Lush and Romantic Tube Amps

Hi All -

I am on a quest for a lush, warm and romantic tube amp. Ideally, it should be 75 watts and upwards. I’m in a large room and my speakers are 87.5 sensitivity and 8 ohm. The room is large. 

The system:

LTA preamp 

Innuous Zenith music server 

Merason Dac 1 

Cardas Clear cables 


Suggestions are welcomed. 


      The use of NOS British* tubes for input and driver/splitter positions, warmed things up considerably, for every customer that asked, back in the day.

       Amp's manufacturer didn't matter.

       Nor: whether octal or nine pin miniature tubes.

       The carbon composition resistors, used widely in older tube amps, gave them a warmer signature.    Even SS gear could be warmed up, by swapping those in for cleaner resistors.

                               *ie: Mullard, Genelex or Brimar

        Brent Jessee's site has a wealth of information, as regards the presentation of the valves available in the NOS market.


         You could warm up your existing system's presentation, by installing British valves in your LTA preamp, whatever your current amp.

The Decware ZMA with it's huge power supply would be a good choice for those speakers.  Closest you can get in a push-pull to the SET sound.


"Leben CS600"  "Decware ZMA"   - 32wpc and 40wpc amps for 87db speakers and a large room?


+1, anemic choices

The Carver RAM 285 I linked to above:


Power test at 1Kz produce 129w @ .25% THD+N.

85 WPC 18 Hz to 20 KHz minus 1 dB at less than less than .5% THD+N.

@kota1 - thank you for this suggestion. I’ve seen Bob Carver’s name on this board before, but as I’m new to audio equipment, have no familiarity with his equipment. That 85 watt amp looks extremely compelling. I have been on the fence, nearly ready to plunk down the money for the Conrad Johnson classic 120se, possibly with EL34 tubes, but the price tag is substantial and I’m a little afraid the sound signature will be similar to the CJ art 150 which I tried in my home already. From your experience, how would you describe Carver’s equipment sound signature? I did listen to a few online tidbits I could find and frankly what I heard I liked - a lot. You get the sense of warmth, which is what I’m after. 

@jasonbourne71 - thank you for the suggestion. I will look into them a a bit more. 

@rodman99999 - thanks for the wisdom on the NOS tubes! 

@rcprince - I’ve heard from several posters that the older CJ amps are what I should be looking for. My apprehension has been around maintenance of an older unit. I know CJ still maintains older equipment, but packing and shipping gives me pause. Would you have similar concerns? Or do you feel otherwise? 

@dhcod - I’ve read about Leben, but am afraid that amp might not be powerful enough. I also have a bit of a live affair with my LTA preamp! 

@carlsbad2 - I’ve read about Decware and all the positive feedback. However, I’ve found, in this space, I really need a lot of watts. The Qualiton / Audio Hungary that I own currently is great with 100 watts. I am really looking for an amp with a similar sound signature, preferably with a USA-based manufacturer.