Recently sold my hybrid Rogue Integrated and am now looking for a used tube integrated. I'm using Verity Audio Tamino X2 speakers - 89db (and told by Verity that these speakers are easy to drive and do well with Tube amplification). I listen to different genres but I love the soulful sound of a female jazz singer and classical music featuring the cello (looking for a warm midrange I suppose). I have a small room 15x14 (ugh) and listen at fairly moderate levels. Other gear includes a Hegel HD25dac and a Clearaudio Concept TT (Dynavector 10x5 cartridge). I'll probably buy a separate phono stage so the new Integrated amp does not have to include phono.
My ear gravitates toward a lush warm sound, nice extended highs and tight bass. Any help would be greatly appreciated. My budget is $4000 and under. Thanks
Considering Rogers EHF-100 MK2 (no local dealers) or Line Magnetic (dealer is about an hour away). If keeping things a little cheaper on the budget, I thought the Sound Antique AQ1001 Mark II DT or the Rogue Cronus Magnum may fit the bill.
I own the Primaluna Dialogue Premium Int (list price $3400) along with the Hegel HD25 and I too listen to female jazz singers and classical music. I find the combination of the Primaluna and Hegel to be very musical and holographic. In fact I sold the PS Audio Directstream Dac since I found the Hegel to be more musical and fuller sounding.
BTW- My room basement listening room is 13x18 with only a 6-1/2' ceiling so don't fret.
I never listened to Verity Audio speakers and not sure of their sonic character. I own the Lawrence Violin SE speakers which use a ribbon tweeter and find the sound quite engrossing with a warm sound and a good tight bass. I previously owned the Focal 1027be speakers but the beryllium tweeters would get on my nerves especially with poorly recordings or long listening sessions.
I originally used both the original PL EL34 and KT120 tubes but purchased the Golden Lion KT77 since I prefer their warmer sound. I still get plenty of bass but the midrange really stands out. I also replaced the PL 12AU7 tubes with Cifte tubes which gave it a holographic 3d sound which I prefer. Recently l played Pictures at an Exhibition for a friend who used to play violin and he was totally impressed by the sound and dynamics.
I purchased everything from Kevin at Upscale Audio and he recommended these tubes based on my musical preferences. If interested, I recommend you call Kevin from Upscale and he will guide you the right direction. He may also have a used or demo Dialogue Premium on hand.
Ronrags - I've seen lots of PL recommendations in the forums. I've purchased tube from upscsale audio in the past and Kevin was great. I'll check into the pm gear
Jmcgrogan2 - definitely looking used.I saw a nice VAC Avatar super here on Agon just a couple days ago. Great condition and just a couple hour drive from home, but it sold before I could pull the trigger.
Need it be an integrated? For 4K you could look at used Manley Jumbo Shrimp with Manley Mahi Mahi which would absolutely rock the Rogue (no offense) as the price levels are quite different. You talk about lush tube sound, extended highs and tight bass. That is where EL 84s live, not as lush as EL 34s but quicker with very controlled and extended bass. Find a dealer if possible and check it out.
If there should be a used Aronov LS-960i for sale while you are still looking, at its usual modest price range ($1200-$1500) it fulfills your needs with a natural, realistic, impressively musical presentation. The vocal and cello reproduction you mentioned can be glorious with the best recordings. Really good all-around performer which has stood the test of time.
I doubt that in a blind test you could really notice a big diference. They all impart a different character but end of the day it is subjective. I dont mean to rain on the parade, maybe i do?, but all of this becomes pointless until you set it up and hear in your room. . Any well made tube amp would likely scratch that itch. i would buy the one that looks the coolest and is the last one you audition.
You might want to consider a Cary SLI-80. I used one for awhile driving a pair of Focal 1007Be's and it was a very nice sounding unit. You can tube roll as well as switch in and out of Triode mode. Unit can also be modded easily with various cap and diode upgrades. There is a new one for sale on this site for $3199 no affiliation.
Note that Jolida makes fine stuff these days and their integrateds are about half the cost of their nearest competitors…I have no commercial connection with Jolida, but since I rave about my 502p amp so often they should at least send me a damn t-shirt.
I just traded in my Pass Labs INT-150 for a PrimaLuna Premium Dialogue HP--there’s no comparison! The PL sounds far richer, more detailed, dynamic, and simply more realistic than the Pass. It’s $400 over budget, but perhaps you can find a used one. (Or go for the basic Premium, which is lower-powered and doesn’t have a headphone amp.)
EDIT: I see I'm too late. Well, for anyone else searching for a moderately priced integrated, the PL HP gets my highest recommendation!
I guess I'm too late to the part as well, but I'll also second the recomenndation for either the PrimaLuna, or Line Magnetic, they're both great amps. The LM 501IA is a very versatile amp, with enough oomph to drive lower impedance speakers, like the Magico S1, better so than the Devialet 200 I heard back-to-back, IMO. Hope you share you're experience with the Rogers tho, I've never had the pleasure to hear them in person!
I also have to give kudos to Primaluna Dialogue Premium. Running mine with KT-120's has increased size of the soundstage and overall speed and smoothness. My upgraded Reference 3a Veena have never sounded better. I'm done with SS.
Your LM 501A being preferable to the Devialet 200 with Magico speakers is an interesting outcome. It sure goes against common wisdom. Prove again that there's no substitute for actually listening to audio components.
I would also recommed the Primaluna Dialogue Premium HP. I recently sold my Plinius integrated 9200 for this unit and could not be happier with the sound quality. Everything mentioned above about this unit is spot on. My nine year old Dynaudio 140's have never sounded better. Good luck.
We recently sold an Allnic integrated to a customer who had well regarded Rogue separates, he could not be happier. Allnic makes phenomenal phono stages as well. Allnic punches way above its price point.
ZOTL 40 is another amp but it is not warm but amazingly transparent.
I listened to a Rogers KT150 integrated for a while at Stereo Exchange last year…nice amp but not necessarily better sounding than my el-cheapo modest modded Jolida, and, of course, not in my house with my pile of gear…so perhaps irrelevant, but since first seeing these things at my local audio joint a few years back I've liked the spare industrial design.
So for a compact yet good sounding tube integrated under $1000, I wonder what people would recommend. The ones I’ve heard and liked are Jolida FX10 and GLOW audio Amp 1. The GLOW sounded as good as anything I thought at Capital Audio Fest a couple years back and is all hand wired which appeals to me. I heard the Jolida a year or two prior at CAF and was impressed with how well it did with a pair of small Nola Boxer monitors. Visually its kinda like a poor man's VAC Phi Beta which is quite the piece of eye candy.
Being a Rogue dealer I might be a bit prejudiced, but the Cronus Magnum II is really amazing integrated amp for $2500.00. I am a dealer for Ayon, EAR, and Cary Audio also, but dollar for dollar the Cronus Magnum II is hard to beat.
Pre owned Octave V70se or V110. Built like a tank and some great protection features in the event an output tube fails. If you want an even lower noise floor and a bit more headroom add a black or super black box. I had both and the V110 has a bit more 'control' of the music. The beauty of tubes you can change the sound from warm to linear to punchy just by swapping tubes. Good Luck
I went through a truckload of amplifiers of all types over my almost 30 years in this crazy hobby (it all started with the diminutive Naim Nait original amp) all of 18 watts but sounded like 100 !
I sold the Parsifals many years ago with that stupid way we have of finding "flaws" when we should just appreciate the sound.
After a merry-go-round of speakers, I went back to Verity with a pair of Fidelio Encores. It was like finding an old friend.
Back to your question. My absolute best sound ever was with a pair of Cary 572 monoblocks and Cary preamp. But they were unfortunately very, very unreliable, a real pain. And that 572 tube is rare and expensive. Cary wanted an unreasonable price for transforming my monos so that they could take a more accessible tube, no way, I felt stuck, so I sold them.
The second best ever sound I ever got with Verity is my current integrated, a Pathos Logos. It comes very close to the Carys in soundstaging and transparency, and is absurdly more powerfull (110 a side) with an authoritative bass presence the Carys could never match. And no offence, but this a much better match than the Rogue, which I briefly owned but could never get it to make my Veritys come alive.
In fact I feel that Pathos is the only manufacturer that "gets it" right as far as getting the best from SS and tubes in a hybrid design.
You should look in to it. And know I am tempted to go up in the food chain and maybe putting my Pathos up for sale, but it may not be worth it after all.
Forgot, for what it may be worth here are other some good and not-so-good amplifier pairings I experienced with Verity:
Electrocompaniet EC 5- warm but not detailed Audiomat Preluge - a detail-retrieving machine, but overall thin Simaudio - Artificial bass, dry sound flat soundstage, way too dark too Musical Fidelity - pretty good actually but uninvolving Sonic Frontiers Power 2 - Line 2 - Very nice Yamaha AS 2000 - a real bargain, sound nice Anthem 225 - Big, brawny, entertaining sound, a nice unit Bel Canto REF1000 monos (class D) probably the worst of the bunch Pathos Logos MkI - Pretty much faultless, just beautiful. McIntosh 6450 integrated - second worst of the buch, sorry, old sound.
I am stopping here before I start getting knives thrown at me ;)