Tannoy Westminster amp matching question.

Hello again everyone. Its been a while but I'd like your advice if possible.

I'm waiting for a pair of Tannoy Westminster royal SE's to arrive ( end of dec ). And I'm wondering what to amps to match them with. I have very limited funds at the moment(budget of 3k or so), having lashed out on the speakers, and I'm thinking I'd like to go SET power amps again. So looking at second hand bargains. At the moment I'm thinking Sophia Electric 300b or Art Audio symphony II. Alternative suggestions please !!!!

To give you an idea of my tastes. The system I've put together, that I enjoyed the most, was Avantgarde Duo's and Yamamoto A08s. Loved it. I listen to all sorts of music: Rock, choral, opera, jazz. Love well done female vocals :-)

Thanks for your time.
The amp you want for these is definitely tube! However the efficiency is slightly on the low side as far as SETs go- but of course a lot depends on your room size and listening habits.

My speakers (Classic Audio Loudspeakers model T-3.2) is about the same efficiency (98 db). I find that while I can play them with 5-10 watts, the simple fact is that the amp is straining if I push things at all. So I see 30 watts as being a good minimum power level.

There are good number of tube amps that make that sort of power. SETs in that size are rare though, and lack the bandwidth that the speaker has. So my recommendation is some sort of push pull triode amplifier. Our S-30 amp does well on that speaker and you should be able to find a used one for that price.

Push-pull triode amps can be rare. A small ultra-linear amplifier might be a good choice also. Two vintage examples of that are the Dynaco ST-70 and the Marantz 8B. Dynaco is still making the ST-70. Tannoy recommends 50 watts minimum. With that kind of power you would never clip the amps in most rooms.

Awesome speaker!
Art Audio Jota HC, Wavelength Audio Triton or Wavelength Audio Cardinal. Don't buy until you can afford one of these.
Lucky you! Love Art Audio SET, but you would probably be best served with a push-pull design instead. A KT series tube should be in the right power band. Personally, if I were you I'd be all over the Art Audio Concerto Monoblocks that are up right now.
I have a pair of Tannoy Stirlings TWs. I have tried powering them with all sorts of amps; from 5W tubes to 200W SS. I am basically a tube guy. But IMO the Tannoy dual concentric drivers, especially the larger (12"-15" units), need a little power (and current) than most tube amps will provide in order to sound their best.

I have not yet tried the Atma Sphere amps with these speakers - it is something I would very much like to test some time for a "winter" system. The Manley tube amps might also be a good choice, as they are very detailed units.

So far my personal preference has been for the Pass X30.5, the First Watt J2 (although the F5 and M2 were also very good) and the McCormack DNA 0.5 (preferably rebuilt by SMC), in that order.
Thanks guys for your responses. Certainly food for thought. I currently have some good quality amplification left over from my previous system. Class A solid state: Plinius sa250 and matching pre amp and a "super integrated" Hybrid class A AMR AM-77. So I've got some nice amplification on hand to be going on with with. But I'd like to try and get back to the magic tonality I had with the Avants and the 45 tubes.

Reading between the lines it seems that I should save up my pennies for a while and buy something more appropriate. How does everyone feel about the something like the KR kronzilla or something like that?? What would be more of an "ultimate amplifier" that could take me the way I want to go ? (Without going mental like the Wavac ec300b)
Sorry to change tac on you !!! I appreciate your advice and time. Thanks.
Those Wavelength Audio products look interesting !!! Thanks.
Read about the Decware Zen Torii III. It promises the magic of SET with the power of PP, 25 wpc using el34's and special circuitry (point-to-point). Secure your order with a credit card but they will not charge you until it ships, approximately 3 months while they build yours. When you get it it will sound good, but six months later it will be purely magical as you are hoping for. I have had mine with my Canterburys since early June and it really reached the heights 3 weeks ago, utterly sublime. Read and decide at Decware.com. I am simply a happy customer, no affiliation.
You have gotten good suggestions. Jeff Day owns these speakers and did a long and extensive review of the Sophia Electric 3oob SET amp using this speaker and was overjoyed with the combination.The review is at Positive Feedback Online.He preferred this 8 watt amp to his push-pull Leben amplifier driving the Tannoys,YMMV. I f these are truthfully 98 db sensitive speakers then a 'good' SET amplifier should have no problems at all(as Jeff Day pointed out).I use an 8 watt SET to drive 94db speakers with zero problems and prefer it to my 100 watt UL (60 watt triode) push-pull class AB amplifier.Hope you can get the chance to hear it with a good SET amp.
Good Luck,
How does everyone feel about the something like the KR kronzilla or something like that??
I actually listened to Canterburies driven by this amp, and the result was nice. Also listened to AN driving the same pair -- very nice but the Kron gave a "fuller" sound (meaning more mid-bass & upper bass). The high frequencies were OK with both amps as well.
This was some time ago so take all of this with a few grains of salt!
As usual, the music was a combo of symphonic & blues
Since you already own good temporary amplifiers, the idea of saving to purchase a great tube amp is a wise one. I would add one the list that may solve any power problem: Manley Neo-Classic SE/PP 300B (11W/24W) for different times of day/mood and great sound either way.

Enjoy your superb speakers meanwhile!
Hi Guys, thanks for your very helpful suggestions. While I am very keen to go back to directly heated SET, from what you mention above, I'm not sure the usual fare will be "powerful" enough. Tannoy recommends min 50 watts, but the specs (99db 1w/M) suggest that 8-10 watts would be enough. I have read Jeff Days reviews(and chatted with him) and he loved the Sophia 300b's with the Wests as well which seem to bare this out. Also I tend not to listen at very high volumes.

Off the back of your suggestions I'm going to take the following, pragmatic approach.

1. Run the wests with my current(no pun intended)amps.
2. Try a number of SET amps that I can demo from local retailers (I'm in NewZealand so not in plentiful supply).
3. Off the back of that determine if the Low powered SET approach will work for me.
4. If I enjoy the SET over my existing amp selection, I'll buy a suitable "special" one having saved up enough to spend 10k ish on something used.

Then I'll have to chat to you about pre-amps !!!

Thanks all for helping me to this decision. I'll let you know how everything works out.
Your plan is rational.I admit a bias toward SET amps as compared to other genres I`ve heard/tried they sound the most realistic and true to live music. Obviously we all hear things differently and choose accordingly. You may find that OTL or push-pull tubes(perhaps solid state or class D) is better for your taste.I wish you much sucess in your amplifier search, your ears will lead the way.
Charles1dad is right, in that SET amps will drive them fine. IMHO, 300B SET sound is best.
I must admit to being an SET man at heart as well. If I thought I could get away with it I'd go 45 based amps but I fear that would be a step too far. I really, really Loved the yamamoto a08-s but at max 2 watts per channel simply not enough for the Tannoys (great with the avantgardes), although jeff Day did suggest that I tried it with the Tannoys. There is a Shindo dealer in Auckland so I may see if I can demo some of their kit if I cant find a suitable SET. Surely I can. Much fun !!
Jb. I so hope so. I'm looking forward to experimenting.
Hello Borg,
The late Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg of "Triode Guild" had extensive experience with Westminster Royal SE as his speakers of choice.
Consult his site for much interesting insight.
Congrats on your speaker choice!! Please keep us posted on developments.
Oooo!! I've never heard of him. I'll have a look. Thanks Iso.
Iso, I've just spent a very amusing couple of hours reading the "triode guild" website. Harvey was not only an amazing audio and social commentator but obviously a very, very funny man. I keep chucking out loud and disturbing my Girlfriend watching "the day the earth stood still" ( the crappy keanu reeves one not the brilliant Michael Rennie one )

Thanks for pointing me in this direction.
I discovered the Harvey Rosenberg site about 3 1/2 years ago and also Arthur Salvatore`s "High End Audio site. That was my introduction(prior to that it was SS amps then PP pentode type tube amps in my system) to SET amplifiers. Well there`s no going back for me, with the right speakers you can be happy the rest of your music loving life.I believe I could also be happy with a DHT tube class A push-pull of low-moderate power also. I find DHT tubes to be special and doubt if I`d ever return to pentode-tetrode tubes again.To my ears DHT tubes offer the 'breath of life' and presence factor that others don`t quite match IMO.Borg, it does`nt surprise me that you preferred the SET Yamamoto amp over your Audio Research VT-100 amplifier,I understand completely.
Borg, I like SETs too, but found happiness with a low power (25W/Ch.) 300b push-pull amp. Allowing that all amplifier designs involve some give and take, to my ears, this approach is the best balanced. You might find differently, but based on what I’ve read about the Westminsters, I think it’s an advisable option for an SET enthusiast.
Hellooooo chaps. My greeting is somewhat enthusiastic because I have made a decision( for now :-) ). After much reading I'm going to try and find a Viva Solista SE integrated, second hand. There is one on Ebay now if I can negotiate the price down a bit. It Ticks all my boxes. It's SET , its interesting looking, all point to point wiring etc. and from what I read it does the things that I remember loving about my previous SET. If anyone has experience with this amp I'd like to hear your thoughts. Good or bad. Thanks again.
Borg, I`ve heard the larger Viva SET amps and they were fanstastic! the Solista can`t be that much different. This amp should just sing with your Tannoys, good choice.High quality 845 tube SET,I like this move.
Borg, My friend owns a Solista. Which version is being offered? Viva has made significant upgrades to this amp over the years.
Lived with the Westminster and Westminster Royal for almost 10yrs straight ('91-'00). Tried/owned countless tube amps ranging from flea watts Ongaku, Audion, few Carys, few Jadises, many many VTLs (right through their 200w triode double decker Ichibans).

While most mesmerizing tonality was that of the Ongaku's. I too found best served (most musically balanced overall) running large Tannoys with good old push pull amps then - VTL90 Monos (90w triode), 4xWE300B/side. The Cary CAD805 (50w) coming in close second.

True, SETs - Ongaku (especially), as well Cary 300SE, or even Audion, all had in varying doses that seductive 'almost to die for midrange spell' (esp.on vocals, pianos, strings etc.), However, given certain recorded materials/volume level, I often felt that they too (the 8-15watters) are somewhat compromised, loosing control/kinetic feel at times of those two huge 15" drivers.

As such, were I to do it over this time around, a well designed PP triode / OTL / SET (211, 845?) amps *caveat, minimal of 25watts and up will be my preferred choice. *Still fondly remembered of how beautifully 'Ella' sang through with effortless musicality via the 300Bs - 'unforgettable'.. Congrats on those beautiful speakers - post pictures when you get them!
Charles, thank you for your encouragement. It reads as if it has plenty of DH SET magic, and I've read about people driving Sonus Faber Guarneris adequately as well so should be fine power wise.

Phaelon, I think that its the original, I'm waiting on answers to questions. Its a pity I wasn't looking in Oct. It looks like one sold on ebay for just under 4k US ( Grrrrrr isn't it always the way ) I am patient man though and my AMR AM-77 will be very good I suspect. Its suppose to sound like a very powerful SET, and in some ways it does. But of course in comparison , tonality and getting the balance between the performer and the rest of the music, is where the true SET will win. IMO. ( I don't suppose your friend wants to sell his ;-). )

Bvdi. Thanks for joining in. I suspect in the long run you may well be right, but you know what its like. I have a yearning to try and get the SET magic back in my life and I'm going to try it out. My system that I put together with SET's etc, allbeit not extensive, provided me with most satisfying period in my hi-fi lifecycle to date. It almost feels a bit like trying to recapture my youth, impossible but tremendous fun trying. If I were going to try a different design, I might try Shindo. Don't go there yet everyone.

Great chatting with all !!! Thanks.
Borg, The older Solistas are fine amplifiers for the money, but the MkII version is almost a complete redesign with much better transformers. It’s not just an incremental improvement. Although, like Bvdiman, I’m concerned about the SET matching - I like the effortlessness that speakers achieve only with adequate power - I’m certain the Westminsters would benefit by being paired with MkII version.
Phaelon makes a good point. If the MK II version is that much improved(transformer quality is crucial for great SET sound) I`d exercise some patience and get the better Solista amp. Your speakers deserve the best quality amp you can afford.My SET has double C-Core transformers custom built in japan.I believe that plays a 'major' role in the superb sound they make.I`d not compromise transformer or power supply quality in an SET amplifier.
Borg7x9, unless you are in a small room listen to what Bvdiman is saying, or you could be making an expensive mistake.

SETs have certain properties. One is that they essentially make no distortion at low power levels. This is unusual- most amps have **increasing** distortion below a certain power level. This is why they have that 'inner detail' that is part of the description of any SET.

The 2nd thing about SETs is the lushness. This comes at slightly higher power levels and has everything to do with the 2nd harmonic distortion that appears at moderate levels. As we can see, the human ears does not mind too much about this distortion.

The final aspect of all SETs is what happens above about 1/4 to 1/3 power. The higher ordered distortion components begin to appear. If the speaker has enough efficiency, this will only occur on louder transients. However, on these transients are also the higher ordered harmonics, which, it happens, that the ear uses to determine how loud a sound is.

The result here is that the SET appears to have far more 'dynamics' because of these loudness cues than it should for such a small amp. You will hear people talking about this all the time.

However, as you can see this is all based on how the amp distorts. The problem you are up against is that you actually need some power. The speaker you have has got bandwidth, and that is something that higher power SETs don't have. To be really successful with an SET you need a horn-loaded speaker with about 103 db at a minimum! That way you have a moderately-powered amp (12 watts, no more) that might still have some bandwidth. Its a trick!

However, SETs are not the only amps that have distortion going to unmeasurable as power is decreased. There is at least one OTL that does that as well. I think there are a few push-pull triode amps as well. The trick here is how the driver circuit is designed. This is a feature you want, because its that first watt that gets you that 'inner detail'. The issue is you need power and bandwidth too (if you really want to hear what the speaker can really do).

I agree with Charles1dad:
Your speakers deserve the best quality amp you can afford.

There are very few SETs that will fill the bill- you can count them on one hand. OTOH there are a number of push-pull amps (including at least one OTL) that will suit that will give the the inner detail, power and bandwidth. BTW all of the ones I am thinking of are zero feedback.
Everyone has an opinion about what amplifier type is better than others.You could find many sucessful and talented builders of SET amplifiers who would disagree with atamaphere`s viewpoint and in fact make a very compelling case opposite of his.Borg,you`ve used SET amps and obviously came to your own conclusions based on actual listening experiences.SET amps have flaws and so do OTL, push-pull tube and any other amp topology you can mention.

I believe a variety of amps could work well with the Tannoys,Borg you like SET amps for one very good reason,they sound fantastic and really involved you with your music.I`ve heard OTL amps,they were good, but I find SET more realistic and natural to my ears. Others will hear things differently and that`s to be expected.

Borg, I hope you can hear the Atmasphere OTL amp and a good PP tube amp and compare to a good SET amp. I don`t believe the Viva Solista is a potential mistake at all. Listening will settle this as it always does.
I've heard the Solista in a number of systems, including with Avantgarde Duos and a custom horn system (105 db/w efficient), and thought that it sounds pretty good. The Solista is not that far off from the sound of a 45 tube amp, so it should be to your liking. If you can get that anywhere near the price range you specified, that would be quite a miracle, given how expensive these amps are.

Keep in mind that the replacement tubes for that amp will not be cheap. In addition to the 845 output tube, that amp uses 211s or 845s as rectifiers. In that application, the tube might last a long time, but, if that is not the case, the cost of replacing the rectifiers would be pretty high.

I also agree that you should, if possible, hear a good OTL amp. The immediacy and "jump" factor with an OTL is pretty exciting and hard to duplicate with other types of amps. One can get similar results with the low powered SET amps (e.g., a 2a3 amp), but, usually that involves very efficient speakers and quite expensive amps.
Charles1dad, I think you might misunderstand me on something. Although what I said about distortion in the SET is perfectly true and should not be a matter of debate, it is incorrect to assume that I don't appreciate what a good SET can do.

However I am of the opinion that people try to get away with using SETs on speakers that are not efficient enough! The result of this is that they never find out what the amp was capable of nor what the speaker could do. If you have a speaker that has the right efficiency, SETs offer some of the more transparent and musical setups around. **But the speaker must have the efficiency.**

This is why horns have become more popular in the last 20 years. The Tannoy of the OP, IMO, does not have the efficiency to allow most SETs to strut their stuff. IMO/IME The JOTA (not sure if that one is made anymore; might be available through the UK designer) and the VIVA are good choices of higher power SETs. But in general the idea of a 'high power SET' is nearly oxymoronic although there are a few out there. None of them IMO have the 'magic' of a 45 or 2A3, which require 6-10 db more efficiency than the Tannoy has.

'high power' SETs are expensive! That is why I have been recommending something that offers as much of the 'magic' of an SET, but will also have enough power to do the job.
This Tannoy is 98 db at 1 watt-8ohms,Reviewer Jeff Day(PFO) said his 8 watt SET drove this speaker with complete control(better than his push-pull Leben)and was the best sound ever in his personal reference system.He`s had this combo for nearly 2 years and his feelings have`nt changed.

My speaker is 94 db(non horn speaker) and my SET is 8 watts 300b mono blocks and replaced my 100 watt(UL)- 60 watt(triode)PP mono blocks amplifier. Why? it out performed the higher power amplifier.I really hope Borg compares the Viva with one of your amplifiers and shares his impressions.He may or may not like your OTL better. There`s only one way to know for sure.I still recall CES 2010, best room I heard there was the Viva 845 amp driving Trenner-FriedL Box speaker(98 db 1 W 8 ohms(it is`nt a horn speaker). The music reproductin was very emotional,realistic, totally extraordinary!

Not to debate as to which approach is best. Just thought of sharing my real living
experience with them. I supposed one's listening habit - type of music, genres,
loudness - do play an important role here too.

Sold my Ongaku to a close friend using AudioNote corner speakers - match made in
heaven. My Cary300SE to a guy using AG Trios, again perfect synergy. Just trying to
point out here that although spec wise seems OK--SET friendly, IME, the Tannoys 15"
take a little more than 8-15watts, to fully explore/exploit their FULL potentials - in
utter effortlessness, grandeur (scale), as well - true deep bass (dynamic).

Remembered, we did tests with Sheffield Drum Tracks + few other test CDs, Hugh
Masakela Stimela track, Superman's/StarTrek's Themes back then. When some tracks
containing sustained low bass/huge dynamic swings/effects (ie.rolling thunder, church
organs etc.) started playing, it was quickly obvious that the lower power SETs are a no
go with Tannoy WRs. On the other hand, with most normal music at more normal
listening levels - they are sublime.

So, if total versatility is also a priority, best option is to then keep two variants to play
with for when mood swings!? :p SET+PP / SET+OTL!

*During those toying days, I've always kept my old (then new) FMA611 SS as standby -
never once did they (in any comparison) disappoint the slightest bit even amidst
(against) those tube greats, surpassing expectations, so much so that I've kept them
(the only amp) for 20yrs straight. So there you have it, 'another' viable option to look
at! ;))

Good luck with whichever route you chose to take!
You are right in saying so much depends on what you listen to or who`s doing the listening. This is why there`ll always be different opinons for just about anything audio.Your outcome is a bit different from Jeff Day in that he found no practical limitations with any genre of music.His experiences are no more(or less) valid than yours.We all agree on this point, Borg ideally should try the various amplifier choices with his speakers.A larger SS amp(or large PP tube) may likely exceed the SET in bass dominant types of music(no amp does everything the best).Overall and for the vast majority of music I`ll take the SET.IMO it will provide more often than not, better tone,presence, connect with greater emotion and provide the hard to match realism and organic-natural presentation.I once own the highly regarded Symphonic Line (SS amp).It did`nt come close to what `i`ve heard good SET amps provide in pure musical involvement and natural character.

For me this has more long term value and musical satisfaction than ultimate bass or very high volume attributes.Obviously this is strictly personal choice and there`re many preferences and priorities among us. This thread has provided good and interesting discussion.
Charles1dad - you are completely wrong when you assume SS only has
advantages in the bass.
I have been listening to Tannoy GRF Professionals ( super rare backloaded
horns similar in size and efficiency to the Westminsters ) for over 15 years
with a Perreaux 5150B ( 500 wpc ) and have had the experience of auditioning
many amps including single ended, OTL's - including Ralph's, ultralinear etc.
I can tell you that efficiency is only half the story. With the 15" driver
what the big Perreaux achieves is superb timing and control that single ended
and many other tube amps cannot achieve. For example on Beethovens 5th by
von Karajan, the relentlessness of the performance is superbly communicated
with 500watts of power, even at low listening levels. This is lost with many
low power amps.
I suspect the amplifier needs to control the big driver, and this is almost more
important than the speakers efficiency in selecting an amplifier.
FWIW I own 2 pairs of 15" Tannoys and a pair of 10" Monitors.
Single ended with these speakers is pretty much a tone control. They very
seldom produce accurate musical timing.
I'm pleased this thread has invoked some very interesting comments.

Atmas, I like your explanation of why DHSET do what they do. Very easy to understand, it makes sense to me, especially in context of what the 45's and Duos did for me. I don't think that a Solista is going to come along anytime soon at a price I can afford say 6.5k (more over time). I'm anticipating time for experimentation.

I'll explain a little more what I like and hope to get out of my new system.

I don't consider myself into huge dynamics or extreme performance, what I am into is a totally sibilant free and natural presentation. Overly Bright and metallic sounding leading edges on s's t's etc are my real pet hate.
Tone, images that are super free from the speakers and depth of image is very important to me. I seem to prefer a more relaxed presentation. I think that this can also be a function of the room, that is in hand. I have a dedicated room 10m x 6m which I can treat for acoustics. Its not a huge room, but I believe I can get the system to work well.
If not I have 12m x 8m room that I can use, but that will take some serious domestic negotiation with my girlfriend, probably including expensive bribes. Money that would be better spent on Vinyl !!

I'll state up front, that the romantic in me (and the fact that Jeff Day got on so well with Sofia 300b) will make sure that I'm going to try a suitable SET with them. If I can find a Solista at the right price, it'll be one of those. It appeals to my Arty side :-). I'm aware, thanks to you guys that Power may be an issue. So onto experimentation......

I regard the Plinius SA250 mk4 as one of the best class A solid state amps (at realistic cost levels). Fortunately I have one, so I've got that experiment covered. I also have access to a friends 50w pp amp that actually sounds really lovely with his speakers, so Ok there as well (cant remember what it is right now ). My AMR AM-77 will be an interesting pairing as well. Just for completeness my front end is a TTweights gem/Kuzma 4point/DL103r.

Originally I started off thinking of a CAT SL2 would be great. There was one on hear last month in NY for 7k ish. In some ways I think that would be a great tube match if the Wests require POWER. I'm not too worried about making an expensive mistake as I believe as long as you're a sensible buyer and not in a rush you generally don't lose to much on quality components. I don't really listen very loud, at least its not something I consciously set out to do. I find tracks generally sound best at a level that they seem to dictate themselves , so I may turn something up or down to get better emotional connection. I have no experience with OTL amps, I'm not even sure what they are other than they have no transformers in the output stage.

Once again, I appreciate your experience and enthusiasm, thanks.
Correction:- JL2 not SL2 and it was 9k.
Borg7x9 - The GRF Professionals in a room similar in size to yours worked better across the room - this would be worth trying.
Thanks Dover, If i struggle down the room, I'll give it a go.
Bit of a side step. Does anyone know , or know anyone who knows anything about these amps ??


These guys make some well respected tubes, but I cant find anything about this amp range. I've been an early adopter of chinese hifi in the past even though it was rubbished early on(when Shanling first came out I imported a scdt200 It wasn't at all bad at the time). I'm not saying its an option for me, but I came across them and thought they looked pretty cool. They are not cheap and they do a matching pre amp and tube power supply as well.

Any thoughts ??
Bvdiman: "During those toying days, I've always kept my old (then new) FMA611 SS as standby" That's a FM Acoustics you;re referring to? If so, it's a needle in a haystack sort of coincidence!
A 611 drove the aforementioned Tannoy Canterbury better than all the other amps we had available (which were not many, however, it was at the owners' house after all).
I`m not "completely wrong" about SS amps as I was expresing'my' opinion based on listening experiences over the years. My viewpoint has nothing to do with your individual results. I could`nt have made it more clear that we will all have difference preferences and thus choose components that reflect that.

If a 500 watt SS amplifier suited your needs best then you made the right choice for your system. We obviously hear differently and move in very different directions in developing our audio systems,what`s wrong with that?
I much prefer lower power SET and you prefer high power solid state. As I said in an earlier post, this is a good discussion. It does`nt imply we`ll all be in agreement.SET amplifiers have given me more realism, musical joy,satisfaction and involvement then any other amplifier type I`ve heard. If your SS amplifier does the same for you,then congratulations and continued very happy and blissful listening to your music.
I've been coming across your threads for a while now. And it seems, you are just about the only voice in support of the particular combination of speakers and amplifiers- namely Coincident Tech. Pure Reference speakers and Frankenstein power amps.
It is very clear, that you love the sound.
Coincidentally (pun intended) I was in the market for a new system a couple of years ago, and a combination of Pure Reference and Frankensteins was at the very top of my list.
So, naturally, I've made an effort to have an audition, and ended up listening to the combo on quite a few occasions- at least 2 shows in the Coincident own room, and at my local dealer for rather extensive audition.
Every single time it struck me as a surprise- my expectations after reading glowing reviews and the actual sound, I heard. The sound was not dynamic, exceptionally lean with no bass to speak of, and overall rather unpleasant.
Funny enough, the dealer for Coincident REFUSED to demo the Pure Reference with the Frankensteins, sitting in his room, and insisted on a more powerful (50 Wt)pair of PP tube amps.
I made him to connect the Franks anyway, and after about 2 mins of listening to a track, I'm intimately familiar with, asked him to switch back to the PP amps.
He was absolutely right, I wouldn't have considered buying the speakers, based on that pairing.
I ended up going in a very different direction, as you can see in my system.
One comment about efficiency- Coincident claims 94 dB sens., but reading reviews of their other models, it's clear, that they exaggerate sensitivity rating rather significantly. I don't remember the particular speakers, but the claimed sens. of 93-94 dB turned out to be around 88-89 in the measurements. I doubt, PR are any different in that regard.
So, after reading your never ending admiration and praise of this particular combination of 8 Wt. SET amps and the average sensitivity box speakers, I just had to express my impression of the same.
We sure do have different tastes in what we consider a "good sound", but yours strikes me as rather VERY DIFFERENT.
Maybe you would find it educational trying a different and more powerful PP amps in your system.
My speaker is the Coincident Total Eclipse not the Pure Reference.The match between the Frankenstein MK II and these speakers is devine. Prior to the Frankenstein my amplifier was the Bella Extreme(Response Audio) custom built by Bill Baker.It is 100 watt ultra linear and 60 watt triode,class AB push-pull.This was his V-Cap and Bybee versionand perhaps one of the best PP amps I`ve ever heard along with a friend`s VAC Phi 300.1 mono blocks.The Frankenstein from the very first day was better in all the areas important to me than the excellent Bella amp.In the more than three years of ownership my admiration has only grown.

I`ve heard numerous PP amps,VTL,ARC VT-100, Quicksilver and Manley.I liked Bill`s amp more than those(although they are good).

Maril555, your experience is what it is,what else can I say? The Frankenstein did`nt impress you and you moved on. All I can say is its been wonderful(an understatement) for me.Some will like it and others won`t,this is true for every single component available.For example, some love your Lamms and others do not(so what,you like them)When I express my opinion that`s all it is, I don`t make universal proclamations. I`m just sharing my own experiences.I `m sure there`re other components you adore that other listeners may find totally subpar,that`s the way it goes.Would their impressions change your opinion? The truth is we like what we like, it`s all personal choice.
We have a somewhat similar perspective as to what generally constitute and of upmost importance in music reproductions. Actually hardly ever listen to those aforementioned test tracks etc, except during test sessions/gatherings with fellow 'philes. Concerning those extra watts, to me is like having seat-belt ; depending on driver, will probably never be called for into a life saving circumstance, but good to know that its always there when needed--for you'll never know what might just lurks around each and every bend. ;) But yes, at the end of the day, its the majority of 'real music' that count, and what makes its owner happiest is all that matter.. Best.

If you want your WR to 'disappear' better whilst allowing for deeper controlled bass, try placing them on the short side (toed in), and pull them 5-6ft away from rear wall.. My room when I had them was similar, around 6.5m W x 11m L. My time with WRs was interesting in that akin to the old Chess saying, 'minutes to learn, a lifetime to master'.. Easy to set-up and make sing, not so upon optimization. Besides positioning (for depth, disappearing), you might also want to control their cabinet vibrations a little (better image specificity, tighter bass). Enjoy your journey and have fun while at it!

I'm afraid yes, same amp.. Comparable mids, better highs (surprisingly) compared to the best I had then.. Needless to say the bass. Truly enjoyed the long learning curve I had with them. Cheers!
I assure you Charles1dad's system is not lean or lacking in dynamics. I have heard the Coincident system at many CES shows and can tell you that the sound you hear thin and aggressive is what I also heard. I know Isreal likes to use the Esoteric dac and transport which is very lean in itself. Isreal actually had decent sound at RMAF last year. I am not familiar with his flagship speaker, but I can tell you that Charles1dad with his speakers are great. This hobby is so suggestive that no two people hear the same way. That's why some people use Lamm single ended amps with their Wilson Max II speakers which has huge woofers and still seems to be very dynamic.
Hi Bvdiman,
Thanks for your addition thoughts.
I understand the concept of'amplifier headroom' and power reserve. At one time I was quite an advocate of'one can never have too much power'. We do change and evolve and fomerly held opinions are changed.For me, generally the simpler a component is(with high part and built quality) the more I seem to like them(there`re always exceptions).I just like the purity and natural sound of simple circuit,lower power SET.I certainly respect those with alternative solutions.
Thanks for your very kind comments about my system.My experience is the polar opposite of what Maril555 described.I except his experience as real and Lamm was the better choice for him.I`m glad it worked out.Jwm has spent much time enjoying music listening in my home and I really enjoy his superb all VAC system in his home.
Borg7x9, if brightness is something that bothers you in a system (I know it does for me....) then you will want to avoid amps that employ negative feedback. Feedback will make any amplifier sound brighter.

Remember how I mentioned that the ear uses the odd ordered harmonics to tell how loud a sound is? Negative feedback in an amplifier will reduce most forms of distortion, but will increase the odd orders slightly. By 'slightly' I really do mean by trace amounts - 1/100ths of a percent. But our ears are so tuned to this issue that it is safe to say that using negative feedback violates a fundamental rule of human hearing- how we detect the volume of a sound.
One last comment, I'd like to make.
I doubt very much, that Franks and Coincident speakers (Total Eclipse, or Pure Reference) sound radically different from one system to another. And even though I'm not a big fan of being guided solely by measurements in my equipment choices, the facts are just that- 8 Watts of SE power is likely not to be enough to drive a multidriver box speaker of average sensitivity to it's full potential. Neither Coincident speakers, nor their amplifiers posess any mysterious secrets to make their products any more different in this regard.
What I DON'T have doubts about, that we certainly put a different emphasis on various aspects of music reproduction, and I wouldn't be surprised if we had judged the sound of the very same system differently, given a chance to be in the same room, at the same time, listening to the same music.