For awhile I had both a Cronus and an AES/Cary AE-25 Superamp with DJH AE-2 preamp, still have the AE-25.
My speakers are Devore 8's and the sound with either amp and EL-34's is exceptional The Devores are designed with tubes in mind and have such great range and dynamics for their size that they don't need the extra punch of KT-88's or 6550's, though those sound great, as well.
The El-34 types I've used are Teslas (pre-JJ), both black and brown base, RFT/Siemens and the Gold Lion KT-77 reissues. They all sound great, I'm not sure I could pick a favorite.
I'm driving my Maggie 3.6's with the Cary V12. With its 6 el34's a side, it puts out 50 wpc in the triode mode. I have been looking for a nice tube amp for them. So far, so good.
I am driving DeVore Nines w/ 25 watt EL-34 monos, with no issues. Are you trying to stay in a general price range.
I'm not necessarily looking to buy new speakers now, but when I do, I'll probably be in the "$2500 - $3000" range. For me, a great part of this hobby is learning about other enthusiasts' findings of synergy and happiness with speakers and amps. I really enjoy finding out what combinations have been working well for different folks. I'm going to keep my Rogue, as I really love the way it plays music through the Vandy's, and I want to get an idea of other "musical" EL-34 tube friendly speakers.
Merlins are special and the Company support is top-shelf,good luck,Bob
Merlin was my first thought, too. The 3a deCapos are also a good choice.
I agree with Lokie. Living Voice are great speakers with tube amps.
I used Living Voice with Dynaco MKIII 60 watt monos and Scott LK-150 65 watt stereo amp.
Both sounded great with Living Voice although Living Voice prices are high for what they are.
Any of the multitude of big Tannoy's for sale here on Audiogon. Best bang for the buck would be to buy raw drivers (12" or 15" gold or red) and have a box built. You will be in music lovers paradise. I'm listening to a pair right with 9 watts and Oscar Peterson never sounded better.
Add the Vandersteen 2WQ sub
This high passes the Rogue and you are Bi amping
300 Watts on the 3 downward firing 8s in its sealed enclosure and your 55 Tube watts playing the 1 C which you will not recognize when you dial them in correctly
Much improved dynamics transparency and clarity with the whole system.
I do not know of any brand 2 way Box speaker at any price that can compete to this set up.
One of THE most musical combos I assembled was an AMC3030a integrated amp which used PP EL-34's and Acarian Systems LTD Alon 1's coupled with MIT2 Bi-wire speaker cables. The bottom octave was covered with a HSU Research HRSW12V sub which plummeted down to a full 16hz! X-over was set to 78hz/18db per octave on each side IIRC.
The above combo was magical in my ASC treated room but sadly, all the components can only be acquired on the used market and pickings are slim...
Some may say the AMC3030a was not the last word in resolution but it took on a much needed steriod shot when driven with balanced power.
JMR Emeraude with EL34 and KT77. Also have had devore super 8 and 9's and Verity Tamino and Fidelio Encore. JMR is my favorite for many reasons like liveliness, soundstage placement, intimacy, timbre, etc. FE next and sometimes above but they like a little more power.
I triple the Merlin recommendation, but a very different kind of speaker than the Vandersteens. If you ever do move to the 3As you will need more than 55 watts though, and the are not alot of 100 watt EL34 amps, but some. My Music Reference RM9SE among them (with the superb RFT/Siemens previously mentioned).
Audioconnection is right. One of the most musically satisfying systems I ever assembled was Vandersteen 2Ci with a Vandersteen 2W with Audio Research amp and preamp. It would play any kind of music and it was very satisfying and fun. I may do that one again some day.
Decware Tori MKII with a pair of silverlines Preludes MKII, I use to have a pair of ET LFT VIIIb`s but sometimes I wanted to play it a little loud and just couldn`t get there. But this combo sounds very good, very dynamic , and can get loud when I want too.
I've been using the Manley Snapper 100W El34 amps for over a year with my Harbeth SHL5 speakers. I think 55watts would work just fine with them.
Any more ideas out there ?
Are you against the idea of moving up the Vandersteen line? But if you do, you will need VS subwoofers, at least with the 3As, as without them 55 watts will be a bit underpowered - assuming you love the VS sound - obviously many do. I thought my 3A Signature and a pair of 2Wqs was a superb system driven by CAT JL2s - 100 watt, Class A, triode. Having said that, I auditioned the Merlin VSMs, sold the VS3A/2Wqs, and never looked back - for me the Merlins are simply among the most resolving speakers made at any price - though not completely full-range, their bass depth is more (much more) than adequate for acoustic jazz, and highly articulate (33Hz-22Khz +/-2db). If you live near the Baltimore area, you can come listen to the Merlins in my place, with 35 watts (EL84 - more than adequate power), 60 watts (6AS7 - OTL), and 160 watts (EL34) tube amps and compare them with the sound of your Vandersteen setup and decide which sonic signature you prefer - they are very different speakers.
I just recently got My Cayin TA-30 repaired ( it had a couple of blown resistors) with the intention of selling it but I had almost forgotten how sweet the sound is matched with my Morel/Renaissance Preludes. The Cayin is only rated at 35WPC but it definitely sounds and plays much larger and the Preludes sound excellent with tubes. I purchased these speakers used almost 4 years ago,and every now and then I consider selling them for something else but a simple listening session seems to put an end to those thoughts.
Thanks a lot guys.......... Pubul57, I'm in upstate NY, but I really appreciate your offer. I do love the Vandersteen sound, and my music room is truly my "sweet spot," where I escape the troubles of the world and am able to relax and wholeheartedly enjoy the beauty of my music.
The Vandersteen is a beautiful, well sorted speaker. As was established in the other Vandersteen thread, the 1C is both tube friendly and pretty sensitive so you should be fine with a 55watt amp, though whether the EL34 is ideal for VS is another issue as they both tend towards warmth and smoothness (which does not mean that is not exactly what you want and the type of sound your prefer).
If you love the VS sound, and why not, your issue may be that you can't really move to the 2Ce or 3A without a bit more power than 55 watts, though that may be mitigated with the size of your room, the volumes and the type of music you listen to. In either case, adding a subwoofer would improve either in the midrange and make it easier for your amp to drive the mains. If you love VS, there is no better or more knowedgeable fella than John Rutan as Audio Connection in New Jersey (other than Richard of course:)).