I have a similar question. I am currently using a Triode Lab 2A3 integrated. While it is excellent, as part of this hobby, I am always curious if there is something better matched with the X5 out there. The X series has a powered subwoofer, but would the 12” mid range driver benefit with a bit more power than my 4W 2A3 SET? I don’t need more loudness. For my 2A3, the volume know is set around 9 o’clock.
My short list are:
1) Linear Tube Audio z10 integrates (10W)
There are good reviews, Clayton choose this in the shows, I guess it should mean something. Good resale value if it doesn’t fit me.
2) Yamamoto A08s (2W)
Almost a consensus one of the best 45 amp out there. The concern is not enough power for the mid range driver, and it may sound very similar to my 2A3? Good resale value if it doesn’t fit me.
3) Custom built 300B using Master Shinshido’s IITC circuit (8W)
I read mixed reviews, some likes it and some don’t. Not sure if custom built with quality part would be as good; no reviews. But I won’t be able to afford the “original” Wavac SE-300b if it is not customer built. Poor(er) resale value. 300b tunes are expensive.
4) Custom built 45 Parallel Single Ended using Kondo’s Neiro circuit (4-5 W)
More power than the Yamamoto. Hopefully it still have the characteristics of 45 tubes. Similar concerns as above for a custom built unit.
5) Custom built 211 using Kondo’s Ongaku circuit (15W?)
Much more power than above. The Ongaku is highly praised similar to the Yamamoto. 211 needs high voltage that may shortened the life of the equipment. Similar concerns as above for a custom built unit.
Which one do you think will be the best fit? I read some discussions, people mentioned about things such as matching the impedance, there can be a dip in the speaker response curve.