here’s a few that haven’t been mentioned. The Akitika GT-101 LM3886 Gainclone kit amplifier rated a 50wpc @ 8 ohms is a bang for the buck if you add a couple hundred dollars to upgrade most parts as you build. Another fun one is a vintage circa 1974 Marantz 1070 integrated which has pre/amp in & out. Very conservatively rated at 35wpc since most are actually in the 40-50wpc range @ 8 ohms. If you bypass the 1070’s preamp with your own preamplifier just using the Mosfet amp section your in for a treat. It has a warm & forward sound signature & when mated with a tubed front end puts a smile on your face. I ended up selling the 1070, but it left enough of an impression that I wanted to hear it’s smaller sibling the 1040 rated at 20 wpc. The 1040 unlike the 1070 doesn’t play well with speakers as low as 84dB, but at 86dB & up it can shake a large room. It doesn’t have pre/amp in or outs so you need to open the volume pot if you want to use your own preamp. Far less parts then in the 1070 and less is definitely more as it’s just a really fun mood ring... Oops make that mood amp.


The DIY ACA2 kit is on back order for the foreseeable future and it's the only complete kit out there. DIYaudiostore put together a component kit for the F5 so all you need to do is source the chassis, transformer, power supply, and other bits, but it doesn't come with the matched input JFETs, and Linear Systems isn't currently producing them. That leaves you looking for old matched Toshiba parts wherever you can find them. An F5 costs about $1000 to build. Most of the First Watt amps cost about that to build if they don't been unobtainium parts. 

Luxman Class A amps can find some really nice used ones. Acuphase used maybe again Class A, older Pass Alpha series maybe in that price range. few that come to mind.

I had a Luxman L560 in my system and it was very nice. you can find L550's and L540's ( same amps basically) here in North America.

Thanks again for all the good information
Check-out the new Vision SET 120 by Van Alstine. He is known for his high-value well designed amps. This is a low power solid state single ended amp. Price is $899. 

Link: https://avahifi.com/collections/power-amplifiers/products/vision-set-120-power-amplifier
The Van Sistine Vision SET 120 amplifier seems like a well thought out straightforward design.  60 watts class A/B with apparent high bias although not specified how many watts in pure class A. Certainly could be a fine sounding amplifier but it isn't  ep a pureclass A circuit. 
Charles 
You mean Van Alstine.
I heard the SET at Axpona and it sounds great.






Yep, meant Van Alstine, autospell got me again. Amplifiers such as this which employ simple circuits often sound exceptionally good. I was just curious about how much power in class A before if switches to class B for additional power..
Charles
Adaug:

The Monarchy SM-70s I owned didn't just run hot, they were blazingly hot. No free lunch in Class A.

David
@charles1dad, I checked with Van Alstine, and Frank said about the first 10 watts are Class A.  Could be a nice match with my speakers which use Philips 9710 drivers, 95db, 8 ohm; generally listening at lower to moderate volume.
@gotog - +1 for the additional info.
I like bi-polar transistors, but only if they are medicated.
Hi gotog, 
Given your listening levels and the efficiency of the speakers you'll likely remain in the class A range 90 to 95 % of the time.
Charles 

I would second looking at class D amps, you can get a taste of them for very little money.

I have several based on the Texas Instruments TPA series chips.  I find they sound better than my low cost, low wattage tube amps.  I would suggest looking at amps with the TPA3250/TPA3255 or TPA3116/TPA3118 chips.  There are many boards you can buy to build your own.  There are also cheap and inexpensive pre-built versions.

For pre-built, take a look at the FX502SPRO, Allo Volt +D, or even the Nobsound dual TPA3116 for really cheap.

At that low of cost, it is worth give it a listen.  Enjoy!  
Arte Forma Audio Ruby integrated - see Stereotimes review by Clement Perry he gave it Component of the Year in 2017 - new is $1350. I have one and it’s just fantastic. 
Okay, here's one you've probably never heard of... Sparkler Audio out of Japan. Mr. Kazutoshi Tsukahara hand makes these units at a very reasonable price. I use his Flügel amp and find it to be most excellent. Can be seen at http://sparkler-audio.com/portfolio/products_en.html ... cheers