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

@jaymark I'm just dipping into the German tubes since there's such a price premium and the market is flooded with fakes, but the ones I've tried have sounded great.  Have you checked out Brent Jesse's stock?  For ~$100 more for the quad, he's got the Siemens Cca, which is supposed to be the top of the line Siemens tube.

My current favorite is Mullard's 6DJ8/ECC88.  If you enjoy acoustic performance, piano or vocals, they sound the closest to live music to me and very addictive.  There's a premium on the original Mullard branding, but generally can still find them for $100-150/pr for NOS and all sound very similar.  You can find some of the rebrands for under $100/pr. with Brent Jesse selling a top end E188CC/7308 version for $375/pr..  I've noticed I need to turn up the volume a bit more to get good solid bass with Mullards, but its mid-range is what sets it apart from other tubes. 

Tungsrams are on the soft side and opposite of the stock tubes that come with the BHKs.  They're worth having as a spare set, but (in my systems) make voices seem further back and bass response a bit too soft.  Not as soft as the Valvo E88CC I have, but definitely on the soft end.  As a cheap Russian NOS, the 7308/E188CC National branded Vokshod sounds very close to the big name European NOS and not a bad tube.

I'd highly suggest checking out Amperex 6DJ8 A frames as a reference point.  They're such a well-balanced tube and have been very helpful with testing equipment changes and diagnosing issues.  NOS are easy to find under ~$70/pr. and sound great with livelier music, even at lower volumes.  Strong across the whole range with great imaging, just not a standout in any specific area. These may be a good starting point where you can make decide how you'd like to tweak the sound or what may sound best with your equipment.

Generally, I've tried 6922, 6DJ8, ECC88, 7308 and PCC189 and prefer the 6DJ8/7308.  These smalls tubes really don't get too hot and the red light in back will go out ~10 minutes after you shut off the main power switch, so it's safe to switch out with a gloved hand.  I also noticed the Acme fuses narrowed the gap between tubes and improved bass response with the softest sets, but just my experience.

Some 5years ago a then friend had a Pathos hybrid. It developed a problem and he went crazy trying to get it serviced in the US, and too expensive to send back to Italy. Hopefully US support has been resolved

@jaymark Sorry to go off topic but how do you get in touch with Doug Jessie at ASi Teknology?

@veerossi What speakers are you using the Class D amps with?  I’m wondering how they would do driving difficult loads like the big Wilson’s.