Considering A 20-40 Watt Stereo SET Amp

I just got over a 16 day illness (not Covid) where it was touch and go for a few days. I am thinking of rewarding myself with a 20-40 watt stereo SET amp. The speakers I will use are a pair of the new JBL L100 Classic speakers that I bought at the end of 2020. The speakers are rated at 4 ohms @90db sensitivity.

Presently, I am using a McIntosh integrated and I do not listen loud. The meters on the Mac usually sit between .20 and 2 watts at its loudest. I have not started looking yet but I do know I want something with 1 pair of outputs so I can use my SVS powered subwoofer with it. I would also need 3 high level inputs. I don’t want to break the bank as this would be a secondary amp to put into rotation as the mood strikes me.

I do not want a flea powered amp so it has to be 20-40 watts and under 4 grand new. Used would be even better. I am hoping I can be steered in the right direction so I can start my research. I do not want to have to buy other components to accommodate the amp. Source components are a McIntosh SACD player, McIntosh FM tuner and a Sony HAP-Z1ES music player. Nordost interconnects and Canare speaker cables, Shunyata power cords and a Furutech power conditioner round out the system. The amp must be stereo, no monoblocks please. 99% of my listening will be through my Mac FM tuner. The system is also on its own dedicated 20-amp circuit.


I used my Had Firebottle SEP with 90db or so speakers and it worked could test the distortion by cranking it but's a wonderful amp. 10 to 17 watts pc allegedly depending on tubes used, and it will work with a lot of different tubes generally of the KT variety...

@three_easy_payments ,

I totally agree with you.  This kind of takes the wind out of my sail.  I wish I could hear a Prima Luna before I take the plunge.  I will look online to see if there are any dealers even remotely close to me.

as @three_easy_payments has identified, your speakers are the determining factor here. You are really going to have to audition a range of tube amps before purchase as the results of the complex speaker- amp output stage interaction can not be predicted accurately from specifications and will tend to dominate sonic outcomes.

Conventional wisdom would dictate that those amps with a 4 ohm tap would be more successful. However, this may not be the case and each amp should be auditioned on its own merits.

I would therefore caution strongly against falling into the trap of auditioning a single recommended amp and buying it because it sounds nice (most tube amps sound nice), and instead make a point of auditioning a range of different tube amps before you take the plunge on your favourite.

I would also have a really good SS power amp on hand as a baseline reality check as to the overall viability of tubes with your speakers.