Driving mine gloriously with Conrad Johnson MV-60. Highly recommended!
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The Rogue M150 mono blocks provides some of body that tubes bring to the music and still has great bass which works well with Jazz and Rock. Amp puts out 150 watts in ultralinear and 100 watts in triode mode so it has enough power to drive most speakers. Some tube rolling of input and driver tubes allows you to dial in the sound you like. None available on agon right now but they come up with some frequency priced at $2,100-$2,500 used. There are a lot of posts in discussion forum for Rogue.
Eastern Electric M520 has a review on 6moons with the Gallo REF3s. Very nice match for little investment. I bought mine new on audiogon from Bill (Eastern Electric distributer) for less than 1600.00. Great amp with switchable feedback levels, pentode or UL modes switchable on the fly utilizing el34s in a class a push pull mode. I think there are 2 that are selling used for around 1000.00 right now on audiogon. I use mine with Abbys, but replaced the EF86s with E80Fs for better noise level.
Tantra, since you already have 225WPC/8, and since you listen to rock and probably use every bit of those 225WPC farly often, I suggest Antique Sound Lab Hurricanes. They use 4 pairs of commonly available KT88 output tubes per amp for their 200 Watts which means the tubes are not driven very hard, and they're easily biasable with a built-in meter. Each uses a trio of commonly available 6SN7s for frontend tubes.
Aside from all that, they sound GREAT and have been chosen by reviewers as disparate as Harry Pearson of 'The Absolute Sound' and Arthur Salvatore of 'high-endaudio.com' as among the very best-sounding amplifiers available. Another benefit of the 'Cane is that each amp has a T(riode)/P(entode) switch which allows the output section to operate in triode and not pentode* mode. Some of us believe triodes are better at retaining the tonal purity of music than pentodes, which generally will sound punchier. (The amps will generate about 120 Watts in triode, and I use mine that way.)
They retail currently for $5K per pair, and there's a pair available now http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?ampstube&1147572645 for $3K. I'd be sure they were current models with the T/P switch. If not, I'd wait and be willing to pay a little more for a pair that does.
I've had both Quicksilver V4s and the 'Canes driving the MR/treble ends of my rather insensitive Eminent Technology 8s. I kept the 'Canes as they sounded tonally a little more attractive and also a little more at ease driving the 84dB-sensitive panels. See my system for some pics, and e-mail me for more; I love mine, have lots of pics, and LOVE to talk about them. :-)
* Output tubes such as KT88s, 6550s, EL34s, EL84s, etc. are pentodes or beam tetrodes, and are more efficient than triodes at turning input power into output power. Wired as triodes, they sound a little warmer and more tonally attractive, at least to many of us.
Thanks for your suggestion. I checked out the ASL Hurricanes. They look really good. I really like the idea of not giving up the power of a SS amp. How would you describe them tonally? I am not worried about bass, since I have a Gallo subamp for the second coil on the Ref3's plus a REL Storm subwoofer. Can you describe the midrange and high end? Do they have that midrange liquidity that I miss with my NAD's? Also, how well do they image? How hot do they run? I understand the bias needs to be set quite often. Is this a prob?
Tonally I find them QUITE attrative without being colored...maybe it's that triode sound I love. I've replaced the 10 coupling caps per amp; mine sound cleaner throughout the MR and treble than they did before the cap change. They image quite largely yet precisely, due mostly I think to their 'mononess'. With 11 tubes per amp, they produce plenty of heat, but that's why God made airconditioning for us desertrats! The bias is stable after the tubes break-in; I tweak mine at the end of every listening session but just because I'm a tweak! I've also replaced the output tubes with the GREAT-sounding-but-highly-affordable Penta/Shuguang KT88SC ($29 each), but not because I had to...I'm just a tweak!
The stories about lack of reliability are of early amps; the late ones are quite reliable indeed. The North-American distributor is in Canada and has established repair centers all over the US. ASL products are as reliable as any other vacuum-tubed equipment AND as easily repaired if something does go wrong.
My current system includes a ModWright 9.0SE preamp and C-J Premier 12 monoblocks driving Gallo Ref3's. I am using the speaker-level output from the Premier 12's as input to the Gallo Sub-amp driving the second voice coil. This is the best-sounding system I've heard anywhere! All the advantages of a high-current solid-state amp in the bass (punchy and tight) with the glorious mids and highs of a great tube amp. Sound-stage depth is spectacular. Also, the sound is very well integrated. If you did not know you would never guess that the speakers are bi-amp'd.
I agree with Mcrosier. I have the Ref III's hooked up to the Cary SLI-80 F1 Signature (upscale audio) and they sound fantastic. This tube amp has just the right warmth to offset (IMHO) the tendency towards the cooler, perhaps slightly clinical tendancies of the Gallo's. No question however that they are great speakers and very 3 dimensional.
I can tell you that 50W of push-pull tube power is PLENTY for Ref 3s in ANY situation, unless you want rock-concert volumes (which the speakers aren't capable of w/out breaking up anyway). I enjoyed them immensely with a pair of AES Six Pacs which are about 55W. These were able to play at least as loud (and sounded far better) than solid-state and switching amps of much higher power rating (200W).
Regarding "keeping solid-state power" - there is much more to an amplifier's ability to play loud and dynamically than its wattage rating. There is no doubt that a good 50W PP tube amp with a good power supply can play as loud and as cleanly as a good solid-state AB class amp of 2 or 3 times the wattage rating.
Even 22W of PP tube power was more than enough power for the Gallos in a completely open space for 95dB SPL at 10'. This was a Cayin 6550 integrated. With or without the bass amp. The bass amp fills in the bottom 15hz, that you don't get at all without it, but in my experience it really doesn't do a lot do ease the load of the main amp.
120W Rogue amps might be great, and there's no real reason to avoid "too much" power, but I have to tell you you don't need it for any reason.
Ditto on what Paul said. I'm running them with a 70 Tube P/P amp with ease, plays just a loud and effortlessly as the 250 watt hybrid, 250 watt SS, 1000 watt commercial and 150 watt switching amps I've had recently. All of those are gone, the tube amp remains. It's still amazing to me how much misinformation is given about a tube amps ability to power a speakers, of course most of the advice is based on speculation and not actual listening.