i think you should go for an ss amp to use with your tube pre. plinius would be very good. the urge to simplify will hopefully go away. you've got a great system(classic components), but the spendors do love as much power as you can give them.
Honestly, what you have now is a killer combination, and I would think long and hard about replacing anything . . . unless the sound is just fundamentally wrong. I think the S8e's sound better with tubes, as their bass is naturally accurate (no need to turn to SS for excellent bass) and their tweeter is neutral. Plus, you will surely lose that wonderful AI air that I have only heard AI create w/Spendors.
The midrange sounds fantastic. I have no real complaints about the bass, but it might be nice to get more presence there. My main issue is that the treble is rolled off and lacking in detail. Since recently buying these speakers, I am reacquainting myself with some of my older l.p.'s, and noticed this last night. Some of the tinkly little percussive instruments that were prominent on my Totem 1's, were just lost in the mix on my S8e's.
I was wondering if more wattage would help bring this upper-level detail out. Maybe a faulty assumption. The idea of a ss amp with the AI preamp does sound intriguing, though. I might see what's available on Audiogon, and live with both amps for awhile. Any alternete amp recommendations? What about re-tubing the V12r?
I think you are simply getting used to Spendor's version of tonal accuracy, hence the treble being "rolled off." Remember that the frequencies at which finger cymbals and hi-hat taps reside, if too dominant in a speaker's balance, can lead to serious listener fatigue over the long haul. And more watts will not necessarily bring out the high frequencies: A tweeter's natural voice will remain intact regardless of the power applied to it. I'm sure that if you spend more time with your set-up, you will begin to really appreciate what it's doing. Good luck.
If the Spendors are new give them some break in time. Maybe a hundred hours or so.
New driver tubes may brighten things up. Seimens 6922s come to mind. I admit though, my knowledge and experience with tubes is limited. (you may be able to change to 7308s or some of the newer 6DJ8s, like EI Elites which I remember as being fairly sparkling)
You may be able to obtain a bit of sparkle by a cabling change. Adding a little silver sometimes helps. Depends on what you are currently using of course.
My overall impressions of the Plinius you mention was overall "warmth." Not bad at all, quite pleasent actually, but synergistically speaking, that may not be the best match.
Finally, I wouldnt be too hasty, I really like the V12 and I would not characterize this amp as being too warm. The Spendors however, are on the warm side while triangles are not. My opinion of course.
Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like I should stay the course for now. The speakers have about 60-70 hours and the sound hasn't changed appreciably. Distortion, what do you mean when you say "triangles" are not on the warm side?
Whenever I have heard Triangles I've found their sound to have perceptably flat upper frequency responses. Not overly so, and in fact, this "flat" or "nuetral" presentation is the particular sound that I personally gravitate torwards. (not always though, its just as much fun coming from the other direction too)
One more thing Gary, if your room has a lot of acoustically absorptave materials, especially on the walls, it could be that removing a few of the absorptave items may "liven" up the sound.
The soft dome tweeters on a pair of Soliloquys sounded dead and lifeless until I had well over 250 hours on them. I left it on 24/7 for weeks. In your case (tubes) it may be time to take advantage of that liberal return policy at Best Buy!
More playing time is opening the S8e's up more. The midrange and upper bass are just phenominal. The trebles are still recessed when compared to the Totem Model 1's that I lived with for many years. I now think this is just a design difference, and matter of preference. For now, with the type of music I listen to, I'm enjoying this different perspective.
Of course, I've been away from the hobby for a number of years, and my wife seems to feel my hearing's not what it used to be. Hmmm...The answer must be a hearing aid...or more watts. I'm going to try a MF KW500 integrated amp in my system, and see which I prefer.
BTW, I apologize if this is a breach of Audiogon etiquette, but the dealer I traded my Model 1's to has them listed for what I'd consider a bargain price. They were upgraded to Signature series by the factory, but his ad doesn't reflect this. If anyone is interested, please email me. I have no financial interest in this, but I'd like to see someone enjoying them.
Doh, you said Totems. I thought you said Triangles. No wonder you asked what the heck I was talking about.
I am glad you like the Spendors. I have been thinking about bringing a pair home for a heart to heart!
Sorry for not paying more attention.
Ahh...mystery cleared up. The Spendors, btw, grow better by the day. I am sleep deprived, and loving it. It does appear to have been a break-in issue. Thanks to all for the helpful advice and encouragement.