Recommend Speakers For Yamamoto

Can anybody please recommend speakers to go with Yamamoto A-08S 45 SET amp. I have some speakers in mind the B&W CM1 and JM Lab Micro Utopia. This is my first time with SET Amp so I don't know how will this Amp handle this speakers. I usually listen to vocal, jazz, pop and no heavy metal.
may want to consider baffleless speakers offered by morrow audio great bargain very cohearant and dynamic @ 100db i tried them as an experiment with set amp very impressed \
and drivers not even broken in yet ted
You are going to need a high efficiency speaker with a low powered SET amp. I don't know about the B&W or JM Labs speakers, but I don't think they are going to be efficient enough to work with a 45 SET amp. It is going to depend on your room size and volume requirements, but I think you are going to need speakers of 94db efficiency or better. I'm sure that you will get recommendations that you only look at speakers that are about 100db or more efficient.

I'm currently listening to a speaker built around the HempAcoustics FR8.0DIY driver. It is a high efficiency full range drive. The speakers are excellent for most types of music and they play very loud with my 3.5 watt 2A3 SET amps.

Good luck. If this is your first venture into SET land, you are probably in for a treat!


Seriously, you're kidding right?

The A-08S puts out only 2 watts at full-on maximum output. At that point, the amp is pumping a lot of distortion. In the real world, you're probably looking at 1-1.5 watts allowing for headroom.

My speakers are 97dB efficient (with no crossover) and that's not enough power for most listening in my room. At least not with complex or demanding music.

The B&W CM1's are 84dB 2-way configuration. There is no way the A-08S is going to drive those at all. Not to anyone's satisfaction. B&W, itself, states the minimum power for them is 30W.

The JM Lab Micro Utopia's are only a little better at 89dB.

Low powered SET's are really intended for high-efficiency speakers. Neither speaker you are considering qualifies as such. Not even close.

Please consider speakers of 97dB or greater efficiency as a minimum for your A-08S. Crossover-less single-driver or compression horns are your best bet.
With jazz, pop and vocals, you might be able to get away with speakers in the low 90's if your room is not too big. You'll probably have some dynamic compression on loud or complex passages but it is workable.

Ive never heard the B&Ws. The JM labs might work but the tonality might be too lean with that combo. Both of these are kinda iffy in this application.

Realistically, speakers in the range of 94-97 dB will offer more satisfaction with ones over 100dB even better.

There are a lot of speaker options both commercial and DIY. It depends on budget. So what is youir budget and can you do DIY?
Horn speakers would usually work well. Here are a few companies that make them: Avantgarde, Zu, JBL, Tannoy, Acapellas.
Thanks for all your inputs. My room size is quite small 18'x12' so I don't want the speakers too big or bulky. I prefer ready made one or DIY kit is okay as long is doesn't require me to build the boxes from scratch because I don't have access to table saw. My budget is around $2,000 and used one is another option.


you're going backwards....pick speakers you like, then match them with a proper amp. otherwise your choices aren't the greatest.
I'm using the Zu Definitions with my A-08s. Their Tone model is a standmount that retails for a little less than $2k and offers high-90 sensitivity.

Good luck!
Having heard the Yama a few times, uh, well it would make an awesome tweeter or perhaps, upper midrange/tweeter amp(!).

Otherwise, driving a more or less full range speaker, it will sound like an AM radio.
Zu Druids can be had for $2000 or less used on Audiogon but you have to respond quickly as they sell very fast. There are presently 4 pairs listed and they are all sold.
Zu uses your amp to demo these speakers at shows and Srajan of 6moons had Druids when he bought his Yamamoto. Should work fine, I would think.
Avantgarde, Zu ....
These 2 are the best in the Up to 30,000 catagory.
I tried SET 45 amps like the Yami on my Lowther DX3, from 100 hz up, I really didnt work properly, I had to hook up a SS preamp that could probably move the lowthers by itself in order to get some sound out of it...
The JMLabs or B&W wont work.
If you are determined to use the amp, use it for mid horns such as the Altec VOT 806 tweeter, and biamp using some chipamp (gainclone) for the bass driver...
That should fit your budget, and probably not the size of your room.
You could also try a Fostex driver in some small cabinet and a subwoofer, try to get the most efficient Fostex driver you can find that would go low enough to cross over to an active subwoofer, say 100 hz maybe? sells fostex and some cabinet kits also.

I am not sure if the Fostex will work though..I guess if you dont like symphonic orchestras you will do fine...
Get a very powerful preamp for that!!
I would try Tonian Labs TL-D1 speakers. They use a single 8' Fostex driver and ribbon super tweeter, having 8 Ohm impedance and 95 db sufficiency. supreme treble, life-like midgange, very good organ timbre and all these for only about 1500$. Indeed very impresive speaker; perhaps the best in this price range. Check it in
Best regards.

Fertin 20EX-fullrange- Fieldcoil-32Ohm driver

in open-baffle(if you have the space)

could be a really easy load for your YamanotoA-08S

I forgot to mention:

The Fertin 20EX are 100db in(8-16 o 32Ohm).
Thanks for all your comments, I will probably get the Druid speaker if I can get one reasonable price and then the Yamo amp.


I think we've all missed an important question - have you ever listened to a true high-efficiency system(>97dB)? And have you ever heard the Yamamoto or any other sub-2 watt amplifer?

If not, please be sure to find some system owners in your area and check out their setups before ordering either the Yamamoto or Zu's. Be sure to bring a wide selection of your own favorite listening material.

I like both those components(Zu & Yam), but the jump from regular low efficency to low power/high-eff is a big one that takes some getting used to, careful planning, and lots of fine tuning. I'm not trying to talk you out of your choices, just trying to help you minimize frustration and missed expectations.

High efficiency systems general tend to be far more resolving and ruthless on source material and system components/synergy than higher-power setups with multi-way drivers. At least, that has been my experience over the last 5 years.

The first real shock is that many recordings that you love will seem absolutely unlistenable because of the newly revealed poor recording quality or previous cd/LP abuse. It takes a while to learn to accept or ignore these faults and enjoy the recordings again. This is more common with rock & popular recordings than jazz, classical, etc., yet they still have their own share of bad material.

Good SET amps & high-eff speakers give rpeceding components nowhere to hide. It's like looking at your system with an electron microscope. So, you really have to take car in selecting the preamp and cd/turntable the precede them. Components that seemed dead quiet before will be shwon to actually have annoying loud hum/buzzing. Interconnect choices will have a big differnce on sound.

And then there's your home's power supply. I never knew that I had 60/120Hz hum in my AC line until I made the jump to SET's and high-eff. Now, it drives me crazy.

I had to ground all the outlets in my room. Then, reground my electrical panel to my copper water line. This reduced things significantly, but not enough. I now use a series of isolation transformers and filters.

I'm not saying you a going to have these problems, just don't be surprised if they pop up. High efficency systems are a process instead of a purchase. But, the rewards are stunning when you get close to done. There really is no way to go back once you've crossed over.

And with the Yam+Zu's, you are starting with two fantastic choices.
You should look into single driver speakers like those offerred by, or, - Zu would work as well.
First of all thank you for all your inputs. I have learned a lot from reading all your comments. I have no experience with SET amp and I haven't hear the Zu and Yam comb yet. I don't know anyone has this setup in San Francisco Bay Area that I can audition. I don't know how the low power amp work and how is sound. This system I plan to setup is for my work office where stay overtime alot. The reason I like Yam is very cute and elegant and size is right for my office. I don't like to have big system there:)

As for my main system is all McIntosh MC2000, C2200, MDA1000, MCD201, SB3 and B&W802D. I am very happy with current setup.

So this is a big jump for me from high power amp to little tiny amp power :)

From all this great comments I hope to find someone with similiar setup I can audition before I start my investment.

Again thank you

I may have misunderstood. For some reason I was under the impression that you already had the Yamamoto. If you have not bought it yet, consider this as a better alternative for your office.
It will be excellent with ZU.

While I don't know of any places to listen to the Yam/Zu combo, there are places in the Bay Area to listen to SETs and high efficiency speakers.

There are several dealers in the area that have SET amps.

try Pitch Perfect Audio in SF, Taurus Tube audio in Newark, and Witch Doctor Audio in Oakland.

You should be able to get a feel for the SET sound.

Also, the Bay Area Audiophile Society is having some kind of Zu demo in October.

There are plenty of high efficiency owners in the Bay Area. I suggest you post a request to listen to someone's system in Audio Asylum's High Efficiency forum or SET forum. Just explain post that you are interested in making the jump to SET/high-eff and would appreciate listening to few different systems before making the jump. Say you are open to Single/fullrange & true compression horn speakers and any type of SET they've got.

Another great resource to finder help is the FullRange Driver Forum. Somewhere between those two forums, you will probably find 5-10 people willing to let you come over. I got priceless advice and experience from owners in around Los Angeles.

Please take your time and listen to as many varied systems as possible before purchasing any components or speakers. Just diving in blindly without any reference point or knowledge is a recipe for serious frustration and wasted money.

There is a huge difference in sound and character between 100+dB Edgarhorns, 100dB vintage JBL, Cain & Cain fullrange single drivers(FR's), The Horn Shoppe FR's, Omega, Zu's, and every other speaker made. Finding which are right for you is a long, long, term journey unless you get lucky by sheer chance.

The one good thing about Zu is that they have a 30 or 60 day trial money back guarantee. I don't know of any other speaker maker that does that. Just realize that Zu speakers, like all others, are hit & miss as to who will love them and who will not. I personally like them a lot even though I own a totally different type of fullrange driver system that I love.
I'm with Microjack on this one. I was under the impression that you already owned the Yamamoto amp and were looking for speakers to match. Since that is not the case, personally I would recommend a different approach.

I've heard several 45 based amps and they can sound very good with the right speaker. However, you are greatly limited in the speakers you can use because of the very low output power of the 45 tube.

Specifically about the Yamamoto, I'm not too thrilled with the way it is made. Take a look at this one which just sold on AudiogoN:

Screwing the legs into a thin wood panel, near the edge, is an accident waiting to happen. A small bump on the end of the leg, or if the box gets dropped in shipping, is going to cause the unit to become physically damaged like the one shown in the photo.

Personally I would look for an amp with somewhat more power. There are some great 2A3 SET amps out there. For instance, take a look at some of the ones from Larry Moore at Ultra Fi Times. They are extremely well built and sound great! Also, the designer and builder is the same person.


I am with all your valuable suggestions. Sorry for not making myself clear in the beginning. I will make some arrangement to hear some of the SET amp setup before jumping the boat. I am a person that don't change system often especially when is come to Amp and Preamp. That is why when I selected my main system is the best out there IMO. So if even it cost a little more than my planned budget I would rather save and wait a little longer. As for the source that is a different story a few months ago I added the Squeeze Box because of the convience than keep changing CDs :)

Again thank you,
The comments here are very interesting. I read Darkmoebius comments and agree with their thrust and general guidlines- it seriously helps to know at the very least what similiar products sound like and how well your choices will help you achieve your goal. I would say that sometimes we all have to roll the dice a little in our decision making and if we all follow an always rational, measured apporach to component selection and are not listening with our passion engaged we might be in big trouble with the final result. I ordered the Yamamoto unheard (not received it yet) because I felt it presented a pretty rare opportunity for great sound (there are a lot of mediocre amps out there) and could live with myself if after trying different approaches I felt it did not measure up. I have a good solid-state system already (Naim Nait 5i/Cd 5x/ProAc Tablette or JM Lab Chorus 705s) and wanted a amp with a different take and perhaps some different strengths and weaknesses. I have owned several tube amps including single-ended triode in the past and heard many more so I know a little bit about what to expect. For me, the choice may have been as much about "discovering" the sound as "achieving" certain sonic attributes. Who knows, it may just be fun.
By the way, I ordered Omega speakers for this amp and after a week of breaking them in I can say I really like them.

I totally agree with your sentiment that we have to sometimes take chances on component purchases. But, hopefully those "chances" are made an exducated or experienced reference.

In Rocky's case, he has never heard a SET amp or high effficiency speakers at all. So, jumping in with the Yamamoto 45 SET is more likely to yield a bad experience then good. There are many, many, limitations to amps with that low wattage(as well as benefits). But, you have to know what you are doing to get a satisfying synergy performance in a system.

And, let's face it, SET's are not for everyone musically. There are people who simply do not like the sound at all no matter which manufacturers products they hear. Rocky should at least find out if he's in this camp or not before dropping $4,000-7,000(used vs. new) on the Yamamoto and Zu's.

He needs to at least hear a few of the most popular SET's - 45, 300B, 2A3, EL34, 845, etc. to get a sense of which sound he prefers. There's such a big difference between each.

Then, he heeds to hear a good fullrange/single drive, true compression horns, and even some SET-friendly two or 3 way regular dynamic speakers.

Luckily, he's in a good city for hearing high-eff systems. There are plenty of owners in the Bay Area.
I believe Rocky said this system was for his office when he works overtime. That says background music to me. It also suggests limited space and likely bad place to share with hot tubes. I suggested the Zu Druid because it works well near field, is reasonably full range, highly efficient and has a small footprint. My other suggestion is the Red Wine Audio Signature 30. This is a new, and unknown product to most of you but you should really check it out. Sounds like a SET but is solid state and battery powered. Reviews are available and the price is much less than most SET amps. There is a growing waiting list for these so it would be wise to investigate soon. It is a factory direct product and every one is hand assembled by the designer at this point. Mine will arrive in a few days after a month's wait and I have heard that people are now being quoted 6 - 7 weeks. Hot item with a money back guarantee.
Hi Rocky,
I bought the Yamy unheard from japan and it was the best hi-fi purchase i've made. Its super well constructed and looks much better in the flesh than the piccys let on.

As you no-doubt have picked up, Speaker matching is vital. (I run AVG duos )I think that your suggestion of Druids/yamamoto is an excellent one. Also in my experience the Yamamoto does not run very hot and despite being super resolving in no way sounds harsh or strident. I can now enjoy CD's that I've been unable to endure previously.

I've had a number of amps in the past, both ss(plinius/naim etc) and tube(arc/shanling etc) and the Yamamoto is by far the most enjoyable I've owned.

Happy listening, I'm sure you have lots enjoyment ahead.

Any hum problems like Darkmoemius talks about? Any special setup or operational issues that you have encountered with the Yamamoto? Any advise for interested purchasers who do not have access to hearing it firsthand? Limitations?
Hi Ghanson,
the reviews and info I'd read claimed that the Yamamoto a-08s was one of the most silent(from a noise floor perspective)designs around. What I found when I recievd it was that there was some 230v hum which I could detect with my head a foot or so from my duos. It isn't a problem though, even when not listening to music, as I'm not aware of it from my listening position. Although I'm not in a silent/dedicated room.

I recieved my Emission labs replacement 45's last night. Plugging these in actually reduced the residual hum somewhat and opened the soundstage even futher than with the NOS 45's suppied. I'm reserving further comment on the EML's untill they have settled in a bit more. First impressions are V.good.

Based on my experience to date I'd say to prospecive owners that they will be pleasently surprised by how great it looks in the flesh and by how natural and effortless the musical presentation seems. (but still dynamic and detailed)

To quote another gonner who I've been talking to "Clean, dynamic, spacious and tuneful. These all apply in spades".

I've not encountered anyone who has said anything negative other than the obvious consideration around careful speaker matching. I'd imagine that anything < 98 db would be perfect.

All I can say is that for me its been a pleasure to use and own and it has me listening to and buying more music than I have in years.
Some high efficiency speakers tend to be tipped up in the presence region from 1k - 4k. I built a pair of bass reflex boxes using Fostex 206E's that exhibit this characteristic. They are great speakers with intimate fare but get boring (into your skull) with hotter music.

With the solid plate EML's, the Yamamoto is not the prototypical SET amp. It isn't particularly lush or euphonic. It isn't syrupy or mellow either. Aside from the obvious efficiency concerns remember this pair won't mellow speakers.

From what I've read, the mesh plates will relax the presentation and NOS tubes further so. I don't have experience with these so won't comment.

That said, the solid plates in this amp are really spectacular. They have edge and grit where the music calls on it while still filling in the breath and space of real performers in live spaces.

My setup with the Def. Pro's lets me change the XO between the sub array and mains so when I really want to crank, the 2 watts can still do it without complaint. It's really something.
Borg and company,

My Yamamoto a-08s came last week and I have got to say I agree with Borg that this thing is a tremendous piece. It is strkingly beautiful for such a product and sounds excellent. Frankly most American designers in a quest for sameness year after year could learn a lesson here. Most tube amlifiers I am familiar with do not have this sense of natural flow combined with agile bass and punch. There are limits to what 2 watts can do but this is very engaging sound with very little if any euphony. The tone is fabulous. Only maximum weight and impact yield to more powerful designs. I am very happy and proud to own such a product. I must beg Darkmoebius's pardon but hum and noise are also ridiculously low and I experienced none of the problems alluded to several postings ago. The literature says "High the strength..."; I couldn't put it any better.
By the way, I am using Omega Grande 6s at 95db/W and got them for a very reasonable sum. Excellent work to Omega loudspeakers as well!!

How loud can you play Omega Grande?


I have a small listening room that measures 11 X 13.5ft. I listen in the nearfield, perhaps 6 feet from the speakers. The question of loudness is quite subjective but I am able to listen to a wide range of material at loud volumes. As my a-08s is just now breaking in completely I can envision having 98db or higher speakers that may give the amp more headroom on some material (rock and large classical works) or in larger rooms. But I have no plans to switch anytime soon and I would not buy this amp if I were a headbanger. Again there are unique advantages with this amp; it can't be eveything to everyone but it is a great alternative to other amplifiers- used with proper speakers there is nothing that makes it a radical or strange choice.
It is also much better at getting the flow of music right in comparison to every other tube amp I've heard.
Congrats Ghanson,

The Yam is a superb amp. As sson as everything is fully broken in, I bet you will begin to hear subtle nuances in recordings that you'd never known existed. There really is no equivelent to well executed SET and single-drivers, it has wholly unique sound of it's own.

"I must beg Darkmoebius's pardon but hum and noise are also ridiculously low and I experienced none of the problems alluded to several postings ago."

I wasn't implying that you were guaranteed to have that problem, just that it was a possibity.

My 6wpc Art Audio PX-25(or Welborne DRD 300B monos), S&B TX-102mkIII transformer volume control, and 97dB Cain & Cain IM-Bens revealed a fairly annoying 60/120Hz AC line noise that I never knew existed. The hum simply couldn't be heard with my mid-efficiency system. As a result, I spent weeks in frustration trying to eliminate the hum from all the wrong places in my system.

Anyway, be prepared for long listening sessions while you rediscover your music collection. That's 2/3rds the fun.
I haven't heard them but I would think for Yamamoto speakrs as well. As far as i know there are two models: the first an open baffle one and the 2nd a stand speaker. They both use an Altec 604 driver, they have about 100db sensitivity at 8 ohm impendance.