New Falcon ls3/5a Silvers in the house

I picked up a pair of new b-stock Falcon silver badge ls3/5a’s last week and have been getting used to them since then. I work in the city and have an apartment where I stay 4 days a week and my real home is a couple hours north where my main stereo system resides. So the Falcons are essentially in a 2nd system setup that is mostly near field. Streaming only right now which is an Ifi Zen Stream powered by a 12V LHY linear supply feeding a 30 year old California Audio Labs Sigma ii tubed dac (16/44.1 only).

My amp at home is usually the Van Alstine SET 120 paired with a Van Alstine RB10 tubed preamp. (And my speakers with that set up are Fritz Carbon 7 se mk2).

So I’m currently using my beloved old 1977 Yamaha CA-2010 to drive the Falcons.

and it’s actually a pretty surprising and sweet pairing. The Yamaha has a Class A setting which outputs 30wpc vs its normal 120. (Into 8ohms).

The imaging , the floating center voices , the textures and the superb bass in this near field set up are truly impressive. I’m so glad I made the impulsive purchase to pick up these speakers. And I’m really happy I have an amp that is driving them well… but… I do wonder if I’m leaving anything on the table by not using a different amp that is known to pair exquisitely with ls3/5a’s?

I’m not really in the market for a new expensive amplifier purchase but I am poking around at some used solid state amps (power or integrated) like Exposure, Sugden, Belles and also some vintage el34 or el84 tube amps .

Curious if anyone has any suggestions for something that would raise the bar from the vintage Yamaha that isn’t going to break the bank. I’m thinking in the less than $1500 zone … used market.


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I have a pair of Spendor 4/5s in a second system -- these are Spendor's most recent incarnation of the LS 3/5a which I first heard when I lived in London in 1979, so I'm familiar with the sound.  I first powered the Spendors with a LSA VT-70 tube amp (EL34 tubes with 35 watts/ch) but midway last year decided to try out the small Schiit Gjallarhorn power amp with their Vali 2++ preamp (combo is $450 new) and have to say I prefer it over the tube amp. For near field listening many people overestimate how much power they need. I'm in an 11X12 room with a vaulted ceiling and listening to the setup right now and am very impressed with the sound. All the volume I want (mid 80 dB range) with no hint whatsoever of running out of power. So, there's one option for you, but as you know there are a zillion options out there.

@mlsstl very interesting.  I was considering the VT-70 as well..but thought the absence of 16 ohm taps on the transformers may be an issue.  Were you happy with the LSA until you tried the Schiit?  Are you running two Gjallarhorns in mono or just one?

The VT-70 is a very nice tube amp, though like many more modern tube amps, more neutral sounding than many of the vintage designs. It worked very nicely with the speakers. I do slightly prefer the Gjallarhorn (I only use one) as it has slightly better bass control than the VT-70 and is smooth through the midrange which extends into the highs with no sense of stridency or grit.  Note that the Vali 2++ preamp I use does have a tube in the driver circuit (6N3P) so I still have some tube function.  One of the other reasons I moved on is, as I get older, I'm tired of the weight and size of tube power amps even though I've been a tube gear fan for decades.