I am new to the world of SETs and I think that is the direction that I would like to go....if the Virgos can be driven by them? I have a VAC pp which I love, but I would like to go the way of a SET! In the Sept. issue of Stereophile JA ran the measurements and here are a few as follows. After reading those measurements if I could get some advise from you experts that would help greatly! If the Virgos prove to be a match for a SET, I was considering the new Cary 805 Anniversary Edition amps, but I would appreciate any and all recomendations! The Virgos are a three way speaker with a first order crossover rated at 4 ohms. Recommended power is 25-150 watts. I listen to duos, trios and some classical. Now for the measurements.....The Virgos measured in at 89.2dB(B)/2.83V/m however, it's impedance plot of magnitude and electrical phase against frequency reveals it to be a moderately demanding load. The speaker features a minimum impedance of 3.5 ohms at 572Hz, but the combination of 5.5 ohms and -42 degrees at 78Hz might stress a low powered amp? Please visit the Sept. issue for the full review and measurements to get the full story before responding if you like. I really hope I get some good news regarding this issue as I dearly love these speakers...in fact, I am on my second pair! Thanks in advance for all your feedback!!
The 805 amps should work fine with them. I used my 805C amps with ProAc 2.5 & 3.8s to fine effect. Lesser powered SETs will not work though, and just to be safe follow the advise of the other posters and give it a try first.
My speakers are Thiel 1.6's that are 90db and 4 ohms (dropping to a minimum of 3). I just started using the Dared VP-845 stereo SET amp (~25 w/ch): a wonderful match: easy driving with AI,M3A preamp volume at about 10-11 O'clock), great detail and depth and excellent transparency. I also use a sub so the amp isn't working to0 hard to control the bass. With the Virgos, the only question would be bass control. Good luck with your shopping.
I have not tried the III but the other versions are too demanding for SET's.
You would want at least 25W's in a small room say sub 100 sq feet.
But in general make sure you test it in your system before you buy it.
A while back, I owned a pair of Gallo Nuclues Ultimates (4 Dynaudio woofers per side, and a CDT tweeter). These speakers are roughly 84dB/w/m, with 4 ohm nominal, and reproduce a robust full range.
I drove the speakers very well with a Bel Canto SET40, a 35wpc 845tube amplifier. Also, I've had the opportunity to try our deHavilland SET 845 monoblocks and pair them with one of our VMPS RM1 ribbon monitors - high current demanding 4 ohm speakers. The bass impact was not the strongest I've heard, but there was no denying the magic within the midrange that only comes with a good SET/speaker match.
The Virgo III's look to be a more benign load versus either of the above two examples (judging from the measurements). I think you'll be extremely satisified if you go with a larger SET amp, and avoid the SET design implementations based on the sum of paralleling output stages. I've listened to the Virgo II's, and would categorize them as more of a limited full range speaker; something I'd augment with a subwoofer for gentle bass reinforcement, and concentrate on the imaging and musicality that appeared the strengths of these speakers.
As much as I like SET and tube amps in general, I like my Virgo III speakers best when powered by the Herron M150 monos. I've had many SET amps in my house from 2W to around 40W and have tried most of them on the Virgos, but nothing came close to the Herron amps in this application. Keep in mind that I do like to rock at loud volumes.
You will need more grunt than a valve such as 300B will provide. There are plenty of beefy 845 amps around. Read the 6moons.com review of the Art Audio Carissa. The reviewer uses Silverline Sonata II (95 dB) speakers and, as far as perceived power is concerned, he says "The Carissa, by leaps and bounds, sounds more powerful into my Silverlines than my 500-watt Bryston 7B STs". Should do the business with your Virgos!
for 16 watts, indeed Carissa has lots of power but AP I think is better served with quality solid state power or to ensure more headroom, Adagio monoblock at 44 watts or 60 watts would be more appropriate. This depends on users room size and listening volume of course but my impression of Virgo is that they needed more power to get thing going.
I have had a pair of Audio Physic Libra's for several years, which are very similar specs to the Virgo's. I started them off with 60 watts of Audio Research D-70 MK II and was much happier with 125 watts from a Music Reference RM9 MK II. I can't believe that a low powered amp would come close to doing them justice. I was thinking about the Carey 805's, but my Audio Physic dealer did not think they would be a good match. Both the Libra's and Virgo's are wonderful speakers with amazing imaging and huge soundstage, but probably not a good match for a SET amp.
Among the most perfect fidelity I've ever heard from a stereo was produced by Audio Physic Virgos driven by a VAC Avatar integrated P-P amp running in triode mode mode. The room was great and contributed, but the speaker is outstanding and the VAC Avatar is synergistic to it. I would not move to an SET from that combination, given the load vagaries of the Virgo speaker.
But if you did, the Audion single-ended parallel 300B amp is worth considering. I have found Audion amps to be highly tolerant of 4 ohm speakers. You can get close to 20 watts with a pair of 300Bs.
This seems to be my night.
I'm not an expert, but there is no way that my Paraglows at 3.5 watts could get any sounds that I wanted to hear out of my Virgo Is. I loved the speakers as well, but the glories that SET listeners go on about can not be reached with conventional speakers. I am now happy with the Abbys - which is an "entry level" Single driver speaker. I will not go back to conventional speakers. I hope to live with this system for a while and see how things develop in this niche.
There are of course higher power tube/amps as well s topologies that move beyond the single ended. Do a search for Jack G, he went from flea power to higher power. Though I think that he has very efficient speakers, so any comparison on his approach and yours may be moot.
me not an expert too. I doubt the Virgo will give good justice and performance to the puny power SETs despite that it being an exceptionally good speaker without a doubt for higher power amp.
I have a PP tube and bang them on a 3-way conventional speakers (wharfedale CRS 9 ). It sounded just fine. But when I tried the speakers ( 89db/W ) with EL84 SETs. It sounds very bad. lifeless and dull.
Then, recently I build the single driver Fostex FE167E with Bob Brines design and the result are just stunning. It do justice to the SETs and the PP sounded even more punchy now. Never knew my PP was that good. The Wharfedale have been given away for free!
I think you need a better sentivity speaker if you wish to go the SET path... otherwise PP that you are having should do the justice.
On another thought.. why would one wants to break the frequency spectrum that have been amplified with the SET into 3 segment ( 3 way speaker system) and then reconverge the sound into one piece receiver (our ears).... IMHO, single source driver is the best means to enjoy the vocals, mid-piece jazz and acoustic music, I used to have doubt but after built one myself, I cannot deny them. I am planning to build my 2A3 now... then again, I could be dead wrong in this thought!
Thanks everyone for the responses.....taking your advice, I have decided to drop the idea of a SET with the Virgos. I have just found a GREAT deal on a VAC 70/70 that I am going to go with. I will have to wait and create a second SET system from the ground up.
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