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Help With Amplifier Selection

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Posted on February 9, 2017 at 04:10:45
Fishcat1
Audiophile

Posts: 109
Location: MI, USA
Joined: June 21, 2004
Hello,
I haven't posted in a very long time so here goes: I have recently fallen in love with the SET sound-but I also really like my speakers-problem is they are older Audio Physic Virgo 2's.-rated at 4 ohms and about 89db sens. I've kind of narrowed the search to 2 models. One is a set of used Cary 805C monoblocks, and the other is the new Line Magnetic LM518ia. Budget is somewhat flexible (3-4k) but would rather purchase used to maximize price performance ratio.

Curious if anyone out there has ever heard the 805C's with AP Virgo 2's. Also-I've read a lot of hype about the Line Magnetic LM518ia and trying to figure out if it would perform on par (or even close) with the Cary.

Associated gear is: Decware CSP3 Preamp, VPI TT-Quicksilver Phono pre, Jolida JD100 CD, MIT Shotgun Interconnects and XLO ref 5 Speaker cable.

Any advice is appreciated-I currently have a set of 6C33C-B amps that are awesome but have been having some tube problems and failures, so looking at upgrading for better reliability and sound. Thanks in advance!

On a sinking ship, women and rhythm section first. -Jaco Pastorius

 

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RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 9, 2017 at 08:38:53
used-hifi
Audiophile

Posts: 481
Location: portage IN
Joined: March 18, 2003
DIY is your only REAL solution because most SE amplifiers are dogs even the expensive ones sold,

so the question would be first and foremost can you DIY?

if you can i will give you my story


Lawrence

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 9, 2017 at 09:39:15
drlowmu
Manufacturer

Posts: 9706
Location: East of Kansas City
Joined: January 10, 2005
Very Simple !!

Truth is, SETs are best used with 98 dB or higher speakers. Anything less in sensitivity is a waste of YOUR time and money. The best bang for the dollar, and possibly the best, most easily available speaker, is a ALTEC ( GPA ) 604 type, or a VOTT type, well implemented.

THEN you can have the GOOD sounding SET amps at your disposal. No need for over three Watts. 89 dB is NOT a SET speaker, FAR better solid state solutions will exist for that .

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 9, 2017 at 10:21:49
Frihed89
Audiophile

Posts: 15125
Location: Copenhagen
Joined: March 21, 2005



Look at the electrical load curve. It doesn't look like a very tube friendly load, even with 28W. (You don't want to go into Class A2). You can use a "conventional" speaker of 85-90 dB with an 845. Kara Chaffe used to show her 845 monos with this type of speaker. But the impedance curve needs to be flatter, with nothing below 6-8 Ohms in the upper bass and midrange.

My suggestion would be to get a pair of Audio Note UK AN-E or AN-J Lexus speakers, the basic model(s). They aren't that expensive. I've never heard a Cary amplifier, but I have heard a couple of their other models played with DeVore Fidelity Orangutang 093 and 096 speakers. These speakers cost more than the AN(UK) models and don't go as low, but the rest was absolutely lovely.

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 9, 2017 at 10:37:57
Palustris
Audiophile

Posts: 1853
Location: Cape Cod
Joined: September 12, 2008
The SE amp paradigm really denotes a low wattage (out of technical necessity) amplifier and high efficiency speaker with a benign impedance curve. If you violate the paradigm you are really not going to get the sound you are after. It is my own personal contention that the speaker is just as important as the SE amp. There is something really appealing about a high efficiency speaker and dynamics may be a big part of the reason.

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 9, 2017 at 10:45:30
Fishcat1
Audiophile

Posts: 109
Location: MI, USA
Joined: June 21, 2004
Thank you for the advice, Lawrence. I'm not a DIYer at this point, but never say never.
On a sinking ship, women and rhythm section first. -Jaco Pastorius

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 9, 2017 at 10:56:06
Fishcat1
Audiophile

Posts: 109
Location: MI, USA
Joined: June 21, 2004
Yes, I had a feeling you guys would give me this advice. The very interesting result I've achieved with my 40W existing SET Monos is a sense of an "effortless" presentation compared to a nice 50W EL34 Push pull. The PP amp seemed to get hard and brittle at higher levels. This seems counterintuitive based on my speakers impedance curve. The SET amp just has much better low level info and note decays, etc. I guess I have to experience the true low power-high sensitivity SET sound in my space to figure this out. I've been checking out the Coincident Line of speakers a little-generally 95db+ and 8-16 ohms. Thanks!!
On a sinking ship, women and rhythm section first. -Jaco Pastorius

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 9, 2017 at 11:27:11
Fishcat1
Audiophile

Posts: 109
Location: MI, USA
Joined: June 21, 2004
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

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 9, 2017 at 15:50:07
Frihed89
Audiophile

Posts: 15125
Location: Copenhagen
Joined: March 21, 2005
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.

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 9, 2017 at 21:55:58
RGA
Reviewer

Posts: 10103
Joined: August 8, 2001
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.

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 10, 2017 at 03:57:51
Frihed89
Audiophile

Posts: 15125
Location: Copenhagen
Joined: March 21, 2005
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.

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 10, 2017 at 05:40:35
matthewJ2
Audiophile

Posts: 13
Location: Midwest
Joined: March 7, 2014
Slight thread drift - presently there is a lightly used Kurashima 2A3 on audiogon with full contingent of Emission Labs tubes.

Kurashima use actual re-wound Western Electric transformers. Believe Line Magnetic transformers are based on but not WE.

I've had my 45 Kurashima feeding Lowther Alerion for 5 years now. Quality and sound are incredible.

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 10, 2017 at 09:29:22
Fishcat1
Audiophile

Posts: 109
Location: MI, USA
Joined: June 21, 2004
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

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 10, 2017 at 10:47:26
TubeDriver
Audiophile

Posts: 455
Location: East coast
Joined: February 16, 2007
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?

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 10, 2017 at 20:23:17
RGA
Reviewer

Posts: 10103
Joined: August 8, 2001
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.

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 10, 2017 at 20:31:21
RGA
Reviewer

Posts: 10103
Joined: August 8, 2001
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)

 

Sold? nt, posted on February 11, 2017 at 01:30:13
jusbe
Audiophile

Posts: 5012
Location: Ryedale
Joined: April 4, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
July 23, 2004

Big J

"... only a very few individuals understand as yet that personal salvation is a contradiction in terms."


 

Tonian Labs, posted on February 12, 2017 at 03:20:52
Frihed89
Audiophile

Posts: 15125
Location: Copenhagen
Joined: March 21, 2005
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.

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 12, 2017 at 03:26:54
Frihed89
Audiophile

Posts: 15125
Location: Copenhagen
Joined: March 21, 2005
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).

 

RE: Sold? nt, posted on February 13, 2017 at 05:59:47
matthewJ2
Audiophile

Posts: 13
Location: Midwest
Joined: March 7, 2014
Appears to be the case. Either that or the owner had a change of hear. The ad is down.

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 13, 2017 at 06:27:36
RGA
Reviewer

Posts: 10103
Joined: August 8, 2001
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

 

RE: Sold? nt - Its Back, posted on February 23, 2017 at 05:36:29
matthewJ2
Audiophile

Posts: 13
Location: Midwest
Joined: March 7, 2014
Kurashima 2A3 on Audiogon at what is a very good price assuming not abused.

 

RE: Help With Amplifier Selection, posted on February 24, 2017 at 06:48:19
cawson@onetel.com
Audiophile

Posts: 793
Joined: September 27, 2004
Why consider the LM-218IA when you could get the 219IA for well within your budget. It's currently "on offer" at $2355 plus carriage of around $400?

That would give you 24 watts instead of 13. I've not heard LM stuff myself but it certainly looks good value.

Or you could consider a SS amp that sounds tube-like. Not possible, some diehards will say, but give it a go. With your low efficiency speakers, you could look at a used GamuT D200. I bought one recently and, partnered with my Avantgarde horn speakers, it sounds better than any SET I've used, but without abandoning the characteristic SET sound - it just vastly improves the quality of the bass.

 

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