What model Magnapan? What is your budget for power amp?
Audio Research HD220
Aestheix Atlas 200
Audio Research HD220
Aestheix Atlas 200
I was looking at the 3.6(or maybe the 1.6) depending on which one is a better bang for the buck in the frequency range that I want it to function in. I have not stated a budget purely because I want to know what the best SS amp out there is ( once again for midrange and upper bass) and then go about trying to Audition it.
I am using a Wyred 4 Sound MC 250/500 to drive my Magnepan 3.5Rs. Great sound on tap, but you need to give iyt quality cables. I settled in with:
Tek Line Cables Micro Reference Xtreme power cords
Clear Day solid core silver- double shotgun
XLR interconnects- DH Labs revelation or PS Audio Transcendent silver
A BAT VK500 with BAT pack... Dual mono blocks on one frame. Gobs of smooth sound, enormous bass, and sweet highs. Loads of power for panel speakers... and they'll run fine with single ended preamps as well as balanced using adapters of course as BAT is primarily all XLR inputs and a truly balanced topology.
It really is a great amp.
If you really want a SS amp that won't break the bank and sounds like tubes, try B&K Components. I had an ST-140 for many years and later upgraded to the B&K EX442 Sonata. When I sold the EX442, I quickly hooked up a pr of Paoli M60 monoblocks and was truly amazed at how much the EX442 sounded like the 8417 Paolis'. I've owned many tube amps over the years and B&K is probably the best value out there that sounds like tubes...but if you love tubes, than why not stick with a powerful tube amp like a KT88 or 6550 based amp.
"Tube-like" means different things to different people. To some, it means exceptional clarity and openness free of grain. To others, it means warm and fuzzy with a softened top end and an overall rounded sound.
Ecka, which definition do you use for "tube-like". Or if neither of mine fit your idea of "tube-like", how do you describe it?
based upon one of tvad's connotation of "tube like", i'd say it cannot be found in the performance of any solid state amp. i received a confirmation that a solid state amp would not sound like a tube amp, from victor khomenko, of balanced audio technology, back in the 90's, when i heard a comparison between the first bat ss amp and a tube amp at ces, 1992 or 1994.
Pass Labs has a clarity and grain-free sound reminiscent of certain modern tube amps I have owned, i.e. VAC and Atma-Sphere. However, the Pass Labs amps don't sound entirely like either tube amp.
So, while the Pass Labs XA-30.5 and XA-60.5 I have heard in my system are in some respects "tube-like", I cannot recommend them as direct replacements for modern tube amps with sonic characteristics like the VAC and Atma-Sphere amps.
Few tube amp owners I have met would be satisfied with a close approximation.
I happen to find the Pass Labs a satisfactory compromise with my present speakers, which to my ears are not driven successfully by tube amps.
The "tube like" qualities that I particularly like are liquidity (clarity and sudtlety without an edge) and and an open sound. The valve that I like the most is the 45 which with it's mighty 1.5 to 2.0 watts would not fulfil my requirements here.
Robert Harley's review of the Pass labs read interestingly but I obviously will need to somehow hear it ,as well as some of the other very helpful suggestions above.
Thanks again and please keep the thoughts coming.
Victor told me once he couldn't tell much difference from their entry level preamp to their more expensive preamp too, both or either, would satisfy him.
I've heard the Mc252, 402, 501s and 602. None of these came across to me as sounding like anything other than SS. Very nice SS but not tube oriented. The decays weren't that of tubes, nor did it possess the richness and body tubes field as a rule. To MCs credit, if I had panel speakers I could easily live with that MC 602. Very easily indeed.
Personally, I'd place the VK500 w/BAT Pk above the MC402 & under the MC602. The 501s were more lively and more SS'y.
Ecka, there was a thread several months ago on another audio forum where SET amp lovers were asked what solid-state amp they would choose if a gun was held to their heads, and surprisingly the only company anyone actually mentioned was Naim. That being a British company, perhaps it is easier to come by in Australia?? I've never heard them, but they are supposed to be good.
Blindjim & Mr tennis, It's nice to hear some of victors thoughts thank you! I recently read a review w/manufacturer that had a difficult time making the TL6.5 tube preamp superceed TL5.5's sound.
Ecka for what it's worth I have a moderately powered SS amp and am craving tube power for my 87db rated spks. The day will someday come however!
Is there really such an animal? I simply don't understand some of the suggestions given so far. Lot's of nice amplifiers but tube like? Audio Research designs tube gear that sounds closer to solid state than most. With the exception of a hybrid I don't think anything comes close to sounding tube like IMO.
Why not drive them with a tube amp? Manley Neo 250 or larger VTL come to mind. Look up Stereo Unlimited in Walnut Creek, California. He pairs lots of Magnapan with tube amps.