Author Topic: amp recommendations  (Read 1485 times)

Offline Nick B

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2021, 09:39:58 PM »
If you want to push the envelope a little the Bob Carver 275 is a great little single chassis amp. I heard it at CAF and thought it sounded better than his $9500 350 watt mono blocks.

It puts out 75 wpc and is speced at only 19 lbs (I donít know how he was able to pull that off, that is Leeís than most 75w s amps.) Unfortunately at $2750 it is a bit out of your budget, but if you can squeeze a few extra bucks to shed a considerable amount of weight it might be an option.

Info here:

https://jimclarkstereo.com/audioquest-bob-carver-elac-stereo-equipment/Bob-Carver-Crimson-275-Stereo-Vacuum-Tube-Amplifier-p115352773


(Itís so much fun spending other people money.  :D )

First off, I am glad that you...and BobM...like the idea of spending my audio 💰  :roll:
Iíve heard of Bob Carver and thought he was quite an older fellow, but a web search set me straight that heís quite a bit younger. I remember buying my mom one of his integrated amps many years ago, but geez, it did not sound good. I remember his famous amplifier challenge in the 80s that he could duplicate the sound of any expensive amp in 48 hours as I recall.

This 275 amp is amazing in that it is 19 pounds and has such a small footprint. It is easy on the eyes as well, especially since it will reside in my living room. It is easy to bias and he gives a five year guarantee on tubes. Thereís a lot to like here and the price really isnít too bad. Iíll be looking for more info and reviews tonight. Thanks for making me aware of it.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2021, 10:20:08 PM by Nick B »
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Auralic Aries Mini & Mojo Audio lps
Audio Envy cables
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline Nick B

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2021, 10:19:27 PM »
Nick I think you are going to have a hard time finding any stereo tube amp that ar much less than 50 lbs if for no reason other than the required transformers. Maybe you should think of a pair of tube mono blocks. I had a pair of Quicksilver Mid Monos that weighed a little under 30 lbs each. Very easy braising using an adjustment screw and an LED both easily located on the top of the chassis. They were very stable and never gave me any trouble. 40 wpc and under $2k for the pair, brand new. A google search will turn up lots of discussions about them.

They just might check off all of your boxes.

More info here:

https://www.lpgear.com/product/QUICKSILVERMID.html

Tom,
Iíve known about Quicksilver and nearly bought his gear years ago. Afaik, it has a reputation for build quality and reliability. I think monos are a great idea, assuming theyíll fit on my rack. The Arion HS 500s that Charles recommended would be fine, but they havenít sold on the used market in a while. I sent an email to Bob Latino about the VTA ST amps and I hope to talk to him tomorrow. I canít find info on the weight of those amps and I want to discuss the biasing procedure. Iíll do some reading tonight on the Quicksilvers.
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Auralic Aries Mini & Mojo Audio lps
Audio Envy cables
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline tmazz

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2021, 03:32:11 PM »

First off, I am glad that you...and BobM...like the idea of spending my audio 💰  :roll:


Hey, what are friends for.  :thumb:
Remember, it's all about the music........

ē Nola Boxers
ē Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
ē McIntosh MC 275
ē ARC SP-9
ē VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Benz Micro Glider
ē Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC/Rasp Pi Roon Endpoint/Denon 2910
ē DigiBuss/TWL PC&USB/MIT Cable

Offline Nick B

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2021, 07:31:27 PM »
Iíve looked into the Carver Crimson 275 and VTA ST 70 & 120 amps a bit more. It seems that Frank Malitz and EJ Sarmiento bought Carver a couple of years ago and that Bob Carver now does design work for them. It appears the 275 is the first offering and a Carver integrated will be next. The Carver 275 has been getting very favorable comments and has been in demand. I looked at comments from the Steve Hoffman and Audiokarma forums, YouTube etc.  I did recall a couple of comments about transformer buzz and speaker hiss. But one of the forum members suggested to return the amp under warranty. The amp has a meter and biasing is simple 👍  Itís a consideration.

I was able to speak with Bob Latino today about the VTA ST amps. Nice guy..answered all my questions. A couple of things I didnít care for:
1) the inputs are on the front panel, so I either need to run the ICs under the amp which has only 3/8Ē clearance or run the ICs around each side and use right angle adapters - if I go underneath, Iíd need to raise the height of the amp
2) the power cord is hard-wired and only 2 prong - there isnít room for an iec connector, but my favorite power cord can be hard-wired
3) he doesnít offer any other chassis

I can add some upgrades. He has a tech in Arizona who would assemble it. I would never attempt a kit. The weight of both amps is in the mid 30 lb range. It would be a better value than the Carver, although the Carver is reasonably priced. Itís a consideration.
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Auralic Aries Mini & Mojo Audio lps
Audio Envy cables
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline Jack

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2021, 08:20:48 PM »
Nick

The fact that EJ is one of the owners of the Company now would be a very favorable consideration for me plus the fact that they are now being built in EJ's factory where Rick Cullen also works.  The five year warranty is another bonus.  If you think the power output of the ST-70 is enough for you then I would look at Frank's Ultravalve version of the same circuit.  Were the temperatures in West Florida not a consideration for eight months of the year I would love to give the Carver a try.  I had the Rogue ST-100 here for a couple of months but just couldn't take the heat and couldn't justify keeping it to just be able to use it a couple of months a year.  My little Music Reference RM-10 lets me do tube when I get the urge and it doesn't operate like a space heater and with 35wpc will drive everything I have to reasonably loud levels.
JVC QL-Y7 w/ Denon DL-301 Mk II
Vista Phono II
Nuprime CDT-8
Supratek Chardonnay
PS Audio BHK 250
Aqua La Voce S3
Auralic Aries G1
Verity Otello
(2) Rythmik F12SE
TWL PC's, USB, SC
Audio Envy IC's, PC's
PSA Stellar P3
Uberbuss

Offline Nick B

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2021, 09:05:54 PM »
Nick

The fact that EJ is one of the owners of the Company now would be a very favorable consideration for me plus the fact that they are now being built in EJ's factory where Rick Cullen also works.  The five year warranty is another bonus.  If you think the power output of the ST-70 is enough for you then I would look at Frank's Ultravalve version of the same circuit.  Were the temperatures in West Florida not a consideration for eight months of the year I would love to give the Carver a try.  I had the Rogue ST-100 here for a couple of months but just couldn't take the heat and couldn't justify keeping it to just be able to use it a couple of months a year.  My little Music Reference RM-10 lets me do tube when I get the urge and it doesn't operate like a space heater and with 35wpc will drive everything I have to reasonably loud levels.

Jack,
I figured you and other guys here would know these names. Certainly is reassuring as to your positive comments. I think Iíd be satisfied with the improvement that most of the amps mentioned would offer. I just want to get away from the more analytical sound Iíve lived with so long. I donít know what to expect from a tube amp. I had the VAC 90s and an RM 9 many years ago and they didnít utilize that many tubes as I recall. It does get hot in So Utah, but not usually very humid. So I think Iíd be fine with a tube amp all year long. I can live with some air conditioning noise and am not one to unplug my refrigerator when I listen. Frank told me heís about 6 weeks out and Bob said 3-4 weeks. Iíll keep pondering this and also checking HIFI Shark and the usual sites for used gear .
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Auralic Aries Mini & Mojo Audio lps
Audio Envy cables
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline Jack

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2021, 09:25:09 PM »
Based on my Mivera which short of a couple of differences in connectors is the same as your amp the only thing it has in common with Frank's SET amps are that they are both amps.  To my ears using a number of different speakers the SET is a warmer more full bodied amp than the hybrid BHK and even the RM-10. I've only ever seen two SET 400's come up for sale in over a year and both of the belonged to audiojem (Jeff) on AC.  The first one, black, he sold to me and bought the silver to go with his Pass preamp and then when he couldn't get what he wanted for his Pass amps he kept them and sold the silver SET400 too. 
JVC QL-Y7 w/ Denon DL-301 Mk II
Vista Phono II
Nuprime CDT-8
Supratek Chardonnay
PS Audio BHK 250
Aqua La Voce S3
Auralic Aries G1
Verity Otello
(2) Rythmik F12SE
TWL PC's, USB, SC
Audio Envy IC's, PC's
PSA Stellar P3
Uberbuss

Offline Nick B

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #37 on: February 04, 2021, 10:16:27 PM »
Based on my Mivera which short of a couple of differences in connectors is the same as your amp the only thing it has in common with Frank's SET amps are that they are both amps.  To my ears using a number of different speakers the SET is a warmer more full bodied amp than the hybrid BHK and even the RM-10. I've only ever seen two SET 400's come up for sale in over a year and both of the belonged to audiojem (Jeff) on AC.  The first one, black, he sold to me and bought the silver to go with his Pass preamp and then when he couldn't get what he wanted for his Pass amps he kept them and sold the silver SET400 too.

Yes, Frank told me they are hard to find. :roll:  small needle in very big haystack... heck, Iíd be fine with a SET 120
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Auralic Aries Mini & Mojo Audio lps
Audio Envy cables
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline Jack

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #38 on: February 04, 2021, 10:26:12 PM »
Unless you play the Carrera's really loud then I think you are probably right and with the price and shipping weight of the SET 120 it's well worth trying it out for 30 days and finding out for yourself.
JVC QL-Y7 w/ Denon DL-301 Mk II
Vista Phono II
Nuprime CDT-8
Supratek Chardonnay
PS Audio BHK 250
Aqua La Voce S3
Auralic Aries G1
Verity Otello
(2) Rythmik F12SE
TWL PC's, USB, SC
Audio Envy IC's, PC's
PSA Stellar P3
Uberbuss

Offline Nick B

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #39 on: February 04, 2021, 10:50:49 PM »
Unless you play the Carrera's really loud then I think you are probably right and with the price and shipping weight of the SET 120 it's well worth trying it out for 30 days and finding out for yourself.

Well, I kinda do play them loud... But the price is right. As youíre so familiar with the Mivera, your comments are a great reference point for me. That black chassis on the SET 120 is still an improvement over the prior ones  :thumb:
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Auralic Aries Mini & Mojo Audio lps
Audio Envy cables
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline Nick B

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #40 on: March 09, 2021, 10:14:31 PM »
I found a used AVA SET 120 Control Amp on Agon for a very good price. Itís an absolutely wonderful amp! Resolves better than my iCE amp, great imaging, wonderful improvement in tonality/ textures. Love the richer midrange and thatís exactly what I was hoping for.

I looked at all the suggestions here and price, weight, re-sellability, connector locations etc all factored into it. There was another amp project being considered with a well-known member here, but if it happens, itíll be a ways off. It would be a super-tweaked tube design.

For now, Iím loving this solid state little marvel  :thumb  Thanks, Jack, for the wonderful recommendation!

Nick
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Auralic Aries Mini & Mojo Audio lps
Audio Envy cables
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline Jack

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2021, 10:23:16 PM »
Congrats Nick.  I was talking to Fritz this afternoon and he was one too along with the SET 400 that he is using in house.  I suspect my SET 400/Don Sachs combo will be with me for a while. 
JVC QL-Y7 w/ Denon DL-301 Mk II
Vista Phono II
Nuprime CDT-8
Supratek Chardonnay
PS Audio BHK 250
Aqua La Voce S3
Auralic Aries G1
Verity Otello
(2) Rythmik F12SE
TWL PC's, USB, SC
Audio Envy IC's, PC's
PSA Stellar P3
Uberbuss

Offline Barry (NJ)

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #42 on: March 31, 2021, 09:08:49 AM »
I have no doubt that itís quite good. Iím just leaning towards not doing another class D...

Nick, FWIW, the Class D amp you currently have is an ICE amp, a repackaged B&O module, maybe with some tweaks by who ever packaged it up. The Cherry amplifiers are a fully independent proprietary design. The Orchard Amps are also a fully independent proprietary design utilizing GaN (Gallium Nitride) transistors, so they are all likely to have fairly different sonic signatures. Just some food for thought before you offhandedly disregard the idea ;)
Happiness is when your system overcomes your nervosa ;) 
So much media, so little time... My Media Room...

Offline Nick B

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #43 on: March 31, 2021, 10:04:25 AM »
I have no doubt that itís quite good. Iím just leaning towards not doing another class D...

Nick, FWIW, the Class D amp you currently have is an ICE amp, a repackaged B&O module, maybe with some tweaks by who ever packaged it up. The Cherry amplifiers are a fully independent proprietary design. The Orchard Amps are also a fully independent proprietary design utilizing GaN (Gallium Nitride) transistors, so they are all likely to have fairly different sonic signatures. Just some food for thought before you offhandedly disregard the idea ;)

Hi Barry,
I did end up buying a used AVA SET 120 Control Amp for less than 1k which is a great bargain. Itís a detailed and wonderfully musical amp. I had thought about Leoís monos and also about some used Arion monos (Charles had recommended them), but the Dueland cap upgrade which I wanted, would have cost me $900. Just way too high a price for that.
As to class D, Iíve also read great things about the Merrills and AGD. Am just very happy right now with my first time purchase of a Van Alstine amp
Nick
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Auralic Aries Mini & Mojo Audio lps
Audio Envy cables
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline Barry (NJ)

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Re: amp recommendations
« Reply #44 on: April 01, 2021, 03:21:41 PM »
Hi Barry,
I did end up buying a used AVA SET 120 Control Amp for less than 1k which is a great bargain. Itís a detailed and wonderfully musical amp. I had thought about Leoís monos and also about some used Arion monos (Charles had recommended them), but the Dueland cap upgrade which I wanted, would have cost me $900. Just way too high a price for that.
As to class D, Iíve also read great things about the Merrills and AGD. Am just very happy right now with my first time purchase of a Van Alstine amp
Nick

Excellent! As long as you're happy, it's all good!
Happiness is when your system overcomes your nervosa ;) 
So much media, so little time... My Media Room...