Tube Amp recommendation

I know this probably comes up quite a bit and for good reason. I personally live in a medium size city (pop. 350,000) where the only audio stores carry solid state and in most case multi-hundred watt amplifiers where no one can listen to anything other than the typical big names. I've searched as many forums as I can over the past month and can't come to any conclusions.

I've bought and sold a lot of vintage gear, and recently "dispersed" all of it in order to simplify and downsize, sadly this included my vinyl as well. I decided to cash out of my higher end stuff. I'm looking for a tube amp with at least two inputs and volume, so depending on your definitions, an integrated. I don't need more than 20 watts and won't pay extra for a higher watt amp, but I don't want to pay extra just for a low watter either. I'm limited by funds, absolutely no recs more than $1200 USD will be considered, so we're mostly talking about Chinese gear. I'd like used modern gear, while maintaining gear isn't a problem, I'm not particularly keen on owning any more older stuff. My source is Apple lossless Ipod/Music Server, eventually an outboard DAC will be added. Room is 25x25. I listen to a little of everything. I'll be DIY'ing my own full-rangers more than likely based on Fostex, so efficiency will be high, above 95db and I can tune the speakers to the amp.

So what are my options other than Opera/Consonance? I had my eye on a Melody 2A3, but they seem to be fairly uncommon in the U.S.
Jolida, Cayin and Prima Luna seem to be the big sellers in that price range. Also Dared has a had quite a bit of action on this site. At about $1K used, you should have quite a selection to work from.
Do not overlook the Eastern Electric M520. A wonderful integrated!
I'll second the Primaluna, the PL2 allows you some variety of tubes (EL34. KT88, etc). I have hooked up an extra iBook and run iTunes and it sounds sweet.
I'm happy with my Almarro A205A MK II. I feel good value at price point (less than $1,000) plus $200 modifications.
Low watts just enough to drive my 91db sensitive Zingali Overture 2. Tube rolling not too expensive. Let us know what finally works for you, Mike.
Manley Stingray. Don't think you could do better at this price point.
Check out the Fatman iTube tube integrated amp w/built-in iPod dock.

Also, the Shanling MC-30 is really neat.

Not affiliated with either seller in any way and have not heard either. But I do think they are both really cool.....


Hi Guys. I've looked at the Primaluna amps, but they seem to look a lot like the Audioromy brand that pops up on eBay, actually they're nearly identical. I've wondered if they are made by the same manufacturer. In other words, maybe the make so many different types of amps, you pick one they brand it and send it to you. The Audioromy brand can be had pretty cheaply, but I wasn't sure if price came at a cost. There's a Consonance EL-34 for sale (assuming it's still for sale) for $749, but I'm a little shy of it's rate wattage (40) and the El34's, umm, domesticity. Keep the suggestions coming...
Mastersound amps are really beautiful to listen to. Maybe just out of your range for the 20w integrated used.
Sun Audio 2A3 used for less than USD1000, I hope. Then CD player or Ipod direct in to Sun Audio driving Fostex. Good luck.
In that price, I've been looking at the Almarro 318B (Japaneese made SET 18 watt integrated) - you see a good review at sixmoons.
Rogue Audio - Atlas Power Amplifier $1,395 new, nice 55wpc.
Onix SP3 Melody 38wpc -$999 - integrated amp.
For starters....
I've heard the Almarro at a show and it was very nice (albiet with some very good horns). Forgot about the high eff single drivers. That might be a very good combination, although the room is quite large. If you look at my system, you will see that I am fond of the 6CC3 tube. Its a shame that Atma-sphere stopped production of their amp with that tube.
The Audio Space AS-3i is an excellent integrated tube amp. The new list price would be about $1400-$1500 USD, so on the used market it should come in within your $1200 budget. Sixteen watts in triode mode. It can also be switched to ultralinear to double the watts, but people generally prefer it in triode mode. It's Chinese made and although looks are a matter of personal taste, I think it's a beautiful looking piece of equipment. There's a review of it in UHF Magazine, issue number 78, which is accessible through their website.
rogue cronus used - you'll never look back
since you are going high efficent speakers how about trying the OTL route with atmasphere's 30 or 60 watt amps?
OTL is supposed to be audio nirvana!
Dissing the Primaluna , for the reason that you have listed , is doing yourself an injustice !
Try reading about it here on the 'gon .

Good luck .
I got one out of curiosity and I am quite surprised by the sound. The build quality is not like a Shanling or Jolida. But the sound stage, range, clarity are astounding. Replacement tubes are available from a website in London. I was told that the tube was used in Russian MIG aircraft and is therefore military spec. Life expectancy of 50,000 hours.

I have only had it a week. If it lasts, great sound and a real bargain.
It might be one of those premature ideas but hay......lets see where this goes (I would not suggested it to someone who likes to pick his stuff from the magazine's recommended list but someone with the vision and imagination....and confidence in his/her decision making). This is actualy something that worked - at least in this case. I have kind of came about this after my recent experience (work on my amps) with Bob of RHB Sound Dezign and my best friend's plunge in, on new Emerald Physics CS-2 speakers base on my stupid advice ( no, it has nothing to do with speakers. He just bought Cybers 211 mono-block that he dreamed about and was going to use them with high sensitivity speakers-not CS-2s). It turned out that his rushed and emotional decision wasn't entirely thought through. His budget like the Ice Age melted away and his (new) system's performance/existence became big question mark.
He was in desperate need of quality amp (that will match his Cybers 211) to drive the CS-2 bass drivers in bi-amp configuration (which is necessary and a must with this speakers). His target amount for that miracle amp was $500 ( possibly )now or $1000-$1250 in at least 3 months (but speakers would have to stay in the box).
Since I was part of the problem, I felt that it was really necessary to find the solution to hi$ problem. Solution that would not only work for the time being and sort of a temporary fix but an actual way to make this setup work, and work well.
What we came up with was an excellent inexpensive amp (used from AgoN) that excel in the bass department, that also had a good design foundation and represent good value (now and resale). It will serve its purpose now and when time i$ right he will get in touch with Bob and try to get the most out of this amp as possible within the budget ($600-$700). I believe that with Bob's help he will be a realy, realy happy. And his system will be the WHOLE and then some.

Used Rogue, Jolida, just noticed nice pair of Wright Sound 300B mono-blocks for under ($900)(knowing George Wright reputation and modder Bob Backert's love for tube gear and good design. I think it would be a perfect amp for future upgrades. This amp had some work done - so it is already tweaked to some point. But still, I am sure some of Bob's magic dust would make this a truely great peace to own (I don't know the seller in any way, shape or form). Sometimes there are realy interesting peaces on sell for grabs but you have to know what it is that you are looking for. So keep your eyes open. Happy hunting.
Good luck &
enjoy the music
The Rogue Atlas bought with the MAGNUM upgrade is a steal for the extra $600 it transforms a good solid amplifier into a Excellent one .The tubes are upgraded to the EH-kt-90, resistors are upgraded, power supplys heavilly beefed up, caps are the excellent Mundorfs from Germany that are then Bypassed with 1% poly caps to make them even better.better connectors and some wiring modifications .
What a difference IMO this amp nows betters the stereo 90
and for under $1800 over 90 wpc.
Highly recommended and looks retro cool.
I recently purchased a prima luna prologue 6 and I am more than satisfied. From what I've read it's a tossup between Primaluna and Rogue.
What I don't understand is that a lot of guys assume
you will get more for your moneys if you buy a decent chinese made amp,this does not allways hold true.
I listened and searched far and wide comparing and through several Audiophile clubs and reviews the Rogue name keep coming up, for 1.
it is built in the U.S ,and the build quality is excellent
the heart of any good tube amp is the transformers all
are over sized and high silicon steel and wound in the U.S
which is far better than the inferior quality steel made overseas,and the parts quality is a whoes who of name brands.Look at the entry level Titan, series and for an extra $600the - MAGNUM
you have a fully Hotrodded amp that is very good and for less than the competition and more wpc. If you could buy a product built in the U.S.A that is at least = to or better and with a better warranty and keeps American job in America
why wouldn't you ? p.s Do your home work before buying.
All I am trying to say is compare and check out the inside where it counts most !!
I agree with Audioman58. I'm not a flag flyer but there's some great deals on US made gear. I recently purchased a used Rogue Cronus Magnum from Agon and it's been like having a new born baby. I think about it all day and can't wait to come home to it. After 31 years of solid state, it's a really nice change for me. Rogue's customer service is nothing short of amazing. I have emailed Mark O'Brien from Rogue, and he's even called me on my cell phone. It makes no difference to him whether you bought his gear new or used. He treats me as though I'm his greatest customer, and that's how he treats anyone who owns a Rogue. I'm not saying that there's no good Chinese stuff out there because I have no idea. Hopefully I'm never going to have to find out, because that would be the result of no more US manufacturers.