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Hi,

I recently purchased a Spendor 2/3 classc speakers and now doing research on replacing the amplifier.  I play a big range of music from classical to pop/rock depending on mood.  I am overwhelmed by the large range of options available and is wondering if the knowledge from this group could help me narrow my search. My budget is about $3000 to $4000 and wondering if this knowledgeable group can help point me to what brand or type of amps I should be looking for.

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Yes, we are blessed with large range of options available. Do you have any particular type in mind (class D, AB, tubes), integrated or pre pro, colour, size, where it was made or by who, extra features? 

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Irek, All I know at the moment is an integrated amp but would be nice if I can get a valve amp but I prefer to get a better quality solid state amp rather than an "so so" valve.  I do not have any preference in colour as I prefer to concentrate on the sound rather than looks...:)

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You can get very good valve amps in that budget.

 

Just saying.

 

Look at Line Magnetic.

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My experience with integrated tube amps costing half as much as an integrated solid state amp is they are much better with detail, musicality and refined treble but they also need extra maintenance and user savvy and confidence. Tubes need changing every 3-5 years costing a few hundred and a reliable tech if you can find one.

 

Personally for the budget I’d be going tube preamp that doesn’t need much maintenance normally and a solid state power amp. Tube pre usually gives more refined treble, detail and musicality and SS amp reliable watts with no maintenance for 20 years. Used budget best value for under 10 year old gear, or from the amp shortlist link Stereo Coffee preamp (non tube design) for $500 built or something like Schiit Freya tube preamp for $1200, Western Acoustics and a suitable power amp.

 

Many used options like $700 Audio Research Ls7 tube preamp (older than 10 yrs but still reliable), Conrad Johnson, Cary, Electra, Supratek $2000 highly recommended etc, $1-2k power amps like Parasound A21, various Musical Fidelity, higher end Rotel, NAD class D etc.

Edited by Al.M
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If you like integrated tube amps and don't mind a second hand purchase there are 2 Weston Acoustics Topaz units currently available for sale under the classifieds section that would fit the bill nicely. These units are made in AU and are of a very good build quality.

 

The left over funds can be used to roll and tune the tubes to your own musical tastes. The entire Weston Acoustics range of valve amps respond particularly well to tube rolling. I'm biased towards valve amps and tube rolling NOS and UOS stock from yesteryear. 😁

 

More information on the Topaz and other Weston Acoustics amps can be found at the link below.

 

https://westonacoustics.com.au

Edited by xlr8or
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For what it's worth, this review states that while the 2/3 are rated at 8ohms, they go as high as 15ohms.

 

https://www.highfidelityreview.com/spendor-sp2-3e.html

 

Apparently this makes them better suited to valve amps - as always though, it's always better if you can try something out in your system before purchasing 

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12 hours ago, JerryFF said:

Hi,

I recently purchased a Spendor 2/3 classc speakers and now doing research on replacing the amplifier.  I play a big range of music from classical to pop/rock depending on mood.  I am overwhelmed by the large range of options available and is wondering if the knowledge from this group could help me narrow my search. My budget is about $3000 to $4000 and wondering if this knowledgeable group can help point me to what brand or type of amps I should be looking for.

I'd talk to Mark at http://retro-thermionic.blogspot.com/ @mwhouston.

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spoilt for choice for a Weston. Very long waiting list for a new one. 
I’d imagine these would be excellent with your spendors. 

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7 hours ago, muon* said:

You can get very good valve amps in that budget.

 

Just saying.

 

Look at Line Magnetic.

Thank you. But I thought these are above $10k new and preloved might still be above my budget. 

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If you bought one of the secondhand Weston amps and wanted to upgrade, you could resell with very little or no loss for what you paid, this will give you first hand experience if valves are for you

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18 minutes ago, JerryFF said:

Thank you. But I thought these are above $10k new and preloved might still be above my budget. 

If you get preloved tube amp aim for one where the tubes are still fresh or budget allows for replacement, self biasing design or one where it’s easy to do yourself, lower cost tube replacement, perhaps 40w into 8 ohm minimum. They produce heat and power consumption that warm a small room so make sure you are ok with it in summer and hot tubes are not kid friendly.

Edited by Al.M
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On 11/01/2021 at 5:05 AM, sir sanders zingmore said:

For what it's worth, this review states that while the 2/3 are rated at 8ohms, they go as high as 15ohms.

 

https://www.highfidelityreview.com/spendor-sp2-3e.html

 

Apparently this makes them better suited to valve amps - as always though, it's always better if you can try something out in your system before purchasing 

Thanks for the advice. As mentioned in the review the impedance can go as high as 15 ohms, what size valve amp will I need to be looking at. I have notice most of them are less than 40W into 8 ohms. Does it mean I need a higher powered amp? Ie more than 50W?because in theory I am looking for something close to 80W? 

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1 hour ago, JerryFF said:

Thanks for the advice. As mentioned in the review the impedance can go as high as 15 ohms, what size valve amp will I need to be looking at. I have notice most of them are less than 40W into 8 ohms. Does it mean I need a higher powered amp? Ie more than 50W?because in theory I am looking for something close to 80W? 

 

I think I'm the wrong person to ask that question of. The speakers are rated at 88dB so a lot of people will say that 50w is plenty (depending on your room size and how loud you listen). 

My personal preference is for a lot of headroom, so my personal opinion is that 50w is not nearly enough (and the difference between 50w and 80w is ~2dB (I'm guessing 2dB doubling power gives 3dB more headroom)- ie not a lot).

As I said, others will say 50w is enough….. best if you can try something for yourself in your system

Edited by sir sanders zingmore
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2 hours ago, JerryFF said:

Thanks for the advice. As mentioned in the review the impedance can go as high as 15 ohms, what size valve amp will I need to be looking at. I have notice most of them are less than 40W into 8 ohms. Does it mean I need a higher powered amp? Ie more than 50W?because in theory I am looking for something close to 80W? 

Watts aren't watts unfortunately. Whilst all watts are allegedly created equal, some are more more equal than others (bad literary metaphor). A good amp producing 50W can be lightyears better than a not so good amp (say an AVR for example) that allegedly produces 120W. All else being equal, the difference between a 50 an 80W amp is actually minuscule.

Edited by Ittaku
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I drive my ML-1-s (86db/8ohms and nothing below 5.8ohms) with an amp of around 20 watts from EL34's :lol:

Can go loud in my modest lounge.

 

Kirk, that Sonic Frontiers amp would muscle those speakers into a sublime yet submissive position  :thumb:

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4 hours ago, Ittaku said:

Watts aren't watts unfortunately. Whilst all watts are allegedly created equal, some are more more equal than others (bad literary metaphor). A good amp producing 50W can be lightyears better than a not so good amp (say an AVR for example) that allegedly produces 120W. All else being equal, the difference between a 50 an 80W amp is actually minuscule.

About 2db louder at max volume?

 

Edit: or more like 1.8db

Edited by muon*
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15 minutes ago, muon* said:

Kirk, that Sonic Frontiers amp would muscle those speakers into a sublime yet submissive position  :thumb:

 

Yep - it would lift those Spendors right off the ground. There is also a matching SF preamp available in the SNA classifieds:

 

 

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6 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

 

I think I'm the wrong person to ask that question of. The speakers are rated at 88dB so a lot of people will say that 50w is plenty (depending on your room size and how loud you listen). 

My personal preference is for a lot of headroom, so my personal opinion is that 50w is not nearly enough (and the difference between 50w and 80w is ~2dB (I'm guessing 2dB doubling power gives 3dB more headroom)- ie not a lot).

As I said, others will say 50w is enough….. best if you can try something for yourself in your system

I agree I need to listen. I have a small room so volume won't be so loud. 

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7 hours ago, JerryFF said:

Thanks for the advice. As mentioned in the review the impedance can go as high as 15 ohms, what size valve amp will I need to be looking at. I have notice most of them are less than 40W into 8 ohms. Does it mean I need a higher powered amp? Ie more than 50W?because in theory I am looking for something close to 80W? 

 To try and help/clarify.

  Someone above commented on the cost/maintenance costs of a tube amp. They are 'correct' you can indeed spend hundreds on tube replacements. Depending on type type EG, KT88 will cost about X2 of an EL34. (however gives X2 the power per tube). Some amps run tubes a lot harder than others (voltages on the tube).  Every 4-5 years? I wish lol, in my case I average 15-1800 hrs a year so literally replace 8 KT88 on a yearly/18 monthly basis. To me? Worth every penny.. You can be sucked into the NoS (new old stock) for power tubes. They are better, but not the now exorbitant price compared, better.  Good reliable 'standard tubes' are fine for everyday listening, some folk do have a selection of 'real' old tubes for 'special times'.  With valve gear the pre amp and 'driver' tubes make the greatest difference to the sonics. Here it's worth spending the money for the greatest gain.

    tube pre amp, solid state power is a good option, yes, I won't deny that.  I recently bought some solid state monoblock power amps as a 'second' main amplifier, but these were made by a tech for his own system, no expense spared at the time. Similar output to my tube monoblocks. Are they better? Yes/no.. there are some things they do a bit better, others, the tube amps outdo them.

This write up may help you get a better 'feel' for what you want. Also the Cayin would be ideal to drive your speakers (80wt per) if you can find a s/hand one.

 https://www.audiotrends.com.au/cayin-cs-100a-amplifier.html

 Personally, I think wit your Spendors, a tube amp with decent input tubes (new old stock) this means tubes made in the 1940/50/60/70's,  you would have enough power for 'rock music' and have a fantastic system for vocal and 'intimate' music. THIS is the one thing an SS amp cannot do, switch from Ultra linear 80watt, to triode (40 watt) which instantly alters the amplifiers sonic characteristics.

 U/L for rock, orchestral etc...

triode for vocal, intimate type music

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I've had a tube amp for 11 years and am only on my second set of EL34's and that's only as the one ran away and red plated in the original set of Winged C's when we where adjusting something once. The first set came in white boxes and with no print in the envelope so may have been factory seconds anyway. Small signal tubes have not been changed.

 

Granted I'd be considered a light user over all.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/01/2021 at 1:30 PM, sir sanders zingmore said:

 

I think I'm the wrong person to ask that question of. The speakers are rated at 88dB so a lot of people will say that 50w is plenty (depending on your room size and how loud you listen). 

My personal preference is for a lot of headroom, so my personal opinion is that 50w is not nearly enough (and the difference between 50w and 80w is ~2dB (I'm guessing 2dB doubling power gives 3dB more headroom)- ie not a lot).

As I said, others will say 50w is enough….. best if you can try something for yourself in your system

I agree I need to listen. I have a small room so volume won't be so loud. 

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