Unfortunately, The Focal 1038be is a beast of a speaker that will require a lot of power to open up and sound right. Neither of these tube amps are going to provide what these speakers really need, O sure they could drive them to a degree but its pedestrian a real waste of a good speaker. I would put the tubes into a seperate pre amp and get a powerful clean solid state amp like McIntosh, Bryston, Pass labs, ect...
5 years with the PL HP. If you're going only on internet suggestions, with articles,specs, graphs..whatever, then read as much as you can.
In the end, it is subjective. The 1038's can sound great with many amps, and the PL is one of them. Hearing them in your room won't replace endless forum "I heard them with..."
The Raven appears to be good stuff, but the PL possibly edges it out with feature/value. Final SQ is a personal thing. Easily matches build quality, though Raven looks like it may have the edge with a few nicer, components?
+1 Tablejockey. I would add this, too: I listened to the EVO 400 with Spendor floorstanders and the bass was very muddy, boomy. I am sure that I formed a rash impression of them, not least because they only had the tubes they had; other tubes would bring a much different sound, I’m sure. The key for me buying what I did (Quicksilver) was the build quality, very few people trading up from them, and the very low number of posts I found complaining about the build quality of the gear; lots of raves, good comments about service from Mike Sanders, very few complaints. I’ve had it 6 months and have swapped in new and good tubes and the sound’s changed a lot.
For what is worth, I'm running a pair of REL S3 subs with the Focals. I am a bit confused as these speakers are rated at 93db sensitivity...SO just how much power do U need to realize the full potential of the speaker?
I listened to the PL, expecting to purchase it after all the reviews I had read. I was very disappointed. Listened to an Octave 70 also. Better soundstage, but the sound itself was disappointing. They produced sound, but that’s about all I could say about them. Then I listened to the mac mac352 hybrid. So clean, clear, more control, detailed, etc etc. everything the other two were not. I ordered the mac.
I have a Raven Blackhawk LE and am in love with it. I've owned other tube amps, Cary Sli 80-F1, Rogue Cronus, AES/Cary AE-25, Dynaco, and the Raven is by far my favorite. But beyond the sonics, the support from Dave Thomson at Raven is the best you'll ever find. Plus, the 45-day, free in-home trial is something you won't get from many manufacturers. I"m sure the reason they can offer that is that not many amplifiers come back to them after the trial.
Reading djones comment, I compared the Raven and PL -- 20 wpc vs. 70 wpc. Seems like a mismatched comparison, at least power-wise. Besides stuff from Mac, Cary, a VTL IT-85 Integrated or a VAC Sigma 170i Integrated Amplifier would seem to offer closer comparatives.
I sold my PL Dialogue Premium, non HP looking to get the Focals to their potential...
What was it lacking? Did you try different tubes-KT88/150's?
Demo the amps. You're only out shipping for what doesn't make the cut. The PL will have twice the power. Perhaps the Raven's "better" components/transformers will make up for less power but you will hear it as acceptable?