SET--Cary/Sophia 300/845 bassed amps

I have read much. It seems I know even less. I have Montana EPS and never listen very loud. There are several amps in this category within my budget --under 3k. There are two of the Cary300se kr20's and others that are similar;in the adds now. What to get?? Do any of these have the hum,some 300bs have?? I'd appreciate any guidance you all might have. Thanks,George
I would not recommend the Cary 300b amps.If that is your quest,try the VACs.The Sophia 300b doesn't stack up to their 845s.When looking at SET amps,make sure the input/driver tubes can swing a fair amount of voltage/current.Once those dynamics are gone,they won't be coming back.Just a two cent thought.Happy hunting!
My biggest problem is after reading reviews on most all these amps;---They all seem to be the 'best you ever heard' No hum,great highs,mids,and bass More dynamic than SS . YEA?? Seems like I remember reading the 300b amps are a tiny bit more pure but with less power.--Compared to the 845. Anybody have any input on the Cary300LX20??----What's hot/what's not???
You might be surprised at reviewers' systems.Especially the set-up,with things changing constantly.There are a few,but you usually have to read between the lines.If you can determine a persons'biases,then you can inflect that "tint" upon their observations.
I believe myself to be a hi frequecy maniac.If cymbals and brass can't retain their individual transients and harmonics-count me out.I must admit that I love the sound of cellos and tubas ,well recorded and reproduced.Percussion and tympani coming a distant second.
Well I picked up a Sophia 845,today. I listened at this member's house.---( The joys of buying from someone local) I was astounded by how much amp you get for the price. He has his system more optimised with the Concidence speakers.--I can't remember the model;beyond,it's the one with the ribon tweeter. Pretty special stuff.--- So much for how the amp performed at his house;it was delicious. I brought the amp home,plugged it in and,boy,---what a flop. I couldn't believe how bad it sounded. I got a receiver that sounds better.(True) So I used it to listen to the tv sound.---I have a coax digital out of my Sony dss box, so I just switch inputs on the dac. I'm thinking,what have I done? Well about 1 to 2 hrs latter it starts sounding pretty good.---Back to the cd player. Well, I guess the 70mi ride from the buyer's house must have jiggled the thing so bad,I guess. By 3 hrs latter I'm thinking this sounds pretty good. Not to bad for the price indeed. I still think it sounded better at the seller's house. AND, I think my CJ8's sound better here.--- This, for a multitude of reasons.--Room,set-up, synergy,and the differences in our equipment.---He also has a Cary 300b,which he says he likes just as well.----The Cary has had some work done on it, but I'll sure take his word on how good it must be. BTW; on my First Sound 2---The volume is set to 3 clicks from the 6 positiom.---So I guess power won't be a problem.

This is an 'edit-my-own post' This has been on for13 hrs straight. It has gotten so sweet. Maybe not for everybody; but if you're leaning this way (SET)--jump in,they are special.
Dear Geroge:

Big tubes like 845 and 300B ususally require 24 hours settle in time before all microphonics go away. This is more audible than the break in. Otherwise you get the sound unfocused during the first three hours after moving the big tube amp.

Well here we are months have passed. I have kinda been all over the map since.---The Sophias never woked with my Montnas. Then I bought some Lowther horns.While these horns have their virtues in the midrange,they are lumpy as hell. The Sophia and the horns was match made in hell.----They seemed to excite the 'lumps'---Sold the Sophias.---I'm looking t'ward the sky and waiting for instructions.
Avguygeorge, try a David Berning Siegfried ZOTL Single-ended 300B or 811 amp.

It will really do what the Lowthers are looking for. Probably about $4500-$5k used, but worth every penny of it.

It eliminates all the output transformer related issues, and is transparent and dynamic and extended as hell.

My custom amp is based on the Siegfried circuit design, and I use it with Lowthers. Match made in heaven.

BTW, what Lowther horns do you have?
Hey George- curious, what did you sell the Sophia 845's for?
Ok you nosey guys; I got 2600 for the Sophia. Mo, and he paid for shipping.---On to the Lowthers. I have their large bass reflex cab. I have the dx-3 drivers. I also bought their center speaker. It has a dx-2 driver---So I have an extra dx2 driver.---Also I read about these things called 'gizmos' from Decware--a resistor arrangemnt. It realy smooths things out. If you go to the decware site--the guy make sense---well I didn't understand it all but the end result was more than I would have expected.----Maybe only a Lowther owner might understand this but this sounds pretty damn good. That is--- being driven by my HT receiver--a marantz sr9300.--I have hooked it up several ways, but used the rec. to do the breakin, and liked what I heard.---2 rooms away the music is clear as a bell---Depending on how clear your bell is.----It's a 7.1 setup and the other speakers don't match but give off a taste of bass, when it's there. This has been running 24/7 for 3 weeks.The come-down would be listening to the cones in my tv.--Sounds like I got a cadboard box over the speakers.---That about explain the Lowther sound??
Wavac and Art Audio offer some excellent single ended amplifiers as does Wyetech. Don't give up on SET because of the Sophia and the 845. Top notch NOS 845 tubes are extremely expensive; something like over 500/ea and maybe more. Most 845 amps come with Chinese output tubes. Good 300b tubes are cheap by comparison.

Try a quality 211 tube amplifier or a very good 300b SET (possibly with an interstage coupled design) and you may just sing a different tune and find that magic you are looking for. With the Lowthers you only need between 6 and 12 watts depending on the efficiency of your speaker configuration.
I have to say these Lowthers give you a good 'taste' of what folks refer to as the set sound.----This is my opinion. The 845 was glorious in the mids.---Well so is the horn--even tho it's being driven by a skanky receiver.---The expression "more than one way to skin a cat"--( you cat lovers;this expression refers to the pre-amp company---)This driver even when used with said receiver has many set qualitys.
I'm a bit late here, but have the Montana EPS w/ a Bel Canto 845 and it is superb! Especially enjoy the remote with stepped volume, and when those 845s light up, you can see the glow on the ceiling! EPS is an awesome fit, because of its efficient and neutral across the range, especially the highs and mids..