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The absolute best amp you’ve heard driving heritage speakers.


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New here and want to start by throwing up a thread to get a few for members’ absolute favorite amp you’ve heard driving heritage speakers.

Unobtainium? Homemade? Vintage? Anything goes.

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This is a great question, but you'll hear everyone mention a different amplifier. The best amplifier is the one that best matches your setup, room, and personal preference. I recently said something similar. 

But the Cornwall 4 that I previously owned had a somewhat bright sound. Here, the 2A3 tube amplifier with the CW4 never seems to be the perfect match. This amplifier was very good, but I also found it somewhat bright in sound, which could sometimes make it sound a bit harsh. In this case, I found the 300B SET+CW4 a better match. Now, with the LaScala AL5, I don't find the 300B SET a very pleasant match, a bit to much coloring, but now the 2A3 tube is the most pleasant combination. 

Before I started working with acoustic panels, the 2A3 was the best match with my AL5. Now that I have installed acoustic panels, I prefer my 45 SET. 

 

To answer your question from my experience, I don't have a favorite amp ever; it's more about my favorite amp at the moment with my current setup, and these are the Melody 2A3 PP and the 45 SET, with the 45 SET being the preferred choice for now. 

 

My music style is jazz, vocals, and acoustic instruments. However, if I were to listen to rock, beat, or electronic music, the 45 SET would not be suitable at all, and my preference would shift to a completely different amplifier.

 

And welcome to this forum 

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Hmmmmm. Interesting question.

I own a pair of Klipschorns & LaScalas.

 

I have in the past, or am currently using,  the following:

 

- HARMON KARDON 430 receiver       25W TWIN-POWERED, STEREO, SOLID STATE

 

- EICO      HF-81    14W INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER, STEREO, TUBE

 

- EICO      HF-85    PRE-AMPLIFIER, TUBE

   EICO      HF-87    35W AMPLIFIER, STEREO, TUBE

 

- H. H. SCOTT 299-B    50W INTEGRATED PREAMP-AMPLIFIER, STEREO, TUBE

 

- CARY     SLP-94      PRE-AMPLIFIER, TUBE

   WELBORNE LABS   MOONDOG   3.25W SET MONO AMPLIFIER, TUBE

 

- CARY     SLP-94   PRE-AMPLIFIER, TUBE

   NOS VALVES       VRD   MONO BLOCK AMPLIFIERS, TUBE

                                60 watts Ultra Linear/30 watts Triode switchable

 

- McINTOSH         MAC 1900     55-55W DIRECT COUPLED RECEIVER, SOLID STATE

 

- McINTOSH         MX 110 FM-STEREO, TUNER-PREAMPLIFIER, TUBE, type X

   McINTOSH         MC 30   30W MONO POWER AMPLIFIER, TUBE

   McINTOSH         MC 30   30W MONO POWER AMPLIFIER, TUBE

 

- McINTOSH         C 26     PRE-AMPLIFIER, SOLID STATE

   McINTOSH         MC 2105  105W POWER AMP, STEREO, SOLID STATE

 

Which option do I prefer?

Heck if I know . . . they all sound good.

 

 

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Unfortunately, there is no clear "technical" answer to this question. It has a lot to do with taste and personal preferences. Because the Heritage speakers are so efficient, some people like the advantages of the small SET amps, holographic sound, etc. Others like a solid sound with reserves and authority in the sound image. Then there is the question of which of the two concepts is fatigue-free listening in the long term. Then there is the question of whether a small SET should feed a bass horn or has to feed a large bass reflex speaker.

Personally, I'm more in the camp of the solid sound image with dynamic reserves. A very classic combination is, for example, a Klipschorn with Mcintosh tubes. I like it best with my C22CE and MC275Mk4. But my older sand Quad34 with Quad 606 also sound very nice.

From time to time I use a 300B SET or one of my friend's home-made 6L6 SETs with 3 watts, I think. But these are always just short excursions while I'm already looking forward to what I perceive as the "real" powerful sound.

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I been listening to my Korneff 45 for over 10 years, I have tried others but the 45 is hard to beat..

Right now I have a Darling 1626 installed and I like it alot but, I will never get rid of the 45!!!

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I used the Primaluna EVO 400 pre and amp for a year with the Forte IVs, that didn’t go well..seemed a little harsh and lean. I tried a lot of different tubes from 1960s Mullards and much more, didn’t help. Now I am using the Pass Labs XA-25 and Pass XP-12 preamp, that sounds the best with my Forte IVs and the Volti Razz I have. When my Pass Labs dealer gets back to me going to try the First Watt Sit-4, and see what’s happens..

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26 minutes ago, moray james said:

Benchmark AHB2.

I use Quad tube and sand amps since 45 years among other amps with joy. The concept of the AHB2 with its feed-forward error correction really reminds me on the Quad e.g. 606 power amp from the days.

 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-benchmark-ahb2-amp.7628/page-140#post-1026597

 

https://www.meridian-audio.info/public/quad_405_test_reports[2314].pdf

 

If you read the AHB2 description under „technology“ I think they have made a modern version of the Quad amp current dumping circuit.

 

https://benchmarkmedia.com/products/benchmark-ahb2-power-amplifier

 

 

 

 

IMG_5009.png

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36 minutes ago, Silverfoxvtx1800 said:

I used the Primaluna EVO 400 pre and amp for a year with the Forte IVs, that didn’t go well..seemed a little harsh and lean. I tried a lot of different tubes from 1960s Mullards and much more, didn’t help. Now I am using the Pass Labs XA-25 and Pass XP-12 preamp, that sounds the best with my Forte IVs and the Volti Razz I have. When my Pass Labs dealer gets back to me going to try the First Watt Sit-4, and see what’s happens..

Do you enjoy the sound of the Volti Razz speakers more than your Forte IVs?

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Yes they are in a different league then the Forte…it’s hard to describe more everything without being harsh…at first I would switch out the speaker cables Forte then the Razz being they sit next to each other and was easy with bananas…quit doing that because after a couple songs I would go back to the Razz…Not ever selling my Forte IVs they sound good in my home theater and with YouTube videos hooked to my A/V receiver..

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1 hour ago, KT88 said:

I think they have made a modern version of the Quad amp current dumping circuit.

yes the AHB2 is the Quad 405 that Peter Walker never built. I think Peter would have been very pleased to see his design achieve its full potential. The AHB2 deserves an equally fine preamplifier.

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I have La Scala's, at first I drove them with a 400 watt crown amp would put a smile on your face and the Klipsch sound came thru.

 

I now have a Decware Torii Jr V2 16 watts and it sounds great also.

 

Is there a difference, Yes is one bad and the other good No, just different.

 

Everyone's room is different, every system configuration is different, and generally sources are different.  The goal is system synergy and my personal opinion is the better the source material the better all your other components will sound no matter what it is. Remember, your room impacts your sound by at least 50%. So no other component has that level of impact.

 

Another personal opinion, there are a lot of good system combinations which can sound very good say 85-90%,  the next 5% is very expensive, the last 5% if it is obtainable is massively expensive.

 

Happiness comes when you sit down and enjoy your music, even better when there is someone to share it with, and even better with your favorite beverage.

 

Enjoy The Music

 

 

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18 hours ago, moray james said:

yes the AHB2 is the Quad 405 that Peter Walker never built. I think Peter would have been very pleased to see his design achieve its full potential. The AHB2 deserves an equally fine preamplifier.

Back in the 1970s, Peter Walker's current dumping circuit was immediately made available to the public. The service manual for the various Quad amps was and still is an open source regarding the circuit, the components used and their electrical values.

How is it today? What exactly did THX develop? Is it anonymous or are there specific people or a team behind it? I assume that the AHB2 is a pure licensed product? So is the circuitry in the AHB2 being shrouded in secrecy by THX or can you see everything you should (for repairs etc.) in the service manual?

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I just ordered the First Watt Sit-4 should get it in three days. The Pass Labs XA-25 amp sounds great with the Forte IVs and the Volti Razz should be interesting how the Sit-4 sounds with both…After my Primaluna problems I will never go tubes again so this will about as close as I will ever get to tube sound..

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30 minutes ago, Silverfoxvtx1800 said:

I just ordered the First Watt Sit-4 should get it in three days. The Pass Labs XA-25 amp sounds great with the Forte IVs and the Volti Razz should be interesting how the Sit-4 sounds with both…After my Primaluna problems I will never go tubes again so this will about as close as I will ever get to tube sound..

I am so sorry that your Primaluna experience was so bad. Ive had my EVO400 Integrated for over 3 years now and it blew one tube the first month, which Upscale Audio delivered a new tube the next day. It has run perfectly ever since and I have tube rolled in preamp section and the power tubes. I am surprised that Upscale wasn't willing or able to get your Primaluna Pre and amp working 100% Why go First Watt if the Pass Labs gear is so outstanding? 

 

On another note I decided to upgrade my Forte IVs to some Perlisten S7T towers that I heard and they blew me away. I love those speakers but my wife said they are UGLY and refuses to let them in our listening room. WTH? so I won't be moving off my Fortes. Drat.

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