SET Lovers, what's the one solid state amp you love(d)?

I'm thinking of trying out a solid state amp in place of my 300B SET, which is giving me some problems again and the builder is swamped so it's going to be awhile.

Suggestions? Speakers are 96dB 12" 2-way bass reflex studio monitors from a Japanese recording studio.


I'm going to answer this one a different way, based on your comments.  It seems that you are have a lot of problems with your tube amp.  I'd probably just get another tube amp that is more dependable.  Audio Research and McIntosh are the ones I have some experience with.  Audio Research can be hard to get fixed, since they have traditionally been difficult to get parts from (though I don't know if this still true, since they have been sold at least twice in the last few years).  Both are relatively trouble free for a very long time.

I've actually found that solid state tends to be more troublesome as the equipment gets older.  The transistors start going, and it is real pain to keep up with that. My dad lives with me now, and his 62 year old MC240 is still running well.  It still has all of its original KT88's, and most of the rest of the tubes are original.  We had to have it rebuilt in 2009 (mostly new caps and cleaning). Tubes tend to be very dependable in stereo equipment.  I think they got a bad rep. from old tube TV's where the electron gun needed very high current.  High current is hard on tubes.

Looking at my 8 year old TV: the picture is starting to go.  Solid state is cheap to manufacture in mass, but the dependability isn't really as good as the reputation.  Long term, my tube amps have been much more dependable than my SS equipment.

Now on to the original question.  Old Jeff Rowland Model 9 monoblocks or a Model 8 were quite good sounding in a carefully balanced room.  If you want to use them in normal living space, they lost their luster.  If you are in a living space, my various solid state McIntosh equipment sounded best.

The only two solid state pieces that I was totally satisfied with were my old Klyne MC step up amp and my old Wadia 6.  I know neither are main amps, but I've found SS amps to be lacking, especially if you are using them normal living spaces.

+1 Dartzeel and Vitus


Zanden 6000 (tube)

Symphonic Line Kraft 300 (SS)


Tenor HP150S (hybrid SS)

I made the switch to Class D with a pair of AGD Audion monoblocks. These amps are the best I’ve had in my system by some margin. Firstly, they produce no hiss/hum which has been a problem as I have high efficiency speakers. The sound is almost tube-like but is even better!. Soundstage, dynamics and detail are terrific.

I’ve used and loved SET/OTL tube amps for over 20 years but the new generation of Class D amps use less energy, produce virtually no heat and don’t need replacement tubes. So, for me, there’s no going back and I can’t see a downside.