Tube Amp Recommendations

Looking for a tube amp, less than 3K and preferably not more than 2500 dollars, that can power Von Schewikert VR 4 JR speakers. I am using Morrow Audio SP2 speaker cables (a phenomenal produc, the highly acclaimed Audiohorizons tube pre-amp, an Alesis ML-9600 CD player/recorder, a Taddeo Digital Antidote, and LAT international as well as Audiohorizons interconnects.

I wish to avoid the extreme hassle that I experienced with VTL MB-225t monoblocks (will sell very cheaply)with the biasing. If not an autobias set up, I'd need some middle ground from what I went through with the VTL's. Monoblocks or single chassis are OK. Preferably Id like a company that has a reputation of being very service oriented if needed.

If there are amps out there that you can recommend, I am all ears. I am new to the tube game on the amp side. I do have a Music Reference 125 wpc amplifier that is very, very good on one of my systems. However, the audiophile in me wants to try something else.

contact Stephen Monte at Quest for Sound, Bristol Pa, he'll tell you what will work and he knows his tube gear.He was a VS dealer.
Hello Jaymark, I'd suggest the CARY 120s. It's simple to bias, holds the bias, sounds great and CARY provides excellent customer service. It drove my 802D speakers with with excellentt results and they have simlar sensitivity/efficency as the Von Schewikert VR 4 JR speakers. Disclaimer: I have one listed (of a few listed) but it does very much fit your criteria for consideration.
you might want to try manley gear; used snapper or mahi mono blocks (probably could drive vr4 w/o problems).

for simplicity and versatility (tube roll), there are quicksilver monos; silver 70 (used), older 90's or mod-mono's.

good luck.
I doubt you'll find a better amp than your RM9. Have you tried Roger's RAM KT88s ($65 each)? You might feel like you have a new amp for less, and that RM9 is a classic (but it does not sound like you are actually thinking of selling it). If you really have the itch, I would try a used Quicksilver V4 Monoblocks. Sound great, american-made, point-to-point very reliable, and very easy to bias - of course that's true of your RM9 as well (except the point-to-point).
At least check out Quicksilver V-4's, plenty of power, known for being very reliable, great customer service, bias meter and adjustments on the front very easy to bias and usually sells for $2500.00. I used them to drive Vandersteen 3A sigs 87db.
Rogue M-120 Magnum or Rogue M-150.

Both under $3K used.

Good luck.
Thank you all. I have called and talked to Stephen Monte and gotten some advice.

Just to clarify, I love the Music Reference 125 wpc amp and have no designs on parting with it. It is in a system in my exercise room and sounds fantastic.

I'll check out the Cary's and Quicksilver's for sure.
Hi - I would highly recommend the PrimaLuna line. I have the Dialogue 2 integrated myself, but their separates are nice as well.
Gary Dodd makes some clean, mono blocks that run in ultra linear 4 EL34's per amp. 3 signal/phase splitter tubes, and the whole outfit can be retubed for under $300... with great tubes! If you find one with the cap upgrades he offers, you're in business.

I have the MK II 120s... with the cap upgrade. I surely can't complain what so ever about their versatility, and bang for the buck.

you want tubey sweetness? Roll two of the 3 signal tubes. More? Then all 3. Need fast, quick, dynamic, and full range output? Same thing again. With a mediocre outlay for some small tubes, these amps are several amps in one pair... and preowned, I've seen them go for about 2-2500, with the cap and a back up set of tubes! Less of upgrades course for the non upgradeed ones, which you can then get upgraded.

they hold bias well, and have on board meters so it's a cinch to do. I got mine config to allow for an outboard (more accurate) meters use with simple alligator clips which afix to the meter leads.

Great all around amps IMHO. Far gbetter overall than the BAT VK 60 for ex. and near the same price.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
I second the RM9. I've owned one for several years. I've gone through a lot of components but have kept the RM9. There's enough power to drive a lot of speakers. Plus, from a build standpoint, Roger M designs his amps to last over 50 years.
RM9 fans, had a chance to compare with the RM200? I think Roger stopped making the RM9 because of the cost of transformers he used in that series, was something lost? I have the Special Edition RM9 which is a little different, but its as a good an amp as I've heard - the first amp that "allowed" me to sell the CAT JL2.
DIY HiFi Supply now offers their EL34/KT88 "Ella" amp with autobias. It's a very nice amp with a lot a refinement since its inception (I own one of the early kit versions). I've had them build me a Django TVC linestage and the assembly was flawless. If 40-55 watts suffice, the Ella's worth a look.
The RM200 has tighter bass and slightly more punch IMO. In some ways the RM200 reminds me of the Moscode HR401.
Never had the chance to compare the RM9 with the RM200. I heard the same thing about why the RM9 was discontinued.
Anthony, did you think the RM200 was as good as the RM9 in the midrange and other areas of performance?
Stay with VTL - try the ST-150, it is easier to maintain than the 225t's and has plenty of oomph for bigger speakers. I have the smaller ST-85 and it can drive my big Martin Logan Vista's no problem with clean sound.
YS Audio YSA100S fully balanced tube amplifier . RMS100W output , it can good for you...

Sorry for the delayed response. I did not feel the RM200 was as good in the mid-range as the RM9. I think the RM200 has better tonal balance and is more neutral than the RM9. Of course my RM9 was the original version not the SE (although Roger upgraded some parts on it for me). That being said I still wouldn't mind having the RM200 in my system.

Roger ran his with the PITB and a non-descript Sony CDP. Zip cord for speaker cables, his RAM ICs, and stock PCs (not much of a cable guy). At the time we were listening to his prototype electrostatic speakers, which are now in full production. A very impressive set-up that was much different than mine at the time so take that into account as we were not doing an A/B comparison.
Likecap is right. I have a mint Cary V12R and will probably never let it go. I hooked it up to a new Cary SLP98P preamp and can't be happier, but then again, I do not think there is such a thing as Majic or Nervanna in music. It's all about the Benjamins. sas
Can anyone comment based on listening(not what you've read) comparing any of these contenders to each other

BAT vk55, vk60 vk120
Cary v12
Manley Mahi, Snapper
Dodd monos
Quicksilver V4 others?

Try art audio amps.They are easy to use,I heard their
service is good.I truly understand getting rid of
unreliable equipments.Too much headache less music.
SBank, I think it will be hard to find folks who truly have a lot of comparative experience with the amps you listed. I will say the Quicksilver in general sound very good, are built to outlast you, are easy to resell, and you will be very hard pressed to find any owner who doesn't like them, but you will those that have sold them only to come back to to them -- all these comments are also true of the Music Reference RM9 (not monoblocks).
Get a Cary V12R or a pair of Cary V12 (i or r) monoblocks. Bias is easy. I just put in a new set of tubes Thursday in my V12R and it sounds great. The V12R used is probably more in the price range you are looking for and I really can't see the use for monoblocks unless you have the money to burn. BTW I listened to a McIntosh 275 that was won in a raffle the other night and put my hand on the top. It runs as cool as some solid states. The Cary V12R can be run @ 50 watts class A in tridode or 100 watts class A/B in ultra linear or 65 watts in 2/3 triode 1/3 ultra linear mode, however it runs hot enough to heat up a whore house in Alaska. If you can get one for used for $2,500.00 or less you'll realize the wisdom of your purchase past present and future. I bet it even sounds good in Alaska. Some day I may find out. Well time to burn one. Have a great week!
I have a SONIC FRONTIERS POWER 2 amp. VERY easy bias procedures. I've seen the SE factory upgraded version going around $2200. I have the regular version. Very detailed - lots of power. However, does not offer typical WARM tubey sound. If that's what you are after look elsewhere. Can sound very good if paired with the right speakers, preamp. Built very well.
Pretty tuff to beat a Music Reference amp for those speakers, for most any speaker really.
The RM200 only uses a pair of KT88s per channel and yet can achieve 100Wpc? Do they run these tubes very hard?
Music Reference amps are amazing in the power they deliver while simultaneously giving great tube life. Read the reviews and discussions here and eslewhere, you'll find it's true across all of Roger's designs.

I have an original RM-9. Roger went through it a couple of years ago, when it was 17 years old and still running the original RAM tubes. He upgraded a few electrolytics and installed nicer biding posts. I reinstalled the original tubes and they still sound great but decided while the amp was in Roger's care it was an opportunity to try the RAM KT88s. They sound amazing.
Sonic frontiers Power 2. Great sound,very easy to bias,can drive almost any speakers,reliable, can be upgraded to se+ through Parts connextions by Chris Johnson, he was
SF designer.
Better yet, the Sonic Frontiers Power 3 with all the upgrade from Parts connection.
A total, wow, 275 watts of tubes ( 8 KT88 on one side) and a total weight of over 100 lbs each side really demonstrate the power to the speakers.
You can only get it used and sure it will save money too.
Amplifier used before settling in the Sonic Frontiers are:
Audio Research, YBA, McIntosh MC275, EAR and Audio Note.
The Audio Note is in a different breed if the speaker's efficiency is high (I just could not find a better SET amplifier for the voices)
Sonic Frontiers Power 3 for the Maggies or Apogee.