2017 amps - $10K to $15K who is on your short list?

I saw recently a short list by TAS on 2016 amps between $10 & $15K MSRP the TAS staff concluded were their choices of the best for last year.

Perhaps these were new entries from2016 only. I don’t know and thee article did not mention that aspect. The list also appears to be a global perspective.

The list contained:
Air Tight ATM-1S,
AVM Ovation PA8 preamp and SA8.2 Power amp,
Constellation Inspiration,
Dn D'Agostino Classic Stereo,
GamuT D200i,
Hegel Music Systems H30,
PS Audio BHK Signature 300,
Triode Corporation TRX-M300,
Zesto Audio Bia 120

Regretfully some more mainstream names were not included which came to mind such as, BAT, VAC, Pass, and perhaps a couple more.

My question here is which ‘current production’ amps in this MSRP financial ball park would be on your short list were you shopping for new amps, or are in your present system?

Valves Solid State, hybrids, integrated, or Class D which are not speaker specific, requiring high Eff speakers or horns to work well.

Let’s include current production amps which are near the upper and lower limits of the spread, so if in your opinion there is an amp at $8 or $9K which out performs those costing more, or is even on par, in your opinion, plese feel free to mention it or them.

All amps must be at least in production now stereo amps. If they can as well be run as monos, fine enough, but let the price range of more or less, 10 – 15K dictate your ascertions on two channel amps or twin monos which would land in or near the mentioned boundaries.

Here are some I feel should be among the TAS list but were not, in no particular order:

VAC Signature 200 iQ Stereo/Mono - $14,000
This one is here on rep and new technology in the bias circuit alone. Have seen no reviews, and I have not heard it. It does offer itself as a mono if an uncle or Aunt dies and leaves you an inheritance.

Balanced Audio Technology VK 76SE stereo or mono $13,995.00 2ch price
I previously owned BAT vk 60 and found it very acceptable. Also in mono, see ‘inheritance’ above if twin mono setup is desired.

Balanced Audio Technology VK-655SE $16,500
(well, it is within a grand or so of 15K and BAT has strong performance heritage and very good secondary market presence. Also, didn’t want folks to think I was biased to tubes only)
I’ve owned BAT VK500 BAT pack, and loved it. Purely musical with control and finesse. A tick or two on the warm side. The latest iteration scales up the power and refines the voice, if the reviewer isn’t deaf. Once more offered in mono config too.

no inheritance on your horizon? Perhaps you can get pics of BAT Execs with tempestuous farm animals to negotiate possible lower price for twin mono setup. lol

Who is on your list and briefly, why?

Merrill Audio Veritas mono block amps. $12,000 pair.

Musical. powerful, compact. They have an uncanny ability of letting the music pass [very revealing] without calling attention to themselves. Very neutral/natural sounding [top to bottom] with great tonal quality. They can create a soundscape that you can reach out and touch... Superb!

Tons of reviews online...Good luck with your search jim...    
I would add Benchmark AHB2 to your list. It may not cost $10K but it measures better than any power amp I am aware of at any price and it packs a fair punch in terms of power if bridged mono.


I was going to crash the price party with the AHB2 also.

Also consider the forthcoming Mytek amp.
Wells Audio Innamorata Signature, 15k retail. There's one review out there that I know of but it really deserves more attention. Tube harmonics in a ss amp. 

Thanks much.
Exactly the sort of item to have on this list.
Mainstream , and obscure or boutique amps which really push the sonic realization threshold. Amps which provide a whole lot of “they are here” or “you are there”. I prefer the former mostly.

thank you very much.
Rowland always seems to have a contestant with finesse and strength, though seldom are they modestly priced.

much appreciated.
Power alone is not the main thrust for this particular assortment of amps, but it certainly can’t be dismissed in what it brings to the table for many loudspeakers.

thank you for the insights.

great! Thanks. I’ll look for the review.

‘tube harmonics in an SS amp”. Really.

It always begs the question when that line is delivered IMO, which tubes? EL34S? WHICH EL34S? 88S? WHICH 88S? 300B? WHICH 300B? LOL
I do get it though. Thanks.

Thanks for all the links too. They’re a big help for anyone interested in stepping up or merely fantasizing a little.

As I listen to and enjoy most every genre of actual music much depends on the recorded info. Although, an amp IMHO must be able to control and convey the soul of the musical event as organically and naturally as is possible without falsifying timbers, exaggerating staging, bending tonality, etc., .and on this level with an immense amount of ‘AIR’ (achieved illusionary reality). Its my new term for the end result audio nuts want to wind up with in their stereo outfits. ‘acquired’ works in there too.

A fella once told me when developing a stereo rig, the main component is always the source device. Unquestionably. He was right then and I’ve found thru the years, he’s right still. Nothing downstream will ever make up for what might be lost from the source, or overcome if the source is not exemplary or a pretty darn strong performer.

Following that in theory, one only needs a volume control and straight wires to the speakers. Essentially meaning, complete invisibility should be the aimn for power and distribution or control preamps (when or if employed).

Squeakers I’m currently fascinated with in no particular order are, Focal Diablo & Sopra II; Magico S3; Nola Metro Grand Reference; Sonus Faber Amati Futura; Silverline Bolero; maybe an Eggelston or two, and now a couple of the newest Paradigm Personna models 3, 5, or 7.

However, this is about refined invisible power producers which enable loudspeakers to perform at their best.

Amps once energized, you just don’t want to shut down.

No mention yet of T/A, Blue Circle, Pass labs, VTL, AR, Lynn, Llamb, or Nagra yet huh? Hmmm. Well, we’ll see.

James Borgiano last great design the Excellent Ampzilla  monoblocks,
,Viitus of Denmark ,as well as Gryphon which doesnot even have a representative 
Since getting a very unjust bad rap from a reviewer  who didn't first run the amplifier in as recommended. These are great amplifiers and works of art !!

Nice. Thank you for the insight.

Do you have a link to any online accounts of these products?


Gryphon has just appointed On A Higher Note to represent the brand in USA and Canada. A dealer network is being established now.
Devialet and done.
No need for a mess of cables or even a streamer.
True all in in one with genuine reference class everything.
Even the phono stage is spectacular.
Parasoumd JC-1 monoblock pair: 9000 pair. 1st 25 rma watts are class A beautiful, with 400 watts of pure signal path a/b in total. This is John Curls cut loose product, where parasound took the handcuffs off of him.   If you are not familiar, John Curl is the designer that put Mark Levinson on the map, taking a big bight out of the likes of Krell and mcintosh, back when they were practically the only amplifier gods in town.  At the very least, I recommend you give them a listen. Happy hunting!
I’d for for a pair of Bob Latino VTA M125 monoblocks, available in either kit or assembled form. Assembled, ready to run, they’re about $2800 pair. The kit, without tubes, is $1800, but y’all would never get your hands dirty, would you?

Jim, If you want to hear the BHK 300 mono's and you ever travel to the NYC Area, I'm a dealer and would be glad to meet another  A'goner and let you have a listen in Manhattan.  

 Especially with NOS tubes and good power conditioning, I feel the hybrid design reveals the best aspects of both technologies and makes the TAD's truly sing.  Bascom king did try a solid state input as part of the original plan to offer swappable tube and SS input sections, but once they heard how amazing the tube input sections sounded, they felt no one would use the ss option and dropped it.  
PM me if you like.   
Yes, don't forget what Paul, used and loves Aesthetix gear and said lets do this also.
 Check out the Aesthetix Atlas Eclipse, Atlas MBs zero feedback = natural.

Very nice. Thanks. I saw something online in a search that revealed ‘on a Higher note” which appeared to be a retail outlet for the Griffin products.

I guess you meant to write ‘Diablo and dnoe’. Yep. I could agree. Especially with the apparent output power rating.
Vinyl and me, just don’t get along as well these days as we used to, so that portion of the spectrum has no appeal to me going forward.
I’m strickly ‘digital’. Point and click. And click. And click. And….

Thanks. Yeah. I’m finding out a lot more about Jeff Wells. A Friend of mine lives out that way and is quite familiar with him for some years now. I never knew. Oil well.
The inference on the reported voice of Wells amps/gear seems appealing, being a tube first sort of guy lately.

Parasoumd JC-1 monoblock pair: 9000 pair. 1st 25 rma watts are class A beautiful, with 400 watts of pure signal path a/b in total.

Thanks so very much. Saw a mention of these in a review I recently read which were part of the man’s regular system. Stereophile? Not sure.
Hearing Curl’s lesser amps I came away with the impression they were well, too cool sounding. Maybe these are quite different. We’ll make the effort to find out with any luck at all.

a pair of Bob Latino VTA M125 monoblocks, available in either kit or assembled form.
Thanks for the info. Assembling an amp is what I used to do now and then professionally, long ago. Its not something that is doable now.
Take another look at my Agon handle and you’ll figure out the why of it.
Thanks again.

I’m sure there are other signal amplifying Pearls which don’t often get the pub they might given the entry fees allocated for them by their makers.

My aim is to splice the ‘whatever amp (s)’ downstream of my Thor line stage preamp which IMHO is a keeper fast approaching antinque status. This is despite the fact it has sat static for a few years on the tall Sound Anchor rack.

A minor concern is my Thor TA 1000 MK2 is single ended in & out only. It has shown it works well with other purely balanced amps provided a quality adapter is inserted. so it’s as said, a minor issue and no deal breaker either way.

I feel its as good a performer as many of the preamps selling now for about the same as the amps being placed onto this summary. It did originally sell for $10K sans the NOS tubes of course.

The notion of a solid entry in the Integrated amp phylum however is not a bad idea at all. For anyone willing to spend for it or them.

For myself, the problem is choosing the primary path and then of course, garnering as much synergy as is possible up and down the signal path, and with speakers. Yep. New upscale Speakers as well are going to be acquired as I alluded to previously. That is, God willing and the hurricanes don’t land in my yard.

The Wells Majestic Int. sure does seem a worthy candidate to get a unit which would surely trickle down into a bedroom or ??, and could serve well as a baseline for comparison listening down the road. It would relieve some pressure too on making a hasty amp buying decision, if it, or another INT were bought first.
Its damping factor keeps it as a very viable choice.

Naturally, the chosen loudspeakers will or should, dictate the amp’s electronic attributes, the rest like voice, presentation, and degree of detail and extension which are ordinarily subjective anyhow, will finalize the formula as budget and conscience allows.

Any MBL or other amp makers devotees willing to chime in here?

Jim, one of the most interesting and highest performing products you mentioned but nobody replied until now.

We are the East Coast representatives of T+A and in their case you can look at two options the first being their PA 3000 HV integrated which is $18k or one of the their PA 3000 power amplifiers which is $19k so  a bit more but still within the ball park.

The integrated amplifier from the HV series is a remarkable performer, that was recentely compared to $120k, yes that is not a misprint CH Precision's seperate components, in the Absolute Sound, Allan Taffel found that when we switched systems he was having a difficulty telling which one is which.

So if you can't really tell or are having difficulties determining which is better between a $120k worth of fine Swiss gear vs a $18k integrated amplifier I would if I was shopping for electronics want to hear that piece.


To give you a few more bits about T+A they are the largest high end company in Germany with 110 full time employees with 10 of those people being full time engineers, MBL, Burmester are 10 person companies.

Why does this matter? The company's name sums it up, Theory plus Application. T+A.

This brand is the number one brand in Germany and because of their size and engineering talent can come up with novel and unique designs that can compare with radically much more expensive gear!

The HV series, stands for High Voltage, and in these designs transistors are run at comparable line voltages to tube designs, T+A  engineers theorized that the reason tubes sound so good and musical was not due to even order harmonic distortion/coloration but due to the increased linearity of a device which occurs at higher  voltages! This is novel and unique thinking.

The result T+A gear has athe smoothness and naturalness of tubes with the speed, clairty, and dynamic punch of solid state as well as their practicallity no noise, and no tube replacements would ever be required.

Their $4,200 dac the Dac 8 DSD has been compared to dacs that cost $10k and more, the dac features novel and unique filtering, and conversion techniques as well.

So if you were to trade in or sell a preamp that you wouldn't need the HV 3000 intergrated might be the perfect solution for you and if you look at the features;

300 watts into 8 ohms, 500 watts into 4 so you will have the power to drive any loudspeaker for now and forever
a phono card option that brings you close to a $6-10k phono preamp for $1800.00
built in room correction and eq options
a completely silient design
a huge three dimensional sound stage
incredible build quality and styling
dynamic transparency with a liquid midrange
fantastic dynamics and a tight punchy bass.
practical size and weight
no noise 
no tube replacement
in the case of the PA 3100 an upgrade path to improved sound by adding an outboard power supply
legendary German build quality and design

and lastely incredible sound quality for a reasonable price point, the HV series integrated has been compared to $120 worth of CH Precison seperates and the upgrade PA 3100 which offers front meters and the option to add an outboard power supply for even greater performance at $21,000 was compared to a $45k Dagastino integrated


So when you add it all up, T+A should be on your short list if you look at what T+A offers for the price, I think you will come to our conclusion that their products represent both a unqiue level of performance and are a remarkable deal for products which can compete with Solution, Dagastino, CH Precision and the very top echelon of audio gear yet is way more affordable at 1/2 to 1/5 the price of the gear they can easily compete with.

Lastly the marriage of T+A with Paradigm is incredible we should know we were demonstrating this system at the New York audio


and after the show

Dave and Troy 
Audio Doctor NJ

Audio Doctor NJ

I appreciate the input. I would remind you the aim here is to develop some concensus of a list for 2017 people could refer to which could help broaden their search base for a proposed solution someone may be looking towards.

Yes, I’m in that mix with any luck at all quite soon.

What I fail to understand is why “Audio Doctor NJ” feels compelled to offer services rather than merely first hand opinions on so many, many, many gear threads?

It biases me that with a dog in the hunt, the info being demonstrated is slanted past ordinary subjectivity with an intended aim for the preposed possibility of future business, and not simply as casual advice based on in your own home experience (s).

It does taint the input IMHO.

My input of TA as an option in this list of well heeled amps was entirely arbitrary. Just saw the name somewhere and thought to illicit more input, and or links to its articles.

Maybe, Troy, and Dave, you should do your advertising via ‘PM’ and place the business name atop the input or feedback you solicit in all of the forum topics you decide to invest your notices and accounts within.

Better still, simply insert your experiences without any mention of the business aspect you obviously seek. That would be taking the high road.

I suspect such an inventory possessed by your business can well afford to buy advertising, rather than to freely slide it into various forum threads across the web at each opportunity.

Albeit, the input is appreciated. The inference of some forthcoming business deal however, is not good business.

Face to face is where money changes hands and sales are made. If a seller proves themselves worthwhile and have desirable goods, and prices there are competitive, people will find you, you won’t always have to go out and knock on their doors.

Good luck.

thanks so very much.
My ears are just not in agreement with yours on this particular point. However, Ayre deserves as much noteworthiness here as does anyone else’ amps.

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Very interesting fare.

Price alone does not dictate if an amp is great, incredible or even magical. Amps are after all, just another link in the chain and must be subservient and master at the same exact interval.

The Agostino would be on my short list. You could go new with the Classic or even better with a mint used Momentum S200. Sweet and powerful from a legend. FWIW. 

“Agostino”. Wasn’t that name aligned with Krell some time back? Designer? Sounds familiar.
…and that’s the rub, right? Finding ‘mint’ gear, inside and out for decent prices.
Its why I went here with current production components instead of a ‘keepers’ or ‘all time’ list.
Regardless, nice amps remain good prospects for some time until they begin breaking down inside which can take lengthy periods enabling more to come by them and realize for themselves what a so & so amp was all about more affordably.

An observation is based on experience, and in this case we have tested many different brands of electronics before we selected the T+A gear. 

We were first criticized for not telling people  in our posts that we are dealers, we initially didn't list any affiliation, now we list our affiliation in every post, the same way that  others dealers also do, and other people also commented that it is only appropriate and now that is also an issue.

Most dealers don't buy products that they don't believe in, and we looked at most of the top tier electronics lines,  if you want to see all of our reasons why we passed on D'agastino, Pass Labs, Vitus, Ayre, Sim, Krell and Levinson, please PM us and we can go over it.

The reason we went with T+A in the first place was Allan Taffel's review in the Absolute Sound, where he compared the T+A integrated amplifier an $18k product, to $120k worth of Swiss gear, and Mr. Taffel was having difficulty determining which he was listening to.  In our mind, wow when did you ever see that?

After reading this review we contacted the importer and got to test this gear for ourselves, believe it or not the T+A was even better than the Thrax gear which is unbelievable gear we were also testing on both our Polymer and Paradigm Personas, we tested the top of the line CJ gear and the T+A was better, we compared the T+A to $120k Krell amps and MBL amplifiers and the T+A was better.

The Positive Feedback reviewer compared the T+A integrated PA 3100HV  $21k vs the $45k Dagastino integrated amplifier and the D'ag unit was't better, different but not better.

When you add it all up, for all the reasons we have mentioned the T+A gear is something really, really special.

Sorry if we come across strongly with our love for this gear I would also say there are other posters on these forums with thousands of posts on a certain brand of speakers that post over and over again about how remarkable this product is and nobody makes a peep.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Last year I was searching for a high power integrated amplifier in this price range to drive my new Focal Sopra 2 speakers. 
Although I love the sound of Audio Research tube equipment among others, I wanted something with less heat and the tube maintenance requirements.
Several excellent amps mentioned in this thread were on my short list. 
When I heard the Simaudio Moon 700i ($14,000) with my Sopra2 speakers I found exactly what I wanted. 
It has the power, sweetness, incredible detail, and the "you are there" sound of live acoustic music.
The build quality of this unit is second to none and rarely seen in audio gear these days. Inside it's built like milspec aerospace avionics, the casework more like fine jewelry than audio gear, but without looking too gawdy like some audio gear these days. 
The sound is just beautiful without imposing either a "tube or SS" flavor on the music. 
It sounds like real music, not a HiFi and just reeks with understated elegance. 
Great warranty and Company to deal with. 
Best investnent I've ever made in Audio Equiment. 
A Classic Amp !!!

Focal + Simm Audio? Hmmm. thnaks very much. very much indeed. I'll look into those SAM 700 articles if possible.

OK. We know now a little more about TA as a candidate for powering a system.
Thanks very much.

where are your own first and generated posts on gear. Reviews? Comparisons? Given AD ‘experience’ at least in the office, if not at home, should yield other’s enormous amounts of articles and accounts on gear which seldom gets press, or ears on it.

Or accounts comparing various gear in various applications. Now that info might be very helpful. To members, and for sales in general if one happened upon a reasonable costing outfit which provided realatively enormous performance.

It might could save a lot of time watching daily what is being posted and commenting in every thread about it. BTW, Folks here do check out the user review sections.

.I’m old, and obviously old school with many things and I see integrity as fundamentally integral for any source I would begin to entertain appreciation of their consul.

For a moment, I would ask you to turn things around. Slip on another person’s shoes and then look at your posts thru their eyes.

Don’t you feel the possibility of an ulterior motive can or may exist in a reader’s mind when a dealership is both providing input, and invitations to audition in the exact same breath and when ever they post??

Simple passion?
When said dealer’s post pervade countless threads? One can’t be hiding behind ‘simple passion’ as their impetus.

Passion of the purest variety must be restrained or it becomes not passion, but obnoxious,.

Its akin to the helpful neighbor who constantly knocks on the door bringing info you may or may not need or want. Or news you already have noticed. Now and then the interruption or inference is fine. When it is constantly or glaringly repetitive, despite its value, it becomes untoward.

As for who sells what…
I’ve been in and around electronics, service, repair, and sales on a private and professional basis for decades. As such, what lines of equipment I or the company I worked for could or would carry regularly depended on more than merely what we felt we liked, or what we felt was the best in its genre. Just ‘cause we dug it, didn’t mean we could bring it in and sell it. Not every time.

There is more going on behind the scenes than merely wishes and wants. Though the dealership is not going to let all that hidden business info become public for obvious reasons.

Manufacturers also have certain requirements for their merchandise to be offered up for sale. . sometimes we could not carry a line of goods due to the goods maker’s requirements for +1, +2, or more pieces inventory, advertising, floor planning, etc.

Some brands are well, let’s say, ‘promiscuous’. They’ll let anyone sell what ever of their line in any fashion, manner, or without further dictates for making available ‘all’ of their products in house or at all. Around here I see regular building contractors adv’ing major known brands of equipment for sale, but they don’t often have any on hand to show or demo…. But they can get it. Some have a piece here or there though often disappointingly setup.

Some brands, regularly do not have any concern for anything and every device arrives F.O.B. or on a 30 day invoice. its yours now. Sell it or use it as a boat anchor. We got paid! Bye!.

Huge grain of salt…
I’ve yet to meet the dealership or store, that can or has cherry picked the whole of high end audio and heard them all, each and every one and is now selling the absolute cream of the supposed, ‘crop’, ‘best of the best’, we are the only place anyone needs to shop and all other stuff out there is not nearly as good’, etc..

Or, a shop that wil take whatever back when or if, the unit does not work well in someone’s system after a couple months of in home listening..

So when I hear a dealership say certain things, I must admit it often feels tainted. Merely disclosing the fact of dealership, does not dispel every suspicion, et. All. Or its implications.

AT did not say exactly what you posted that he said in the article, regarding not being able to decern a difference between the CH or Golden gear and the TA INT amp..

AT said he found them sounds extremely similar. Not identical. He goes on to point out some of those diffs.

Two things arose from closely reviewing that account:
1. The input impedance of the TA INT is printed at perilously low input impedances at the end of the TAS review it says: 20K SE and 5K Bal.

2. throughout the article AT opines the TA Disc/DAC as the source. Having the gear in his words “for a year”, and intimating he owns obviously more expensive, and sundry or similar devices, why was no other sources influences or outcomes contained in the description, beyond the obligatory few words. Likewise with speakr reflections?

The entire TA account could be construed as a rave or apology for kidnapping gear for a year before returning it if one is avidly paranoid, given no erstwhile rationale was handed down as justification for the prolonged endeavor..

Other sources have praised TA gear. Fine enough. Its on the threshold of Ultra high end equipment, along with a growing number of applicants. Some are mentioned in this thread like Gamut, Wells, etc.

“There is no replacement for experience.” Regardless where from it springs. Its true. The issue IMO is coloring it by offering up invites, or auditions with business doing’s inferred. This is in lots of cases, violating territorial restrictions which makers or their distributors demand sellers maintain to keep profit margins up across the sales network.
If ya live in GA. Buy from GA, and not from N. J.. unless it can’t be helped.

And there’s the expense of travel too. I just went to D.C. on a business trip for two days. Watching out for expenses, my tab was right at $2K, or a tad under for two people, round trip, eats, cabs, and tips..

Isn’t N.Y. & N.J. on par with D.C. costs? Will Audio doctor reimburse those traveling expenses? I haven’t seen mention of that aspect yet in any AD posts.

We post about the same model a lot….
There’s always gonna be FOMOCO, Chevy, ‘Cuda or ‘Vette lovers around.
Everyone has a favorite this or that model or brand. Its only human nature. With just limited experiences in audioland, one finds out quickly there is no “one size fits all” device for every instance in any system. So let the ravers rave, and the ranters rant. People are usually perceptive. Or will be soon enough in this hobby where loads of $$$ begin changing hands for routinely variable unknowns. Just best guesses.

The issue is putting part A onto part B. what will happen? What if Parts A & B are put into a different type or size room? Its all far too variable and complicated for anyone to say they know even predominately what will take place in every instance of component mating.

Its always best guessing till the rubber meets the road, and usually then some.

Is Krell out of production?

Just to clarify on Agostino gear. Dan A was the creator of Krell and the designer of their very best creations. He started his own 
company a few years back with his latest designs being under his own name. his products have been acclaimed worldwide. Take a look at his website. Not to be critical at all but if the company is not familiar to you then you need to continue researching before making a decision. Dan D' Agostino is very well known in audio circles. Also be wary of heavy sales pitches on unfamiliar gear. Absolutely no reason to go there.
Jim I can assure you there was no secret agenda in regards to the review and Mr. Taffel keeping the equipment for a year. 

Many reviewers take 2-3 months to write a review and in this case he treated each of the two products as separate reviews so taking six months to a year is a bit long but not insane. 

The how and why Mr. Taffel wrote what he wrote is up to Mr. Tafflel. 

The facts with this line are the facts everyone who reviews the gear goes bonkers over it, so either there is a massive conspiracy with T+A buying reviewers or the stuff is really that good.

Robert Harley stated that the PA 3000 CD is the "best SACD source he has heard."

Mike Lavorgnia in Audio Stream compared the DAC 8 DSD to the DCS Rossini, and the Total Dac which are extremely expensive digital front ends which he did prefer but it was how close the little Dac 8 sounded compared to the big reference digital front ends was interesting. 

Allan Taffel similar $120k worth of CH vs $18k T+A and not hearing much qualitative improvement.

Positive Feedback comparing a $45k Dagastino vs $21k T+A again same thing, double the money not any real improvement 

Musifx a Audigon member bought a T+A 2500r integrated not from us by the way, and was thrilled with the sound and he preferred the T+A over a $12k Pass Labs integrated. 

We never did product reviews on the review side if you think that we should we will be more than happy to write a review, l believe that all these professional reviews are stating the facts about this line.

As per reimbursing someone for visiting our shop from another state if they were to make a purchase we would be more than willing to do so.

As per being on the threshold of ultra high end T+A is not on the threshold it is ultra high end gear, but priced at much more moderate levels, every reviewer seems to say the same thing, that if you compare T+A to the most expensive stuff out there ie the Solutions, Dagastinos, CH Precision, you are going to have a hard time justifying spending double or triple the money so you could kind of say that T+A is a value oriented product. 

If you look at the size of the company they have the advantage of buying in bulk as well as producing all the components including the cases in their own factory, this brings down costs, T+A is a huge company in Germany compared to the rest of the high end audio industry. 

We do recommend that people purchase from their local dealer whenever possible. T+A is just getting reestablished in the US, after a few missteps with distribution, T+A is now going direct to the dealers without a distributor via T+A USA and a new marketing plan.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor nj

Thanks for the clarification. I thought I was right.
D' Agostino is a name I’m familiar with. I read it as “Agostino” instead, and that threw me some.
My first enjoyable amp was a Krell KAV 250. Thereafter its preamp mate.

Yeah, hard charging pitches concern me but they are amusing too. Well, to a point.

Its all about the final ‘fit’ in any case… how deep are the pockets and one’s own preffs.

IMHO, although an ultra end INT is a viable option, likely as not, I’m leangin to merely an amp dual mono amps, or possibly even pure monos.

Given this list, and watching input and output impedances, plenty of the items on this list will work in numerous applications/configurations. Only presentation andpower demands of the speakers in mind will dictate which way to go now, and or, eventually. This is despite many amps listed herein are the so called ‘destination’ amps… or could be. Really?
If but $5K is the available outlay for an amp, a $5K amp is indeed the ‘destination’ amp.
Thanks much, J

TA has more than enough press in this thread. It’s a list, remember? There are still others which ought to be here but are not quite yet.

As for diminishing returns, which is what aI alluded to putting TA at it’s threshold, I felt it was obvious price doesn’t always equate to performance or improvements on performance. Price isn’t even going to deliver exactitudes in presentation. Merely differences thereof. Subjectivity accounts for which is best or acceptable and remains a personal choice affected by a lot of other factors.

RE Reviews
My inference here was anyone who has a remarkable inventory available at their fingertips, IMO, ought to spend time illuminating or supporting others experiences by jotting down thoughts on the technical and practical side of matching components and developing suprising outcomes.

As stated, even a little information makes things more or less attractive. Sheer speculation, and no practical info does nothing at all.

Put some energy into imagination and provide some windows for others they might not usually see.

EX:.” At what level of expense in the amplifier can one obtain ‘pinch me’ its that real presentation, with say, Personna 5 or 7Fs which aren’t getting tons of press just yet. Or with Legacy’s? or with ??? speakers.

EX:, which tube amps and or which SS amps and at what WPC outputs? Do single ended triodes have enough juice to push ??? speakers to satisfying levels provided one is not insane? Etc.

EX: Is the proposed $8K diff from the Para 5F to the 7F entirely justifiable, or will using a ??? amp on the 5F in a ??? sized room do as well? ETC.

I don’t presume to know your inventory, or I’d offer better suggestions. Maybe simply elaborate on things people don’t expect which are affordable tweaks or upgrades one should put on their lists if they don’t already know.

In short, follow a some what more altruistic path. It always pays off.

thanks. a lot. Do you have any links to articles on these items?

thanks much. Links?

Simply forgot. The Jeff Rowland 625 S2 has to be considered. Legendary designer with build quality and sonics taking a back seat to no one. Rowland guys keep their gear a very long time and for good reason. Jeff is a genius and truly great guy. An American legend like Dan D'Agostino. No one will never regret purchasing from either. These aren't empty boxes like some I know. 

Rowland 625 S2 has to be considered.

Yep. Saw that post. Saw too many Rowland owners do love those Rowland amps. Nearly pulled the trigger on one of his preamps years back, a ‘‘capri’ I seem to recall. Could be wrong. It was a while ago. Before I got the Thor line stage.

Hegel H30 or Hegel H4SE The latter is 9.9/10ths of the former

appreciate it. I’ll see what I can glaen off the web.

Gryphon Diablo and Boulder 865.

thanks Ed.
I’m liking the press on your picks. Hearing any of them beforehand might be an issue however.

In the [past rigs Ive owned, I was able to acquire a strong degree of Illusionary Reality. Which is IMO, when you’re reaching for the virtual autograph pad to get an artists signature as they stand before you singing or playing. Much depended on the recording of course and it took a lot of matching devices, upgrading gear, and wires too. This inference occurred with lesser priced fare than I am researching presently for the next experiment in loosely controlled lunacy.

My preffs? Organic. Natural. Detailed. Extension, speed, engaging, and dynamic. The arrangement one simply finds very difficult to de-energize.
My aim is not to have an outfit which lessens my CD or Disc library so only very well done recordings are suitable for playback in it. Definitely, there are some dsics which are simply trashed and only suitable for the desktop speakers, some discs, I’d not play even there. Going back into the 50s and 60s pop or 70s rock veins eras only nostalgia keeps me clicking onto their tracks.

With such a listing of exceptionally well regarded power on tap in this thread alone, and a number of prime vintage options always about, the only major concern is what will the squeakers be? A short list of current candidates I think was already included in this thread. Few if any will require high degrees of WPC, and an upper limit of 200 or maybe even 300 should be plenty. Albeit, this too is in flux, so who knows what’s to come in as the squeaker du jour. They surely will not be panels, or dipoles. New ones, hopefully. Pre-owned units ain’t out of the question though.

ca couple spkr choices could do very well on 50 - 75wpc.

Hidden costs are sure gona suck as traveling is just about a certainty, unless some magical thing happens nearby. Still, there’s a road trip coming up I’m pretty sure. The question is ‘how long of one and or, how often’?

And right there sports fans, we can vividly see the perennial major ‘drag’ in this distraction.

Would have said ‘devotion’ but wanted to be cool and casually unattached..

another item which has begun to intrigue, is what I'm seeing on some of the very well done Integrated amps showing up in this list. having around a super nice secondary power supply is not a vrey bad idea at all.
You may try ASR Emitter II 2016 version . It is an extraordinary amplifier and I am sure it will surprise you
Your list contains many 2-dimensional amps. I can 100% garantee you that no single person in the world will stay happy wiht any kind of 2-dimensional audio.

This is based on the fact that the human emotion will be less impressed by any kind of 2-dimensional audio.

When you compare music with a 2-dimensional stage to the same music in a 3-dimensional stage, the difference in how it effects your emotion in huge.

Because with a 3-dimensional system the music becomes more intimate based on the space around singers and instruments.

For the money you want to spend on an amp it would be insane to buy any kind of 2-dimensional audio. I talked to so many people in the last years about their systems.

There is one important fact and that is that people who spend a lot of money on audio for a long time never were that happy with their system.

This can be explained by the fact that they only had 2-dimensional systems.
When you don’t understand how instruments and voices sound in real and how they are projected into space, you don’t understand audio.

The facts proof that many loudspeakers, amps, sources only can create a 2-dimensional stage. This means that there is less than 1 metre of stage depth.

simple question: since when stand people playing instruments and singing on the same line or only with 1 metre in depth?

This is how insane audio can be.

The great thing about voices and instruments in particularly they have a lot of diversity in sound. But when you hear to most amps and sources, they often own a very limited level in diversity in sound.

When I ask people who also work in audio; Can you tell me how we can experience emotion during listening to music?

Most have no idea, this is a main reason why many audio systems at audio shows sound a lot different compared to how music sounds in real.

Diversity in sound (layering) is the most important part what gives us humans emotion during listening to music.

Audio needs to learn how music sounds in real.
ASR Emitter II 2016 version .

Cool handle!
Tanks. Its on the list!

“Your list contains many 2-dimensional amps”.

Which ones?

BTW, how did you decide who is 2D and who is 3D? it’s a pretty long list. It must have taken a while to figure out who is what?

Et al., I’m adding lots more soon.
Stand by.

My exp says the room, the speakers, and their placement, and the listening position all matter as to dimensionality. Indeed, even the wires connecting them all together matter. Isolation and power line attendance, has great merits too. Everything matters and the key is always to get everything to play well with others, respectively. This includes me, and the ‘room’.

  says: “There is one important fact and that is that people who spend a lot of money on audio for a long time never were that happy with their system.”

I believe it runs deeper than that. Restlessness, and perennial discontentiveness point to more serious concerns. Add on greater financial ‘means’ and its gonna dig itself a very deep hole with time.

One thing which is irreplaceable here is experience. Listening to junk in one’s own home, in the main system, is substantial. Even crucial. So, despite the extreme audio nervosa candidates roaming around, I do envy their experiences, though not the trek itself.

With but very limited means, it took me many years to get routine satisfaction from my ‘then’ foremost rig. I watched as others here and elsewhere accumulated and rearranged systems much faster, chronically bringing in gear I’m pretty sure I’d have been elated to have owned.

Only curiosity begged me to deconstruct that outfit, and build one on a different format using tubes as control and amps rather than purely SS or mixed.

Moving up the audio ‘food chain’ I found there was indeed a reason why there is more expensive gear afoot. Its often better. In most respects. Not merely different takes on the same theme, though that occurs too and is IMHO, the sole caveat to this hobby..

I’m not much on the audio pilgrimage. I’m more about ‘being there’. Consequently, once arrived, I can and will dig it as is, for a pretty long time, or until things actually need replacement… ala, tubes… or from sheer boredom, tweaking what is tweakable. Footers. Wires . to some degree, perhaps. Room treatments. Otherwise, the junk I gotta plug in or keep connected, which is providing the foot tapping and knee bobing will remain in tact.

But that’s just me. This aspiration is not my ‘end all, be all’ in life.

Well, not any more. lol

Bo=The Cooler.


well, OK.
Hmmm. IMO, its all smoke and mirrors. Way more different than better out there.
Trying to perfectly recreate the ‘live’ venue, or recording event, like many movies, requires my ability to syspend belief. Often.

Depth of a so called sound stage is subjective. From where to where? How deep is deep enough to gain the perspective needed to continue an illusionary presentation?

I’ve seen bands working off a 12 x 12 foot pedestal in various places. Years ago. Saw a prominent rock star sitting on a stool in a bar playing a box guitar and singing. There weren’t much depth to that situation. Although later, he and I had a couple of beers at the bar and talked some.

One rig I had began the sound stage right besides or just behind my LP, and it spanned rearward of the speakers by what I ‘imagined’ as six or eight feet.

I never got up to measure any SS I was listening to, many of which were not nearly as deep, broad, or individually spot lit as when some other recordings allowed them to be.

I could care less what the dimensions were. Suffice it that there was actually an obvious ‘illusion’ that the presentation covered geography more than laterally just in front or in rear of the speakers was fine by me.

Being enthralled by the sound takes far more than how deep or wide, or tall the depiction of the recording is while its on display in my room.

One can not fault amps alone for what one receives as the presentation. Regardless. Unless of course the electrical mating of the equipment contained in the signal line somewhere was or is poor or questionable.

Poor matching of gear electrically is the main reason for failed or lack luster sonics.

There are numerous factors to contend with in garnering the “Acquired Illusionary Reality” from the trinkets and gizmos we want to possess.

It is simply too naive to think the end product is the amps perquisite .fundamental, chore, alone.

If it were so, we could just buy some minor league speakers, pitch ‘em into the corners of whatever room, turn everything on, and prepare to recover jaw from floor!

there's way more to it than one link in the chain.
I always had the freedom and options to test and compare for almost 20 years. The first day I started to work in audio in 1998 I wanted to know why the stage and sound is what I hear.

I have done thousands of tests in audio since and I still test a lot. For a perfectionist I need to know what new products and systems do. And what the DNA is.

There is only one thing that counts. I want those products which own the best DNA in each single price level. 2nd best is only for born losers. Same about lower than 2nd best.

Audio by trial and error is one big laugh. I can proof over and over again based on facts how limited the endresults are.

It has nothing to do with personal taste. There is no single person in the world who will prefer a sound and stage what is incomplete and can create a lower level in emotion.

You need to use the same music over and over again to compare amps, sources, cables, loudspeakers, conditioners, systems, and all other parts in an audio system to compare.

It is like an addiction for me, it is never enough and I always want more and more. Creating an even higher level in quality and sound is a part of my life.

When you think and work in patterns, you can create a higher level time after time. It never stops.

Brands and products of this brand often have the same kind of DNA. These properties have an influence in the whole system.

The main reason why I stopped in 2009 to sell 2-dimensional audio were the reaction of women.

I did run an audioshop from 2007-2009. I had a big demo room. I had a 2-dimensional and also a 3-dimensional system always ready for shootout.

I learned that when the same music is being played in 3D, even women start to like audio a lot. Women have a better developed hearing compared to men. But when a man comes home with his new system, his wife is often not that interested.

Neither any 2-dimensional system will be liked after time. Not even for men. Each single 3-dimensional system will be prefered by each single person.

I had the same reactions over and over again. It was nice to see that women use the sets of their partner. Quality and emotion works for women a lot better.

When an audio system owns all the parts on which sound in being build it will be prefered by each single person.

Beside this I created so much effort by limiting smog, high freqency noise, magnetism and other parts. I also did a lot of reseach on the electricity.

Now we do many different modifications to create superior amps, powersupplies and sources.

People in audio were not able to look further. Only when you look further all the time you will find many answers and solutions to solve and improve quality and realism.

We also have ideas to use conservatorium students to show to people how voices and instruments really sound and how small and direct they are.

We want to show people how impressive an audio system can become when you work by Tru-Fi.

That music and audio is all about emotion and realism. We call it sound&vision 2.0. It proofs how much more effective it is over any audio system what has been created by trial and error.

I call trial and error in audio the level in thinking and working of a child. This is based on the fact that there is no any foundation on how the system is being created.

When you have no idea why the stage and sound is what you hear, there is no foundation at all.

For me it is very easy to explain and demo why Tru-Fi is superior to any trial and error audio system. The sound always will tell the truth. This is what you hear and what you get at the end.

It not outperforms any trial and error system by personal taste. No..... it outperforms it based on the level in emotion, details and intensity. This proofs that audio has nothing to do with personal taste.

In januari 2016 it took over 1 hour before a client of mine could proof to me that taste does not exist. It exist, but it does not garantee you a higher level in realism and a better sound.

He owned a system of 85000 euro when I met him. He owned different parts before his latest system. All his parts he choose by trial and error.

My client said: the system I own now which is being created by Tru-Fi will always outperform any system I can create by trial and error.

The sound and level I own now is so much more realistic my client said, intense and emotinal compared to any system I ever owned.

He almost only plays classical music. He said; my new system sounds like the way I experience classical live music. Many of my clienst use the word; addictive.

When an audio systems owns all the parts of Tru-Fi it creates a level in sound and stage what is so intense. You want to continue listening to music all the time.

All the systems I created since 2009, proof over and over again that they are used a lot by the cleints themselves.

The time has come to show that audio has come to a superior level in emotion and intensity that it will be used so much more than any trial and error created audio system.

The best and most convincing sound always will win in audio!
When you have no idea what the properties are, you have no idea if a combination is the right one. It always will be a gamble.

You only can make the right choice when you understand which properties you need and own.

I give you one example: I own Pass Labs monos and poweramps for over 8 years of time ( and the Pass Labs pre amp XP-20 for 2 years). The facts proof that Pass Labs is incomplete regarding Tru-Fi.

I also explained this to Desmond Harrington of Pass labs. Each Pass labs combo of power and pre proofs that the individual focus of instruments and voices are not that intimate and realistsic as in real.

You can change that by the right properties of cables, source and other parts. But......when a pre amp is superior in individual focus of instruments and voices, the level in this part is improving a lot more.

Desmond told me that the .8 series whould have a much better individual focus compared to the older series.

Almost all demoes in the world with Pass labs are done with the wrong properties in amps, sources and cables.

And proofs that people have no idea what the properties are of the products they used.

Many demoes proved that voices and instruments were way out of proportion. Beside this mistake most people have no idea how you can create a higher blacklevel and how voices and instruments gets a shape like they own in real.

I have to admitt I have to laugh a lot during shows. For me they are often like little children.
"The facts proof that Pass Labs is incomplete regarding Tru-Fi...Each Pass labs combo of power and pre proofs that the individual focus of instruments and voices are not that intimate...And proofs that people have no idea what the properties are of the products they used.Many demoes proved that voices and instruments were way out of proportion...have to admitt I have to laugh a lot during shows. For me they are often like little children."
BO1972 you must be quite a site at audio shows to be giggling in the back of the room at setups established by proven professionals in the field who are focussed with the solitary goal of making their Music Reproduction Systems sound as accurately as possible under show conditions which of course most audiophiles understand are not ideal conditions and nor do they accurately reflect the conditions most common in the homes of those who have Music Reproduction Systems. You mention all of these proofs that you have and that you giggle at "children" who do not work in Tru-Fi but I notice that you do not share your "proof" here in the group even though you have promised many times to share that proof regarding Tru-Fi in Music Reproduction Systems so until that proof is shared with those here who you instruct I am afraid that many will not believe in your proof which I think is most unfortuante for all because I do think you are on the right track in working with properties of Music Reproduction Systems.
I agree,  save the long posts and insults, bo1972, tell us where we can hear Tru-Fi and decide for ourselves.
"BO1972 you must be quite a site at audio shows to be giggling in the back of the room at setups established by proven professionals in the field 

And now the real facts. In almost 20 years we often asked to manufacturers and distributers simple questions. They were not able to answer. 

I will give you a few simple examples:

When you create a loudspeaker who is able to create a wide and deep stage. It would be normal to use an amp and source what can create it as well.

Many systems these days on audioshows have a very limited level in diversity. When I talk to distributers and clients they all react the same way. They all miss the intensity and emotion of music. 

There are so many examples in the last 20 years where people were using 2-dimensional amps and sources. 

Loudspeaker who are not on the same line and with a different level of how they inward the speakers are common these days. These are only the basis parts.

It depends in what you want to believe. I aksed many manufacturers if they have any idea what the properties and quality is of their competitors and other parts in the systems they used at shows.

I was surprised that often they had no idea. You don't understand the real meaning of insult. Creating the highest level in quality for customers is the most social and honest way to do audio.

Manufacturers have to do it the same way. Many audio systems  at shows are being created on political choices. I met different manufactuers who were honest to admitt this.

When you want to give consumers a higher level in  sound quality you need to change audio as it is done at this moment.

For example: the CES this year was a lot smaller than in 2016. Many people are often dissapointed in shows. So when you want the next generation to be interested in audio. You need to give them a higher quality than what is there is at this moment.

I hope people in audio will learn to look further. It has notnhing to do with insult. When you think it is based on that, it proves how limited the people are who feel it this way.

Our goal is to give more people a higher level in quality and emotion.

S.A.P.-measurement will create a good result in each single room. Even in a room with the worst acoustics I ever heard we had great results.

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When I use the words; they think like a child I mean that they say things what comes into their heads without a good foundation.

We create sound and don't sell boxes and products like the most people do.

My biggest passion in life is music and I want others to have the same level in emotion and intensity at their house.

Trial and error has proven that it seldom makes people happy for a long period of time. It also proofs that hoe ineffective the endresults are.

People who don't want to read this, will have the need to make remarks. It is that predictable.

I spoke with many people who also work in audio about trial and error. They all agreed that it is rather ineffective. What do you wan to hear? The truth or the thing you would like to hear.

If you are in the last part you never will reach the level you would like to get.
Post removed 
OK bo1972, we get it. You are listening on a higher plane of audio than we are. No, audio is the wrong word, a higher plane of music and emotion. You don’t need to explain that to us anymore.

Tell us who you are, what Tru-Fi is and where we can hear this 3 dimensional music and emotion. That would be helpful and appreciated.

I am not trying to argue with you.  I would like to know how to get 3 dimensional, more emotional sound, but your posts aren't helping.

I will ask that you PM me a photo of one (1) of your Tru-Fi systems and room.

In Plain English; which you seem to have enough command of to understand that a lot of us are on to your nonsense and would like you to stop posting it here.

Your posts are an insult to All in this community.