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  • High powered or low powered tube amp

    Hi guys ,

    Which camp are you guys in , the high powered tube or low powered tube amps . They have their plus & minuses , for me its been always high powered . Never tried a low powered tube amp / single ended tube amp in my system. The lowest powered amp I tried was a 60W / Ch HK Citation 2 . This was the amp that made me a fan of tube Electronics .

    tdh888
    VPI HR-X JMW 12.7 Lyra Kleos VPI TNT6 Classic Aluminum Platter upgrade Kuzma Stogi Ref 313VTA Benz Micro Gullwing SLR
    ARC REF Phono 2SE ARC REF 5SE ARC REF 610T w/ KT120 upgrade
    Duntech C5000 Princess
    Pair of Shunyata King Cobra CX Power Cord Pair of Synergistic Research Tesla Precision Power Cord Straightwire Interconnects Synergistic Research Tesla Apex Speaker Wires VPI Phono cable
    Vintage: ARC SP10MK 2 preamp, a pair of ARC D79B’s ARC EC21 Electronic X Over Magnepan MG3A Rebuilt

  • #2
    I think that would have to be answered in conjunction with what type of speakers you like. They do tend to go together.
    Steve Lefkowicz
    Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
    --------------------------------------------------------
    http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm a SET person. Very low power Cary 2A3 Signature monoblocks 3.5W/channel. Need a very sensitive speaker - mine are horns - Avantgarde Duos - at 103db per channel. SETs give me a thrill. Going on 15 years with the same amps and speakers.

      Larry
      Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0 BottleheadPhonoPre,Herron VTPH-2A
      Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,MykerinosCard,PacMicroModel2
      Dig Play-mch NADAC, Roon, HQPlayer, Oppo95
      Electronics-Herron 360Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
      Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
      Other-512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, ArtKelmGround1, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
      Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

      Comment


      • #4
        You can get great sound with SET with in limits of what it will do with the right speakers. ( head phonos is a option )

        The Avantgarde Duos nice speaker with the cary in the right room that should be very nice.

        I kind of think the room is a bigger factor with low power others may not agree.

        The more tubes the problem solving gets harder and the cost.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Steve Lefkowicz View Post
          I think that would have to be answered in conjunction with what type of speakers you like. They do tend to go together.
          True . My first high end speakers when I started out was hard to drive (Snell Type A 2) .My solidstate amp during that time had a hard time driving it ( Phase Linear 700B). It had no bass ,no body , lean, was white & bright . Then a friend brought a Citation 2 . We were surprised the amp was able to drive it. It had bloom, there was body ,the highs were not bright and it had body as well . The bass was a little loose but at least it had bass & body. Im hoping in the future I could try a SET amp .
          VPI HR-X JMW 12.7 Lyra Kleos VPI TNT6 Classic Aluminum Platter upgrade Kuzma Stogi Ref 313VTA Benz Micro Gullwing SLR
          ARC REF Phono 2SE ARC REF 5SE ARC REF 610T w/ KT120 upgrade
          Duntech C5000 Princess
          Pair of Shunyata King Cobra CX Power Cord Pair of Synergistic Research Tesla Precision Power Cord Straightwire Interconnects Synergistic Research Tesla Apex Speaker Wires VPI Phono cable
          Vintage: ARC SP10MK 2 preamp, a pair of ARC D79B’s ARC EC21 Electronic X Over Magnepan MG3A Rebuilt

          Comment


          • Steve Lefkowicz
            Steve Lefkowicz commented
            Editing a comment
            That's one reason I tend to like speakers that are high efficiency, but also have high power handling capability. I'd rather be able to focus on the quality of the amp, rather than its power rating.

        • #6
          Generally speaking, if you really want to know what any tube amp is about, its to your advantage to avoid low sensitivity/low impedance speakers.

          In the old days, when tubes were the only game in town, speakers were a lot easier to drive. This is because of the simple fact that tube power is expensive, and that hasn't changed in the last 60 years.

          'Low sensitivity' is probably anything less than 89 db. If 4 ohms and 89 db, the actual efficiency is only 86db, which is borderline criminal. Although tubes can act as true voltage source amplifiers, the fact of the matter is that efficiency is a more important spec for tube amps than sensitivity.

          Actually, its not a good use of your amplifier investment dollar to make the amp drive a speaker known to be 'a difficult load' even if its a higher powered solid state amp. The difficulty in driving hard loads is they make the amp make more distortion, which will cause the amp to sound harsher and less detailed regardless of the amplifier technology. This is measurable and easy to hear.

          My speakers are 98 db 1 watt/1 meter, and are also 16 ohms. I find to really make them sing, 60 watts is a good minimum. Its not because I drive them all that hard, but that assures that in my room, its almost impossible to run the amps out of gas. I can literally play anything I want without audible distortion- the system is always relaxed, even at +100 db levels.

          Also generally speaking, the more power the amp makes, the less bandwidth, on account of the output transformer, unless some means is provided to get around that issue (for example, we make OTLs which don't have that limitation). Most 200+ watt transformer coupled amps have real troubles making 20Hz -20Khz without extra phase shift and the like simply due to bandwidth limitations. Generally speaking, the bandwidth limit with SETs occurs at a much lower power level (due to output transformer limitations), 7 watts usually being the limit for full bandwidth (although most loudspeakers that can really take advantage of amps with that little power usually don't play much bass, as there is usually a trade-off between efficiency and the ability to play deep bass).

          Comment


          • Rob
            Rob commented
            Editing a comment
            LS3/5as thrive on puny amps in spite of their low sensitivity. I have a 'modern' set of the 15 ohm /5as by Falcon and they sound fabulous with 20-30 tube watts. they are used in the near field and will reach satisfying SPLs used that way.

          • atmasphere
            atmasphere commented
            Editing a comment
            The LS35a is designed for near-field and doesn't need a lot of power. You can add 3 db to its efficiency, if you were using the sensitivity spec, as it is a 16 ohm load. Its always worked quite well with our smallest amp!

          • Socrates
            Socrates commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes indeed R your comments are noted---thank you

            The 11ohm versions (Harbeths) would I gather also work well as you describe

            Soc

        • #7
          For "conventional" amps I like SET or OTL.. with SET I have to have a properly executed 211 as opposed to a flea watt 2A3. Much more flexibility in filling the room and operating the correct speaker properly. The Wyetech 211C is a good example. It has a substantial power supply the 211 is extremely linear and with careful choice of a driver is very transparent.

          OTLs wipe the mirror clean and can lift layers of haze. Many of the distortions and anomalies we indulge in with transformer coupled amps are shed. The Futterman I have with modifications and Berning ZOTL are good examples.

          Recently I have been direct driving the panels of my stats with a tube amp no step down on the amp & no step up on the stat. Clean ... clean.

          For xfr coupled push pull amps I have always found lower power versions to be mostly more truthful and reliable in my experience.
          Front end: Aesthetix Io Signature with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
          Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point , Brinkmann 12.1 , Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM
          Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2 - Custom Direct Drive to supply Beveridge Electrostatics
          Pre-Amps: ARC SP 3a, Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
          Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3, REL S/2 x 2

          Comment


          • #8
            My main amplifier for my main system is a high powered all tube amp ,840W/Ch ( accdg to the factory) w/ the KT120 upgrade . My speakers sensititivity is 92 db 1 watt / 1 meter at 4 ohms . Im so impress w/ my system w/ regards to the jump factor / dynamic contrast its so sureal . It brings a smile to my face every time my system does this .
            I had ls3/5a’s in the past but what I had w/ the various versions that I had was the 11 ohm version . I like the sound of those speakers when Im using my ARC D79B ( 75 watts / Channel) all tube amp. It tightens the grip on the tubby bass and it had a euphonic midrange thats addicting .
            VPI HR-X JMW 12.7 Lyra Kleos VPI TNT6 Classic Aluminum Platter upgrade Kuzma Stogi Ref 313VTA Benz Micro Gullwing SLR
            ARC REF Phono 2SE ARC REF 5SE ARC REF 610T w/ KT120 upgrade
            Duntech C5000 Princess
            Pair of Shunyata King Cobra CX Power Cord Pair of Synergistic Research Tesla Precision Power Cord Straightwire Interconnects Synergistic Research Tesla Apex Speaker Wires VPI Phono cable
            Vintage: ARC SP10MK 2 preamp, a pair of ARC D79B’s ARC EC21 Electronic X Over Magnepan MG3A Rebuilt

            Comment


            • #9
              IT all depends on the efficiency of your speakers.
              Chris
              ----------------------------------------------------------------
              Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e22Mkll, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se, HD800, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

              Comment


              • #10
                I agree, the right speaker/power amplifier marriage is incredibly critical.

                For me OTL’s like low watt amp choices need careful consideration with regards to loudspeaker efficiency and impedance load. That accomplished, one can experience profound levels of transparency, texture, and tone colour. Offer that you-are-there level of performance experience.

                So, i imagine that at this time my weapon-of-choice fits into a relative high power but also relatively high efficiency/nominal impedance configuration with Atma-Sphere MA1 Mk3 Silver Edition OTL mono blocks producing 140w/ch@8Ω and Coincident Technologies, Pure Reference Extreme (silly name) 94 db @1m-1w with a nominal impedance of 10Ω.

                Perhaps far more wattage then is really necessary in this instance, yet more power does offer a sense of authority to the musical presentation that less lower offen does not.

                Interestingly, the Atma-Spheres run 14 a side Cold War 1965 winged =C= Svetlana 6N13S / 6AS7G power tubes that now are utilized to make LOVE not war.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Originally posted by astrotoy View Post
                  I'm a SET person. Very low power Cary 2A3 Signature monoblocks 3.5W/channel. Need a very sensitive speaker - mine are horns - Avantgarde Duos - at 103db per channel. SETs give me a thrill. Going on 15 years with the same amps and speakers.

                  Larry
                  Did u forget to mention the SS woofer Amps lol.

                  Comment


                  • astrotoy
                    astrotoy commented
                    Editing a comment
                    And my three Avantgarde Solos all are self powered with built in SS electronics. Of course the woofers in the Duos are not horns. Didn't have the room or money for the Trios. Larry

                • #12
                  My lampi dac is set otl and I use eml mesh 2A3 imagine the clarity a suoer front end

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    Out of all the amps I have tried over the last 30 years my preference is for Single Ended and Parallel Single Ended low powered amplifiers. My current favorite amplifier (well for somewhere sane money) is the Audio Note Empress Silver 2a3 Parallel Single Ended monoblock amplifiers. ~8 watts per channel.

                    I have heard most of the top of the line SS and high power tube amplifiers available. I like a lot of them too - it's a matter of what strength and weakness are brought forth and which weakness you can live with. Attack versus decay, truth versus beauty, upfront sound versus an over there presentation etc.

                    And every designer in all the camps come out and tell you why SET is better or why OTL is better or why Hybrid is better or why SS is king. But in order for me to give one ding dong about what they have to say they first have to illustrate in the sound room that it SOUNDS the best. Do that first then give me the white paper/technobabble.

                    I'm like Captain Picard - "Geordi I need warp 9 now!" - then in the denouement - "wow thanks Geordi now explain how you got the results" IE; tell me later. You aren't convincing me that a SS amp sounds better than the Empress unless you can prove to me in the playing of music that it sounds better.

                    That's why as a reviewer I generally recommend you ignore everything you read and listen first - listen for the general technologies and systems - if there is a "pattern" to your preference such as SETs and HE sound better - then go ahead and read the reviews from the reviewers who regard SET and HE to sound the best - they will likely steer you to your preferences or cheaper options etc. If your preference is for panels and 1000 watt SS amps - then you can find reviewers with similar ears who may recommend a KingSound panel which you have never heard of - reviews in my view can be very helpful IF you already know what you like. They can cost you a bucket of wasted cash otherwise. You have a person who loves ESL but doesn't know it yet because they've never heard it. So they are reading magazines that are recommending direct radiators or omni-directionals - bah. Listen first - find the very best system you have ever heard in your whole life - then write all the components down and buy that!

                    A stereo is a system - listen to systems - and start there before you throw cash at mix and matches based on reviews and guesswork or "gulp" reviews.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Thank you for the replies . Unfortunately here in the Philippines I have not auditioned SET setup that would make me a convert from a big power push pull tube amp to a SET / super efficient speakers . The only solid stare powerful amp that I have enjoyed are the FM Acoustic 611 power amp and the Jeff Rowland Model 8 . But they dont have texture nor the bloom in the mids of a push pull tube amp .
                      VPI HR-X JMW 12.7 Lyra Kleos VPI TNT6 Classic Aluminum Platter upgrade Kuzma Stogi Ref 313VTA Benz Micro Gullwing SLR
                      ARC REF Phono 2SE ARC REF 5SE ARC REF 610T w/ KT120 upgrade
                      Duntech C5000 Princess
                      Pair of Shunyata King Cobra CX Power Cord Pair of Synergistic Research Tesla Precision Power Cord Straightwire Interconnects Synergistic Research Tesla Apex Speaker Wires VPI Phono cable
                      Vintage: ARC SP10MK 2 preamp, a pair of ARC D79B’s ARC EC21 Electronic X Over Magnepan MG3A Rebuilt

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