Options for integrateds for Ohm Walsh Tall 2000s?


Hi, all - back in the pairing game and would love to get some free advice from the experts on the 'Gon.  As we've entered our 'empty nest' stage, I've been able to spend more time pursuing my love of music -all types, from chamber music to classic jazz (female vocalists, Bill Evans, Ben Webster, Charlie Haden..) to acoustic to 70s Laurel Canyon to chamber pop, basically anything with melody.   That, and the fact that I don't just sit and listen with my head in a vise, led me to a used pair of Ohm MicroWalshTalls.   To me, they made music, not just sparkle, and were a good fit for our odd listening space where we moved around and lived  - open floor plan, 15x22x9 space for living/dining/kitchen - even while driven by a Marantz PM8004 with only 70/100W for power.  Redbook CD sounded great after 20 years with children and a lot of 'life' and noise at home. 

Not content to leave well enough alone, my inner audiophile started to emerge.  During the pandemic I listened more closely.  I started streaming hi-res with the Bluesound Node 2i. I realized that the MWTs couldn't fully fill the space, though they still sounded great with jazz and vocalists.   I started a conversation with Evan at Ohm Acoustics, like many of you have done.  He was great.  We talked about next steps, I sent him our floor plan, he helped me persuade my better half to approve upgrading to a Walsh Tall 2000 (couldn't get her to go for the 3000).  

So while our 2000s are being built, I need to figure out the replacement for the PM8004.  I've read all of the threads here, many on other forums, and I get what I've read but I'm still parsing all the info.  I have a standmount system in my study that satisfies my detail/accuracy listening needs, so I realize that this 'living space' system can remain musical and less technical and detailed.  I want music, not pristine sound.   My budget is limited - my better half supports my 'hobby' but wants to keep food on the table.  My budget is $800-$1500.  Lower is better.  I don't need a great phono preamp.  I don't need a DAC or streamer, I have the Bluesound and like it.  I want some more watts, high current and good damping, and balanced sound. I think these needs and wants translate into an integrated, gently used.  I've had great luck with used and I don't have access to audition locally or nearby.   

I've done a lot of on-line shopping and research.  Yes, I've subscribed to Zero Fidelity. I've considered the following, which have recently appeared in my price range: 
Class AB:
Yamaha A-S1000, 2000,1100.  Was minutes late for a 2000 on Agon. Have looked at an A-S701, not convinced. 
Marantz PM 14 or 15 series, not sure there's enough watts there.  PM 11 is a physical monster,
Anthem 225.
Parasound Halo integrated.  Lots of stuff I don't need.
Belles Soloist 1.  Missed that one by an hour or two.
I have a history and some fondness for NAD - my current c356BEE replaced a c326BEE, but not sure about the c375, c388, or M3. 
I'm a little nervous about Class D, but:
Rogue Sphinx.
Wyred4Sound STI 500.

What am I missing?  The watts of the W4S are appealing, but I really want a little warmth and musicality.  Will the 2000 provide that with Class D?  I would really appreciate the collective wisdom of those out there who have some experience with Ohms and pairings.    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!






mklinkma
Anthem 225 will work good but they are getting a bit old and hard to find. If you do I'd have it gone over by a good tech.
Nice choice of speakers and great little write up. If you can snag any Belles amp around $1500 I would jump on it. I also like the Unison Research Unico which will give you a little tube warmth. I've heard the Rogue Sphinx drive a pair of the Wharfedale Linton 85th anniversary speakers very nicely. 

I’ve A/B’d a few amps against the Parasound Halo integrated. For me, it is nothing special. Rather dull and unremarkable sounding.

I don't have any experience with any of the other amps you've listed.  

I believe @mapman has the 2000’s perhaps he’ll chime in here with his choice of gear.
I also demo'd the 1000's at the Ohm factory in Brooklyn. They were using VERY modest gear to drive them. Although, they're only 88db efficient I don't think they present a difficult load to the amp. 
@mklinkma .. have you perused the lengthy MicroWalsh thread here? If not, there's a wealth of info concerning amps (including class d) to drive Walsh speakers in general.

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/ohm-walsh-micro-talls-who-s-actually-heard-em

Best of luck in your search.

Underwood HiFi has a few new Wyred4Sound integrateds in your price range
I have 100 series 3 (8" driver) and 5 series 3 (12" driver) Ohms. One generation prior to current. 100s are close to 2000s in size..

The Marantz is fine to start with on paper....the bigger speakers alone will help to better fill the room. Adding a powered sub is always an option to take it to a higher level.

For more "warmth", I’d look towards a tube hybrid integrated like Rogue or similar, or separate tube pre-amp and amp. Some use moderate power tube amps with Ohms but added subs seem to typically be in the picture more often there. Certainly an option.

I use an Audio Research sp16 with my Class D BEl Canto amps and Ohms and that adds just the right touch of midrange "warmth". Lot’s of possibilities there though.

Ohms love some power and current to deliver their best but amp need not cost a fortune. For example D-Sonic offers exceptional value in higher powered Class D amps that should work well. Many others out there as well.

I’ve used a Musical FIdelity amp with my Ohms in the past. That also might be a good choice to go all SS.

One thing for sure is the Ohms will generally respond and sound different with each combo used to drive them. They don’t take much to sound good but will reward you when fed well.

I currently use 60 w/ch BEl Canto c5i to drive the 100s in a large open family room/kitchen area with good results well up into the 80s SPL a good 6-8 feet away.  Sound is more electrostat like....clean and fast....

ALso use 500w/ch BEl Canto ref1000m (with the ARC tube pre-amp) which is the bomb with the larger Ohm 5s.  As mentioned the ARC tube pre-amp is wonderful with the Ohms and adds just a touch of midrange "warmth".



A couple of quick points:
1) I googled “Wyred4Sound STI Ohm” (without the quotation marks) and found a thread on AudioKarma System Building discussion about Ohm speakers and Wyred amps that had favorable comments and no negative ones. (My query was not the most artfully drafted.)
2) Did you ask the folks at Ohm Speakers what they think of pairing with Wyred or other Class D gear?

Good luck!
Listen to @mapman , he knows Ohm! And he's a decent guy too..... ;~)

If you choose to go with a solid state integrated amp, the Rega Elicit-R ($3000 MSRP) is a great, well balanced integrated. Has everything you need and sounds fantastic. It is just at the top of your price range used (Approx. $1500 +/- $200). I've owned more than 10 integrated amps, including Anthem (X3), Musical Fidelity, NAD, Rega (X3), Plinius, Bryston and many others. I would take the Rega Elicit-R over all of them, hands-down. It has enjoyed a space on my audio rack for 3 years now, and no sign of it leaving.......

Good luck with the new speakers and the hunt for a new amp.
@reubent thanks for the kind words.

Have not heard Rega amps but they are well regarded in general and should work well.
I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in...
I have been using the newest Ohm 3000's for several years now and I have gone through multiple amps.  Parasound Halo>Yamaha A S2100>Yamaha A S3000>Wyred4sound STI-500v2>McIntosh MA8900.

In your budget, and based on the amps you have mentioned, I would recommend the Yamaha A S1100 (not the 1000 or 2000) if you don't play really loud, or the Wyred4sound. They are on sale for $1299 new right now, although I added the wiring and speaker terminal upgrade. To be honest, I'm not really sure how much difference the wiring and terminals make. It's a bit of a money maker for them, as there really isn't much wire in the amp. 
The STI-500V2 certainly has the horsepower, but sometimes it just sounds just a little too perfect...kinda hard to explain. 
I would consider the MOSFET Yamaha's to be more musical, but the way they build them, they just don't have much headroom. I bought both of my Yamaha amps recertified from Accessories 4 Less and they were like brand new. I don't see any available there at the moment.

Good luck!
I've seen that Wyred amp at a very good price recently and would expect it to do a very good job with Ohms.   

I understand the "too perfect" comment and don't find that a surprise.   Where does one go from there?   "Good sound" always  comes down to personal preferences in the end I suppose. 



Wow, thanks for the responses, everyone - it's like my birthday!

Just have a little time now.  I'll try to respond to some posts quickly, then more thoughtfully later, but man, do I appreciate all the suggestions.
@russ/@mapman - did think about muscial fidelity.  Would likely need m5i to have enough power, which so far seems to be above my price range and....maybe too bright at top end?
@djones - agreed,  saw the volume problem and these are old stock now.... probably off my list.
@audio/@mapman/@jimcrane - I agree I can start the 2000s off with the 8004, but expect I will need more watts.  I suspect Evan and the Ohm staff don't want to get in the habit of recommending specific amp pairings, but we discussed.  Evan volunteered up front that I'd likely need a power upgrade in my space with the 2000s, and that's fair.  
@melvin - it was exactly that great MWT thread that got me to consider, then search out, the MWTs.  I had forgotten that in all that great conversation there were some posts about pairings.  Even though many posts are pretty old now I'll check back in.
@tweak1 - thanks for the Underwood hint.  Even the W4S website is offering half off remaining new stock. All - please don't clear out their stock before i decide....
@rill/ @mapman  - while we're on the W4S, can you explain a little more about what you mean by 'too perfect'?  I think I get it, but maybe a longer description would help me process whether that's a good thing or a not-so-good thing.  
@jimcrane - you win the Link Of The Month Award for finding this obscure AudioKarma thread.  Man, I thought I had found everything, and there you go. 
There are some new suggestions I'll check out, and a couple more thoughtful responses are due to some of you.  Again, many thanks.  More later.
m


So here's my more thoughtful follow-up, with a couple questions for the group.

I'm pretty convinced that I'm not ready to go down the separates road or consider subwoofers for now.  Simplicity is better now, even though I spent time looking at the suggestions from @mapman.   I also will be listening at low volume late at night - which I think might favor more watts to clarify the sound and make Class D more appealing.  Will that change anyone's recommendations? 

I'm listening to the MWTs with the Marantz PM8004 as I write this, and I like the sound of the Marantz - smooth, clean, can hear deep into the music, but it does not seem too bright.  I can live with that sound.  As @mapman also noted, I can start with the 8004 if I need to, and I have several weeks before the 2000s arrive.  So I can be patient here.   

With that said, @reubent, can you tell me a little more about the Rega Elicit and what is most appealing to you?  Is it 'light' British (Creekish), or more full?  

@rill, I also wanted to respond to your post.  Before posting here I was focused on the Yamaha 1000/2000 - in my price range, what I read sounded good but I couldn't find one to listen to.   I've heard that the Yamahas are more muscular than the Marantz, but still balanced.  What is the difference between the Yamaha 1000/2000 and 1100/2100 series in terms of sound?  

Again, thanks to all - and don't hesitate to give me suggestions or point out where I'm not making sense.  I'm hoping this journey will be helpful to others trying to navigate great sound. 

m



@mklinkma  - The Rega Elicit-R is definitely not soft. I would consider it well balanced, with great bottom end. The solid bottom end satisfies me to the point that I don't want/need to add a sub to fill-in the bottom. It's just a complete, solid integrated amp, with no shortcomings IMHO. However, I wouldn't pay the $3K MSRP for a new one, as I'm a frugal audiophile. But at the approx. $1500 +/- $200 used price, I find it a great value. And the build quality is fantastic. Feels like it was machined out of a solid block of aluminum. I use it with the matching Rega Saturn-R CD player/transport/DAC. Perfect cosmetic match, same incredible build quality and sound signature. Plus one remote to control the whole system is a plus.

I agree that you should just start with your existing Marantz. After living with it for a bit, then decide if you need an upgraded integrated amp.
For an integrated amp, I'd throw a Schiit Ragnarok into the mix. $1,500 new without the phono and DAC modules, or $1,800 with.  It has 60 watts a channel at 8 ohms and 100 at 4. It is a class A/B amp. 

If the power level sounds low compared to some of the things you've been looking at, I'll share my experience. I have a set of Ohm 1000s that I really enjoy. I had a Hypex nCore amp (150 watts/ch 8 ohms) that I was using. On an impulse, I tried the Schiit Aegir, their version of a 20 watt/ch class A amp. It sounded much better to me than the Hypex. I was worried about having enough power, so I ran it with a meter attached to monitor power levels and discovered it only took about 1/4 of the amp's power to reach my desired listening level of about 85 dB in a medium sized 14 X 24 room with a vaulted ceiling. I did end up adding a subwoofer (the 1000s were a bit small for bass in this room) but the sound is now perfect for me.  

The Ragnarok has triple the power, so I suspect that it will be more than sufficient for your listening level. I like the sound of my system better with the Schiit amps than I did with either of the class D amps I had previously (the Hypex, and before that, a Bel Canto C5i with Ice modules.) 
@mklinkma,

I guess my opinion of the Class D amp being "too perfect" is that it just lacks the emotion and character of other amps. It very audiophile, which I'm kind of moving away from these days. I refer to the Ohm's as my audiophile retirement speakers... I have completely stopped looking at speakers anymore. 

With that said, there's denying how much of a bargain the W4S STI-500 V2 amp is at the current price, and you will never want for power 

As far as the different Yamaha amps, the 1100 and 2100 switched to Mosfet output transistors which provide a smoother, sweeter sound than the 1000 and 2000. Kind of a personal preference. 


more good suggestions/comments!  

@reubent - good to see your comment about the bottom end of the Elicit.  Will be on the lookout, only current listing is on eBay for $2K, a little high for me.

@misstl - had not even thought about Schiit, but willing to consider.  Anyone else have an experience with the Ragnarok and a relatively inefficient speaker? 

Gotta love that name if you like Norse mythology - Ragnarok - and I spent a lot of time in Norway earlier in my career, including sabbatical in Trondheim, which makes me think of Hegel.  Anyone with experience with Hegel integrateds?   

@rill - thanks for the longer answer.  Makes sense.  I wish there was a realistic way I could audition 4 or 5 of these amps to hear for myself what you are saying.  It looks like you've personally moved through the chain of integrateds I've been considering, so that's especially helpful.  
When I hear “too perfect” I’m thinking the sound of Quad Electrostats but with good dynamics top to bottom. That was the reference sound I was shooting for when I decided to give the newer Ohms a try.
They can deliver that but only with amps that are technically up to snuff to control the drivers with a vice like grip, especially the larger drivers.. That’s the Class D amp sound with the Ohms. Everything is clicking technically but the resulting sound may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially those who prefer the flavor of particular tube amps.

I also still had 1st generation Ohm Walsh 2s from the 80s when I acquired the 100s and was able to a/b test between the two. The originals were way behind in every regard. Overall tonality was same ballpark but no  quad ES sound there.....clearly rounder and less focused sound in every way, not competitive with most modern good quality “audiophile” speakers.  Of course those were already more than 25 years old at the time......
@mklinkma  - There is a Rega Elicit-R on USaudiomart listed at $1650. If you are interested, you might want to keep an eye on it and consider making an offer around $1500 if it doesn't sell soon.
I currently have a ohm 3x0 that i got from old man for $200. I’ve run it with low power emotiva basx100 and it sounded ok then i run it using monoprice monolith amp and it was also a bit to harsh to my taste. Then i used my mcintosh mc301 and thats when i notice how good and detailed the sound this old speaker are producing. I currently have this set up in my formal living room with open concept with formal dining total side is probably about 30x20 with probably 20ft ceiling. I dont use sub but for me it is adequate. But you know what else sounds good with my ohm? A really old Mcintosh Mc7106. If you can find a decent condition. I got mine at ebay about 7months ago and it has the sound signature of mc301 but cost way less. I got mine at ebay for $1200 including shipping. Hope that helps
@reubent  - thanks for the heads-up on the Elicit.  Did some on-line homework, am tracking it, wish I could do more than read about it.

@rendroidz - had not thought about McIntosh.  Wonder if it's the reputed smooth style linked to power.   The SS Mcintosh with ample watts tend to sell for more than my limit but will check it out.   

I suppose this is the modern/pandemic version of window shopping.  Enjoyable to a degree, learning a lot, not spending money yet.   
But I am critically listening to my current system to see what needs improvement... and I'm noticing 2 things.   More congestion than I expected with some basic roots-rock tracks by Dawes (Stories Don't End) and bass a little weak with Charlie Haden (Nocturne).  That's the downside of window shopping - it makes you less content with what you already have.  I should be happy with this system, it is muscial and enjoyable, and paid for....

Appreciate all of you.  Keep your thoughts coming.

-m
@mklinkma

When your Ohms are delivered and you have a few hours on them, make sure to come back and post a review.
Check out Belles Aria integrated. I have one and like it quite a bit.  I had an AnthemI225 right before it. The Anthem is a heckuva amp for around $600.  They have great power and sound pretty good.  If anyone has one and is interested, I have 3 SR Blue fuses for the Anthem.  PM me if interested.

I’d consider Rega, Hegel, Belles, and maybe Kinki Studios.  Rogue Sphinx and Ragnarok as well
I have Walsh 2-100S3 like Mapman, the equivalent of what you are getting. Got original 2s and John updated them for me 7 years ago. I run mine variously with a Marantz PM8005 or a McIntosh MC250 updated by Terry DeWick. I have them in a space that is about 12 x 24 with vaulted ceilings from 9 feet to 26. Both amps will fill the space with music well under normal listening and also when I crank them up to play electric blues along with the music. I like the Mc marginally better for the synergy that seems to be in place but each amp brings something different to the mix. I have also used an ATI 1502 on the Ohms, which delivers 150 WRMS and lots of current. It was VERY good even though the preamp I had then was maybe a little bright. More current is definitely a plus with the Ohms. I have heard the Yamahas and was impressed but not taken with the looks.  I personally am looking to upgrade myself and get down to 1 system, probably an integrated vs separates just to due to space issues and a need for a remote due to a bad back. I would keep the Marantz in an office system. I am looking at Belles Aria or possibly a Mac integrated. The Mac would be out of your range but you can get the Belles for under $2k. I have heard the other Reference line PM integrateds and liked them too. If you can get a deal on a Ken Ishiwata model you would probably love it.  There is also a Sony ES integrated that came out a few years ago that is exceptional. A friend has it and it is very nice. Runs Class A for part of the initial wattage so it runs hot but it sounded great thru his Dynacos. I have not played it thru Ohms. 
@b_limo 
the Belles Soloist was one I *almost*  bought, was just a little late in making up my mind.   I have read and heard that the Aria sounds beautiful, but I wasn't sure that there were enough watts to drive the Ohms.  Any advice or experience with the Belles driving a relatively inefficient speaker in a large space?

@joekapahulu 
really helpful comments, thanks!  Sounds like your space is roughly similar to mine in terms of cubic feet.  You were happy with the Marantz 8005 in driving the Ohms?  And you think the Aria at roughly the same wattage as the Marantz will also work for you?  

I love the idea of an integrated made by a person in the US who backs his product, that's one reason the Belles sounds good - just that it may not be a major upgrade from the 8004 in terms of power or current. Rogue Sphinx was on my list for the same reason.   I also confess that I am really appreciating the Marantz sound as I continue to listen more critically, so your thinking about the Marantz Reference line resonates.  I'm keeping my eyes open for those, too.  
..and yep, the Macs are probably out of my price range..especially if I have to eventually 'fess up on the price to my better half.   So far she is amused by this quest and approved of the choice of the Ohms - even actively helping choose the veneer - but if I totally blow the budget to 'overachieve' on a new integrated amp, she won't stay amused.  
@mklinkma  - Sorry for the late response. I've been on vacation.....

Regarding the Rega - There is a Rega Elicit and a Rega Elicit-R. I've owned both. The Elicit-R is much better IMHO. It is also more expensive used, but worth the extra cost IMHO. Wish you had the ability to hear one in a decent system. I think you would be impressed.
@reubent  - no problem, I've been out of touch, and the search is slow. 

I'm still just taking inventory of what 70-100W in the Marantz 8004 can do with different signal densities.   So far, my conclusions are that small ensembles (jazz quartets and string quartets) and acoustic pop are winners, orchestras and dense electricpop-rock not as much.  OK- not surprising.  But piano can be hit or miss, sometimes harsh- may be how it's recorded, or may be the current needed to handle dynamic piano passages.

At this point I believe I will need more power for the 2000s. There's been a lull in listings of integrateds I've been focusing on.    So - I ran across an integrated I had not really noticed, the Nuprime IDA-16.  In my price range, a unique approach to class D switching (pulse width modulation at high frequency), lots of power (200W), and a competent DAC (not so important to me).   It's hard to find solid information about the Nuprime, and I wondered whether any of you had experience with it.   Anyone?  

-m
@mklinkma - I have not heard the Nuprime IDA-16, so I can't comment on the sound. However, The Absolute Sound review was positive. If you can get it a a price where you are comfortable, and can re-sell for little/no loss, give it a try.......
I have been happy with the 8005 into the Ohms. That said, I have also had the experience of a much more powerful, higher current amp and the speakers definitely responded. It was a borrowed amp and one that would cost 4-5x the 8005 (Mac 6800) but damn it sounded good. I also have listened to a few Class D amps including the Rogues. Not for me, I was more taken with the Rogue Cronus 2 although it was not tubey in my  mind. I am actually wondering about the 2 Belles Aria models including the new Signature. It is 2-3x the base Aria but I want to hear the difference. Im gonna be in NJ in September and that is part of the focus of my trip. I too like the idea of a US made amp that is built well, sounds good and backed up. I also want to get down to 1 box. I plan to try to compare the Belles, Mac, and some Marantz Reference as my 3 top list items. I am open to some other things but that is my going in position. I do have the caveat of looking at reliability as a high decision criteria simply because the absence of techs in Hawaii coupled with the cost of shipping means breakdowns quickly add up to an amount that can be 25% of the price of new gear.