Thor PA 30 mono's. With their stock tubes they are a luscious set of amps... though I heard them with the Thor TA 1000 preamp too. 30 watts of wonderful. I listened at normal levels in a mid sized room on VR4 JRs.
All your accolades apply to these little donuts.
I'd like to find the same thing in some 60-80wpc or hogher amps.
My Jadis Defy 7 has just what you are asking for. Maybe it is their signature sound?
IMO, these 45 watt SET amps are mid-range champs:http://www.audiomirror.com/images/vacuumtube6c33ca.html
Vlad usually has them for sale around $2500 or so.
conrad johnson premier 12 monoblocks, awesome sounding.
That is a brilliant suggestion! never thought of Thor. Wonder how different the MkI is from the Mk II, which is reviewed. You would like more watts because you have low sensitivity speakers, Blindjim? Paul Marks recommends at least 89 db.
VAC PA100 has a palpable rich midrange, extended top end with a nice fat (but not too fat), round bottom end. The tube compliment should be Radiotechnique for the drivers and Winged C for the KT88's. Excellent build quality and easy to bias.
VAC also has an upgrade for 1300.00 to change the input circuitry to the current Phi models which I have not heard.
No. simply more vol. for my room + speakers.
If the later PA 30s (mk ii) are alike the MK II line stage preamp, there going to be a bit faster, quicker. I thought however only the linestage got speeded up.
The 30s are set apart from the 60s & 120s he made, as the 30s were aimed directly at the SET folks who needed more ooomph, and to drive a greater range of squeakers.
Actually two things hold me back from the PA 30s... primarily it's just biasing them. For myself, it would be a dicey prospect as I'd not be able to see the onboard meteres... like everybody else.
Secondarily I wonder about the imp curve of my drivers and room size enough to give me pause.
The first scenario here though, sets them off my personal list... otherwise I'd probably give them a try, as my next speakers will be a bit more eff with an easier load still. Whenever that happens... lol.
But the 30s are mesmerizing amps to be sure!
The caveat here I suspect with what ever amp the OP winds up with fed by his current pre, amps are not 100% of the story in that lush, full, wet sound... the pre plays a substantial part too, as do the speakers.
Springbok10, sounds to me like what you are describing is an SET. DeHavallind are some of the best- if you can find a GM-70 that might suit.
Thanks for all responses. I just should have kept my Jadis Int amp - stupidest thing I ever did was sell it. There is a Thor PA 30 on A'gon right now - not sure if it's enough power - I have a big room and I would be the fourth owner.........
Conrad Johnson. Just about any model from MV45 to MV100, or Premier from 1 to 5.
Golden sound to match the faceplates!
I concur with the TPA-30 recommendation as meeting your criteria. I really liked their luxurious tonality. With that, maybe other EL-34 based amps - doesn't Quicksilver have a 50W EL-34 monoblock? (That reminds me, I still have a pair of the original 8417 monos that could get converted to the EL-34.)
I had them(TPA-30's) on loan from Paul Marks in my 23 X 25 room and they were glorious (speakers Legacy Focus 20/20's). Only reason they did not stay was a problem with the meters and not being able to bias them but the sound made me initially say I was done. No more or need to upgrade.
Whatever you end up with, load it with NOS Mullard, Brimar, or Genelex tubes, and you should have all the sumptuous warmth your little heart desires. If your equipment takes any 6SN7's: Try either RCA black plates, or National Union(both VT-231's), from the 40's or 50's.
845 SET without any reservation !
Consonance make a very sweet sounding pair of 845 mono blocks within your price limit, also check DeHavilland.
Based on your description of aural fancy I would concur with Ralph & believe that you NEED to hear an 845 or GM70 SET before proceeding any further, these big thoriated tungsten tubes exist to do sumptuous, lush, rich, liquid golden midrange AND all the rest with sublime musicality ;-))
An older CJ premiere 4 would give you the sound you are looking for. 100 W per channel.
I don't think so. Well, not entirely.
The EL 34s used in the thor monos are current production tubes. No Mullards, Brymars, etc. JJs? EHs?
That's the thing on those particular amps. None of the other Thor mono amps sounded anything like those 30's, on purpose.
The chassis, t-former, caps & resistors, Biasing Using the 34s as Triodes instead of as Pentodes too likely helped ??
It's definitely more than just the tubes. Some of that 'magic' or 'voiceing' is in the line stage for sure, and in his bigger amps, but not nearly as much. it would also seem to me even those higher watt amps could provide more gold in the tones with older NOS EL 34s
though theyd not duplicate the PA 30s voice 100%.
The 20/20s are what, 94db & 4 ohms? Probably dropping down some too on the imp?
Could they push enough vol so a regular conversation could not be had when they were turned up, and they didnt need to get near max vol either - Correct?
If so, Im impressed.
Springbok10, at any rate, if you want sweet, start with a triode amp. They make less of the odd-ordered harmonics that tetrodes and pentodes do. We describe those harmonics as 'hard, harsh' bright', etc. (Of course tubes in general make less of these than transistors)
Somehow those terms seem the opposite of 'sweet' to me...
Ralph, The amps that I alternate between in the system alluded to, are a TAD 1000 (with EL 34s), which I operate in triode mode and a Dennis Had designed Cary/AES Six pac A/AB, push-pull (also EL 34s). I guess the question is, how much improvement would the suggestions that all have made, give me in the areas I am looking for, since the Cary does have a nice midrange and a Bel Canto SEi40 SET with 845 tubes was not better! I suppose to answer these questions, one would need to have listened to my amps. Nevertheless, my question remains, since I always get such great suggestions on this forum. Thanks for chiming in, Ralph. Your MA-2 is still, and always will be, my reference amp in the main system for "real" concerts, and the amp I am looking for is a diversion, a hopefully unreal, euphonic one!
I don't think so. Well, not entirely.
Blindjim - I'm not exactly sure what your point is, but if you're saying the TPA-30's sonic signature is not solely a result of its using the EL-34, then, sure that's obvious and I agree with you. Paul Marks made no secret of his aiming the TPA-30 at a 'SET-like' sound in a 30W amp (more than flea-weight power) and he was particularly proud of its 60W power supply. I'll bet we also agree that tubes have no sound outside a circuit implementation and that there is no need to cite the difference between NOS and contemporary tubes to make that point. When compared with, say, a 655O or KT88, the EL34 has its own characteristic sound, which, to my ears, tends toward the warm romantic, toward a certain "lit from within" quality. No reason I know of for the OP not to consider other EL34 based amps. Cheers.
Blindjim, You have certainly elicioted my interest in the Thor. I have reservations about its ability to fill an L shaped very large room and the fact that I would be the 4th owner. Furthermore, I am not sure what is meant by the inability to read the bias meters? However, my tastes veer towards the EL 34, as evidenced by the fact that both my amps that would be replaced, use EL34s. I suppose I am waiting for someone to tell me how much difference I will hear compared to what I have, which may not be possible!
What about the Conrad-Johnson Premier 140? On sale on A'gon. Or the C-J Premier 12? Would appreciate hearing from users of either of these.
The Legacy's are rated at 96db but Stereophile rated them at 94.5 so say plus or minus 1.5 db. Yes they do dip down to about 2 ohms a couple of times in the bass and to 3.3 in the mid treble, again according to Stereophile, specs say 4 ohm nominal.
MY preamp is a Conrad-Johnson Premier16 series II, with a 0-100 for volume have rarely had it above 40 and only for vinyl. Paul set his phono preamp to be equal to the preamp at about .65mVolts. With the Celebration, it needs to be turned up or down depending on vinyl or CD's.
I was very impressed and if they could have biased with their meters they would have stayed. Sigh! Went on to get a Conrad-Johnson Premier 11a, good amp, but after hearing the Wyetech Topaz monoblocks, I was hooked and they're my amp now.
Hi, Denis, hope you are well.
Have you given any consideration to a DA30, DA50S, or DA60? All of which would be under your $5000 pricepoint for a used unit, and obviously give you that Jadis sound, which as we both know from firsthand experience, is superior to most of what is available. The downside for those who insist on remote control, is that until recently (about 2 years ago), it was not available on these models, and so most of the used market does not offer this feature. As for me, sound quality is the number one priority and I don't care much about remote control, so a Jadis suits the bill perfectly.
I'm also a fan of Thor, so would consider you investigate that as well. Different sound than Jadis, though - a bit more full-bodied and lush.
For what it's worth, after spending a lot of time living with the larger SET tubes, such as the 211 and 845, I must say I the two Jadis integrateds I have superior.
I owned the Premier 12, the Premier 140 and had the TPA 30 mkII for an extended visit, while I had the 140. (I own Atma-Sphere gear today, so you are doing my amp history in reverse. ;-)
Both CJ amps are excellent big watt push-pull designs based on the 6550. The 140 uses 2 6H30 as phase splitters and one 6DJ8 type to amplify the input, while the 12 uses two 6FQ7/6CG7 and a 5751. The 12's are a solid representative of the vintage CJ sound - warmer and more rounded than the 140 - while the 140 is quicker with better resolution and image focus and slightly less grain. The TPA 30 mkII is sweeter in the mids than either CJ, tho' the CJs have a bit more low-end heft Among the CJs, if you want lush without a concern for neutrality/accuracy then the Premier 12s might be your choice. There's trade offs here (like everywhere else) - I might tempted by the TPA 30, which is the most refined of the three, at least to my ears. E-mail if you want to chat more on these three.
Thank you all for your great input. I'm going with the Thor. If they work, I owe you, Blindjim:)
I owe you, blindjim........