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In Reply to: RE: Help With Amplifier Selection posted by Frihed89 on February 09, 2017 at 10:21:49
Thanks for the advice Frihed89, I am aware that the Virgo's are a tough load-I guess it's time to make a change at the speaker. So odd, because my ears have never let me think or feel the Virgo's were straining or a bad electrical match with my 40W 6C33C amps. Perhaps the gain/drive of my active tube preamp is masking that a little? Perhaps the current capability of the Russian Output tubes?
I have heard the AN-E's at a show a few years ago-and loved them. They were hooked up to an 8 watt 300B AN Amp that produced an extremely dynamic sound. Problem there-is I don't have two full front corners to put them in. I prefer a more "free space" arrangement. The front plane of the Virgo's are at least 7-8 feet from the front wall and 5-6 from sidewalls.
On a sinking ship, women and rhythm section first. -Jaco Pastorius
I will add that the biggest selling Audio Note dealer in the world is in Hong Kong and their AN E speakers are free standing - not near side or back walls. The sound is excellent - the tune port is still 29hz so it's not like they are bass shy even away from walls.
The AN E/LX Hemp is under $6k. I ran the Line Magnetic 219IA with them and it was a great match. In December I replaced my AN E with another higher level AN E.
This IMO is still the best speaker I've heard for this price (regardless of sensitivity and regardless whether you can place them in corners or not.
As for the amps - I think the LM's have a more robust sound especially with bass content. Perhaps because they have beefier transformers. But I have not heard the 518ia enough.
Also before you plunge into the Line Magnet note that Audio Note also has the Cobra amplifier coming soon which is a 27 watt amp - and they have 65 watters apparently coming as well. The amp is under $2500 and from the looks of it are beasts for the money. It is push pull though but push pull made by guys with SE ears so it might be worth a wait just to hear it before taking the plunge. AN's push pull Zero integrated sounds sublime so the Cobra is really interesting.
For that matter, the AN P2 PP or Soro PP, both 20W, are remarkably close to SE sounding, but with more "drive" in the bass than the SE versions. I have never liked the sound of the EL34 in PP. The 6CA7 and KT77 sound much better to me as subs.
I know there is some big buzz around the new SORO SE Signature version. One 35+ year audio dealer who has sold almost everything has bought one for himself and a notable reviewer has bought one. I have never been a huge SORO fan but perhaps the superior transformers make the grade.
The OTO SE has enough power for the AN E - the SORO is double the OTO's power.
Wow, Thanks for the advice, guys! I love the Audio Note gear-what I have heard at least. Up to this point it was out of my budget but things are looking up-so this may be the shift in my system I've been looking for.
I've been at this for about 12 years, trying to mix and match a bunch of stuff through the years with different circuit topologies-different speakers but almost always tubes. Every solid state component has left me cold. I have almost never had the emotional connection to the music until the SET monos were inserted. This tells me that the SET route is the one to follow-regardless. It's time to start looking at higher sensitivity loudspeakers. I've been intrigued by the Coincident line, and love the AN-E's.
On a sinking ship, women and rhythm section first. -Jaco Pastorius
If you live in the LA area (or even just the US) contact Tony at Tonian Labs. He makes very good speakers and, at least when I was in contact with him, open to making custom speakers. Jim Jordan (Vaughn Loud Speakers) in Northern California (Bay Area) also makes some interesting SET speakers and pairs up with Gordon Rankin (Wavelength Audio) at shows.
Lots of good advice here. I have not heard that exact amp/speaker pairing but I have hear the speakers and amps in different systems. The Cary 805 is interesting because in many ways they do not sound like an 845 amp, rather they sound like a 300B on steroids (rich, big midrange, little sluggish sounding) IMHO. I say this because I think that could be complementary to the Virgoes which I think are a bit clinical sounding. I don't know what size room you have, what volume levels you use and what music you enjoy but I recall the 805 having both 4 and 8 ohm tap selector switch?
I think you hit upon synergy - It's not an automatic one amp is better than another - it really depends on the speaker. If he opts for the AN speaker - I would go for the AN amps and if he can't afford the AN amps - the Line Magnetics are very robust clean and have a lot of drive. Cary sounds too stereotypical tube on AN speakers IMO and it comes across as bloated and thick. On another speaker the Cary may be the better match.
I don't think any of it sounds bad - it really comes down to the sound you like. After all, all these makers make different tube output amps - so you also have to choose the specific tube type you like the best. After auditioning 3 similarly price monoblocks from Audio Note I found all three to sound rather astonishingly different from each other. (~8 watts) 2A3 parallel Empress monoblock, (~8 watts) 300B Quest monoblocks and (~2 watt 45 power amp. They don't really sound much at all alike and all three you could make a case for for being the best sounding. (I preferred the 45 and 2A3)
AMEN. Mixing and matching also works, but it takes patience and mistakes can be costly. My system(s) combine AN and Wavelength front ends, Blue Circle (BC) and DeHavilland preamps, AN, Fi, Ultra-Fi and Donald North Audio amps, and Tonian Labs and Stirling Audio speakers + assorted cabling from BC, AN, and Crimson. I forgot to mention BC power filters. In general, I'm pretty happy.
I also have found that AN preamps just don't work with my non-AN amps and that with AN you have to be careful about low- vs. high-gain amps. In relation to the gain in your preamp (if its non-AN).
I just spent several hours comparing the M3 and M6. JINRO as power amp with CD4.1 into 4.1 Fax to J/LX speakers with paper woofers.
I was not expecting the M6 to be that much better but I felt it was. I try to find fault here but there was none on any album I played. It was not thick or dark. Bass was both tight and layered and very deep. Treble was airy smooth layered clean open. Midrange was superb. I understand it may not be great with SS power amps or something but that says more about the SS amps. Maybe it's the new caps or MKIII version but it is a pretty much a final preamp IMO. Plenty of amps that should match
Google on DeHavilland Electric Amplifier Company and you will find Kara Chaffe's email. She can tell you the brand of speakers she used with her 845 monos. They didn't need corners. I don't think the Orangutans do either, and I found them more dynamic and Set-friendly.
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