Tube Power amp or Tube integrated amp? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Currently I am using the Onkyo NR3007 receiver for HT and 2 channel Audio. I would like to try a tube amp just for stereo listening. Does it make sense to get a Tube power amp and feed it via the receiver preout or better to get an integrated tube amp? Music source is CD or streamed FLAC files . Are there any other alternatives ? Tks
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post #2 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 02:14 PM
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Your wasting your money on a tube amp. Tube amps are nothing like SS amps.. So if you got money to burn go for it. Try a tube preamp first, you will make the SS amp sound like a tube amp and still have the power...
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post #3 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 02:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportflyer View Post

Currently I am using the Onkyo NR3007 receiver for HT and 2 channel Audio. I would like to try a tube amp just for stereo listening. Does it make sense to get a Tube power amp and feed it via the receiver preout or better to get an integrated tube amp? Music source is CD or streamed FLAC files . Are there any other alternatives ? Tks

What special effects are you seeking? Visual/psychological/street cred, etc, etc.? Physical, like spatial, spectral, compression, room heat/light, artifacts, etc, etc.?
All of the above?

cheers,

AJ
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post #4 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 04:04 PM
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If you want tube amp, it should be power amp. Majority of differences between SS and tube gear is when they work with high level signal.
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post #5 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
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It is interesting that I get 2 opposite recommendations . Maybe I should just get an integrated tube amp .
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post #6 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 06:50 PM
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I have a Yaqin MS-20L integrated tube amp and love it for 2 channel. My Ht system with an Onkyo 608 will play in 2 channel mode but I don't even bother with it for music anymore. IMHO tube amps need to be paired with the right speakers.

If you have a way to listen some different set ups you should try that before buying anything.

you have to be trusted by the people that you lie to....
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post #7 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I am also thinking about a Yaqin MS-20L or the MC-100B . I need to drive Salk Song Towers whose sensitivity is 88db. Cant decide between the 2 of them.
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post #8 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 07:35 PM
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The tube integrated amp -- or tube power amp plus tube pre-amp -- will be the purist's choice. It eliminates the digital stages in your Onkyo receiver (or most modern home theater receivers/pre-amps), which makes many happy. But it'll also eliminate the Audyssey room EQ, and that could be a BIG negative depending on your room's acoustics.

I've chosen to add a tube power amp to my Onkyo TX-NR3008, driven via the 3008's pre-amp outputs. I can keep the Audyssey processing if I wish. I can also use the amp with any pre-amp now or in the future -- including a tube-based pre-amp. A speaker/amp switch allows me to choose whether to use the tube amp or the 3008's amps to drive the speakers.
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post #9 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 07:39 PM
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I own a 100B....Grant Fidelity A-88...I always liked the amp.

I have a MP-401 as my main now...but at 15w it wont do the job for you.

If you use a sub(s) you may want to look at separates.
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post #10 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportflyer View Post

I am also thinking about a Yaqin MS-20L or the MC-100B . I need to drive Salk Song Towers whose sensitivity is 88db. Cant decide between the 2 of them.

I am using Klipsch KG4s rated at 94db, they get more than loud enough for me. I am not sure about speakers rated at 88. It kind of depends on your listening habits and music type.

you have to be trusted by the people that you lie to....
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post #11 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I use a SVS sub and Audyssey EQ as well for HT. Audyssey plus Subwoofer EQ definitely helps with my room acoustics . My thought was not to use Audyssey and Sub for Music. I should really look for an integrated Tube amp with a bypass switch so it can be used as a power amp. There are no low cost ones with this capability .

BTW did you make your own Speaker/Amp switch?
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post #12 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportflyer View Post

My thought was not to use Audyssey and Sub for Music.

Instead of turning Audyssey "off" altogether, you might try switching it to "flat" for music. Also, if you can successfully integrate the sub into your system, you may get a flatter, fuller, and smoother response from your system with music. Try it both ways, experiment a little with set up, and see for yourself. If you still like it better for music without the sub, then leave it off. Do it based on what works in your system, not on some misguided belief that using a sub with music isn't "pure" or something.
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post #13 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 08:00 AM
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One of the biggest differences is that tube amplifiers have a high output impedance which requires an output transformer between the amplifier circuit and the speaker. This is a very large and expensive transformer and limits the low-frequency current to the speaker.

This typically results in a soft or rolled-off bass sound, except in the case of the very largest most expensive tube power amps. The quality of the output transformer is a major factor in the sound quality.

I had tube power amplifiers for many years, and no longer use them because top-quality solid-state amplifiers now have very low distortion and much better bass current.

I use the Bryston 3B-SST in my cost-no-object system with an Audio Research LS-26 tube preamp. I use that preamp because it is the best-sounding preamp I have ever heard for under $10,000. If I knew of a solid-state preamp that sounded as good, I might very well have bought it instead, but that is not the case.

The Vincent SP-331 is an excellent hybrid power amplifier that sells for only $1300. That would be my second choice after my Bryston.

Primaluna makes some of the best affordable tube power amplifiers and integrated amplifiers.




Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

Your wasting your money on a tube amp. Tube amps are nothing like SS amps.. So if you got money to burn go for it. Try a tube preamp first, you will make the SS amp sound like a tube amp and still have the power...

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post #14 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportflyer View Post

I should really look for an integrated Tube amp with a bypass switch so it can be used as a power amp. There are no low cost ones with this capability .

The MC 100B has a switch on the front panel that lets you do exactly that.......
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post #15 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I agree that integrating the sub woofer into the system is a bit of a nuisance for the tube amp.

Originally I though the best setup was to

a) Connect the L/R speaker directly to the MC100B.
b) Connect the preouts of receiver to AUX of MC100B ( use bypass switch for HT )
c) Connect analog o/p of Oppo CD/DVD player to CD input of MC100B
d) Then I can select CD for music and AUX for HT
However in this case , no Sub and Audyssey for Music.

To get the best of both , I need to switch the speaker leads at the component end between the Receiver and the MC100 . This should not be difficult using Banana plugs and jacks in a junction box. However one must be careful to have a load on the Tube amp at all times in case someone turns it on when the speaker is connected to the receiver !

I guess I need to play around to see what is best sounding. Its quite unfortunate that the integrated tube amps at the lower end of the price range don't come with a sub out.

Yes there are quite a few integrated tube amps around the $2K range, Primaluna, Mystere, Ming Da, Rogue, Cayin etc All are either EL34 or KT88 based designs.
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post #16 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 10:24 AM
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I am lucky enough to have a 2ch room and a HT room so no moving or hooking or switching.

The speakers I use are the GR V-1s they happen to have speaker level inputs to the servo sub amps built into
each. This is the only way I can enjoy the Musical Paradise M-401 on this system. But I get the best of both the tube and SS world without breaking the bank.
I also wish the less expensive amps had sub outs....like the 401. It offers great value for little dollars.

Good luck, I hope you find something that makes you happy.
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post #17 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportflyer View Post

I agree that integrating the sub woofer into the system is a bit of a nuisance for the tube amp... Its quite unfortunate that the integrated tube amps at the lower end of the price range don't come with a sub out.

Adding a sub isn't difficult at all. You just need the right sub. Find a sub with high-level ins and outs and wire the l/r outs from the amp to the high level ins on the sub. The speakers are then wired from the sub's high level outs. Works super on my system.
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post #18 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rntlee View Post

Adding a sub isn't difficult at all. You just need the right sub. Find a sub with high-level ins and outs and wire the l/r outs from the amp to the high level ins on the sub. The speakers are then wired from the sub's high level outs. Works super on my system.

The sub I use SVS PC12-NSD has high level inputs . I don't use them because I have to run long speaker cable back and forth from Amp to Sub and then from Sub to speakers . Plus with the high level inputs I can't EQ the Sub.
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post #19 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perry R View Post

I am lucky enough to have a 2ch room and a HT room so no moving or hooking or switching.

The speakers I use are the GR V-1s they happen to have speaker level inputs to the servo sub amps built into
each. This is the only way I can enjoy the Musical Paradise M-401 on this system. But I get the best of both the tube and SS world without breaking the bank.
I also wish the less expensive amps had sub outs....like the 401. It offers great value for little dollars.

Good luck, I hope you find something that makes you happy.

I used to have separate rooms for Music and HT and run two systems. But since I downsized my home, I am trying to find a way to accomplish both in one corner of a fairly large family room . Obviously I can't do a lot of room treatments like Tube traps , Acoustic Panels etc . So I have to do the best I can with the space I have . The thing I miss most is my analog setup .
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post #20 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 03:27 PM
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Why would anyone want a tube amp, there not high fidelity compared to a good ss amp.. Tube amps color the sound and add high levels of distortion ,again compared to a good ss amp.. This is all fine and good if thats what you want.. So what are the benefits of tube over SS, tech wise, none really. So it must just be love
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post #21 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

Why would anyone want a tube amp, there not high fidelity compared to a good ss amp.. Tube amps color the sound and add high levels of distortion ,again compared to a good ss amp.. This is all fine and good if thats what you want.. So what are the benefits of tube over SS, tech wise, none really. So it must just be love

I'm a fan of tube amps in the right set up. I disagree with your statement tube amps are not high fidelty. Are you speaking from experience with tube amps that have colored the sound and distorted at high levels?
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post #22 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K Shep View Post

I'm a fan of tube amps in the right set up. I disagree with your statement tube amps are not high fidelty. Are you speaking from experience with tube amps that have colored the sound and distorted at high levels?

Every tube amp I've heard sounded just fine, no problems as long as there not pushed passed there limits, but that goes for every amp..
I just can't see spending so much more and getting so much less with tubes.
I like my music loud, so SS works best for me, I need 250+ watts per channel, 100 watts don't cut it for me... Sure a 20w tube amp would work 90% of the time even for me.... Its all good, everyone gets what they need..
Maybe when I settle down, I'll be a big fan of tubes too.
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post #23 of 32 Old 02-12-2012, 12:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

Tube amps color the sound and add high levels of distortion ,again compared to a good ss amp.

Not true. A well designed tube amp will be (testable/verifiable) sonically indistinguishable (soundwaves/soundfield variety) from a SS amp, used within their linear operation design limits. IOW, have no "sound" (soundwaves/soundfield variety) of their own. Of course, audio is subjective, so not everyone desires this. Thus they may desire a voltage multiplier that intrinsically has a "sound" of it own, acquired via a variety of methods. Or maybe they just want that pretty, warm glow in their room...and the corresponding warmth to the "sound".

cheers,

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post #24 of 32 Old 02-12-2012, 01:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

I just can't see spending so much more and getting so much less with tubes.
.

Really? I have dabbled with tube gear a bit over the past couple years and don't really find that it's any more or less expensive than solid state stuff. Especially the chinese made tube gear, it can be had for peanuts nowadays.

I've never owned high end gear, but I love my Butler amps. They are hybrid designs and stable down into 2ohms, so they juice my Maggies to any level I desire. I love Maggies for HT, and they can handle any lossless soundtrack I throw at them...extremely dynamic, fantastic soundstage, and you hear every single detail. But a hybrid design might sort of give you the best of both worlds since you are concerned about having enough current. I know Audio by Van Alstine also offers hybrid designs, in addition to the Butlers, and I'm sure there are others.

I also have gained a lot of respect for Mr Butler, cause I asked him why he hasn't had any new amps come out since I bought mine about five years ago. He said it was because the technology hadn't changed to where he could figure out anything to do with them to make them better. I often wonder about companies that come out with new (and supposedly better) gear year after year. I know they are a business and need to give people reasons to buy new products, but the hype is dubious to say the least. So I have sort of developed a trust with Mr Butler and the results I'm getting speak for themselves.

But anyway, Ive seen lots of tube gear for not much money.
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post #25 of 32 Old 02-12-2012, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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A very long time ago , my first stereo gear in the 60's was a used tube integrated amp I purchased and refurbished when I was in college. It was fun to play with while I was learning tube amp theory etc. Subsequently I designed and built one based on the Williamson Circuit. Many years have passed since and obviously I was into SS gear. Now I would like to experiment again with the tube amps just for the fun of it . So Chinese tube amps are the way to go for not much money. The circuitry has not change very much over the years , definitely better passive components are now available than in the 60's era. This leads to why I am interested on the Yaqin 100B . Even with some sane tube rolling it will cost less than $1K . LOL I never even heard of the term "tube rolling" in the 60's !
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post #26 of 32 Old 02-12-2012, 10:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportflyer View Post

LOL I never even heard of the term "tube rolling" in the 60's !

Nor the term "hi end", as the scheme had not yet been born, so science, logic and rationality ruled audio back then. The Yaqins et al are an inexpensive way to dabble. Have a VK-2100 mkII myself, may end up with a MC10 or 100 at some point as well. The 2100 "sounds" just fine to me and has thus far been reliable/stable into varying loads..

cheers,

AJ
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post #27 of 32 Old 02-12-2012, 11:21 AM
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Even if this Yaqin 100B at around $600 for 30wx2, is still the best bang for the buck for a amp ?? Are there lower priced tube amps with audio SQ or is Yaqin the leader at this entry level.
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post #28 of 32 Old 02-12-2012, 11:32 AM
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Whats the best way to buy Yaqin products in the USA ?
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post #29 of 32 Old 02-12-2012, 11:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

Even if this Yaqin 100B at around $600 for 30wx2, is still the best bang for the buck for a amp ?? Are there lower priced tube amps with audio SQ or is Yaqin the leader at this entry level.

Definitive answers impossible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

Whats the best way to buy Yaqin products in the USA ?

I bought mine from a Canadian source, having been burned badly by China/HK direct purchases in the past. Good communication (no real or pretend language barrier), prices, shipping, etc,etc,etc.

cheers,

AJ
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post #30 of 32 Old 02-12-2012, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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It is $30W in triode mode and 60W in Ultra linear mode. Would be cheaper if you buy from HK but I would rather have someone in USA or Canada checking it our before shipping to me. However many are just as happy dealing with HK direct.

I am not 100% sure that Yaqin is the price leader.There are many Chinese tube amps with unfamiliar names available at lower price if you are willing to deal with HK or China direct .However they may not have a following here in US or Canada. Most of what I have found with 30W triode mode cost more than $1K with a USA dealer .
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