I was happy with my system for 30 years; now I need a new amp...and more?

Greetings, can you help? My amps died. I have a wide range of listening: rock and roll mostly (70's mainly), some jazz, minimal classical.


Sources are LPs and CDs. I even still have a Nak tape deck for live music tapes...

I had VTL 80W mono blocks since 1992, combined with VTL Deluxe Preamplifier.

Speakers were EPOS ES11 (still have them, been in boxes for years), then some used Thiel CS3.5 (sold), now some Klipsch R820F that I got at Best Buy (I know).

Source is AR turntable that I've had since early 90's, don't remember what cartridge but it's relatively new.

CD player was Cal Audio Labs that stopped reading discs a few years ago (is this worth getting repaired? Tend to doubt it), now Phillips 900 series CD player, seems solid.


The VTL tube preamp had some bad tubes which are now replaced and it appears to be functioning well.

The tube amps had major issues with capacitors and I decided to sell them and move on instead of getting them repaired.


So! Now I need to get a new amp. Ideally I would use the existing preamp, possibly combining it with a solid state amp. I know the speakers are not that great, and the CD player probably needs upgrading.

The room is small--I sit about 12' from the speakers, the ceiling is average height (10'?), the room has a concrete floor covered with a rug (not carpet) and there are a lot of windows.

Budget is a bit flexible. I was thinking first I need the amp, then maybe upgrade the CD player (is it bad?), and finally the speakers.

One option is the Schiit Vidar 2 amp which, if I just get one, would work with the existing tube preamp (need balanced inputs to use two as mono blocks, which I don't have from this preamp). I would like for the amp to NOT run super hot if possible.


Budget (all are ± $500)

I could spend up to maybe $1500 on the amp

Up to maybe $1000 on the CD player (ideally less, or maybe not at all?)

Up to maybe $2000 on the speakers but that wouldn't be for another year or so. Focal?


Also: Minimal local dealers for stereo equipment! Tough to audition gear, plus it's not the same as hearing it in one's own room.


Looking for recommendations for an amp I can use with my tube pre-amp but also would consider something integrated (and sell the Deluxe to fund it) or other options?




@kota1 great suggestions 


My personal favorite is Odyssey, OP.  Have two pieces of gear from Klaus ... simply outstanding musicality.  You will not be disappointed with AVA but higher wattage and sublimity with Stratos.  Best buy in audio!!

Don't laugh, this unit sounds very good when I incorporate it into any of my systems. Runs cold: Mini GaN 5 Balanced Power Amplifier.


If I may humbly suggest a budget solution for replacing your CD player. I have an audio lab 6000 CDT playing through a Schitt modi external dac and couldn't be happier. As far as a solid state amplifier paired with a tubed preamp I have run quite a few solid states through my rogue audio metis Magnum with excellent results. With the right pairing you get the best of both worlds; the power, control, and detail of solid state with the warmth of tubes. I wish you well in your search.

Petaluman, you are wise. I agree: I think I want the flexibility of upgrading the speakers in the future, and thus want an amp that can handle a bit more than the Klipsch. I didn't think they sounded spectacular with the 80W tube mono blocks, but again, the room is a bit bright. I don't think they had "power to spare". 


I'm tempted to just get the Vidar and try it with my preamp for a week but I think the better plan is to sell the VTL and get a modern, relatively powerful integrated amp, and probably that Marantz CD player recommended above that can also stream.

Then next year think about better speakers. This thread has been super helpful in organizing my thoughts and giving me some options. More opinions welcome!

Also just for some ideas on music, I would through out:

Grateful Dead American Beauty CD remaster, or live reissues like 5/8/77

John Coltrane Giants Steps LP box 180g 45 rpm

Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon

Joni Mitchell

Tom Petty Wildflowers

Rolling Stones 

Led Zeppelin

Bob Dylan

Anything by Miles Davis

That's what I'm into.