There is a lot of choice in the sub $2000 category. Assuming that you are willing to buy used and want to go for a smooth solid state amp, I would recommend something like Conrad Johnson MF-2500A or any of the Aloia amps. The 13.01 is very sweet and rich sounding, almost tube like, but at the same time exhibits great slam and dynamics. Don't be fooled by the 30 watt power rating. This amp is a monster and will certainly drive your 805's with no sweat.
Odyssey!!! All the hype is "for real". Ron...
There is a Blue Circle BC2 on Agon right now, it is killer!!! With the right 6sn7 driver, it really is magic. Listening to my pair right now has me - I can't even put into words how this amp (with Merlin speakers) really puts a smile on my face, has my feet dancing, and chair rocking on 2 and 4.
Check out Bob Neill's reviews on the BC2, as he had B&W Nautilis 805. Magic. Steel of a deal too, as you would have to spend SERIOUSLY more $$ to better it (and then it is really only a matter of taste, not neccessarily a "upgrade")I think you could drop it right into your system as is and rock on!
Used Rowland Model 1 amp or Levinson 27.
Does the amp have to be a tube unit? If not, and you will consider a solid state amp (both new and used), then these 4 amps are in your general budget range and offer excellent performance:
1. Bryston 4B-SST
2. Marsh A400S
3. Rotel RB-1090
4. McCormack Audio DNA-225
Good idea to replace the power amp - it is definitely the one holding you back...
If you like VAC, the PA 100/100 is a particularly good value used at ~$1500-1600 and presents an extremely musical experience with remarkably good soundstaging for the price... you can spend the extra $ on tweaks, source or music...
Rotel RMB 1095......Outstanding value....and HT scaleable. I would have never considered for 2 channel stereo but one afternoon and 8 hours later I was shocked...You need to check this one out.
Audio Research 100.2! VERY musical. $3500 new, can be bought around $2000. Find reviews here: http://www.audioreview.com/Amplifiers/Audio+Research+100.2/PRD_115591_1583crx.aspx
My .02 cents also!
There are two differant Llano amps on sale on the gon right now. I have an older all SS Llano and as pleased as I am I would love to try the 300 watt the seller is selling for less than 2,000 which is less than one-half the original price.
During my search for a SS amp the CJ 2500, McComack DNA-225, Sim Audio W-5, Krell KAV-2250 and the Levinson 334, the Levinson was the nicer sounding amp to my ears at that time. I also agree with looking at the Rowland, Blue Circle, etc as above. There are some tube amp suggestions also.
A VAC PA100 would be a nice match with your preamp and have plenty of power with your B&W's. The sound can be tailored with tube choice and it is fairly compact and doesn't generate much heat for a medium powered tube amp. It is also very reliable and simple to adjust tube bias.
I would highly recommend you listen to an Ayre V-3. 200 w/ch into 4 ohms. Should be well within your price range used. I have three of them, one in my second system and two in my main rig. They are remarkably powerful, and have great musically balanced sound, not at all harsh or raspy.
Pass Aleph Series Amps, hands down the best affordable giant killer amps available.
Let us know what you buy!
I like the Bel Canto EVO series. They go for a lot less than $2k used and are great sounding. The 120 WPV EVO had better slam, control and in every other sonic way better than my extremely modded Hafler 9500 on top and the NHT SA3 on the bottom combo. But as always an opinion oriented in my system.
Hands down, Rogue Magnum M120's. First of all after been in this chaos for many years, I will tell you that you can't beat Monoblocks. And for the price you are talking about, you can't beat the M120's. IMHO this is a no brainer.
Spectron Musician II - excellent reviews, lightweight and power friendly
Bryston 4BSST - Power, power, power, and a 20 year warranty backed by spectacular customer service.
i second the odyssey-get used monos and get them upgraded to extreme - extreme $not yet on web sight yet so call klaus-
smoooooooth , clean and sweeeeeet-tight bass
You guys are so great. I posted a question on audioasylum once and all I got there was flames and insults. Here it seems like people are actually interested.
But with all these choices my head is spinning.
I was leaning towards blue circle BC 24 or maybe AES six pacs. But after your comments and suggestions I feel like I should audition a few more. Nobody mentioned the PSaudio HCA2 either.
I borrowed a Bryston 4B SST from a friend eager to show it off. It´s ah so quiet. I should forget to return it for a long time, so I can further research this.