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vacuum tube amp recommendation ≤ $600

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  • #16
    Originally posted by guitar maestro View Post

    Goal? Just good music reproduction. But I do look at power, relatively speaking, because I listen to metal. Not just Metallica, Anthrax, and the like, but a lot of death and grindcore metal, which puts a lot of strain on bass reproduction as it is very "constant" so it does make an amp draw/use a lot of power compared to other "less demanding" types of music. Stuff like Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, Wormrot, Magrudergrind, Carass, Sepultura, etc. It's not all I listen to, but a good chunk of it.

    The only "tube" things I own are two Behringer Ultragain 2200 pre-amp's, and cheap chinese Douk Audio headphone/pre-amp. So I've already tried the 'tube preamp to solid state' route, and therefore not interested in hybrid amps. I'm looking for a full tube power amp as a 1st time thing.
    I guess you know. Good damping factor and lots of power are cost drivers for tube amps.
    Francis

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    • #17
      Originally posted by fpitas View Post

      I guess you know. Good damping factor and lots of power are cost drivers for tube amps.
      I suppose it's one of the things that I would have to sacrifice if I'm staying near-around the $1k mark. All would not be lost though. If what ever I end up buying doesn't live up to my expectations, I will use it in my office at work with the Studio HD's. RIght now I have them at home since I'm on vacation, but come August they go back to my office.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by guitar maestro View Post

        I suppose it's one of the things that I would have to sacrifice if I'm staying near-around the $1k mark. All would not be lost though. If what ever I end up buying doesn't live up to my expectations, I will use it in my office at work with the Studio HD's. RIght now I have them at home since I'm on vacation, but come August they go back to my office.
        Honestly I'll be shocked if tubes sound any better when used below say, 200Hz. Maybe above there you'll get benefits over the cheaper solid state amps.
        Francis

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        • #19
          Originally posted by fpitas View Post

          Honestly I'll be shocked if tubes sound any better when used below say, 200Hz. Maybe above there you'll get benefits over the cheaper solid state amps.
          Thanks for your input. Based on the info I've given, if you had to twist my arm to buy one of those amps I listed, which one would it be and why?

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          • #20
            Originally posted by guitar maestro View Post

            Thanks for your input. Based on the info I've given, if you had to twist my arm to buy one of those amps I listed, which one would it be and why?
            Honestly, no idea. I'm a solid state guy for the most part. I can design tube amps, but other than that what I know about commercial amps is from observing the tube threads at DIY Audio. You may get some good info there, several very good designers hang out.
            Francis

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            • #21
              Originally posted by fpitas View Post

              Honestly, no idea. I'm a solid state guy for the most part. I can design tube amps, but other than that what I know about commercial amps is from observing the tube threads at DIY Audio. You may get some good info there, several very good designers hang out.
              True, but I do they will likely steer me away from cheap amps, lol. I'm obviously willing to accept compromise by buying a new, inexpensive tube amp. I have a feeling I won't get anywhere there, as it will likely be de-rail'ed by the DIY aspect of it all, a path which I don't want to go down right now.

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              • #22
                This question was asked of me when trying to decide what it was I wanted from the 4sUniversal diy tube preamp, which is an easy to build preamp designed for 'tube' sound and the ability to row about a dozen tubes, not accuracy or low distortion.
                Do you want that 'tube' sound (mainly 2nd order harmonic distortion) or accurate and low distortion sound?
                Both 'flavors' can be had with tubes. IMO, a tube pre/amp designed for clean and accurate reproduction is going to be hard to tell apart from its ss counterpart, comparing apples to apples of course, while a tube pre/amp designed for oodles of chocolate tube sound is distinguishable from a ss or tube pre/amp designed for clean, accurate reproduction.
                With that said, I'd agree with Carbon, try a tube pre that is designed for dark chocolate not low distortion and accuracy. Oh, parts quality and layout can make a huge difference in tube gear.
                YMMV
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                • #23
                  What speakers are you using? Sensitivity will be a factor if going with tubes, especially given your musical tastes. I would think that a good solid state with a higher dampening factor may be better for metal (think bass dynamics) versus tubes. Don't get me wrong, I love my tube amp but I also have solid state gear that I use depending on speakers and application. Of the choices you listed, the Reisong intrigues me the most given the positive reviews but I've also heard good things about the Yaqin products. No first hand knowledge with either. What's your source?
                  Carbon13

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                  • #24
                    Oh, Monoprice also has a "pure" tube amp now in your price range.
                    Carbon13

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Kornbread View Post
                      This question was asked of me when trying to decide what it was I wanted from the 4sUniversal diy tube preamp, which is an easy to build preamp designed for 'tube' sound and the ability to row about a dozen tubes, not accuracy or low distortion.
                      Do you want that 'tube' sound (mainly 2nd order harmonic distortion) or accurate and low distortion sound?
                      Both 'flavors' can be had with tubes. IMO, a tube pre/amp designed for clean and accurate reproduction is going to be hard to tell apart from its ss counterpart, comparing apples to apples of course, while a tube pre/amp designed for oodles of chocolate tube sound is distinguishable from a ss or tube pre/amp designed for clean, accurate reproduction.
                      With that said, I'd agree with Carbon, try a tube pre that is designed for dark chocolate not low distortion and accuracy. Oh, parts quality and layout can make a huge difference in tube gear.
                      YMMV
                      I see your point, but at the price point I'm looking to spend (≤$1k), I supposed I can forget about accurate, low-distortion sound. Not looking to use a 'dark chocolate' pre-amp. Looking for a full integrated pre/power tube amp. Unfortunately I wouldn't know the differences within the layout's nor the various tube configurations that would lend themselves either way. Thanks.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Carbon13 View Post
                        What speakers are you using? Sensitivity will be a factor if going with tubes, especially given your musical tastes. I would think that a good solid state with a higher dampening factor may be better for metal (think bass dynamics) versus tubes. Don't get me wrong, I love my tube amp but I also have solid state gear that I use depending on speakers and application. Of the choices you listed, the Reisong intrigues me the most given the positive reviews but I've also heard good things about the Yaqin products. No first hand knowledge with either. What's your source?
                        As I mentioned, the speakers I'd be using for the time being are Legacy Audio Studio HD's. Source is JRiver Media Center with a Resonessece Concero HD DAC.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Carbon13 View Post
                          Oh, Monoprice also has a "pure" tube amp now in your price range.
                          At 10wpc it seems pretty whimpy considering that I'm willing to spend quite a bit more than what that monoprice amp costs.

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                          • #28
                            OK - those Legacy Audios are fantastic speakers, but really not what I would personally recommend for tube amp usage. At least their efficiency is relatively high, but the 4-ohm load will make it very tough on tube amps unless the output transformers were specifically designed to handle that.

                            You'll need to add 4-ohm compatibility to your list of requirements.

                            Also, to one of your earlier comments, "Metallica and Antrhax" do not necessarily constitute difficult to reproduce music, and generally are not what I would call difficult on an amplifier. Believe it or not, the dynamic transitions in classical music are actually much more "difficult" for an amplifier to reproduce accurately than more popular compressed music genres. That's not to say that some Metallica or metal music isn't difficult. The kick-drums in "And Justice For All" can be particularly harsh.
                            DARPA Jr - 2015 InDIYana Winner - RS180-8 + RS100P-8 + ND25FA
                            The Aria's - RS150-4 (or RS150-8) + XT25SC90
                            The Mariposa's - TEBM65C20F-8 + ND16FA
                            The Canzonetta's - RS100P-8 and ND16FA
                            AudioSource AMP-100 Mods OR Pyle PAMP1000 Mods

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by tyger23 View Post
                              OK - those Legacy Audios are fantastic speakers, but really not what I would personally recommend for tube amp usage. At least their efficiency is relatively high, but the 4-ohm load will make it very tough on tube amps unless the output transformers were specifically designed to handle that.

                              You'll need to add 4-ohm compatibility to your list of requirements.
                              Originally posted by guitar maestro View Post
                              I'm looking for suggestions to purchase a 2-ch vacuum tube amp for an auxiliary 2-ch system, not my main system. I fully realize that I will likely have to purchase from overseas, which is fine, so long as I'm getting a good value.

                              Requirements:[LIST][*]4 ohm capable
                              It was always there.


                              Originally posted by tyger23 View Post
                              Also, to one of your earlier comments, "Metallica and Antrhax" do not necessarily constitute difficult to reproduce music, and generally are not what I would call difficult on an amplifier. Believe it or not, the dynamic transitions in classical music are actually much more "difficult" for an amplifier to reproduce accurately than more popular compressed music genres. That's not to say that some Metallica or metal music isn't difficult. The kick-drums in "And Justice For All" can be particularly harsh.
                              Yup, I agree completely. With the exception of And Justice for All, they are pretty mild compared to the other bands/genres I listed.

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                              • #30
                                Click image for larger version  Name:	VTAtubelight.jpg Views:	0 Size:	197.7 KB ID:	1443771 Do it right. It just LOOKS like a ST-70. They sell tube preamps too if you just want a tube sound. Old school with tape loop and phono input. Otherwise the power amps have an optional volume knob if that's the only preamp function you desire.

                                Edit: You can compare this company's preamps to those Behringers, but I wouldn't.

                                http://tubes4hifi.com/bob.htm
                                Last edited by djg; 06-12-2020, 03:02 PM.

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