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?

Raymond Miracle's picture

Because I couldn't afford something better! Actually I'm very happy with my Musical Fidelity A308 integrated amp! Combined with a kW CD player and a VPI turntable ,I'm in dreamland anytime I play it!

Charlie's picture

Berning ZH 270 hybrid OTL

Dismord's picture

Given that I'm running a solid-state/bipolar 70W integrated into a pair of Musical Fidelity's 550K Supercharger monoblock power amplifiers, I'm not sure how to answer the question. Which of these is my "main amplifier"?

Pat Guiney's picture

Audionote SORO SE. Superior sound.

Dhiman's picture

Cadence. Class-A solid-state designs are no match at all.

Michael myers's picture

I biwire: CJ tubes on the top, Krell on the bottom. Truly, the best of both worlds.

chiwara42@yahoo.ca's picture

A McIntosh MC60 pair I bought 20 years ago and haven't found the need to replace.

Scott Nicholl's picture

My primary amplifier is a Threshold s/500 II. I have two of these amps as well as an s/300 II and a 400A all from Threshold. Once you listen to a Nelson Pass design amp, you'll never go anywhere else.

stephen w sweigart's picture

Audio Research Reference 110 because it is well-built and excellent sounding!

Steve Knoll's picture

Classe CVA-150 It was one of the best sounding multi-channel amps around.

BILL CRANE's picture

I use the Flying Mole DAD-M310 180 watt monoblocks amplifiers. Great sound! The DAD-M310s compete favorably (except in horsepower) with the $6495 Spectron Musician Signature Edition. Eco-friendly Class D amps are more efficient than other designs as are SWPSs (Switch-Mode Power Supply). Flying Mole has a Bi-Phase technology that integrates these two technologies, which results in 85% efficiency. Bi-Phase technology also results in the amplifier having a very 'valve like' sound. This efficiency also means almost no heat and no fans—ever! They have no RFI or EMI, which interferes with FM reception, as with many SMPSs. My experience with NuForce amps, which use a SMPS, was that you couldn’t receive FM stations.

Alexander O's picture

I have PS Audio 200C amplifier. It's a pretty good amp, although not state of the art by any measure. I got it from a friend of mine mainly because it was cheap and it was really good for the money. I am not really married to a technology. I don't care if an amplifier is tube, solid state, hybrid, etc. All I care about is that an amplifier sound good in my system. How it gets there is irrelevant to me.

Jeffery S.  Malloch's picture

Unfortunately, I like rock, heavy metal, and listening at fairly high levels, so as good as a SE 300B amp does sound (and they do sound good), they just don't have that oomph that I like given my choice of speakers. But I have tamed it (and everything else) with a tubed pre which I love absolutely adore.

Gene Hopstetter, Jr.'s picture

My primary amps are two McIntosh MC30s, refurbed to spec, and lovingly tubed with SEDs and Telefunkens. I chose them because they're built like tanks (they're over 47 years old and will probably outlast me), have the classic black enamel and chrome look, and sound absolutely magical.

sdecker's picture

McCormack DNA0.5 deluxe custom modified by SMC Audio to meet the needs of my speakers and tastes (and budget). Tubes are fine with me for small-signal applications, but for me the compromises are too great with a tubed power amp and a difficult speaker load—heat, power consumption, moderate power output, expensive tubes, warmup time, placement limitations. I've compared this amp with tube power amps in my system and I don't lose sleep over the minor differences.

Jason M.'s picture

Rotel RA-02. Okay, I bought it because it was cheap and would draw out some semblance of musical experience in my Vandersteen 2Ce Signatures. However, my next amp will likely be one of those outdated valve amps from Audio Research.

Noah Bickart's picture

Marantz mono blocks. I chose them based on how they sounded in my system.

aBe's picture

Creek 4330 MKII. The best sounding solid state around, for so little money!

j.s.'s picture

I own a Spectron Musician III SE Class D amplifier. I was first interested in some powerful amplifier could drive my maggies 3.6 with authority. I also wanted that the amp be fast, to sound like live music sounds like, lots of detail and absolute control of the speaker drivers. Oh yes, I also wanted a quality hard to achive for amps under $20K: finesse. The Spectron achieves all of the above and then some more.

Yazad's picture

NAD S300. Couldn't find anything better for the price.

JRG's picture

mbl 7008 integrated (ss). Don't know class/biasing arrangments, etc. Bought for space-saving, looks, mbl reputation, headphone jack included. Also use to play DVDs through speakers (no HT). Since it gets a lot of use, between music and movies, I didn't think tubes would be a good choice.

jamesanubis's picture

Krell Intergrated KAV400XI Best I could afford and your review was right on-point. Playback of instruments sounded fuller when compared to other intergrated amps I auditioned.

Bob Wilson's picture

Krell KAV-300r

Carter's picture

Single-ended triode mono-blocks using 2A3 tubes and hand built by me. There is nothing quite like SET and the 2A3 tube is the sweet spot in my book. It's nominally a Paramour as sold by Bottlehead, but as with all their stuff there are many modifications and upgrades in that quest for better sound. With efficient speakers this works well for most music, but I do have other systems set up, a couple with big hulking transistor amps to blow out the windows when the mood calls for such excess. They lack refinement, but when turned up to 11, I guess that is happening anyway.

Charles Razzell's picture

Creek Audio 5350SE. Warmth and detail, hint of tube-like euphony, but still more accurate and reliable than tubes.

Perry's picture

Class-A Single-ended MOSFET. They sound incredibly clear and detailed.

Chris Kenney's picture

Parasound JC-1 monoblocks. I desired warm sounding solid state that also provides deep bass performance and has the ability to drive my Paradigm Reference Studio 100v3 speakers.

N's picture

MC225. It was forty years ago today.

Bubba in SF's picture

Sunfire original amp. We have Maggies rated at 4ohms so the 600w/ch helps. It never gets hot, sounds just right on the 3.3s and will never clip.

T.McD.'s picture

Bryston 4B SST, great value and quality. Very close to the very best for a fraction of the price.