I used a Classe DR3 VHC on my 1 ohm Apogee Scintilla. I don't hold too much hope for your VTL's
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The classic amp for the 1 ohm Apogees according to friends that attended CES and heard them demoed in stores were the legendary Krell KSA 150, KSA 250, MDA 300, and MDA 500s. I've seen pictures with multiple 300s stacked up around the speakers. I doubt if even today any tube amp has enough current to drive them without some kind of compromise. If there is that would be one heck of a tube amp and I'm sure the tubes would have a very short life. Congrats on your Apogees. Too bad the unfortunate lawsuit by Magnepan shut them down. It is a shame that Magnepan didn't incorporate Apogees technology into their own speakers.
There are very(!) few tube amps that can adequately drive the 1 Ohm Apogees, though I can't imagine why anyone would want to, when ss is so obviously a better choice in this application.
Big Krells were the order of the day in the day. High current Classe' were also used when high volume levels weren't required. There have been reports of successful use of the newer Class D switching amps being used with Apogees, the H20's in particular seem to popular with some Apogee users.
I believe Magneplanar successfully sued over ribbon patent infringement, and that the patent might have recently expired, and that a new company is refurbishing and producing new (and improved?) Apogee like models.
It is my understanding that Magnepan successfully sued Apogee because of patent violations of Magnepan's ribbon technology. Apogee could not survive after this and I believe Magnepan got the right to use Apogee technology which they never have. I'm aware of the new company that is/are going to try to produce Apogees again. I would also assume they are aware of Magnepan's probable interest. You are correct in that the two speakers don't look similar at all. I don't know if the patent has run out. I would assume Magnepan would renew their patent. Magnepan's ribbon is a remarkable sounding work of art. I'm a big fan.
About 20 years ago one of the first reviews ever written on our amps was in TAS. Most of it was written by Steven Stone, who had a set of Apogee Full Range speakers, which were 1 ohm.
At the time we had a product called the Z-Music, which was an autoformer that loaded the amp at about 11 ohms, and provided taps for 4,3,2 and 1 ohms. We set up the MA-1s, which at the time were 100 watts (the later ones are 140) and make no mistake, we are talking about an OTL.
Using the autoformer, the amps and speakers sounded great together, and was the first time Steve heard what the speakers could do with tubes. He made a point of mentioning this in his review. Other than the impedance, they were not hard to drive (they are a fairly resistive load if I recall)- the amps made plenty of power on them, enough that to run them out of gas had the system playing painfully loud. They played bass just fine, the mids were smooth and sweet, also well defined- a really impressive speaker!
We stopped making the Z-Music about 15 years ago, but there is the ZERO (http://www.zeroimpedance.com) that can do a similar job.
We got a Golden Ear Award about 12-13 years ago using a set of our MA-1s on Duettas- without ZEROs or anything; my impression is that Apogees are not that hard to drive and its worth it to try to make tubes do it.
I have a pair of Innersound Kayas that also have 1ohm dips. I started out with 2EAR 890's in bridge mode, but they couldn't handle the Kayas. Extremely rolled off In the highs. Then I started with high power solid state, but quickly learned that I am a tube guy. I managed to purchase a tube amp that was originally designed to be sold as the Innersound itube. 150 watts, and 100 lbs. of transformers. It controls the electrostatic panels perfectly. Uses 8 KT 88's. There is a review of it on 6 moons. After Innersound folded, the designer, Terri Tekisham, continued to market it under the brand Western Reserve.
Other tube amps that work with stats are the Cat's,and the Berning OTL,s are incredible.
Bob Carver has a pair of the Scintillas, the best speaker ever made according him. He has designed several tube mono blocks that has 1 ohm taps specifically for the speakers. The Cherry 180 (200 watts), Black Beauty (300 watts) and Siver Seven remake (900 watts). I have the Cherry 180. They are good sounding KT88 push pull amps. I don't have the Scintillas though.
Wolcott if you can find a pair. Excellent with Apogees. Manley Neo classic 500's or maybe their Neo 250's...might do a good job. Try to stay with tubes unless you absolutely can't find any that will work. I run Apogee Duetta Sigs (which are much much easier to drive) and run tubes exclusively (I'm actively bi-amping to get the best dynamics). SS can't do what tubes can and on Apogee ribbons it is pure bliss. Try the VTL's [carefully] and if they won't hold up, keep seeking tubes as much as you can.
Good luck and keep us informed.
Yeah, Apogees are old and have been around for quite a few years now. Yeah, you have to buy them used and hope that they don't buzzzz on you. Yeah, they are inefficient but there are plenty of amps around these days that can handle that. Yeah, there are several installers that can update them but that can get pricey. Yeah, shipping them is a big risk since they are ribbons and fragile. Yeah, they are a PITA to set up properly.
BUT ... once you hear them you may never want to own another pair of speakers.
One of those things that sounds risky on paper but might still be interesting to try. Anything is possible anywhere from sounding quite good to damaging the amp. I would not expect it to be the best possible technical pairing on paper possible though in general.
The thing is good performance is always a good thing but one can still have what is perceived to be good sound even if teh overall performance is far from optimal. It just means that there are better things possible, not that what you have does not sound good.
Congrats on your Apogees. Of course you happened to choose the toughest beast in their stable to drive...but... I agree with everything 'Ptmconsulting' says about Apogees. Everything; and yes, once you hear a well set-up pair there's a high likelihood you might also travel the perilous road to satisfied ownership.
As for the Scinnies,especially the 1 ohm (best sounding version, as compared to the 4 ohm) the good news is there are many more amps capable of driving them today than in their original heyday though most are solid state...these include the usual big hitters such as Pass, Classe, Krell,etc. as well as some of the newer Class D brands which are supposed to be pretty strong even into low impedances [but check with your specific models because even these guys aren't necessarily rating themselves as 'confidently stable' into 1 ohms these days].
On the other hand, seeking to enjoy Apogees with the beauty of tubes is, as we all know, a whole other can of worms. Simplest way, again as we are all well aware, is to simply put your favorite tube pre-amp in front of your SS amp and reap their beneficial influence slightly less directly...as many (thousands?) of Apogee owners have happily been living with for decades.
But tube amps? are few and far between for Ap's in general and especially for Scinnies.
A few approaches (none of which are necessarily cheap or easy):
One is to have your speakers completely rebuilt by either Rich Murry at True Sound Works or Bill Thalmann at Music Technologies where the actual process may make them somewhat easier to drive whether it's via slightly raising or at least marginally stabilizing their input impedance or actually increasing and/or somewhat stabilizing their efficiency. Hand in hand, both areas of improvement will make an originally almost insane amplifier task somewhat more possible.
I say this because when my [much easier to drive] Duetta Signatures were transformed into TSW's Duetta Ultimates both of these factors were improved as a result (Input impedance now stable between 3.8-4 ohms and efficiency now at a 'whopping' 87db)...
Another suggestion (also $$$$$ sensitive) would be bi-amping with 2 identical (powerhouse) tube amps so that the work load could be more evenly distributed. But they must be identical for this to NOT open up more trouble than it's worth. A pair of your VTL 450 Sigs would be a formidable scenario?!! yes?
Another choice, and perhaps either the hardest (if you can't find one,) or easiest (if you can) is to get a hold of one of the few truly capable big tube amps that could handle them. Only a few come to mind (though there are surely others I can't recall at the moment):
The Wolcott 220 monos (El 34 based) are supposed to handle low impedance loads very well and sound very good doing so.
The big CAT's have been mentioned...
The big VTL's : the 750's or Wotan as well as the big Manley 500's (maybe their 250's but I honestly don't think so unless you bi-amped as above, with 2 pairs...?).
Maybe those eccentric looking big V Shaped Wavestreams (really cool looking IF nothing else, and ultra rare).
And my favorites: The entire Tube Research Labs line of mono blocs (My guess is their stereo amp at 100WPC would probably be fine but moving up to their 200 Monos (my amps) and above (400's, and the king-of-tube-amp 800's) are certain to work magnificently)...
Big bucks for much of the above options but also big rewards if you invest that far...
This hobby is, after all, the poster child for "Law of diminishing returns".
Good luck and happy Lissn'n.