40+ watts SET, cost is not a problem


Hope everyone is well here. I am visiting after a long time. I have a query on behalf of a close buddy of mine. He is using a pair of TAD CR1x loudspeakers. Gorgeous speakers for sure. The source is an EMT 927 TT & JPA66 preamp. For the amplification things are getting tricky. He has tried the TAD M700s reference power amp and while it sounds very controlled, it doesn't have the openness and dimensionality of tone that a good tube/SET amp provides. We are considering trying a good SET for this system. Given that TAD needs some power blossom well and expand on effortlessly, at least 40 watts of SET power would be needed. The quick choices are Kondo Kagura & Wavac HE833 Mk2. But I need more suggestions on these and other comparative products.

1. Has anyone heard the Kondo and Wavac gears to suggest a comparison? I am just a bit worried on the amount of Silver used in Kondo. I have normally found that silver takes away something from the flow and harmonics. Tell me more about it.

2. What other options can be considered in this realm? No SS please. Looking for SET options primarily.


Room size is moderate 17 x 13 feet. Music preferred are classic rock, jazz, pop and some classical



I have heard the Jinro in several systems, including one with AN-E speakers where I am familiar with its sound.  The Jinro is a good sounding amp, but, it seems just a bit too laid back and not as exciting and vivid as I like.  

For a non-SET amp with 100 watt or so power, I am a big fan of the Synthesis Audio A100 amp (KT 66 tube).  This is a punchy, lively, and warm sounding integrated amp that also has a built in DAC that is pretty decent.  That it is a screaming bargain makes it hard for some people to consider it in a very high end system.  Perhaps one of the Synthesis separates, then, for those who want to spend more than the price for the A100.  

The Gaku-On that I am familiar with is an older Audio Note (uk) amp.  It is a quite versatile amp that sounded good with any speaker I heard it paired.  I have not heard much Kondo gear.  The one extensive experience I had was when I auditioned a pair of Stax 007 Omega2 headphones.  I bought the headphones based on the audition, but, when I told the dealer I was not getting as good sound from the phones as I heard in his audition, he replied: "of course not, you heard them through a Kondo M-10 and you don't own anything like that."

@pani A 40 Watt SET will have real problems making bandwidth. That is why the smaller SETs sound better as @larryi  pointed out.

Do yourself a favor- if you want to get the most out of your amplifier dollar, its not going to happen with an SET of that sort of power, and throwing more money at it won't overcome the problems you have with the larger output transformers needed to make that sort of power (and output transformer designer can tell you this). Either get a speaker that can be driven easily by an SET of much less power, or get a PP amp that can do the job properly.

There is no reason a PP amp can't be every bit as musical and involving as the best SETs out there; power notwithstanding. Its all a matter of good engineering and execution.

Here is something else to think about: when SETs are compared to PP its usually apples and oranges. The PP amp likely isn't class A, uses pentodes and probably also has feedback. How about level the playing field? How about a PP amp that uses the same power tubes as the SET, is also class A and zero feedback? When you level the playing field in this manner, you find out real quick that SETs just really aren't that good, while the power tubes themselves really are. Do you see what I'm saying?


@pani try and have a listen to the new Airtight ATM-1 2024 model. Heard it over the the weekend at Axpona driving some Franco Serblin speakers that I found very enjoyable. Lovely sound with good bass control and very open and transparent sound. Went back 3 times and each time it impressed me.

Apollo Audio systems (google them, audiogon won't allow a link) is reporting excellent results with high power SETs. He is a typical small amp company run by the genius and enthusiasm of a single gifted individual. I have no affiliation with them.


If cost isn’t a concern, and best performance is, take a look at the Convergent amps. Nothing better overall, IMHO of course. Give Ken Stevens a call, or have your buddy call him. He may have some compelling insights for you.