Amp for Acoustic Zen Crescendo 2 ?

Hello all,
I have these speakers for 2 months now and want to move on to a tube amp of 50 - 60 wpc or so, or a SS amp that fits the bill..  My current amp is an Ayre V-5xe.  I'm looking for an amp to sweeten up the top end and has a midrange that does vocals full and articulate, even if that means colored.  The Ayre is a great amp but I think there is a better match out there.  I'll have to save up for used, under $5K.  I'm especially interested with what actual owners would say, as well as their system specifics, but all comments welcome.  Acoustics and speaker placement are fixed and substandard.  That's just the way it goes at our house.
I'm using a steel arm VPI TT with Ortofon Cadenza Bronze, ARC PH-7 and REF 3.  Thanks.

I had the upgraded Crescendo 1's for a few years. I loved those speakers. It was difficult to replace them with something I liked even better. I used both a tube and SS amps with them. I preferred the SS with more power but only by a slight margin. I used one McIntosh MC275 v6 in stereo, then two MC275 v6's in mono and then two MC601 SS mono amps. For me the more power I gave them the better I liked the sound but there was not a huge difference. I also used AZ cabling and a VPI TT.
Great speakers. I own them also and have used several amps on them. Please let us know the type of music you listen to, the volume level, and your effective room size.

I owned two different push/pull tube amps putting out 50 and 60 watts and they sounded good for sure. However they both sounded a tad fragile when I turned up the volume on classical piano, low gain recodings, and classical music. These speakers do like power to really open up and sound more effortless. My room is also large, around 33x21 with 10 foot ceilings.

If your room is large and you listen loudly at times, then 50 watts may be cutting it close in terms of headroom. Again, it all depends on how you answer the questions I asked above.

I ended up with a Lyngdorf 2170 unit with room correction, dac, and preamp all in one unit. Best I have heard my Crescendos sound. The room correction assures the speakers sound as the designer intended in your room. The Crescendos sound wonderful in my untreated living room.

Some folks have had good luck with 845 tube amps made by Line Magnetics even though they are rated for under 50 watts. They are reported to have serious drive and sound great with your speakers. Look at their model 518 and 219. I am sure others will chime in on Line Magnetic.

Here are some other amps to consider.


Linear Tube Audio ZOTL 40 - must first answer the questions for ultimate compatibility.

Cary 805 used - must first answer the questions for ultimate compatibility


Electrocompaniet amps used and in budget

Spread Spectrum Technologies Son of Ampzilla MK2

Spread Spectrum Technologies Ampzilla 2000 2nd Edition Mono Power Amplifiers - used

Hybrid ( great option)

Conrad Johnson ET250s
Aesthetix Atlas stereo amp used
Blue Circle audio used monoblock amps used

Audiogon member named "Wig" has these speakers and has driven them with Vac mono blocks and then the solid state Vitus amplifier. He currently uses the Line Magnetic 508ia and finds them the most satisfying thus far. I’d get in touch with him via audiogon email. He’s quite experienced and knowledgeable. As Grannyring astutely wrote musical genre, room size and listening volume all are factors to consider in amplifier selection. I’ve heard these speakers at shows on 4 separate occasions driven by the Triode Corp TRX 845 PSET mono blocks in spacious rooms and they were glorious! Builder Robert Lee has used them for obvious reasons, primarily because they mate brilliantly together.
Best of luck,