I recently sold my Bryston 4BST and I'm planning on replacing the amp with a tube amp. I've narrowed it down to a few amps (so far) and would like some advice and opinions as to which would be the best for my needs. System is a pair of Maggie 1.6QR's, Balanced Audio Tech VK3i preamp, Phillips 963 SACD. I'm using Signal Cables throughout and have a PS Audio 300 for the preamp and 963. I'm considering the following; BAT VK-55 Cary 805C monoblocks Jadis Defy 7
I'd like to hear from the community as to which setup would drive the Maggies with some authority. Would I be happy with any of the above, if so, why? Also, would anyone recommend not using any of the above? The speakers are currently in my bedroom, which is 15' by 20' wide. Not huge, but they sounded great with the Bryston. Anything else you want to add would be greatly appreciated!
IMHO, none of the three amps listed are good match for the 1.6. But if you have to pick one, I will pick the Jadis for it delivers a bit more current than the other two. My second choice will be the BAT. I would avoid Cray.
I don't know why you decided to replace the Bryston. I think it is a better choice than the three tube amps.
I had the VTL MB250's driving my 1.6s. I had a Copland preamp in front of it. The MB250s are triode-operated amps so I had the sweetness of triodes along with authority. That system had a lot of dig to it with the bass and pacing it gave the music.
I sold the Bryston for financial reasons a few months ago. Now, I'm back in the market trying to find a replacement. The Bryston did a fine job of driving the Maggies and they sounded sublime in my listening room. I guess I'm just curious about what an all tube system would sound like. Might just have to try a few out and see how I like it. Thanks for the input! N
Bob_reynolds, if I'm reading those specs right, it doesn't seem like the 1.6 is ideally suited for most tube amps. Just seems like you need a lot of power and current to drive them well, they just seem better suited for SS. Of cousre, there is theory and then listening. They certainly have been matched with ARC amps since the early days.
We have a good number of customers driving them with our M-60s, using the ZEROs to deal with the impedance (otherwise the speaker has reasonable efficiency and a benign impedance curve). The combination works quite well!
I've had different Maggie models over the years and have found that they usually work much better with SS amplification. I think there may be some tube amps out there that may work well, like the big ARC stuff, but at a pretty high cost. One of the best sounds I ever got with 1.6's was with a tube preamp (Audible Illusions) and ICE based power (Bel Canto). The Bel Canto had incredible control over the spekers and fantastic timbral accuracy... Good luck with your search!
This guy (David) is the Magnapan and tube nutball. His demo room is incredibly reflective but I've never heard Maggies sound better, and I don't even like Magnapan. The last time I was in there he had some 2,0's facing each other or facing the side walls (I can't remember) perpendicular to the back wall. He had Linium drivers mounted on the top corner of the Maggies facing outward. Powered by some VTL amps and a VAC preamp. The sound was so impressive I was seriously rethinking my entire system on the way home.
I have owned Maggies since 93 and am now with the 3.6. I have tried other brands but IMO none match the soundstage/imaging. I then added tube amps and gained incredible depth to the soundstage. ARC Pre, Rhea phono, and Manley 250 mono's. I also have added a Vandersteen sub when I want slam. I then operate the amps in triode mode which is 100 watts. I have a decent listening area with the speakers placed 7' from the rear wall and 5' from the side wall. I chose the Manley's because of power which the Maggies need, then budget. Other amps in their class at the time were ARC, and VTL. Rougue also had a 150W tube mono's at the time for considerably less. Subsequent research revealed that the 3.6 was the "bench spkr" for the Manley amps at the time. I believe however that you may require more power than some of your examples offer. I hope this is helpful for you and enjoy your search.