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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.
    McIntosh C49, MC152, MR85, R778 | T+A DAC 8 DSD | KEF LS50 Meta w/S2, KC62 (x2) | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Technics SL-1500C | Audio Technica VM750ML | Hexmat Eclipse, Yellow Bird, Molekula, Molekula Mini | Pro-Ject VC-E | Falcon NW PC Server (Roon Core & HQPlayer) | Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Roon Controller) | Wyred 4 Sound ISO Recovery, DC Recovery | Abyss Diana Phi | Schiit Mjolnir 3 | Astell&Kern SE200 | Oppo BDP105

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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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  3. #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

  4. #4
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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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  5. #5
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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

  6. #6
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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.
    McIntosh C49, MC152, MR85, R778 | T+A DAC 8 DSD | KEF LS50 Meta w/S2, KC62 (x2) | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Technics SL-1500C | Audio Technica VM750ML | Hexmat Eclipse, Yellow Bird, Molekula, Molekula Mini | Pro-Ject VC-E | Falcon NW PC Server (Roon Core & HQPlayer) | Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Roon Controller) | Wyred 4 Sound ISO Recovery, DC Recovery | Abyss Diana Phi | Schiit Mjolnir 3 | Astell&Kern SE200 | Oppo BDP105

    “One of the great challenges in life is knowing enough to think you're right but not enough to know you're wrong”
    "You can't use reason to convince anyone out of an argument that they didn't use reason to get into"
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  7. #7
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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/Audioquest Diamond USB, Esoteric N05xd
    Mark Levinson #526, 534 & JBL 4367's
    Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro cart
    Clarus Concerto & their Crimson cables

    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
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    Parasound P6, MBL 8006b, Artisan speakers/subwoofer

  8. #8

    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?
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 air bearing table, SME 312s arm, SME 3012R arn, Dynavector XV-1s cartridge, Lyra Etna SL cartridge, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 2 track R2R, Ampex 350 tape repros, Roon Nucleus Plus music server, HiFi Rose 150B DAC, ARC Ref 6, ARC Ref 75 with KT-150s, Parasound JC5 amp , JBL 4345 speakers, Viero Equilibro Level 3 speaker cables, and Definitive Technology Ref subs.

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  9. #9

    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    My two present amps.

    solid State
    darTZeel NHB-108
    Valves
    Air Tight 300B Anniversary
    Industry Disclosure: Owner Epiphanic Audio. Bespoke 2 channel resource in Virginia Beach VA. Dealer for darTZeel and other great brands.

  10. #10
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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.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Very interesting question!

    The first SET amp that I immediately with connected emotionally was a DIYHiFiSupply Lady Day, a capacitor-coupled 300B amp with 6SL7 driver. And every time I upgraded it (AN tantalum resistors, AN and Blackgate capacitors, and lastly Electraprint silver-secondary OPT) it just got better and better. Maybe the best SET amp I’ve ever owned.

    When DIYHiFiSupply came out with their “even better” LUX 91 Mono Max, their modification of the “famous” Western Electric 91 circuit, which was cap-coupled using a 310A driver and 300B, much of the magic was lost. More detailed but less rich and liquid. Couldn’t connect emotionally to it. Perhaps if I had upgraded resistors and capacitors? Who knows, but in my experience the emotional connection is either there or not there. Better parts can make the sound better, but are not the difference for the emotional connection. Maybe upgrading the OPT would have done the trick.

    I found that emotional engagement again with the Bottlehead direct-coupled (no coupling cap between driver and power tube), parafeed 2A3 SET amp. Again, upgrading parts improved the sound, but the emotional connection was there from the start.

    My first experience with push-pull amps didn’t go well at all. No matter what parts I upgraded (the caveat being I didn’t upgrade the OPT), I just couldn’t connect with the DIYHiFiSupply Ella EL34 amp.

    For years I persisted in the belief that SET amps were inherently better than push pull amps. But that belief was shattered more recently by the Audio Note Kits EL34 triple C-core OPT amps. I love these amps and listen to them frequently. Just an immediate, intense emotional connection.

    Same story for my VAC 200iQ amps, but even more so.

    All of the above amps, even the SETs, have very different circuits and parts. But in my experience the most important factor as to whether I connect emotionally to an amp is the OPT.

    As always, your experience my be different!
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  12. #12
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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?
    Well, sometimes they would be fine, other times there was a static, other times a hum. I was never able to isolate the issues and it was very random. There were even times when something as simply as using the power recliner on my chair would send static through the amps, other times no. I tried many things to resolve the issue, cables, power, power from a conditioner, power straight from the wall, etc., etc. I could never ever isolate what caused the issue, but I definitely was able to isolate that no other amplifiers had the issue when doing a direct replacement at the time the QS were experiencing the issue. No other amplifiers have ever exhibited these issues, ever, for me in my system. I believe the QS that I had were possessed.

    Other times the amplifiers would work perfectly and sounded wonderful. I even shipped these amps back to Mike Sanders for his review. He found nothing. I ended up selling the amplifiers to a Quick Silver collector. He was looking for a set of this model.

    I actually was considering having Mike build me new amps because I liked the sound so much when I had these (when they worked), but then I came across the Audio Mirrors and have been thoroughly impressed.
    McIntosh C49, MC152, MR85, R778 | T+A DAC 8 DSD | KEF LS50 Meta w/S2, KC62 (x2) | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Technics SL-1500C | Audio Technica VM750ML | Hexmat Eclipse, Yellow Bird, Molekula, Molekula Mini | Pro-Ject VC-E | Falcon NW PC Server (Roon Core & HQPlayer) | Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Roon Controller) | Wyred 4 Sound ISO Recovery, DC Recovery | Abyss Diana Phi | Schiit Mjolnir 3 | Astell&Kern SE200 | Oppo BDP105

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    "You can't use reason to convince anyone out of an argument that they didn't use reason to get into"
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  13. #13
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    Well, sometimes they would be fine, other times there was a static, other times a hum. I was never able to isolate the issues and it was very random. There were even times when something as simply as using the power recliner on my chair would send static through the amps, other times no. I tried many things to resolve the issue, cables, power, power from a conditioner, power straight from the wall, etc., etc. I could never ever isolate what caused the issue, but I definitely was able to isolate that no other amplifiers had the issue when doing a direct replacement at the time the QS were experiencing the issue. No other amplifiers have ever exhibited these issues, ever, for me in my system. I believe the QS that I had were possessed.

    Other times the amplifiers would work perfectly and sounded wonderful. I even shipped these amps back to Mike Sanders for his review. He found nothing. I ended up selling the amplifiers to a Quick Silver collector. He was looking for a set of this model.

    I actually was considering having Mike build me new amps because I liked the sound so much when I had these (when they worked), but then I came across the Audio Mirrors and have been thoroughly impressed.
    Randy didn't you buy these amps used since they stopped making 88's in 2015?
    2chl : Vincent Sp331MkII, W4S STP-SE Stage 2, Kef 201/2, KEF 140, Vapor Breeze, Lumin, Bryston CD, BHA-1, Quicksilver Headamp, HD650, HD800s, HD820's, Dan Clark 1.1, Focal Stellia, OPPO 203, 105. ( Boxed up: Pass Xa-30.5, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV-20XL, Manley Chinook, Cadenza Bronze)

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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Yes, I did. But the previous owner said he had never had an issue. He is a Sharkie and has always been honest and fair. Maybe something happened in shipping. They were sent to Mike Sanders who did correct an original hum, but these other problems never did go away for me. Mike had no answers either. Too bad because I really liked the amps.

    However, even at their best I believe the Audio Mirror are a different level, for me personally. Just such inviting sounding amps and I made an immediate emotional connection. Club members who have listened to them say the exact same thing. One of the guys really loved the QSs and he is also amazed at the AMs...
    McIntosh C49, MC152, MR85, R778 | T+A DAC 8 DSD | KEF LS50 Meta w/S2, KC62 (x2) | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Technics SL-1500C | Audio Technica VM750ML | Hexmat Eclipse, Yellow Bird, Molekula, Molekula Mini | Pro-Ject VC-E | Falcon NW PC Server (Roon Core & HQPlayer) | Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Roon Controller) | Wyred 4 Sound ISO Recovery, DC Recovery | Abyss Diana Phi | Schiit Mjolnir 3 | Astell&Kern SE200 | Oppo BDP105

    “One of the great challenges in life is knowing enough to think you're right but not enough to know you're wrong”
    "You can't use reason to convince anyone out of an argument that they didn't use reason to get into"
    ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

  15. #15

    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    Yes, I did. But the previous owner said he had never had an issue. He is a Sharkie and has always been honest and fair. Maybe something happened in shipping. They were sent to Mike Sanders who did correct an original hum, but these other problems never did go away for me. Mike had no answers either. Too bad because I really liked the amps.
    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    I even shipped these amps back to Mike Sanders for his review. He found nothing.
    So now I'm confused. Did the original owner send these amps to Mike and he found the hum and then you purchased them or did you send them back to Mike and he fixed the hum but couldn't find any other problems?
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 air bearing table, SME 312s arm, SME 3012R arn, Dynavector XV-1s cartridge, Lyra Etna SL cartridge, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 2 track R2R, Ampex 350 tape repros, Roon Nucleus Plus music server, HiFi Rose 150B DAC, ARC Ref 6, ARC Ref 75 with KT-150s, Parasound JC5 amp , JBL 4345 speakers, Viero Equilibro Level 3 speaker cables, and Definitive Technology Ref subs.

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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    I found the hum that was there all the time. Mike Sanders took care of it. The original owner never had an issue.

    The other, random static and slight random hum issues were never able to be resolved, Mike could not find an issue. It was like the amps were possessed. This is why I referred to them as finicky because some times they were amazing and other times they exhibited these issues, and I could never find anything that trigger the issues.
    McIntosh C49, MC152, MR85, R778 | T+A DAC 8 DSD | KEF LS50 Meta w/S2, KC62 (x2) | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Technics SL-1500C | Audio Technica VM750ML | Hexmat Eclipse, Yellow Bird, Molekula, Molekula Mini | Pro-Ject VC-E | Falcon NW PC Server (Roon Core & HQPlayer) | Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Roon Controller) | Wyred 4 Sound ISO Recovery, DC Recovery | Abyss Diana Phi | Schiit Mjolnir 3 | Astell&Kern SE200 | Oppo BDP105

    “One of the great challenges in life is knowing enough to think you're right but not enough to know you're wrong”
    "You can't use reason to convince anyone out of an argument that they didn't use reason to get into"
    ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

  17. #17
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    I really like the current Ampsandsound Casablanca I have now. I think I prefer the KT88 over my NOS Sylvania 6CA7.

    I have found memories of my CJ Premier 140 with upgraded teflon caps. So big and full. They had great drive.

    I have had others that were very nice but the 2 I noted spoke to me in my system.

  18. #18
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Somewhat a hard question to answer on one hand as everything in the system and room plays a part.

    On the other hand, it is what I am running now; D’Agostino Momentum Mono’s.

    These are driving a pair of Wilson Alexia’s and match beautifully gripping the speakers with complete control reproducing music in a pleasant and non-fatiguing manner.

    The Monos do add the dedicated power brining my sound today to a state I have not achieved before. My previous amp was a McIntosh MC452, and while that was no slouch and missed, it is hard to compete.






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  19. #19

    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    I found the hum that was there all the time. Mike Sanders took care of it. The original owner never had an issue.

    The other, random static and slight random hum issues were never able to be resolved, Mike could not find an issue. It was like the amps were possessed. This is why I referred to them as finicky because some times they were amazing and other times they exhibited these issues, and I could never find anything that trigger the issues.
    Not that it matters now, but did you have the amps plugged into some type of power line conditioner? If so, did you try plugging them straight into the wall outlet to see if the random static and slight random hum issues went away?
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 air bearing table, SME 312s arm, SME 3012R arn, Dynavector XV-1s cartridge, Lyra Etna SL cartridge, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 2 track R2R, Ampex 350 tape repros, Roon Nucleus Plus music server, HiFi Rose 150B DAC, ARC Ref 6, ARC Ref 75 with KT-150s, Parasound JC5 amp , JBL 4345 speakers, Viero Equilibro Level 3 speaker cables, and Definitive Technology Ref subs.

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  20. #20
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    I thought I mentioned earlier that I did try it both ways; through the conditioner and straight into the wall. No difference either way. Too bad because I actually liked these amps quite a bit, that's why even though I had issues I still put them on my "special" list ....
    McIntosh C49, MC152, MR85, R778 | T+A DAC 8 DSD | KEF LS50 Meta w/S2, KC62 (x2) | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Technics SL-1500C | Audio Technica VM750ML | Hexmat Eclipse, Yellow Bird, Molekula, Molekula Mini | Pro-Ject VC-E | Falcon NW PC Server (Roon Core & HQPlayer) | Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Roon Controller) | Wyred 4 Sound ISO Recovery, DC Recovery | Abyss Diana Phi | Schiit Mjolnir 3 | Astell&Kern SE200 | Oppo BDP105

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  21. #21
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    A friend of mine who was an EE bought a set of used Quick Silver monoblocks, they also had an issue he wasn't able to resolve, even with contact with QS. I'm sure they are decent amps but it seems a quirk issue isn't unheard of either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    I thought I mentioned earlier that I did try it both ways; through the conditioner and straight into the wall. No difference either way. Too bad because I actually liked these amps quite a bit, that's why even though I had issues I still put them on my "special" list ....
    Aurender ACS10 w/Audioquest Diamond USB, Esoteric N05xd
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  22. #22

    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    That’s interesting. Mike Sanders designs and builds really good and reliable tube products. His amp circuits are simple and use a minimum of parts which makes them easy to troubleshoot when something goes wrong. The fact that he fixed a hum issue and could find nothing else wrong is perplexing. Maybe one of the tubes was being flaky.
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 air bearing table, SME 312s arm, SME 3012R arn, Dynavector XV-1s cartridge, Lyra Etna SL cartridge, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 2 track R2R, Ampex 350 tape repros, Roon Nucleus Plus music server, HiFi Rose 150B DAC, ARC Ref 6, ARC Ref 75 with KT-150s, Parasound JC5 amp , JBL 4345 speakers, Viero Equilibro Level 3 speaker cables, and Definitive Technology Ref subs.

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  23. #23
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    That’s interesting. Mike Sanders designs and builds really good and reliable tube products. His amp circuits are simple and use a minimum of parts which makes them easy to troubleshoot when something goes wrong. The fact that he fixed a hum issue and could find nothing else wrong is perplexing. Maybe one of the tubes was being flaky.
    I always heard and thought this about Quick Silver also. That is why I was perplexed with the issue. I thought it was just me having a possessed set of amplifiers. At least it is nice to know that it wasn't just me.

    I am fairly sure it was not the tubes. I had a set of KT-150's that the original owner purchased with the amp. I also had a brand new set of Golden Lion KT-88's (which I really liked the sound of, and worked without incident in an ARC amp). Unfortunately, they both exhibited the same random issues. It was just weird to me because it was so random and no other amplifiers that I have had exhibited anything like this at all, including a couple tube amps. And I have tried several amplifiers .
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  24. #24

    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    How about the input tubes?
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  25. #25
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    I guess that is possible.... I forget what was even being used in the amplifiers.
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  26. #26
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    No company will be 100% issue free, so I don't understand why this discussion continues regarding QS. It may be something in the amp that was only effected by something in Randy's home environment.
    Aurender ACS10 w/Audioquest Diamond USB, Esoteric N05xd
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  27. #27
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Of course, and I agree. That was not the purpose of the thread... I included Quick Silver in my list of "special" amps because I truly felt it was a wonderful sounding amp.
    McIntosh C49, MC152, MR85, R778 | T+A DAC 8 DSD | KEF LS50 Meta w/S2, KC62 (x2) | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Technics SL-1500C | Audio Technica VM750ML | Hexmat Eclipse, Yellow Bird, Molekula, Molekula Mini | Pro-Ject VC-E | Falcon NW PC Server (Roon Core & HQPlayer) | Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Roon Controller) | Wyred 4 Sound ISO Recovery, DC Recovery | Abyss Diana Phi | Schiit Mjolnir 3 | Astell&Kern SE200 | Oppo BDP105

    “One of the great challenges in life is knowing enough to think you're right but not enough to know you're wrong”
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  28. #28

    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    No company will be 100% issue free, so I don't understand why this discussion continues regarding QS. It may be something in the amp that was only effected by something in Randy's home environment.
    Sorry, it was curiosity. I have owned several QS amps and have always admired their build quality and sound quality.
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 air bearing table, SME 312s arm, SME 3012R arn, Dynavector XV-1s cartridge, Lyra Etna SL cartridge, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 2 track R2R, Ampex 350 tape repros, Roon Nucleus Plus music server, HiFi Rose 150B DAC, ARC Ref 6, ARC Ref 75 with KT-150s, Parasound JC5 amp , JBL 4345 speakers, Viero Equilibro Level 3 speaker cables, and Definitive Technology Ref subs.

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  29. #29
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    I have not heard any SS or tube amps, at any price, that i would trade for my Chalice Audio 'Grail' SET mono blocks....The only other audiophile who has a pair thinks they are the best amps ..period.The gentleman who created them is an audio savant.
    Listening Room: 25' L x 18' W x 23' H..system on the long wall
    Speakers: Tidal 'Contriva Diacera-SE
    Amps: Chalice Audio 'Grail' SET mono blocks with Psvane WE 845 / 300b tubes
    Source: Lumin X-1 Network Music Player
    HighFidelity MC-1 Pro Helix conditioner
    Cables:
    Audience-Studio One RCA interconnect
    SilverSmith 'Fidelium' speaker cables
    Silent Source 'Music Reference' Power Cords x 3
    Innuos 'PhoenixNet' Switch
    CAD-CG-1

    Audioquest 'fog lifters' under the Fidelium cables
    Arya Audio-RevOpods under my Tidal Speakers
    REL 212 SE Subwoofer x 2
    Nordost V2 ethernet cable

    EVP Isolation footers- subs-speakers- Lumin


    Tweaks:
    Stillpoints Ultra SS under amps
    EVP HDR isolators 2" x 8...under my Lumin A1 and PSU
    EVP HDR isolators 4" x 16..under my Tidal speakers and my REL 212 SE subs

  30. #30
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    They sound like amazing amps. I have fallen in love with my SET mono blocks!

    Remember, we love pictures here ... feel free to put a couple up!
    McIntosh C49, MC152, MR85, R778 | T+A DAC 8 DSD | KEF LS50 Meta w/S2, KC62 (x2) | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Technics SL-1500C | Audio Technica VM750ML | Hexmat Eclipse, Yellow Bird, Molekula, Molekula Mini | Pro-Ject VC-E | Falcon NW PC Server (Roon Core & HQPlayer) | Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Roon Controller) | Wyred 4 Sound ISO Recovery, DC Recovery | Abyss Diana Phi | Schiit Mjolnir 3 | Astell&Kern SE200 | Oppo BDP105

    “One of the great challenges in life is knowing enough to think you're right but not enough to know you're wrong”
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  31. #31
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Randy..how do i add pics to the 'quick reply' from my 'photos'..?
    Listening Room: 25' L x 18' W x 23' H..system on the long wall
    Speakers: Tidal 'Contriva Diacera-SE
    Amps: Chalice Audio 'Grail' SET mono blocks with Psvane WE 845 / 300b tubes
    Source: Lumin X-1 Network Music Player
    HighFidelity MC-1 Pro Helix conditioner
    Cables:
    Audience-Studio One RCA interconnect
    SilverSmith 'Fidelium' speaker cables
    Silent Source 'Music Reference' Power Cords x 3
    Innuos 'PhoenixNet' Switch
    CAD-CG-1

    Audioquest 'fog lifters' under the Fidelium cables
    Arya Audio-RevOpods under my Tidal Speakers
    REL 212 SE Subwoofer x 2
    Nordost V2 ethernet cable

    EVP Isolation footers- subs-speakers- Lumin


    Tweaks:
    Stillpoints Ultra SS under amps
    EVP HDR isolators 2" x 8...under my Lumin A1 and PSU
    EVP HDR isolators 4" x 16..under my Tidal speakers and my REL 212 SE subs

  32. #32
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Quote Originally Posted by calloway View Post
    Randy..how do i add pics to the 'quick reply' from my 'photos'..?
    Just click on the Insert Image icon (looks like a picture, third from the right), then select the From Computer tab and Select Files which will allow you to navigate to your desired directory and select specific photos.

  33. #33
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    audio.bill...thanks..will attempt to load a pic.......Not sure how i did that but it worked..thanks..dave
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Listening Room: 25' L x 18' W x 23' H..system on the long wall
    Speakers: Tidal 'Contriva Diacera-SE
    Amps: Chalice Audio 'Grail' SET mono blocks with Psvane WE 845 / 300b tubes
    Source: Lumin X-1 Network Music Player
    HighFidelity MC-1 Pro Helix conditioner
    Cables:
    Audience-Studio One RCA interconnect
    SilverSmith 'Fidelium' speaker cables
    Silent Source 'Music Reference' Power Cords x 3
    Innuos 'PhoenixNet' Switch
    CAD-CG-1

    Audioquest 'fog lifters' under the Fidelium cables
    Arya Audio-RevOpods under my Tidal Speakers
    REL 212 SE Subwoofer x 2
    Nordost V2 ethernet cable

    EVP Isolation footers- subs-speakers- Lumin


    Tweaks:
    Stillpoints Ultra SS under amps
    EVP HDR isolators 2" x 8...under my Lumin A1 and PSU
    EVP HDR isolators 4" x 16..under my Tidal speakers and my REL 212 SE subs

  34. #34
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Those Grail amps look nice but dang, $80k

  35. #35
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Kingrex...Yes they are expensive and if you wanted a pair today, as that was the price 9-10 years ago it would be much more...I am not sure you could get Tom Willman, designer, to make you a pair today....long ...sad ...story..
    Listening Room: 25' L x 18' W x 23' H..system on the long wall
    Speakers: Tidal 'Contriva Diacera-SE
    Amps: Chalice Audio 'Grail' SET mono blocks with Psvane WE 845 / 300b tubes
    Source: Lumin X-1 Network Music Player
    HighFidelity MC-1 Pro Helix conditioner
    Cables:
    Audience-Studio One RCA interconnect
    SilverSmith 'Fidelium' speaker cables
    Silent Source 'Music Reference' Power Cords x 3
    Innuos 'PhoenixNet' Switch
    CAD-CG-1

    Audioquest 'fog lifters' under the Fidelium cables
    Arya Audio-RevOpods under my Tidal Speakers
    REL 212 SE Subwoofer x 2
    Nordost V2 ethernet cable

    EVP Isolation footers- subs-speakers- Lumin


    Tweaks:
    Stillpoints Ultra SS under amps
    EVP HDR isolators 2" x 8...under my Lumin A1 and PSU
    EVP HDR isolators 4" x 16..under my Tidal speakers and my REL 212 SE subs

  36. #36
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    I'm not disparaging them. Hope it did not come off that way. They look and review as amazing. Lucky you. Finding a good amp you love is hard.

  37. #37
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Kingrex....NO...I did not think you were and am sorry if I sounded like I was..the PF review was of the initial prototype units.i fortunately live about an hour and a half from Tom Willman and Pres Edmunds,his partner,who are 2 of my best friends.
    Listening Room: 25' L x 18' W x 23' H..system on the long wall
    Speakers: Tidal 'Contriva Diacera-SE
    Amps: Chalice Audio 'Grail' SET mono blocks with Psvane WE 845 / 300b tubes
    Source: Lumin X-1 Network Music Player
    HighFidelity MC-1 Pro Helix conditioner
    Cables:
    Audience-Studio One RCA interconnect
    SilverSmith 'Fidelium' speaker cables
    Silent Source 'Music Reference' Power Cords x 3
    Innuos 'PhoenixNet' Switch
    CAD-CG-1

    Audioquest 'fog lifters' under the Fidelium cables
    Arya Audio-RevOpods under my Tidal Speakers
    REL 212 SE Subwoofer x 2
    Nordost V2 ethernet cable

    EVP Isolation footers- subs-speakers- Lumin


    Tweaks:
    Stillpoints Ultra SS under amps
    EVP HDR isolators 2" x 8...under my Lumin A1 and PSU
    EVP HDR isolators 4" x 16..under my Tidal speakers and my REL 212 SE subs

  38. #38
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    They look beautiful and I am sure they sound amazing. Obviously amps like that are way out of a range that I could ever afford, but it is really nice to hear about them. Knowing how much I love my SET amps I can only imagine how good these sound. Congratulations on the amps!
    McIntosh C49, MC152, MR85, R778 | T+A DAC 8 DSD | KEF LS50 Meta w/S2, KC62 (x2) | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Technics SL-1500C | Audio Technica VM750ML | Hexmat Eclipse, Yellow Bird, Molekula, Molekula Mini | Pro-Ject VC-E | Falcon NW PC Server (Roon Core & HQPlayer) | Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Roon Controller) | Wyred 4 Sound ISO Recovery, DC Recovery | Abyss Diana Phi | Schiit Mjolnir 3 | Astell&Kern SE200 | Oppo BDP105

    “One of the great challenges in life is knowing enough to think you're right but not enough to know you're wrong”
    "You can't use reason to convince anyone out of an argument that they didn't use reason to get into"
    ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

  39. #39
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    They look nice, but not familiar with the amps, and assume they put off some heat.

    Do you have any type of fans in the cabinet and I assume you leave the doors open when playing?




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  40. #40
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    True... didn't think about that. Being SET also means they are class A, so therefore they have got to put off some heat ...
    McIntosh C49, MC152, MR85, R778 | T+A DAC 8 DSD | KEF LS50 Meta w/S2, KC62 (x2) | Rega RP8, Ania Pro, NEO PSU | Technics SL-1500C | Audio Technica VM750ML | Hexmat Eclipse, Yellow Bird, Molekula, Molekula Mini | Pro-Ject VC-E | Falcon NW PC Server (Roon Core & HQPlayer) | Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Roon Controller) | Wyred 4 Sound ISO Recovery, DC Recovery | Abyss Diana Phi | Schiit Mjolnir 3 | Astell&Kern SE200 | Oppo BDP105

    “One of the great challenges in life is knowing enough to think you're right but not enough to know you're wrong”
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  41. #41
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    In my second system I have Clayton M300 monos (Class A) and Eggleston Andra III speakers and the musicality is a smoother organic whole presentation. Like a collection of instruments playing live, this melds into a "body of presentation" more so than separating out individual instruments. This is warmer and inviting but still informative listening. With 300 watts, dynamics and pace are very good, but I would also say there is comfort here. The amp also works nicely with my Piega TC 70X speakers that are brighter. The DAC in the system is a Rocktron.

    Since Randy mentioned his T+A amp, the musical nature of my T+A A3000 and separate power supply is more toward the exciting and compelling than the above system. Instruments are better understood and presented with more inner beauty and expressiveness. I think this beauty is a result of presenting more of the truth of an instrument. I love a strat into an almost clean Fenderish amp slinging minor and jazz chords. The harmonics and sparkle are exceptionally there with the T+A and I am going Ohooooooo. However, instruments do play together, a group holds together as a group, and the soundstage is whole and coherent.

    If the T+A is any kind of smooth it is because of diminishing noise within the notes and the lack of noise leading the note, the leading transition. An amplifier that has less noise doesn't chase me away, it draws me into the music. It removes a barrier that would prevent me from having an involvement that is musical. Noise as I describe here is more of the grunge, hash and etch kind. Present, it does not excite me.

    As expected, exciting are the dynamics, slam and pace/tempo. Toe tapping is hard to stop and the bass foundation is great. A song or an album is like a journey and I feel temporally involved in that traverse with small effort on my part.

    But the special musicality of the T+A amp is an effervescence that scintillates throughout the whole presentation. It is quite intoxicating for me. This isn't really a swirly sparkly coloration however, and its hard to describe. It obscures nothing and certainly leaves me thrilled.

    This effervescence improved when I added the 3000 power supply. In fact, it hit me quicker than the improved bass and slam. The DAC here is the T+A 3100.

    Both amps have other attributes, but the above is how they both can be musical for me. Kind of a fun exploration this thread can foster.
    T+A 3000 Series into Magico A3. TW Acoustic Phono.

  42. #42
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Not as much heat as you might think.i do leave the doors open slightly. I had the cabinet designed so that the area above the amps is open through the top of the cabinets.there is a fan built into each.
    Listening Room: 25' L x 18' W x 23' H..system on the long wall
    Speakers: Tidal 'Contriva Diacera-SE
    Amps: Chalice Audio 'Grail' SET mono blocks with Psvane WE 845 / 300b tubes
    Source: Lumin X-1 Network Music Player
    HighFidelity MC-1 Pro Helix conditioner
    Cables:
    Audience-Studio One RCA interconnect
    SilverSmith 'Fidelium' speaker cables
    Silent Source 'Music Reference' Power Cords x 3
    Innuos 'PhoenixNet' Switch
    CAD-CG-1

    Audioquest 'fog lifters' under the Fidelium cables
    Arya Audio-RevOpods under my Tidal Speakers
    REL 212 SE Subwoofer x 2
    Nordost V2 ethernet cable

    EVP Isolation footers- subs-speakers- Lumin


    Tweaks:
    Stillpoints Ultra SS under amps
    EVP HDR isolators 2" x 8...under my Lumin A1 and PSU
    EVP HDR isolators 4" x 16..under my Tidal speakers and my REL 212 SE subs

  43. #43
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    You don't see a person with Clayton's that often. I've heard them a couple times. The 40 watt stereo with various Dynaudio and the 100 watt mono driving Dynaudio's Sapphires which was a sweet sound.

    Clayton, the town, is a burb here, where the amps had their beginning. I'm not sure if the family still lives here.

    Quote Originally Posted by daveoo View Post
    In my second system I have Clayton M300 monos (Class A) and Eggleston Andra III speakers and the musicality is a smoother organic whole presentation. Like a collection of instruments playing live, this melds into a "body of presentation" more so than separating out individual instruments. This is warmer and inviting but still informative listening. With 300 watts, dynamics and pace are very good, but I would also say there is comfort here. The amp also works nicely with my Piega TC 70X speakers that are brighter. The DAC in the system is a Rocktron.

    Since Randy mentioned his T+A amp, the musical nature of my T+A A3000 and separate power supply is more toward the exciting and compelling than the above system. Instruments are better understood and presented with more inner beauty and expressiveness. I think this beauty is a result of presenting more of the truth of an instrument. I love a strat into an almost clean Fenderish amp slinging minor and jazz chords. The harmonics and sparkle are exceptionally there with the T+A and I am going Ohooooooo. However, instruments do play together, a group holds together as a group, and the soundstage is whole and coherent.

    If the T+A is any kind of smooth it is because of diminishing noise within the notes and the lack of noise leading the note, the leading transition. An amplifier that has less noise doesn't chase me away, it draws me into the music. It removes a barrier that would prevent me from having an involvement that is musical. Noise as I describe here is more of the grunge, hash and etch kind. Present, it does not excite me.

    As expected, exciting are the dynamics, slam and pace/tempo. Toe tapping is hard to stop and the bass foundation is great. A song or an album is like a journey and I feel temporally involved in that traverse with small effort on my part.

    But the special musicality of the T+A amp is an effervescence that scintillates throughout the whole presentation. It is quite intoxicating for me. This isn't really a swirly sparkly coloration however, and its hard to describe. It obscures nothing and certainly leaves me thrilled.

    This effervescence improved when I added the 3000 power supply. In fact, it hit me quicker than the improved bass and slam. The DAC here is the T+A 3100.

    Both amps have other attributes, but the above is how they both can be musical for me. Kind of a fun exploration this thread can foster.
    Aurender ACS10 w/Audioquest Diamond USB, Esoteric N05xd
    Mark Levinson #526, 534 & JBL 4367's
    Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro cart
    Clarus Concerto & their Crimson cables

    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent, Analysis Plus & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP
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  44. #44
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Interesting regarding the Clayton town. The company seems very low key and very small.
    T+A 3000 Series into Magico A3. TW Acoustic Phono.

  45. #45
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    I think you are correct for the most part. I was told the company does a lot of business overseas.

    For others interested:

    Clayton Audio is a St. Louis based company dedicated to producing reference quality amplification for those who value the palpability and elegance of natural, live sound. To that end, we only make pure, class A amplifiers of reference quality. Our amplifiers are the creation of a retired IBM engineer who specialized in power supply design and who wanted to bring some of his expertise to the field of audio. All our amplifiers use the new Motorola semiconductors that are receiving their first audio application. These bipolar output transistors are multiply paralleled for smooth sound, long term reliability, and extreme stability (the amplifiers do not produce speaker-destroying on/off thumps). Our power supplies are built to a standard that would do justice to much higher-powered audiophile designs with temperature tolerances superior to those of many well-known amplifiers.
    All Clayton amplifiers are conservatively rated and have enormous current reserves to drive virtually any speaker load with aplomb. They will double their power output into 4 ohms and increase further down to 1 ohm. Carefully selected audiophile grade parts are used throughout, including the finest audiophile wiring from D.H. Labs and capacitors from Sprague, as well as binding posts and RCA inputs from WBT, Germany. The faceplates are finished to meet the most exacting cosmetic standards. Our amplifiers were designed to handle difficult loads in a manner that has all the traditional strengths of solid-state --- bass control, power, current delivery, wide frequency response --- while producing a refined, grainless sound with good depth and imagining that recalls --- without seeking to imitate --- the best tube equipment. Well-recorded classical music and acoustic jazz are especially well-served by our products. But rock also takes on a new clarity and weight with our products. Visit Clayton Audio's website at www.claytonamp.com to learn more!

    Quote Originally Posted by daveoo View Post
    Interesting regarding the Clayton town. The company seems very low key and very small.
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  46. #46
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Quote Originally Posted by daveoo View Post
    In my second system I have Clayton M300 monos (Class A) and Eggleston Andra III speakers and the musicality is a smoother organic whole presentation. Like a collection of instruments playing live, this melds into a "body of presentation" more so than separating out individual instruments. This is warmer and inviting but still informative listening. With 300 watts, dynamics and pace are very good, but I would also say there is comfort here. The amp also works nicely with my Piega TC 70X speakers that are brighter. The DAC in the system is a Rocktron.

    Since Randy mentioned his T+A amp, the musical nature of my T+A A3000 and separate power supply is more toward the exciting and compelling than the above system. Instruments are better understood and presented with more inner beauty and expressiveness. I think this beauty is a result of presenting more of the truth of an instrument. I love a strat into an almost clean Fenderish amp slinging minor and jazz chords. The harmonics and sparkle are exceptionally there with the T+A and I am going Ohooooooo. However, instruments do play together, a group holds together as a group, and the soundstage is whole and coherent.

    If the T+A is any kind of smooth it is because of diminishing noise within the notes and the lack of noise leading the note, the leading transition. An amplifier that has less noise doesn't chase me away, it draws me into the music. It removes a barrier that would prevent me from having an involvement that is musical. Noise as I describe here is more of the grunge, hash and etch kind. Present, it does not excite me.

    As expected, exciting are the dynamics, slam and pace/tempo. Toe tapping is hard to stop and the bass foundation is great. A song or an album is like a journey and I feel temporally involved in that traverse with small effort on my part.

    But the special musicality of the T+A amp is an effervescence that scintillates throughout the whole presentation. It is quite intoxicating for me. This isn't really a swirly sparkly coloration however, and its hard to describe. It obscures nothing and certainly leaves me thrilled.

    This effervescence improved when I added the 3000 power supply. In fact, it hit me quicker than the improved bass and slam. The DAC here is the T+A 3100.

    Both amps have other attributes, but the above is how they both can be musical for me. Kind of a fun exploration this thread can foster.
    I like your description of the T+A amplifier. Coming from a similar situation with my amplifiers, I love my SET amps and find them intoxicating, but I also feel when I am in the mood for Solid State amplification the T+A is not a compromise. Instead I would refer to it as a different take.

    At this point I think I am going to take my T+A amp off the market. I have several people enquire about it but none have pulled the trigger. I feel it is far too good of an amp to give away, and the price I was offering is a give away for an amp this good. I think I would rather keep it as my SS backup and keep the McIntosh more as a show piece and place in my heart for my home town!
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  47. #47
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I think you are correct for the most part. I was told the company does a lot of business overseas.

    For others interested:

    Clayton Audio is a St. Louis based company dedicated to producing reference quality amplification for those who value the palpability and elegance of natural, live sound. To that end, we only make pure, class A amplifiers of reference quality. Our amplifiers are the creation of a retired IBM engineer who specialized in power supply design and who wanted to bring some of his expertise to the field of audio. All our amplifiers use the new Motorola semiconductors that are receiving their first audio application. These bipolar output transistors are multiply paralleled for smooth sound, long term reliability, and extreme stability (the amplifiers do not produce speaker-destroying on/off thumps). Our power supplies are built to a standard that would do justice to much higher-powered audiophile designs with temperature tolerances superior to those of many well-known amplifiers.
    All Clayton amplifiers are conservatively rated and have enormous current reserves to drive virtually any speaker load with aplomb. They will double their power output into 4 ohms and increase further down to 1 ohm. Carefully selected audiophile grade parts are used throughout, including the finest audiophile wiring from D.H. Labs and capacitors from Sprague, as well as binding posts and RCA inputs from WBT, Germany. The faceplates are finished to meet the most exacting cosmetic standards. Our amplifiers were designed to handle difficult loads in a manner that has all the traditional strengths of solid-state --- bass control, power, current delivery, wide frequency response --- while producing a refined, grainless sound with good depth and imagining that recalls --- without seeking to imitate --- the best tube equipment. Well-recorded classical music and acoustic jazz are especially well-served by our products. But rock also takes on a new clarity and weight with our products. Visit Clayton Audio's website at www.claytonamp.com to learn more!
    Wilson Shen, owner/designer of Clayton Audio did in fact move out of his Clayton MO home a year or so ago.
    The fast escalating property values along with additional congestion nudged him to make the move.
    He is still in the St. Louis area though.
    FWIW
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  48. #48

    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Most musical amps I have owned are the Cary Audio V12R monoblocks. Big amps and hard on tubes. But man, when everything was working they sounded fantastic.
    Kevin

    Main: VPI Aries 3/Grado Reference3, and Aurender N200 > PS Audio DS DAC. Luxman L-509Z integrated amp. Sonus Faber Elipsa SE speakers. PS Audio P10 power. Transparent Audio, Cardas and Audioquest cables.

    Bar: EAT C-sharp/Hana MH, and exaSound s82 > Luxman L-595SE amp. GolderEar One.R speakers. Shunyata power, Audioquest cables.

  49. #49
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    From Randy: "At this point I think I am going to take my T+A amp off the market. I have several people enquire about it but none have pulled the trigger. I feel it is far too good of an amp to give away, and the price I was offering is a give away for an amp this good. I think I would rather keep it as my SS backup and keep the McIntosh more as a show piece and place in my heart for my home town!"


    Options are nice, but like quarterbacks, it is good to have a worthy backup just in case the first string goes down.
    T+A 3000 Series into Magico A3. TW Acoustic Phono.

  50. #50

    Re: Best Pure Musical Amplifiers (power not important)

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post

    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".

    Simply put, what amps have had that special something for you ...
    My last home had a far better rom from an acoustically viewpoint. There I forgot the time and listened till deep in the night. For me, acoustics play a far greater role as does bit perfect playback and the dac. Especially acoustics are a far under appreciated field as it is difficult to prognose the effect while with equipment we take the time to listen and get them on trail.

    i would advocate a good Dirac/Trinnov system will get you in that ‘musical’ state. Maybe Lyngdorf too but in my system it made trumpets sound off. It could be operator error of course. I currently play with Arcam AVR550 with Dirac and it helps a lot with my current acoustically unsound room .

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