Since the review, I've lived with it quite a while and still really like its sound and love its ease of use (with auto-bias, it makes tube living easy!). I also have really come to appreciate how I can use it as an integrated amp or as just an amp. I mostly use it now just as an amp, with my XMC-1 in reference stereo feeding the tube amp. The trick I figured out to have a sub in reference stereo requires me to use the amp with the pass through (not as an integrated). And, I prefer my Maggies with the sub feathered in.
XMC-1 DIRAC Full; Oppo 105/Spectrum Cable to Panny AE4000 w/106" screen; UltraRendu to LH Labs Geek Pulse X-Infinity; nCore nc400's or Prima Luna Premium Prologue to Maggie 1.7's; Rythmik F25; XPA-5 to CC-470v3 Center/ERD-1's; Thorens TD166 MkII/Denon DL207/XPS-1; 5-zone Sonos w/Def Tech AW5500's @ deck/pool/master bath & Sony SS-MB105/Polk R10 @ great room & kitchen. Two headphone setups: Hifiberry/BasX A100 and Allo BOSS/Schiit Asgard 2 (each to Senn 600's). PC w/Airmotiv 3b's. Roon user.
Shoot, Keith beat me to it... I even had some conversations a few years ago with the principal of Atma-Sphere and still forgot to loop them in...
With top SS amps pushing $200k a pair I'm thinking Bill has a long ways to go...
I am not using any of my tube stuff now. I used an ARC D-79 for a long time, supplemented by a hybrid (tube front/MOSFET output) Counterpoint amp for a while, and ARC SP3a1 preamp. I need to sell the stuff... Sold the D-79 cheap, still have the preamp and Counterpoint, plus an old Eico amp. No more Dynaco gear in the house. Whilst I would not give up my current rig, there's is something to be said for tube sound, at least in the midrange where they really shine.
IME/IMO - Don
Fun factoid for tube freaks and geeks: The intrinsic distortion expansion series for a tube is factorial whilst for a bipolar transistor it is exponential. That means a tube technically has lower distortion all else equal. Alas, all else is never equal, and tubes rarely approach the performance of SS, at least for power amps. But for a turntable, having tens of volts of input overload means ticks and pops won't clip your preamp.
I remember seeing some nice CJ stuff in a local Audio specialty shop back in the 1980's -
The stuff I remember had rounded, chrome or nickel-plated cages around the tubes with a sort of Art-Deco look to it. Don't remember the speakers that they had patched into it at the time, but i DO remember that it was pretty friggin' schweet!
XPA-2 Gen3 ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 Goldenear ForceField 3 Amped Sub AR The Turntable / Shure V15-VMR BlueSound Node 2i (plus some decent "classics")