Tube friendly = high sensitivity + 8 ohm nominal impedance + flat impedance curve
The following brands are some that qualify:
Classic Audio Reproductions
I too like the planar sound, don't believe 60wpc is enough for any larger planars. Alon/Nola are dynamic speakers that throw a similar soundstage while being relatively efficient. I formerly ran various Alons through Cary SLM 100 monoblocks, very synergistic match.
I use VAC 70 watt amps with Audiokinesis Jazz Modules. Full range floor standing speakers. Duke Lejeune makes them and he's a Sound Labs dealer as well. He'll be able to tell you more on how they compare to the planar sound, but I can tell you they sound great in my system. Excellent detail and tonally balanced. They operate above 8 ohms so they are easy to drive and are conservatively rated at 92db efficient.
Merlins can't be beat under most circumstances,good luck,Bob
Some of the speakers in my list do not have 8 ohm nominal impedances (Merlin for example, which I believe is 6 ohm nominal), but they are still all tube friendly speakers.
Thought I'd cop to it before someone called my on it.
I was just getting ready to call ewe on it.....dheers,Bob
if you are hooked on the planar sound, you will be pleased with a larger amp as well...even on the mmg's.
Zu needs to be on that list as well.
12-16 ohm impedance and very high sensitivity for its models.
Not all Zu speakers are 12 or 16 ohms impedance. Definition is 6 ohms.
However it can be optioned with a wiring package so the drivers are loaded at 6 or 30 ohms. The change is affected externally and takes the user about 15 seconds.
At 30 ohms OTL amps are remarkable performers.
Lak (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers)
Not all models are tube friendly.
I own Silverline Sonata III speakers. They have a wild impedance curve. I have tried VAC Musicbloc 160 and Atma-Sphere M-60 amps on them without success.
IMO, these are not tube friendly.
Art Loudspeakers from Scotland. Very easy load for valve power.
Silverline used to be tube friendly some years ago, but the current stuff is not. There are two design paradigms used in speakers, and the Silverline stuff now subscribes to the idea that an amplifier must be capable of constant voltage, regardless of load.
There is no tube amp that can do that.
BTW it is not important that the impedance curve be flat. It **is** important that the impedance curve be high enough, once it gets above a certain level, it can vary quite a bit without ill effect. FWIW, even if you have a transistor amp, the speakers with higher impedances are going to sound better because while many transistor amps can drive 4 ohms or less, that is not the same as saying that they are sounding their best. That comes with higher impedances. IOW there is no good argument for 4 ohms in high end audio, although there is for sound reinforcement.
4 of the speakers in Tvad's list seem to have been designed using OTLs- Audiokinesis, Coincident, Merlin and Classic Audio.
To add to the list of tube friendly speakers:
Quad 57 and 63, but not the later models
any 'full range' driver like a Lowther or PHY
all horns, with the exception of the AvantGarde Trio
High Emotion Audio
BTW it is not important that the impedance curve be flat. It **is** important that the impedance curve be high enough, once it gets above a certain level, it can vary quite a bit without ill effect.
Atmasphere (Threads | Answers)
Merlin speaker have an 8 ohm nominal impedance (with a minimum impedance of 6.5 ohms...a flat curve). Atmasphere, how do these speakers fit into your model of a speaker having an impedance curve that is "high enough"? Please define high enough.
Coincident Total Eclipse.....you get big sound (full range) low power tubes. This is a great speaker and very reasonable cost for world class performance. Can get for less than $4k here (used).
I agree that Merlins are very tube friendly, using them with 845 triode amp, sounds better than various push pulls I've tried. Still, I maintain the Alons/Nolas soundstage very similarly to planars, if this is important to you Alons/Nolas could be your answer.
Thanks for the recommendations, Gentleman :)
I am not at all familiar with some of these brands, but now I have a range of speakers to look into.
Atmasphere: I see that you listed the Vandersteen as being a possible candidate. I've heard mention of the way that they soundstage (planar-like?). Would the 2C (7 ohm / 86db) be a good mate?
How about the Dali's?
I have the 3.6, did have the MMG for a short time, and the 3.6 is soooooo much better from top to bottom. I used the CJ MV55 for the4 3.6 and it worked well, just don't expect it to play very loud. I used the RM9MKII by Music Reference for 125wpc of tube power and this was a thicker, rich sound. The Quicksilver v4 at 120wpc drove them very loud and a little more neutral. Next the Bryston 4BST, rated at 250wpc, but putting 400wpc into the 4 ohm load and this was just too thin. Next the 500wpc or so much-raved-about Spectron digital amp. Too thin, sounds like transistors, a bad thing. I returned to my favorite, the modified Quicksilver Silver Mono at 90wpc....just destroyed everything else by a large margin in my room, with my speakers. The audilophile group listening voted unanimously for the Quickies. They were disappointed with the Bryston and Spectron. I have heard the Bryston sound great with the Aerial 10T's, so I know the amp is good, not here though. The Spectron is said to be great with other speakers. Try before you buy....Tubes amps are very high voltage devices, not high wattage typically. SS is lower voltage per watts produced. I always say that if your amp doesn't have lethal voltage, music is likely not going to emerge as you like....well as I like. Biased I am, and I have owned many SS pieces. Incidentally, the Quickies are also great with Vandersteen speakers, but terrible with Legacy Whisper....dull, lifeless.....got to have the magical match. jallen
You might also want to put Gallo Ref3's on your list. I drove them fine with 50 tube watts, and they have a planar-type sound.
Roblanger, all the Vandersteen 2 varients are tube-friendly. I know the Dali Mega-line is but I am not familiar with their smaller models.
Tvad, in the case of the Merlin, the impedance swing is well within the capabilities of almost any tube amplifier, even our S-30, which can be quite sensitive to lower impedances. I don't consider 6-8 ohms to be challenging for our amplifiers at all- that sounds easy to me.
As far as 'high enough'... this has to do with the maximum power transfer of the tube amp in question, which is usually a function of the output transformer and the load of the speaker. For example if you load the 8 ohm taps of a tube amp with a 4 ohm load, the load presented to the power tubes by the transformer will be significantly less than the intended design- the amp will make less power. In some cases it could cut it in half. A speaker designer can take advantage of this phenomena in crossover design. I think a classic example is the old Wilson Watt.
The Watt had a reputation for being detailed but bright in the old days. This was because of a tweeter resonance. Wilson had a substantial trap that measured about 2 ohms at the resonant frequency of the tweeter. When you put a transistor amp on that, the amp simply made more power to deal with the 2 ohm load. So this did exactly the opposite of the intention of the design. But when you put a tube amp on that same load, the tube amp made no power, thus preventing the resonance from being a problem. IOW, the reputation of the speaker came from transistor amplifier users, not tube amp users.
Once the inpedance of the load is high enough, the amplifier will exhibit a sort of 'constant power' phenomena- it will be a slowly decreasing amount of power as the load is increased; the power curve looks a lot like an airfoil curve in profile. With OTLs the effect is increased; once above the maximum power transfer point the load can be tripled without significant power loss. All that is required of the speaker designer is to understand that this phenomena occurs, thus my paradigm conversation:http://www.atma-sphere.com/papers/paradigm_paper2.html
My Rogue Audio Cronus integrated amplifier (55 wats of EL-34 tube power) does an absolutely wonderful job driving my Vandersteen 1C speakers. The Vandersteens may indeed get along quite well with your AES Six-Pac amps.
Good Luck, and Happy Listening.
Spendor,Reference 3A, Gallo, Harbeth(3s)
My 45 Watt Cayin A88T drives my Spensor S8e floorstanders with authority and ease. Interestingly, the S8E with its strong bass and thick midrange 8" woofers, demand less power for a similar moderate sound level as did some smaller Spendor 3/5 monitors. The Spendors can be played loud without distortion with 45 tube watts.
Some Silverline are tube friendly, the Bolero for example, thouigh it's now quite expensive, but a lovely sound. I am on a similar journey myself. I listened to:
Art Deco's, very nice but expensice
Coincident Total Victory, not my cup of tea
Devore Gibbon 9's, very nice indeed, neutral, beguiling, non HiFi sound.
I have stlled on Daealus Da-rMa's, having heard them at RMAF. 93-4ish sensitivity, pretty flat 8ohm impedence
David12, Congrats on your decision. What amp did you hear driving the Nines when you heard them. What was just the basic reason you went with the Dadealus over the Nines.
I am not second guessing you, but simply curious.
Someone took exception to how good the Spendors would sound with a 45 watt tube amp, because of some theory on Speaker impredance suggesting the treble will be tipped up.
My Spendors with my Cayin A88T sound great. Granted, the Spendors are smooth, so that nature with good tube rolling is great symetry by my ears. Now, don't try to get any real pop out of a Almarrow 318B with the Spendors. All the way up, and I got medium volume in a big room at best which left me badly wanting more power.
Fjn04; I will be using my Viva Solista 845 SET initially and see how it goes.
As to choice between the Devore 9's and Daedalus, I think I would have been very happy with either. Both are intensely musical as opposed to HiFi, presenting a natural, live music, being there sound. Ultimately, it was up to the wife, she preferred the look of the Da R ma's and as others have said, pictures do'nt do them justice, they look beautiful and you get a wide choice of wood to