Monitor/Sub for low-powered tube amps

Looking for a monitor/powered sub setup to partner with my Manley 300B amps. Budget is up to $10K. Room is pretty small: 12*16*8. Will use amps in SET mode: 11wpc.

Not worried about "best". Just looking for suggestions/past experiences to narrow the field of candidates.


Not a specific recommendation, but an idea for an approach.

Given the amps you're using, there are both power limitations and an implied philosphy. SETs are usually the domain of minimalist signal path types, so I'm making the assumption that you qualify as such. Apologies in advance if that assumption has been made in error.

Anyway, one way to satisy both constraints while maximizing performance is to find a monitor with little to no bass response below 100hz and run them full range with the Manleys. This will keep the 300Bs working in their sweet spot and isolate them from the deep bass without any new devices (i.e. an active crossover) in the main signal path.

Add a pair of good, sealed subs from JL, SVS, Rythmik, or similar. Also get a good sub-controller that allows digital room correction of the subs. You'll likely end up crossing over somewhere around 100hz where the mains run out of steam. The pair of subs will allow for the high crossover without impacting the stereo image.

The DRC will allow you to "fix" many of the room effects where they are really audible - from 50hz to 120hz IME. The controller (I use a Velodyne SMS-1) will also allow very precise level matching and optimization of phase and x-over frequency to aid seamless integration.

Just one way to skin this particular cat.


I use the
With a 10k budget, why not try a full range, high efficiency, speaker? Say, something from Zu audio or Coincident... I suspect that a properly voiced full range speaker will readily beat a sub/monitor setup--less hassle, too.
lramirez, thanks for your input. That said, I already own a pair of Zu Essence. They are a very good match for my Manley amps. I am just trying to ascertain if there is a better match out there. I will probably post another thread in the future if I think I can find some more performance in that format.

Martykl, your thinking is in alignment with where I think I may be going. I am chatting offline with Duke at Audiokinesis. His suggestions are in that ballbark. This is also where my head may be.

I am also considering some Mission 792SE monitors paired with their sub.

Additional opinions welcomed. Just looking for options and opinions at this point. I have my Manley 300b Preamp on the way!

For $10k you should very seriously consider auditioning the Horning Aristotles. I own the Manley 300b amps and plan to pair them with a set of Horning Eufrodite ($18k) speakers when my budget allows. The Horning sound is very live and natural with amazing bass extension and quality even when driven by low watt SET amps. I was going to add a matching sub to my single driver Omegas and quickly reconsidered once I heard the Hornings (I actually couldn't sleep that night after hearing them!). The Aristotle is much more suited to your room size and would be an excellent match with the Manley Neoclassics IMO. I believe they are 97db efficient. Call Jeff at Highwater Sound - he's won't steer you wrong when it comes to SET friendly speakers.
Heck, I'd sell your amp and buy the Coincident Technology Frankenstein's (or if you want more power, the Coincident Dragons at 75 watts/channel)and then one of Coincident Technologies high sensitivity speakers. If you want a tower speaker, the Coincident Total Victory II and the Total Victory IV's are excellent. Another excellent floorstander is the Vaughn Cabernet at $8,500 delivered. It is comparable to the Total Victory speakers.

If you want a monitor sized speaker, the Coincident Triumph Extreme II's are excellent and can be paired with Coincidents own passive subwoofer as a stand. I use the Triumph Extreme II's with a pair of these passive subwoofers as stands in my home theatre set-up and they are great. I then added a pair of Coincident stands for the two Triumph Extreme II's as surround speakers and a single Triumph Extreme II as a center channel.

The Coincident Technology Triumph Extreme II's sitting on their passive subwoofer bases makes for an excellent full range speaker. You can also add a very good self-powered subwoofer, such as a HSU ULF-15. This combination would make for some excellent listening.