Tube Amp suggestions for VSA VR4-SE's?


I have owned a pair of Von Schweikert Audio VR4SE's now for about six months. I currently purchased a pair of Electrocompaniet AW220 mono blocks to drive them (previously I owned a Levinson No.334) at a dealers highest recommendation. The sound is very, very good, in all definitions of "audiophile" sound (fast tight bass, highly neutral midrange, extended highs, fast, transparent, nice stage, etc.). However, the sound is just not connecting me to the music in an emotional way. All my audiophile buddies who come over and hear the system are asking what more do I want? Well, I want INVOLVEMENT! I really don't care about all those audiophile tags anymore. I simply want that connection with the music, where I can forget about listening only to the best recordings, and listen to anything, and everything.

I feel positive that the speaker is capable of delivering this involvement, WITH THE RIGHT AMP DRIVING IT! So, this time, I want tubes. In checking out some different reasonably priced possibilities, I have come across the ROGUE amps (M-150 and the Zeus), as well as the Music Reference 200, and the Quicksilver VR monos. Does anyone out there in A'gonland have any experience with these amps (with the VR4's or any other like speaker), or can you make some other suggestions regarding any others. Forget the $21,000 Lamms, actually one of my favorites, but not in my budget (I actually live in a world of home mortgage payments, car notes and tuition payments, so let's say around $6,500 or less)!

Oh, by the way, my room is 15' x 19' with a coffered 8' ceiling, and my usual listening levels are around 85 to 95 db (as measured with a Radio Shack sound level meter ('C' weighting, fast response).

In advance, thanks to all for your input!

Happy Listening,

The Rogue Zeus is just awesome on those speakers. Great sense of Majesty and Power. Not quite as good in the midrange microdynamics as the Hurricanes or Monsoons but close. On the other hand, the Hurricane's have nowhere near the power capabilities of the Zeus.

The Rogue M-150 (new model) also does very well with the VR4, I heard plenty of power with that amp too. But my favorite of the high-powered push-pull tubed amps is the Zeus. On huge Chineese skin drum, the Zeus and VR4 combo shiver the room and yet reproduces the overtones of the drum's skin effortlessly. The Zeus is a bit on the rich side of neutral; it is not trying to emulate a Audio Research sound. It is much closer to neutral, in my mind, than a Cary V12 though and vastly more powerful and controlled in bass. It seems to me to be just enough on the rich side for enjoyment, but not so much that you will ever tire of it.
You fail to mention your front end that's driving your amps, e.g. the preamp and CD player. Those components will also affect the "involvement" factor that you are so hungry for as much as the amps will.

I run the ASL Hurricanes in my system now, which also consists of the wonderful VR4 III HSE. I wouldn't say the 'Canes are underpowered at all; maybe they are vs. a Zeus, which I haven't heard personally. As RP1 stated, the midrange of the 'Canes is superb, as are the highs. The bass is there, but you will not get that tremendous SS slam from the Hurricanes, but a deep, full tuneful bass that tubes are known to provide. You want INVOLVEMENT, switch them into triode mode and get sucked into the music!

I will be trying out the Parasound JC-1s soon. I'm attempting to merge the best qualities of my tube amps with the best qualities of SS, of which the JC-1s are reputed to do. We'll see.
I had about 1 hr with the 4IIISEs driven by my Berning ZH-270. It was a small room, maybe 12 x 14. Bass was incredible, other than that I just listened. Felt it had plenty of power. It was running direct from Res Audio 21, using the volume on the Berning, not the CDP. Another possible advantage of the Berning; if you have only 2 sources, you can run it as an integrated. And tubes are way cheaper than the typical big power tubes. Well under $100 for a set of NOS (not including the input and driver tubes).
The VAC Ren. 30/30 or 70/70.The VIVA Veronas on AGon should work wonderfully and can be upgraded to the 845 outputs in the future.Don't worry about the low power,they are able to drive Sound Labs.They have great timbre and are dripping with harmonics.Articulate highs and tight bass.
i have rogue 66 magnum with quicksilver v4s on vr2 speakers my room to big to try low power
In the realm of natural, musically involving, reproduction, don't forget the Aronov Audio amps. Simply sound real. Even the LS-960 (list $2600) is mighty impressive, in the loudness range you specified, with the LS-9100 Monoblocks (total list $6000) having an ultimate, jaw-dropping quality.
Both have a captivating, toe-tapping, quality when the music gets going, and the bass quality, and control is world class, even in comparison to fine transistor amps.
As with all tube amps, there is a way to customize the sound a bit, with tube choices, tube dampers, and supporting cones, or isolators beneath.
The main virtue, right from the factory, is a sense of everything sounding natural, the way it should be, letting one relax, and smile while feeling the presence of the performers.
To 1markr,
To answer your question:
The front end is an Audio Aero MKII cd player (just wonderful) going directly into the amplifiers, no preamp. I had tried using the AA cdp with a preamp, but actually prefered bypassing the preamp all together. My cabling (both interconnect and speaker) is made by Paul Garner from VSA (my highest recommendaation). The entire system's power is supplied via a Bybee pro power purifier. The digital side of the Bybee is fed to the wall via an Electraglide fatboy, thus feeding the CDP with another fatboy. The analog side of the Bybee (used for the amps) is plugged into the wall using an Electraglide Fatman K, thus feeding each AW220 with a Cable Research Labs 'Gold' power cable (stiff as hell, but great). I will add that although Bybee himself does not recommend using his purifier for anything but front end gear, it works stupendously with the amps plugged into it (just listen and let your ears be the judge)!
Thanks for the Hurricane suggestion, I will check on that as well (by the way, which version of the hurricanes are you using)?
If you decide to go with ASL,make sure that you buy them new.There are many reports from the field, that there are quality control problems .I'm not sure that I can endorse the Aronov amps.They passed through here with very little fanfare and a friend had one,almost converted him to solidstate.He is now using the VAC 30/30 and Sophia 845 Princess monos.
Louis, I have the latest version of the Hurricanes, which have the triode switch, stiffened chassis, the green PIO caps, and the enhanced bias system, where there are 4 bias pots on either side of the chassis. I rolled in EH KT88s and have been playing with 6SN7s on the input and driver stages. So far, I'm getting great sound from EH 6SN7s and Brimar CV1988s.

The only problem I had was with a resistor blowing out due to a bad tube, which I guess could happen with any tube amp, and it was a cheap fix. That was when the amps were brand new, about 6 mos. ago. Nothing but sweet music since.

I got the JC-1 amps this weekend, and my initial feelings are that it's going to be very difficult to finally decide which to keep. Decisions, decisions....Can't I keep both, honey?? You probably know her answer....

Good luck with your quest!
Although Tpsonic has given very excellent advice to me over the telephone, I must disagree with the master, about the Aronov amps. While there is no disagreeing with each person's knowing what he or she likes best, Aronov is not accurately portrayed when it is said to propel its listeners to the transistor dark side of our hobby.
I felt that the Aronov didn't control the bass as well as other amps and their level of detailing fell short of my expectations.Possibly,in a high efficeincy set-up or with a very highly detailed cable,the results might be different.I prefered the Symphonic RG-1 MKII,even though I finally settled on the Klimo Linnets to drive the Yankee FPR 72 MKIIIs {full range planar ribbon 90db 5ohm}.
Different system,different results.Very rarely do the persons posting disclose their whole system.
Listener 57 When did I become a guru??? You know what happened to HP/TAS when he opened that can of worms-LOL.
Happy listening.Tom