What technology is your main amplifier? What brand and model is it and why did you choose it?

What technology is your main amplifier? What brand and model is it and why did you choose it?
70% (182 votes)
21% (55 votes)
5% (13 votes)
3% (8 votes)
1% (3 votes)
Total votes: 261

It's been several decades now since the tube <I>vs</I> solid-state debate began, with no end in site. Now we have some digital (PWM or class-D) contenders. What technology is your main amplifier? What brand and model is it and why did you choose it?

djl's picture

It was cheap and easy to maintain. I tried some tube stuff but the tubes are usually too expensive to keep replacing and they run bloody hot! That doesn't work well in a hot part of the country where I live. Although trying to find replacement parts for my solid state-stuff isn't easy either, since it's over 30 years old and sometimes the only way to get parts is to buy 'em on eBay!

Paul J.  Stiles, Mtn.  View, CA's picture

My main amp is electronic. I tried a water based amp though. It sounded very liquid but the water bill was too much to handle. Seriously, my main amp is bipolar with mosfet output devices. The subwoofer amp is class-D.

OvenMaster's picture

Solid state. Used Yamaha CA-1010 integrated. Chosen for neutrality, flexibility, tank-like build quality, 100wpc power, and affordability.

Bruno, Slovenia's picture

Rotel RB1090—a lot of power for the money

Peter Jacobsen, Shanghai's picture

Opera-Consonance. I chose it after listening to several affordable (S/S and tube)amps. It's been great and I love it! Changed tubes once in three years.

andrew Spaulding's picture

I have four Mark Levenison 436s. I love tubes, but can't stay in the room due to heat and feel enviornmental guilt for using so much AC.

soren o iversen's picture

I use a Linn Klimax Kontrol and Twin set. I can only describe it as superbly musical and analog (pun intended). It is also imminently practical (compact, light and with universal voltage). The fact that it is pretty does not hurt either.

Robert's picture

Cymer. Eight EL34s per channel push/pull mono amps. Yeah!

Dan Petri's picture

I chose the Krell KAV 300I for its clean power and dynamics, and it mated well with my Maggie 1.6s.

Serpieri's picture

VTL MB-450 IIs. Why? My mother told me to. Actually, I am somewhat guilty of brand loyalty. Despite several other competitive brands out there, which are quite wonderful indeed, I've been a VTL fellow for some time now.

Ken (not Stevens ) :-)'s picture

CAT JL-1 monoblocks. I have never heard better amps. At first I thought they had some sort of dynamic range expander circuit. I will never sell them. Power and beauty. Dead quiet. Tight and deep bass. Silky highs. Not tubey. They have it all.

F.  Chasinovsky, Van Nuys, CA's picture

Marantz 9 originals—ear candy!


Bryston 14B SST. I wouldn't even consider another manufacturer. Bryston rocks for me for the past 12 years, Thanks Bryston!

erick wilson's picture

Rogue audio Tempest II. It works great with my Zu Druid speakers. Warm lush sound with plenty of control

Anonymous's picture

Arcam A80 integrated amp

Whillus's picture

Lyngdorf TDA2200 for its clear sound and versatility. It's a good match for British monitor loudspeakers.

Tom Whitlock's picture

I truly love warmer sound. the horns the vocals etc.

Jason Stroud's picture

Panasonic XR55 receiver. The sound is very clean.

Lawrie Allen's picture

Ayre K1xe first solid state amp I've found as good as valves>

Dave Bennett's picture

Quicksilver Mid Monos. Tubes just sound better. Mono amps near the speakers with short speaker cables seems to work best for me.

o08b.d80o's picture

There are no well-designed and constructed solid-state power amplifiers under 50W per channel. I drive horns with Carver Pro ZR500's and a Mark Levinson No. 29. The system's obscenely overpowered, but reasonably energy efficient and sounds fine. Single ended FETs such as the Pass amps or tubes are unconscionably wasteful for someone in my situation.

Stephen Curling's picture

Pioneer VSX-D509S A/V receiver. Wife bought as a gift years ago. I had a much better VSX-D1SII, but it got old. I'd like to see more class-D amps in the high end. Help perfect the technology.

Edw.A.Roth's picture

An old 1980-something Threshold SA 100 Stasis amp. It is clean and transparent and can deliver gobs of current. Loved it new, still love it now. The only thing wrong? The power on/off switch welded itself in the on position a couple of years after I bought it.

Nick Davies's picture

Tact SDAI-2175

H.  Williams, Hollywood Hills's picture

The Lamm M1.2 HYBRID amp rocks my boat (literally). It is a fine "musical instrument" that reproduces recorded music as well as anything I've heard, assuming that your ancillary equipment is up to snuff.

craig's picture

The power in my system is a Yamaha MX-1 stereo amp. Purchased in 1994 because at $1100 it seemed to provide the best bang for my buck to effortlessly drive my Thiel CS 22 speakers. The combination has provided pretty decent listening ever since. The MX-1 has a seperate power transformer for each channel which I think contributes to the good sound.

Scooter's picture

I tried tubes and I found them wanting on a several fronts. I used two different Bel Canto "Digital" amps that were quite good. It took an upgraded pure class-A Coda S100 to displace them. It's big, heavy, and runs hot. It's also smooth, powerful, and refined. It's joined my Placette Active as one of my "keeper" components.

Doug McCall's picture

The amp in my main two-channel system is an Adcom GFA-5500. I bought it used on ebay for $500, in like-new condition. It has loads of power, can drive low impedences, and sounds clean and smooth. Plus it looks good (in a raw-boned American kind of way), has useful distortion and clipping indicators, and is built like a tank. What's not to like?

mike's picture

I'm currently using a Cary SLI 80 integrated and I couldn't be happier.

Robert Naversen's picture

Mcintosh MC402. Sounds great. Powerful enough for most speakers and built to last.