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  • Color Me Confused

    How many of the amplifiers using KT150 output tubes are optimized—eg. redesigned power and output transformers—to really take advantage of these new tubes? Not just adjusting biasing and changing a few parts.

    Ones that I are specifically designed for KT150 tubes:

    conrad-johnson
    Doshi Audio
    Quicksilver

    Not sure about:

    ARC
    Jadis (appears mixed though Series 2 Are)
    Octave Research
    Ayon

    Ones that aren’t:

    CAT (though Ken claims his overdesigned transformers work well)

    Sure some that I missed.

    It would seem that KT150s would also be a boon to integrated amps like thee Janis I50. Lots of power in small package.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    I believe Audio Research amps that come from the factory w/ KT150s are designed specifically to use the tube. Will need to double check, but I'm recalling there was an upgrade program for some to allow them to use that tube (from the 6550), but i don't think it included new trannies.

    edit: Now I'm thinking maybe the upgrade program was KT120 --> KT150. I remember people wondering what was possible and what was ill advised during the 6550 to KT1x0 transition.
    Last edited by tima; 11-08-2017, 04:18 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      I had an ARC ref 110 that came with 6550s, i could have replaced them with KT150s but my tech was adamant the amp as it was designed, wouldn't benefit from it
      Simon Yorke + Zyx + B.M.C .> Soulution > Boulder > Magico

      "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Rob View Post
        I had an ARC ref 110 that came with 6550s, i could have replaced them with KT150s but my tech was adamant the amp as it was designed, wouldn't benefit from it
        Well it wouldn’t give you more power.
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
        -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
        -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

        Comment


        • #5
          Interesting topic! As technology moves forward in an iPhone & iPad world, very cool that new tubes are still being developed.
          CJ Gat, Lamm ML1.1, CJ Tea1 S3 phono, TW Acoustics Raven AC, Tri-Planer MK Vll SE, Vdh Crimson Stradivarius, Exemplar Modded 205(Tube Version), Rockport Avior ll Speakers, Shunyata Denali 6000t,Triton V3, Shunyata Python Zitron IC's & Sigma Speaker Cables. Shunyata Sigma Power Cables, Audio Desk Pro LP Cleaner, Stillpoints, Stillpoints Aperture Panels & MG Corner Tunes.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Rob View Post
            I had an ARC ref 110 that came with 6550s, i could have replaced them with KT150s but my tech was adamant the amp as it was designed, wouldn't benefit from it
            A year before the Ref 110 went off the market ARC sold it with KT120s.

            The Ref 150 replaced the 110 in 2011 and it came with KT120s. Then ARC upgraded the 150 to the 150SE in 2015(??) and that model has KT150s. I'm recalling there was a ARC program to upgrade your Ref150 to the 150SE.

            Comment


            • Rob
              Rob commented
              Editing a comment
              you're right, they were kt120s. I confuse that tube with ones in the VTL 225 monos I still have, superficially both tube types look alike. the ref 110 was a nice sounding amp but for whatever reason unpopular, it took me the better part of 8 mos. and a 65% discount to find a buyer.

          • #7
            I had to laugh when I saw the thread title...."Color me confused" . What, tube amps having colorations? Never!

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by tima View Post

              A year before the Ref 110 went off the market ARC sold it with KT120s.

              The Ref 150 replaced the 110 in 2011 and it came with KT120s. Then ARC upgraded the 150 to the 150SE in 2015(??) and that model has KT150s. I'm recalling there was a ARC program to upgrade your Ref150 to the 150SE.
              To my knowledge, all ARC amps that offered the SE upgrade to use KT-150s offered very little with regards to changing the amp electrically. The output transformers and power transformers were not changed as part of the upgrade which tells me the amps weren't optimized to take advantage of the greater power output capability of the KT-150 tubes. The cost of the SE upgrade is relatively modest and the greatest part of that cost is the new KT-150 tubes that ARC provides. You don't need the SE upgrade in order to use the KT-150 tubes. I was one of the early adopters of replacing the KT-120 tubes with the KT-150 tubes in the Ref 75. Some people were concerned that you couldn't use the top cage if you installed the KT-150s and I assured the doubters that it will fit just fine.

              Installing the KT-150 tubes in the Ref 75 was its own upgrade. The KT-150s sound better from top to bottom vice the KT-120 tubes. The fact that the KT-150 tubes are loafing in this circuit is just another benefit in terms of life expectancy of the output tubes.
              Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by mep View Post

                To my knowledge, all ARC amps that offered the SE upgrade to use KT-150s offered very little with regards to changing the amp electrically. The output transformers and power transformers were not changed as part of the upgrade which tells me the amps weren't optimized to take advantage of the greater power output capability of the KT-150 tubes. The cost of the SE upgrade is relatively modest and the greatest part of that cost is the new KT-150 tubes that ARC provides. You don't need the SE upgrade in order to use the KT-150 tubes. I was one of the early adopters of replacing the KT-120 tubes with the KT-150 tubes in the Ref 75. Some people were concerned that you couldn't use the top cage if you installed the KT-150s and I assured the doubters that it will fit just fine.

                Installing the KT-150 tubes in the Ref 75 was its own upgrade. The KT-150s sound better from top to bottom vice the KT-120 tubes. The fact that the KT-150 tubes are loafing in this circuit is just another benefit in terms of life expectancy of the output tubes.
                An ARC dealer told me the upgrade cost for updating the ARC Reference 250 is $6000-8000. Of course are monoblocks.
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                  An ARC dealer told me the upgrade cost for updating the ARC Reference 250 is $6000-8000. Of course are monoblocks.
                  Biggest cost is for the sixteen KT-150 tubes. ARC charges a premium for their tubes because of their screening and matching.The amps are also completely gone over, burned in, and listened to. You also receive a one year extension to your factory warranty.
                  Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by mep View Post

                    Biggest cost is for the sixteen KT-150 tubes. ARC charges a premium for their tubes because of their screening and matching.The amps are also completely gone over, burned in, and listened to. You also receive a one year extension to your factory warranty.
                    Thanks Mark!

                    This is from ARC.

                    In addition to changing from the KT120 to the KT150 output tube, there are a number of active and passive part changes in the SE amplifiers that result in dramatic sonic improvements. Very simply, the SE amps are dramatically better in every way: purity and lack of grain, resolution, micro- and macro-dynamics, more holographic with better focus, phase and time coherence, and greatly improved bass weight, authority and control.

                    Reference amplifiers in North America* must be updated at our facility. When an amp (or monoblock pair) is received for update, the unit undergoes a comprehensive checkup that is handled with great care:

                    • The unit is partially disassembled
                    • The SE updates are installed
                    • The amp is reassembled and a complete set of new tubes is installed.
                    • Each unit is bench tested
                    • Burned in for two days
                    • Bench tested again
                    • Listened to in a reference system before it is packed and returned to the owner.




                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by mep View Post

                      To my knowledge, all ARC amps that offered the SE upgrade to use KT-150s offered very little with regards to changing the amp electrically. The output transformers and power transformers were not changed as part of the upgrade which tells me the amps weren't optimized to take advantage of the greater power output capability of the KT-150 tubes. The cost of the SE upgrade is relatively modest and the greatest part of that cost is the new KT-150 tubes that ARC provides. You don't need the SE upgrade in order to use the KT-150 tubes. I was one of the early adopters of replacing the KT-120 tubes with the KT-150 tubes in the Ref 75. Some people were concerned that you couldn't use the top cage if you installed the KT-150s and I assured the doubters that it will fit just fine.

                      Installing the KT-150 tubes in the Ref 75 was its own upgrade. The KT-150s sound better from top to bottom vice the KT-120 tubes. The fact that the KT-150 tubes are loafing in this circuit is just another benefit in terms of life expectancy of the output tubes.
                      Yes, I don't think ARC intended the SE versions to introduce new products, so both 150 and 150SE output 150 watts per channel. There were genuine sonic benefits to the upgrade so while the output didn't change I think its still fair to say the amps were optimized to the different tubes.

                      The Ref to RefSE strategy, used across their Reference lineup is a brilliant way to keep their name before the buying public and keep interest up among current owners. Of course it works because to begin with the products are excellent.

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