Best Solid state Amps i heard. First, the best Class A/AB Amps I heard. Ayve V1, Jeff Roland 8Ti, Alchemist Statement, Levinson 333, YBA Passion Amps, Classe Omega, Meridian 557 Amps bridged, Mcintosh MC 500, Bat VK 500, Best Classe A Amps i heard, Plinius SA 250, Levinson 20.5 mono blocks Amps, Electro Companiet AW 180 mono blocks, Threshold T800 Amp, Krell 350Mc Amps
The best I ever heard is the Threshold SA-1 Class A mono amps
Ferrari- I had a CM Labs 150 wpc, but it got cooked by a lightening strike. It was a beauty. Still have the CM CC3 pre, but haven't hooked it up in a while
Electrocompaniet aw 180 monos
One of the McCormack DNA amps should easily make the top ten; my choice is the DNA-2DX. Cheers. Craig.
Threshold SA/1's (in silver) pure class A mono-blocks modified to Balance mode. These amps have everything you want. Beauty, smooth mids and highs. With realistic bass extensions, and tightness.
To Swampwalker - And I thought I would be the only one to remember C M Labs. Still have the 914 Amp and the C M 300 Pre Amp. Recently refired the Amp in my second system. Just fabulous in every way.Must have been nuts to retire this unit in favor of a Sumo unit. C M Labs was way ahead of their time.
Krell full power balanced amps with cast system. They're a totally different animal than the prior ones (fpb) with no cast. And you don't need to use the cast cables with the FPBc amps; balanced cables do just fine. I'd have to look at the lists for those <$10k.
I have a lot of respect for the Jeff Rowland Design Group products. I think they have a very natural, unforced, unelectronic sound. I also like Electrocompaniet, but would give the nod to Rowland.
While I have heard some of the models mentioned above, in perticular Jeff Rowland design group amps, I have extensively listened and own Classe upper line products, in perticular the CA-400, I own( New version CA-401, I have not heard) is a great value and sounds lush, unforced, in most part natural and unelectronic. I have no intention of change. To give you an example, I heard Krell FPB-300 ($9000.0 retail) and considered trade in for my Classe CA-400 2 years ago ( I almost did awed by the Krell mystique). Then I listened carefully, every thing else remaining same. I found Krell sound, too analytic, rather too focused, too prestine. Vs. Classes's more faithful sound stage ( not too deep) and lifelike focus of adequately detailed wall of lush sound. My test: I move around the house casually , going upstairs, wondering around in the back yard and front yard, while a small jazz ensemble, or good vocal or good piano recordings is on, and without cheating to myself, I listen :does the sound sounds realistic? No games. Classe always came ahead in projecting life-like presence in the house. Note that I would not put their lesser models in the same category, and I have heard them all in my system. The CA-150,the CA-200 and even CA-300 were lacking something. CA-400 indeed is a great amp. The new omega's, the omnicrons I have not heard and besides they cost more than $10K anyway. It is CA-400 baby!
Cello Performance II monoblocks. Lightning fast, articulate, sweet, and powerful. One chassis is the power supply (energy is stored in a dual choke instead of capacitors), and the other is the (one-channel) amp. This monster doesn't run out of steam - it's built to drive a one ohm load. This amp has no personality - delicate and airy in one turn and powerful and dynamic in the next. Its real strengths are in its ability to manage micro-dynamic contrasts and to maintain an utterly unconfused and solid soundstage. The music is therefore real and exciting. It doesn't harden up, get hazy, or really even act like its working very hard.
Boulder 102AE ~$4k retail...
A relative new amp on the block but the best I've heard in my system is the Aloia 1301 with Inductive power supply really took control of the Dunlavy V's
Van Alstine model 3 power amp circa 1977. Still one of the best ever. I carried the Van Alstine line as a retailer. Coupled with the Van Alstine Model 1 Pre Amp an unbeatable system then and right with the best of them today. Van Alstine did not release specs with his products per se. I remember one spec to this day "Damping Factor" Unit should not get wet". Van Alstine refused to play the great numbers game of the day. Instead he said "Trust Your Ears" These products were of course early mil-spec amps,and preamps. Superb build quality,that Threshold,Krell,and Levinson soon copied. Many of you will not remember these,but they were vastly ahead of the competition.
Audio Research 100.2 amp. People usually think of tube amps when you mention Audio Research, but the 100.2 is an incredible SS amp. At a cost of $3000 new it's even better. The price just recently dropped from $3500.
Good thread, and there are many good ones out there, but I think Nelson Pass needs a mention....be it Aleph or others, and I second the Audio Research 100.2 as a bit of an unknown gem.
I have to go with THRESHOLD.I had the s-200.And yes I had a CM Labs amp too should of kept it sounded good.Dont remember the model but it had 30 watts per and it had a two tone blue color scheme.CHEERS.
The Reference Line Silver Signature is a rare animal on the used market. Seen occasionnaly lurking on these pages under the cover of obscurity. It is large (95 lbs), hot (biased ALL the way into class A to rated output even into 4 ohms), has heat sinks that could be used instead of razor wire around prisons, and is drop dead beautiful (for an amp anyway). Dual mono, with two on/off switches and two power cords with the best, most open and accessable back panel in the industry. It is an older cousin to the Sierra amps. I've had the big guns from Krell, Threshold, Rowland, Classe and others, but I keep coming back to this guy for use on my Apogee ribbons. It is simply the most believable amp I've heard with the least amount of artifacts and bass like you read about. Reference Line is now owned by Scott Nixon (see the manufacturers section)who is still producing the product. If you can find one (they are rare), pounce on it!