Has anyone had any luck with Virgos and tubes? Or at least heard a good combo at a dealer? I have the Virgos and I'm looking for a good amp (I'm a bit dissatisfied w. solid state). The one amp I did hear at my dealer (CJ Premier 12) provided beautiful focused images, shimmery cymbals, 3D vocals.... but where the bass drum went BOOM-BOOM-BOOM with SS and Virgos, the CJ and Virgos went tap-tap-tap. And that's with 140W/ch. Looks like a muscle amp is in my future.
Out of respect for anyone who has the intelligence and good taste to purchase the AP Virgos, I didn't see the need to mention that these speakers need plenty of time to get settled in, or that a hundred hours of shifting them around the room, and fooling with bass traps and ab/fusors and Helmholtz resonators = "you get out what you put in". These are the kind of comments one might make to an entry-level audiophile, and those folk don't buy Virgos.
I was intrigued by the comment that re-emplacement, however carefully done at the outset, might necessarily be redone when changing from SS to tubes. That's provocative. Thanks for that.
But what I find really interesting is the abuse of power I see posted here. Listed at 90 dbw, and tested at 89 (though the delta phase angle makes these numbers useless), and known to be enjoyed with amps such as the "gain card" (20 or so wpc), by respected industry pros, and even (God forbid) SETs (the horror!), what the heck is the room volume you guys are vibrating?
I'm using an enclosed volume of about 40 cubic meters, and driving the Virgos with about 100 wpc SS. I'm probably using all of 3 wpc most of the time--perhaps as much as 10 wpc in ear-splitting transient open E strings on the bass guitar. Naturally, I felt that the demanding Spanish guitar solos I love need much more power, so I'm having a pair of dedicated 400+ wpc monoblocks built.
Unfortunately, the version of Virgo I have only has one pair of binding posts per speaker, or I'd get another pair of monoblocks to bi-amp each channel. Do you all think this is enough power, or should I look for a smaller room? I could put the wife's business suits in the listening room, and use her walk-in closet with the sloped ceiling--hey--non-paralell walls! Wait! I'll have her leave the suits in the closet--more damping, and order some of those Everest monoblocks!
so please, what is your room size with these monster tube amps?
and another thing, bass is cheap. with a speaker that does so many things so well, what the heck are you complaining about? If you want some of that "crack-whore" bass that Americans can't live without--get a powered sub. You can get one for each corner of the room for less than the price of a tube change on a CJ12. I'm not following this sting at all. Are you guys serious?
(using amplifiers as tone controls, with a speaker that is so fussy about placement--sheesh!)
with my Premier 12's & Avanti Centuries, I'm using an enclosed volume of about 217 cord feet of wood (preferably African Wenge - Hugh Masekela signature edition cords). I don't think the volume knob has ever seen 11 o'clock and only close when I want to fill the entire house.
If I recall, AP produced the early Virgos with dual binding posts for bi-wiring in the US only. However, after much number crunching, their marketing department concluded that very few Virgos were actually purchased by crack-whores and the speaker went totally Euro. Why not solve two problems at once and bi-wire a flamenco listening session by donning one of the wife's business suits?
More hay Trigger? No thanks Roy, I'm stuffed,
P.S. Supposedly AP is planning an updated release of the Virgos but will retain the current version as 'the Virgo Classic'. Maybe this summer.
should I be concerned when I can claim I understood and received valuable information from a post like that? I spent the morning rubbing auric illuminator gel on my computer monitor. everything makes sense now. thanks JT.
I would have weighed in sooner on this issue, but I'm recovering from a night at my house with both Nigel and Rich. You know you have to have a pretty acceptable system to have those two over without a warrant. Just imagine the fun of having Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Henry Lee over to inspect your crime scene.
Anyway, I believe the Virgo and CJ Premier 11A system survived with its good reputation firmly intact. Indeed, between gulps of margaritas and mouthfuls of enchiladas, there were murmurs of approval from the forum members.
In addition to hearing the Premier 12 with the Virgo's, I've also had both the Plinius 8150 (150 WPC) and the awesome Specton digital amp (300 WPC) with them in my home. If you are having bass problems, it may be that your Virgo's are not broken in or set up properly. Mine took forever.
My interest is piqued by the amplification you've mentioned. I own the
CJ Premier 12s, I heard and enjoyed the Plinius on other speakers, and
I've read about the Spectron amp with interest.
Would you mind posting a quick synopsis of how these amps sounded on the Virgos, and which you like best? Inquiring audiophiles want to know...
After three extensive auditions of the same combo (Virgos + Premier 12s) I can't say I ever heard 'tap-tap' tympanis. What were the other components? The 12s have plenty of power. Use the Svetlana 6550Cs (now standard) to tighten up their bass over the original GE 6550As.
The Virgo's bass is pretty darn good considering all their other magical attributes. A slight mid-bass rise, and the bass is a tad warmish and not as tight as you may get elsewhere, but definitely not tap-tap-tap. 'Course you need to get 'em set up properly - the Immedia guidelines do work.
That's my experience. In fact - I came very very close to purchasing this combo. Hearing the Libras and then the beautiful Avanti Centuries changed my mind - and my wallet. If your AP dealer has either of these speakers in-house, listen to them w/ the 12's to compare with the Virgo.
For the price, I've not heard an amp with a better balance of virtues and naturalness than the Premier 12s.
I agree with Tim. It's hard to imagine the CJ Premier 12s being a let down with the Virgos. I used the 12s to power the Libras, which are rated at 86 dB (vs the more sensitive Virgos at 90 dB) and the 12s simply kicked ass. They sounded, subjectively, as powerful as the Bryston 3B and 4B amps on that same speaker - plenty of slammin,' tight bass.
I've had the Virgos in home, using the CJ MV55 stereo tube amp (45W) and the Virgos sounded beautiful, powerful and full bodied. However, the bass certainly became tighter and punchier with a Bryston 3B. Alas, I lost a little too much magic in the mids and highs. Such is hi-fi...
Were the cj's properly set up for 4 Ohm output impedance?
Michael Fremer, the Stereophile reviewer who used to own a pair of Virgos happily drove his Virgos with a pair of CJ Prem 12 and actually preferred the Prem 12 in terms of speed and bass dynamics over the much more powerful VTL MB450! In fact to quote him in one of his reviews, he wrote "the Premier 12s coaxed the best bass out of my Virgos". Chris Sands who lurks around here every now and then also drives his Virgos with a CJ Prem 11a w/c has half the power and less bass power than the 12 and he seems to be a happy camper.
Comparing tube and ss power is not as easy as plug and play. You just cant plug in a tube amp on a speaker setup determined using a ss amp (and vice versa) and come up with a conclusion. Tubes and ss have sufficiently different characteristics as to warrant different optimal placement in the room. Most likely, if you tried to move the Virgos around, you'll probably find the position where the Virgo put out boom boom boom with the tube amp too. If this is not the case, then the source components maybe the culprit. In my experience, tube amps are actually more revealing of the source components actual bass characteristics (i.e. results to greater variance of bass performance) than do ss amps.
Yes... I did read that about Fremer. Although I read (I think it was in an Ayre review) that he'd used tube amps exclusively for that entire period. Not best bass from *any* amp, but best bass from any *tube* amp is quite a qualifier. I can't believe he got better bass out the CJ's than the 450W/ch VTL's, but I'm going to give those a listen as well.
Michael Fremer drove his for years with VTL 185's (they were 175's when he bought 'em) and I heard the 250 Triode VTL's make a pair of Libras happy indeed. I think the secret is probably power, which is a VTL speciality.
There's no such thing as too much power. I'm boxing up Jasmine and Suzy this weekend for a trip out to California. Steve McCormack and his associate Kris Jeter will perform a radical reconstructive surgery , mating them for life. Where once there were two, there will be one, wicked and powerful set of twins, fully dual-differential, their conflicting natures forever contained in a push-pull prison. The Virgos will never be the same after this....ahhh, my shy, reticent Virgos. Who knows what evil lurks, in the hearts of men? Alive! It's Alive!
I listened to the Virgos paired VTL 125w tube monoblocks. The VTL amps handled the load with ease, even at ear splitting volumes. There was plenty of clean bass. The source was Naim CDX. Fantastic combination in my view. Odd that your experience is so different.
I have not heard the Virgos sound good with tubes. The bass is flubby and soft with tubes (In my experience). I wanted to buy the speakers but didn't for that reason.
That was using the Cary amps. The speakers were booming using the Krell. They did sound good with the CJ.
Interesting, I had just the opposite result with a 50-watt Audio Research Classic 60 (well, actually a hybrid) and later a VT-60 (pure tube) and a pair of Virgos. The bass was warmish but very detailed, taut when necessary and there was that sense of perfect pitch. Certainly not a lot of "slam" but it went plenty deep enough, just as Fremer described. To my ears, the bass was actually the highlight of the Virgo sound, this with lowish-powered but quality tube amps. I would also suggest taking seriously the speaker positioning technique that Audio Physics and Fremer have described, in which you map out the room to identify the bass null and bass reinforcement areas, this will enable you to get the best bass out of the speaker.
I'm with you Ladok. Although I have not had the pleasure of hearing the Virgos I know that ARC amps have a different intrinsic character than do most tube amps I have heard in the bass department. It is a constant with every speaker I have heard them paired with. My experience is as yours. The ARC tube amps (not just the hybrid Classic series but the "D" series and more recently the VT series have superb bass definition. The VT 100 Mk2 also offers more slam at over 500 joules of power storage it is not hard to understand why.
Conrad Johnson amplifiers while offering many wonderful things have never been noted for articulate bass performance and if one wants a tube amp with definition the cutting edge nod would have to go with ARC. Is anyone out there aware of a tube amp better in that department? I am certainly not but would certainly like to listen to one that is.
This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors: