What preamp & power amp to buy?


Hello I'm looking for the best sounding pre amp and power amp to go with my Rockport Ankaa speakers. Cost is no problem. I currently have the Mark Levinson 436 power amps together with the 380 preamp and am looking to upgrade. I would be very interested to find out what electronics those of you with the Rockport Ankaa speakers are using? Any help would be very much appriciated.
Regards
Matt Hoult.
matthewhoult
You should really get out and listen to some equipment for yourself. If cost is not a problem,I assume you can afford to travel around some. Just a thought.
Please follow link...perhaps a consideration. But even more, how about asking Rockport?

http://www.stereophile.com/ces2008/010908rock/index.html
If money and time are of no consequence, I would suggest you wait until you can go to an audio show like AXPONA, RMAF or T.H.E. Show. You will be able to see and hear the best of what is available and talk to the manufacturers and their rep's in person.

Do your homework first before going so that you do not waste time on products that have little use to you or your preferences.
05-13-11: Tpreaves
You should really get out and listen to some equipment for yourself. If cost is not a problem,I assume you can afford to travel around some. Just a thought.
How do you know Matthewhoult hasn't been out listening? Maybe he is tired of jetting around the world and want to narrow his search from Rockport Ankaa speaker owners sharing their experiences and recommendations.
Hi Matt, and welcome as a new participant in this forum.
Pls give it a day or so, and you should get more actual responses about gear, from some very knowledgable posters, instead of advice to go elsewhere.

One great amp to consider is a new top-of-the line product just released from Jeff Rowland Design Group, the 625's. They might be an interesting match with the coherence of your incredible Ankaas, and should also be able to successfully drive their lower frequencies.

There's an active thread with Guidocorona, et.al., at:
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1291695196&read&keyw&zzrowland

Good luck!
Go to Lamm Industries. They have the best sounding gear.
You should listen to Ayre and Audio Research equipment. Levenson stuff always sounded too dark for me. ..just inquisitive as to if you ever heard the Vandersteen 7's or 5A's?
05-14-11: Syntax
Go to Lamm Industries. They have the best sounding gear.

The best in the world above everything else made or just in your house? :)
I'd talk to Rockport, ask them what they found to work well, I'd also ask what they found didn't work as well.. At the "cost is no object" level it all becomes differences, and what matches best with your speakers, room, and your ears. Certainly ARC, Lamm, Ayon, Halcro, Rowland, Krell, Ayre, Boulder, CJ, Spectral, VTL, all would work fine.. but one or two will be the match made in heaven for you. At the price point you're talking about buying by the label is a bad idea.
Thanks for your response guys, I will try and audtion the Rowland 625 and also talk with Andy Payor from Rockport regarding what works and what doesn't.
A quick search of Virtual Systems on Agon showed systems where Rockport speakers were paired with Boulder (mentioned above) and also Gryphon monoblocks. Might also be worth auditioning or asking Rockport about these.

Good luck, your "problem" is arguably one of the better ones to face!
If cost is no object then IMHO I would flying out to all the Rockport dealers to see/hear what they are paired with and assess the performance.
If you can afford a 100K worth of electronics I am not sure what you are going to glean from this forum - I doubt that many people own equipment in that stratosphere.

Please do not take this response in a bad way - but if you do not have a budget relatively speaking... a trip to a few dealers makes more sense to me then advice here.

J. Valin of the AS reviews all sorts of products in that echelon.
BAT Balanced Audio Technology - NT
05-14-11: Syntax
Go to Lamm Industries. They have the best sounding gear.

I second the recommendation for the LAMM products.
The Herron M1 Mono amps and VTSP 3A tube pre will get you world class sound without emptying your account if you do not have power hungry speakers.
sometimes I wonder why I don't just the matching Herron M1s to go with the VTSP 3a. I like trying different amps, but I am curious on how the matching separates from Herron sound. Thats more power cords and IC's though. I don't have the funds at the moment, but maybe in the future. So Wig, have you heard the combo?
You should include Pass Labs Class A monoblocks (XA .5 series) and their pre-amp in your evaluation too. Good luck...nothing more fun than buying new gear.
There may be an even newer Rowland amp then M625 coming our way. Last I heard it may be a bridgeable version of M625 with a different model number ... operable both in stereo and mono configuration. Probably same chassis as M625. I have no hard information on pricing, technical specifications or performance... so I'll spare you my wilding speculations on the subject. I'll post when I get some hard info. G.
cost is no object;I would look at atmasphere ma3's with atmasphere's matching higher end pre amp;that is if cost is no real concern.
Are these recommendations Lamm, Pass, Rowland, AS ... based on personal experience driving Rockport Ankaa or just the components in the Stereophile recommended Class A+++++?
Kclone,

I have the Herron combo and love them, no artificial bloom, no grain or hard etch sound, just very liquid with outstanding dynamic swings and really draws you into the music. I have owned Belles, Rogue, Classee,CJ, AR, Bryston and many others and the Herron equipment is head and shoulders above them.

Get the Herron equipment and enjoy world class sound for many years verses the other manufacturers who change their equipment every other year. Too me, Herron sounds right.

Wig wrote; I have owned Belles, Rogue, Classee,CJ, AR, Bryston and many others and the Herron equipment is head and shoulders above them.

Can you elaborate because that's a bould statement made by you, are you sugesting you had everyone of these pces paired up with your present speakers, specifically what were the differences and the actual pces of gear you make referrence to.

In the end as you are reading all these replies you are going to get endless opinions, that's all they are.

You need to either get pces in your home and compare, try and find others with the same speakers and go and listen. Might involve some travel time but in the end your ears need to hear and make the decision.
I compered the Herron VTSP 3a preamp directly with a Red Wine Audio Isabella and an Audio Research REF 5. All 3 were great, but Of course I ended up with the Herron. If the Herron amps are as good as the pre, then Wig may have a valid observation.
If you bought your speakers through a dealer, I would start there. Would to they recommend. You should then be able to go there to audition. You could also do a search of virtual systems on this site that have Rockport speakers.
I have evaluated AR I believe the VS110 model, Rogue Cronus, Belles 150A Ref, Belles 350A Ref, Belles 21A with modded caps, power supplies and diodes, Rega Apollo, Bryston BDA-1 Dac, MCcormack DNA, CJ PV12 with My Vandersteen 2 Sig II with cabling ranging from Dymanic design, Goertz, MIT S2.3, AQ Columbia, Kimber and others I can’t recall. With the given amps above, I thought the Rogue Cronus was more musical and satisfying even with its rated output.

My Avalon Ascendants were evaluated with the Belles 350A Ref, a highly modified Belles 21A, Belles 22A, Rega Apollo, Bryston BDA-1, Ayon CD2, Eastern Electric Mini Dac, Berkeley Alpha Dac ,Herron VTSP 3A Tube Pre, Herron M1’s Mono Amps, Dynamic Design cables, Morrow MA4/6, Morrow SP4/6, JPS SC3, MIT S1.3, Clear Day Double Shotguns and Clarity Cables. In my system, it will only take you one switch of cabling to discern that the Herron VTSP 3A and M1 amps are superior to every piece of equipment I have heard. The Belles 350A Ref has twice the power of the M1’s but the M1’s produces better bass , has the liquidity of tubes and it just gets out of the way. Even the highly modded 21A and 22A was no match for the Heron VTSP 3A. The 21A was congested with excessive bloom in comparison to the VTSP which is very dynamic from top to bottom with presentation that is detailed and engaging. Imaging and soundstaging are life-like with unbelievable tonality and depth. I’m sure you can find an amp that is quicker, has more power and bass for a whole lot more but none will offer the flexibility and musicality the Herron combo offers. His equipment is designed out of the love for music and is tried and tested by results and not theories.

I have heard Avalons with Spectral, Jeff Rowland and VTL and Herron by far has a better price/performance ratio unless you have unlimited funds and like exotic casing.

Wig, thank's for the responce.

So by reading your thread it's clear that you are a BIG Herron FAN and that's fine but ...

In this thread you go one further saying;

"I’m sure you can find an amp that is quicker, has more power and bass for a whole lot more but none will offer the flexibility and musicality the Herron combo offers"

Wig I could quote your whole thread but then again this is not a debate about Herron or other product you have mentioned so I'll just leave well enough alone.

I will say you made me really laugh hard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To anyone reading this there are always going to be lots of opinions and the only one that really matters is your own, so enjoy it's going to be a journy.

I have had my share, latest being a owner of Avalon Isis speakers paired up with ARC Ref3 REF600 MK2's along with 610T's, same system also had a VTL 7.5 and Ref 750's which I swapped gear back and forth to get different flavours to my present being MBL 101E's paired up with a VAC Sig. MK2a pre, and soon to be waiting for my VAC Statement 450 mono blocks. Source TW Acustic Black Knight with a couple of arms and other gear.

Enjoy!

Dev,

I'm just saying that Herron makes very good equipment and I only found about them 8 months ago. It just shows that you must listen to as many components and cables as you can before making a decision. I have made many mistakes from reviews and opinions. It's a journey as you have said.

Happy Listening
There is a Herron VTSP 3a preamp up on Agon right now. Someone should jump on that one.