Need amp suggestion for PBN Montana EPS2.

I need a power amp to drive my Eps2. I have tried Bryston 4bsst-c, Spectron Musician III, Symphonic line RG7 MK3 with no success. Your suggestions would be helpful.
If you were to tell us WHY those amps were not successful... you might get a decent answer.
Otherwise no one knows why you did not like the ones you tried???
Why not try one of the amps that PBN sells. They are beasts that cost a lot, but every once in a while one comes up on the Gon (like now) the Everest is on sale since 11/29 at a good deal. I am not the seller.
Yeah, as Elizabeth said, it would help to know why those you mentioned don't work. Have never heard the Montanas, but from what I've read, they're killers. When you get them paired up with the proper amp, you should have a monster set-up.
I'm running Mac MC501 monos with EPS2 and they mate very well. Bass is strong and controlled ; mids are full and sweet; highs are crystalline. The combo has coherency and musicality, and definitely presents a toe-tapping experience. The PBN/SEAS tweeters are remarkably clear and revealing but I've found they can be a little much in a hard room with amps that lean in that direction. The Macs, being full and smooth yet detailed, play to the strengths of the EPS2s very well. And the speakers, because they are so revealing of microdynamics and detail, help to augment the 501's slight softness in this area. I'm very pleased with the combo. And I'm surprised more Mac owners don't go for these PBNs. Wonderful speakers.
I should add that the Mac 501s are a bit of a conundrum because while they do present plenty of detail, they're not what I would call super-resolving, at least not as resolving as some pure class A amps I've owned, and still own. But with a good, matching tube preamp like a C2300, properly tube-rolled, they pull it all together incredibly well to my ears, especially with the EPS2.
thanks a lot for your responce.
LEt me tell you the rest of the gear. Cary slp98 and symphonic line RG9 MK ii. Cary cdp 303/300.
Bryston is the best overall performer so far but i miss the magic. the highs are a bit hursh and the mids are lean. The bottom is not what EPS2 can give.
Spectron has lean sound for me. i could use it just for the woofers.
RG7 mids are very "electronic". i loved the EPS2 with Cary v12 monos but i am looking for some ss.
Since hearing them, I've only ever owned MONTANA. Everything I have heard subsequent to those acquisitions has confirmed that choice -- and when I say "confirmed," I guess I should say, I have been shocked at what others are paying good money for -- even internationally well-reviewed speakers.


I think I do know something of the difficulty in pairing them with amps though. These speakers are D E E E E P. Meaning that they can get right into the gut of an amp, tap it, and turn it inside out. Blew up a few amps getting rock concert volumes with audiophile sound. Speakers never quit, amps did. Experimented with Bryston -- pretty superficial, meaning maybe not getting to the performance MONTANA is capable of.

Like the Mac 501 suggestion -- perhaps the best overall performer with my KAS'. Not the most awesome vibrate-your-spleen-with-perfect-control bass however. Krell will show you what kind of bass these things can give you -- toss the subs -- but not enamored of the Krell sound, so went with Plinius. Bass almost there, but much preferred the Plinius sound through the spectrum. If you want zip, clarity, transparency, presence, loudness, bass control -- Plinius 102, or even the 100s.

Something might seem sluggish or rolled-off with the Macs versus that kind of pizazz, but that's what I have settled on -- very rich, full-bodied musicality there. Also have a pair of Parasound JC-1s that I listened to for about ten minutes -- due to moving, have not listened enough to give any testimony there.

Hope that was helpful.
@Maich it was really helpful indeed.
I was thinking about a second hand sa250mk4 or a pair of sa102 or 103.

What pre are u using with plinius?
Well, can't really go wrong with any of those, except in my opinion there is no compelling reason to get the 103 -- cost you around $5K versus the 102 which is essentially the same amp sonically.

A pair of 102s will rock your world, no doubt. The 250 I think will sound somewhat reluctant on top, a little slow, ponderous in the bass perhaps -- but only compared to the pair of 102s -- the 250 is a very fine amp indeed, but if you were transitioning from the 102s, you might well think you had lost something.

You know, I might compare the 102s to the Bryston -- that kind of pep and superficial stimulation, but with real naturalness, timbral accuracy and involvement. Presence factor high. Oh, by the way, would not go the direction of the Plinius 300 -- did everything fairly right except you lost the performers -- they left the room -- put the 102s back, and they're there again -- the difference was instantaneously realized, only spent about very limited time with the 300 -- whatever else it offered, wasn't worth that sacrifice....
I think the best synergy with Montana's are Peter's own amps and Pass. I loved the X350.5 with my EPS2's.
Oh, also never settled on a pre that I could recommend with the Plinius amps -- I had probably about ten to fifteen Plinius amps over a few years (The Odeon is a killer multi, I forgot to mention), but now have sold them all off.

As I say, I sort of settled on the Mac sound as foundation for my system. One reason being the other amps I had were more compatible with that flavor -- there was no resolving Plinius and Macs in the same seven channel system.

Just to let you know how out of control I got, I had two 102s driving the rear channels, one for the center, and two 250s running the fronts, an Odeon in there at one point....pared back since then, but the obsession can grip you.....but if you don't know that already, you will find out, or NOT, if you exercise some restraint (I had none) -- I think you might be doing as well as you can with the two 102s, so no need to go bonkers trying to improve upon that......
Jeff1225: Good call! Momentarily forgot about PASS! Very very fine amps indeed. Can't go wrong there either....

Peter's amps are sonically closer to the Macs in my estimation though. Two different beasts, PASS and Peter's in-house. Pass compares better to Plinius I think, just my opinion....
Vlassiss. I run a pair of Nuforce 9SE V3 amps with my EPS speakers. They're a very good match with deep, tight bass response.
@Yoby. what is your pre?
I'm using a Dehavilland Mercury II tube preamp.
Next week i am going to audition Plinius sa 102 and mcintosh c2300.
I will let you know.
Any experiance with ASR EMITTER?
If that's the 3 box integrated, I listened at a dealer on $70K Magicos and thought it sounded thin and lifeless. Then he plugged in a VAC Phi 300.1 with a top VAC preamp and it sounded amazing. The ASR was not my cup.
I have the same impression with you but some friend told me that this amp is something special.
I'm sure it's actually much better than it sounded to me during that one quick audition. Perhaps it needed more warm-up than it received. Perhaps the Magicos aren't right for it. Perhaps something else was amiss. I wasn't there to hear it so I asked for the VAC stuff to be swapped in after 10 minutes.
Try one of these, if you can (McCormack DNA 500):
i see that the Montana owners are few.
i thought we sould be much more.
Any way.
I just audiotioned a set up with mcintosh. Not my style.
Tomorow i have a date with a plinius sa 102.
I managed to listen to a pass labs x350.5 and a Krell but i dont remember the model.
THank you all for your responce.
What Mac pieces did you listen to?
Hey, I have Montana XP that I like a lot. I am powering them with a Wyred 4 Sound 500 watt, but actually 1,000 watts since the XP have a 4 Ohm rating. Very smooth with lots of detail. I was considering an amp change, but after a while I realized I didn't need to spend the money to get something that sounded only just as good, used a whole lot more electricity, or needs a half hour to warm-up. Unless someone here can confidently reccommend another amp that is under 10K new that will blow mine away (I don't mind if you say that if it's true) I will keep my amp.
12-06-10: Wrm57
What Mac pieces did you listen to?

c2300 + mc501.
it was a litle bright for me.
Tube rolling the C2300 is crucial, in my experience. To me the stock tubes are a bit harsh and noisy. Most users swear by Telefunkens but I find them, while balanced and extended, a little too polite. Mid-1950s RCA Long Black Plate 12AX7 with D-getters add body and bass while keeping plenty of sparkle on top and excellent midrange. They're readily available and not too pricey. Great tubes. My personal favorites are Medical Grade Holland Amperex, which are incredibly focused and dynamic but might be too bright for you. And they're very pricey. Current issue Mullard 12AX7 (made by New Sensor in Russia) have a classic warm, fat tone and are very cheap. But of course, you'd have to take the leap of faith on the components before tube rolling and I'd certainly understand why you might not. Good luck!
The problem (my problem) is that i dont want to paly with tubes anymnore.
Thats the reason that i am looking for some solid state gear.
Ah, that's right--I recall from the OP. Perhaps a SS Mac preamp would be better. The cliche is that Mac tube gear sounds SS and vice versa. The 500C is supposed to be excellent though expensive.
I should add, though, that the brightness you heard almost certainly was not the MC501. It errs in the other direction. I've heard people say the stock C2300 is bright, however.
I am of the mind that tubes sound better with Montana speakers. But if it must be SS, that Plinius is a good choice.

Agree that the MAC 501s roll the other direction from bright, but if that was a problem for your ear, the older MAC stuff like the 352, have less emphasis on the top end.

From what you had said about the deficiencies of the Brystons keeping them from being satisfactory, I'm betting you will favor the Plinius sound. Do let us know as I am checking into this thread from time to time....
I have success with Nuforce Reference 9V3's running with EPS-2's. Possibly their new Reference 18's might be what you are looking for.
The happy end !!!
I was very lucky to find the amp of my dreams.
A Mark Levinson 336 now rests on the rack and feeds the Montanas with 350W.
We are all, the gear and me, very happy.
Thank you all for your participation.

I have the Montana XPs and I need to try a different front-end. I find the sound quite hard at times. Some of that is certainly the room, some of it is the recordings but I have had the speakers in three different rooms and it just gets fatiguing after awhile. So, I need to try and address the room as much as practical, but, honestly, I don't want my nice room(s) marred by the look of much of the current crop of room treatments out there.

Maybe room correction will help. Speaker placement. Maybe it's a synergy issue but first things first.

Glad you found amps that work for you. I'm more impressed by my EPS2s as my system evolves. They are remarkably neutral and resolving speakers that let all upstream components shine.


Maybe you should experiment with speaker cables. I just shotgun bi-wired my PBNs with single crystal copper, 8 ga on the bottom, 12 ga on top. It really evened out the tonal balance, adding warmth and presence and eliminating some slight hardness. Before, I was using lighter gauge silver clad copper. The woofers needed more current relative to the tweeters/mids and the silver was giving a slight edge. I don't know the XPs and YMMV but it's worth experimenting. I find the EPS2 to be very neutral and revealing, which can mean hardness in some cases, if hardness is upstream.
>I find the EPS2 to be very neutral and revealing,<

I found them to be decent speakers, but somewhat boxy. Didn't really want to let go of the notes. Music sounded like it was coming from the cabinets instead of just being present in the room.

YMM(and does)V

I don't really hear that boxiness, I have to say, if you mean cabinet resonance, although I've heard speakers that disappear better. The EPS2s can beam a bit if placement isn't right on. I know from reading your numerous posts these lines that you find GMAs to be much more open and invisible. Time-aligned and phase-coherent speakers can be spookily invisible. I've never heard GMAs but I gather they're like that. But I had Vandersteen 3A Sigs before the EPS2s but I found them to be no less boxy or more invisible. Rather, I've found the EPS2s to be better in every way and not by a little. Plus, they throw a huge sweet spot whereas the Vandies was like a yacht portal. Agonizingly small changes in placement and careful room treatment have helped me to minimize their directionality. But perhaps your hearing is simply more sensitive to cabinet resonances than mine.
@Wrm57 thanks a lot. let me ask you what speaker cables you use.

@Shakeydeal from my experience with Eps2, i think that the amp is not enough.
Vlassiss, I'm using old Harmonic Tech Pro-9 shotgun bi-wire that I'd put in a drawer and forgotten about. Years ago, when I had another system, I stripped off the big outer jacket. It seemed to open them up a bit but I wouldn't really recommend it. I'd also check out Acoustic Zen Double-Barrel Shotgun, which is very similar but larger gauge OCC copper on both top and bottom. The woofers on these speakers really like some fat current, and the OCC copper provides wonderful warmth, presence, and detail. At least in my experience.
I have EPS2's and , in a 16x24 room --- where I listen primarily to small-ensemble acoustic jazz and chamber music, I find that my 30 watt Ayon Spirit II integrated is a great match. The Montana's are lively -- but not bright, play loud but are unstrained, image beautifully, are exciting but not too fatiguing (because, at least to my ears, the Montana's are a bit bright if a bright SS amp is the power source, and, as such, I have strayed away from the big power SS amps). The trade-off --- some less than ideal bass control (I know I could get tighter, more rhythmic bass with a bigger SS amp --- and I had that with a bigger McIntosh SS amp on these speakers before --- but the smoothness, imaging, unrestrained nature and the body, texture and richness of the Ayon more... far more... than make up for the lesser rythem and pace).

So... consider a tube amp if what you listen to is acoustic-type music. If you really, really need the bass control because you listen to music that requires such... then a big ($) tube amp or a high-power SS amp is maybe the better choice (if you go Ss then choose a warm sounding amp or brightness might be an issue). So... what are your listening preferences? What do you listen to and what characteristics do you hold most dear in your system?
Another thought... Call Peter at PBN audio and ask him what amp to buy. That is what I did. i gave him my budget, my several options and asked his opinion. He was great and i followed his opinion and it worked out well. Nobody knows Montana speakers better than Peter --- he designed them.