Dimensions: 18’ × 28’ Large
Ok I lied. Well, not really lied, but I had been curious what an S.E.T. amp with a little more power than the Art Audio Diavolo had would sound like with my Merlin VSM speakers, as the Diavolo's 13W, at least on paper, was a little low, and definitely distorted if I turned it up too loud. I rarely listen to music over 90db, but when I did, I was clearly pushing the boundaries of the amp.
And along came an opportunity to get a good deal on a gently used pair of Sophia Electric 206 drives 845 monoblock amps, with precisely double the S.E.T. power at 26W, so I pulled the trigger! It was very sad saying goodbye to the Diavolo, which did sound marvelous, but so far the Sophia is very much to my liking. The amps and tubes need more time to fully break in, but so far they sound great and have lots of midrange magic as did the Diavolo, but they have a slightly more dynamic sound overall, and I have cranked them all the way up to 100db with no distortion whatsoever.
If the Sophias continue to open up as the tubes break in, look out, I may be moving closer to audio nirvana...
Despite my promises to keep my system as-is this year, I jumped on the chance to get a used Shindo Monbrison preamp, and that replaced my Allnic L-3000 preamp and Allnic H-1201 phono stage. I loved the Allnic gear and enjoyed my time with it, but had always wanted to try out some Shindo gear.
The Shindo has not disappointed so far. It doesn't blow the Allnic equipment out of the water in any respect, it's more of a different flavor of greatness. A little warmer and smoother and more forgiving on some of my less-well-recorded music. Still tons of detail and dynamics, and an incredible soundstage.
And of course, although I think the Shindo pre-amp pairs nicely with my Diavolo SET amp, I'm saving up for a Shindo amp because I need to hear how that would sound...
I guess I haven't checked this comment thread in a while. Sorry I missed your question arturgorniak! Yes, I had a Primaluna Dialogue Premium integrated that I think paired very nicely with the Merlin VSMs. I did an extensive tube shootout, and preferred the warmer sound of the EL34 tubes over the KT-88 or KT-120s, and with EL34s they still had plenty of power for the Merlins.
I'm happy to talk more about my experience with the Primaluna. I replaced it with the Art Audio Diavolo SET with EML 300B XLS tubes. I love the current pairing, but the Primaluna was nearly as good and could drive them a little louder than the Diavolo. Something about that SET magic midrange sound, though, has completely seduced me. I heard a couple of 2A3 amp setups at RMAF last weekend and was seduced even further. Of course, those can't power the Merlins, so I'm going to stick with the Diavolo for now. Until I can afford a Shindo amp of course to pair with the Shindo preamp...oh this hobby.