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Thread: Amplifier upgrade

  1. #121
    Senior Member Badinerie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertKC View Post
    P.S. I’ll share a “real world” assessment of a modern solid-state amp vs. a tube amp. Here’s a pic of my TV room system:



    The amp on the 3rd shelf (right) is an NAD C375BEE. This is a current-production solid-state amp that has received very favorable reviews. Retail $1,500 US.

    On the second shelf the amp in the middle is an early 1960’s Scott 299C. I bought it 5 years ago for $549 + $35 shipping - excellent condition, already electronically restored.

    The modern NAD amp is a good product that sounds good. However I use it only for Hollywood movies, because I prefer the sound of the Scott 299C for classical music and opera. (I also prefer the sound of the other tube amps in this system compared to the solid-state amps.)

    Additionally, I have three other systems that have multiple amps. The amps all sound different. This is a real world comparison, not based on someone’s theory.

    Bottom line, IME the assertion that all amps sound the same is false. I’ve had numerous guests comment that they’ve never heard sound as good as my two 1950’s Pilot mono amps - $425 x 2 = $850. (Purchased 4 years ago.)

    Of course you can spend more on tube gear. If you can afford a pair of McIntosh MC30s, you’ll have an investment that will undoubtedly appreciate in value, and can be handed down to future generations. And will sound better than any big-box-store black-plastic throw-away amp.

    That's my additional 2 cents.
    Nice Heating System you have there! I would have all those lovely Valves on the top shelf myself to get more air to them and bask in their glow.....Also to toast marshmallows!
    Did I miss something already?

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  3. #122
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    Yes – the tube amps put out some heat – which is welcome in the winter. The shelves are open on the back and sides, so I don’t worry about over-heating.

    One interesting observation: The modern NAD solid state amp also puts out some heat – though not as much as the tube amps. And I think it’s interesting that the NAD is not smaller than the 50+ year old tube amps.

    Then there’s the issue of long term maintainability and investment value. IMO the nod goes to the early 60s tube amps, due to their discrete components and point-to-point wiring.

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  5. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertKC View Post
    This looks like a great amp. What output tubes are you running? Do you prefer the triode or ultra-linear mode?

    What speakers?
    I'm using the stock EL 34 tubes. I like the triode for early digital recordings--warms things up a bit; otherwise, I prefer the pentode--has a touch more clarity and presence. Not a night/day difference, but it's there. I have DALI Epicon 2 speakers and an SVS 13B Ultra sub.







    Last edited by Kontrapunctus; Jan-27-2016 at 06:33.

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  7. #124
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    I really like the sound of my EL34 / 6CA7 amps. Hopefully you won’t get the bug to roll output tubes – with 8 that would be expensive!

    What brand of 12AU7s are currently equipped? Have you tried any tube rolling? On PrimaLuna’s web site I see the following: “The four 12AU7’s on the outside are driver tubes.” “The two (12AU7) tubes in the center are the input tubes, and that’s where you want to have fun later if you wish by experimenting with different tube brands.” FWIW, for new-production 12AU7s I like the Genalex Gold Lion ECC82/B749 gold pin (Russia), purchased with balanced triodes, and matched pairs.

    Congrats again on what looks like a great amp.
    Last edited by RobertKC; Jan-27-2016 at 07:39.

  8. #125
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    I don't know what brand they are--just whatever PL saw fit to include! When it's time to retube, I do plan to buy Gold Lion tubes.

  9. #126
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    Aah, the glow of tubes.


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  11. #127
    Senior Member Muse Wanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontrapunctus View Post
    Aah, the glow of tubes.

    Now that's a very nice tube amp!

    How does it fare with the Dali's, being only 87db efficient? Does it cope well with the high volumes of the forte fortissimo?

    Have you tried its headphone out? There are almost no reviews or comments about the headphone section.

    My preference is for a flat neutral tone that is highly resolving. I have been searching for integrated tube amps that have the same features of my Ragnarok. However the Rag has been specifically made to work optimally for both headphones and speakers, rather than just add headphone functionality as a sidenote.

    I haven't yet found a tube amp that is neutral and that can power speakers and headphones with relative ease. The one that seems to approach that ideal (Eddie Current Studio) is expensive and only outputs 6W per channel into speakers. A European make would also suit me better as the custom duties would be extortionate.
    Last edited by Muse Wanderer; Feb-01-2016 at 18:50.

  12. #128
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    I assure you if you grab a phillips head screw driver and open up your amp, you'll find a heap of metal and wires, not a soul.
    Can I just say this is one of the best quotes I've ever heard in audio!

  13. #129
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muse Wanderer View Post
    In the case of an amplifier or a DAC, from the moment the signal enters the audio system to being 'heard' within the auditory cortex of the temporal zones of the brain, the variables involved are infinitesimal. The only way to find some degree of objectivity is to account for these unknown and known variables with methodologically well designed randomised controlled trials.

    It is simply the case that such trials do not exist for audio components.

    The evidence is very low in quality and one cannot rely on it.
    What in the world makes you say that "the variables involved are infinitesimal" and "such trials do not exist for audio components?" I think if you read Floyd Toole's Sound Reproduction you'd be surprised at how much we know about what goes on in components, in rooms, in ears, and in brains when it comes to audio. While I would agree that there are probably things we don't know, or imperfectly know, I DO know from reading "audiophiles" talking about audio that they have no clue where to draw the boundary. They babble on about things we know for certain and utterly fail to address the more nuanced, complex, and ambiguous areas that we may not know as well.

    In general, the completely ignorant vastly over-estimate the ignorance of everyone else on the subject. Are there those out there that underestimate the ignorance of even the most knowledgeable people? Perhaps, but I tend to see far less of them, and I rarely see them talking confidently about those less-known areas as they're usually too busy trying to correct people on their gross misunderstanding of the areas we do actually know about.
    Last edited by Eva Yojimbo; Feb-02-2016 at 20:50.

  14. #130
    Senior Member Haydn man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eva Yojimbo View Post

    In general, the completely ignorant vastly over-estimate the ignorance of everyone else on the subject. Are there those out there that underestimate the ignorance of even the most knowledgeable people? Perhaps, but I tend to see far less of them, and I rarely see them talking confidently about those less-known areas as they're usually too busy trying to correct people on their gross misunderstanding of the areas we do actually know about.
    Well you have lost me there, I am afraid to say

  15. #131
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haydn man View Post
    Well you have lost me there, I am afraid to say
    Not sure what I lost you on. Basically I'm saying that those that know nothing on a subject, the ignorant, tend to overestimate how little everyone else knows. You see this throughout this thread where people who know nothing about audio are speculating about how little is known about it, in general; yet I can guarantee you that none of them have ever picked up a book on the subject or read peer-reviewed audio engineering papers. They basically project their ignorance onto everyone else, and go on nothing but subjective impressions. They have no clue about how easily subjective impressions are colored by things that have nothing to do with objective sound quality.

    I also speculated that it's possible that others might sometimes overestimate how much we know, by thinking we know everything. I then said that I rarely see that attitude on display, as what commonly happens is that you have knowledgeable people trying to correct the ignorant about things we already DO know, such as that solid-state amps (or CD players, or cables) do not have a sound of their own. The people that don't grasp these basic facts have no business discussing how ignorant we are, in general, about the science of audio.
    Last edited by Eva Yojimbo; Feb-02-2016 at 22:35.

  16. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muse Wanderer View Post
    Now that's a very nice tube amp!

    How does it fare with the Dali's, being only 87db efficient? Does it cope well with the high volumes of the forte fortissimo?

    Have you tried its headphone out? There are almost no reviews or comments about the headphone section.

    My preference is for a flat neutral tone that is highly resolving. I have been searching for integrated tube amps that have the same features of my Ragnarok. However the Rag has been specifically made to work optimally for both headphones and speakers, rather than just add headphone functionality as a sidenote.

    I haven't yet found a tube amp that is neutral and that can power speakers and headphones with relative ease. The one that seems to approach that ideal (Eddie Current Studio) is expensive and only outputs 6W per channel into speakers. A European make would also suit me better as the custom duties would be extortionate.
    I think you can see from the position of the volume control that I don't come close to using its potential power! In my roughly 15'x15' room, it's plenty loud even at that setting.

    The headphone amp is amazing! It's powered by the full complement of tubes, so the sound is rich and detailed beyond belief. It's hardly a "sidenote"!

  17. #133
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    While there appears to be some disagreement about whether or not all modern solid-state amps sound the same, at least we agree that tube amps often sound better for classical music.

  18. #134
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertKC View Post
    at least we agree that tube amps often sound better for classical music.
    I don't. Why would you want an amp to have a "sound" at all when you can have one that simply amplifies the incoming signal without any audible distortion? People who want different "sounds" should buy different speakers or headphones, the things which actually do have radically different sound.

    I will admit that tube-glow has a certain aesthetic allure, though. It's still probably better for headphone amps where you don't need as much power and can get linear sound with tubes.
    Last edited by Eva Yojimbo; Feb-03-2016 at 01:52.

  19. #135
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    It’s comforting to know that you know what is known and not known, and by whom. I am grateful that we have “knowledgeable people trying to correct the ignorant”, who apparently can’t hear for themselves.

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