Tube amps under $7500

Ready to experiment with combinations never before (or not recently) tried. Step one requires a tube amp. Now looking at Prima Luna EVO 400 which sells for 5K. Any other tube amps I should consider in this price/feature range? Must come in silver with balanced input. For pairing experimentally with various tube and SS preamps. Efficient 4 ohm Legacy speakers (and the room/setup) are the constants.



@decooney Much appreciate your thorough review of the entire course of discussion. I will try to clarify my position on each issue.

1) Why focus solely on the amp? Because mine is beyond its ten-year warranty period, long out of production, and frankly losing its grip on challenging material. So, what better time to reconsider tubes before committing to a costly new decade-long companion? Especially considering I changed speakers during that period.

2) Why ignore preamps? Because in my experience, it's the preamp that establishes the sonic signature, but you can't work on that until your output chain (amps/speakers) has become a constant in the equation. A prerequisite, if you will. I am ALWAYS looking at preamps and need no help on that question. Being stable at that position in the lineup at present, I must focus first on the amp, then the DAC, before playing with preamps, which for me is where the fun lies.

3) Why the balanced specification? Because this helps to limit an otherwise boundless field of choice. (Same with my requisite of silver, or at least non-black, finish). In my setup, balanced operation helped with impedance matching, gain, and long-ish cable runs. Not to mention manufacturer recommendations. So I became a "balanced guy," and if that seems arbitrary in one sense, it is surely not irrational in any sense.

4) Why the default position of tube pre + SS amp? Because I can't live without a tube pre (though I also have a fully balanced SS on hand), while my Legacy speakers quite likely can't live with a tube amp, as I have just learned.* Frankly, I am also lazy. Even if the tube amp is self-biasing, amps sit down in a dark corner of a dark room near the floor. Some use three different tube types, requiring matching spares of each on hand. I'm just not the born gearhead obsessive that so many in here are. (No knock on them -- I learn a great deal from the experts, the wizards, just reading their hugely informative posts in here).  

Hope this clarifies where I am coming from. 
*From two different Legacy dealers, one in LA and another in Minneapolis, both of whom also sell plenty of tube gear. ("High current, and running deep in Class A to emulate tube sound").

Maybe consider a 6sn7 preamp and 250 watt amp that doubles in power. With $7500 you could find a Don Sachs, Supratec type preamp and an older Pass Labs, CJ or others. I tried BAT, ARC, Rogue they were nice but felt they were more in solid state territory, in case that’s what you are trying to avoid. Just make sure impedance matches.


i had a Don Sachs pre and amp very natural with a great layered sound stage, the preamp matched with solid state very well. 

@hickamore fwiw thought I’d mention that I’m doing what @paulcreed recommended. Currently running a different brand 6SN7 tube preamplifier with a full Class-A 50w Pass Forte’ 3/1A (upgraded) solid state amplifier as my secondary system. Speakers are 92.5db efficiency. Funny thing is I’ve kept this tube pre and ss amp combo in place past six months giving my tube amps a long rest. Or, that’s my excuse, and yet I’ve enjoyed listening to it for while now. Offers a nice hybrid sound and while biased in full Class-A, it manages to hold my attention better than expected. These very long rotations truly allow me to appreciate differences.

@decooney As should be obvious, your secondary system would be my primary. Just one question: what is the O/I impedance ratio of your 6SN7 tube preamp to Pass Forté (as upgraded)? Depending on preamp, with amp change I would be moving from 1:110 down to 1:16 or 1:25.