Probably the Cary CAD300BSE mono's, one of the sweetest amps I've ever owned. Also check out Deja Vu Audio, I have one of their PP amps and it's sweet, the SET's are magic. I'm sure there are hundreds of options out there and you'll get a ton of responses. Listen to as many as you can and don't forget to have fun.
Thanks for the response Jon. I think the Cary at 15w may be a little underpowered. I've never heard of Deju Vu Audio; their web site doesn't mention any models of their own brand, only other brands they sell such as Audio Note and Bel Canto.
Check out the Consonance Cyber mono blocks with 211 or 845 output tubes.
Art Audio Carissa sig used- 845 , Diavolo, Jota used
There is a Bel Canto 845 integrated/remote right now on Ago
" " " Mastersound/Vaic 320 integrated " " "
Wytech 211 stereo used
That's just some of the high power SETs i'd like to own!
By the way, all the above will heat your listening room in the winter...and summer!
I agree with Jond re the Deja Vu PP and/or SET 2A3/45 and 300B amps. And if you can find one that was built around some vintage output transformers like the Acrosound or Chicago transformers from the '50s you will be amazed at what it can do. Don't let their low power rating fool you. They can drive speakers like the Spendor SP100 89db speaker with ease. As long as the speaker has a fairly flat and benign curve.
Thanks Alan and Bbro. I'll take a look at the units mentioned.
Any others worth considering?
Disclosure: I'm a dealer for Cayin and Opera loudspeakers.
Unless your room is big (25 x 30, or more etc.), I would recommend against using sub with the Quintas. Natural and smooth sounding as they are, with bass extension down to 30hz, you do not need to use subwoofer especially your main interest is vocal reproduction.
We pair Cayin A-88T integrated amplifier with the Quintas and they are matched made in heaven in my opinion. We even use the A-88T with our Tebaldis speakers with more than satisfying result! And yes, you can use your preamp to drive the Cayin as well (it has Pre-in input). The A-88T offers 22wpc in triode mode and 45wpc in ultralinear mode. You can switch them on the fly during play. Price is $2100 retail. It popped up for sale used on Audiogon every now and then so try them.
Deja Vu is a high end stereo shop outside DC in McLean VA. It's run by Vu Hoang, who's an interesting guy. They both build their own tube amps as well as sell Audio Note/Kondo, etc. Their sound is generally similar to the Audio Note, if you like that (or want to get a sense of Vu's sound). A highly addictive store--everytime I go in, my wallet seems to open up of its own accord. I personally like the sound (and plan on getting Vu's mono blocs once I save up).
Thanks Audiomax. The problem is that the room isn't fully enclosed; it leads into other rooms all over the house as well as the upper floor (no ceiling). I tried the Quintas in the room without the subs and didn't like what I heard. The mid bass seemed a bit pronounced and loose and did not have extension into the 20-40Hz octave. Using the subs and a Tact room correction preamp completely resolves the bass issues, plus it takes the responsibility of bass production away from the main amps allowing potential lower power units. I've heard that Cayin makes good products, but am more interested in a SET amp. Thanks.
Audio Mirror.. Nothing like them.. Nothing with the finish and parts quality, not to mention the tubes are cheap compared to other models with better sound and are much more durable.. using the same tubes as Atmas-phere amps.
Thanks Matrix; I'd not heard of this company before. Their prices are actually reasonable. I wish there was more information and a few more pictures of the amps on their web site. What other amps have you compared them too? Which model have you had?
I recently traded a New Audio Frontiers 845 SE (25 wpc). This is a fabulous SET integrated amp that deserves to be much better known. It did an outstanding job with my 89 db/4 ohm Reynaud Offrandes, so I imagine it would be a good match if you're looking to go the SET route. The amp is available through frequent Audiogon advertiser "Audio Pimp," at an excellent price. In case anyone has ever wondered, Johnny was fantastic to deal with, btw.
Thanks Gary. Seems like a nice unit; certainly beautiful looking! The price is a bit too steep for me though, unless it comes up used for a lot less. I would also prefer a straight power amp over an integrated.
I have the 20 watt versions... And their preamp with Phono stage all hot rodded out.. I have owned Cary, Mcintosh, threshold, Odyssey, Classe', Forte', Rogue, Counterpoint, Ps Audio, Basic Denon and Harmon amps, yeesh can't think of them all to be honest..
All had character.. These are Gems and will not be replaced.. They drive excellent speakers to very hi levels, and bass response is killer with these Pure Class A tubes and huge transformers that they use on them.. The pictures on these are pretty deceiving, these are pretty large and very heavy built amps. All gold an chromed out, very hi grade parts and capacitors, point to point built, with internal silver wire etc..
Also these lay down more accuratley something like 26 or 27 watts per channel.. They are rated conservitivley, I have only heard them however on 95 db and above speakers, which go to way beyond rock concert levels with these.. Vocals and midrange sound huge, lots of air, and very smooth, a slight bit to the Warm side of tube sound, they use very neutral sounding capacitors stock however which are the sonic caps..
Good luck, oh and look around somebody did a review on these here on Audiogon a while back replacing some KR mono amps which were like 15 a pair or something. These have sold used about 3 times here over the last 5 years or so, believe me most people keep them.
Thanks Matrix. I'll take a closer look at their stuff. I did find some discussion on their products here, but could not find that review you mentioned. Had you heard their 45 watt version? I have 6-8 ohm 89 db sensitive speakers (although bass duties are handled by subs), so the 45 watt version may be more appropriate. I find it interesting that the 45 watt version is only about $350 more that the 20 watt version. Why get the lower powered unit if it's so close in price to the higher powered unit? Have you needed to speak to them at any time? I don't like when a manufacturer does not provide a telephone number on their website.
I use similar sensitivity speakers 89db and 6ohms and I agree with you Smeyers that 20watts is a minimum for SET output. I use a Viva Solista, 22watt 845 SET with a sub out too. My room is 22 by 20 foot and it has great control over the speakers.
Unfortunately, 20watt, quality SETs, are'nt cheap. Quality needs large expensive output transformers. I bought my Solista for about$4000, which seems the norm for second hand prices. If you can find one, you will love it. Everyone who has heard my system has said, if you want to sell the amp, let me know
Thanks David. I have been hearing more and more how important the output transformer is and how expensive good ones are. Unfortunately with all the information and varying opinions around, it's hard to know what is really a good, well built amp, what is not, or what seems too good to be true.