I have been running my RTA-15TLs on an Adcom GFA-555 for a while now.
Definitely no lack of power and a very good sound.
But my intentions all along had been to find something else to power my 2 channel system and repurpose all 3 of my GFA-555s to HT duty with my LSis.
I was looking at a lot of pretty high end names...Audio Research, McIntosh, Krell(pipe dream really but the wife didn't roll her eyes lol), PS Audio...
All products I had heard in person either in friends' systems or at my buddy's shop.
The pair of MC30 McIntosh monos I played with were exactly the kind of sound I was looking for but I wasn't willing to spend the $3200 they were asking for them. Not when they had recently sold a pair of MC60s minus tubes for just over half that.
So I shifted to tube options. I quickly found out that my ambitions were rapidly outrunning my budget. I was also aiming WAY too high in power.
The more I thought about it and the more I talked back and forth with Endershadow (thanks for the advice man) the more I realized that I didn't need oodles of raw power. The room is small. Arguably too small for 15s. But I love them and even moreso since the tweeter and crossover upgrades.
200 watts per channel from the Adcom never saw me going above 1/8th volume on my pre.
I was recently offered a deal on a brand I had no knowledge of. The local "tube guy" had a hybrid tube/mosfet amp from AMC that had been modified less than 2 years ago to change from soldered in tubes to sockets. There was also some update work done in the form of updated caps in key locations. The bias pots had also been updated.
The price was sub $300. It boasted specs that matched or exceeded tube and hybrid tube options. And my buddy who has my favorite local shop said the guy had brought it in to audition several pairs of high end speakers over the last couple of years.
So I invited him over to audition the amp.
AMC CVT2030S (The S variant isn't stock nomenclature but a name he gave it to signify the socket mod.)
He was very adamant that the mods were professionally done and even brought the original purchase order along with the work order for the mods from the shop he had do the mods and updates.
So we got her all hooked up and turned it on to let it warm up while we talked a bit about random minutiae.
The very first thing I noticed about this amp that is *only* rated at 30wpc is how unbelievably heavy it is.
The spec sheet says 31lbs but this thing is easily 40+lbs.
Everything fits together nice and tight and it has a very clean unassuming black case.
The tubes (4xEL34s...currently Svetlanas) are mounted sideways and there is a cover over them so they don't stick up/out for curious kitty cats to lick. Yeah...my dumbass cat thinks the best way to investigate new things is to lick them.
We are all warmed up and ready to go. First up, my Miles Davis compilation on the Pioneer Elite DV-47a.
I had left the pre at the same volume as I had the Adcom at but stood by waiting for the music to start since I figured with that much power difference, I would have to turn it up to get back to my preferred listening level.
Boy howdy...I was wrong. It was actually audibly louder at the same volume level. In fact, I chose to turn it down a bit. Not that it sounded bad...just that it was louder.
Everything seems much more *live* for lack of a better term. The instruments felt more defined from each other.
Granted, I am comparing to pretty good amp to begin with but the whole sound just opened up.
The soundstage felt like it moved wider and farther back. Sort of like going from sitting at the edge of the stage to sitting back about 15 feet from the edge of the stage.
There was more definition as to where the presumed position of the instrument was playing from.
I move on to a compilation of classic rock that I made and start things out with a live version Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child. This song has always had a feel of a live concert on the Adcom but again, things just seemed to open up. The stage got bigger...more life sized.
The next song up was Superstition by Stevie Wonder.
This song is one of my favorites. The horn section has always had a bit of an edge that I found sort of harsh with the Adcom. Not so with the AMC. And the best part is, even with the "edge" softened, there was no loss of detail in the horns.
I could go on all night about audition songs I heard audible differences in but I will cut to the chase.
I asked the gentleman what he was asking for the amp and he gave me a price that was lower than the mods/upgrades that had been done 2 years ago.
I went downstairs to talk with my wife who's only question was, "Are you absolutely sure this is the amp you want and it won't end up on CL or eBay next month?". So I head back upstairs to let him know I will take it.
I was sort of worried as he had it all boxed up and was looking like he was going to head out.
But he reassured me that if I did indeed want it then he wanted to take it in and have his shop give it the full once over to make sure everything was 100%. He said not to worry about the cost that he would be taking care of it as part of the deal.
This was on last Thursday evening.
Today he stopped by and dropped her off with a set of Audioquest Evergreen ICs still in the box (I found out that he had stopped by my buddy's shop on the way over and bought me another set to throw in on the deal since he knew I already had a full contingent of Evergreens).
I have been listening since after dinner non stop and still am grinning from ear to ear.
Most people seem to be going the opposite direction. They are going to bigger and bigger amps (I am pointing at you there Darque! ) while I am going from 200wpc to 30wpc.
Granted, my HT system has gone from 125wpc to 325wpc and LSis...but then I also watch movies at a much higher volume and love it when the neighbors think that the plane crash I just watched happened in their front yard.
Anyway, I am ecstatic with my purchase. Once I get things sorted and rearranged and get my TT moved upstairs, I will post up pics.
Until then, enjoy some stock ones...