I've heard the Sugden Masterclass integrated driving ProAc D18s and the sound was captivating. Very rich, full-bodied and musical, so this is a combo I would strongly recommend. The Sugden's 30 watts sounded like 300! However, the amp's class A design means it runs hot and because it is thicker than the average amp, placement within most racks in order to ensure sufficient ventilation might be an issue.
I also like the sound of Electrocompaniet amps - very smooth and lush, though I've not heard them driving PMC speakers but instead Joseph Audios from the US.
Between the two I went for the Sugden because to my aging ears, class A sounds more musical. But Electro is definitely worth considering IMO.
However, one final observation that may or may not be relevant - do looks matter? I ask because shallow person that I am, my purchasing decisions over the years have sometimes been swayed by how an item looks. A nicely finished pair of speakers often catches my eye (as do women with nice long legs, but we won't go into that here) and as for amps, I think Electro makes some damn fine-looking and tempting gear.
PS I think the Harbeth-Sugden pairing would sound fantastic.
It does! especially with their grills off, but that's for another thread and prob on Harbeth forum.
Must admit though, still have a hankering to try an Accuphase amp.
Accuphase E350 amp, Electrocompaniet EMC1UP CDP, Siltech 25th Classic anniversary 330I XLR Harbeth Super HL5 on Sound Anchor Quod ELS63 stands, Chord Odessey2 speaker cable. Grado SR60 headphones.
As long as sources and amps haven't been particularly badly designed changing will have nowhere near the same effect as changing speakers.
I spent half a day recently listening to a whole raft of quality amps with eveything else staying the same, and there were huge huge differences in what came from a pair of quality speakers! The speakers maybe the first thing to chose, but the choice of amp will make those speakers sound as different as chalk and cheese. Many amps have so much "character" that you will love or hate what they do with any choice of speaker. Anyway, that's what I found...
Rega Brio-R integrated amp, Rega Apollo-R cd player, Tellurium Q Green speaker cables, Tellurium Q Black interconnects, Rega Isis/Osiris mains power cables, KEF LS50 speakers.
Just been looking on the Doug Brady site and they've got a pair of Harbeth M30 at an excellent price.
Yes I agree. It's a tough call but in the amp vs speaker debate, I'd say the amp comes first - but only just.
Wowsers i have just found a pair of Monitor Audio GX300 in Ebony for £2200 truly a fab looking speaker if maybe not what i'm looking for sonically although there is a dealer 8 miles from me where i hope to try some anyway.
Even more insane a pair of exdemo MA PL300 beasts for £3500 (rrp £6000!). Probably wont suit my 6x6 metre room and weirdly the reviews ive read of it suggests triode valve amps are essential to avoid brightness with such a speaker.
Sure would look impressive though and i drool at the prospect of 25hz played without subwoofer!
Ahaaa, now contemplating this http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/Icon-Audio-Stereo-300B-MkII-Valve-Amplifier/product_1405 feeding the Monitor Audio PL300's to get the smooth detailed warm bassy sound i desire!
Or am i barking up the wrong tree!?
So much choice within my budget the market is flooded with amps and speakers with a price of upto £3.5k each there is just too much choice!
And this one too http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/Unison-Research-S6-Valve-Amplifier/product_3839.
Looks sooo good i could
It is very hard to advise someone else.......though FWIW. I love that choice of amp, but find the MA not to my taste, but you might love it.
Throughout this thread there have been a lot of good brands mentioned, so it's time to stop pondering and start listening.
My choice of speakers would include Harbeth, Spendor, Kef R Series, Sonus Faber, PMC and Proac. If you are looking for a very clean, detailed sounding speaker, Focal are worth a look.
My choice of amps would include Sugden, Electro, Icon Audio, Unison Research, Musical Fidelity and Pathos.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
You forgot Magnepan and Martin Logan, which are arguably better than all of those mentioned. Except the more conventional Neat Elite, that is.
No argument here.....it's just I've never heard either of them, so it makes it more difficult to advise.
Yes to CNO i seem to have given myself alot of listening to do.
Adding an ex-demo pair of PMC OB1i's - based on reviews and they come in at £3.5k - to the ridiculously big shortlist.
Ruled out the PL300 already due to their tonal balance and my small to medium room which may get smaller if i downsize to a new home!
naim, naim, naim.
Go for Naim. Black boxes, you can upgrade for ever, tweak the system. buy power supplies. Annoy people on their forum. Perfect solution to mid life crisis.
naim cd555, naim 552, naim 300, neat mf5's, sonos
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