It looks like you should try BAT VK 120 monos.
9 responses Add your response
If your Forest's can be driven with 65 watt/ch, I would suggest an amp that I use and love....the ARC D70Mk2. Superb synergy with my CAT and it is one of the very best amps for jazz or classical that I have heard. The mids and highs are still IMHO SOTA!
Here's the icing on the cake...they can still be had for a song!( although a'philes are now beginning to snap them up). Easily in your budget.
Thank you for your answers.
Any opinion on Audio research VM 220 monos? I could have an audition on them next saturday...they are a bit expensive ( 6000 euros used!). I'm afraid about Cat sl1 big gain and I don't like too brightness in the highs...the problem that I exeperienced with a lot of amp I tried in these period (wasting a lot of money also)
You've just mentioned and nailed that CAT SL1 has an excessive gain and is the culprit of your brightness no matter what amp you're going to use.
Preamps from AudioResearch also have excessive gain of nearly 20db.
Your correct solution is to quit shopping for amps and get lower gain preamp. I haven't been shopping for tube amps for the past 23 years, but if my memory serves all you need is minimalistic low-gain tube preamp such as AES-3(only 3...6db of gain).
Totem Forests are very well designed speakers and work well with tube and solid states amplification. In fact they're very tube friendly with it's stable 8 Ohm impedance.
The issue of excessive gain is not valid. ARC preamps of 18 and even 30 db, e.g., LS5, is not an issue with many many amps. I have been using preamps of this gain range for 30+ years and I have been happy to have it….for phono and CD. Volume level and brightness are two very very different issues.
To claim that the CAT preamp is the cause of excessive brightness is also silly. This is a VERY dynamic and tonally neutral product that shows quickly the flaws elsewhere. And yes, it is very detailed. I had one on loan awhile back and it was incredible with my JL-3 amps. I just preferred the Aesthetix Io/Callisto preamp at the time because of the more warm and 3D of those magical pieces.
The Totem speaker line is also very detailed and dynamic…..incredible speakers. And they too will show system flaws quickly.
An evaluation of the cables (ICs specifically) should be done as this could be the cause of the brightness. What are you using here?
And what is your source? You need to evaluate the entire system and not blame the CAT or all the amps you are trying. It sounds like an overly warm amp like an older CJ or VTL or something like the ARC D70/D115 could be used to compensate for the brightness. But rather than finding an amp to compensate, you need to find the cause of the brightness and I assure you, it is not the CAT. And get rid of the Sovteks in the CAT if that is what you have there! Telefunken 6922's will add smoothness big time.
Jafox, I do agree with you that the CAT and its gain structure is absolutely NOT the cause of excess brightness. However, I think you may be surprised IF you listened to an ARC D70Mk2 or a D115 today( with some of today's gear)....they are NOT overly warm amps. In fact, I think they are about as true to the source as any amp that WJ ever designed.
When I hear of excessive brightness, besides the speakers, I always look to the room and the cabling.