I am using the Living Voice OBX-R2 in a basement of 12'x 30' with a Welborne Labs 300B DRD driving the speakers thru Chimera Labs 26 AWG single run solid core copper wire. My diet of music is exclusively classical music, mainly opera and symphony. With the help of Eigth Nerve new Adadpt line room treatment, the sound of this setup is very pure and has extreme dynamic range. Music can be played louder than it is healthy for the ears without exhausting the amplifier.
I just came back from a concert of Toronto Symphony last night and listening to my rig again, I did not found any major letdown, of course it is still not the real thing. By the way, I use Shanling 200 and Hovland HP100 as source.
Canary Ca301 mkII
22 wpc 300b push pull amp
$1795 on Audiogon (normal retail > $4075)
This amp was reviewed a while back along with Living Voice speakers and was raved about.
I am using mine to drive Devore Super Gibbons (90db sens.) and absolutely love them.
YOu might look at the Almarro 318?. I think that's the model number. It is single ended and uses 6C33CB tubes for about 18 watts
You have a good system. Yes, a MV-60 (retube with Sovtek 12AX7LPS, pick a vintage 6SN7 and winged "C" Svetlana EL-34s), will mate well with your system! Also you might want to try a Linn Ikemi cd player to round out your system. And try a 1 metre RCA of Cardas Golden Cross between your cd player and pre-amp.
David the Avatars are fantastic speakers. When I had a dem with Kevin he was using Canary monoblocks.
When I was in Colorado recently I heard a couple of great SET systems. For under $2000 you can buy a new pair of Welborne DRD 300b monoblocks ready assembled. If you're going for tube power amps then go for SETs, they're to die for!
My DRDs should be arriving within the next week or two.
What about an 845 SET amp like the deHavilland Aries? I had one and it was delicious. Or maybe their GM70? I also think a 300B SET like the Welborne DRD mentioned above would be nice. I think Canary makes great gear too. I have a pair of the big Canary CA-339 300B p-p, but they'd be overkill. The little ones would be nice, though, and they also make a 300B SET that would be worth thinking about.
I have always like the sound of Art Audio products.
I second the motion made by Chriskeating. I own an Almarro 318 and uses the same output tubes as the Lamm mono amps! It would simplify your system (it is an integrated amp), always a good thing, and the sound is amazing.
A good 300B would also work well, esp. with Sophia mesh plate 300B's and Mullard GZ34 drivers, like the one I had custom made at 3D Audio. I use this in my primary rig with a pair of Ocellia Tilia (16ohm, 98db/1watt single driver crossoverless) loudspeakers, and I have no desire to upgrade - none.
A thoughtful set of responses, the Welbornes and Canary look good and I will do a bit of research on the others. I forgot to mention, the wife has put her foot down and any new additions have to match the decor! Give me strength.
From a decor-matching point of view, I suspect the deHavillands are out, then :-)
Thanks for all the advise, very helpful indeed. I was on the point of getting the Welborne lab SET monoblocks. I asked Kevin who builds LV speakers, he thought 8 Watts was not enough for all circumstances(crescendo of a Mahler Symphony) . He thoght 16 to 20 watts as SET or Push Pull was a better long term bet. A Viva Solista appeared on the Gon for $4000, in UK that would be $7500 2nd hand. I heard it at the recent UK High End show and it was remarkable, 18 Watts SET with 845 valves. It's an ugly brute, but managed to persuade the wife it was the best post industrial Italian design and it's on its way, hopefully. I will leave feedback in a few weeks as to the results
Congratulations on your choice. I'm surprised Kevin recommends so much power for the Avatars. Also, I notice your orginal question asked for suggestions up to $2000! :-)
your quite right, i was looking to spend $2000, but this is an integrated. In the UK I should be able to sell my Conrad Johnson Prem 17 for $3500ish and the Pass Labs Aleph 3 for$1200, so I should be pretty well cost neutral after shipping costs.
I was a little suprised by Kevin's advise too, he certainly said an 8 Watt SET would do, but would be a bit lacking in large complex music. As I said above, OK for a Jazz quartet, but not a large Verdi chorus where the structure and sounstage might break down.
Have you heard Viva amps? they seem quite impressive. I find it a little ironic, that its cheaper for me to buy an amp that has crossed the Atlantic and bring it back, than to buy in the UK. There is something rotten in the world of HiFi pricing, but you guys seem to come out best in the deal.
I'm doing great with the OBX2 and the Berning ZH270. I would like to try a good SET sometime.
I'm using a lower effecient Martin Logan Quest z's
with an ARC VT-60 Tube Power Amp,and the combination sounds
incredible together as long as I biwire the amp.Do your speakers have the option too biwire?
Yes the speakers are biwirable, but at 94db sensitivity, I am trying to keep it simple and low powered. I don't really have the room for Bi-amping
Why not try one of the Audionote kits. They're nice designs, reasonably priced & some offer +10W /channel: enough to peak yr spkrs at ~105 spl (plenty loud).
Audionote, Welbourne Labs, Audio Consulting those are some kits that I'm considering. I've heard that Audionote is going to have a parallel 300B kit soon.
This is probably going to be a project planned for the fall.
The Viva Solista integrated has arrived and is up and running. I heartily recommend it, 18 watts Class A SET using 845 valves, it has delicacy, far more drive than my Pass Labs Aleph 3, excellent base and of course a magical midrange. I certainly prefer it to 300B SET's I have heard before, with the proviso that I have not had one one in my system. As other threads have asked, why are'nt there more 845 tube amps? You avoid the light base of 300b's, seem to have, more drive and the tubes are cheaper, all be it without the wide choice. I strongly recommend the Viva amp to anyone making a similar choice to mine. Thanks for your advise
I have the Living Voice Avatar II. A great match is the Manley Neo-Classic 300B PP/SE mono blocks. 12 watt in Single Ended and 24 watts in PP. Adjustable feedback.
proud owner of OBX-R's...can't beat that VAC sound! VAC PA100/100