I love my Synthesis The Theatre mono's.
Musical and Fun!!!
Musical and Fun!!!
I hold a special place in my heart for the Conrad Johnson CAV 50. Coupled with the Totem Model 1 signatures, it delivers a beautiful, organic, fast, wide soundstage and lush sound. Works wonders with acoustic material and voices. I understand it is out of production but still can be found second hand (audiogon).
My VTL MB-125's are wonderful. They do everything I can ask for... Smooth and rich but detailed and defined. Great soundstaging and depth... then there's always the triode switch for the added evening relaxation mood. Completely reliable, stable (and easy) bias adjustment... Simply a pleasure to live with and a great value. A winner!
I loved my Air Tight ATM1 and now have the ATM3s. Haven't found an amp, nor am I looking to change....
The CJ MV50 sticks out as an amp which had the traditional el34 sound.
I have also used my JC Verider AudioBloc with EL34 and been very happy.
I would like to try a Lectron LH30 and Jadis Ja30 as well.
The Dodd's are just better by a bit in every category. The big differentiators being soundstage width, depth, placement and separation. They also have plenty of power and haven't run out of steam on anything yet, which was my main concern going from such high powered mono's. All that said, the Cary's are still wonderful and I would recommend them in a heartbeat for someone who wants to stay SS, but enjoys the tube type of signature sound.
I have an old pair of Trimax EL34s.These were Australian Broadcasting Commission monitoring amps from the 60s.The transformer quality in these is legendary.These are very modern sounding amps with fantastic bass.I believe they use one of the classic Mullard designs.Output is 23 watts.
I have compared these to a few SET amps and they sounded much better.
I second the Arpege, but I wouldn't buy one again. I used to own this amplifier. It is in my opinion in the top 2 or 3 of many that I have owned. HOWEVER the following reasons make me stay away from it. For one thing, dealers are almost non-existent, and those who are still left have some issues with the distributor. He does not let them offer any discounting whatsoever, not even a dollar ! Secondly, if you need service - good luck! I once waited a long long time to get a simple reply from the distributor (my dealer had dropped the line) because I wanted some ''premium priced'' ''Audiomat approved'' tubes (sure). I just put in tubes from Upscale Audio and it was just dandy. Overall, this amplifier IS nice, and I was a bargain five years ago. However, they are getting greedy on pricing and I feel you can do better for the price of the Arpege if you buy it new ( and do LOT better with other amps if the newer outrageously expensive Opera amplifier is considered). On the used market, the Arpege remains a good deal as resale market is usually pretty low (good for us, but bad for the original owner who bought it full retail- the only way to fly with Mutine). Well made, good-sound, no service. You decide. In all honesty, I did enjoy mine and it IS a good-sounding unit and a good looker too. I was wondering, is ANYONE paying FULL RETAIL for anything audio here as far as amps and preamps are concerned?
Opera-Consonance Cyber 800 mono-blocks with some tube rolling will compete with amplifiers costing twice its original $4000 price tag.
It represents good value in today's very competitive market.
This amplifier has the refinement as well as muscle to drive almost any speakers you can imagine.
One of the best amps coming from the "East".
The Consonance M100 Plus. I used to own a CJ MV55 but didn't care for its dry sound. This little Consonance however, despite its humble beginnings, is totally amazing. I like it way better than the CJ in terms of detail, dynamics, and soundstaging. It is really an amazing little amp - and it sells for super cheap!