Check out the Raysonic SP 100.If you don't mind the Shanling like styling,Some of the original(not Mk. II)models may still be available at discounted prices.I purchased the KT-88 version(SP 120) and it will drive all but the most difficult speakers!
Depends on SPL (in db's) you wish to obtain at the listening position. Both 89db speakers and 4ohms are do-able, assuming the 4ohm is their lowest impedance droop and you are driving the speakers a lease breaking levels. Do you have budget limitations? What kind of speakers are you going to drive?
My max budget is $1500 (for used). It will drive Tyler LSS (one piece). (Is it 89 or 90db?)
I already have VK-200 and VK-30, but want to also keep a tube amp which would work better than VK-200 for different styles of music. BAT VK-60 may be an ideal choice, but I have some EL34 tubes (by Siemens) and want to use them. Also, VK-60 is a bit more than my budget. That's why.
I have a pair of your speakers in my closet. They are 92db and I had no problem driving them as loud as I needed in a 19.5x13.5x9 ft room with 40 wts.
The best sound I got out of these speakers using an amp with EL34's (SED Brand) was a Primaluna 1, a simple integrated unit which I'm sure sounds nothing like your BAT's. Probably warmer and less transparent/resolved. I found I liked the LSS's sound best, especially thru the mids and highs, using amps with 6550's or KT88's. In my room these speakers had a less than perfectly linear tone thru the mid/upper mid range and tubes with too much color (emphasis) at certain frequencies could sound a bit edgy. Maybe it was my room or ancillaries.
Power wise I tried 5 different tube amps from 40 to 160 wts and all had sufficient power to drive these speakers off 4 ohm taps, and in one case 2ohm taps, so finding an amp with power is not so much an issue I think as is getting one with proper tonality.
Sorry I couldn't be more specific or help. If I had to make a WAG I would suggest, in that price range, you consider a VTL or Manley amp using EL34's - they have a good reputation and a fairly modern sound (for tubes).
Thanks for your response. From your suggestions, VTL-85 ($999) and Quicksilver KT-88 Monos ($1050) look interesting, if I don't restrict myself to EL34 tube amps. I am not looking for int amps since I am going to use my vk-30 as pre.
How about Copland CTA 504? Somebody offered me it at $1300, but I have not hear of the brand.
I have 4 almost new Siemens EL34 tubes and a few more (4~6 Russian/Chinese) variants. If I go for monoblocks, sure I need to use 8 or more tubes, but I'd rather stick to a single steroe amp. It might not save me whole a lot by sticking to EL34 tubes, so I would rather look for some other options too.
I have heard the Ars Sonum at Merlin Music Systems and I was pretty impressed with the sound. I think it was about thirty watts but it did not sound like 30 watts to me at least. I believe that is an EL34 powered amp. I think it is lead free
Slightly off topic, but with highly efficient speakers (100db or so) where gain isn't a notable issue, what are the sonic differences one could expect to hear between a EL34 amp and a comparable $ 300B set amp? Thanks
I would think you would get better bass and highs compared with a 300B. Though, you might think the 300B midrange is just glorious (not shabby with an EL34). Arguably the EL34 will just be more balanced from highs to lows.
The Antique Sound Lab 1001 (or is it 1003?) 30 watt Class A integrated. And it has something few others have:continousness, where it sounds like the live mike feed from the Met and not like typical, the-string-section's-here-one-minute-and-gone-the-next sound. cj has the same quality in their components (I assume it's that Teflon capacitor that seems to bring everything to life), but I've tried a few others and they sounded "cleaner" but certainly not "alive" as in the Met mike feed on Saturday afternoon. We tried the Cayin integrated and it was cleaner than the ASL, but more like a live performance??? Not what we'd call a close call... We're not so much for the better bass, better high components anymore. As Jon Valin has written in TAS, many of these have the frequencies right: they just don't make it sound "real" and these days we'd rather have 88.8% of the frequencies and have it sound live-not-Memorex than 100% and just "Memorex."
You can run el34's in the audiovalve challanger 180 monoblocks and get 150 watts of class A power;install 6550's or kt88's and max out power at 180 watts;this amp drives my soundlab m2's extremely with the 6550's and kt88's as I have not listened to the el34's as of yet;Bobby of Merlin was quite interested in this amp when I asked him the question if any of his customers were driving Melin's with it.
Here is a picture of the Tyler Acoustics room from the AK Fest in metro Detroit this year showing what amp he uses to demo his speakers. Its a Jolida JD-1000, 100 watts per channel EL-34 available used for around $1200. http://live.audiogon.com/i/akf2010/h/1273523485.jpg