If I may make a suggestion... Perhaps easier than swapping the amp might be to add a nice warm preamp to the mix, that would add the harmonic richness that the Boulder (IMHO etc) lacks. The CJ perhaps, Zanden, or even an Audio Research REF 6/10. I believe another WBFer just replaced his Pass preamp for a REF10, on Magicos, with very satisfactory results.
How important is the CJ in that organic/warmth you're hearing? Ideally I'd like to run directly off the Berkeley DAC for a few reasons but the Mephisto would have to supply all of that rather subtle fluid/warmth I'm looking for. The Boulder doesn't quite do it but it's close. BTW, before anyone chimes in and says something like the Boulder sounds like it's name--cold and hard or the like--I'm hearing none of that.
I have heard the original Antileon with a few different preamps, and i really did enjoy the sound and it never felt cold. The Mephisto would probably take your Berkeley signal and pass it through as organically as it came in...yes, some signature, but not a lot in comparison with the Antileon or its latest version as I am told.
I did not hear hard/cold with the 2060...and i am a fan of [some] tubes. Again, i considered very seriously buying it. I do love the sound of the Mephisto...my favorite amp that I have heard. But the key for you will be the cost of that upgrade from an already exceptional amp. Given that i have had 3 trade-ins...that has made my life a lot easier. Some really great deals from exceptionally good dealers.
I have not listened to Boulder nor the Mephisto, but can I suggest you try the Antileon EVO? Not sure what your price point is and of course the Mephisto will beat the AE, but it might be worthwhile to try it out. I absolutely love mine. I would love a Mephisto but I ruled it out partly because of its size (it will not fit on my rack) and partly because of price. Looking forward to how you get on
What kind of tube life do you get from the ARC preamp? I've thought about trying an ARC Ref 10 with the 2060.I owned a 2060 for several years until getting a Boulder 3060. I compared my 2060 to a lot of amps, tube and SS, and could not disagree with Alex more. So bring in all the amps you can to compare, play the most difficult, complex music. The quietness and control of the 2060 IMO really can't be matched, except for the 3060 of course.
I have used an Audio Research Reference Anniversary pre-amp for many years so maybe, as suggested, a different pre-amp.
What kind of tube life do you get from the ARC preamp? I've thought about trying an ARC Ref 10 with the 2060.
Have you considered a different preamp?Thank you for the detailed and thoughtful replies. My 2060, which I bought second hand, is 8-10 years old so if there were upgrades along the way I probably don't have many. I like the amp a lot and it drives and controls my Magicos just fine but as I said in my original post I'm looking for just a touch more warmth/fluidity but with no loss of detail and control. I'll have the Mephisto side by side with the 2060 for about a week right after the first of the year and I'll report back in detail. I need to hear something really good from the Mephisto because the upgrade is a substantial investment. Any idea how the Mephisto will interface with my Pass labs XP-30?
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