You want rich, warm, lots of bloom, good bass? Try the Primaluna Prologue 1 or 2. Tonally it's a delight - very easy to listen to and at a great price. Lots of tube magic as you call it and very responsive to tube rolling. It ain't perfect by some margin but for $1100 to $1350 you can't go wrong. I'm seeing a few used ones showing up for less than $1000 on the 'gon, but not mine. I'm really enjoying it.
Want Bloom. Get a SET 2A3!!
The ARC VT130 is one heck of a bloomer .... especially with KT88s. This is an absolute incredible performer at the often seen A'gon price of $1700. Even today I wish I had kept mine.
My Audio Note Soro SE is pretty darn neutral and still full of bloom.
I do not know how they do it and I do not care :)
Conrad Johnson MV-55. It has great midrange bloom, yet also relays a lot of detail. (The current MV-60 is too neutral.)
The new VAC Phi 30/30 with it glorious, powerful, and detailed 300B sound will certainly give you midrange bloom and richness that is to die for. Drives most speakers to sane listening levels without breaking a sweat too!
By "bloom" I think of the way some tube amps are able to create the illusion of sound expanding into an enormous space and enveloping the listener (as compared to the relatively flat soundfield of most solid state amps). I don't particularly like tube amps that accomplish merely the sense of envelopment by being tonally warm or creating a large soundfield by being a bit phasey sounding.
Some of the best I've heard include: Audionote Gaku-On ($250,000 211-based SET); Audionote Kageki (the 2a3 SET amp I own); Art Audio PX25; a custom pair of OTL amps (recently sold used for @$60,000); and a custom pair of 2a3/45 parallel SET amps (uses Audionote trannies). I have a pair of pushpull 45 amps that have some of that kind of bloom, but not quite like the Kageki. I know others hear that quality with higher powered pentode pushpull amps, but I personally don't hear quite the same magic.
Along with the SETs mentioned above, the Jadis amps, particularly the JA80s when used with either NOS Genelex Gold Lion KT88s or Mullard EL-34s, would match your description. You'll get lost in their midrange. And I imagine Quickslvers would too, if they still sound like they used to.
ARC Classic 60 - Very warm and wonderful on vocal! lacking bass control (then again I was trying to drive 4ohm 84dB Magnepan IIIa's)
I should also mention that I find that quality to be quite elusive when it comes to linestages. The best I've heard at creating an enveloping soundfield without creating a false warmth and annoying phaseyness are the Emotive Audio Epifania and the Audionote M-8 and M-10 (Audionote UK). I briefly heard the Kondo M-10 and it too had some magic qualities, but I did not get to do a long audition. Both the M-10 and Epifania are fantastic linestages, the Epifania might be a bit faster and lithe in tonal structure, the Audionote might be a bit warmer and seductive, but I never tried the two side by side.
I must admit that the Levinson No. 32 I currently run is a bit weak in that department, but it is not totally lacking. I also got a bit of that quality out of a Placette active linestage I use to use (still have it as a backup).
I've recently been playing my Tim Buckley cds on my Primaluna Prologue Two. These are cds for which I previously felt were poorly recorded. Tim's voice + vibes (the instrument) + 'primaluna' = heaven on earth.
yeah I second the Audio Research classic series has probably the best bloom and flesh out qualities of any amps I owned...base control was the weakest point and the fact it didnt have the deep base for home theater set ups was the only reason I sold mine...should have kept it..
The jadis JA-500 does everything, bass, midrange purity, sliky highs, balance, details, warmth, sweetness, soundstage, depth, imaging. I have lived with CJs, big Krells, and am in possession of Lamms, which come close to the Jadis but still not quite at par. My humbly opinion.
The ARC Classic series as the best bloomer? NOT EVEN CLOSE!
I had the CL60 for a year and then changed to the VT130 which tore up the CL60 in midrange bloom.....the CL60 was not even close. And then when I "needed" more power for Magnepan 3.3 speakers, I changed to CL150 mono amps. Just a little more headroom but not by much.....and the bloom? .... it was gone. Oh well.
my friend, I hear big jadis 800's, big VTL750's, big ARC and many more tube amp. Bloom is wrong term to describe, right term is 'life'. You right that tube amps have more of thos life than SS amp can ever have. Some tube have more life than others. Conrad, Cary, Jadis full with life, where other try to be combine SS and tube and finish with nothing.
Quad II mono have this life and few other to.
I have Pass and Quad amp, and each do some thing better than other.
A man without tube is a camel with no hump (no sex talk please!).