Best value Set amp for under $1500 used is ok.

Looking to power some large horn speakers and replace my SS Audio Research upgraded LS10 power amp because it needs service and I am not ready to service this unit for a variety of reasons not worth discussing here.

Specs for the Viking Acoustics L’Instrument speakers



Sensitivity: 98 db

Time Alignment: Drivers time-aligned mechanically and electrically.

Bandwidth: 18Hz - 19,000 (18Hz - 50kHz with optional super tweeter)

I have tried 845/805/KT88/120 in non set builds. I’d like to try a 300B or similar set  design for these without burning the budget. I’m based in Australia and prefer to use 240V capable amps.


There have been very encouraging  comments regarding the Willsenton R 300 which is a 300b SET integrated amplifier. I have not heard it but owner feedback is consistently quite positive. It falls within your stated budget.


Sophia Baby makes a great stand in amp.  I have one.  plenty of power for your speakers.  Otherwise, if you can find a used Decware SE84 (actually my first choice but hard to find, they sell quickly).  I believe there is currently a used SE34I.5 on the decware forum classifieds but slightly over your budget.  These options much better than anything chinese.


Like Charles, I also read mainly quite positive reviews on the Willsenton amps for good value in an integrated, but don’t have personal experience with them. There’s a dedicated FB group for Willsenton. Rogue could also be worth a look.

If you have a preamp available, I'd highly recommend a VTA 70 from 


Just to comment on the Willsenton amps being suggested, I had the R8 for a while and i was impressed with the overall build quality and sound. Only thing i didn't like was the remote volume control was too fast to be useful in a hi efficiency system. other than that, it's a supper $ value amp. 


Your response is what I've seen from people who've actually heard or owned the Willsenton amplifiers. Vast majorities are impressed with their built quality and sound. Yes, it is Chinese, I would not be bias and hold that against it. There is a quality hierarchy with Chinese products as with any other nation.


The LS10 is a preamplifier.

Are you looking for an integrated 300B amplifier?

If so, the Willsenton R300 (mentioned) is the only one, price wise, that comes to mind.

I have seen online pics of some models marked 220V/50Hz on the back.

Here's a recent thread about an owner (R300) updating the coupling caps in one (nice internal pics).

In the US I can have one delivered for $1500 with free shipping (Amazon), but I don't know about availability in Australia (I assume that I would be charged sales tax on the purchase).



Thanks to all who suggested the Willsenton and other suggestions. I will certainly do some more research.

@dekay I couldn't edit the post to correct the LS10 reference. Actually the power amp is an ARC D240 MkII. I will read that post you've linked with interest, thanks.

I've had a Prima Luna Dialogue Premium amp previously but not connected to these speakers, earlier I was using the Elac 247.2 and the combo was very good.

If I consider budget only, 300B tube amps are hard to find and fit the bill. This push pull amp seems like good value: YAQIN MC-84L Class A Push Pull Tube Amplifier and there are others by Dared that are in the budget range. 

This is a Living Room system that is coming off a cheap Marantz 1509 AVR and using preouts to couple to the power amp. And the reason for that is the furniture that is impossible to find: furniture that has openings high enough and multi-level to fit pre/pro for example outside of IKEA or a dedicated hifi rack that costs a fortune for the length required.

Living room speakers and media unit 

There are a small number of boutique amp builders here in Oz...outside the budget.

I have a Willsenton R8 and can attest to its attributes. Great tube qualities of bloom and holographic sound staging, and surprisingly fast tight bass. Highly recommend. That said I imagine their 300B is glorious. 

I was a little hesitant to buy something that would have to ship back to China if/when it needs repair and really wish it was made in America, which is why I’m on the waitlist for a Decware 25th anniversary Zen. 

I spent the day watching reviews and the 800i gets a good rap as does the 300R too. Outside of budget…great value etc.



The R8 can ne repaired in the U.S.

You just have to ship it to Willsentons authorized repair center. Email China-Hifi for details


In your original post you expressed an interest in a 300b SET amplifier. In my opinion your current Viking speakers afford a terrific opportunity to explore the possibility. 98 db sensitivity horn, I’d encourage you to go for it.

You have had previous push pull tube amplifiers that you apparently enjoyed quite a bit. A good quality 300b SET will provide a different listening perspective/encounter. Whether it’s better or not is for you to determine. Is your speaker the 6 or the 12 ohm impedance version?


I'm using  a $1000 Decware Zen Triode int. as an amp 2.3 watts...w/ Audio-gd tubed preamp. with Klipsch Heresy IV and Teckton Pendragons. Plenty of power and window breaking volume. Smoooooth and airy. Chinese tube amps are a great value for the $. I have an 8 watt int.w/ Gold Lion KT-88's from Boiurang $675 .georgeous sound. That's all you need.

Here's something else to look at.

It's a 1 watt preamp/headphone amp/speaker amp that could also be used as a preamp with your ARC.

International voltage with the stock power supply and within budget

I've read about it (online reviews) being used with higher efficiency speakers, but I don't know how they would compare to yours.

This said, I owned an Audion Silver Night DH/SET 300B amp years ago and it was perhaps the most fun I've had in this hobby.

I now use inexpensive (kit) DH/SET 2A3 mono blocks to power vintage wide band single drivers.



G'day @charles1dad 

I have the 6Ohm version Horns.

Placed order for this unit as a trial...


I notice this is Mark III so will be interested to see developments. Also saved 10% plus 6% discount on this unit...

@johnread57 Well, congratulations on acquiring this amplifier. I’ll admit that I’m unfamiliar with this brand. It’s certainly affordable and that is nice. I hope that at its price point it utilizes decent/reasonable quality transformers (Particularly output) and power supply. Two important factors for amplifiers and especially SET amps.

I am very interested in your listening impressions and how well it pairs with your speakers (Which on paper is a very good one). This should be an exciting and informative endeavor for you.


Indeed @charles1dad  the price was the key feature along with many reviews. I have a Krell DUO XD300 in the process of sale that will fund this purchase. Then I may also fund the repair to another D240 MK II that was destroyed by FedEx who would not accept a claim against them. 
Hopefully this small purchase results in acceptance by my wife as we were listening to Stockfisch SACD simply on YouTube last night and marveling at the sound just through our cheap Marantz 1509 AVR. Super surprising. Demonstrating what great speakers bring to a Hi-Fi system. Appreciate your interest here too.


If someone expresses an interest in SET amplifiers I’ll encourage the pursuit. I have very happily owned 300b SET amplifiers for over 13 years. My appreciation and admiration for them has only grown.

If the SET amplifier is good quality and speaker choice is compatible, fabulous sound quality can be expected. It sure seems that you have very suitable speakers. If the amplifier holds up its end of the bargain, you will be very pleased.


I'll chime in very briefly, as Charles and I both run Coincident speakers.  Charles- a local dealer friend lent me a very nice all piano black lacquer amp from Melody.  It's a 2A3 integrated (uses 4 2A3's for output, and there is also a 101d DHT tube in the circuit as well!).  It's super heavy with some very beefy transformers.  This thing was so quiet as well.  Shockingly good (even on the big PRE's Charles), and for ~ $1,500 used- I am contemplating for the third (8' x 10') bedroom system...


Now that seems a very good amplifier at a fabulous price. I’d strongly encourage you to go for it,


There seems to be a number of upgrades available for this amp by Skunkie Design Electronics. 🦨  I may just upgrade the 6sn7 tubes with the lower grade Linlai tubes in the near future after arrival.

I don't have any experience with SET amps and high efficiency horn speakers, but if I'm reading your OP, you have $30K speakers and want to limit your amplifier expense to be <$1,500 ?


Lol you should hear these speakers with my cheap Marantz AVR. Simply amazing, seriously. I’ve sold the Luxman M900u. My Audio Research D240 MKII here is in need of service. My other D240 MKII is in the USA, smashed by FedEx who are not paying insurance claims at all these days. My Berlin R Type II speakers were smashed by FedEx, did I say they are not paying insurance claims, yes I did, and these have been completely rebuilt. Now waiting for sale. This seems like an ideal moment to not join the two year waiting list for a Decware or invest in a Kondo or Audio Note etc, hey why not try an entry level 300B as a starter set? 

Doing that. 

@johnread - hey man, all good. I was not attempting to denigrate in any way or throw shade. If I could afford them, I would love a pair of the Vikings - and especially the L’Instrument. ♪ If I were a rich man ♪ - and cost was no object, I would have David build me a pair with an AER bd full range driver. Very cool. Part of the beauty of horn speakers is that they only require small wattage to sound very good. And I *luvs* to find high-value sources, cables, and components because they don’t usually require high parts or manufacturing costs. Part of the fun of this hobby. Sorry to hear about your FedEx nightmares - ugh..

On the surface I understand noticing the glaring price difference between the speaker and matching amplifier. However If this entry level 300b SET has good bones/foundation, its SET attributes will be exploited with high caliber speakers. It’s worth the attempt in my opinion. 

It proven to be a good pairing, that’s an excellent result for little expenditure on the amplifier. Besides one can always upgrade the amplifier if so desired at a later date.