what are some of the best amplifiers

I have owned many amplifiers over time. Some were high priced and some were not. My latest finding is a pair of Forte model 7 monoblocks reworked by John Sodderberg. These are very magical amplifiers after 1/2 hour of warm up. The midrange is the best I've heard. Full bodied yet detailed. There is a mystical ring of air and depth that has to be heard to be believed. I have owned Threshold amplifiers(Fortes maker) and feel that the less expensive Fortes(4a and 7's), even in stock form, outperform the Thresholds. I think less is more!
Forte better than Threshold. OK I have a bridge here to sell you.

You talk to Nelson Pass about that one.

So a Forte Model 4a is going to outperform a Threshold SA/4e. Or Forte model 7 mono blocks are going to sound better than Threshold SA/1's or SA/12e's.

Give me a break. You have a lot to learn.

Brucefrederick -Yeah your Honda Accord is going to handle better than my Mercedes S600.

Hey Forte is a very good amp. I should know I have the Forte Model 6 and preamp in my exercise room. But when it comes to serious listeing, design, build construction quality,(there is no Forte that weighs 100 pounds) and most importantly sound. Threshold that is the SA series mainly is world class. A Threshold SA/4e would beat most amps out there in the $25K range today. I also have a PASS Labs 350.5 and several other amps. But my Threshold SA/4e just outperforms everything else I heard and owned.

In the lower line amps, I do agree I have heard some fortes sound sweeter myself.. Now the S200 is the baby threshold, that I thought sounded the best out of all of them of the S series stuff, unless against thresholds straight class A stuff. But A-B amps, I think sometimes the smaller fortes did sound better, but would not go as far as the SA/4e, that is one of the best ever made.
Hey - why the harsh words?

I say that my old refurbed QUAD mkII tube blocks sound better than most $20K amps out there!
I also recently got a set of very rare Audio Geometry PMA-25 mono solid-state blocks. They're not fancy or huge but their sound is extremely detailed. They have very good control over the speakers and are a pleasure to listen to. My one friend was quite impressed with these little babies.

It doesnt ever mean that bigger and more expensive is better! Look at how some Fisher receivers sound absolutely breathtaking. I dare to contradict! I will put my set of KEF C55's (custom modified) up against a set of Zingali Overture 4 speakers with no shame... if a piece of audio-gear works then why fight it?

Just my point of view.
IMHO, I believe that an amplifier is mated to upstream componenets and downstream (speakers) components, which play a huge role in how the system will sound. I have had several good amplifiers in my day which have sounded marvelous with one set of speakers (and room placement), and dry and lifeless with another. So . . . I guess it depends on the gestalt.
If you can get your hands on a Krell KSA 100, or any of the KSA series, you'll have something.
East Side Kid
I can back and will back that the Threshold SA/4e is one of the best ever solid state power amplifiers made. A true classic and as time goes on the SA/4e becomes even harder to find in original spec.
The gestalt is good; have you heard the gestalt special edition? It'll blow your mind.
What are we talking about tubes or SS, or Blondes or Brunettes...I guess depending on the mood, but mainly I like brunnettes and tubes. I had the Quad II and are very nice but the Leak TL12.1 are way better...I would say class A push pull triode tubes are best.
I really think one should get a good legendary pair of monoblocks and learn their ways in and out in order to make them sound their best in any system.
I had mine for about ten years now and have changed every resistor and cap, I know what changes come frome changing each resistor from Tantalum to Caddock to metalfilm. What 6SN7 tubes sound better, when to use the original caps etc.
The most amazing mod ever: Cutting off the lowest octave of the freq. response! Changing the RC coupling from one stage to the other you can limit the bandwith of the amps dumping the lower octave, you will be rewarded with the best mids and highs ever, My amps should now go down to about 40 hz, and from there up they are amazing!!!
The rest of the bass is covered by "yes" a subwoofer with a dedicated amp designed to go that low.
A friend with ML 20.5 has tried the same and was rewarded with the same best mids and highs...
So no matter blonde or brunnette learn how make your amps sound better!!!
Forte are some excellent amps for the $$$. For clarification, the Model 4(a) is MUCH better than the Model 6, gotta love the pure Class A bias. However, in overall terms the old Threshold's are better, no doubt about it.

If just naming some classic SS amps, I'll throw in my current favorites, the Jeff Rowland Model 6 monoblocks.

I really think one should get a good legendary pair of monoblocks and learn their ways in and out in order to make them sound their best in any system.

Those are words of wisdom.

My Forte 4a will be put up for sale and the money used to upgrade components in my legendary monoblocks:

Marantz Ma-5 Esotec.

The 4a is more powerful and with slightly better HF extension. However, there is NO comparison in musicality: these 30W class A monoblocks put out the 'to die for' midrange and holographic presentation of tube amps along with the sonic neutrality and beef of solid state. Their bass is more extended than the Forte's. However, I also keep them from handling low bass, as they were originally intended to be used with subs. I use a Dan Wright modded Marchand X9 Deluxe x-over* followed by a pair of Kenwood L-07M high current monoblocks (also legendary). The x-over frequency is 80 Hz with a 24dB/octave slope--a perfect match!

* Danny Boy modded the x-over in order to optimize its interaction with a Channel Islands passive pre. This results in the stunning clarity of a passive combined with slam and constant output impedance of an active preamp. It sounds OK.

ARC 100.2
Do a search.
One of the few amps actually increasing in value on the used market over the last couple years! And for very good reason.
Easily the best of several dozen amps I have auditioned.

I know your still living in your parents basement listening to their one box Panasonic unit and borrowing their car for your job at Mcdonalds. Have you ever been with a woman(beside your sister)?
If your the sort that don't feel it is necessary to spend $25K on an amplifier for comfort that you have great sound then value for money in power SS gear is Bryston, IMHO.

Reliability and Watts per dollar = Value and with the added bonus of being able to cook an egg on top ;-)

BTW I like the Honda Accord too but I understand that it will not turn as many heads as an S600....it depends on one's view on best!
brands that get overlooked and made some dandies(some are long gone)...and all different. woodside, beard, moscode, perreaux, cyrus, music reference, nobis, counterpoint, dynaco, brown electronic labs, sonic frontiers, amc (yep the cheapie amp from taiwan), pre acrylic electrocompaniet, revox......ones that are not overlooked but should be...thats another thread
Cyrus. Last time I heard that name was when I got my DVD reissue of The Warriors...
Brucefrederick, Moron for short.

Actually I live with my grandparents in the attic and do double shifts at White Castle while listening to my Sanyo 8-track player. Divorced 7 times because find a woman to love my setup up in the attic.

I happen to live in my uncle/aunt's vacation cottage in the Caribbean--rent free. I'm a five mile drive from both rain forest and beach. My name is Psychicanimal and I'm a HiFi bum.

Since this has turned into, almost, a Threshold vs Forte thread I'll offer my 2 cents. I owned an Threshold S200 that I bought based on my listening impressions of its big brother the mono SA-1's. Well, I must say that the S200 was no SA-1. To this day I consider that amp the best ss amp I have ever heard. I have not heard the SA4E.

Now to get back to the subject, some of the best amplifiers. Well, who am I to say what is best? I sure haven't heard them all and there is that little issue called symetry or compatability that comes into play when trying to make a determination. I happen to like tube amplifiers overall and OTL amplifiers specifically, when they can be used, but they are limited in their applications with many speakers.

So the answer to your question as to the best amplifier is back to the compatability of the speaker it will be used with. Some will say SET's, some OTL's, some will say Krell, some will say some of the famous makes from Audio Research, Conrad Johnson, Manley, etc., etc. etc. There is no right answer there is only taste and compatibility in a given set-up. Happy listening!
Certainly not Krell, Audio Research, Conrad Johnson or Levinson.

There, now all who own these brands, please put them immediately up for sale at bargain prices so I can continue to buy the "worst of the worst" at bargain basement prices.

And while we're at it, please throw in Vandersteen and Thiel please, they are certainly not worth listneing to.

Steve ;-)
With some tweaking, I bet Honda Accord will out handle a big and heavy S600! Weight is the number one enemy for handling and S600 is not known to be light weight.

You did say handling, not acceleration
Coda amps, priced around $3000 new, powerful, dynamic, and detailed without the 'glare' that plagues many amps. At least with the pre's I have used.
Really, I just got rid on 300lbs of SS monoblocks and found true love in a 300B 9W triode- never been happier, and my back too! Im too old to play with the heavy iron, and NON of it is really that great anyway.

(this is an old topic, and by reading, several posters are probably banned.) heehehe
I agree with Esidekid, it would be hard to go wrong with the Krell KSA series in a a system. Even though adding the price of refurbishing these monsters to the initial sale increases their expense, at that price, they still cost a fraction of the new EVO stuff. I prefer the KSA series to the FPB.
The best solid state amps are the Modwright DNA-500 and any of the Clayton Class A amps. They are all superior to the Krells, Levinsons, Sim, Rowland, etc.

The best tube amps are for low power the Coincident Technologies Frankenstein at 8 watts/channel and the Coincident Technologies Dragons at 70 watts/channel. Dehavilland makes some nice tube amps and so does Rogue.

Perhaps you mean the McCormack DNA-500 (a sweet sounding, powerful brute and a bargain used). I had one, loved it.

Or maybe you mean the ModWright KWA-150? I replaced my DNA-500 with two of those. Even better.

Or better still, Steve McCormack and Dan Wright are working together and I don't know about it. Really great.
Yes, I meant the McCormack DNA-500. But the Modwright KWA-150 is also very good. But the Clayton Class A amps are also at the top. All these solidstate amps are better than the Krells, Levinsons, Rowlands, etc.

For tube amps, if you have high effeciency speakers like Devores, Coincident Technologies, Vaughns, the Coincident 8-watt Frankenstein is a glorious amplifierat $5,000. For higher power the Coincident Dragon at 70 watts is also excellent. Similarly, the Einstein The Light in the Dark is also great.
For solid state amps, the "best" ones are those made by Clayton (Class A amps), McCormack DNA-500, and Modwright KWA-150. But the Clayton's and the McCormack's are the best.

In the tube realm, if you have high efficiency speakers the Coincident Technology Frankensteins at 8 watts/channel are glorious. If you need more power the Coincident Technology Dragons at 70 watts are superb. Einstein-"The Light in the Dark" amp is also great. You can get great tube amps under $10,000. Dehavilland makes nice ones as does Rogue. But at their price points (and even way above these points) I think the Coincident Technology amps are the best