Over the years I have spent enough money for several systems always wanting improvement both in my equipment and listening experience.
It took me a long time to realize how quickly I become disappointed after purchasing a piece of audio equipment (speakers, amps, processor) since sound quality quickly disappears once I set things up in my room. My room is ascouticlly balanced and was designed NOT to be the perfect square or rectangle for both HT and 2channel listening. Yet I have never quite experienced the same quality in sound in my home as I have in a Home and Audio B&M store.
On my recent quest for attaining the live experience, the movement of a guitarist's hand moving back and forth on the frets of a guitar, the clear sound of Diana Krall's walking her fingers up and down the keyboard I thought I would consider stepping up my speakers to a higher level. Thinking that is what I will have to do to attain a higher quality of sound.
I had spent many hours searching and listening to all kinds of speakers. I was discouraged but determined. The speakers that I was listening to and comparing with my B&W804S were IMO not worth trading in and having to spend additional funds. After more than one demonstration I sat and listened to what I have and realized the value I would receive in a trade to own a better pair of speakers was not worth it in dollars.
The search was still on.
I later became friends on another forum with a generous gentleman who decided to lend a hand an guide me to what we both agreed we wanted to hear from a recording and how he had attained his dream system. He invited me to take a listen to his partially handmade, hands on 2channel system.
It was comprised of Bob Latino's m125 mono-blocks driving a pair of Dynaudio Gemini speakers using a Grace Design m920 high resolution monitoring system. The speakers came in a kit and are not available at present. The m125's need no explanation.
From the first recording which by the way came from Tidal, the recording was very open and spatial. It much sounded like a live recording with the artist in the room center stage and I, seated in the front row. Every note played was as if the artist was there in the room and for the first time in my audio experience I found out what is meant by the WARMTH presented in listening to TUBE AMPLIFIERS, Bob Latino' M-125's were exquisite to the taste of my music palate.
The physical appeal to the M-125's were industrial. The power was INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH! The transformers were painted black and as I was told I would be able to paint them any color I would chose....FERRARI RED?...a thought. Looking at the chassis of the M-125 (16 gauge are my thoughts) I would compare its build quality to a military tank made from brushed stainless steel. Rough, tough and ready.
I have found that my 500 watt mono-blocks while having the power and giving me plenty of headroom have cheated me with presentation, sound quality and nuances that I have experience with the M-125's
Sonically the M-125's are fast and open.
IMHO when it comes to any audio products it boils down to parts, tubes or solid state. The quality of parts put into the M-125's are without reproach. Like many I have spent countless hours on AUDIOGON and Audio Mart searching and re-searching for a quality piece amplifier while having Bob Latino's masterful amplifiers right in front of my face.
I also understand the allure for such amplifiers such as McIntosh which are very well constructed and thought out in engineering design but have always thought that there are other manufactures out there that are not nearly as costly and give a better bang for the buck.
Bob's VTA M-125 tube amplifiers deliver that approach and in its first performance in MY presence delivered clarity, detail and warmth for a fraction of the cost of what McIntosh and many others deliver.
I finally found my Golden Fleece.