Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)
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  1. #1
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    Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    I am curious what everyone considers the best pure sound quality/musical amplifiers that you have actually heard. I do not care how much power the amplifier has and to me power definitely does not equate to sound quality. I am most interested in what you believe are the most musical amplifiers that you have heard... the ones that pull you in and make you loose track of everything else but the music.

    I have tried many different amplifiers over the past few years. I have noticed some pretty large differences between these various amplifiers... anyway, here are the top few that I have owned...

    * Audio Mirror - Reflection 45s (SET ... simply wow)
    * First Watt - F6 (didn't feel it had enough power for long term at the time, but so sweet sounding)
    * T+A - Amp 8 (just a dam good little amp, built like a tank, fast, dynamic)
    * Goldmund - Job 225 (incredibly fast, maybe cut corners on build for price, but nice sounding amp)
    * Quick Silver - Silver 88s (unfortunately they were way to finicky and flaky, great sounding when they worked)

    So just curious if other people have any amps that gave them that special something that helped them forget the world for a while; again, watts per channel is not a criteria here.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    I'm confused on whether the question is "used" or "heard". Heard, is too many to mention.

    One other thought, musical, is a subjective target. I was thinking about that today. For example, one of the top amps I was struck as musical was my Conrad Johnson. In more of a lush, swinging type of musical. Today I was playing some Classic Rock, Zeppelin and such, through the Hegel H590, and it is one of the top musical amps in a more realistic way, lack of a better way to say it, tangible perhaps, it has that snap to the snare, bass in the chest type presentation while remaining so clear and coherent. One of the more livelike presentations of musical.

    I mentioned recently on another thread a Quad system I heard, that was quite musical. May not be what I'd call accurate but it was surely a nice sit back and listen though.
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  4. #3
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    totally agree with Mr Peabody, 'musical' can have many different meanings and as for not caring how much power the amp has.......nonesense ! For if your speakers of choice(the ones which you are making this subjective judgement with) are not overly efficient, then yes power matters !

    I'm willing to bet that most of us consider systems 'musical' when there is some amount of 'euphoric distortion' present !
    Cheers ! …. Dave

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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I'm confused on whether the question is "used" or "heard". Heard, is too many to mention.
    I am mainly asking about amplifiers that you have heard or listened to for a while. Basically lived with long enough to believe you have a true feel to how the amplifier sounds (owned if you will but a loan for a time period would also qualify). I do not believe listening at a show really gives a good indication... bad acoustics, an environment you are not familiar with, other gear you don't know, etc., not enough time to truly understand the amplifier.

    If power is a requirement for you to be absorbed by the music, so be it. But I do not personally believe power is a requirement for top sound quality, others may ...

    Of course "musical' as such is subjective; type of music, etc., is certainly a criteria, however I find that I can get deeply into many types of music. I have been totally involved with a nice Jazz vocalist (Holly Cole, Diane Krall, Patricia Barber, etc.) and I have been completely overwhelmed by a Led Zeppelin album... or an Alan Parsons piece... most any music can qualify. One of my favorite things is on Sunday mornings I enjoy getting a cup of coffee and listening to a nice piano piece... Fiona Joy is almost always the first thing played on a nice early morning Sunday relaxation session, for example.

    What I am really referring to is being so "musical" that you forget the amplifier, you forget the world for a time. Just something, that to you was almost spiritual in how it draws you in. Just special sounding. I know this may be different for everybody but I am just hoping to have a discussion about what amps that you have "lived" with had the ability to "take you there".

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikado463 View Post
    I'm willing to bet that most of us consider systems 'musical' when there is some amount of 'euphoric distortion' present !
    This may be true, because musical may not mean most accurate, but instead most inviting. I can say that I believe the T+A is more 'accurate' but the SET amplifiers are more easily 'musical' in my view. This will probably sound confusing, but I also believe that the T+A can get to this point, but it does not seem to be as natural for it as the Audio Mirror amps... But I believe I can only make these statements on amplifiers I have lived with long enough to make this type of judgement ... This is why I am only talking about amplifiers that I own.

    Simply put, what amps have had that special something for you ...
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Hi

    This is a interesting question - I see it somewhat different in the sense of what amplifiers at a given time gave you immense pleasure.

    Some equipment that has pleased me in the past no longer has that absolute magic which leads me to think it not the hardware that changes but your subjective perception of how you perceive the music.

    For me the following were mind blowing experiences:

    a) Jumping from a Quad 405 Mk2 to a Krell KSA100 Mk1. Within seconds after the first switch on I knew it was not leaving my house. That amp has been recapped and biased to 70 watts class A and is still working -25+ years later. Very clean sound with absolute control over the speaker. The later Krell's somehow lost that ability.

    b) My introduction to valves: This was a transition from a typical hi-fi sounding presentation to a system that created the ability to emotionally connect to the music. The ARC Ref 110 was the first amplifier that gave me that experience and now has a special place in my heart. Needless to say with the wrong speakers it can sound like a disaster de luxe. I am sure there are better but for me a definite keeper and I am looking forward to seeing what this amplifier can do with a top notch pre.

    Take care and best wishes to all for 2019 !

    Jozua

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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Thank you Jozua. This is the type of experiences I was interested in hearing about.

    I was a little worried about if the SET could drive my speakers well enough, however since I rarely listen at higher levels I decided to give it a try. It was just pure magic! I have never had a single piece of gear grab me that much before!

    Really looking forward to getting them setup with their matching DHT pre-amp. I am just enjoying the back to basic purity versus the features that other equipment has offered.
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    I had a similar path years ago. I began with Krell, feeling at the time the control and slam was the most "accurate" to my ears at the time. Over time an audition of ARC with Martin Logan really impressed me, the presence was haunting, like the performer was in the room. That memory stuck with me and I guess I tired of the Krell, I began to explore tubes. I tried ARC and didn't like it in my system, not the same as my prior audition. On a whim and research I brought in Conrad Johnson and was instantly in love with what I heard, it was like soul was breathed into the music. Than a speaker change and I found my amps wasn't doing the job, back on the merry-go-round I went, LOL I listen to a very wide variety of music but sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't just go back to CJ. Personal reasons though I probably won't go back to tubes, nothing to due with sound.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jozua View Post
    Hi

    This is a interesting question - I see it somewhat different in the sense of what amplifiers at a given time gave you immense pleasure.

    Some equipment that has pleased me in the past no longer has that absolute magic which leads me to think it not the hardware that changes but your subjective perception of how you perceive the music.

    For me the following were mind blowing experiences:

    a) Jumping from a Quad 405 Mk2 to a Krell KSA100 Mk1. Within seconds after the first switch on I knew it was not leaving my house. That amp has been recapped and biased to 70 watts class A and is still working -25+ years later. Very clean sound with absolute control over the speaker. The later Krell's somehow lost that ability.

    b) My introduction to valves: This was a transition from a typical hi-fi sounding presentation to a system that created the ability to emotionally connect to the music. The ARC Ref 110 was the first amplifier that gave me that experience and now has a special place in my heart. Needless to say with the wrong speakers it can sound like a disaster de luxe. I am sure there are better but for me a definite keeper and I am looking forward to seeing what this amplifier can do with a top notch pre.

    Take care and best wishes to all for 2019 !

    Jozua
    Aurender ACS10 w/AQ Diamond,
    Mark Levinson #526 & 532h, JBL 4367's
    Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro cart
    All Clarus Crimson cabling, AC to binding post. Surgex
    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent, Analysis Plus & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP

  10. #8
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    I am curious what everyone considers the best pure sound quality/musical amplifiers that you have actually heard. I do not care how much power the amplifier has and to me power definitely does not equate to sound quality. I am most interested in what you believe are the most musical amplifiers that you have heard... the ones that pull you in and make you loose track of everything else but the music.

    I have tried many different amplifiers over the past few years. I have noticed some pretty large differences between these various amplifiers... anyway, here are the top few that I have owned...

    * Audio Mirror - Reflection 45s (SET ... simply wow)
    * First Watt - F6 (didn't feel it had enough power for long term at the time, but so sweet sounding)
    * T+A - Amp 8 (just a dam good little amp, built like a tank, fast, dynamic)
    * Goldmund - Job 225 (incredibly fast, maybe cut corners on build for price, but nice sounding amp)
    * Quick Silver - Silver 88s (unfortunately they were way to finicky and flaky, great sounding when they worked)

    So just curious if other people have any amps that gave them that special something that helped them forget the world for a while; again, watts per channel is not a criteria here.
    Can you explain what you mean by finicky and flaky?
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    My two present amps.

    solid State
    darTZeel NHB-108
    Valves
    Air Tight 300B Anniversary
    Avantgarde,Air Tight,AMG,Studer,DeHaviland,Shindo,Kubala Sosna

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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    Can you explain what you mean by finicky and flaky?
    I tell ya when I had my mid-monos they were so easy to bias never finicky or flaky, sounded great. I still have the quicksilver pre-amp. Neighbor just bought the 120's. Wow great sounding.
    Chris

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