what is the best se tube amp

I am interested in seeing what fellow ag members think the best single ended tube amp is, or at least your favorites. In this never ending world of the latest is the greaest (B.S.). I am considering changing to a se amp and am not sure witch way to go. I am now running a CJ Premier 11a into ProAc Responce 2.5 speakers. Any pros and cons are also apreciated.
I've heard many, and my favorite is the George Wright 3.5 monoblocks, which must be paired with his preamp. For about $2200 new (and maybe $1500 used), they are an astounding combination. I would suggest that if you go this route, plan on some tube rolling, though you don't have to kill the pocketbook to get an absolutely glorious sound. Like I said, I've heard many SET amps, including those costing more than ten times the price, and nothing sounds as lifelike and airy as this setup.
Good luck with your search. Should be fun.
P.S.--I have these paired with a set of 1977 Klipsch La Scala's, which have been rewired with all silver wire.
I really like the Vivas.There are many used pairs available and they can be updated.Strictly the 845 models,as the 572 tube has been discontinued.I sell these and am willing to offer a good price on new units ,should you decide to pursue them.They are very dynamic and produce exceptional bass {unlike the Cary 805s}.If you are looking for a little more romance,possibly the Joule OTLs.Happy hunting! Tom
Audio Note Kageki (UK)
Single-ended tube amps are a fairly large category. It will depend on how much power you need. For your Proac 2.5 speakers, you'll probably need at least 10 watts, and probably more.

I think the best(lower power) SET amp made is a SET-ZOTL from David Berning called the Siegfried. It can be ordered in either 300B(8watts) or 811(11 watts). This amp has no traditional output transformer, which can be the "achilles heel" of a SET amp. The speed, openness, transparency, and detail are amazing. My personal amp is a custom-made variation of this, using Type 45 triodes with choke-loading and battery power. I can vouch for the excellent sound.

For the higher power levels, the Antique Sound Lab AQ1009, and Viva Aurora sound very nice. If you want much higher power levels, WAVAC produces some 100 watt, or even 150 watt SET amplifiers that can be pretty expensive, but excellent.

Also, the kind of triodes used(300B,811,845,833, etc) are very significant in the kind of sound that the amp produces. So is the brand of tubes that are used. And the circuit design.

You should do some research into this subject yourself. All SET amps don't sound the same. My recommendation is to get a highly regarded unit with the power levels that are suitable for your speakers, and make sure you get the best output transformers offered, even if you have to special order it and pay more for the transformers. In most cases, NOS tubes will also pay off.
David Berning Seigfried - stunning.
Oh brother....another, "..what is the BEST" query! It's like
asking a bunch of contractors "What is the best hammer to
buy?" Or in this case, since the options are far more broad in their
potential for investment, asking a great variety of people, "What is the
best sports car to buy?"

That said, Tom's (Twl) answer is informative and to the point. They all
sound quite different, and pairing them off with the speakers and
preamp is critical as well. A poor combination there could make you
swear off SET forever. They all offer varying degrees of strengths and
weaknesses of different qualities. Personal preference for exactly which
ones are a priority is paramount here. I have no idea how your ProAc's
pairs off with with SE amps but a search may yield some insight there.
In general you will need efficient speakers on the order of 90db or
greater to go with the low-powered options.

I'd also give Boa2's recommendation of George Wright's SET products an
enthusiastic thumb's up; both the 3.5 and his Mono 8 offer tremendous
bang-for-buck in a very no-frills, function-over-form cosmetic package.
Go over to AudioAsylum and check in the SETAsylum there for further
input on this subject.

No doubt, Berning's and Lamm offer stunning products....you may also
consider Border Patrol and Electronluv if you are looking in that price
range. But you should also know that those recommendations (since
you left your query wide open) are about 8-10 times the used price of
your CJ Premier. Given that fact I'm not quite sure why folks are
suggesting that to you. I believe the Berning option is a bit more
affordable at around $6k but you'll have to get on the waiting list which I
think is around 6-8 months is it not? They almost never come up used.

Somehow from your post I didn't get that you were looking for that
particular level of investment in SE options, hence the enthusiastic
second for Wright Sound's offerings. I do love the sound of SET amps in
particular so would also endorse them for what they do have to offer
that is distinctive from other sources of amplification. In very broad
terms this is a greater sense of presence and holography that is quite
hair-raising at best.

Good luck with your quest!

I apologize for the incomplete response, as Jax2 raised the most important concern: ensuring a synergy between the amps/pre & your speakers. In my relatively limited experience, even a change in interconnects/speaker cables can sharply alter your opinion about the pairing of the two.
One other recommendation: the Audion Sterling MK II. You can find this integrated (actually has a volume attenuator knob, is all) in an EL34-driven version (around $2100), or a 300B version (around $3800). I was very impressed with the airy and expansive sound of these amps. The MK II versions are a big improvement over the MK I. Certainly worth a listen, and sounded surprisingly good on the four different sets of speakers I heard them paired with.
Good luck. Once you go SET...
Thank you for all the responces. I do find it informative to hear what fellow audiophiles think/feel is the best out there.

I realize, Marco, that there is no such thing as the best. We all are looking for the same thing, the best sound, unfortunately that meens something different to all of us. I am not familiar with set's although I have heard the Cary 300sei, and was most impressed.

As a novice in the set world I thought actualy that I would have gotten a few votes for Cary as they seem to have a rather large following, but much to my surprize, people who seem to know through experience have different opinions for me to investigate. This is exactly why I posted the question.

My 2.5s are db rated in the mid 80s but are relatively easy to drive. Trying amps in my system is the second step in my plan after I have some knowledge base as to what to try.

Again thank you ALL for your responses and please keep them coming.
Hey Pepler - Don't take me too seriously, it's just that the idea of the "best" anything is pretty silly on face. I think I got a pretty good idea of where you are coming from from your original post, and I didn't mean to imply it was a dumb question or anything like that....it was just phrased in a way that lacked focus like many other queries I read here and consequently was left open to mono-component/myopic answers with no real useful explanation as to why the person thinks so or where they are coming from. You'd probably get those anyway, even if you were more specific. I'm a notorious chain-yanker from way back, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, he is weak and feeble minded.

So mid -80's efficiency will likely limit you to more powerful SE amps such as those running with multiple tubes in parralell. I would not go for any 8 watt solutions as you may be sadly disappointed by that combination, even if the 2.5's are easy to drive you still won't be able to get much volume out of them without distortion. Moderate volumes may be just fine though, but I'd find that pretty limiting myself. The 20wpc of the 300SEi you mention may be adequate, but I know absolutely nothing else about that amp. Again, I think the realy beauty of SE amplifications comes in pairing it off with the right speakers so they can really shine. If you have heard enough SE amps with enough of the kinds of music you listen to to know that you want to go in that direction I would suggest also considering a more SE(T)-friendly pair of speakers....I think you'd be much happier that way. Just one opinion among many though. But then again, I AM the great and powerful Oz!

If you do like to listen to very complex, layered, dynamic music such as orchestral and rock I would also suggest you may want to try listening on an SE settup as I'd say, from my experience that would be the only area of potential significant weakness in comparison with other types of amplification. If that were my programing of choice, personally I would choose a different type of amplification for my system. Obviously it is not.

My 2.5s are db rated in the mid 80s but are relatively easy to drive

Are you SURE??? Remember, at 85db/1W (8ohm) a "high powered" 30W SE will give a nominal <100db spl at PEAK level into a pure RESISTIVE load, before clipping. Real life speakers are far from being purely resistive (their impedance oscillates happily with frequency) making things worse.

As Marco above, I would strongly advise you either look into high powered amps (like the Wavacs or Lamms or KRs) OR forgo the Proacs.