Many 5A owners are using ARC, and Richard uses ARC in his demo room at CES. Their amps would meet all of your requirements.
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Read this review... http://www.10audio.com/quicksilver_v4.htm ... and then buy these... http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.pl?ampstube&1137912849&item ...since they sound even better than originals. Less expensive too. (Yes, of course, they're mine.)
For output tubes I was next going to try the Penta/Shuguang KT88SC, here... http://www.pentalaboratories.com/product.asp?dept%5Fid=5020&pf%5Fid=KT88SC+SHUGUANG . They're getting quite a positive reputation on the Tubes Asylum... http://www.audioasylum.com/scripts/tv.pl?forum=tubes&s=U . They're a bargain at $22 each, too, but not so much at their matched proces. Of course, with their very-easy-to-use individual bias adjustments, bias-matched tubes are NOT REQUIRED in the V4, and because of Mike Sanders' ingenious and careful application of negative feedback in the amp, gain-matched tubes are not even a benefit.
I love the sound of the V4s driving the MR and treble of my Eminent Tech. 8s. They had lots of the harmonic richness (that sounds more like real music) that my 50-Watt SETs, ASL 805s, do. But then I figured out how do drive the ET8s so that the ASLs had enough power, so I'm using them again. Try the V4s; I expect you'll love 'em.
Hi Fjn04, I've been able to do several comparisons with V4s on Model 5s. I can always set up another on 5As, but the outcome will be the same. For RELIABLE tube amps, I can only recommend the Quicksilver. For better sound than the V-4s you should consider a new BEL 1001 Mk V. Yes, it's solid state, but you won't miss the tubes. It's the same price and will handily out perform V-4s. If you want to spend more money you can only buy "different" from there IMHO.
I guess I should chime back in since this thread is still alive. I purchased a pair of fully balanced V4 s and am happy with them, although I do feel the 5a benefits quite bit from a little more power than the Quickies. I auditioned a Gamut D200 this year and liked what its extra power did for the Vandies . A more effortless presentation with better dynamics.I kept the Quickies, preferring their midrange presentation over the Gamut. The Gamut was no slouch in that area either. I am now looking to add a preamplifier, and will be auditioning one next week. I am looking for a balanced tubed unit. The one I am trying also has a very flexible built in phono stage. Any suggestions are appreciated and always welcomed.
I use v4 with my 5a's I like them they are simple and low maintance. Have not had any issues after 2 years except for going through tubes. I did hear the cary 211 annversity amp and did like it better, bigger sound stage but less focused. Of course that amp was triple the cost and several other people like the v4 it seems to be the amp to get and the best bang for buck.
As for a pre amp this made a huge difference going from a AR sp-16 to aseticx clispo (sp). huge soundstage now and better all around.