Used Parasound JC-1s can handle that load.
The large Musical Fidelity amps are stable into 2 ohms and have a lot of power. My NuVista was rated at 275 watts at 8 ohms but in tests delivered , I believe, 860 watts at 2 ohms. The other 3 later models are all more powerful than mine. All can be had in your price range used. The JC-1s are also good.
Why not use Roger Sander's own ESL amps specifically designed to drive difficult electrostatic loads?
This amplifier will deliver more than 2000 volt-amps per channel into an ESL, and when driving magnetic speakers, the ESL amplifier will deliver over 360 watts/channel into an 8 ohm load, into a 2 ohm load exceeds 1000 watts.He's got a used pair of monoblocks for sale on his sight for almost 40% off and just a little more than a new stereo amp
Try and find as used Sunfire Signature 600. It sounds amazing and puts out 2400 watts into 2 ohms. I use it on my Soundlab speakers. It has bested amps costing over $18,000.
You will pay $1500 used and send it right away to Rita's Vintage Audio repair. They will charge you $375 to bring the unit to better than new status. Best $375 you will ever spend. They go through the unit replacing all kinds of parts and the amp just sings!
Runs cool at all times and will drive your speakers with absolute ease. This amp is a sleeper and many will think a Carver made amp is not a contender. They are wrong. I would buy this well before the JC 1's which I have also owned.
Okay a little food for thought. First the Innersound amps are a great way to go and will work quite nicely with the Eros. If memory serves me correct, Coda built the Innersound Amps. So a phone call to them would be in order to get their feedback and recommendation. Of course you could go to Wyred 4 Sound and speak with Rick Cullen and get his input. His amps are killer and will drive panels with ease and his prices are very friendly. Personally on panels I would go the Wyred 4 Sound route as these amps do not sense the reactive load from the speakers, they are immune from that.
I would try your VTL's first.
I have Innersound Kaya's and use a Innersound DRP-500 which was the predessor to the Magtech amp. This amp is the best amp I have tried.
The most powerful tube amp I tried was an Audio Valve Challenger mono's at 180 watts per channel. These worked ok but were not ideal. I would love to try some bigger tube amps but the heat they would put off is a concern.
I once asked Atmasphere if his MA-2's would work and he said that they would and he had a client that was using them with my speakers.
The Innersounds and Sanders Sound speakers impedance dips to 2 ohms at 20 khz. If the treble is rolled off with your VTL's I would be concerned but if not then they should drive them just fine.
Sorry just reread your post. I would just get his analog crossover instead. That would solve your problem. The 10b uses a active analog crossover and the 10c uses the digital.
I don't know if you have an analog source but if you ever want one you will have to convert it to digital before you can play it through your speakers with a digital crossover.
That is not an ideal situation.
Thanks for the many suggestions.
Several amps I never thought of, I will investigate those.
Just to respond to the suggestion on the ESL amp, I once had the old Innersound ESL amp, and I felt it was rather bright and had more of the SS edge for my taste. This was years back and I understand the Magtech is generations advance, but not sure how much the sound has changed.
I did try my VTL with my old innersound EROS once before and I blew a new tube after short play. I think there was a bit of reaction between the amp and speaker, so haven't try that again since. May be a fluke but didn't want to take any chances.
The thought of sticking with analogue cross over is tempting, but Roger really pitched the many features that came with the digital cross over. The main selling point was the lower crossover point of 177hz which allow the ESL panel to operate in its intended range and I can now use my pair of 1000 watt subwoofer amps to drive the bass :-)
Roger did offer me a trial period to take the analogue crossover if I change my mind. That is the great thing about Roger, customer satisfaction is a real thing to him!
I don't know if I'm being unrealistic, but I was wondering if there are any hybrid amps - tube input/SS output that could handle such a load. I'm also not sure if the digital crossover would negate the value of a partial Tube amp anyway. Just would like to retain the musicality of tube if possible. Don't know if I shouldn't stretch but just stick with a good solid performing SS amp instead.
05-03-11: GeraldedisonSee if he'll let you do a home trial of the used monoblocks he has for sale. May still be too strident for you, but there is only one way to know...
What is the rest of your system? I use a nice tube preamp. I agree you need some tubes in the system.
I tried a solid state preamp with my system and it was too bright for me. It was a used Innersound RCP-1. Their reference preamp. I spoke with Roger about it and it seems he had left the company before it was released. It did not sound like he had much to do with it's design.
I have listened to his setup at RMAF twice and both times I did not hear any exessive brightness. Both systems were all solid state.
The first time was with the analog crossover. Second time was with the digital crossover. Unfortunatley I was unable to listen to my own music the second time because he did not have a cd player in the room. He only had a hard drive setup.
The rest of my system is Linn Majik DS player and Music Hall MF7 phono for source. I have the Lamm LL2 Deluxe for pre and I have two sets of amps; the VTL 450MB (this is nicely modded with new caps and golden lion KT88s), my fallback SS amp is the Nuforce Ref8. The nuforce can handle the load of the Innersound, but switching amps are not good mates for ESL speakers. So I'm looking for something class A/B maybe even hybrid.
It's interesting to hear that you hear Roger's recent setup with his new amps. The digital crossover and the upgrade kits should arrive tomorrow and I'll get to experiment with it.
I am still wary of exposing my VTL to those speakers...
The Spectron is a digital amp. I remember Roger saying that digital amps don't work well with his panels. I'm not sure why that is but I would ask him first.
I think with the preamp you have you should be fine with his esl amp. He may let you do a trial period on one.
I just looked at his web site and read about the upgrade your getting. Looks like new panels and crossover. You must have one of the earlier eros. I think he perfected the panels by the time the eros 3.5 came out.
If you find a good deal on the Parasound JC-1s they should work well. I used to use their little brother A-21 on my Kaya's. The Halo A-21 is 250 wpc and was a little sweeter sounding than my innersound amp but not as transparent. Also was a little underpowered. The JC-1's have more juice so they should be a good match.
I took a look at the Spectron, turns out they too are switching amps which is like my current nuforce Ref 8. They can certainly handle the 2 ohm loads, but as you mentioned Roger has made it clear that switching amps don't pair up well with his speakers.
I did have the old Eros MKI the very first model :-) So this upgrade will be a big jump forward. I actually just got it today and took a bit longer to get it in then I expected because my EROS is so old it didn't have the snap in wire plugs to match the new panel. I had to very carefully cut out the three wires from each panel from plastic snap casing...that took longer than the everything else....but WOW, what a difference!
Even with my nuforce it is sounding great!
These speakers are restrictive on the type of amps that you can mated with, but it's so worth the pain :-)
Enjoying my music and I sense it's going to be a long night...
I drive Soundlabs with CAT JL3's. Formerly had JL1's. The JL2 stereo is a more reasonable priced option. However, if found, the older JL1 monos would be a great value.
Unbelievably, the JL1's are rated at a humble 100w/ch, but don't let that deter you. They replaced a Levinson 336 at 350w/ch. and controlled the Soundlabs as if they were 500w/ch.! I do believe these 190 lb./ea. monsters will drive pretty much anything out there.
When thinking of CAT, pre-amps come to mind, but IMHO, Ken Steven's amps are on the short list of the best out there -- SET nuance, with push-pull power.
Sticking with tubes, Atma-sphere is a great choice. Wolcotts are used by many Soundlab owners.
Solid state - as mentioned, the Parasound monos are a good choice. When auditioning the CAT JL1's against my Levinson, the Parasound's were quite nice, just not in the same league as the CAT's -- either in price or sonics.