Consider the Serious VTL Mb450's or the ARC monos
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The CAT JL-3's seem to be the choice for those who want to drive the 101's with tubes. I just switched from a Rowland 302 on top and 501"s on the bottom to a pair of MBL 9008 monoblocks to drive my 101'E's. As good as the Rowland amps were, the 9008's are a big improverment. I think MBL has done a great job of designing the 9000 series amps just for the 101's. I personally would not want to deal with the heat of any tube amps in my room. I think it would be a great matchup to compare the 9008's with the CAT JL-3.
I've been listening to a pair of H2O M250 signature monoblocks (solid state, class D) amplifiers for about a week now. I'm very pleased with what I'm hearing and have decided to keep them. I no longer feel the need to get the 9008s but at some point I do look forward to hearing David Berning's OTLs in my system.
Exlibris, please post more on what you are hearing with the H250s and the MBL 101Es! If the H250 can do a really good job with these speakers, it will be something of a revelation...normally the only amps that get recommended are the super-pricey ones, as I'm sure you know.
What other amps have you heard on the 101Es, if any?
Calanctus, the only other amps that I've heard with these speakers are the MBL 9008s. Having said that, I heard them in a completely different system in a completely different room. What I took away from that experience was a sense of: effortlessness, realism, transparency, speed, and incredible macrodynamics (especially below the midrange).
I'm getting all of those qualities in my system with the M250 signatures. Right now I am limited by the size of my room: 18' x 12' x 7'-4" and the fact that it has no acoustic treatments and a bunch of furniture in it. I'll know much more in about 3 months when I move into a dedicated listening room.
We are have been designing and currently building a pair of mono blocks with the intention of having great capabilities of driving MBL's, these will be 250 watts per channel, 450 watt peak, the first pair will be delivered to vetterone shortly.
These amps will have much improved ZH technology, along with new inventions.
I'm not sure if he's tried those other amps, I know he's tried the big MBL amps, Krell and many other solid state amps, I would think the impedance swing on these speakers would give some regular OTL's a challenge, especially for accuracy.
As well, the ease of use and maintenance, low heat, long tube life is something that vetterone is use too.
My understanding is that the MBL 101E presents a pretty flat 4 ohm impedance curve. It dips just below 4 ohms in the midrange and then rises in the lowest frequencies (good for OTLs).
There aren't any big impedance swings on the graphs that I've seen.
The Atma-Spheres are incredibly easy to use and they are bullet-proof. Heat can, however, be a concern.
Oh, I thought they dropped off somewhat in the lower frequencies in the 20hz and lower region but I could be wrong. Depending on the output impedance of the OTL, the flatter the speaker impedance, the better for the amp, any swings can cause some OTL's to act like a tone control, in more difficult loads, cause them to oscillate, which the Bernings are not prone too.
Ease of use of course is subject to interpretation, true auto bias (60 times a second), brown out, surge, short and DC protection, all auto correcting and not to mention decades on tubes.
We had a gentleman send us back a amp we made in 1975 just for a check up, still with the original tubes, checked out fine and shipped back with the same tubes, that's our interpretation of bullet proof :)
Vetterone should have his amps in the next couple months, keep in touch with him and see what happens, maybe you can fly out to his place.