Boulder 3060 smooth and a maybe even a bit warm?

I am sure you are correct about each of your characterizations about Boulder. ...

What were the sonic reasons you selected, first, the Mephisto over a Boulder? What were the sonic reasons you then choose Robert Koda over a Boulder?

What was the consensus of the people you spoke with about the 3060 regarding its overall sonic presentation in terms of "cool," "neutral" or "warm"? Where did the consensus place it on this particular sonic spectrum?

Did you find any tendency for the 3060 to be placed in a greater than usual proportion of digital systems versus analog systems? (I fully concede I have no idea how we would measure that!)

I am simply wondering if people who prefer the sound of digital playback systems over analog playback systems also tended to prefer the sound of the 3060 (for all of the wonderful sonic and build quality reasons you suggest above) over "warmer" sounding amplifiers (which might appeal more to audiophiles who prefer analog playback systems)?

Also, I concede, I am speculating from afar. I am still merely assuming, without knowing, that the Boulder 3060 has the very slightly cool overall sonic presentation I personally heard from Boulder amplifiers in the past. Perhaps the 3060 has a different sonic presentation on this particular sonic spectrum than prior Boulder amplifiers.
Hey Ron,

As always, perceptive and insightful both in conclusions and in questions! Your questions and my answers:

1. Why Mephisto over Boulder?

- The first real comparison for me was the Antileon vs the Boulder 2060. The Antileon was dark...it never bothered me but when I heard certain amps 'illuminate' the treble, I found I preferred that even if dark was perfectly fine by me. The Boulder was probably its equal in sheer grunt, all out control and probably more detailed/precise in its presentation. Yes, it was also a bit cooler but never in a way that I minded because it was so effortless, I did not get that sense of 'plodding mechanical reproduction' you sometimes get with grainier or strident amps.

- So I took the Antileon...and it did not hurt that (both being 2nd hand) the Antileon cost less.

- So I was now in the Gryphon family and made my progression vertically up the 'Class A SS' designs by Flemming because I admired his work, could trust in his ear...and so when he had a flagship (the Colosseum and then the Mephisto)...it was an easy leap for me.
- Despite being an audiophile who has very definite aspirations...I also prefer to get it 'just right', than to wait around til I get it 'perfect'. So going around to listen to loads of new amps did not make sense to me time- or effort-wise. Furthermore, with both Colosseum and Mephisto coming 2nd hand, economically, they also made the decision a lot easier to make.

2. Sonic reasons for Koda over Boulder

- This really was not a shoot-out situation between Koda and Boulder at all. I was actually searching for a preamp to supercede the mighty CJ GAT 2 (after 20 consecutive years of owning CJ preamps) that did not present me with [occasional] tube noise, re-tubing, hiss that would come, then go. And I was [perhaps overly] concerned that even the milliwatts of DC might be doing something to the Gryphon long-term...and some even new tube amps do leak an infinitesimal amount.

- And I thought back to Robert Koda: trained under Kondo San, his own singular vision of purist audio reproduction, and by all accounts (including the venerable Martin Colloms) a truly gifted designer who is also seriously committed to his artform. AND, it was designed with the ethos of Solid State without ever sacrificing the ultimate characters that make many of us love tubes refuse to give them up.

- And at that moment, I realized there was his now legendary K15EX preamp...through various circumstances I became the first owner in this country and arguably was even there as 'a board observer' when Absolute Sounds came together with Robert Koda to create a distributor relationship which is quite exciting.

- And that first touch of Robert Koda was pure magic. Never have I heard SS create magic of the kind that people who love CJ and Zanden crave...while also honoring all of the hallmarks of great solid state - accuracy, illuminated treble that extends well into the ether, propulsive power in the bass...and the super quietest noise floor ever that allows the most finely-woven gossamer details to float effortlessly and untouched into the room

3. 3060 vs Robert Koda K160s
Here came the tough part. For 11 years, I have been exceptionally happy with different pre and amp designs...CJ and Gryphon. So clearly Robert Koda and Boulder 3060 was potentially a perfect pairing for me.

Who could not love the idea of the most pulverizing, effortless Class A SS planetary-sized amp plugging into perhaps one of the finest preamps most of us may have ever heard...whose signature is organic, natural and yet infinitessimally low noise floor for detail and nuance?

As the saying goes, I came THIS close to pulling that trigger. But not having heard Boulder in 10 years (earlier gen 2060) and having to fly to Denver potentially to hear it...was quite difficult when they are also made to order. The positives I received from those who owned/auditioned the 3060 were: effortless...in a way few if any amps are (perhaps none), absolutely no noise floor and freeing up details to come forward, and bass that is in a class by itself perhaps with Gryphon as its closest toe-to-toe competitor...a whole new weight class if you will.

There were also health warnings: it is crystalline in its exacting delivery, one hair out of line, and you will hear it. This did not bother me too much as with Zanden front end, Robert Koda K15EX preamp, TA Opus cables...organic was pretty much baked into the system.

And then there were a few more itches in the far distant back of my mind:
- Robert Koda is a proven, talented designer of BOTH preamps and amps. Not all designers can do both equally well. The preamp is a resounding and unequivocally brilliant design. Why not go MATCHING for the first time in well over a decade?
- PLUS, there is this 'hang up'/idealogy of liking no global feedback, no excess circuitry whatsoever, no feedback loops, not even an overheating sensors that reset the amp when the temp returns to normal...you simply go to 70 degrees and blow the fuse (which is 20 degrees above target temperature so something has to be seriously wrong to hit it...and then you have to put in a new fuse.)
- PLUS, there is just something about his equally obsessive approach to build quality...every component, (cooling fan, IEC inlet, mu-metal shielding) of each individual major component inside has been hand selected by Robert to be 'the best'. I know the fans in there, and I am not surprised to hear he auditioned scores of different ones and ended up with these...not just his binding posts and capacitors but even his wiring, his IEC inlet is specially made by one of the best players like Furutech, etc...which really made me think, "This is it."

So in the same vein of 'how can one lose with 3060'...I stayed on the path I was already on and went with the Robert Koda Monos. Now at just over 500 hours, they are magnificent in a way that frighteningly shows up the mighty Gryphon Mephisto in multiple ways I did not think was possible.

And most interestingly (to me)...of the 8 owners of this amp today, 3 of them owned Gryphon Mephisto before...all-out, pure Class A powerhouses...and one of them owned the Mephisto monos. And our collective agreement is unanimous that there is not one element where the Robert Koda does not best the Gryphon Mephisto...and that shockingly includes bass which for me was the bedrock of Gryphon's magic.

FINALLY,
- I will not comment on digital vs analogue with either set...I own digital and have ever only owned digital...Zanden for last 13 consecutive years
- I can say that Robert Koda as a set definitely sets its own standard for magic...and that by dividing the preamp and amp between Robert Koda and Boulder, I feel confident that this magic would not exist. In its place would almost certainly be tremendous technical prowess, limitless dynamic capability, and yes quite a lot of insane detail, nuance and delivery...but I think that the special voice that Boulder creates or that Robert Koda creates would not be there from a Koda standpoint. Robert is about insane levels of purist simplicity of circuitry...'dynamic simplicity' is literally his motto.
- So I do think that it makes sense in the case of Robert Koda to keep the preamp and amp together.

- With Boulder, given the one element of water-clear delivery with Boulder, I could easily see someone going for a warmer source through a full Boulder set...I kind of intuitively like that.
- As for adding a tubed preamp with the Boulder (as I happily did with CJ/Gryphon for over 10 years)...just bear in mind, that my very limited experience with Boulder combined with discussions with 3000 series owners/auditioners leads me to believe there is an extreme magic to Boulder preamp/amps combos as well. And THAT magic is its OTT attention to noise floor, infinite dynamic capability and invisibly clear sound delivery.

- If you mix that with another manufacturer, you may lose that extreme magic...and inadvertently end up with excellent but not necessarily the extreme magic that (let's face it) you just paid dearly for in the 6-figure 3060. Do that, and you might find you could have acquired an equally competitive preamp/amp set for a lot less money because the 'extreme magic' is now missing with 'excellent magic' in its place. My gut says tread carefully. My instinctive (non-empirical) vote would be to keep the warmth in the source at that extreme level of design performance and stick with Boulder pre/amp.
 
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Wow, Lloyd!

What an incredibly detailed, articulate and intelligible set of answers to my several (undoubtedly annoying) questions. THANK YOU!

I understand perfectly the depth of experience and layers of thought process you have very kindly revealed to us behind your decisions. I totally understand where you're coming from!

I am so happy for you that you are obviously beyond elated with your Robert Koda components! May each of us someday reach your level of satisfaction with our systems! Bravo!
 
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Hey Ron,

As always, perceptive and insightful both in conclusions and in questions! Your questions and my answers:

1. Why Mephisto over Boulder?

- The first real comparison for me was the Antileon vs the Boulder 2060. The Antileon was dark...it never bothered me but when I heard certain amps 'illuminate' the treble, I found I preferred that even if dark was perfectly fine by me. The Boulder was probably its equal in sheer grunt, all out control and probably more detailed/precise in its presentation. Yes, it was also a bit cooler but never in a way that I minded because it was so effortless, I did not get that sense of 'plodding mechanical reproduction' you sometimes get with grainier or strident amps.

- So I took the Antileon...and it did not hurt that (both being 2nd hand) the Antileon cost less.

- So I was in the Gryphon family and made my progression vertically up the 'Class A SS' designs by Flemming because I admired his work, could trust in his ear...and so when he had a flagship (the Colosseum and then the Mephisto)...it was an easy leap for me.
- Despite being an audiophile who has a very definite aspirations...I also prefer to get it 'just right', than wait around til I get it 'perfect'. So going around to listen to loads of new amps did not make sense to me time or effort-wise. And with both Colosseum and Mephisto coming 2nd hand, economically, they also made a lot of sense.

2. Sonic reasons for Koda over Boulder

- This really was not a shoot-out situation between Koda and Boulder at all. I was searching for a preamp to supercede the mighty CJ GAT 2 (after 20 consecutive years of owning CJ preamps) that did not present me with tube noise, re-tubing, hiss that would come, then go. And I was concerned that even the milliwatts of DC might be doing something to the Gryphon long-term...and some even new tube amps do leak an infinitesimal amount.

- And I thought back to Robert Koda: trained under Kondo San, his own singular vision of purist audio reproduction, and by all accounts (including the venerable Martin Colloms) a truly gifted designer who is also seriously committed to his artform. AND, it was designed with the ethos of Solid State without ever sacrificing the ultimate characters that make many of us love tubes refuse to give them up.

- And at that moment, I realized there was his now legendary K15EX preamp...through various circumstances I became the first owner in this country and arguably was even there as 'a board observer' when Absolute Sounds came together with Robert Koda to create a distributor relationship which is quite exciting.

- And that first touch of Robert Koda was pure magic. Never have I heard SS create magic of the kind that people who love CJ and Zanden crave...while also honoring all of the hallmarks of great solid state - accuracy, illuminated treble that extends well into the ether, propulsive power in the bass...and the super quietest noise floor ever that allows the most finely-woven gossamer details to float effortlessly and untouched into the room

3. 3060 vs Robert Koda K160s
Here came the tough part. For 11 years, I have been exceptionally happy with different pre and amp designs...CJ and Gryphon. So clearly Robert Koda and Boulder 3060 was potentially a perfect pairing for me.

Who could not love the idea of the most pulverizing, effortless Class A SS planetary-sized amp plugging into perhaps one of the finest preamps most of us may have ever heard...whose signature is organic, natural and yet infinitessimally low noise floor for detail and nuance?

As the saying goes, I came THIS close to pulling that trigger. But not having heard Boulder in 10 years (earlier gen 2060) and having to fly to Denver potentially to hear it...was quite difficult when they are made to order. The positives I received from those who owned/auditioned the 3060 were: effortless...in a way few if any amps are (perhaps none), absolutely no noise floor and freeing up details to come forward, and bass that is in a class by itself perhaps with Gryphon as its closest toe-to-toe competitor...a whole new weight class if you will.

There were also health warnings: it is crystalline in its exacting delivery, one hair out of line, and you will hear it. This did not bother me too much as with Zanden front end, Robert Koda K15EX preamp, TA Opus cables...organic was pretty much baked into the system.

A few more itches in the far distant back of my mind:
- Robert Koda is a proven, talented designer of BOTH preamps and amps. Not all designers can do both equally well. The preamp is a resounding and unequivocally brilliant design. Why not go MATCHING for the first time in well over a decade?
- PLUS, there is this 'hang up'/idealogy of liking no global feedback, no excess circuitry whatsoever, no feedback loops, not even an overheating sensors that reset the amp when the temp returns to normal...you simply go to 70 degrees and blow the fuse (which is 20 degrees above target temperature so something has to be seriously wrong to hit it...and then you have to put in a new fuse.)
- PLUS, there is just something about his equally obsessive approach to build quality...every component, cooling fan, IEC inlet, mu-metal shielding of each individual major component inside...which really made me think, "This is it."

So in the same vein of 'how can one lose with 3060'...I stayed on the path I was already on and went with the monos. Now at just over 500 hours, they are magnificent in a way that frighteningly shows up the mighty Gryphon Mephisto in multiple ways I did not think was possible.

And most interestingly (to me)...of the 8 owners of this amp today, 3 of them owned Gryphon Mephisto before...all-out, pure Class A powerhouses...and one of them owned the Mephisto monos. And our collective agreement is unanimous that there is not one element where the Robert Koda does not best the Gryphon Mephisto...and that shockingly includes bass which for me was the bedrock of Gryphon's magic.

FINALLY,
- I will not comment on digital vs analogue with either set...I own digital and have ever only owned digital...Zanden for last 13 consecutive years
- I can say that Robert Koda as a set definitely sets its own standard for magic...and that by dividing the preamp and amp between Robert Koda and Boulder, I feel confident that this magic would not exist. In its place would almost certainly be tremendous technical prowess, limitless dynamic capability, and yes quite a lot of insane detail, nuance and delivery...but I think that the special voice that Boulder creates or that Robert Koda creates would not be there from a Koda standpoint. Robert is about insane levels of purist simplicity of circuitry...'dynamic simplicity' is literally his motto.
- So I do think that it makes sense in the case of Robert Koda to keep the preamp and amp together.

- With Boulder, given the one element of water-clear delivery with Boulder, I could easily see someone going for a warmer source through a full Boulder set...I kind of intuitively like that.
- As for adding a tubed preamp with the Boulder (as I happily did with CJ/Gryphon for over 10 years)...just bear in mind, that my very limited experience with Boulder combined with discussions with 3000 series owners/auditioners leads me to believe there is an extreme magic to Boulder preamp/amps combos as well. And THAT magic is its OTT attention to noise floor, infinite dynamic capability and invisibly clear sound delivery.

- If you mix that with another manufacturer, you may lose that extreme magic...and inadvertently end up with excellent but not necessarily the extreme magic that (let's face it) you just paid dearly for in the 6-figure 3060. Do that, and you might find you could have a very competitive preamp/amp set for a lot less because the extreme magic is missing with 'excellent magic' in its place. My gut says tread carefully. My instinctive (non-empirical) vote would be to keep the warmth in the source at that extreme level of design performance.
Thank you so very much for your thoughtful write-up! I am very happy to have posted my question. That said, I am now exploring another option. Based on a couple discussions, I am exploring the darTZeel NHB-468 + NHB-18NS. Some people will read this and say, "...that guy is neurotic!" For a variety of reasons I will make a decision here very soon and will, in all likelihood, not get the chance to audition the stuff I do buy.
 
(...) 2. Sonic reasons for Koda over Boulder

- This really was not a shoot-out situation between Koda and Boulder at all. I was searching for a preamp to supercede the mighty CJ GAT 2 (after 20 consecutive years of owning CJ preamps) that did not present me with tube noise, re-tubing, hiss that would come, then go. And I was concerned that even the milliwatts of DC might be doing something to the Gryphon long-term...and some even new tube amps do leak an infinitesimal amount.
(...)

Great post Lloyd, but I think this reference to cj is unfair.

I owned the original GAT, still own the GAT2 and using proper tubes never had any hiss problem. In fact the GAT uses just two tubes easily accessible without removing the cover, in the case we have trouble we just replace them. For the technically minded people, cj operates the two triodes inside each tube in parallel, unless the tubes are very well matched one tube carries more current than the other, starts heating a lot and soon becomes noisy. And there are no milliwatts of DC unless one of the Teflon output capacitor becomes leaky , something a good technician should have solved just replacing it. Tubes can't leak DC to the output in the GAT. In my experience, and I owned a lot of them , if you feed them with adequate tubes cj preamplifiers are robust , problem free and last forever. Their simple design is intrinsically trouble free, surely unless tubes fail.

But yes, we, the audiophiles, like to change! ;)
 
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Great post Lloyd, but I think this reference to cj is unfair.

I owned the original GAT, still own the GAT2 and using proper tubes never had any hiss problem. In fact the GAT uses just two tubes easily accessible without removing the cover, in the case we have trouble we just replace them. For the technically minded people, cj operates the two triodes inside each tube in parallel, unless the tubes are very well matched one tube carries more current than the other, starts heating a lot and soon becomes noisy. And there are no milliwatts of DC unless one of the Teflon output capacitor becomes leaky , something a good technician should have solved just replacing it. Tubes can't leak DC to the output in the GAT. In my experience, and I owned a lot of them , if you feed them with adequate tubes cj preamplifiers are robust , problem free and last forever. Their simple design is intrinsically trouble free, surely unless tubes fail.

But yes, we, the audiophiles, like to change! ;)
HI Micro,

Dont get me wrong...I was an owner of CJ preamps for 20 years CONSECUTIVELY. CJ has been eminently repair-free for those 20 years. I have strong strong admiration for those designs and always will.

However, over time, when you are listening to music 40-60 hours a week while working late into the evenings/early mornings and all day on weekends...you just want to have it on and not hiss, then you have to tap, twist, take out, put in, shake. For whatever reason, I found myself going thru a LOT of tubes (admittedly for a preamp that only had 2, so manageable but not ideal for me)...and the wonderfully quiet CJ ones were just never the same as the NOS Mullards (which got noisy much faster)...and so it went.

As for DC...you know more technical stuff than I ever will. I defer to you on that one. It was always something in the back of my mind and which I did actually discuss with CJ who were very patient and gave me great reassurance if there was DC it would be miniscule and should not affect even the most DC-sensitive amps.
 
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Thank you so very much for your thoughtful write-up! I am very happy to have posted my question. That said, I am now exploring another option. Based on a couple discussions, I am exploring the darTZeel NHB-468 + NHB-18NS. Some people will read this and say, "...that guy is neurotic!" For a variety of reasons I will make a decision here very soon and will, in all likelihood, not get the chance to audition the stuff I do buy.
Absolutely NOT neurotic. Lets face it...this is a BIG decision. (Well, it certainly looks that way to me, anyway.) And it is complicated by the fact that yes, for many of us, auditioning these (at all, anywhere, let alone in our own home and system) is not always possible and almost certainly not possible to have all your choices lined up in your house to do endless shoot-outs.

So it becomes a question of asking questions, reading, talking, and some amount of listening...and a lot of calculated risk taking. Which is what you are doing. (And I also did with Robert Koda.)
 
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Thank you so very much for your thoughtful write-up! I am very happy to have posted my question. That said, I am now exploring another option. Based on a couple discussions, I am exploring the darTZeel NHB-468 + NHB-18NS. Some people will read this and say, "...that guy is neurotic!" For a variety of reasons I will make a decision here very soon and will, in all likelihood, not get the chance to audition the stuff I do buy.

BTW, I went back to Michael Fremer's review on the 468s given the impedance of your Alexx V with the 468s. I recall there was some debate about earlier (lower?) models of Dartzeel and unusually low impedance speakers. The original Alexx impedance dipped to 1.5 ohms...yours I believe ameliorated that to 2.0 ohms but I know ohms alone are not the whole story about how difficult a speaker load is.

Here is a copy/paste of his conclusion (using the original Alexx as his speakers)...overall he certainly seems to suggest the 468s ran them effortlessly. https://www.stereophile.com/content/dartzeel-nhb-468-monoblock-power-amplifier

"The darTZeel owners I've met seem to be a happy, enthusiastic group, satisfied with their purchases and with the sound produced by whichever darTZeel products they have. Count me among them. The new NHB-468 has made me even happier. This amp does what the NHB-458 does—just better. It's got power to spare and sounds as if it's just loafing, even on the most demanding material.

I haven't seen the measurements and won't until I see the final proofs of the finished article, but I assume the distortion measurements will be good but bettered by some. I believe Delétraz is capable of reducing distortion to as low as is measurable, but he's going for something beyond measured perfection, and I think he's achieved his goal in terms of a unified, holistic, natural sonic picture.

Those who prefer in a solid-state amp greater bottom-end "grip" and iron-fisted control may want to consider a different amplifier. As I mentioned above, I think the CH Precision M1.1s produce more weight and punch on bottom, and Boulder's amps tend to have more overall speaker grip. However, in my system, the darTZeel "sound" is ideal for all musical genres: good grip on bottom, natural transient performance, plenty of air on top if it's in the recording, and never even a hint of etch, grain, or edge.

These are expensive, powerful amplifiers, handcrafted in Switzerland and as attractive to listen to as they are to look at. If you can afford them, you should have a listen. If you own 458s, you'll be happy with the upgrade. At the very least, try the new cables!"
 
Then why are you wanting to listen to the XVX? ;)

And yes, diets always start tomorrow!
Because (like the Grand Slamms which I kept for 10 years)...I like looking ahead to the long-distant future. There is set it and forget it...but I think its fair to say 10 years is a respectably long time, particularly when the product you bought was already 16 years old the day you took it home.

I first heard the XLFs in 2012...and it took me 9 years to get them 2nd hand (factory refurbished by Wilson but still probably 8-9 years old since they were owned by a major industry veteran in her personal system and who upgrades when the next speaker comes out...and she upgraded to XVX). I heard them in 2012 twice at length with equipment I knew in a room I knew...after that (planning ahead), I was confident back then if the Arrakis was not meant to be (it was not)...then the XLF would be it. I like to plan long into the future and be patient on pricing.
 
The XVX + 1 Master Subsonic is Lloyd's (new) d e s t i n y.
 
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HI Micro,

Dont get me wrong...I was an owner of CJ preamps for 20 years CONSECUTIVELY. CJ has been eminently repair-free for those 20 years. I have strong strong admiration for those designs and always will.

I knew about it, it is in part why I reacted.

However, over time, when you are listening to music 40-60 hours a week while working late into the evenings/early mornings and all day on weekends...you just want to have it on and not hiss, then you have to tap, twist, take out, put in, shake. For whatever reason, I found myself going thru a LOT of tubes (admittedly for a preamp that only had 2, so manageable but not ideal for me)...and the wonderfully quiet CJ ones were just never the same as the NOS Mullards (which got noisy much faster)...and so it went.

You have a point here - sourcing the proper tubes or being able to test them is mandatory with tube equipment. If I did not have gear to test tubes I would switch to solid state tomorrow.
Very few sellers sell NOS double triodes with matched triodes properly burned-in.

As for DC...you know more technical stuff than I ever will. I defer to you on that one. It was always something in the back of my mind and which I did actually discuss with CJ who were very patient and gave me great reassurance if there was DC it would be miniscule and should not affect even the most DC-sensitive amps.

Yes, they were right, it should be zero - Teflon is the best existing insulator, I have used Teflon boards to build picoammeters for laboratory use. But if a capacitor becomes faulty it can leak.
It is rare, but we can find reports of problems with Teflon capacitors in WBF. I had the same problem with the Metronome C2A tube DAC and had to replace some of the output capacitors.
 
The XVX + 1 Master Subsonic is Lloyd's (new) d e s t i n y.
You heard it here first! Ron - always straight to the heart of it. ;) We shall see...I gotta hear it first, but after speaking with you and a number of others now, I truly am looking forward to it. Sounds like something particularly special, both as a design that stands on the shoulders of giant David Wilson while also being a true reflection of its new designer his son, Daryl, which is also special.
 
Love this statement!
;) You own the Analysis Audio Omegas! Would love to hear them...a huge fan of the original Apogees. How did you come to own them and how did they compare with any other speakers you might have auditioned? Sorry - I respect this is not 'on topic'...but its unusual to find Analysis Audio owners.
 
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If you have any hesitation about "musicality" (whatever we all mean by that term) with the 3060, then I think you already have your answer. Any such hesitation, I believe, will only gnaw at you more over time. From your hesitation I deduce that the Boulder is not the right amp for you. (And unless dCS has changed their house sound, I do not think that dCS components are on the warm side of the sonic spectrum.)

I assume you want to stay with solid-state. Have you considered a Gryphon Mephisto? I think that amplifier would give you the bass and low noise floor you want without sacrificing "musicality."
“And unless dCS has changed their house sound, I do not think that dCS components are on the warm side of the sonic spectrum.” You really áre a gentleman ;)!
 
Thank you so very much for your thoughtful write-up! I am very happy to have posted my question. That said, I am now exploring another option. Based on a couple discussions, I am exploring the darTZeel NHB-468 + NHB-18NS. Some people will read this and say, "...that guy is neurotic!" For a variety of reasons I will make a decision here very soon and will, in all likelihood, not get the chance to audition the stuff I do buy.

exciting to hear this Pk, and if the darTZeel ends up your choice i know it will not disappoint. :)
 
;) You own the Analysis Audio Omegas! Would love to hear them...a huge fan of the original Apogees. How did you come to own them and how did they compare with any other speakers you might have auditioned? Sorry - I respect this is not 'on topic'...but its unusual to find Analysis Audio owners.
When I was in the market for speakers someone mentioned Analysis Audio. I hadn't heard of them but was always a fan of Apogees, Martin Logans (CLS/CLX), and Magnepans. It so happened that the Analysis Audio distributor wasn't too far from me so I paid him a visit. I'm a huge fan of human voices and acoustic music which are strengths of Analysis Audio. Regarding other speakers, I travel a lot so I made quite a few stops in music stores. I couldn't even begin to list all of the speakers I listened to. The problem is most of the time I was listening to gear I hadn't heard before. The more I listened to the Analysis Audio, the more I loved the sound of the music I was playing.

To take a quote from you, I "prefer to get it 'just right', than to wait around til I get it 'perfect'"
 

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