More information is needed, especially what speakers you are using, and whether or not you need power levels approaching the 305 watt capability of the Carver.
Seems like CAT, ARC, VTL, VAC, LAM -- what is it about 3-letter amp companies? Obviously Atmasphere and Rogue too. All those great choices aside, ever think of Class A solid state? Clayton Audio. Pass Labs. Plinius. Gryphon. They might be worth a look given your requirements. Or perhaps a hybrid. Something like the Rogue Medusa or Moscode? Just doing a brain dump here. Best of luck.
Dragon_vibe, the impedance curve for your speakers, as shown here, suggests that the tonal balance of the sound that is produced in the mid-range and treble regions will vary dramatically as a function of the output impedance and damping factor of the particular amplifier that is being used. And probably also with the robustness of the amp's power supply.
So I suspect that in the $12K price class you are considering, synergy between the amplifier and speaker could very conceivably be a more significant consideration than the intrinsic sonic character of the particular amp. My suggestion is that you research what amplifiers are being used, and have been used, by others who have your particular speakers.
The Whisper XD come with a Built in Class D Amplifier I can use for the lower regions. The midrange and Tweeter level will run of the Tube Amps.
I do have the clayton Audio M300 at hand and they are keepers for sure. Just looking for an Alternative to SS amps.
Almarg thanks for the technical info, honestly I have no clue. What would you suggest? Mind you this is for midrange and Tweeter level. The speaker has its class D amp. I could always Bi-amp them using the Clayton Audio for the lower Woofers and the Tubes for the mids and tweets.
Looking at the specs you will want something with at least 100watts in most rooms.
So- how big is your room, how lively is it and how loud do you like to play the stereo?
If you are dealing with tube amplifiers, its better to rate the speaker in terms of efficiency rather than sensitivity. So that number is 93 db, a moderate efficiency and why in most cases 100 watts (or slightly more) ought to do the job, unless you have a large room or it is particularly dead.
06-26-13: Dragon_vibeI have no specific suggestions, as I have no experience with Legacy speakers. My point was simply that the large impedance variations of the speaker in the mid-range and treble regions, as well as the low impedances and difficult phase angles that are reached at some frequencies in those regions, will cause the resulting sonics to be more sensitive to amplifier differences (particularly output impedance and damping factor) than would otherwise be the case. But without having experience with the particular speaker I have no idea what particular amplifier output impedances and damping factors would be optimal. (Output impedance and damping factor are inversely proportional to each other, so damping factor can affect sonics at mid and high frequencies as well as low frequencies, due to the interaction between output impedance and the variation of speaker impedance as a function of frequency).
So I would be hesitant to give a great deal of weight to amplifier recommendations that are based on experiences with speakers other than Legacy models having similar impedance characteristics.
Good luck in your search. Regards,
Again, Al is right on. I am amused at amplifier reviews. It is a fact that the tonality of an amplifier changes dramatically with the speaker used. If the reviewer isn't using your exact speaker in a similar room with your speaker cables, the review is meaningless. Instead, rely on the experience of others with your speakers, or, better yet, buy used and experiment in your room. Then, sell if you are not satisfied, with little loss, considering the cost. There are some excellent VTL, CJ, and Wavac amps for sale now. None of them are mine. Good luck.
Room is pretty dead, Its super loaded with Acoustic Panels and Foam is installed on the Ceiling.
The Size is: 8 Meters by 7 Meters and the height of the room is 3.4 Meters.
I was hoping more like 200 Watts per channel.
The option I am thinking of is:
VAC 300.1 Set in monos or Maybe The Atma MA-2
I don't mind increasing budget don't want to go too crazy. never do end up spending 8 hours a day listening to music to justify something too expensive.
Had a look at Wavac but the amount of watts it pushes out is not enough.
Dragon vibe, what you've read has nothing to do with Atma-Sphere OTLs. These are perhaps the most bullet-proof and utterly reliable tube amps made. And, they are one of the few tube amps (only?) that match ALL of the characteristics you listed in your opening post. The only issue is whether your speakers are reasonably compatible.
I will research into it. Big Amps they look like Monster trucks. Over 20 tubes Each block :-) I wander how long those tubes will last. everything I have read about Atma has always been positive.
I hate making a decisions specially so when I cant hear all the gear in my own setup.
Speakers are Whisper XD so might need Ralphs expertise to check them out for me to see if they will match well.
Dragon_vibe, It is true that our amps run kind of hot. But that is not because they are OTLs, it has to do with their being class A, something that you indicated you wanted in your OP. If you want 200-some watts and class A, you are going to get some heat, but it will also sound better, all other variables being equal.
Reliability is why we are still here 37 years on.
Dragon_vibe, if your speakers require the Atma-Sphere MA-2 model amps as the right match, then yes. They are large, they have a lot of tubes, they are hot, and they burn a lot of electricity when not in stand-by. They are also GLORIOUS and will punch all of the sonic hot buttons you specified as your criteria.
My wife and I have used MA-2 amps to drive Avalon Acoustic Eidolon speakers for over a decade. We'd never consider another amp. In that decade of use, I've replaced 6 output tubes - *SIX* only. These output tubes run a long long time.
And, you will have one of the true gentlemen of High End Audio, Ralph Karsten, supporting you.
Marc Mickelson at The Audio Beat has consistently listed the MA-2 as his favorite amp:
Keeping the notion of "best" in mind, let's say that I don't have the luxury of picking five amps. I have to choose just one -- the amp that will be the conduit through which all of my music, digital and analog, passes. Which will it be? Solid-state or tubes? Push-pull or single ended?See his full review at:
Good luck in your search.
I can tell you one thing, I have 100db Danley horns being used for the Theatre room. I find ATI amplifiers excellent in sound and build. Specially when you use the right power cord and fuses. ATI Amplifier are by far the quietest SS amps around. The Bob Carver amps noise floor is extremely quiet. Nearly as good as the ATI. Honestly I would keep it but this whole move and stuff just made me lose my confidence in the company altogether. Bob carver tube amps are prob one of the best around at the current prices.
Before you spend a lot of money on a new amp, may I suggest a simple mod. Replace the stock volume pot in your Carver amp with Goldpoint stepped attenuator. You will get speed and dynamics that you are looking for and will only cost you $150 for the part and may be $30 for labor by a tech. Changing the input 12AX7 to Psvane will speed things up and make it more neutral. The stock amp is a little sweet sounding, made that way on purpose by Bob. Hope you find what you are looking for.
+1 Dracule1. I found these inexpensive mods to my liking and well worth the effort.
My Hypex nCores do what I think your describing in spades, unfortunately, you sacrifice the second order harmonic distortion characteristic that only tubes can provide.
I'd love to hear what you come up with, please post.
Did you already change the stock volume pot with the Goldpoint stepped attenuator? If you did, I would bypass your preamp and go directly from source to amp. It's an eye opener, or should I say ear opener. A more expensive mod would be to replace the stock output coupling cap with better cap, like the Vcap, which I think is very neutral, very transparent sounding cap. You will need four 0.22 uF caps. These mods will get your amp closer to neutrality without sounding sterile.
its sold my bobs. The pre-amp cost more then the Amps and I find the Purity audio bar far the best pre-amp used compared to even VAC when adding pre-amps into the chain. The purity helps to control the amps correctly. When connecting directly the sound is just so thinner and has less body to it. Bass is less controlled.
I did try the MSB DAD Directly to the Bobs, The bobs sounded dark and slow.