my votes would be the CJ Premier 12's and The ARC VT 100
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The amp you are looking for doesnt exist,you will have to create it,heres how....find a well-built/designed amp by any of the masters,you know who they are,add a drop of Irish,a pinch of Hawaiian and a taste of Peruvian and turn down the lights and look at what you have,an emotional experience possibly never before heard or felt by any audiophool on the planet,good luck,Bob
I've owned about 7 solid state amps and I've demo'ed and heard quite a few more SS and tube amps.
I'm aware that there's a few out there, but I've never heard any amp even come close to the sonics of a McCormack DNA-2 Revision A amp. These Revision amps are off-the-shelf amps and are essentially gutted by McCormack and then he installs the finest aftermarket parts and tweaks.
Some amps may be fast(many are slow), some may be rich, full, and warm (many are cold, sterile, lifeless), some may be detailed (many are veiled), a few may even exhibit tremendous control over the woofers providing a tremendous life-like bass that few have ever heard or even imagined (good luck finding any amp with this attribute), but none that I've heard have it all in one chassis.
That is except for the DNA-2 Revision A. There is no substitution for having such an amp as this.
But even with outstanding amplification, the complete immersion into the music (or as you say goosebumps, chills, tears, PR&T, etc) still won't quite get you there without shoring up the other shortcomings in a given system. ie proper line conditioning, cabling, vibration control, speaker placement, dedicated circuits/lines, etc..
In my experience, proper amplification will get you closer to that emotional experience than any other single component or tweak or any other combination thereof. And once you've found such amplification the controversy over tube v. solid state suddenly goes to the North Pole.
Along that same note, I've been hearing some fascinating rumors about the new NuForce digital amps and I may even have the opportunity to hear them shortly.
Whatever amp is driving whatever speakers playing Bob Marley's "Wait in Vain" in the background while my wife and I walk on Mayaro beach, Trinidad in the full moonlight at midnight.
But seriously to answer the question, I heard at my dealer one time some monoblock Futterman OTL's driving Nestorovic speakers and that took the cake for me, irregardless of the low level hum problem they had.
Jtinn, please read my post carefully, I did not say that service was not currently available on Tenor amps. To quote you directly from another Audiogon post, "For all those who would like service on their amplifiers, be patient and Tenor's service department will be up and running shortly." This would indicate to me that, at one point in time, owners did not have service available. So, as I pointed out, they were not able to get service on their amps. Hey, I think that we both live in Portland, OR. Come over for a beer some time and set me straight on the exegencies of small-scale manufacturing. I'll buy.
I had some of those emotional amps but I had to get rid of them. The tear stains on the front of the amps were just too distracting.
Tripper is right on. Get some music that really turns you on.
The sound you get from your system is all about synergy in your selected components and how they integrate with your room. There is no quick certain fix - its just a lot of work and it takes a lot of experimenting.
How do you know that what you want can be found in the amp - it might just be your sources or preamp, or your set up, or your room, that is the problem? Or maybe your Virgo's, god forbid. Even worse, maybe your expectations are just plain unrealistic. Have you EVER heard what you expect from any system anywhere?
Why is it that the erudite always need re-clarification? Or did I just answer my own question?
It should go without saying that we are conversing in a forum with an emphasis geared almost solely toward hardware.
If that is true, then it should also go without saying that not only does the hardware influence the software, but the software is rendered completely lifeless without the hardware.
If Ive misread some of your postings, then please share your emotional experiences you encounter listening to your software on your am/fm/cd clock radio and/or phonograph and compare those experiences to other systems.
And while youre at it, why not also explain why you spend so much time posting on a hardware-oriented web site like Agon?
For the record, I never talk about my experiences as being emotional, but I freely mention the significant impact that hardware often times has on the software.
Glad some of you came around ;o) BTW, is this a hdwe site, or one for all aspects of the audio life? And no, that is not a contradiction. A new audio friend is able to listen ~8 hours a day or more, so audio Is a big part of his life. Would that we all had that kind of time to enjoy our music.
Aida, the music is surely Within the disc, and we need the hdwe to which to play it. This gets circular quickly.
Last [counter-] point: Rather than wait for tubes [rolled or otherwise] to warm up, go out of bias, fail, etc, my ss rigs play at the touch of a button and play as musically as I need them to. Not to disparage the magic of tubes or the opinions of those above--they are distinctly wonderful and I own a fine tube dac and monoblocks--but with good ss, I can get inside the music in an instant without the nervosa that plagues many of us. And the musical message is just as valid, no matter how you get there. One of my favorite systems is a simple CD/Headphone setup that can pack all the emotion wallop necessary.
Music is life
Theater is art
TV is furniture
Have a safe holiday and pray for the poor souls in NO and Biloxi.
The MUSIC suppys the emotion--I think the question is better asked, "Which amp PASSES more of the emotion of music?"
I know what he is asking...since the first time I heard cj gear, I heard this emotion in the music rendered like never before. It was intoxicatingly real, and very different for me than with solid state.
The key seems to be tubes--and the way they pass the micro and macro dynamics of music, which are the emotion clues.
I always thought that emotion is in performance pace, distinct emphasis on certain parameters of performance..and majorly, on the composition. The greeks first discovered which kind of music pumps you up and which brings you down...
I cant believe that someone would need a top level setup to get the emotion out of a piece of music...
Oh yeah, reproducing music electronically is just like wine... The comparison is old, tedious, boring and not instructive at all. A wine does not seek to reproduce anything; it is not the ersatz of another liquid. So trotting out the old snobbish wine line is a joke.
Sorry, no cigar!
Oh, and the point about the Pioneer is simply that nothing really compares to that first system insofar as being overwhelmed by the machinery; the rest actually comes from the performance and that does not require amps from companies that want 35K for one and simply manage to bankrupt themselves in the process.