TO be SET or to be OTL that is the ques.

Everthing i read or hear about the Joule Electra or the atma-sphere is great. Either the M-60 mark 2 or the vzn-80. I'm trying to decide to go with the SET or the OTL route,& can't make a decision.The large availbility of the SET's out there make it even more difficult. If someone could shed a little experience I would be most grateful.Probably if I go the set route I will consider the cary or maybe antique audio maybe bel canto, who knows?
I'd be interested to read your responses, because I have the same question. I haven't had the chance to compare them side by side, but from what I gather...SET amps usually have that warmer "tube" sound, where OTL amps don't really "color" the sound in the same way. I think they can actually be fairly detailed and revealing (compared to other tube amp designs). That's all I know...
From the Atma-Sphere Web site, you can find the Atma-Sphere Owners' Group site (ASOG), and some reviews there compare OTL with SET, tending to favor OTL, as you'd expect, but still some useful information, maybe fairly objective.
I have the Transcendent OTL & Eric Barbour 811 SET. I much prefer the OTL.
I have owned an SET and have had a lot of time listening to OTLs. The SET has a glorius midrange, with an all most technicolred glow to the music. I don't mean this as a put down it is quite beautiful to listen to. The sound of an OTL is much less colored and much more dependant on the source and the speakers. It will not make a poor source or poor speakers sound better. It will how ever let you hear the fundimentals of music like nothing else if you have a good soource and good speakers.
I am not sure if you have listened to these products. Often the sound we like is totally opposite to what we thought we would like. Fancy faceplates are beautiful, but I have often been disappointed when I actually listened to something I fell in love with in a magazine. I've listened to enough tube equipment to know that SET and OTL sound dramatically different. I definitely prefer one over the other. Invest the time before you invest your money. I believe you will prefer one much over the other. Both are good brands, but are very different sounds. I know I would consider what type of speakers I will use(can always change in the future), but more importantly what type of music I listen to. This is less likely to dramatically change. One type of amp will be better for you than the other. Use the magazines as a starting point, but always decide with your ears.