ec peaked in the mid 80's
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I have a pair of the new AW220's currently in my system. They are only 4 months old but have been left on the entire time and have worked flawlessly. Your listening preferences will determine if you like the new products better than the old. The previous models sound mellow, slightly tubelike and musical. The new versions are more dynamic, highly detailed, revealing and transparent. Several friends have heard these amps in my system and are blown away. I have to agree. If I had the choice of old vs. new, I'd take the new hands down.
I also have an ECI 3 integrated in my second system. It's the older version and really sounds quite good. I am however, having the upgrade performed on this unit next year. I have not compared these to the other units you mentioned however I would suggest you contact Stewart at Sanctuary of Sound as he carries the EC's and Pass Labs.
I've had an EC4 leading my system for 10 years and just got an AW220. The staging and the separation are life like.
Of the fuse problem: been there had that. The EC4 has an 1/4amp fast fuse on the power buss. The spike when powered up is just too much. With a .35 or .4 slow fuse this is no longer an issue.
A friend who has always run old tube equipment has a Hubble rheostat from the outlet and begins power up to his system at 15% increasing to 97% at 3 15 second intervals. I don't know whether he kisses the output tubes good night, but wouldn't put it passed him.
We agree that there are two kinds of everything; the Best, and all the rest.