Class A amplifiers and ESL 9?

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kjetilf

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I know it’s very difficult to recommend certain amplifiers to be used with certain loudspeakers, I agree 100% that you need to listen yourself, but I wonder if anyone would have any experiences to share when it comes solid state class A amplifiers together with ESL 9? I’ve tried to do some internet searches on the topic, but I can’t really find that much I must say. I’m considering a decent Japanese class A amplifier like the Accuphase E-650, the Luxman L-550AX MKII or the Esoteric F-03A for my ESL 9. These are all rated at 30W (8 Ω), 60W (4Ω) and 120W (2Ω). If someone have tried something like that already it would be great to hear about it before starting the auditioning myself. We’re talking about a living room setting where I mainly listen to jazz music at a moderate to moderate+ sound level.
 

twich54

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I’m using a Pass Labs X250.8 with the ESL 9’s and highly recommend it.

FWIW that's a A/B amp, albeit a superb match with Logan !
 

twich54

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As for Class A, my experience with Plinius (SA-102) was very satisfying with my Spires at the time.
 

Nutshell

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I auditioned my Montis speakers with an Accuphase E650. They sounded great. I also listened to a Diablo 120 from The Gryphon, which is about the same price. This was also a great match.
The Montis, however, have powered woofers, so I cannot tell if these amps would drive an ESL9 with the same effortlessness.
 

TomMLFan

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I'm rather late to this thread, but I just joined the MLO group. In the hope that someone will find it useful, I'll add this.

I use Threshold SA2 power amps, the Threshold FET 10 pre, and the Threshold MC phono pre, all playing through Monolith II's. The SA2's are solid state, Class A, 100wpc. For what it's worth, before buying the Threshold electronics, I called ML to speak to them. I told them I was torn between the Thresholds or the equivalent Krell's. The response was "two of our favorite amps, you'll be happy with either." I'm happy. And yes, they were purchased a long time ago. I don't know if Krell is still in business. I know Threshold is.

I've had friends over to listen and one almost knelt in homage to the sound. Incredably detailed with no coloration that any of us could ever detect, playing at whisper to thunderous levels. No distortion at thunder level either.

I'll miss the Monoliths (see my other post for a brief explanation why they are leaving). I'm pretty sure I'm going to replace them with 60XTi's. If anyone has a comment or experience with the 60's, particularly in comparison to electrostatics (like the Monolith), I would love to hear your thoughts.
 

Northy

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I know it’s very difficult to recommend certain amplifiers to be used with certain loudspeakers, I agree 100% that you need to listen yourself, but I wonder if anyone would have any experiences to share when it comes solid state class A amplifiers together with ESL 9? I’ve tried to do some internet searches on the topic, but I can’t really find that much I must say. I’m considering a decent Japanese class A amplifier like the Accuphase E-650, the Luxman L-550AX MKII or the Esoteric F-03A for my ESL 9. These are all rated at 30W (8 Ω), 60W (4Ω) and 120W (2Ω). If someone have tried something like that already it would be great to hear about it before starting the auditioning myself. We’re talking about a living room setting where I mainly listen to jazz music at a moderate to moderate+ sound level.
I have a Pass Labs XA30.8 class A driving my Theos. I could not be happier. I have said it many times in these pages. ML and Pass Labs are a match made in Heaven. Do not forget, these class A amps especially Pass Labs are built like a tank and very, very under-spec'ed. Nelson Pass once said that the firepower in the XA 30.8 is the same as a 300 Watt class A/B amp. The sucker weighs 90 lbs. Go figure! You should not have any problems driving the ESL 9 especially for your taste in music.
 

FLT

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95177A2A-677A-4B47-847F-75543FD7244D.jpeg
 

SomeGeoffGuy

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I have a Pass Labs XA30.8 class A driving my Theos. I could not be happier. I have said it many times in these pages. ML and Pass Labs are a match made in Heaven. Do not forget, these class A amps especially Pass Labs are built like a tank and very, very under-spec'ed. Nelson Pass once said that the firepower in the XA 30.8 is the same as a 300 Watt class A/B amp. The sucker weighs 90 lbs. Go figure! You should not have any problems driving the ESL 9 especially for your taste in music.

I just hooked up a Nelson Passed designed Amp Camp Mono setup to my Aerius and I can't believe how good it sounds - and only like 5 watts per channel too (Pure Class A though!). Yea, I have it cranked up to almost the max (9 out of 10), but that is fine for normal listening.

I wanted to see if they could even drive the Aerius, and they do with amazing clarity. My next project is an Aleph 60 that should sound even better.

-Geoff
 

Northy

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I just hooked up a Nelson Passed designed Amp Camp Mono setup to my Aerius and I can't believe how good it sounds - and only like 5 watts per channel too (Pure Class A though!). Yea, I have it cranked up to almost the max (9 out of 10), but that is fine for normal listening.

I wanted to see if they could even drive the Aerius, and they do with amazing clarity. My next project is an Aleph 60 that should sound even better.

-Geoff
Hi Geoff, now you hear what I mean! You only need Class A watts to really appreciate what the artist has to offer...I still kick myself when I hear albums that have not heard for a while. I discover subtle instruments here and there in the signal which the artist intended to be part of the music. But it requires a refined system to un-earth it.
 

FLT

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Nice gear, FLT. I suppose this is your den where you chill out and get lost in music. I surely am licking my chops for an ESL 9 or a model which will replace it. For now, I have to buy a DAC and a streamer first.
Thanks!
Actually this is a dedicated listening room with dimensions of 12’ x 16’. The rear right corner of the room, off camera, is vented to a large center hall and that makes the bass phenomenal in this room. The soundstage extends beyond the speakers and the imaging is rock solid and very specific.
I love the 9’s !
 
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