My Long List of Amplifiers and My Personal Review of Each!

So I have been in a long journey looking to find the best amplifiers for my martin logan montis. As you know, the match between an amplifier and speakers has to be a good "marriage" and needs to be blend exquisitely. Right now, I think I might have found the best sounding amplifier for martin logan. I have gone through approximately 34-36 amplifiers in the past 12 months. Some of these are:

Bryston ST, SST, SST2 series

With all that said, the amplifiers I mentioned above are the ones that in my opinion are worth mentioning. To make a long story short, there is NO 5 CHANNEL POWER AMP that sounds as good as a 3ch and 2ch amplifier combination. i have done both experiments and the truth is that YOU DO lose details and more channel separation,etc when you select a 5 channel power amplifier of any manufacturer.
My recollection of what each amp sounded like is as follows:

ATI SIGNATURE SERIES 6005 (great power and amazing soundstage. Very low noise floor, BUT this amplifiers NEEDS TO BE cranked up in order to fully enjoy it. If you like listening at low volume levels or somewhat moderate, you are wasting your time here. This amp won’t sound any different than many other brands out there at this volume. The bass is great, good highs although they are a bit bright for my taste)

NAD M25 (very smooth, powerful, but somewhat thin sounding as far as bass goes)
Bryston sst2(detailed, good soundstage, good power, but can be a little forward with certain speakers which could make them ear fatiguing at loud volumes)

Krell (fast sounding, nice bass attack, nice highs, but some detail does get lost with certain speakers)

rotel (good amp for the money, but too bright in my opinion)

cary audio (good sound overall, very musical, but it didn’t have enough oomph)

parasound halo (good detail, great bass, but it still holds back some background detail that i can hear in others)

lexicon (very laid back and smooth. huge power, but if you like more detail or crisper highs, this amp will disappoint you)

McIntosh mc205 (probably the worst multichannel amp given its price point. it was too thin sounding, had detail but lacked bass.

butler audio (good amplifier. very warm and smooth sweet sounding. i think for the money, this is a better amp than the parasound a51)

pass labs (very VERY musical with excellent bass control. You can listen to this for hours and hours without getting ear fatigue. however, it DOES NOT do well in home theater applications if all you have is a 2 channel set up for movies. The midrange gets somewhat "muddy" or very weak sounding that you find yourself trying to turn it up.

classe audio (best amplifier for multi channel applications. i simply COULDNT FIND a better multi channel amplifier PERIOD. IT has amazing smoothness, amazing power and good bass control although i would say krell has much better bass control)

Update: The reviews above were done in January 2015. Below is my newest update as of October 2016:

PS AUDIO BHK 300 MONOBLOCKS: Amazing amps. Tons of detail and really amazing midrange. the bass is amazing too, but the one thing i will say is that those of you with speakers efficiency of 87db and below you will not have all the "loudness" that you may want from time to time. These amps go into protection mode when using a speaker such as the Salon, but only at very loud levels. Maybe 97db and above. If you don’t listen to extreme crazy levels, these amps will please you in every way.

Plinius Odeon 7 channel amp: This is THE BEST multichannel amp i have ever owned. Far , but FAR SUPERIOR to any other multichannel amp i have owned. In my opinion it destroyed all of the multichannel amps i mentioned above and below. The Odeon is an amp that is in a different tier group and it is in a league of its own. Amazing bass, treble and it made my center channel sound more articulate than ever before. The voices where never scrambled with the action scenes. It just separated everything very nicely.

Theta Dreadnaught D: Good detailed amp. Looks very elegant, has a pleasant sound, but i found it a tad too bright for my taste. I thought it was also somewhat "thin" sounding lacking body to the music. could be that it is because it is class d?

Krell Duo 300: Good amp. Nice and detailed with enough power to handle most speakers out there. I found that it does have a very nice "3d" sound through my electrostatics. Nothing to fault here on this amp.
Mark Levinson 532H: Great 2 channel amp. Lots of detail, amazing midrange which is what Mark Levinson is known for. It sounds very holographic and will please those of you looking for more detail and a better midrange. As far as bass, it is there, but it is not going to give you the slam of a pass labs 350.5 or JC1s for example. It is great for those that appreciate classical music, instrumental, etc, but not those of you who love tons of deep bass.

 It is articulate sounding too
Krell 7200: Plenty of detail and enough power for most people. i found that my rear speakers contained more information after installed this amp. One thing that i hated is that you must use xlr cables with this amp or else you lose most of its sound performance when using RCA’s.

Krell 402e: Great amp. Very powerful and will handle any speaker you wish. Power is incredible and with great detail. That said, i didn’t get all the bass that most reviewers mentioned. I thought it was "ok" in regards to bass. It was there, but it didn’t slam me to my listening chair.

Bryston 4B3: Good amp with a complete sound. I think this amp is more laid back than the SST2 version. I think those of you who found the SST2 version of this amp a little too forward with your speakers will definitely benefit from this amp’s warmth. Bryston has gone towards the "warm" side in my opinion with their new SST3 series. As always, they are built like tanks. I wouldn’t call this amp tube-like, but rather closer to what the classe audio delta 2 series sound like which is on the warm side of things.

Parasound JC1s: Good powerful amps. Amazing low end punch (far superior bass than the 402e). This amp is the amp that i consider complete from top to bottom in regards to sound. Nothing is lacking other than perhaps a nicer chassis. Parasound needs to rework their external appearance when they introduce new amps. This amp would sell much more if it had a revised external appearance because the sound is a great bang for the money. It made my 800 Nautilus scream and slam. Again, amazing low end punch.

Simaudio W7: Good detailed amp. This amp reminds me a lot of the Mark Levinson 532h. Great detail and very articulate. I think this amp will go well with bookshelves that are ported in order to compensate for what it lacks when it comes to the bass. That doesn’t mean it has no bass, but when it is no Parasound JC1 either.
Pass labs 350.5: Wow, where do i begin? maybe my first time around with the xa30.8 wasn’t as special as it was with this monster 350.5. It is just SPECTACULAR sounding with my electrostatics. The bass was THE BEST BASS i have ever heard from ANY amp period. The only amp that comes close would be the jC1s. It made me check my settings to make sure the bass was not boosted and kept making my jaw drop each time i heard it. It totally destroyed the krell 402e in every regard. The krell sounded too "flat" when compared to this amp. This amp had amazing mirange with great detail up top. In my opinion, this amp is the best bang for the money. i loved this amp so much that i ended up buying the amp that follows below.

Pass labs 250.8: What can i say here. This is THE BEST STEREO AMP i have ever heard. This amp destroys all the amps i have listed above today to include the pass labs 350.5. It is a refined 350.5 amp. It has more 3d sound which is something the 350.5 lacked. It has a level of detail that i really have never experienced before and the bass was amazing as well. I really thought it was the most complete power amplifier i have ever heard HANDS DOWN. To me, this is a benchmark of an amplifier. This is the amp that others should be judged by. NOTHING is lacking and right now it is the #1 amplifier that i have ever owned.

My current amps are Mcintosh MC601s: i decided to give these 601s a try and they don’t disappoint. They have great detail, HUGE soundstage, MASSIVE power and great midrange/highs. The bass is great, but it is no pass labs 250.8 or 350.5. As far as looks, these are the best looking amps i have ever owned. No contest there. i gotta be honest with you all, i never bought mcintosh monos before because i wasn’t really "wowed" by the mc452, but it could have been also because at that time i was using a processor as a preamp which i no longer do. Today, i own the Mcintosh C1100 2 chassis tube preamp which sounds unbelievable. All the amps i just described above have been amps that i auditioned with the C1100 as a preamp. The MC601s sound great without a doubt, but i will say that if you are looking for THE BEST sound for the money, these would not be it. However, Mcintosh remains UNMATCHED when it comes to looks and also resale value. Every other amp above depreciates much faster than Mcintosh.

That said, my future purchase (when i can find a steal of a deal) will be the Pass labs 350.8. I am tempted to make a preliminary statement which is that i feel this amp could be THE BEST stereo amp under 30k dollars. Again, i will be able to say more and confirm once i own it. I hope this update can help you all in your buying decisions!

After I wrote the above, curiosity got the best of me and I brought out the A21, first connecting it to the NAD c356BEE's pre outs.  Needless to say, it was a change for the better.  But I wanted to key in on the OP's thoughts that the Halo gear holds back some background detail, so I added the p7 to the mix and went to a track that I know has some high frequency percussion in the background, I assume that the drummer is doing.

I thought of this track because it's the one that I noticed my car system reproduced with the percussion quite clear.  I have Rockford Fosgate amps, if that helps anyone.  Anyway, I have to agree with the OP.  At least the P7/A21 combo, with good neutral cabling, does reproduce this background percussion even somewhat less than the NAD.   Good for bright/forward speakers, but perhaps not a good mix for warm sounding ones.  

The Halo gear really is significantly better than the Nad, btw.  But a fair amount of my music is lesser SQ rock/pop from the 80's and 90's, which makes the NAD comparison closer.  There's only so much you can do with weaker material I guess.  Okay, back to regularly scheduled programming!
Thanks 213runnin for your posts - I appreciate any/all comparisons.

I sent whitecamaross a PM asking about the second best 7 channel amp he's experienced.  I was thinking of getting the Plinius Odeon, but I am concerned with heat and the shutdown of the amp.  Unfortunately, the amp slot in my entertainment center is closed on the sides.  With the 10" amp height, it will have 6" of space on top, and the front and rear of the shelf is open.   I'm thinking that the 6" is not enough and the sides being closed is a deal breaker.   I read the instructions for the Odeon, and it requires nearly 16" of clearance on all sides, and not being closed in.  Perhaps second best will be the best for me.

So, looking for whitecamaross (or anyone else) to comment on what might be the second best multichannel amp (in your subjective experience, of course :-)

Thanks in advance,

By the way, I have the Gen 3 Emotiva 7 channel amp, and I'm giving it some time.  Dynamics are great, the bass is really good, treble is good and it's never too bright.  It is absolutely terrific with action movies - whether lower volume or cranked up.  It does not seem to run out of juice.  It's definitely a tremendous value.   I'm going to give it a few days more and see if it improves further.   So far, I'm really wanting a bit more in the midrange -- I'd like it to be more 3D.

Emotiva is a good amplifier. i actually own 3 emotiva sa250 stereo amps and have used them with the mcintosh c1100 tube preamp and they do sound wonderful. Remember one thing though, if you are going cheap with the amps, YOU MUST go higher on the preampfification/ processor. I had the anthem avm60 connected to the odeon and it sounded spectacular. The bryson sp3 with the odeon did not impress me at all though so this is a prime example of system matching. The bryson sp3 is an amazing processor though, but it does not work well with the odeon just like plinius amps don't sound great with electrostatics (too harsh sounding). 
I love plinius and their products are outstanding, but you gotta be really careful with system matching. For now, i am here having a drink and listening to the Renaissance and a pair of mc275s and it is heaven to say the least. Incredible synergy and musicality and to my ears they sound better than the 601s do with electrostatics. 
I would submit that the SA 250 is a different animal.  I've never heard one, but they could well be a step above the XPA series, or at least that is what Emotiva was saying at the time.

But they've been retired, just as several in the UPA line and more recently the XPR line of amps.  This is the thing about their business model that is a real head scratcher.
@213runnin - yes, Emotiva claims that the SA250 was better than their XPA series, but they now claim with the Gen 3 that it is better than the SA250.

@whitecamaross - that is good to know about the system matching and that the Odeon did not go well with the bryson sp3.   I have a Theta CBIV w/Xtreme 3 dacs - so far, the best processor that I've had.  It's hard to know if an Odeon would go well with my CBIV.  And, unfortunately, there's not a 30 day trial period. :-)

@whitecamaross - that's awesome, by the way, that you are enjoying your speakers and the mc275s!  What happened with the Pass Labs X250.8?   Are you finding that the tubes of the mc275s are a better synergy with your speakers?


whitecamaross, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your detailed amp reviews. I have a Classe CA-5100 paired with Proac D30R's (89 sensitivity and 8 ohms) easy to drive speakers. I listen (75% 2 channel music and 25% HT). I'm looking to upgrade my 2 channel music listening by purchasing a 2 channel amp for my Proac's and keeping the 5100 for center and surrounds. I have done a lot of reading on the Pass X150.8, X250.8 and the Classe CA-2200. I think the Pass amps might run a little too hot for my application plus size and warm up time I have heard my also be an issue. I love the sound of my 5100 but would like to improve on it if possible. Your thoughts on the CA-2200 would be much appreciated. Thank you, Ron 
hey whitecamaross, try the d'agostino master stereo...also, that's cool you're giving bryston a second chance with the 28b3s. those and the 14b3 should satisfy you a hell of a lot more than the 4b3 did...
Hey Ron,
the classe amps are great but you need to be careful with what speakers you use. I have found them to be somewhat warm sounding and if you have speakers like sonus faber then you'll be disappointed. They need bright or forward sounding speakers to really sound great. The pass Labs amps you mentioned are on another level than the c2200 you want. Pass simply smokes classe audio in my opinion. Classe has gone backwards with their amps rather than forward. I feel they haven't really revamped their amps and everyone has either caught up or surpassed them. It's a shame because their stuff is really well built. 
pass Labs is still a great amp for electrostatics. In my opinion, tubes are a better match but for 2 channel listening. If you are running a 2 channel and home theater simultaneously then pass is your best bet. Tubes are amazing for music but they don't have the dynamics for movies as solid state does. 
I've always wanted to try the 28b model but they are just too pricey and the Bryston brand is whored a bit too much that one never knows when a good deal is really a good deal. I don't buy amps to keep forever. My joy is to keep trying stuff out and write down my findings. This is why I don't go for brands like ayre, certain Bryston models, dan agostino, etc. They just have such a crazy used market value that swings all over in terms of resale value. I'm not in the market to buy an amp and then once I'm done with it, ill have to lose 1,000 dollars or more to unload it. If I did that then I would be living under a bridge after owning 160 amplifiers in the last 2 years. 
whitecamaross, I too am running an MC275 with a C1100 preamp and really enjoy the combination.  I was going to add a second amp to run them in mono as you are, but found my room gets really warm in the summer already (I have almost 40 tubes when you include my phono stage and headphone amp) and find that a single amp does fine in my setup. 

I have changed out the stock tubes in the MC275 with Gold Lion reissues and Mullard NOS tubes and they have provided deeper, tighter bass along with a little more of that sweet tube mid-bass.  Tube rolling can get expensive when you run them in mono, but well worth it.
interesting. i am running them in mono and i love them. i will say one bold statement which is that i prefer the mc275s over my mc601s for electrostatics. It just seems to sound like a perfect match. it is like wine and cheese. Incredible musicality and yes, 75 watts of tube power sound better to my ears than 600 watts of solid state when using electrostatics. Heck, i own 2 pairs of martin logan renaissance right now.. .
I'm using mine with KEF Reference 5s which most like to pair with higher powered amps.  I first used them with a Mark Levinson 23.5, but I prefer the airiness of the tube amp.  It just sounds more natural and realistic to me when paired with the excellent C1100.

If you are auditioning American made tube amps, you really should speak with Dave at Raven Audio and try out one of their amps, perhaps something like the Shadow MKII stereo amplifier:

I have heard these amps with big Legacy Audio speakers, and the sound is astonishing.  The bass slam they get out of these is amazing. And the mids and highs are great as well, and with incredible sound stage. 
hey whitecamaross, no worries. i really dig the big brystons and d’agostino amp, or amps. both of them just sound right to me again, i wouldn’t go under the 14b from bryston, (the 14b3 is on my short list of amps, as i can’t afford the 28b3s) and the d’agostino amp would be the classic stereo. also, i am interested in the pass labs x350.8 with all 3 of these amps you get superb customer service. i would say the amps have pretty good sound overall. i can’t say for which i like best since i don’t have all 3 in my living room at the moment. i have heard them separately, and all 3 have their strengths and weaknesses. there’s no perfect amp, imo. as far as being whored out i would say mcintosh over the bryston, sorry to say. it really is not to big of an issue to me, as long as they keep making good stuff in the us or canada, which imo, they do. as far as the rest goes, i can understand what you gotta do. :)

here's my take on all 3...

d'agostiono--very cool amp that covers the entire frequency range, it doubles down in power, and looks great to me. just about every amp dan has designed since 1980 has been a winner in my book, and this amp is no exception.

bryston-very much like the d'agostino, but does not double down, and the looks aren't the greatest, but none of bryston's amps have excelled in that dept. over the last 40 years. however, i like the looks quite well. in addition, it's the cheapest out of the 3 around roughly 11k usd. finally the damping factor is probably the highest out of the 3, and put an iron grip on the woofers.

pass labs--a truly excellent amp that stays in class a for quite some time. killer mids and in the upper octaves. looks great to me. excellent casewoork. the only thing is, is the damping factor is not as high as the bryston or d'agostino...
I am going to take your good advice and demo a Pass X150.8. I emailed Pass Labs and they directed me to Mark @ Reno HiFi for an in home demo. I know your views on the X250.8 and the X350.8 but do you have any experience with the X150.8? Anyone's input on the X150.8 would be appreciated. Thanks, Ron

Pass Labs is on my radar as well. Keep me posted on which amps you audition. Happy Listening!
@ron17 - does whitecamaross have any experience yet with the X350.8?  I missed it, if that's the case...


i have zero experience with 350.8. I would say the 250.8 should suffice in most applications plus it's easier to live with than the 350.8. The 350.5 ran really warm and I would never attempt to put it in an enclosure. 
I love pass Labs and maybe that's why I'm planning on purchasing my next pass lab amp (200.8 monos). 
The issue with pass Labs is that it's a tough sale on the used market. I think it's Reno who's really hurting dealers across the board. Pass Labs is a great brand but it just doesn't hold it's value. It really depreciates as fast as an audi does. I still can't understand the used market. Nothing holds value better than McIntosh and b&w. It's like having apple products. 
@ron17 - when I spoke to the folks at Pass Labs, they mentioned that the X150.8 is a little more "just the facts", and the X250.8 is a little more like the X350 I used to have - a little more of that tube 3D like sound.

@whitecamaross - It will be very interesting to see what you think of the XA200.8 vs. the X250.8!!

jafant, whitecamaross & thezaks,

Whoops I guess I misread whitecamaross' statement.... " That said, my future purchase (when i can find a steal of a deal) will be the Pass labs 350.8. I am tempted to make a preliminary statement which is that i feel this amp could be THE BEST stereo amp under 30k dollars. Again, i will be able to say more and confirm once i own it. I hope this update can help you all in your buying decisions!" ... I now understand his statement was made prior to any evaluation of the X350.8.... Thank you all for your help and discussions on these fine amps. I can't wait to demo one in my home with my equipment. I will post my impressions. Ron
Not really... anyone who buys it will lose 1,000 or more trying to unload it. Trust me that's not a good deal. Reno offered me one for less than that during Christmas. The 250.8 is the safest amp to invest on. It sells, its popular and not a lot of $. The expensive pass Labs don't move. They sit for years and don't move. Believe me, I've had dealers offer me their demos below cost just to get out of them. 
That’s why I mentioned "fairly good" and not "good" or "great" price :-)   I definitely agree with you whitecamaross on all points.   Even though I had an X350 before, I think I’d go with the X250.8 as well, especially for the lower height.

I'm considering trying the x250.8 with my Magnepan 3.7i but am concerned about the heat.  I live in Austin where it's already really hot.  My current amp is the Sanders Magtech.
If you are a person who worries a lot about heat, pass Labs, old krell, plinius, old delta classe are all amps you should never ever consider. Those are heat guns. 
Returning the Emotiva 7 channel Gen 3 series today, since it's near the end of the 30 day eval.  For someone looking to go separates and needing a 7 channel amp in that price range, I really cannot imagine a better amplifier.   

I have just purchased a pair of McIntosh mc2301s tube monoblocks. I currently have the mc601s and a pair of mc275s. I Believe I will be the first person to ever have all 3 amps at once so I will be sure to give you all a complete rundown of my listening impressions. It should be really interesting because pass Labs is stil at the top of my list but the mc275s seem more holographic than the pass Labs were. They don't have the low end oomph that the pass Labs has because it's tube amp but based on everything I've read and consulted with others, the mc2301 is the last amp to own. It's supposed to have the least floor noise than any other McIntosh amp which could make its presentation really amazing.  If the 2301 defeats the pass Labs I owned, I'll be sure to share that. That said, remember I use Martin Logan renaissance speakers so tube based amps will always have more voltage than solid state amps which carry more current. Electrostatics sound better with more voltage than with current which is why I seem to find the mc275s better sounding at normal to moderate levels than pass Labs. However, I also have a different source which I didn't have when I owned the pass Labs amps so I'm sure that's also impacting my listening impressions. 
2 of my buddies heard the mc2301s with some sonus faber 100k speakers and they said that it was Mind boggling what they heard. Just simply better than being at the live presentation. I'll be sure to report back to you all. 
Looking forward to what you have to say about these amps, whitecamaross.  I'm really enjoying your journey.
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Been a pass owner myself. That said, if you have doubts about my findings or my personal opinions then you can certainly skip over my thread and don't read it. I don't collect a dime from anyone for doing this. Nobody pays me a cent. I buy all this gear with my hard earned money and share my personal views so that audiophiles who don't have the means to buy as much gear as I do can actually read what I have to say and let them make their own decisions. If they doubt me then they don't have to follow my thread. There have been a few users here who share my views on a lot of the amps I've owned. I actually have recommended amps to some
of them based on their goals and they are extremely happy with what I recommended. Some of them even message me directly thanking me for my input because it gave them clarity about a certain amp they wanted to purchase. A perfect example would be to go on all forums and try to find someone who has the McIntosh mc275s, mc601s and mc2301s all at once and provide direct comparisons. Right now pass is king with electrostatics in my opinion but the 2301s are SUPPOSED to best anything out there that is tube based. Again, I can't confirm but I will in about 2 weeks. Please know that this hobby is subjective. Magazines are always hyping up products that pay them nice royalties for doing so. Take stereophile for example. They hyped the hell out of the salon 2s and I thought they were really poor performers. No bass and not exciting. Why would all magazines hype them up ? Well it's simple; Harman international  does tons of advertising on these magazines And talking  crap about their products would mean a loss of revenue in advertising. Makes sense? 
I was banned from the avs forum for a reason. I gave my true opinion on several threads and that didn't sit well with dealers who sell stuff through there including their own sales department. It impacts sales when someone with actual experience in the field makes bold statements about products but I don't care. Im very well connected in this industry and can snap my fingers and I get calls for good deals because dealers need money to pay bills and guess what? High end gear doesn't exactly fly off the shelf but bills keep piling up. This is how I have been able to remain on top of this hobby and in other aspects of my life. Remember, at the end of the day I'll tell it like it is. You wanna know why? Because  I don't have anything to lose. 

Anyone that posts here with real experience using and comparing audio products and stating their opinion with no self-serving agenda should be appreciated. Keep rollin’ whitecamaroSS and don’t sweat the sharp shooters.

Right now, my mind changes daily, I'm thinking of a used McIntosh mc 252 or New Yamaha As2100. Although the newer Yamaha ASxxxx series has a good used resale value. Nothing like McIntosh. So I'm thinking of trying the Mac first. If for some odd reason, I find it's not for me, I would probably get close to 100% back selling. 

Any my thoughts on the new Yamahas?


A wonderful hobby, amp rolling. If I may suggest, please try the Linear Tube Audio ZOTL40 (David Berning designed). I don't have as much experience as you but it's transformerless design has blown away everything else that's graced my listening room.


Whitecamaross very knowledgeable in this hobby not by just reading 'misleading' advertising articles but with hands on experience which can't be beat in my books. Keep doing what you enjoy and please don't forget to share your experiences with rest of us!!! Thank you!!
Great reviews of amps whitecamaross.
I had to ask about the Mcintosh C1100.
Does this tube preamp have the dac built into it.
My friend has the Mcintosh C2500 tube preamp which has a dac built it.  He's also using Maker Audio NL14+ Monoblock amps,  Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista on JM Lab Mezzo Utopia speakers.
This Mcintosh C2500 is one of the best tube preamps i'v heard. It has that nice tube sound with a sweet midrange. 
Over 150 amps owned in the last 3 years. From pass Labs, classe, krell, bryston, simaudio, ati signature, theta digital, nad, Cary audio, Plinius, and many more I can't remember right now. The McIntosh mc2301 tube amps have totally distanced themselves from the rest of the pack. They are in first place and everyone else fights to earn my second place vote. For right now, the mc2301s have unquestionably destroyed the rest of the amps that I've had the pleasure to listen to. They are more neutral than my mc275s and won't make a crappy recording sound amazing but they will make a good recording sound spectacular. 
McIntosh 2301s are without a doubt more engaging and holographic. I can hear the artist take a breath between each pause. The midrange is MASSIVE to the point that words that used to be mumbled in certain songs are now CLEAR and articulate. These amps put the artist in the middle of your living room. They are VASTLY superior to the mc601s I had to the point that they make the 601s sound anemic and compressed due to the fact that the 2301s throw a large soundstage. I began to dig up music from the 90s and 80s that I heard when I was a kid and I almost don't even recognize the songs because of how much detail that was uncovered by these amps 117db SN ratio. They are a mc275 but with a big turbocharger attached to it that makes them sound unreal. At this point, I am going to begin researching all preamplifiers from all manufacturers and hopefully find a superior preamp. I know these amps can give me more and although I am happy with them, I wonder if my preamp is a bottle neck. 
With all that said, I have my top 4 for electrostatics:
1. Mc2301s (#1 by a huge margin)
2. Mc275s 
3 pass Labs 250.8
4. Pass Labs 350.5
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unfortunately you won't get all those things when you are using a receiver as your preamp. Save your money and replace that thing with a better processor. I think the best processor out right now is the McIntosh mx160. Amazing machine but a big cost for sure. If you need something cheaper then look into a bryston sp3. Forget about buying amps when you have a weak source. 
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@whitecamaross -  I'm trying to recall, but I don't think you've reviewed any of the McIntosh 7 channel amps (MC8207/MC207).   I wonder how well those would do on the solid state side of things.

I think you've found that tubes are the ultimate way to go for 2 channel, and the best solid state for 2ch is the Pass Labs.  It would be interesting if you could try the Pass Labs XA160.8 or XA200.8 to see how it compares with the McIntosh tube amps.

Regarding multi-channel amps, I believe you had Plinius way ahead of anything else.  As I mentioned above, just wondering how the McIntosh amps (MC8207/MC207) would compare?

McIntosh 207 doesn't touch the Odeon. Odeon is the best multi channel amp there is. Period 
As above-
if one enjoys electric guitar and electric Bass music, then, solid-state power amp(s) are the way to go.  Happy Listening!