Excellent Solid State or Hybrid Monoblocks Recommendations

I am interested in staying under 15k for a pair of high performing monoblocks, sold state or hybrid, to acquire. 

My current system is an Aric Audio Motherlode preamp, a Space-Tech super tube rectifier, Teac NT-505 modded dac, outboard clock, Aerial Acoustic 7T modded speakers, ENIGMAcoustics Sopranino supertweeters, Grover Huffman Pharoah biwire speaker cables, Zavfino Silver Dart interconnects, Melco 6TB server, Melco CD transport, Waversa Reference USB filter between the cd transport and server, Waversa Reference LAN filter, Synergistic Research active grounding block, and Synergistic Research Ethernet Switch UEF.

My modded JC1 monoblocks sound heavenly.  However, I am having issues with no sound coming out of 1 channel.  My modded PassLab X250.5 amps sound really good but lack the top end sparkle, air and litheness of the Parasounds JC1s.   I am gonna fire back up my Canary CA-160 modded tube monoblocks but am not wild about the tube maintenance requirements.


So, I seek another pair of monoblocks that excel in clarity, balance across the frequency spectrum but also present upper registers with delicacy, spaciousness, and nice instrument separation.  I am looking at Audio Van Alstine 750 wpc monoblocks and the Thrax black monoblocks up for sale here on Audiogon.  Other suggestions? 

Thanks in advance.

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xjaymark
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Thanks @dweller.  For sure I have seen the hype and buzz.  I assume they have enough power for my system as I have been using 250 to 400 wpc.  

Why do you need that much power for 89db sensitive speakers. Excuse me but I'm just curious!

@yogiboy maybe I don't.  Perhaps it is audiophile nervous being worried about differences in power between say 100 wpc and 250 wpc. That said, I probably would not have the kit in my system that I do if I did not fret the small stuff.

I know this isn't what you asked about, but the TEAC NT-505 may be holding your system back.  As you appear to be all in on digital, consider spending some of that budget on a better DAC.  I have two of them, and they are very good for the money, but you can do a lot better and that may give you more of what you're looking for.  Consider having the JC1s repaired if you are already happy with their sound and investing in a better digital front end.

My Teac NT-505 dac is not holding my system back.  It is not stock as it was extensively modded by Doug Jessie.  If it was stock, I would agree.  In its current iteration it is a world class performer.

Good to hear.  What exactly do these modifications entail?  Sorry, not trying to derail your thread, just curious.

Not sure if this would be to your liking as you already have Pass but there is a pair of Pass 160. something for sale here around your budget.  I believe they will do class A up to their rated output of 160wpc. 

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I think I recall you had Spatials. A friend with speakers with the same Beyma tweeters (but a different sensitivity) has gotten excellent results with the Benchmark AHB2 for his speakers. He pairs it with a Bent Tap X passive pre and a Holo Audio Spring DAC.

@big_greg the mods were extensive. I will look up the email that detailed them and post later. The mods took it well above its stock performance.

@ hilde I sold the Spatials recently so they are no longer in my stereo graveyard.

@ tvad I appreciate the amp recommendations and will do my due diligence on them.  I suspect that I drank the Kool aid about believing higher powered amps sound better than lower powered ones of similar quality.  Good to get the experienced input on this topic of "not so fast".....i have modded a lot of my equipment, however, I am willing to go higher up the food chain to get the type of performance I want sans mods

Have you looked into PS Audio's hybrid amps?  I have a BHK 250 that sounds excellent with Scansonic MB3.5s, which have similar requirements as your Aerial Acoustics.  The BHK 250 is on clearance now for ~$4k on PS Audio's site and a steal at its current price.  There were also a used pair of BHK 300s that sold in the $6k range recently, so may be worth keeping an eye out for if you're set on going the mono route.

The 6922 tube and its variants in the BHK 250 are fairly low maintenance, long-lasting and not too expensive unless you get into the rare and exotic tubes.  I've had great results upgrading to Acme's silver fuses and tube rolling.  I really like the ability to alter the amp's voicing, which may also appeal to you.

@audphile1 I am going to get the JC1 repaired. You are correct. I have too much money sunk into them and the mods to just walk away from them. They also sound stunningly good. Just a good excuse to pick up another amp for my rotation and/or backup.

@pynkfloydd I will check out the amps u suggested on the PS Audio website.

@jl35 Thanks foe the PassLabs suggestion. I already have two Pass Labs amps, neither though is a monoblock. They sound good, both modded, but the JC1 monoblocks sound better, especially in the upper registers.

I just bought a pair of PS Audio BHK300’s and the BHK preamp. I’ve been using separates for ever, tried a Hegel H390 ( very good ) but just went back to separates. The amps are fairly neutral and have a lot of punch when it’s needed.  The input stage comes with 12AU7’s,  but can use several others. Haven’t had mine long enough to say much more. They pop up used from time to time for $6000-$9000.

BTW, PS Audio is closing out the model before these the BHK 250’s for half price.

All the best.


I might have been the one who bought those 300’s😄. So far I am really enjoying them. 

@curiousjim how would u describe your initial impression of the sonic signature of the bhk 300 monoblocks?

@timlub Thanks for the amp recommendation.  I have some old modded Ampzilla amps in my exercise room audio system that are damn good.

Balanced Audio Technology VK-255SE mono blocks are in the price and are great sounding and excellent support and customer service .  My two cents and good luck!

Aesthetix hybrid…. tube front end, SS back end, Legendary Jim White engineering and sonics…

@rgottschalk thanks for the BAT recommendation.  Will check it out.

@tomic601 thanks for the Aesthetix rec.  Will for sure due my diligence on it.

I’ve got no problems with my PassLabs X260.8 monoblocks driving Magnepan speakers. Worth a listen in my view

Get yerself a gently used pair of Jeff Rowland Model 12 monoblocks. 

They are such good and well built amps. 

Personally I think you have a great set of monoblocks in the canary ca160 s. Order a set of sohpia  electric  blue bottle el34 power tubes and be happy . By what you have said it appears like you are not afraid of spending  money on your audio  adventure so just go order the 16 el 34s and be happy. The other lower cost tube that I tube rolled I can look and yell you what I ended up with it escapes me at the moment.  I believe  one pair are reflecktor  another pair is valvo the other two pairs I will have to look at. 




I read your post quickly and without my glasses, but what speakers are you driving/want to drive?  I think that makes a biggest difference in choice.

FWIW, I went with Classe Delta Monos (slightly higher that budget if you bought open box/used, but in your target range) for BW800s because the speakers and amps with designed with each other in mind.  They are class A during normal listening and crank up to 400W, so are very quick and responsive — with the big BWs.  I’ve been extremely pleased.  

we had the original jc1s and the  Electrocompanet and chord amplifiers were far better sounding


Dave and Troy

Audio intellect NJ

I am very pleased with the Michi 8 mono blocks. They should fit your budget.


Check out my review.

Audiogon Discussion Forum


It has been a few years, but in a rare visit to a regional audio shop, I don’t live near any, they insisted I hear the Bel Canto Ref600m monos with a pair of Maggie’s. The sound stuck with me, and they were well reviewed in the major publications. Thought it worth mentioning, might be worth a look. 

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My first impressions of the BHK300’s are they are that they have more pop.  When listening to Classical music, and it goes from a few violins playing to the whole orchestra playing, the sound is more realistic.  The jump is sound is fast and clear.  Having come from a Hegel H390, the difference was dramatic. The separation of instruments and people was also noticeable better.
The mids and high end are both clear as well. Over the weekend, I listened to Joni Mitchell, Paramore, Miles Davis, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Handel and Bach. 
I’ve only had them a couple of weeks and my listening time has been limited, but so far, I am very happy. At some point, I’m going to play with tube rolling, both in the preamp and the amps. But that will be way in the future.

All the Best.

I might have been the one who bought those 300’s😄. So far I am really enjoying them.


Congrats!  Those were very tempting for the price. 

Which tubes are you currently running?  I found the 6DJ8 Amperex A frames (~$70/pr on eBay for NOS) to be a great reference tube.  They do everything well, excellent imaging and very balanced across all frequencies. Great place to start if you're running stock tubes, especially since they're easy to find as NOS and reasonably priced.

My current preferred pair is a set of Westinghouse 6DJ8 medical grade tubes (likely rebranded Mullards) that have more of a 'live' feel to them, which win out slightly over the Amperex.  I tried a lot of others ranging from Valvo to Russian NOS to BHK recommended Tungsram, but the Mullard and Amperex tubes sound best to me so far. 

For reference, the BHK 250 even manages to drive my MBL 101s at moderate listening levels.  Great amp with plenty of power for most speakers.

@ozzy where did u purchase the Michi’s?

@ curiousjim, thanks for the update on the sonics


I love the 6DJ8/6922/7308 sound and one of the selling points was the seller had matched  Mullard 7308’s in it. I also have several NOS Amperex 6922’s (PQ and Bugle) that I plan to roll in when I get more listening time.😁

I have KEF Reference 5’s that are listed as 90dbs, so the added power was never needed, but it’s always good to have.😁


@davetheoilguy I am driving Aerial Acoustic 7T speakers.  They have been rebuilt, including the crossovers, and rewired with silver wire.  Much clearer than stock for sure.


For whatever reason, my post was just blocked.  But Kal Rubinson (who is a mensch) used a pair of Bel Canto monoblocks for his review of your speakers and was quite pleased.  So, please google that, since I can't sent you a link.

They are way UNDER your budget, looking around at the various sales sites.

Interestingly, he did a bit of a shoot out with my speakers (Bower Diamond) in the review and just looking at the size of the woofers are a lot more power hungry.  So you would have plenty of room.

Still think the Classe Deltas would be a good choice, but they are slightly OVER budget.  But they are probably more than you need, unless you plan on getting a hungrier speaker.

Have there been many changes to the PS Audio BHK 300 monoblock amplifiers over the past few years?

I went from tube integrated amp to the Class D mono blocks and separate pre-amp from Atma-Sphere. My experience with them and their products have been great. I had to call them several times for info on tubes/tweaks/ general questions about the MP-3.3 preamp and their customer service is 5-star. I have no skin in the game. Just another one of their happy customers.

I also see that PS Audio is having a killer sale on the BHK.

There's a pair of Pathos hybrid monoblocks on USAM.

I personally have the Pathos Adrenalin monoblocks and the Pathos Synapse pre. These may be out of your budget range but the Pathos Inpol for sale on USAM would be within you budget.

Pathos has a unique hybrid design that I believe they have patented. My pathos setup is my "endgame" for my main system and I am very happy with it. I have other amps in my office system which I've directly AB compared to - Hifi Rose RA180 integrated, Sophia Electric 300B monoblocks, Gold Note PA1175, and I'm getting a pair of Kinki B7 monoblocks shortly as well.