I don't think, you can do it? But i would try couple of VTL ST-80's monoblocks (1800 each)
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You can "do" anything you want. Like driving Thiels, Magnepans, Acoustats, Apogees, B & W Nautilus, and Martin Logans with SETs, OTLs, whatever. Whether or not it will be a good match is another story. In this case, it will not produce a whole lot of volume, bass, etc. In these situations, modest Jolida or NAD equipment with a $300 B & W, Mission, NHT, Paradigm, Polk, or PSB speaker often will sound better. So, a well thought out $1000 system CAN beat a poorly matched $5000(and up) system.
I am not very familiar with the impedenc characteristics of ML, but am quite familiar with Soundlab electro-stats. To my knowledge there are only two SET amps that will drive the Soundlabs and sound absolutely glorious: the Viva and the Wavac-833. Th Viva has something like 30 watts Class A while the Wavac has 100 watts. Both are terribly expensive: $24000 for the Viva and $38000 for th Wavac. I believe Albert Porter is selling a pair of the Viva's at a good price. Thats about it for real world SET amps to drive the demanding loads of an electrostat.
90493m is right on an absolute level. The Viva Aurora (25K) will drive them (20 watts I believe), kind of like building a 500K home in a 100K neighborhood. I know this isn't the answer you are looking for but in answer to your question, yes. In the real world you better look for a 80-100 watt push pull tube amp that will work with the impedance dip of those speakers (VTL ST-80's monoblocks, ARC VT100, etc.)if you must have tubes.
Since SET amps are out what tube preamp would offer the 3D and "they are here" sound of a SET? A continueing thought in many of the threads is that the preamp (a tube preamp) makes the system. Would you be able to get some of the SET sound with a SS amp and a tune preamp and if so which combination?
Brulee, you are the one who should forgive me. As an avowed tubeophile, I have to agree with you that only SETs sound like SETs(likewise for OTLs). To anyone who is in our camp, there is definitely NO substitute for glassware. Only TUBES sound like TUBES(more like music to many of us). I was only recommending that he not get rid of the Rogue(tubes using KT88s or 6550s) and ML stuff, because they are both nice products. One can get a real world system that offers a glimpse of tremendous openess with push pull tubes(Rogue), a good front end, AND silver cables. Still, not SET, but usable with a broader range of speakers(ML, for example). Dekay, SET is a characteristic of the power amp, not the preamp. It features triode tubes, run single ended(not splitting the waveform as does push pull). It is a very pure, open, clean sound. Not enough space in this thread to go into more detail(maybe we should start a new thread). There are those who will accept no substitute as they are adamant that anything else has bastardized the original waveform.
Tubegroover: Yes it's usually that simple. I also lust recently for a little SET after playing with a Decware (early model with no paint on the chassis) a few weeks ago. I went to their website and see that they now have an optional cage for the little one (we have five cats as I have mentioned in another post) and this would be a must. I would not expect top notch sound for the price but it sure would be fun for the spare bedroom. I am certain that these were the magical amps that a few of our neighbors has around 1960. They also owned Dyanco, Heath, McIntosh and Marantz tube gear but the little ones with just a few tubes and no name badge were the ones that they were always fussing with and showing off to the neighborhood kids and adults. These guys were quite a match, one was an electrician for Westinghouse and the other had a wood shop that was easily the equal of Norm's. One did the electronics and the other made beautiful speaker enclosures for horn loaded systems. I have also checked out the Bottlehead site but doubt if I have the dexterity to build a kit well. I am still researching contemporary speakers to match up with one. Coincident Triumph and Reynaud's Twin look like good candidates considering that the room is 12' x 14'. I have also read everything at the Audio Asylum SET site but find a lot of the "it doesn't look good on paper" BS reviews by people that have not even listened to the gear that they are spouting off about. I guess I will just have to buy one and see. Sorry to bend the thread Nick, but you may want to consider the options I am discussing if you want to try SET's. I am only talking $1500.00 for the system (not including a source). I will keep our main SS system in the living room and the SET will just be a pet system. Good luck with your Martins and though an SET may not be feasible in your price range you may find a tube preamp that will make you smile.
Trelja: I am sold on the SET sound, but always have a tendancy to look for an easy out before spending cash. I have even stupidly considered the SS Audio Refinment as a substitute for tubes. I have owned McIntosh, Eico and Dynaco push/pull amps and agree that SET's are a whole different ball game. Decware also has construction plans for little planar nearfied computer speakers that look fascinating since we may place the computer in the back bedroom. I wouldn't involve the computer into the equation, but would be sitting at it when in the room.
well I have to thank everyone for all the advice, I am still trying to figure out a way to at least try a single ended amp someone suggested a Unison that has 25 watts per channel, I did listen to the new small Klipsh's speakers they are really good, you see I have just remarried and plan on moving into my new home soon ( 14+15 living room) I do really love my Martins, yes I have some good nordost wires and interconnects and use the KT-88's in the Rogue, originally I sold my Audio Research LS-7 preamp with the intention to buying a Placette Passive Volume control but I bought a MSB DAC instead, has anyone tried the placette? Well thanks again Nick
SF: Check out bottlehead.com also if you have not been there. These seems to be the two cheap SET camps that divide the States at this time (will it never end). From what I gather at the SET forum at Audio Asylum (which is like studying the Torah) the Decware (cheapo) is more hifi re: sound stage and the likes and the Bottlehead monoblock (cheapos) are more in your face and may be more musical. Again they are entry level stuff but they look like a lot of fun and something to do. In another thread I read that Carl at this site has purchased the Bottlehead kits and hopefully he will post a review when they are up and running. I wonder how they sound with MIT cables?
Dekay: So Carl Eber studied the torah? oy vey! Nevertheless, that was a very funny post... "with MIT cables?" heh heh. You think he might have something to say about the Bottlehead? I'm sure, and I look forward to it. I was reading Gizmo's article in Listener, and I think I understand the seeming fact that SET amps are a religion. Gee, maybe they have a way to have their iron drive my 10Ts! Later.
Roger! I have an Art Audio Jota. It's a great amp, but I would never expect it to drive the Aerius. Have you done this? And which Art amp are you talking about? I tried driving Inner Sound Eros with Cary 805Cs. This speaker is bi-amped with a solid state amp running the woofers, and is 96db efficient. Otherwise, I would have never tried it. Sounded like @3%4! The cruel impedence of Electrostats just don't cut it for SETs. I've heard the Viva will drive Sound Labs, but an Aerius owner probably isn't looking to spend that much on an amp.
Hi Nick! I just sold a Placette active line stage. It is one of the best pre-amps I've ever had. Read the reviews on it in TAS and Soundstage. The remote volume control was reviewed awhile back in TAS. They said it was very transparent, but did what all passives do....soften the dynamics and compress at high volume.
SF: Carl said that his Bottleheads are on back order which may sway me to the preassembled Decware. I already have the purchase of a SET preapproved with my better half "just stop talking about the dammed thing and buy it". Plus I just sold a painting that we mutually agreed to part with (it's been stored in a closet for the past couple of years) for $500.00, so it's kind of a freebie the way I look at it. I would like to listen to some better SET's though before I commit myself and would also like to check out Antique Sound Labs, another low cost alternative. Carl by the way will be demoing my extra set of Homegrown interconnects. I chose Carl because of his no holds barred take on gear. He has never been afraid to give his not always favorable opinion of cherished equipment and I look forward to his comment's on the Homegrown cables as I feel that the low price will not influence his evaluation of them. Other than Trelja not too many people have had comments about these cables probably due to their low cost when compared to like products. I myself find that I prefer them to my Truthlink cables which happen to be a very good match with my equipment, but the Homegrown's just take it up a notch ot two on decent recordings.
Hi Eldragon: I collect mainly Haitian Art as well as some work by Xavier Cugat who was a painter as well as a bandleader, but also anything that both of us like and can afford. We ran out of wall space years ago but I kept buying out of habit. I have financed my entire hifi system as well as our last two major car repairs with the sale of stored paintings that did not make the wall space cut as well as selling off vintage CA and French wine that I can no longer drink. I just kept a dozen bottles or so for special gifts and occasions and my wife also does not drink. Don't get the wrong impression that we are well off though. We drive old old old cars, rarely eat out and have only been to a movie theatre once in nine years of marriage. This is just to say that we have different priorities than many of our friends - art and books instead of cars and clothes etc. and now hifi gear instead of closet art. Who knows I could even become an audiophile some day if this strange behavior continues.
I know, i was just kidding! On books, i would like to suggest John Fante! Long forgotten, american writer, but thanks to the Charles Bukowski(also recommended)and the "Black Sparrow" press new prints are available, from the same: Ask the dust, Wait 'till the spring Bandini, Dago red..etc,etc! He is better than Hemingway! Also his son Dan Fante: Chump change!...superb!
Eldragon: You would love talking to my wife who is the "bookie", she says that we have your suggestions and that they are good ones. On a hifi note kind of: I read two series of detecitive/crime adventure novels one in which the detective was a book collector and the other in which the main character was an art dealer/forger. What about a series in which the detective/main character is an audiophile? I would read them would anyone else? Maybe I will run this by Stephen King at his website, I know that he is into music anyway. Way too much time on my hands.