The $10,000 Question

I've upgraded my upstream components, and am in the hunt for a new amp and speakers.  There is a dizzying array of choices, and one could go bankrupt with the buy-try-return method.  I'm looking for some guidance on amp-speaker combinations, either used or new, in the $10,000 range for both.  If I can narrow the search down to two or three amp/speaker choices it would make the buy-try-return plan much more reasonable.

I prefer tubes and space is limited to an integrated amp.  My room is 15'x15', and and I primarily listen to classical music at modest volumes (which would allow conversation if my wife yells at me to turn it down).  I'm replacing 20+ year old Forest Totems and a Prima Luna Dialogue One amp.  My upstream components are a Cambridge CD transport with a Jolida Glass FX III DAC, and a refurbished Sota Star with a Jolida JD-9 phone stage.

Thanks in advance for your insight and guidance.

John Cotner

New Ulm, MN




After many years I’ve settled on a combo of Primaluna and Focal Kanta loudspeakers. I also listen mostly to classical, some jazz, etc. The stand mounts (Model 1) might work for your room. The Focals are easy to drive and have a nice combination of detail and warmth.  They are great at low volumes also.  The Primaluna with EL34 tubes is a nice match to tame what to some may be a brighter speaker, as well. The Kanta’s flax drivers have been compared sounding similar to paper drivers, which always sound good in my opinion. Their speed and dynamics should be able to keep up with what you are used to from your Totems. Other loudspeakers I’d look at is Tannoy or Fyne if you want a more traditional look and want to stay with a lower powered tube amp. Klipsch fortes might be a good match for your room as well, though they sound different. So many options…. The main reason I recommend the Kantas is they go well with a lot of amplification. I’ve had them in tubes, class AB, and class D amps, sound great on all. Buying speakers and amps together without being able to audition is a gamble for many reasons, but definitely based on synergy.

I've been pondering Focal speakers as well.  When I bought the Forests the dealer brought over a pair of JM Labs speakers for comparison.  They sounded fantastic but were way out of my budget at the time.  The problem I've run into is the notion that the speaker needs to match the amp.  Seems getting recommendations for both would save a lot of headaches.

I'm no help on an integrated but hear good things about Hegel and Rogue integrated. As far as speakers go if you are into classical and tube sound get the highest level Sonus Fabers you can afford possibly used .

In our multi state Audio club the excellent Perlisten R7 is very much Nader the radar it’s thx certified ,many think for home theatre it could be but it measures incredibly well ,will play very loud without breaking up with a quality amplifier 

for $10k retail a steal and very musical in any type of music and roughly %90 db efficient. My friend got his at Perrotta Consulting  and got a very fair deal 

check out the reviews ,I am thinking about a pair myself.