Solid State Low powered Amplifiers

My quest is to find a SS low powered amplifier to use in the Summer months, in place of Tube and Class A amplification … I have Klipsch Cornwall 4s and limited AC in my hot TN listening room for 4-5 months. I know it will be hard to match the sound I get from tube and Class A …on a solid-state amp and I am wondering if I’m looking in the right place for a “10 W per channel” solid-state amplifier which I don’t even know if they make. The Cornwall speakers are 102 DB sensitivity.

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Geez. Like holographic soundstage demential sound? I just found my answer to balanced sound, thanks to @riccitone. I went right to it and purchased this amp that he suggested that I have never heard of and I’m sitting here in amazement.I know we keep searching and I don’t think I have to anymore because this sounds too good to be true even better than the Cary KT 88 sound and the 300 B sound from Dennis Had. PERFECT marriage to reduced field and Klipsch, with enough head room to the friends that come over and you really want them to enjoy the listening experience, but they have to say “turn it up””…. Scary loud and with my Bluesound node X as my preamp and volume control. It is in need of nothing else because I am not a phono LP guy anymore. FLEA AUDIO Coltrane!


I’ve also used First Watt J2, Nakamichi PA7, Marantz 2226B, and this is my new best friend. The others were big bullies. 


I have a Valvet E3, a First-Watt F8 and SIT-2 and all of them are class-A and are terrific sounding.  The F8 has the most power over the other two however for fairly efficient speakers, all do very well.  Each have their own sonic signature and I have had the pleasure of listening to all of them taking turns with them each 1 week at a time.  My favorite of the three is the SIT-2 although between the three, it's a matter of splitting hairs on which sounds the absolute best.  I believe for the Cornwall speakers at 98db, any of the 3 would be great.  They are all reliable especially the First-Watt ones.  I've used these on my Living-Voice 93db efficient speakers and any will drive those speakers to uncomfortable listening levels with no sign of compression.  You can find the Valvet E3, and occasionally an F8 on AudioMart, however I haven't seen a SIT-2 for sale yet.  Highly recommended !  

I use a Keces E40. $750 with a preout, two RCA inputs, a mm phono stage and a usb input with internal dac. I think its suitable as a main driver, desktop, or spare in case one is in-between or having their amp repaired/serviced.

I think its a better option than most of the others near its price point as well as those higher priced. That includes the small Regas, Spark and Emotiva if not for outright power output but for SQ and versatility. Small form factor and 10 lbs. Comes with a remote.

I have two and they drive my smaller speakers well ranging from 4 ohms to 6 ohms, but those that dip well below 4 ohms over a larger frequency range will heat it up (Dali Menuet SE), otherwise heat is not an issue.

Distortion on a Klipsch speaker rated at 102 dB at 1 watt may or may not be low enough for you but it won’t sound sterile, IMO. At 8 ohms, 0.2 watts was measured having 0.3%THD+N, decreasing as you increase power but can be modulated by using a pre or dac with a decent pre. At higher output, say 2 watts, distortion falls below 0.08%.

Its pre section was stated to have a class A sound and its smooth and very close to my Hegel on my speakers at the SPLs I listen at. If you listen primarily to the Hegel, you may notice a very slight difference between the two but not for long as you adjust. Bass is better on my smaller speakers for two reasons, one the high damping on the Hegel can be too much and the Keces adds from 1 to 2 dB from around 50hz to 30hz, which adds a bit more of support but still sounds relatively fast, tight and layered.

Can’t say how it will sound on the big woofers but I like it. I think it outperforms alot of the above mentioned budget options due to its superior SNR, dynamics and damping in comparison.

Per one review, here are how it spec’ed out:

Rated power (1% THD+N, 1 kHz) [W] 8 Ω, 2x 60
Rated power (1% THD+N, 1 kHz) [W] 4 Ω, 2x 75
Sensitivity (for maximum power) [V] 1x 0.22
Signal/noise ratio (A-weighted filter, referred to 1W) [dB] 91
Dynamics [dB] 109
Damping factor (referred to 4 Ω) 153



I'll add a less known contender. I've recently heard and was extremely impressed (for the money) by a Lavardin integrated amplifier. It is incredibly liquid sounding with very detailed mids and, iirc, very good highs. Bass is not the star of the show, but it's really OK. It drove a pair of Spendor Classic 100 speakers (with 12 inch bass drivers) without a problem, but I haven't heard the system playing really loud, only at "normal" levels and slightly above. However, with the high efficiency Klipsch's the headroom shouldn't be a problem. Caveat: it did exhibit a bit of hiss which could be objectionable with high sensitivity speakers or not. For the used price of 1000-1300 Euros, the IS model I've tried is a steal. I haven't heard the more recent (and more expensive) ISX model.

I agree that Lavardin makes terrific sounding modestly powered amps.  They sound lively at lower volumes, unlike most solid state amps.  I generally prefer low-powerd tube amps with higher efficiency speakers, but, if someone wants to stay away from tubes, Lavardin is a good choice.