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. 


@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. 




I have been using Carver gear for about 20 years, both his preamp from Sunfire and a Carver amp that uses trickle down tech from the legendary Lightstar design. Bob has a LOT of patents so when you hear one of his designs I find it unique. The preamp I use is solid state yet has a tube like sound signature similar to a Jeff Rowland tube design. The amp I use is a 5 channel amp at 80 watts a channel. It uses a tracking downconverter that can push those watts wherever they are needed for brief periods. Then look at the in home audition policy:

Enjoy a Carver Amplifier Challenge in your home with your speakers. If you are not in love with our product, we will refund your full purchase price with no restocking fees. Compare our performance to others. Hear the performance your speakers are truly capable of.

With the Carver Amplifier Challenge, the customer always wins

OP and @facten

I’ve heard the Leben extensively with 86dB Harbeths and it’s a great match.


If you type Carver into the search bar of the Virtual System area you will find many members with systems posted using his designs you can contact via DM. You can also see many of the professional reviews that are linked to on the Carver website.