Power amp - where to go from here...

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#1
While my next speakers journey is complete (a new thread with the news will be published soon ;)).
And my search for a better digital source is still ongoing (still haven’t found a worthy contender to my Metronome).

Now it’s time to study the power amps realm.
I currently own the Magico S3, and my new speaker is very similar in power requirements.
My preamp is the VAC Signature mkIIa, which I love and am not looking to change.
Current power amp is the Luxman m900u, which drives the S3 with great finesse and power.

Budget is ~$30K, for US based companies and ~€30-35K for EU based companies.
I’ve assembled the following list:
Boulder 1160
CH A1.5
D’agostino Progression stereo or Momentum stereo
Esoteric Grandioso M1
Gryphon (?)
Soulution 5XX
Vitus (?)
Ypsilon Aleius (mk1 s/h)

Probably will not have a chance to audition any of them (as the dealers do not have them on demo).
So, important features would be driving capabilities and general sonic signature.

Thanks!
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,664
563
658
#2
Great system, great list...and also great current amp. Buying 'blind' is always a challenge, and I suspect many of us have done so just the same. (I certainly have...but it has been only after exhaustively speaking with owners, auditioners, writers and dealers.)

I think the first order of business is:

- why are you looking to move away from the Luxman?
- what do you wish the Luxman did better?
- and of course, what do you love about your current Luxman that you do NOT wish to lose in any transition?
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,664
563
658
#3
I would also ask:
- are you prepared to look at demo models or 'reliable' 2nd hand?

The reason is I ask is because having compared older 1000 series Boulders to 2000 series Boulders, i know (for me), i really found a lot more to like in the 2000 series which given the quality of your current amp (based on reputation only as i have not heard that model)...is a level which you might wish to move to if you go the direction of Boulder.
 

moby2004

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2018
133
121
113
#4
Yes great list ! I am also looking for a preamp/amp combo and some of the gears listed were also on my list.
I recently listened to Gryphon,Constellation ( both with Magico) , Soulution series 5 and 7, Luxman m900u ( with YG) , Ch Precision A1.5 and M1.1 ( with Wilson speakers), Dag progression and momentum mono ( with Vivid speakers) and earlier this year Esoteric Grandioso with Tannoy speakers but at that time I was not looking for an amp.
Well , all are good amps some extremely good but I believe that from a certain range you don’t get bad products but it s more a matter of taste and association.
My favourites being Soulution 711 ( even if I am more excited about their preamp actually) ,Dag momentum and CH M1.1 . I believe most people will suggest you Dag , a very thick tone , a lot of density probably a good match with Magico.
Ps : if you are a fan of class A, Accuphase must be in your list but not too sure about the match with your preamp
 
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iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#5
Great system, great list...and also great current amp.
- why are you looking to move away from the Luxman?
- what do you wish the Luxman did better?
- and of course, what do you love about your current Luxman that you do NOT wish to lose in any transition?
Thanks!
Regarding your questions:
Looking to move away only if there’s something clearly better...
I assume I’m looking for a quieter more dynamic (faster?) and detailed amp, keeping some of its sweet tone.
I don’t want to loose the Luxman’s driving capabilities.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,664
563
658
#7
Thanks!
Regarding your questions:
Looking to move away only if there’s something clearly better...
I assume I’m looking for a quieter more dynamic (faster?) and detailed amp, keeping some of its sweet tone.
I don’t want to loose the Luxman’s driving capabilities.
I can certainly say the Gryphon, Boulder have TREMENDOUS driving capability. There is a 'reaching down to bedrock' feeling of both amps which is a lot of fun when you experience it. The Gryphon (i am guessing) probably has a tonality that might be closer to your Luxman than the Boulder. That said, I am big fan of the 2000 series...and suspect i would also like the 3000 series as well. There is a level of speed, articulation that one feels with the Boulder that is really a lot of fun when discovering fingering technique on piano, etc.

That said, the Gryphon is no slouch in the Mephisto range (and think second hand)...and while i am not a detail freak, i have grown to appreciate detail in the last 10 years, and the Gryphon certainly delivers as much as i have ever heard in my system.

I find the DAgs Momentums are great...to my ear not as 'invincible'-indestructibly powerful-seeming' as the Gryphon or Boulder 2000 series. But very very filigreed. Soulution 5 series is a very solid amp...for some reason, looking at your system and specific mention of 'sweet tone', i do wonder how you might feel about that one. It is a very solid amp but just not for me. I would take the Boulder for the characteristics that Soulution excels at.

Cannot speak with CH which i have heard is tremendous...i am told by a reviewer with significant experience that the tonal qualities of Gryphon are more my style than the tremendous clarity of presentation that is the hallmark of the CH. Personal taste.

Hope that helps...one man's two cents.
 
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bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
15,189
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London
#8
While my next speakers journey is complete (a new thread with the news will be published soon ;)).
And my search for a better digital source is still ongoing (still haven’t found a worthy contender to my Metronome).

Now it’s time to study the power amps realm.
I currently own the Magico S3, and my new speaker is very similar in power requirements.
My preamp is the VAC Signature mkIIa, which I love and am not looking to change.
Current power amp is the Luxman m900u, which drives the S3 with great finesse and power.

Budget is ~$30K, for US based companies and ~€30-35K for EU based companies.
I’ve assembled the following list:
Boulder 1160
CH A1.5
D’agostino Progression stereo or Momentum stereo
Esoteric Grandioso M1
Gryphon (?)
Soulution 5XX
Vitus (?)
Ypsilon Aleius (mk1 s/h)

Probably will not have a chance to audition any of them (as the dealers do not have them on demo).
So, important features would be driving capabilities and general sonic signature.

Thanks!
my suggestion will be dagostino momentum or boulder depending on your choice. Ypsilon aelius is out straight as it was compared to Luxman m800a monos on vivid G1 and it especially lost on the driving capabilities. It also did not drive in bass well a soundlabs ultimate and also another vivid G1 system.

Yes Luxman is not fast, and Vitus is similar to Luxman that it gives tone (in SS amps) and drive but is not fast either. Dagostino and boulder don't have that issue. Boulder is very clean sounding your source will have to do the magic. Boulder (2160) was compared to burmester 911 mk3 as plinius on YG Hailey

Soulution preamp is amazing. I haven't liked the power amp yet and preferred AVM in a direct compare with Maggie's. The preamp also pairs very well with valve amps.

Gryphon mephisto was compared to the m900u on tad standamounts and it is much faster and more detailed.

Another one I would suggest is the Italian Riviera hybrid if 50w drive it.

CH is extremely fast and clean but those who have CH have all CH gear and you will go well past your budget adding boxes

Or just buy an used symphonic line Kraft at 10k euro, or from the manufacturer for slightly more, and you will have far drive, speed, tone.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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#10
Maybe consider monblocking your Luxmans - you have great amps. I’d upgrade your speakers first before spending that kind of coin on amps.
I don't think his drive or power is the issue, he wants speed and more details
 
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iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#11
I would also ask:
- are you prepared to look at demo models or 'reliable' 2nd hand?

The reason is I ask is because having compared older 1000 series Boulders to 2000 series Boulders, i know (for me), i really found a lot more to like in the 2000 series which given the quality of your current amp (based on reputation only as i have not heard that model)...is a level which you might wish to move to if you go the direction of Boulder.
Second hand is an option, but being located so far from the manufacture (i.e. Boulder), will make things a bit difficult if service is required (for a ~100kg amp)...
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#12
Yes great list ! I am also looking for a preamp/amp combo and some of the gears listed were also on my list.
I recently listened to Gryphon,Constellation ( both with Magico) , Soulution series 5 and 7, Luxman m900u ( with YG) , Ch Precision A1.5 and M1.1 ( with Wilson speakers), Dag progression and momentum mono ( with Vivid speakers) and earlier this year Esoteric Grandioso with Tannoy speakers but at that time I was not looking for an amp.
Well , all are good amps some extremely good but I believe that from a certain range you don’t get bad products but it s more a matter of taste and association.
My favourites being Soulution 711 ( even if I am more excited about their preamp actually) ,Dag momentum and CH M1.1 . I believe most people will suggest you Dag , a very thick tone , a lot of density probably a good match with Magico.
Ps : if you are a fan of class A, Accuphase must be in your list but not too sure about the match with your preamp
Thanks moby!
However, Soulution 711 and CH M1.1 are out of budget.
Dag momentum stereo might fit in, thanks!
 

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
4,274
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598
Marina del Rey, CA
#13
I don't think his drive or power is the issue, he wants speed and more details
Maybe so, but Magico guys even recommend Luxman monos and say it’s a large difference. My prediction is a single amp affects speed. Mono blocks will also be more clear by definition without crosstalk. I’ve heard this amp on YGs and felt monoblocking them would be best. Ymmv.

I don’t understand a $30k investment on a $10k speaker.
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#14

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#15
I can certainly say the Gryphon, Boulder have TREMENDOUS driving capability. There is a 'reaching down to bedrock' feeling of both amps which is a lot of fun when you experience it. The Gryphon (i am guessing) probably has a tonality that might be closer to your Luxman than the Boulder. That said, I am big fan of the 2000 series...and suspect i would also like the 3000 series as well. There is a level of speed, articulation that one feels with the Boulder that is really a lot of fun when discovering fingering technique on piano, etc.

That said, the Gryphon is no slouch in the Mephisto range (and think second hand)...and while i am not a detail freak, i have grown to appreciate detail in the last 10 years, and the Gryphon certainly delivers as much as i have ever heard in my system.

I find the DAgs Momentums are great...to my ear not as 'invincible'-indestructibly powerful-seeming' as the Gryphon or Boulder 2000 series. But very very filigreed. Soulution 5 series is a very solid amp...for some reason, looking at your system and specific mention of 'sweet tone', i do wonder how you might feel about that one. It is a very solid amp but just not for me. I would take the Boulder for the characteristics that Soulution excels at.

Cannot speak with CH which i have heard is tremendous...i am told by a reviewer with significant experience that the tonal qualities of Gryphon are more my style than the tremendous clarity of presentation that is the hallmark of the CH. Personal taste.

Hope that helps...one man's two cents.
Thanks a lot for the detailed info!
So, Boulder has a sweet tone?
I’ve heard that Gryphon are more on the linear/neutral side, is that right? What about the Antileon EVO? The Mephisto is way off budget.
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#16
my suggestion will be dagostino momentum or boulder depending on your choice.

CH is extremely fast and clean but those who have CH have all CH gear and you will go well past your budget adding boxes

Or just buy an used symphonic line Kraft at 10k euro, or from the manufacturer for slightly more, and you will have far drive, speed, tone.
Thanks, for the suggestions!

So, CH does not sing without a CH “system” around it?

I would rather go for a known brand, in case it doesn’t match my taste/setup, so the Riviera and the Symphonic Line are irrelevant.
 

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
1,593
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#17
Personally I am not a fan of boulder which I feel is a little on the dry side. I used to run Gryphon Colosseum Monoblocks and they were great but I have to say your Luxman is no slouch and very competitive with all the ones you’ve mentioned. CH is pretty clean and neutral but I certainly wouldn’t call it sweet. You might wish to add Orpheus to your list. It’s amps are excellent and those who crave some tube sweetness with Solid state slam would like them. They are also incredibly well built.
 
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iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#18
Personally I am not a fan of boulder which I feel is a little on the dry side. I used to run Gryphon Colosseum Monoblocks and they were great but I have to say your Luxman is no slouch and very competitive with all the ones you’ve mentioned. CH is pretty clean and neutral but I certainly wouldn’t call it sweet. You might wish to add Orpheus to your list. It’s amps are excellent and those who crave some tube sweetness with Solid state slam would like them. They are also incredibly well built.
Thanks howie! Orpheus is not really known and represented here. And it relates to my goal for purchasing a known and trade-able brand. As I’ll be buying blindly.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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#19
Maybe so, but Magico guys even recommend Luxman monos and say it’s a large difference. My prediction is a single amp affects speed. Mono blocks will also be more clear by definition without crosstalk. I’ve heard this amp on YGs and felt monoblocking them would be best. Ymmv.

I don’t understand a $30k investment on a $10k speaker.
The Luxman m800a I heard were monos. I compared the m900u to m700u with only the latter in monos and m900u was superior. Either way, it won't increase speed.

Also he said he is getting a new speaker
 
Last edited:

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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#20
Thanks a lot for the detailed info!
So, Boulder has a sweet tone?
I’ve heard that Gryphon are more on the linear/neutral side, is that right? What about the Antileon EVO? The Mephisto is way off budget.
No boulder is very neutral and clean
 

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