I personally have a Pair of the Carver 180 mono blocks and I they are just plain awesome.
These are very well built, hand made in Lexington Kentucky. Point to point wiring etc.
I don't know how to properly say how they sound but I would venture a guess that you will not be disappointed.
Go for the Carvers!
You might want to consider the Rogue Audio M-180 amps. I've got a pair, and they're great. Lots of great reviews out there, and lots of ideas for rolling tubes if you're into that.
Scot have not auditioned Carver or Primaluna however, consider McIntosh MC275.
Couple pair of Mcintosh MC275's for sale on the GON.
I use two in mono to drive my Helicon 300 which are studio monitors with great midrange when used with the right electronics. I rolled all the tubes to refine bass weight and more details in midrange.
Quicksilver V4. Glorious sound, powerful and trouble free.
Thanks for the recommendations, everyone. I read the stereophile review of the Rogues and the only thing that gave me pause was the fact that the reviewer says he could have sworn it was a ss amp. That's also my concern with the Carver. I do very much like the warmer side of music these days (my Zeppelin years are mostly (sadly) past except for the increasingly occasional spin on my TT)and am not really a big fan of SS, though I do keep a pair of Vincent Hybrids in a second system. I guess some of that concern can be alleviated with some tube rolling. The Macs are always an option, though just starting to creep above my price range, though I do see several used listed here on Agon.
Quicksilver V4. Glorious sound, powerful and trouble free.
I have a pair and they drive my 83 db speakers with ease.
Plenty of choices on tubes. I use EL34 because of the great midrange.
I would think the modern sounding Carver Monoblocs are just what the doctor ordered for this situation. I would definatley give them a shot.
I've added the Quicksilvers onto my shortlist. From what I've read they seem sonically similar to the PrimaLunas - anyone ever compared the two?
if you dont mid used
Jadis makes wonderful amps.
maybe a little over you listed price range but not always.
i don't think my Carvers sound like SS but then the SS that i have had before like the McIntosh 2105 and Jeff Rowland Model 3 Monos are tube like sounding SS, so if you look at it that way then yes my Carvers sound SS.
I am not sure I would call Rogue SS sounding. Not my Stereo 90 at least. Where I find the Rogue does have characteristics similar to SS amps is in its bass extension, which is excellent.
" I read the stereophile review of the Rogues and the only thing that gave me pause was the fact that the reviewer says he could have sworn it was a ss amp. That's also my concern with the Carver."
I've heard the Rogue's and there is no mistaking their sound as SS. Warm, lush, 3D imaging; listen for yourself. Tube rolling plays a major roll in the Rogue sound. As for the Carvers, I have not heard them, but the user reviews are all outstanding.
I have my eye on the Carver's, too. Never heard (or the Rogue) 'em but I'm tempted nonetheless. The smaller, stereo amp--Black Beauty 20, I think--is supposed to be astonishing at its price and remarkably powerful for its rating. The Cherry 180s should be that much better. I hear the price is jumping $600 on Jan 1, to $7,990, FWIW.
Quicksilver silver 88. The V4 were too warm for my taste, but matching is the key. Jallen
Rogue also has the triode/ultralinear switching on the fly.
And if you look closely at the Stereophile review, it is suggesting that the Rogue has "the control" of a SS amp. Better control than a Pass amp? High praise in my book:
"The biggest difference was in the amps' control of the low bass, especially in rock and pop. The Rogue M-180's control of low-bass notes was exemplary, with great speed and heft, and the Pass XA30.5 simply could not complete in this regard. Through the Pass, the leading edges of bass notes were rounded, each note hanging over a bit too long."
Between triode mode and the ability to roll tubes you have some flexibility with the Rogue. And you don't have to give up some of the characteristics that are considered tubes' weak points.
But as alwasys auditioning in your system is far preferable. All about synergy with your speakers and your tastes.
I guess I'll need to find some place to hear the Rogues. I take any professional reviewer's review with a giant grain (more like a chunk) of salt - put more trust in the ears of end users like you guys, so if you're all saying the Rogues have tube warmth, I'll need to consider them.
I guess all these amps take a variety of output tubes that will have a big impact on sound in virtually every one of them.
The Quicksilver V4's are flexible in tube choices to tailor the sound. Hand made in the U.S.A and built to last. I would not describe them as overly warm, but if you want a creamy mid range you could go in that direction with a tube that has that characteristic. They can also use the KT 120 which is supposedly very nice in those amps. I use the JJ KT88's and find them to be very nice. Mike Sanders uses them as his premium tubes in those amps.
All of the amps mentioned by other posters would be worth auditioning. It's all a matter of system matching and taste. Good hunting.
The Rogue M-180's are very, very good at that price range. I would also put the Manley Snappers on your list to consider.
Rogue and Manley dealer disclaimer.
I have a pair of Cary 805C to drive my Merlin VSM 87 dB
Very powerful for 50wpc. Do a search online, Stereophile had several reviews. 805AE cost more but not sure it worth the money compare with 805C
I currently use them to drive my Usher BE20's top freq ( bi-amp with Class D driving low freq)
Do yourself a favor and reach out to Jim Nichols from JWN amps and have a custom pair of monoblocks built. I doubt you'll regret it
The Rogue M180s are excellent amps and worthy of audition. Degree of warmth of course can be tuned by changing tubes.
Another amp in your price range are the Jolida Fusion. I haven't heard them but would be curious. However, while Jolida is good value, Rogue is faster and more holographic in my experience. But how the Fusion compares I have no idea since it is a departure from what I would call the Jolida norm.
You`ve gotten some good suggestings.
Keep in mind these points, with most tube power amplifiers there`s much room to manipulate the sound you want. Choice of the output tube,EL 34,6550,KT-120,KT 88 etc.
Second, various brands do sound different.
Third, rolling the input and driver tubes add further variety of sound.
You will have a fair amount of control of the final sound.
When ever someone compares bass performance of a tube vs SS amp, you need to consider what speaker was used.
Some will sound better with tubes and other speakers are meant to be driven by SS amps.
I have Rogue M180's and ss sounding they are not. I have Black Treasure KT88's in them and they sound fantasic.(Joule pre)
Charles1Dad makes very good points. Related to that, maybe think about an amp that can use a number of different types of tubes. In particular KT120s are getting a lot of praise these days
Thanks for all the great responses, everyone. There seems like a lot of great choices in this price range and seems like you can't go too wrong with any of them, but I understand system synergy and output tube choices are really primary factors. I've been using a pair of the late Paul G's TAD 1000 for years now, but will be putting those up for sale and moving up a bit, even though those amps have served me well. Can't say I haven't been happy - just ready to move on now.
Yes you do have a number of excellent options in your price range for sure.
Scottlynn- What preamp will you be using.
Hi Fjn04 - I just recently picked up a Mystere CA11 preamp. Leaving it with stock tubes until its broken in, but I'm enjoying it. Also just added a EE Minimax Phono Stage. So far, so good.
Pathos InPower monoblocks. Hybrids. Pure Classs A. Tube sound with excellent bass control.
The combination of ESLs and OTLs has been considered the match made in heaven since the 1950s.
Getting rid of one of the matching transformers does make things more transparent. Plus you have the additional advantage of the OTL making better more extended bass as it not affected so much by the impedance peak in the bass.
IME 60 watts ought to suit nicely- that is to say, that is what most of our customers use.
Scotlynn- You can't go too wrong with Quicksilver. If you need a little warmth for those stats, the V-4 has it. I have heard the newer Siver 88's are a bit more neutral. I am sure they are great as well. Maybe pick up the V-4's used for around 3K, and allocate the rest toward other parts of your setup. Just a thought. I went from the V-4's to a much more expensive tube amp at one point. It was from a highly regarded tube manufacturer. They were no more enjoyable than the Quickies, and are long gone. That's putting it nicely...!
I would go with either a used pr. of BAT VK-150se or the Carvers.
Well if you are so inclined I have the Boss of Bosses.A pair of Coincident Dragon 211PP's rated at 75 wpc Class A.
For more information on these wonderful amps take a moment and peruse Arthur Salvatores' website.
I will be posting them in the new year.