Amps/Preamps for Rockport Aviors

Hi everyone, I just ordered new Rockport Avior speakers a couple of weeks ago and they are coming next week.  My current system is: ARC ref 75SE amp; ARC LS 17se pre amp; simaudio 280d dac and network streamer; Feikert turntable, ortofon cardenza bronze cartridge, and a boulder 1008 phone stage. 

I am thinking about upgrading my amp and preamp for the Aviors.  I was looking at the ARC ref 250SE as well as a used Boulder 2060.  For the preamp, not sure, maybe an ARC REF 6 or a used boulder.  Someone also suggested I look at a simaudio evolution 860 or 870.   My one concern with the ARC ref 250SE is whether those amps will pair well with the Rockports or if im better off getting a solid state.  I am not married to either tube or solid state (I had krell a long time ago before the 75SE and bought the 75SE becuase i thought it paired well with my Thiel 3.7's). 

I am brand new to the Avior speakers and looking to get more out of them than my 75se, and would greatly appreciate anyone's views. 

thank you in advance.  Larry
Ag insider logo xs@2xgasherbaum
You should also consider an Aesthetix Atlas amplifier. I have heard this with the Rockport speakers including Avior and it is a great combination.
Hi Larry,

First congratulations on getting the Rockport Avior speakers. I have heard them several times and they are wonderful speakers.  

I do think that the ARC Ref 75SE and LS17se combo will not do justice to what the Aviors are capable of doing sonically. My recommendation would be to move away from ARC and go to the VTL 450 Series 3 mono block amps paired with the VTL 6.5 Series 2 preamp. I use VTL Siegfried amps with my Rockport speakers and it is a wonderful pairing.
PM member @philb7777 , he's driving Rockport Cygnus with ARC Ref250 and Ref5 se. 

A local friend was driving his Rockport Altair IIs with VTL Siegfried MKII and it's fantastic.  So babybear's VTL450 recommendation is a possible option.

Another option is Vac 200iq mono. You can roll KT88, KT120 or KT150 and has auto bias. I heard them several times at dealers and is excellent.  With your Avior, I suggests rolling KT150 for more power.

If SS, checkout D'Agastino Momentum. I was a big Krell fan and these are not not your father's Krell.  Sweet, musical, resolving ...

Congratulations on the speakers they are really excellent.

We would recommend that you check out the T+A  line of electronics, they represent some of the finest sounding electronics on the market.

They are hard to find but well worth a look. They makes two more affordable integrated amplifiers in the R series and one flagship integrated the HV series PA 3000 at $19k.

The PA 3000 integrated was compared to $120k worth of CH precision electronics by Allan Taffel in the Absolute Sound. Mr. Taffel found that it hard to differentiate between the two! If you can compare a $120k worth of electronics to a $19k one and have trouble telling which is which it means the T+A integrated is an absolute steal and a way to get into the uber class of sound quality for a whole lot less and the separates are even in better than the HV integrated.

T+A is the largest electronics manufacturer in Germany all of their products are produced in house and they have been in business for over 30 years. 
They have a full time engineering staff of 14! 

The HV series of electronics employs a novel high voltage rail concept which runs solid state devices at very high voltages, which is why tubes sound so smooth,it is the lack of distortion due to increased transfer function and linearity which occurs at high voltages, the HV series uses this technique to build very smooth and musical solid state gear.

The PA 3000 offers 300 watts into an 8 ohm load and 500 watts into a 4 ohm load. and it appears nearly limitless in terms of drive.

Add to that a huge sound stage, and a tremendously airy and involving sound 

if you would like to hear our setup and you are in the East Coast give us a call.

Audio Doctor
877 428 2873

Hi Gasherbaum:
Once again, I'm in a thread that provided an opening for Audio Troy, alias Audiotroll to sell his wares--cite to reviews that agree with him for credibility-- and give his phone number. (He'll say he's just trying to help, but note he is the only dealer on Audiogon that "helps" so openly and brazenly). P. S.-- We can all find a review that raves over any one of dozens of great amps and speakers----that does not make that particular item work for any consumer in any set up.
 If it's a speaker thread---Audiotroll will jump in and push Paradigm. I guess if it's a thread asking for advice on preamps and amps, it's now T & A. Oh well.
My two cents. I have heard T & A gear at Stereo Exchange a number of years ago and the the NY Audio show this past year. It is very very good gear and not as well known here as it should be. In fact, it is pretty awesome and may be great with Rockport and may not be. Like CH Precision, it is bold, with great transparency and detail--not particularly warm which may be perfect for Rockport which are very slightly on the warm side of neutral in my experience. My suggestion is to call the factory and ask which solid state and tube gear are among those you should try. As for solid state, Gryphon would probably be the number one call as that is what the designer (Andy Payor) uses in his listening room. I believe he also has tube gear, but I do not know what brands he prefers. The ARC Ref 250se and VTL S400IIs both appear to have enough juice to do the job. As for other solid state gear, well there are countless greats that you should consider including D'Agostino, Pass, Ayre, Constellation, Soulution,  Classe and yes T & A. But, instead of guessing---call Andy or one of his factory hands for some suggestions on what has worked in their experience. That should help you to focus on a few brands that will be good for your set up. Good luck.  

Stereo Exchange never sold T+A, T+A is known for offering a sound that is warm if you read the review in the Absolute Sound they site the HV's musicality and tube like qualities as well as its transparency and midrange accuracy. 

Again, Gru, we are trying to get people to pay attention to a brand which compares to crazy expensive stuff like CH precison, and D'Agastino, and Solution, yet costs considerably less in fact that is what Allan Taffel said in his review he titled the review "Swiss sound for less."

I have never have I seen in all my 40 years of reading TAS and Stereophile seen a review, which has compared a $20k amp to $120k worth of some of the most respected Swiss gear around and come to that conclusion!  Have you?  Their are many raves on many great pieces of gear, however, it is the price difference in how much their costs vs the best of the best gear, which makes the T+A gear worth crowing about!

I didn't make the review, Allan Taffel did, he said in the review that the $19k T+A integrated competes with $120k worth of CH gear!  The T+A gear is the real deal and is based on a company with a reputation for building incredible gear. The HV gear is relatively new came out in 2014 but due to the poor press showing of their first distributor nobody heard of the gear in the US. 
"How close is the sound? Let me start with the PA3000 HV. At $19,000, this 300-watt integrated amp costs about 15 percent of my reference CH Precision C1/2xA1 combo. Yet when I switch between them the most striking thing I hear is their utter similarity.  "

" The biggest difference between the T+A and the CH Precision is at the very top end, where the reference is more refined, though not any more extended. Bear in mind that even this difference, though audible as a touch of roughness, still falls into the subtle category. As evidence, consider that while trying my darndest to ferret out differences like this one, I frequently put down my pen and succumbed to the music. I listened to entire sides of even the most familiar albums. That’s an indication of how little these scant distinctions matter, and how miraculously close the PA3000’s sound and capacity to captivate come to the higher-buck Swiss Sound stalwarts "

They are coming on strong with raves on their products DAC 8 $4k dac compared to $20k dacs, and technologies and usually you will find that their gear competes with much, much, more expensive gear. 

If this man wants to hear solid state gear which really sounds like the best in tubes he should hear the T+A gear, if he is on our coast he should stop in if not he can hear the gear at other dealers.

I used to love tubes and still enjoy them, the T+A gear just sounds like the best of both worlds and it is incredible made and reasonably priced. 

So yes you caught me, again, trying to champion a brand and a product that many people don't know about, but should. 

Lets see how many products we champion that become critical darlings in the press, and generally our products are less expensive for their outstanding performance. 
Hello everyone,

I hope you all had a good weekend and thank you all for your suggestions regarding the various components, including the Ayre, Pass Labs, VTL, D'Agostino, ARC and calling Rockport.  I do have a call into Andy Payor at Rockport to see what his thoughts are.  I wanted to audition some stuff from the dealer i bought the Rockports from, but that dealer doesn't have anything in his store other than the ARC REF 75 SE and the Boulder 2160 -- he just doesn't carry a lot of equipment in the store to compare. 

I do have some follow up questions.  A couple of you mentioned the VTL amplifiers (Baby Bear and Knghifi), which are also tube amps like the ARC.  Is there a reason you think the VTL amps would drive or match the Rockports better than an upgraded ARC, like the REF 250 SE monoblocks? 

Knghifi, you mentioned that philb7777 drives his Cygnus's (which are one up from the Aviors and a great sounding speaker) with the ARC 250 and REF 5SE -- do you know whether he is in love with the sound of his equipment? 

I am going to look into the other suggestions as well  (luckily Ayre is a local company here in Colorado where I live) with a dealer right around the corner.  There is a Pass Labs dealer not to far from here that says he will ship a pair of Pass Labs XA 160.8 mono blocks for me to try and if I don't like them I just pay for the shipping back, and if I do like them I pay for them.  It might be worth the cost of shipping to see how they sound.

Everyone, thank you again for the great suggestions and also taking the time to provide me guidance.  I will let you know what, if any, of these amps I can test with the Rockports before buying. 

Thank you, Larry
Hello Larry,

I don't know if any of what I said about the T+A gear will resonate with you, but if any of this intrigues you and if you have any interest in hearing the T+A gear, their importer Rutherford Audio is also in Colorado, and they might be able to provide a demo for you and who knows maybe you can get a three way demo between all  three of these stellar brands.

The T+A sound is warm, very airy, big bass and dynamics, with remarkable clarity and speed, it is similar to the Pass sound which is also a bit warm, I think the T+A has a bit more air to the sound and sounds even more powerful and a bit faster and cleaner, as you are getting 300 watts into 8 ohm and 500 watts into 4, where the Pass Labs tend for most models to be around 100-200 watts. 

The Ayre gear is very clean but it is also a bit on the lean side in the midrange which may or may not suit your tastes. It would also depend on the cabling, and digital, it is very good gear,very well designed and built.

I think you will find the T+A gear will outperform the Pass and Ayre gear as the sound of the T+A gear sounds kind of like what if you merged the best qualities of both of these brands,  and the T+A gear will cost less for their highly rated integrated amplifier and similarly priced or a bit less then the other brands, for their high end separate amp and preamp.

Musicfix bought a T+A R 2500 integrated not from us by the way,as he is not on our coast, and compared it to the Pass integrated he was also auditioning, and he greatly preferred the T+A which he subsequently purchased. 

I will repeat we are not getting anything out of this, I was just reading the post and thought hey at least he is in Colorado, and maybe the importer can get him a demo.

T & A gear is very good stuff. I can assure you that Stereo Exchange carried it, albeit for a brief time, and I found it to be exactly as stated. I would not ascribe a great amount of warmth to it as you do.  I believe Alan Taffel compared it to what is referred to as the "Swiss Sound" like Goldman, Spectral and CH Precision. These are not brands known for a tube-like warmth--nor are they harsh or thin. They are fast and have ultra high bandwidth. Although these amps all have great specs, they are not my personal cup of tea in the amplification department where I strongly prefer tubes and solid state brands like D'Agostino and some Pass as well as some less heralded brands like Wells Audio which do have a degree of warmth and tube liquidity missing in the Swiss group. But that's just my opinion.
Have i read many reviews where the reviewer says that a component can hold its own with gear costing many times its price?---yes many many times. Nevertheless, I will agree it was an excellent review and that T & A makes excellent gear.
My point is not that the OP should not consider T&A for Rockport---it's that you should stop selling your wares here so unashamedly and at every opportunity. You spout certainties that, from a dealer---sounds like a sales job regardless of whether you personally make the sale.
Your opinion that T&A contains the best attributes of Ayre and Pass is just not true IMHO and I can imagine many who would prefer Ayre (especially the new amps) or any number of Pass Labs amps over the T&A gear. Of course, one would not be wrong in preferring the T&A gear over both of those brands as you suggest.
 Finally, I note that some other Goners on other threads are joining in the chorus which again request that you stop selling here. 

If Stereo Exchange carried them it was a very  long time ago and not in recent history. The HV series of electronics is new as of 2014 and only started getting some notice in 2015 in Europe and no one in New York carried them, Innovative had the speakers and some of their older E series electronics years ago, so I think you are mixing up your dealers!

The HV stands for High Voltage and is the technique which T+A uses to mimic tube sound with solid state gear the HV series is their new flagship product and they are way better then the older gear which was good but not in this level.

No their sound is not tube like in that it is rolled off, or has an overall emphasis on a midrange, it is a smooth transparent sound and unlike Solution which pushes uber resolution over warmth. 

As per your opinion, what do you know you opinion is based on what exactly? Dave works full time at his shop and has 27 years experience. I am there on weekends and during testing sessions I go to CES and Cedia, I go to private listening sessions after hours in shows and have 40 years of professional experience, as well as designing speakers for years.

Again, you do no one justice by your relentless hounding. If you weren't such a pain we would invite you in to hear the T+A gear for yourself.

The fact that a $19k integrated stands up to $120k worth of the best Swiss gear should make you want to find out for yourself if you agree.

The fact that T+A gear competes with $120k CH Precision, $100k+ Solution and $60k D'agastino amps yet costs considerably less should be the reason why people should be talking about the brand.

By the way we tested the T+A against a $120k pair of legendary Krell Class A amplifiers, and the T+A killed that amp!

Gee what If I am right again, just like I was with the Personas, and we can point this gentleman to a line of electronics that he might really love and in this case we wouldn't be getting a thing out of it!

As per T+A vs Pass again ask Musifx who bought a $11k T+A integrated after comparing it directly to a comparably priced Pass labs product. 

Hi Audiotroll:
I did not say I heard the HV series at Stereo Exchange. In fact, it was probably not the HV series as it was before 2014. I did hear the HV Series of T&A at Audio Doctor's room at the NY stereo show last year with Personas and thought the combo was very good as I have said many times before. That is not good enough for you who wants everybody to agree that the Persona high end speakers and T&A amplification are better than all of the competition within earshot at multiples of their respective prices.
 I stand by my opinion as to the character of the sound of T&A which is shared by Alan Taffel who owns CH Precision gear and puts T&A and Spectral in the same category of sound. Indeed, in his Absolute Sound review which you referenced earlier, he compared the sound of his CH Precision  gear to T&A in all aspects and found no discernible difference except in the high end where he preferred CH. If you are as informed as you claim to be, you don't have to be told that CH Precision and Spectral are known as incredibly fast and transparent gear which some listeners love and others think are somewhat sterile. Warm is not part of that vocabulary. If you have heard D'Agostino gear or certain Pass gear, you will know that they have a deserved reputation of being liquid and somewhat tubelike, especially in the midrange. 
I will not engage in a ridiculous contest with you over who has more experience in audio. Nor will I repeat my experiences with your boss as I have done on other threads with you where I go way back to when he was a young hard selling and annoying pup at Sound By Singer.
 Short summary, I follow almost all brands and listen constantly to new products from all corners of the globe and have done so for over 35 years. I have been asked to write reviews of audio equipment for 2 audio publications, but I have chosen not to do so. I have built countless audio systems for friends and clients of my professional company (not audio related) for the sheer enjoyment of doing so. I source my purchases from virtually all dealers in NY and NJ.  I have personally built speakers and an amplifiers. I built my first pair of speakers in 1975 and sold them long ago. 
Frankly, if I were to advise the OP on amplification in the T&A mold, I would suggest that he consider Spectral as I think it is better than either T&A or CH Precision at what those brands purport to do at a fraction of the price. That being said, I believe those companies are all great companies with well made products. They are clearly not exactly the same. Therefore, I would understand and appreciate anyone whose tastes regarding these 3 brands were different than mine. I would not tell them why they are wrong and I am right as you always seem to do with anyone whose opinion differs from yours. Unlike you, however, I am not a dealer or dealer rep and my credibility does not hinge on convincing anyone of anything on this site.  

Sorry your thread got derailed. Based on my experience I would brand match the preamp and amp. I have an Audio Research Reference Phono 3. It is a great piece of equipment. I am using it with an Aesthetic Calypso preamp and Atlas amp.

I would be interested in any comments you can pass along from Andy Payor.


Jim Perry

I am too sorry, we had to have Grpu come in and start his tit for tat attacking of us and our motives.

The whole point of my comment was for you to consider a brand of equipment that really does offer the best of both qualities of tubes with the best of solid state that you may not be aware of.

 As I mentioned before we have no skin in this game.

The T+A gear is really special and will work wonders on your Rockports.

The T+A gear  will give you much better bass control vs tubes, and  far greater dynamics. We love tubes as well, and for a demanding speaker 300-500 watts can't be a bad thing.

You will find that almost any good brand of electronics will work well with the Rockports, we have a customer with the Arakkis so we kind of know the house sound, It will also come down to the choice of cables, power conditioning, and of course your source components. 

Good luck in your search and call Rutherford Audio in Colorado if any of this gear interests you. 

Jim P.,

Thanks for the advice re amp/pre amp. Your Ref 3 Phono Stage is supposed to be amazing -- I have never heard it and wanted to compare it to the Boulder 1008 that I have, but the local dealer didn't have it -- he only had the PH9, which I must say gave the more expensive 1008 a run for its money, so I would be very interested to hear the Ref 3 someday.  I bought the 1008 used here on Audiogon, so was able to save some money. 

I did speak to Andy Payor very briefly and he suggested that I break the speakers in, listen with my Ref 75SE/LS17SE, and if I noticed anything lacking or missing to call him back and discuss the specifics of what is missing/lacking and then he would be able to better advise me then.  I was shocked that he just picked up the phone when I called and was willing to talk to me -- seems like great customer service.   

In the meantime, based on the feedback here I have contacted some other dealers here in Colorado and it looks like I may get a chance to audition some of the gear you all have recommended with the Rockports in my house in a few weeks after I've broken the speakers in.  I am also going to go and listen to them at the stores this weekend (or at least try) and listen to the gear on the store's speakers just to get a flavor for what they are like.  One of the dealers about an hour north of me in Fort Collins has VTL, ARC and D'Agostino, so I should be able to hear all 3 in one shot, which is nice.

Again, I appreciate everyone taking the time to try and help me out here.  I'm very excited about the new speakers and finalizing my system once I figure out what amp/preamp best works for me with the Aviors. 

Thank you, Larry     
I don't know about the Avior, but I have the Altair 2. I did a impedance curve trace of the speaker and it basically is a 2 ohm speaker. I tried all kinds of tube amps with them and I did not like the results. Tube amps do not like 2 ohm loads. I have found that solid state amps work best.
@gasherbaum  The last I heard philb7777 is very happy with ARC. He plans to upgrade his ref250 to SE when time to re-tube. Phil is nice guy so shoot him a PM.

I never heard VTL and ARC in the same system but both always sound good to me. ARC rolls KT150 so a bit more resolving, neutral ... then VTL rolling 6550/KT88. One is not better but just different.

I have ref250se and TAD E1 with similar efficiency to Avior, 88db @4ohm. My room is 22'x31'x15' and has no problems driving them so they should work for you.

Have fun at the Fort Collins dealer. Look forward to your update.

Our customer in New York is driving his Arrakis with MBL and the combo sounds great. 
Post removed 
Andy Payor does usually recommend Gryphon which is one of the warm and full bodied solid state lines great stuff,

We have a client who has a set of their large amplifiers, it is a shame the brand is not obtainable in the States and therefore it is also a shame that Andy doesn't endorse a brand which more people can hear.

Hi Gasherbaum. Let us all  know how you make out. That way, we can enjoy vicariously without having to spend our own money.
P.S. despite the fact that specifications may not indicate that the ARC 250se or VTL S400IIs are a perfect match, both of their power supplies are extremely robust so I think you will be surprised at how well they handle your speakers, especially if used in combo with their respective preamps. Lastly, you are in luck to have a dealer that carries D'Agostino, ARC and VTL. While you are testing those 3 brands, try an ARC pre with a Dag amp. That will get you half way between the full tube sound and a hint of tube sound with what some would say is the best of both worlds. The combo is one I heard often (before Dag came out with its preamp) and I can tell you that the ARC/DAG combo is quite synergistic.
I am a huge fan of your speakers and wish you the best of luck.
Hello Everyone,

I am hoping tomorrow is a fun day as I drive up to Ft. Collins to listen to the VTL, D'Agostino and ARC.  I also hope to stop in Wheat Ridge on the way to hear the Ayre that was also recommended. 

JWM, thanks for the warning about the Altair 2's not doing great with tubes.  I have heard, although I may be wrong, that the Altair and the Arrakis were very hard to drive and needed a lot of SS power, although they are supposed to be magical sounding.  The Rockport Cygnus and smaller speakers (like the Aviors) i have heard are less demanding (also produce a smaller sound stage).  I will let you know what I think after hearing the various SS and tube amps on the speakers at my house. 

Knghifi, thanks for putting me in touch with Philb7777; I sent him a message and he responded, and he thought that a bigger need than an amp upgrade was a preamp upgrade.  He says he loves his ARC REF 5SE driving his 250's with his Rockports.  While I was intending to upgrade both, I appreciated him suggesting that the bigger need may be the preamp and that I may get a much bigger soundstage just by upgrading the preamp.   

GPGR4blu, thanks also for the suggestion on the D'Agostino amp with an ARC pre-amp.  It reminded me that someone at RMAF had said something similar and I had totally forgotten.  This gives me one more good combo to think about and test out -- could be an amazing sound.  

Thanks everyone, and I'll give my first update after this weekend, but I think the best update will come after I've had a chance to test the gear on the speakers in my house.  so far, it looks like I should be able to listen, at my house after I get my speakers,  to a used pair of ARC REF 250's (the dealer up in Ft. Collins has a traded in pair), a pair of the ARC 250 SE's, the VTL's, the D'Agostino, and the Ayre, all from local dealers, and I may pay to have the Pass Labs shipped to test them too.  I was surprised at how friendly the dealers were and that they offered to bring the gear over to my house and let me test it. 

Again, thank you to everyone for your suggestions and taking the time to respond to the post.  I know many of you have a wealth of knowledge and experience with hi-fi; I unfortunately do not, so these forums really help educate me and lead me in a good direction for my purchase. 

Thank you, Larry  
I've been driving my Aviors with the very rare and wonderful Pathos Inpol2 Integrated amp with NOS Mullard tubes used on the input stage and MOSFET on the output - 45W pure class A.  The only thing i've heard as good is the Vitus SIA-25, which is all solid state and 25 W pure class A.  It does a wonderful job at XXX times the cost of the Pathos.

I'm having a very special pushpull 300B integrated made by Berning and so will be selling my Pathos in the near future. If you are interested in this incredible integrated, to let me know.
Congrats on such a great and wise purchase!  Given that a choice of amps is dependent on a multitude of both system matching as well as  room and music preferences and, since it also involves personal tastes, you should take anything I say in that context.

I own (and reviewed for Stereo Times a number of years ago) the Rockport Aquila speakers - which I believe are similar in many ways to the Aviors.  Mine differ in that they have a single 13" side firing woofer and weigh about 80 pounds more.

In my opinion, Rockport speakers, more than any speaker I am aware of, are heirloom purchases and you see very few of them up for sale used for good reason.  I bought mine in 2008 and, other than possibly wondering what the Altairs would sound like, I have never had any desire to own any other speaker.

I have driven mine and very much like the pairing with Lamm M1.2 Reference Monoblocks - giving you a hybrid (mostly solid state) design with the power, punch and delicacy of both solid state and tubes.  I pair those amps with a Conrad-Johnson ART-3 line stage (I have an Aesthetix IO Signature phono stage) thus giving me the great sound of good tubed pre-amplification as well.

My Aquilas do seem to need/like a bit of power - so if your Aviors are similar, I think you are onto something (if you like and stay with ARC) by considering going up to the Ref 250 to make these speakers sing.

Good luck with your journey and I can assure you that you are going to LOVE Andy's speakers  - in my humble opinion, he is one of the classiest and most talented designers in audio and his build quality is second to none.

In my opinion there are preamps that sound worse but none better than the Sutherland N-1.  Ron Sutherland incorporates his finest phono stage and line stage in a single chassis. Extreme build quality and works anywhere with any line voltage sans settings.  A beautiful state of the art preamplifier capable of driving long interconnects if required and has two outputs, 6 inputs with the last a white noise generator.
Web site:
Owners manual:
Since this purchase I have totally freed myself of ever wanting more. Just a great feeling!
Very nice speakers.  I suggest you call Andy Payor at Rockport and get his opinion.  Andy is always happy to hear from the people who buy his products.

I have owned the Aviors since 2014 and absolutely love them and while I do get the itch once in a while to look at changing, I haven't heard anything compelling enough to make a move. I currently drive them with the Burmester 911mk3 mono and the Burmester 088 preamp - heavenly to say the least but may not appeal to everyone and I get that. While I haven't tried any other preamp/ amp combinations, I must say the Aviors are a tricky load and their impedence does go down to 2 ohms on certain frequencies ( agree with JWM's observations and some others' in is thread). As such, i would certainly favor high current SS or heavy duty tube amps to bring out the best in them.

I don't think Andy necessarily prescribes any particular route. He demoed the Lyra with Doshi tubes recently and I have heard the Altairs and Aviors sing in High-end Munich driven by Absolare tube amps. One of my friends drives his Aviors with Wavac monos and CJ GAT preamp. 

As an aside, I would suggest writing to Jeff Fritz, Editor, Soundstage Ultra. He is intimately aware of the entire Rockport lineup and for a long time had the Ayer MXR amps ( I think) as his reference though I believe he now also has the Soulution 700 monos. I would go by what Jeff would suggest given his vast experience and the fact that he is very approachable and responsive.

if budget is not a constraint, one can't go wrong with either of Vitus, Luxman, Gryphon, Dan's Momentums, Absolare, Ypsilon, darTZeel, etc. I love the Burmesters, though, unabashedly and so that's another option.

Have fun.....and hopefully, you will land up with something you like and will cherish for a long time. The Aviors are wonderful speakers!



You are clearly doing an "upgrade".  Awesome speakers!!!   If you want to bring out the absolute best in your new speakers with a worthy preamp then I would unconditionally recommend the ARC Ref 10.  I have had mine for two years and it is unbeatable.  It is a true and lasting marriage of the best sonic qualities of soild state (transient speed, inner detail to the quark level and bottom-end punch) and tubes (ambience, space/air, sustain and realism).  As they say: the pre is where the damage is done.  My ARC Ref 10 must have taken the Hippocratic Oath because it does absolutely no harm.  It's marvelous!!! 

Contrary to what some posters are saying, the Aviors are relatively easy to drive with a 90db sensitivity and nominally 4 ohm load.  They dip to 3.1 in one or two spots, but have generally smooth impedance curve. As i indicated, the 25w class A of solid state Vitus works beautifully as does my Pathos at 45w class A.  I also expect my new amp of 20-25w pure tube class A will be just fine.  Don't get sold a bill of goods on needing high power amps ($$) for the Aviors . . . . It's the quality, not the quantity! . . . . 
Just so that we are clear, I am not denying that quality almost always trumps quantity. But I don't agree that the Aviors are an easy load. In any case, ease of drive is relative and to that extent I do agree they are an easier load than B&W, Magico and Vandersteen. 

As to quality, all the SS (including the Burmester) and tube amps I listed are extremely high quality amps. Given this level of amplification, I will always drive the Aviors with the maximum power I can afford within each of these brands.



I'm friends with Phil (philb7777) and have heard his system (in the pre Rockport days - with Avalons) and the current Cygnus' with his ARC gear. It's a stunning combo (the ARC and the Rockports (heck, so were the Avalons!)). My suggestion would be to just enjoy your new speakers for a good-while and take your time, and let your ears decide if/when upgrades are needed. They did take some time to break in, and the placement was non-trivial. On another note - keep up the discussion with Phil. He has helped me GREATLY on the strange and wonderful pathway of the high end.  
Hi Everyone,

Thanks again for all the advice.  Boneman I was planning on breaking the speakers in for about 500 hours using a borrowed bryston amp.  I was then going to test them out with the ARC 75 SE I have and see what, if anything, I feel is missing or could be better.   

So as an update, I went up to Fort Collins and was able to hear the ARC 250's and the D'Agostinos (dealer didn't have the VTL 450's yet - said they would be in next week and he'd bring them down once my speakers were broken in).  The D'Agostinos (amp and preamp) were being played on Vandersteen speakers with a boulder phono stage.  It was a very nice sound.  He had the ARC 250's hooked up to some Martin Logan speakers and was using the ARC ref 6 preamp and ARC ref 3 phono stage.  I'm not personally a huge fan of Martin Logan, so I didn't love the sound, but it did create a nice sound stage nevertheless, so I am excited to hear them on the Rockports iwth the VTL's.  I didn't get to Wheat Ridge to hear the Ayer amps, but hope to that this week. 

Speakers should be hear  this week I'm hoping according to Andy Payor. 

Thanks everyone.  Larry

Hi Larry,

For what it's worth I recently heard a setup in a shop driving Aviors that included a Chord CPA 8000 pre and a pair of Chord mono's that could have been the 1400 MkII's, not sure, but the price of the amps only was $27K if that tells.  It was a short listen, however, it was music I was very familiar with I must say it was very impressive!  Definitely some of the best sound I have ever heard and I recently heard the same music on a well set-up Linn Klimax 350 Exakt system.  


I've heard two different Rockport speaker pairs at the Sound Environment in Omaha, NE  (don't laugh, this is a top shelf store.  There  is a very surprising amount of disposable income in Omaha).

They were the Lyra and Cygnus.  Lyra's were powered by D'Agostino momentum mono blocks and the Cygnus were powered by D'Agostino 2-channel momentum amp.  D'Agostino pre.  dCS DAC, etc.

Ridiculous soundstage depth and breadth.  The speakers just disappeared (hard to do as large as they are) and it was like the artists were in the room.  This with only Tidal feeds.  Hi-res stuff would likely be mind blowing (is that still a thing?).

The 2-channel momentum amp would be an excellent choice for your system in my modestly educated opinion.  
Hello everyone,

Thanks for the all the advice.  foreverworkin, I have heard rave things about the Chord DAVE dac, but don't know much about the Chord amps; you have given me something new to investigate.  Admranger I had hoped to hear the D'Agostino amps with the speakers as the dealer that had the ARC and VTL is also a D'agostino dealer, but he couldn't bring them to my house when he brought the ACR and VTL.  I did hear them at his store on a pair of Vandersteen speakers and boy was the D'Agostino a great sound. 

I thought I would give you an update.  My speakers arrived a little over 2 weeks ago and have been playing ever since -- although not fully broken in let's just say they are a very nice improvement over my Thiel 3.7's and I'm loving the new Rockport Aviors.  I have heard the ARC REF 250's with a REF 6 preamp -- unfortunately, I wasn't able to hear the ARC REF 250 SE's as the dealer didn't have them, just a used  pair of REF 250's.  He also brought the VTL 450 mono's with a VTL 6.5 preamp.  The VTL sound was nice, but I liked the ARC better -- that may be just because I'm used to the ARC sound as I have ARC gear, so not sure, but after a few hours of spinning records on both I liked the ARC sound better.  I wish I had been able to hear a REF 250 SE as the REF 250's were very nice, and I expect the 250 SE's would be even better than the 250's.  I should be able to hear the Ayre reference preamp and stereo amplifier soon and the dealer offered to let me listen to the Ayre dac because I also need a new dac -- my last one isn't working the way it was supposed to and the dealer and the manufacturer have offered me a full refund, which I thought was amazing.  I'm looking at an EMM labs dac, a Chord DAVE, the Ayre right now, but I know even less about DAC's and digital music than I do about amps and preamps. 

Thanks again everyone for all the help and taking the time to provide the great advice.  I will provide another update after I've heard the Ayre gear. 

Did you ever decide on what amps/preamp/dac would match up with your Aviors?