Tube Mono-Block Recommendation

Currently I have the Bob Carver 305, Looking to upgrade to something else in the Class A Region. Budget is around 12000 US, New or Used any recommendation.

I like the Amps, to be fast, Accurate and musical as possible. Giving me close to Transistor Amp Clarity but with the magic off tubes.
More information is needed, especially what speakers you are using, and whether or not you need power levels approaching the 305 watt capability of the Carver.

-- Al
Look into the VAS line at the cayinusa web site. I have them and drive proac's. Very pleased.
If you are looking for fast, accurate and musical, I'd recommend looking into Atma-sphere OTL amps. Though you will need to make sure that they work well with your speakers (as with any amp).

So yes, knowing what speakers you will be driving will be a big help.
I will be using them to drive the Legacy Audio Whisper.

Was looking fir about 180-200 watts i guess. It will be hooked up to the Midrange and Tweeter Driver as the Speakers have there own Amps to drive the large woofers.
I like the Amps, to be fast, Accurate and musical as possible. Giving me close to Transistor Amp Clarity

That should be no problem :)
Check out Quicksilver. I use mine with Harbeth's and think his amps are great!
Seems like CAT, ARC, VTL, VAC, LAM -- what is it about 3-letter amp companies? Obviously Atmasphere and Rogue too. All those great choices aside, ever think of Class A solid state? Clayton Audio. Pass Labs. Plinius. Gryphon. They might be worth a look given your requirements. Or perhaps a hybrid. Something like the Rogue Medusa or Moscode? Just doing a brain dump here. Best of luck.
Dragon_vibe, the impedance curve for your speakers, as shown here, suggests that the tonal balance of the sound that is produced in the mid-range and treble regions will vary dramatically as a function of the output impedance and damping factor of the particular amplifier that is being used. And probably also with the robustness of the amp's power supply.

So I suspect that in the $12K price class you are considering, synergy between the amplifier and speaker could very conceivably be a more significant consideration than the intrinsic sonic character of the particular amp. My suggestion is that you research what amplifiers are being used, and have been used, by others who have your particular speakers.

-- Al

You sure seem to be shopping for a lot of equipment, last week it was $ 20K speakers, this week $ 12K mono blocks ? Your looking for a complete new system ? or your just pulling our leg :-)

Good Listening

How about something that like this:

It can drive big ATCs well and are SETs !!

Or this one:
Im not pulling anyone legs. Just got a windfall and like a little child its time to buy some sweets iv longed after so much lol.
I think if you can at least audition them, consider the Audiopax Model 88 amplifiers. I have been a strong supporter of Audiopax for a number of years. They fly below the radar but are excellent amps.

Not a Tube Amp

Ill post it again :-)

Where are you located ? you last post mentioned you were not in the US.

Good Listening

The Whisper XD come with a Built in Class D Amplifier I can use for the lower regions. The midrange and Tweeter level will run of the Tube Amps.

I do have the clayton Audio M300 at hand and they are keepers for sure. Just looking for an Alternative to SS amps.

Almarg thanks for the technical info, honestly I have no clue. What would you suggest? Mind you this is for midrange and Tweeter level. The speaker has its class D amp. I could always Bi-amp them using the Clayton Audio for the lower Woofers and the Tubes for the mids and tweets.
Looking at the specs you will want something with at least 100watts in most rooms.

So- how big is your room, how lively is it and how loud do you like to play the stereo?

If you are dealing with tube amplifiers, its better to rate the speaker in terms of efficiency rather than sensitivity. So that number is 93 db, a moderate efficiency and why in most cases 100 watts (or slightly more) ought to do the job, unless you have a large room or it is particularly dead.
06-26-13: Dragon_vibe
Almarg thanks for the technical info, honestly I have no clue. What would you suggest? Mind you this is for midrange and Tweeter level. The speaker has its class D amp. I could always Bi-amp them using the Clayton Audio for the lower Woofers and the Tubes for the mids and tweets.
I have no specific suggestions, as I have no experience with Legacy speakers. My point was simply that the large impedance variations of the speaker in the mid-range and treble regions, as well as the low impedances and difficult phase angles that are reached at some frequencies in those regions, will cause the resulting sonics to be more sensitive to amplifier differences (particularly output impedance and damping factor) than would otherwise be the case. But without having experience with the particular speaker I have no idea what particular amplifier output impedances and damping factors would be optimal. (Output impedance and damping factor are inversely proportional to each other, so damping factor can affect sonics at mid and high frequencies as well as low frequencies, due to the interaction between output impedance and the variation of speaker impedance as a function of frequency).

So I would be hesitant to give a great deal of weight to amplifier recommendations that are based on experiences with speakers other than Legacy models having similar impedance characteristics.

Good luck in your search. Regards,
-- Al
Again, Al is right on. I am amused at amplifier reviews. It is a fact that the tonality of an amplifier changes dramatically with the speaker used. If the reviewer isn't using your exact speaker in a similar room with your speaker cables, the review is meaningless. Instead, rely on the experience of others with your speakers, or, better yet, buy used and experiment in your room. Then, sell if you are not satisfied, with little loss, considering the cost. There are some excellent VTL, CJ, and Wavac amps for sale now. None of them are mine. Good luck.
... fast, Accurate and musical as possible. Giving me close to Transistor Amp Clarity but with the magic off tubes.

Sounds like an AtmaSphere MA-1 - though sans-transformer, is likely clearer than a transistor amp.
Room is pretty dead, Its super loaded with Acoustic Panels and Foam is installed on the Ceiling.

The Size is: 8 Meters by 7 Meters and the height of the room is 3.4 Meters.

I was hoping more like 200 Watts per channel.

The option I am thinking of is:

VAC 300.1 Set in monos or Maybe The Atma MA-2

I don't mind increasing budget don't want to go too crazy. never do end up spending 8 hours a day listening to music to justify something too expensive.

Had a look at Wavac but the amount of watts it pushes out is not enough.
Any recommendation for a 200 Watt Mono Tube Amps. Something that may give me VAC Performance if I don't end up with a VAC.
Class A Watts on the Cary is too low. For controlling all those woofers at high volumes im sure it will lose steam.
Still look for recommendation guys, Tube Mono Block with of 150-250 watts of Class A, Sweet Clean, Clear and emotionally evolving. Speed and Accuracy is important but not too dry. I tend to like it slightly warm and relaxing to listen too with out too much details being robbed.
Wyetech labs sapphire they are driving a friends sonus faber amati future incredible sound for 18 watt 300B
Our MA-2s might suit. They make about 220 watts and are very fast (600V/usec).
Quicksilver V4 Mono Blocks. Great sounding, reliable,no nonsense amplifiers with plenty of tube choices to choose from.You can also save some money for other goodies.
Atmasphere I did consider OTL but reading online about OTL amps being unreliable, tube eaters, get extremely hot and expensive to maintain is sort of pushing me out and trying to consider something else. Want something more plug and play.
Dragon vibe, what you've read has nothing to do with Atma-Sphere OTLs. These are perhaps the most bullet-proof and utterly reliable tube amps made. And, they are one of the few tube amps (only?) that match ALL of the characteristics you listed in your opening post. The only issue is whether your speakers are reasonably compatible.
I will research into it. Big Amps they look like Monster trucks. Over 20 tubes Each block :-) I wander how long those tubes will last. everything I have read about Atma has always been positive.

I hate making a decisions specially so when I cant hear all the gear in my own setup.

Speakers are Whisper XD so might need Ralphs expertise to check them out for me to see if they will match well.
Dragon_vibe, It is true that our amps run kind of hot. But that is not because they are OTLs, it has to do with their being class A, something that you indicated you wanted in your OP. If you want 200-some watts and class A, you are going to get some heat, but it will also sound better, all other variables being equal.

Reliability is why we are still here 37 years on.
+1 to Rushton's response. What is that Atma show trick? Pulling out an output tube when the amp is playing?

And yes Atma was the first amp that jumped to mind given your criteria.
Dragon_vibe, if your speakers require the Atma-Sphere MA-2 model amps as the right match, then yes. They are large, they have a lot of tubes, they are hot, and they burn a lot of electricity when not in stand-by. They are also GLORIOUS and will punch all of the sonic hot buttons you specified as your criteria.

My wife and I have used MA-2 amps to drive Avalon Acoustic Eidolon speakers for over a decade. We'd never consider another amp. In that decade of use, I've replaced 6 output tubes - *SIX* only. These output tubes run a long long time.

And, you will have one of the true gentlemen of High End Audio, Ralph Karsten, supporting you.

Marc Mickelson at The Audio Beat has consistently listed the MA-2 as his favorite amp:
Keeping the notion of "best" in mind, let's say that I don't have the luxury of picking five amps. I have to choose just one -- the amp that will be the conduit through which all of my music, digital and analog, passes. Which will it be? Solid-state or tubes? Push-pull or single ended?

Give me OTL in the form of the MA-2 Mk 3.1s and I'll live musically ever after.
See his full review at:

Good luck in your search.
Dragon, how do you like the sound of Bob's tube mono block? Not sure if you read my prior post about simple mods to Bob's amp that will significantly improve the sound of the amp. You can drive 1 ohm loads with his amp.
I did not find it accurate enough. It is a very good amp and gives plenty of power. They also run pretty cool. No gripes but honestly it was not fast enough or accurate enough and I preferred my Clayton SS more.
I can tell you one thing, I have 100db Danley horns being used for the Theatre room. I find ATI amplifiers excellent in sound and build. Specially when you use the right power cord and fuses. ATI Amplifier are by far the quietest SS amps around. The Bob Carver amps noise floor is extremely quiet. Nearly as good as the ATI. Honestly I would keep it but this whole move and stuff just made me lose my confidence in the company altogether. Bob carver tube amps are prob one of the best around at the current prices.
Before you spend a lot of money on a new amp, may I suggest a simple mod. Replace the stock volume pot in your Carver amp with Goldpoint stepped attenuator. You will get speed and dynamics that you are looking for and will only cost you $150 for the part and may be $30 for labor by a tech. Changing the input 12AX7 to Psvane will speed things up and make it more neutral. The stock amp is a little sweet sounding, made that way on purpose by Bob. Hope you find what you are looking for.
+1 Dracule1. I found these inexpensive mods to my liking and well worth the effort.

My Hypex nCores do what I think your describing in spades, unfortunately, you sacrifice the second order harmonic distortion characteristic that only tubes can provide.

I'd love to hear what you come up with, please post.
Did you already change the stock volume pot with the Goldpoint stepped attenuator? If you did, I would bypass your preamp and go directly from source to amp. It's an eye opener, or should I say ear opener. A more expensive mod would be to replace the stock output coupling cap with better cap, like the Vcap, which I think is very neutral, very transparent sounding cap. You will need four 0.22 uF caps. These mods will get your amp closer to neutrality without sounding sterile.
its sold my bobs. The pre-amp cost more then the Amps and I find the Purity audio bar far the best pre-amp used compared to even VAC when adding pre-amps into the chain. The purity helps to control the amps correctly. When connecting directly the sound is just so thinner and has less body to it. Bass is less controlled.

I did try the MSB DAD Directly to the Bobs, The bobs sounded dark and slow.
OK--Iv made up my mind. Im going for the Atma MA2 Monsters. Seems to be the that's fits my requirements.