Hybird amplifiers...

MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum

Help Support MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-known member
May 9, 2005
Reaction score
Camano Island, Washington
Zip3kx07, and ML owners,

I was casually viewing the, 'AV Forum'... and I saw your discussion regarding the Hybird amplifier from "Butler audio", on that, 'other forum'... I checked out the web-site, as you suggested:


At first glance, this 'Hybird' amp. seems to be the best of both worlds, i. e., Solid State and Tube technology. I was wondering if you could expand on your reasons why this amplifier was has ranked, on the top of your list... Zip3kx07, you know, our systems are very similar...

Natually, I will look at auditioning it in the future... Trusting my ears, of course....

What do others, here on the ML club forum think about this 'new', type of amplifier? Does anyone have a 'Hybird' type of amplifier or something similar to what, Butler Audio offers... I would like to hear, what ML owners think, as it would be greatly appreciated.


Yes it’s true, I am getting ready to sell my Sunfire cinema grand amp and replace it with something else. What amp I don’t know yet?

I am currently looking at the Anthem Statement A5 or P5, Lexicon LX7, Butler 5150, Theta Dreadnought, Halcro MC70, PassLabs X5.

The only thing stopping me from trying a butler is the lack of XLR inputs.

Why am I lusting over this amp? Because after all the reviews I have read, and all the people I have talked to on one really had any tihng bad to say.


Quote from BuddaWilly

Butler offers a lifetime warranty on the tubes (free replacement).

Zip3kx07, with the Krell Showcase/ML demo, I felt that bass was okay, midrange was extremely anemic (no low-mid presentation at all), and highs were veiled and restricted to the plane of the speakers. Overall, the presentation had absolutely no air, and the soundstage depth was highly restricted and two-dimensional. I walked away saying to myself that all of the hype around electrostats was complete bunk. Everything I heard with that combo was contrary to the way that they were supposed to sound, and I was out looking to buy Martin Logans at the time.

The Butler/ML combo was a different story. Bass was perhaps slightly fuller, but the midrange really bloomed. It was full and rich (naturally so). The veil had been lifted from the highs, they sparkled now, and the soundstage really opened up with both great depth and width. I literally stumbled upon this demo as I walked in to this dealer to look at some Sherwood Newcastle gear (which they don't stock for demo purposes ), so I wasn't there to listen critically as with the Krell demo, but the differences literally jumped out at me causing me to stop and listen. I can tell you this, I may own ML's today had I heard them presented this way in the first place.

Fraoch, I asked specifically about the 3 channel Butler. The dealer was using it to drive the L/C/R in his theater room with a B&K AVR 507 as the front end. This dealer quoted $3295 as MSRP.

Last edited:
I sold my Sunfire Cinema Grand for a Butler 5150 about a year ago and have no regrets. This amp sounds wonderful, has plenty of power, runs cool and is built like a tank. My speakers are Ascenti mains, Cinemai center, Scripti surrounds, and a Rel sub.

Hey, I see, by your post, that this is your first entry to the, 'Martin Logan Owners Club', let me be the first to bid you Welcome! Thank you, for the great information. I have been seriously considering, so many different amplifiers, i. e., The Sunfire Cinema Signature Grand 400~seven, The Musical Fidelity Intergated, five channel amplifier, Classe, five channel amp, and now the Hybird Butler 5150, five channel amp. Your experience, with the Sunfire Cinema Grand and the Butler 5150 amlifiers, is gold information to me... The more prior input, to my auditioning two or three amplifiers in my home, the better, and it is so very much appreciated... I have to narrow the field of amplifiers, to my top contenders. My list is getting very refinded so far, The Butler 5150 is in the top two.

The ML Club has provided me with wonderful information, the great folks contributing to this site, have shared with me so much outatanding information.

Just so you know, IMHO, I think, you will really find the information and opinions, offered on the, 'ML club' to be superb, as well as beneficial. The ML Club membership is kind, generous, as well as, very paitient and understanding. The membership, is very enthucisatic and committed to the contiuous quality improvement of the musical sound path. Audiophiles mostly, ML lovers, yes, but what is much more than that, I think, we simply love to listen, to glorious sounding music and/or beautiful HT sound... Anyway, I'm rambling... sorry. It is good to have you as a contributing member....

Thanks again!


The information, which you shared from the, 'AVS Forum', is fantastic!! Thank you, for your great information, as always... Now, I really need to find, a Butler Audio, dealer in Northern California, so I can demo, the Butler 5150 amplifier on my own. Hopefully, I'll be permited to take it home, for a demo too. I'm going to look at the other amplifiers, which you are considering, as well... IMHO, I think, your system is going to take a quantum leap, into the stratisphere, with the possible advancement / replacement of your, 'main drive' amplifier. You aready have a incredidle HT system... Please let us know how you narrow the field, your process of limination, and which one you finially choose. I would appreciate hearing your progress.

Thanks again,

Last edited:
Tubes vs Transistors...

At the Butler Audio web site, I found an interesting article, discribing in some detail, the differences in sound, between tubes and transistors. The article, by Russell O. Hamm, entitled, "Tubes Versus Transistors - Is There An Audible Difference?", was very informative...


I wonder, if their are any other, 'Hybird' amplifier company's, out there, that are as good or better than, of the aparent quality of, Butler Audio's amplifiers?

More hybrids:

Pathos New Classic One (stereo)
Pathos TT
Pathos Logos (stereo)
Pathos CinemaX (very good 5-channel amplifier!)
Butler TDB 2250

Okay guys, you've been holding out on me! :confused:

How could I have not heard about the Butler amp before. :eek: It seems to have all the attributes for which I am searching with few drawbacks. Moreover, the TDB 2250, my current interest, is only $3,300 while delivering 250 watts into 8 ohms and 400 watts into four.

Like Zip said, the Butler amp only offers RCA connections, but at $3,300 it's cheap enough that I could afford to change my two-channel preamp should a system mismatch occur.

For home theater, my Proceed AMP5 is working great, and I have no desire to get rid of it. :D But for two-channel sound, I would like more tubes in the mix. The Butler amp looks like a good way to get it.

The Sunfire Signature is still on my short list, but my hesitation about that amp is my preference for a little more richness, texture, and soul, which the Sunfire seems to lack. From what I have read about Butler amps, the TDB 2250 should have those attributes in abundance.
This thread caught my attention while digging up information from the search engine. This thread seemed to fizzle out pretty quick though. What's up with these Butler amps? Does anyone else have some first hand experience in listening to them or better yet own one? TIA

Robin -

I don't know if you want to spend the dough, but Audio Research has a new hybrid out there. It's called the HD (for hybrid drive) 220. Puts out 220 watts into 8 ohms and about 400 into 4. AFAIK it has not been reviewed formally yet. However, all the reviewers have given ARC's new components top ratings. You might want to try to hear the 220. BTW, this is ARC's first hybrid amp with input tubes and ouput transistors. Check ARC's web site for further info.
Speaking of hybrids... Here's another (Italian) company which is quite popular in Europe:
http://www.unisonresearch.com. My dealer tested UR Sinfonia with Vantages and was very pleased with the result.
Somebody here (I think it may have been Sleepysurf?) actually had this Butler multi-channel amp for awhile but found it to be a very poor synergy with his Martin Logans. I listened to this amp last year at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest and did not feel it was very "musical" at all when paired with the Escalante speakers.

The Butler Monad on the other hand was one of the most magical amplifiers I have ever heard - but you would go into some VERY serious debt using them for a multi-channel application. Oh but that would sound amazing I'd bet!!!


  • Butler02.jpg
    87 KB · Views: 285
Thanks MiTT,

I was interested in the two channel version TDB 2250. Being higher power (250 wpc) versus the multi-channel (150 wpc), would you think it might work better with MLs? I don't know any thing about Escalante speakers and whether they are an indicator of performance from MLs. I suppose the mated pre-amp would have some input to sound quality as well.

That Butler Monad must be awesome, but for $19k I will have to pass. ;)

Hybrid amplifiers have always been interesting beasts - from the topologies of transistors and valves that they use to the level of feedback each design brings to the table.

The Butlers are known to have a smooth sound with that classic transistor grunt. They wont entirely capture the warmth and blossom that valve components champion - however, they will help to take the 'edge' off of the sometimes plastic sound of traditional solid state.

Another hybrid worth investigating, especially for you Logan-heads, would be the Moscode 401HR. I have nothing to say about the amplifier as I haven't heard it myself, but apparently; she's pretty damned good. I look forward to bringing her home sometime in the near future, but until then - perhaps I could live vicariously through someone here?

Cheers - and good luck in the hunt.
The "old" Moscode has been replaced by a new one, the 402. Some changes are alleged to make the newer amp even better. I've heard both of them and IMHO, they are both creditable performers.

I hear that this 402 also brings with it a heavier price tag! Ah well, it sucks to be me (broke)! :) I am just curious, what did you hear them on? (sorry for the threadjack).