You might concider the Almarro A318B SET amp. It's a high current amp with oustanding reviews.
The depth and 3d imaging is right up there with the best.
It has very powerful bass output and the highs are extended very well. Here's a 6moons review that helped me in my choice.
Hope this helps.
According to B&W's website the sensitivity of those speakers is 88 db and the minimum impedance is 4.7 ohms. It doesn't mention the phase angle or have an impedance curve to make further judgement, but you will likely need a relatively strong tube amp.
However, you said you want to continue to bi-amp. Does that mean putting the Rotel on the bottom and using the tube amp for the highs? If so, the situation changes.
A couple choices in the $2K range that would be able to drive the speakers by themselves would be the Cary V12, Audio Research VT-100 (prob only the Mk 1 under $2K), Rogue Stereo 90, and Jolida 502P.
What kind of sonic change are you looking for?
Sorry to challenge your premise, but why are you starting out thinking that you want to bi-amp with Rotel(s)? One of the toughest things to do in a system is overcome complexity getting everything working well together. It is very difficult to get coherent sound across the frequency range when bi-amping. When it is done, it is usually because there are few good alternatives, such as when dealing with super power-hungry speakers @ low impedance. You don't have any constraint like that.
IMHO, a good powerful tube amp like those Sufentanil suggests or others make much more sense to me. Sell the Rotels and increase your budget. For real bang-for-buck, somebody advertised a pair of Consonance monoblocks modified by RBH Sound Designz. Bob Backert is a real genius, those will beat much of what's out there! Cheers, Spencer
My assumption is that you are looking for the tube sound,
as a cheaper way to get into it have you considered a tube preamp as a start and see it that is what you are looking for?
You should definitely check out theButler TDB-2250 - 250 watts/ch. of tube goodness mated to MOSFET balls. There is a VERY nice unit for sale on Agon for $1799 - WELL within your budget.
Read the reviews on these amps. they are turly spectacular!
Yes I'm looking to get the tube-amp sound. As of right now I'm just thinking of making the change. I've heard tube amps and they sound very warm, quite different from solid state. One reason I'm considering bi-amping is because I currently have my cables terminated to bi-amp so there's a cost involved with re-terminating them, albeit minimal. Would I achieve the same or similar sound by purchasing a tube pre-amp? If so, how would I integrate it into my current system?
My system sounds great but I've heard a lot about tube amps.
Maddog66blue (Threads | Answers | This Thread)
You may have heard a lot about tube amps from people with tube-friendly speakers. I'm not sure the B&Ws are.
I drive my B&W 804S with McIntosh MC275 and love it. I tried biamping with a Rotel RB1080 that was replaced by the MC275, but believe it or not the 275 had better bass than the 200 Wpc Rotel...go figure! Sold the RB1080 and run the 275 full bandwidth.
Maybe the 805D is different...but the 805S wasn't fit for biamping the way you seem to describe it, because it had only one set of binding posts. Did you mean tubes for top end and SS for bass? The 805D has a tweeter and a midrange...sorry, I don't mean to be a pest, but are you sure?
Anyway, try to audition a 275 with 805D. I'm sure they sound really good.
Almarro also has a beefier tube amp that may be good.
@Lewinskih01 to answer your question, yes the 805D's have two sets of binding posts. As far as tubes for top end and SS for bass? I really don't know, as I said before, I don't know enough about tubes to know what to do, go tube amps for highs and lows or tubes for highs and ss for lows.
Also, budget is also a consideration.
I'd say try to audition an MC275 with 805D. Might not be that difficult as many dealers carry both lines.
Again, with my 804S the Rotel didn't provide better bass than with the MC275, so don't assume SS will outperform tubes ALWAYS.
If you can swing it, get the tube amp you choose, play a bit with biamping and decide which way to go. I chose for a single amp and upgraded the preamp with the sold amp.
To properly biamp you will need an external crossover, plus an extra sets of ICs and 2 extra power cords...and the extra amp, of course. Is it worth the extra cash? Your ears will tell you. In my case I went for better electronics, but YMMV.
I hope it helps.
When you say, "my cables are already set for biamping", what exactly do you mean? Do you have 4 spades per channel at the amp end and only two per channel at the speaker end? Re-termination should be a minor concern vs. your other questions.
Yes, you can add some warmth by using a tube preamp w/your ss amps. This is a common step many in your shoes take. But that won't do what a good tube amp will.
IMO, simplifying with one good amp would be your best bet. Yes, it does need to be capable of driving your speakers and best way to get a handle on that is too post a thread titled "What tube amps go with B&W Model XYZ" etc. People who have experimented w/that will reply. Cheers,
Sbank, that's good advice.
I'm considering moving from solid state to tube amps but don't really know where to start. I currently have:
Pair of B&W 805D
Marantz sr7005 (setup as a preamp)
Pair of Rotel amps, bi-amped
As mentioned above, start with replacing the Marantz with a good tube preamp. A lot of the benefits of tube amps will be lost going through that receiver.
I've owned Rotel(980BX or 990BX) amp and preamp, and low-end B&W(301), and while great equipment at their price point, I found their sound together lean and flat. Obviously, the 805D is far better than what I had. But, I tried the Rotel with a few other speakers and still found it to be a little lacking for my taste. Also, I have spent quite a bit of time listening to the 805's at a friends house.
As for the Almarro A318B suggestion, I have also owned that amp for a good amount of time. It is a superb performer far above it's pay grade. I used it to drive 90dB/4ohm Jean Marie Reynaud Twins nkII monitors. The match was fantastic. And there is some unique about the 6C33C SET sound - incredibly transparent, almost no discernible character of it's own unlike other Triodes. The big advantage is that it is an integrated amp, so you wouldn't need to use the Marantz.
But, 18wpc SET will not be everyone's cup of tea, depending on room size and musical listening preferences and average volume.
A safer suggestion would be something with more power like a used Manley Stingray integrated.
Ok, I have an opportunity to replace my rotel solid state amps with a sonic frontier sfs-50. Has anyone had any experience with this amp and if so would it be a worthwhile upgrade. I can buy this for $1000.
What's the upside and downside of tubes vs. solid state?