Tube or SS for Sonus Faber Amati Homage

I just acquired a pair of Amati Homage, much more efficient than my previous speakers. I have a Pass X-350 which will drive just about anything, but I actually like the "distortion" of tubes and would love to own tubes again. How much power is needed to drive the Amati? Dealer told me Amati works better with SS because Sonus Faber usually underdamps bass and needs SS to control the low end. I also heard Amati makes best sound with single ended like BAT VK-75SE or Nagra? Who is right and what do you use?

I have a Sonic Frontiers Line 3 SE, I am inclined to use Power 2 or Power 3 to get better synergy or will I be better off using something else?
Best tube sound comes typically from the OTL type or SET (provided you have the right speakers, for either amp type). For your situation I would recommed the David Berning ZH-270 ZOTL, 70Wx2 @ 8 ohms. This is overall the best sounding amplifer I have heard to date in every regard. The match with your Sonus Faber Amati Homage would be shear joy.

As far as bass is concerned, the Berning ZH-270 has the best bass I have heard yet from any SS or Tube amp for that matter, it has bass and more bass. Incredible..... :)

The Berning is a different type of OTL which uses a radical switching type power supply and is very efficient and reliable. I highly recommend trying this amplifer with your speakers if it is at all possible, you will be more than impressed I think :)

Good Luck,
Thorty40: Have you actually heard the combination? What other amplifiers have you heard? I haev listened to the amps and while being an exceptional value, they are not in the league with most of the top amplifiers I have heard.

With all due respect, an assumption is not really a basis for good advise.
With all my respect to Chris i really agree with Jtin.
Berning ZH-270 is a good amp for the money,but not or still too far to be the best one.
Jtnn, might I suggest you contact Sonus Faber directly and ask them about this particular combination in regards to the Amati Homage, they know this amp well. I have heard many amps and speakers, which amplifers were you wondering about specifically?

My recommendation is not based upon pure assumption but rather upon personal opinion and experience. Does this mean only those who actually own the Amati and experimented with nearly every tube and SS amp in their own home may provide opinions here? Well, I think thats fine if that was the intent but this was not expressed by the person who began this thread.

The one thing a 70W tube amp lacks is the power to drive every large full range speaker on the market(room size is also a big factor), the reason I suggested the Berning is because this individual is looking into other tube amps like the BAT and Nagra (yes, I have heard both).

Davidlin: "Who is right and what do you use?" I believe that *current* is useful in order to get homogeneity out of the speakers but the rest is really up to your musical tastes IMO...
I listen to classical. I have enjoyed the Amati with YBA Passion stereo (ss) / Passion pre, Bearlabs cabling, AND with KR Antares tube (same equip upline). I give an edge to Passion (that happens to be ss) and yes, the low end was better -- but that's not conclusive... YMMV!
David- You lucky dog you!! Always wanted to own a pair of SF Amatis and someday it will happen. But in the meantime my only advise to you is that if you do decide to go with the big Passion amps, I heard them at GTT Audio in New Jersey and they are very good. If you need a big solid state amp, this is a must audition. Check it out and good luck.
In defense of Thorty40, he only stated that the ZH270 was the best he had heard to date. I didn't see anything in there about "best there ever was". The ZH270 is an excellent amp and value for dollar, and I'm sure it would do a great job with the Amati. Let's try not to resurrect the Berning vs Tenor thread here.
IMHO the Nagra always seems to have trouble controlling base on even intermediate-load speakers at moderate listening volumes. I have heard the amps on three separate pairs of speakers and would be surprised if you would find them complete and compelling on the Amati Homage.

You should be able to find truly wonderful tube match for the Amati Homage depending upon price constraints. I have heard a couple of SS amps with the Amati Homage (but not the Passion 1000 monos), and found myself not fully engaged by the music. They should really blossom with a great tube amp I would imagine. A couple of the posters so far including Audio999 (Johan) can give you some quite varied listening impressions...

Good luck,
Thanks everyone for your input. I have heard great things about YBA, but I don't think any solid state can be a tube regardless how hard they try. I am still leaning toward real tube amps instead of "tube like" solid state which I already used to have.

I might stay away from OTL as well as Amati does not have the most friendly impedance and OTL usually chokes with varying impedance. I know Berning has proprietary output stage that will cope with varying impedance, but nothing beats the old fashion transformer.

Any more input?
If the opportunity arises, the following tubes in my (limited) experience deserve a listen: Tenor, KR mono, CAT (stereo), big ARC monos, Pathos monos. I wouldn't want to give preference which could only reflect my musical tastes.
There are certainly more choices that others can contribute. Good luck!
Thorty40: Let us make it clear... have you heard the Amati's with the amps you are recommending? If not it is an assumption or second hand knowledge and should be stated as such.

When you state the amp you own is "the best you heard to date", I think we all have a right to know what your level of experience is.

I know it appears that I am being a bit harsh and I do no intend for that. I just think while the Berning amps are a nice inexpensive solution that may work, it would be nice to know if you have heard the combination.
Jtnn, does this mean you would like a resume of mine also along with a personal biography and maybe a complete color portrait? :) Please, lets stay on topic and instead of expending energy trying to discredit me why don't we just offer some advice for this person looking for a nice amp to use with his Amati Homage.

This is an observation of mine based soley upon the comments of yours above, if I am wrong then I am mistaken and I appologize. It just seems like an aggressive approach (ie. "This guy just bothers me so let me see if I can do something to instigate an uprise.") to what should be a fun topic to explore.

If you want some background information about me and my knowledge of various audio equipment then just e-mail or call me and lets talk.

One last thing, the answer to your question is no. Now, if the thread would have stated please only owners of Amati provide (feedback or something like that) then I would not have posted anything.

These threads should be educational and light hearted in my opinion, if someone does not agree with anothers thread then thats fine. We are all entitled to our opinions, right? Even if it is speculation - still an opinion and just that, an exercise of free speach if you will.

Here's the whole list of speakers I have personally heard with the David Berning ZH-270:

Sound Lab Pristine II
Harbeth HL7ES
Jean Marie Reynaud Twinn MK II
Sonus Faber Grand Piano
Sonus Faber Electra Amator
Magnepan 1.6QR
Magnepan 3.6QR
Dunlavy SC4A
Quad ESL 63
Acoustat Spectra 2200
JM Lab Electra 926
JM Lab Electra 906
JM Lab Cobalt 802
Paradigm Reference Studio 40 v.2
Revel Ultima Studio

I think thats it, I'll be sure to repost if I think of any I may have overlooked.
Also Preference Audio Baby Bear - made in Canada.
Davidlin, this may help - I have had SF Amatis for nearly three years and drive them with a Lamm L2 preamp and a pair of Lamm ML2's which for me is the most enjoyable combination I could find.I also used them with Classe solid state - CA400 and DR8 and the SF "Musica".I use a Sonic Frontiers Line 3 and a pair of Cary 300B Signatures in my second system and had never actually tried the combination with the Amatis, so a few weeks ago I did and was staggered at how great the results were. The Cary's drove the Amati's with ease and sounded superb.Provided your listening room is not exceptionally large (mine isn't) it would be worthwhile to try the Cary's with your Line 3 SE.

As a long-time owner of the Amati's, I'd recommend tubes -- I'd also add that you need to give a serious listen/consideration to the Tenors (more below).

IMO, the Amatis sound wonderful with any quality amp, but really sing and make magic with tubes. For 9 months, I used Spectral Pre and PowerAmps with a tubed CJ phono stage, SME 10, and MIT Oracle cabling all around. Tight, accurate, detailed. A trifle (and we are talking subtle items here) hard and aggresive with any CD player, even tubed. Reference class, nonetheless.

Over the last month, I've since gone to a pair of the Tenor 75wi, with Jena Labs cabling. A whole different league altogether. Even with a lowly Arcam CD23T. Pure magic. A sense of ease, musicality, and *purity* of musical expression that betters in every aspect some of the other tube amps I've heard with these speakers. Vinyl on the SME is even better with the Tenors, which was mighty fine with the Spectral.

Room is a 1300 sq foot loft, with 14 ft cielings, so that system has to pressurize the entire space.

One thing to keep in mind with this tube/OTL/Amati discussion is also the gain/output drive of your source gear. For example, with 2V output from the Arcam, no problems at very loud listening levels on complex musical passages (95db+). The Tenors begin to lose a very tiny amount at the upper treble (where the Amati drops to 2ohm) with the same music, same loudness, from the CJ (only 54db gain). I will be changing to another phono preamp with more gain to bring the Tenors into a happier operating window.

The important thing, is that my listening room is HUGE (the whole loft), and the Tenors are making fabulous music as I type.

Mileage varies, but I decided that I couldn't live without the sound of the Tenors, and have since overhauled my entire system, except for the Amati's and my Grand Prix Audio racks. Heck, the level of the Tenors even encouraged me to upgrade from the SME 10 to the 20.2.

Bottom-line, the Amati+Tenor are magic. In a "normal room", IMO, it would be a no brainer.

Best wishes and congratulations on your purchase of the Amati's.

I hope yours provide as many hours and days of visual and auditory pleasure as mine have.

Thanks for all of your inputs. I know I wanted tubes for my Amati, just a matter of OTL, single ended, or conventional push-pull. I might go with SF Power 3 for the sake of synergy plus lots of options when it comes to alternative tubes (6550/KT88/KT90 & 6922/6H23/E88CC etc). I had owned Power 3 in the past, I like its neutral nature which will enable me to tailor my sound preference with tube types. Power 3 will also give me the dynamic I need when I do want to play loud, something I am afraid Cary 805 can not deliver. On top of all this, Power 3 can be had for relatively little money, certainly one of the best bargain in used market.
I've also heard the ZH270 on my own Merlin VSM-M. Unless you have a berning desire to spend more money you owe it to yourself to try it.

Instead of questioning 30/40 maybe we should ask the others what amp they think is better and have they heard it with the Amati.

For the money your going to have a tough time finding an amp anywhere close to this level.

BTW, congrats on the Amati! Gorgeous speakers :>)
I had asked about your amplification experience, not speaker experience. Your statement of "This is overall the best sounding amplifer I have heard to date in every regard. The match with your Sonus Faber Amati Homage would be shear joy." infers quite a bit.

I have heard the Amati's with the following in a very familiar system to me:

Classe Omega monos
Audio Research Ref 300 MK II's
Audio Research VTM 200's
BAT VK-150SE's

I thought the BAT's were the best I had heard with the Amati's, but I would think there are other choices as well. I am only talking about my personal experience. If I want to make suggestions about what I think MAY be a good match, I would make it clear that although I have not heard the combination, I would try to find someone who has. If it is second hand knowledge, I would also say that.

I have a friend that has Tenor's and Amati's. He likes the combo a great deal. I have not heard the combo. I would think within a performance envelope it might be amazing.

Davidlin: How big is your room and how loud do you listen?
Sonus Faber uses Berning amplification to voice their loudspeakers, that information alone tells a great deal about the integrity of the Berning products and yes, this includes the Amati Homage model also.

For confirmation of this, call either Sonus Faber directly or Sumiko at 510-843-4500. Sumiko can provide Sonus Fabers phone number if you cannot locate it elsewhere.

So, I feel the Berning ZH270 "may" be a good match with the Amati Homage but I would contact Sonus Faber directly for a more accurate, first hand opinion.

Nice going Thorty40!
I knew you would appreciate that Jtnn :)
Sounds like I should give Berning a try, entry price is certainly attractive compares to the big names. Thanks for the tips, you might have saved me lots of money.