I feel that SETs are the way to go here - you now have a speaker which allows you to choose amplification based on quality, not power. With my Duos (or Duos I've heard elsewhere), amps which have performed superbly include Lamm ML2s (18 watt monos) and Audiopax 88s (30 wat monos). Also reputed to be an excellent match is the 6 watt Art Audio PX25 (can be had in stereo or monoblock configuration). Please spend time getting the setup right - search other threads on that topic - these very revealing speakers really reward proper setup.
I'm not an expert on the Avantgarde. However, a friend of mine owns a pair of Duos which I heard so many times and sound flawless. He runs them with a pair of Audiopax monoblocks. Look into them, I've read elsewhere that they are one of the best matches for Avantgardes. good luck!
1, Atma-Shpere OTL
2, Omtec CA-25 (Fast German Mono's with 25Watts)
The Tom Evans Linear A is worth looking into. Jeff Day from 6moons loves his driving the DUO, so it should be equally at home on the UNO. My speakers aren't horns (they are 97dB dynamics) but the Linear A has knocked three other very fine amps out of the system (Canary CA-339, Wavelength Triton and a super-tweaked Audion Silver Night Mk II PX-25). My personal opinion is that it is a paradigm-busting amp.
The Linear A is a stereo amp rather than monoblocks, but at this quality level that really isn't much of a factor.
I use my Duos with Quad IIs (rebuilt by Graham Tricker at GT Audio in the UK) driven by a TRON Meteor preamp (now replaced by the Syren). I heard a massive change when I upgraded my pre from a Verdier Control B with valve regulated PSU to the TRON.
The power amps need to be quiet with AG horns; surprisingly the Quads are pretty good. You won't need more than 10W with any AG horn. Either a good PX25 or a 300B would be great. I'm saving up for a TRON SET, which are made specifically to use with AG horns (see www.tron-electric.co.uk). Art Audio, Border Patrol or the TEAD Linear A would be fine otherwise.
Red Wine Audio Signature 30 amplifier. It's new and it is creating quite a stir. Srajan and others are saying it equals or surpasses the best 845 SET designs such as Yamamoto and Korneff. You can use it as a single input integrated as it has a DACT gain control. Price will surprise you and there is a rumor about monoblocks. Personally I don't see that happening for quite a while because of the waiting list he has for the Sig 30.
I own Duos which are slightly more efficient than the Unos. The AGs, in order to achieve good bass performance, require more power than you'd think. Regardless that the amp does not drive the woofer, as it but feeds the bass signal to the woofer's amp.
What I suggest doing is to eval some amps at your home. What works for others might not necessarily work for you--there are just too many variables including your choice in a preamp. I've owned and used with my Duos &/or evaled a Joules Electra OTL amp, the Audiopax, the Art Audio PX-25, and the Viva amp.
The Joules OTL is a fabulous amp. It has provided me with much sonic pleasure driving other speakers & performed well sonically with the Duos, though not the best fit for the Duos as the sensitivity is too high. (This high sensitivity is a benefit when using near every other speaker in existance except for the 104 db Duos.)
The Art Audio PX-25 provided A+++ performance. Actually the synergy with the Duos was shockingly good. And yeah, this is what 6 or an 8 watt amp, but it has an excellent power supply along with excellent transformers. This amp enabled the Duos to play big classical pieces and have a huge soundstage. Something that not every Duo owner can achieve. I used the stereo version of the Art Audio PX-25 amp and would have no qualms using this (and I've but used monoblocks for many years). The mono version of this amp will provide even better performance. Note that the Art Audio PX-25 amps have a special low gain option fine tuned for AG users.
The Viva monoblocks were also fabulous. The Duos had dead silent backgrounds when I used the Viva and Art Audio amps. And this was while using a preamp that has above average gain and a very high gain phono stage. The Audiopax also is worth hearing. I would stay away from Atmasphere amps.
As you said, you need to rebuild your entire system. In order to achieve maximum performance from the Duos I had to change my already excellent interconnects, speaker cables, and power cords. I also benefited greatly from replacing the stock Cardas power cords that came with the 3.0 Duos. It may be that you will need to play with your cables in order to get all of the sound potential that your Unos and electronics are able to provide.
Note: Ive never heard anyone say to stay away from SET amps with AG speakers. Like anything, there are good SETs and not so good SETs. Id think that a good SET amp, designed to provide quiet backgrounds with highly sensitive speakers, will be better than most non-SET amps at providing quiet backgrounds.
I have been running Duos since 2000 paired to Atma M60s. I assure you there is no reason to "...stay away...". Quite the contrary, in fact. I don't know the basis for Tubes 108's commentary, especially in light of his Joule rec., but I doubt it's based on six years continuous listening experience. FWIW.
Thanks all for sharing your knowledge here - looks like I might need to try SET amplification (I have some options to loan from friends) and decide.
Looks like the best proce/performance ratio is at Welbourne Labs and Yamamura, I will post my findings.
I am currently using an old QUAD II amp (great sound - better than the Premier8´s) in this particular setup, I will try an Audio Prism Mantissa (EL38), a custom-built SET (45) and a Dared 300B SET integrated.
I finnaly reached to a conclusion and will get a Welborne amp (Thanks Tom), 300B based and very promising. I will post my findings once I install it.
Currently the QUADs are makig beautifull music, might keep them as well!!! goshhhh what a hobby!
I say the Quads will beat the Welbornes...
Anyone familiar with the Melquiades amp?
I had the opportunity to try the Welborne 300B with my Duos and it is a gross mismatch. I have tried everything from 45,2A3,50,300B, and found the 300B based amp using WE tubes. The Chinese TJ, Valve Art is not worth it.
I then read further that the best match for the AG is the Audiopax 88. Right now I am using the Hovland Sapphire as my main amp with great success. It brought bigger dynamics than the lesser powered SETs but my heart still tells me to go SET.
In this respect has anyone ever tried the BAT VK60 or 75???
I am very curious as I have a gut feel this is the perfect amp for the Duos.
I received the Welborne 300B (Laurel) amps and sound great with my UNOS, the best option comapring in the same system with five different amps, some costing 5 times more.
I've heard duos with a wide range of amplifiers. I think that they are pretty forgiving, as far as amps are concerned; they sounded good with a wide range of amps, including those I normally don't like (e.g.,Cary 805). I particularly liked them with the Art Audio PX-25, the Viva Solista and Joule OTLs.
Larryi-I would love to trey my amps with the Viva or Art Audio amps, as well as Wavac, currently I am focusing on matching the welborne with a good preamps since I am running direct to the amps via the variable output of the Accuphase CDP I own.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I use Viva Aurora monoblocks (845) with my Trios 2.2. It is a lot of power for Trios. I tried an Atma-spere M60 MKII and it was not so good. The high frequencies were very rolled off and the overall sound was a little dead. There must be an impedence dip in the Trios tweeter. I did not here this in my Silverline speakers. It sounded quite good, but the OTL is no SET. Even playing rock music when I throw a party, the SET sound is still more engaging on my Silverlines. The bass is a little less tight though. The Duos might not have this problem that I noticed in the Trios. This was in a direct comparison with my Vivas.
I really like the sound of the Viva, but want to try something else also. I have in mind the ART Audio px-25, lots of talk on this with Duos, and the Wavelength Cardinal X-1. Has any one compared or have comments on these three with Duos or Trios.
I am a big fan of biamping, the Avantgardes are already biamped, since they come with the active woofers (subwoofers would have to cut lower than 250 hz!!)
I think SETs would sound great on the top (with both horns).
The lower freq would have to be cut from entering the SET amp though...
Anyone biamping? Active XO, Passive Line Level XO? Etc.
Well - I ended up getting a Jadis DA50 pure calss A amp, sound is rich and extended, nice fit for the UNOs, but still curious with the Audiopax or Lamm.
Thanks all for your feedback
Since the UNOs are less efficient than other Avantgardes, and we can't be in your room, nor know what is loud enough for your tastes, I'd day that a sufficiently powerful and good SET should be great.
Just to be on the safe side re the comments above, amps that employ the 2A3, 45, and simlar power tubes might be a risky recommendation.
But power from 10 watts and above, for most people, in most situations, would be adequate.
At this power level and above, it'll be about finding the best SET amp to do the job.
I heard the Avantgarde Uno's driven by an Audio Note Soro SE 8W SET integrated at a dealer's. I was surprised by how bad the combination was. The midrange was thick and coloured, top end was poor and muddied. Nearly all of my music lives in the mids and highs, and the combination was inferior to what I already had (ProAc D38/Cary 50W SET's). The bass was satisfactory - the Avantgarde active woofers are pretty good but lack true low down extension.
I thanked the dealer for his time and was about to walk out, when he suggested using the Graaf 20W OTL power amp instead. So he hooked it up and let it warm up. This was MUCH more like it - the speakers really came to life with this combination. I could quite happily live with this, but I heard something better the next day at another dealer's and bought it.
I was surprised that the little Audio Note SET wasn't happy with the Uno's. You would think that the two were made for each other.
I also got to hear the Duo's with my own SET's. I was not satisfied with the demo for other reasons but lack of power was not one of them.
Good luck with your quest and do report back what you find works best!