Testing Your Amplifier Experience/Recommendation

A challenge, not to mention my undying appreciation, to those of you with mucho experience with amplifier/speaker matching. I own a new pair of NHT 2.9 speakers. I need an amplifier, and prefer a tube sound to bring out the midrange in the 2.9s. HOWEVER, for various reasons I am looking only at solid state amps. I intend to drive them with a tube pre to be purchased once I decide on the amp.

I listen in a "medium" size room, to classical - both orchestral (Mahler, R. Strauss, Wagner, etc) and chamber; jazz - both electronic and acoustic; and various pop or latin stuff. So, from very loud, to soft.

I have narrowed down my choices to the following, and your challenge is to recommend one over the others, and why (and no, unfortunately I am not able to audition any of them without buying them first):

1. Audio Research D200
2. Marsh A200S
3. Bryston 4B-ST
4. Blue Circle BC22
5. Edge M6

Your recommendations are immensely appreciated, since without an amp, my speakers are rather worthless, and I would like to start listening again. That's more important than anything, but I would like to make a good choice.

Well the Marsh and Bryston are 200 watt amps, the others are all around +/-120 watts. The Bryston 3B-ST is probably more comparible to the others.

I can comment on the Bryston and Blue Circle. In comparison the Bryston will have sharper bass, more neutral towards the highs and is a little "cooler" than the Blue Circle. The Blue Circle will have more "warmth" and a little more personality.

The BC22 is probably more "there", like sitting in the front half of a concert hall for an orchestra or band (or the Bryston is more distant / sitting nearer the back). The BC22 goes great with the BC21 Tube preamp if you have not choses a preamp yet. If you try this setup, also use the BC95 interconnects as the pre/power link cable.

It is all a matter of taste which one you choose. They are both nice amps. I prefer the Blue Circle, but I also have box seats overlooking the Baltimore Symphony stage, so I like that immediacy, like the conductor gets. If you more of a person who likes the music a little more cool and distant, then maybe the Bryston is a better choice. Good Luck!

Sorry, but I don't really care for your list of amps. It's not a bad list but it's not...

For perhaps the same price range, you could purchase a used (I think it's still for sale in audiogon) McCormack DNA-2 Rev A amplifier for $4200. There's not much out there that comes close to the sonic abilities of this amp.

Perhaps a good match for the 2.9's would also be a used Moon W-5 for around $2500. Both of these amps are very fast amps, but the DNA-2 Rev A is even faster without any flaws and has plenty of power for anything you intend to do.

$4500 ?? Everything on his lists sells used for under $1300. Sure the DNA-2 is better, but so are lots of amps at that price. Let's not blow his budget. If you want an alternative, then Sim does make nice amps and the W-3 would be in your price range used and is constructed basically the same as the W-5, just less power. It is also in the same 120 watt range. I do agree that your personal taste does matter in which one you choose. I would search out reviews on them all. Will be the same as asking us. Everything on your list is fine.
Still another amp that should be far superior to his current list is the Odyssey Stratos at $995. Check out the reviews at odysseyaudio.com.

Fantastic amp.

There, bowbow. That should make you feel better.