I’ll be turning 56 next month and am beginning to think long term or final system. My intent (I assume others on the forum as well) is to simplify things with an integrated, an analog source and a digital source. In my case lower wattage (50+) solid state and more efficient speakers, I have a crush on the Tannoy GRF but not fully decided
I demo’d an Esoteric F-03A last week, full class A, true dual mono, build quality off the charts, 30/60 into 8/4. It sounded amazing but demoed with with the Magicos I currently run just didn’t have the grunt or drive if you will and the low end, while tight and clean sounding just didn’t quite get there with the Magico’s. I should mention that I am about 2 years out from purchasing new speakers and just can’t live with the loss of “dynamics” and “slam” for that period of time. The midrange and up was the sweetest I’ve ever heard, I now think I’m in love with full class A! The Esoteric by the way is a gorgeous piece of audio eye candy IMO
My dealer then hooked up a Gryphon Essence (stereo) to the A3’s, it took full control of the speakers, sounded incredible and was the most impactful, most dynamic 100 watts (4 ohm load) I have ever experienced, guess it’s true that all watts are not created equal! but at $22K and it being a separate…not in the plan, but oh man, did it sound great!
I’m stopping in Friday to hear the Gryphon Diablo 300, while an A/B amp, it is somewhat biased to class A (first 10 watts) and has optional dac and phono modules. I wouldn’t opt for the phono module (just ordered a new tube phono stage) but possibly the dac module which gets good press and eliminates one more box, but will in the end most likely go with the PSA mkII that is sure to be far superior to the ESS chip in the Gryphon dac module
If I go with A/B I would most likely go with the Diablo over Boulder, Pass, Ayre, etc. I realize it is not low powered but, hey, a little extra headroom never hurt anybody! While the others are fantastic my preference would be the Gryphon
Will also maintain a smallish tube system in my office. Currently consisting of, Concert Fidelity CF-80 (I will never part with this pre, yes it’s that good) Triode Japan EL 34
amp, Focal 700 series monitors and various digital sources, currently an OPPO streaming dac
So, I’ll end (a much to lengthy post) with a couple questions:
What are your long term system plans? I would love to hear about your future systems!
Any other recommendations on class A integrated amps in the under $25K level?