6 responses Add your response
Why not seek out a mid-'90s Hafler TransNova MosFet amp? Acoustat invented and patented the TransNova design for driving their speakers, and later sold it to Hafler. Actually, I think they continued to make TransNova amps for the recording studio market after they discontinued the TransNova 9505 (250 wpc) and 9303 (150 wpc) for home audio.
You might be able to pick one up for $350-450. I don't recommend the Series 915 preamp they designed with it, though. There are definitely faster more linear preamps out there in the same price range.
A used Spectron Musician mark any. The pre I am still amazed by is the 300 buck used the AE-3 from Cary but under their own label. Upscale has some of the less expensive models new for about $700 or 800.
The Spectron isn't cheap but the only other big power amps (small in size) that came to mind were the Bel Canto 1000 Monoblocks, which retail for $ 4 to $5 K. I know the Spectron Mark III is now in th $6k range brand new. If you can find the earlier marks they should run about $2000 they are very good sounding amps for ICE power. If totally out of budget remember, a lot of cheap watts, sounds just like that, a lot of cheap watts.
The preamp however is a world beater and cheap! It is a tube pre, but no phono. It uses a modest compliment of just 2 tubes or 3 if the rectifier tube is present.
They are 6SN7s which even are still around as NOS. Further you can find and more than just decent tubes. Granted they will cost as little as $40/pair, but I would throw in the money for very good tubes around $100/pr or so will get you great sound. Very, very good example sof the Sylvania CHS JAN 6SN7 WGTs from the 50s will run about that. No they are not the top dog but like I said better than you might expect.
If you want another high powered amp consider the older Aragons like the 8008 I. I had the Palladium 1 ks for a while and they have the power but the best sound IMHO. If you can get a Coda or the like you could take a shot but you chance burning them up. The hafler? beats me. Might as well consider Carver in that catagory.
To bad you don't have the speakers for the tube amps I use now. They really are totally under-rated by most. The Opera Consonance 800 monoblocks, the reviewers like them -they won a Brutus Award, but I don't hear of many being in circulation. These amps are simply great period.
PS Audio HCA-2 amp and matching PCA-2 preamp. Dirt cheap on the used market and fabulous at driving my Acoustat 2+2's, having replaced a McIntosh MC7300, Acoustat TNT-200, and Hafler 9505. No heat, no hum, no noise.. just incredible detail and dynamics from top to bottom.
Of course, if I had the budget I'd be all over the new PS Audio GCC-500.