I use two Rogue Audio Stereo 90's to biamp my Sonatas. I love it. I did use a single 90 while waiting for deliver of my second. It was very good but biamping, with any amps, makes a big difference. Our music tastes are similar, definitely no country music (an oxymoron at best).
I heard the Sonata III's at Silverline HQ powered by Alan Yun's homemade 7W SET amp. It was extraordinary. Enjoy those speakers!
I'm using VTL MB-125 monoblocs on my Sonata2's, (w/95db efficiency)and they sound very fine. I can switch between 60 watts of triode and 125 tetrode and they respond well in both modes. Would love to try something like an Art Audio Jota, Carissa, etc... or perhaps an Atma-sphere OTL? Good luck and enjoy... Lissnr
Thanks for your helpful reponses.
Yohjo, what kind of improvement did bi-amping make? I gather this is through the bi-wire terminals......do you know where across the crossover this takes place? ie woofers / top 3 drivers or bass-mid-bass / mids-tweets?
I have the opportunity to pick up a Quicksilver V4, anyone with experience about whether they think this would be a good match? More than enough power....and can roll through EL34s, KT88, 6550 and 6L6s to adjust the sound. Thoughts?
I have heard the big quicksilver 135's and they are extremely well built and totally classic tube in all the good ways. I'm told the V4's also give you excellent build quality and similar, albeit less power, classic tube sound as well. The Sonatas really seem to appreciate pure tube... (not that they can't rock hard with good SS) and the flexibility of those V4's really could be fun/exciting/satisfying... I happen to like the EL 34's but it sure would be nice to try the KT88's or 6550's, etc. for a whole different effect. While I can't attest to bi-amping, I will highly recommend bi-wiring as it brings even more detail and definition without ever being fatiguing or overly etched. In fact, the Sonatas are very easy to listen to extendedly with good ancillaries.
My impression of the difference biamping made is the music was "tighter" the soundstage was more defined, there is more "intensity" in the voices. All of the things that made me happy the ex is gone and no one tells me my speakers are too big, the music is too loud or you spent too much.
Everyone would use different words in describing the difference in sound.
Forgot the rest of your question. I have no idea what happens inside the speaker so I don't know about the specific cross-over frequenies.
Thanks especially to Yohjo and Lissner.
My ex is gone too!
4 times V4 monoblocks would be a bit much......for the price I think simply a higher-end power amp may be a better investment......I like the look of the V4s though as a versatile choice.
I was really looking for something "so nice" in a 40-50 watt but it seems there is this gap between SETs and big push-pulls. The bigger Audio Arts look nice but well out of my price range.
The atma-spheres look interesting but I see the match with OTLs a bit of a risk withoout trying first and there is no local dealer.....
I am using a VTL Stereo 150 moddified with oil filled caps and NOS tubes. The sound is extrordinary, silky smooth clean highs, transparant mids and surprising, a tight bass.
I'm using Quicksilver Triode monoblocks, and cannot recommend them highly enough. You will have to contact Mike Sanders at www.quicksilveraudio.com if you are interested, as they are not on their website. They would be an incredible match for the Sonata III's as well.
Mike says you can't get the Triodes in 240v/ 50Hz though.
I was interested in those, very much so....
As much as I love what tubes can do for the Sonatas, I'd like to suggest 2 more amps which I personally have always admired and suspect might be an interesting match with these very flexible speakers (and save some money while you're first getting your feet wet). The first one is a true classic which epitomizes in every way what a tube amp can do and that is the older Conrad Johnson MV-55 as well as the MV-52 and 45 along with their more powerful big brothers the MV-100 and 125 (which are becoming increasingly difficult to find in good condition...). They ARE romantic, they do embellish with golden hues and they will not be mistaken for SS in their bass control but they sure have a beautiful sound [all of them] and they absolutely invite extended listening sessions, especially vocals and midrange... I will admit that I have never actually owned them, but my local dealer always had any one of the above playing in his best room and I have spent many hours listening and lusting in their performances. On the used marketplace they are typically a great value and the type of amps which breed love at first listen. The Sonatas will give you all that they can offer. Are their better amps for them? I'm sure, but these are more like first loves...rather than your eternal soulmate. The other amp I would recommend because in this case I DID personally own and can admiringly attest to is not even tubed... it's what I have found to be the closest I've ever heard to tubes (in their good ways) in an all solid state product and they have an even more heralded past... the one and only "little square cube" Pass Aleph 3. I loved mine. Combined with a tubed preamp it was another incredibly satisfying musical experience that never let me down. No, it's not all that powerful but again the Sonata's easy impedance and high efficiency lends itself so well to the lower powered amps... Its power will surprise you and the Sonatas will make the best of it if you don't try to push it to more than "reasonable" levels but I can only imagine what a bi-amped configuration of a pair of these could do for you and at roughly $1K each average Agon price it might be something to consider. Anyway, just a few ideas... Let us know what you're test driving and good luck... . Happy listening.
This is an interesting suggestion.
Have heard a bit of the "lore" that surrounds these amps, there is a bit of that with the older McIntosh things as well.
Not a lot of CJs on the ground here in Australia. VERY few!
IF they are switchable at the transformer to 240v/50Hz I would look at grabbing one of these if a seller was interested in going to the trouble for an "exotic" buyer....
The 240v/50Hz switch is not something I can comment on but the lack of availability [of the CJ's] down there is a shame...I think I added a few too many model #'s when I listed the CJ's, the ones I'm certain about are the old style conventional chassis models which definetly include the MV-45 and MV-50. Soon after that they changed the chassis (and continued upgrading the model I'm sure) on a different chassis style/platform. The MV-52 was either the old or new style (I'm still thinking old?) but I think the MV-55 began the new chassis and later changed up to an SE model(s) including an MV-60. Sorry to throw all these at you but I'm sure their website will probably clear up any questions. I'm not familiar with your preamp, is it SS or tube? Isn't Plinius fairly close to your neck of the woods? (New Zealand and a good reputation for solid state? -though I know we're preferring tubes...).
I had a look at the CJ site and the MV55 is still the "old-style" chassis, the last of those before the angled "buttress" style I think ??
I was actually in "Plinius town" last month :) I worked for the company that introduced Plinius to Australia....waaaay back when (early 80s)......a lot different range now though.
The Supratek pre's well known around here, they are tube pieces made in Western Australia. Mine emerges off the waiting list this week I'm told.
As for power amps, I think I've got the short list down to Quicksilver V4 or Atma-sphere M60 MkII. The OTL thing intrigues me, looks the way to go.
The multi-voicing I can do with the V4 is compelling though.
The OTL thing intrigues me too. I've heard the Atma-spheres briefly at the NY CES a couple of years ago but not with any other equipment I was familiar with. It seems the M60 MkII is the bread and butter of the line with extensive accolades. There is the S30 also, just for the record... I would love to hear the Sonatas with the M60's... I've read they're not the absolute best in bass slam, as compared to hearty SS but their clarity and speed are beguiling. The V4's would probably be deemed more traditional and the OTL's more exotic but again, the Sonata's inherent flexibility gives you these options like very few other speakers can. "On paper" so to speak you could make arguments for or against either camp but there's no doubt the true convincer would be an audition of each with your equipment... in an ideal world, so it would be. As is so often done, you can use price as a deciding factor to begin with... enjoy whatever you buy for a while (I'd estimate the V4's to likely be cheaper?) and just keep the others in mind for "down the road sometime" and possibly arrange an audition with them if the opportunity ever presents itself. Good luck.
Thanks Lissnr (and other contributors)
Being on the other side of the world from where it is all happening makes it hard to try all the possibilities, so I just have to "wing it" with as much good input as I can get, and working from a lot of experience too I guess.
In the meantime, the Sonatas sound superb with my zero-feedback SS amp, and I can't wait to get the amplification they deserve.