Ladies and Gentlemen..I present to you - PSVANE TS88 Integrated Amplifier - AVS Forum
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok..ive been on this audio journey since 1998 and every couple of years there would be something i would
buy or change to go further into high end. With limited budget..theres nothing much to do but do so in
increments.
I Started with the Dynaudio 52se fed by Audiosource AMP300 with a Pioneer DVD player directlyconnected. This was way too harsh sounding so i got a Lite Audio DAC60 LE tube dac to soften the soundand YS-Audio Symphonies Plus tube preamp. It has been good for majority of the recordings but there arestill a bit of harshness in the top end especially for some recordings, and i find i couldnt listen too long dueto some listener fatigue (unless i had the volume down like in late night listening). So in the last yearor so, ive been reserching getting into an all tube system, with a tube integrated. One of the fears i've had was the maintenance (biasing) and probably going through tube rolling. I finally decided and sell my current equipment to finance the integrated. I sold off my dac/preamp/amp. Ive looked into tube types
and decided to go with KT88s instead of EL34s - which i thought may suit my kind of music more.
Some of the ones ive considered were the MingDa MC34-ab, Cayin a88t, 50t,55t, Jolida, Prima Luna. Most were considered but were eliminated due to price (trying to keep under $1000, and difficulty in biasing).
So i decided in part to go with Yaqin MC-100B (under $700 in ebay) mostly due to the thread here in AVSforum, and planned to eventually upgrade the tubes to Shuguang Treasures, which i have been reading
about a lot lately too. So ready to pull the trigger, i did some searching in ebay and came across this seller joechenliang selling some el34 shuguang integrated. I sent him a message and asked if he carried the Shuguang S8MK II integrated (which i was considering too). So i told myself if it came
close to the mc-100b price, i would probably go with that (advantage being point to point wiring against pcb on yaqin) So after a day or so, he replies back and says he does and that he will post up
the listing. So i waited patiently and looked at the listing he puts up...its not an S8MKII but a

PSVANE TS88 KT88 Integrated AMP.

Whoa...ive never seen this integrated before..must be totally new..i liked the simple look of it...
It had PSVANE tubes all around (which is made by Shuguang engineers)
It had a switch to go either UltraLinear or Triode (which i wanted to try), It was listed as having 25W (but my online search yielded that it was actually 35w in UL, 25 in triode). It had taps for 4 or 8 ohms. The disadvantage i saw was it only had 2 inputs and i didnt see any biasing pots on the
outside - so it probably meant i had to manually bias it by opening it up...but wait..it says on the description it had a "self supporting biasing" system. So i emailed the seller and asked how to
go about biasing..and he confirms its auto-biased!! Another concern of mine was that it was 110/50 hz but the seller did confirm that he had 110/60. So i compared the it agains the yaqin, and since my original
plan was to upgrade the tubes in the mc-100b anyway..which would set me back $300-400 or so. i decided to go with PSVane. (even though the specified power tubes were not the treasures kind but lower priced hi-fi
designation) Total cost was $1098 (shipping included). This was a big gamble for me since ive never spent that much on ebay, let alone to a seller in HK. And there were no reviews to be found on this as it
is relatively new. So taking a chance..i pull the trigger on Jan 31, then on 2/3 I asked for a shipping # which he supplied. I look it up and it says it was logged into the DHL HK facility just on that day..so i figured i would get it about a week or so from friday. I check it over the weekend
and saw that in was in OH by then...was surprised it was at my door on Tuesday evening!

So i unpack it, this thing weighs a ton, and its specially packed all around with foam, and the opening the cage, there is another foam inside to protect the tubes. I looked at the tubes and lo and behold, the
seller has included the PSVANe KT88-T (Black treasures). WHOA!..thats an unexpected upgrade as the picture in the listing had only the KT88 Hi-fi tubes!!!!. That upgrade alone would have cost $300
- $450 dollars in ebay for a quad.

One bummer is the power cord that came with it is for Europe? but i checked the back, the markings indicate 110/50/60 so i just took a spare
power cord i have. I looked for a manual but i didnt see any come in the box, but its all pretty straight forward, Power switch, input selection and volume in the front, while the UL/Triode mode
switch is in the back along with the 2 inputs and speaker terminals (4/8ohm taps).

So i hook it up..the first cd i put in is Norah Jones Come Away with Me. Whoah..its totally different..All that i have heard about Tubes are all true. Her voice is more natural sounding, you can place the
instruments better..there seems to be a seperation between the instruments. You can basically listen to this for hours, the treble is not harsh anymore, the midrange coming out is a lot more weightier/prominent
than before. The bas is there, more textured, but not as big an impact
as i knew before. To verify this, i switched to Jack Johnson - Brushfire Fairytales and did confirm that
loss of bass impact. Dont get me wrong..the quality has improved, but the impact..just not as big or prominent as before. I played a couple of songs on diff albums. And one of my Coldplay albums - A Rush
of Blood to the Head which always sounded dreadfull on my system (well known for the Loudness War)..i just had to try and test. This was the biggest change i heard - it was now more listenable, i heard
things i did not hear before. There seems to be voices or instruments that just appeard that never was there before. I ended up listening to the whole album. I also put in Neil Young's Greatest hits on
DVD Audio. This was another album that is great but i had listener fatigue listening to. I ended up listening to the whole album as well.

The next day, decided to re-listen to the albums i had first listened to, to see if there has been any change. One thing i noticed, was the bass got a bit better, but still not the same as my old system.
So i put in a cd that i knew had some great bass - Blacked Eyed Peas - Monkey Business. This one
surprised me as all the good stuff is there...their voices are more discernable and the bass is all there and quite good. Nothing is being missed. After a few more albums..one thing i noticed was if the output level
of the cd/record was not as high..then dynamics suffer a bit (i put the volume on the 12 - 1o'clock
position). Another thing i noticed is that whether or not im listening at night or day..i keep the volume
in almost the same position, as opposed to before, when its night listening..i keep it down significantly as compared to day listening. Most cds too had a more significant change brought about by the integrated
while some cds relatively sounded the same. The biggest improvers were actually the cds that i found "unlistenable"
like Coldplay (all their albums), No Doubt (Greatest Hits), The Cure - 3 Imaginary Boys, Britney Spears (:-)) GH, Led Zeppelin (remasters)..etc.....maybe these unlistenable cds were actually mastered with tubes...and hence sound better when played with them.

The next day i try Triode mode, and i noticed the sound seems more 'syrupy" and would probably work best on vocals during nighttime. I think some cds work best with Triode while some work best with UL.
I think the difference is the seperation of instruments , and sound seems more transparent using UL.
The volume on both seem the same, even though the UL is 35W while Triode is 25w.

Overall, this has been a great upgrade and has improved my system overall now...and i was initially planning to upgrade my speakers too, but now that can wait a bit since im not in any hurry to upgrade it yet.
Treble and Midrange is there while the bass quality improved - although in some recordings, the bass output (quantity) might have suffered a bit, while others remained the same - is still very good. so far ive
probably had less than 25 hours on it so far, and cant wait for those Black tubes to burn in after 100 hours. One negative about it is its only got 2 inputs...and this thing is like a mini-heater...good thing
my diy rack is open (ikea). Also for my listening levels (which is quite high) i find the volume indicator plays around the 11 - 1'o clock positions.

One last thing..i dare you to listen to Adele's "Someone Like you" with your eyes closed on this one without crying...
presentation was so intimate....i cried like a little girl :-)

heres some pics...

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v671/luigi11/PSVane/
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:23 PM
 
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Hi Ivis,

Seems like you're having fun, very cool, but I'm a bit confused by your thread title, which stated "Amplifier". What you are describing doesn't sound like a voltage multiplier, but more like some sort of effects processor.
I mean, I like a nice healthy dose of syrup on my pancakes as much as the other guy (waffles and french toast too!!), but on my stereo/music reproduction....
Is there a way to hold the syrup if you're eating steak??

cheers,

AJ
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Mmm..yes..I probably meant the sound is ˝thicker"....rather than syruppy...which would fit more with your nice and juicy steak...

Basically you can choose between triode or ultralinear mode with a switch in the back...

What's nice is you can have your pancake and eat it too
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:04 AM
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Congrats on your new amp!
Looks like a nice find, 12AX7 input stages, CV181 phase splitters and KT88 power tubes. The bass with probably come in with a little more time on the tubes (>100 hrs).
I find tube amps less fatiguing as well. Lots of recordings that I avoided playing in my ss gear, I find I actually enjoy through my tube gear.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks...

what actually surprised me with these unlistenable cds is not only were they now listenable...but it revealed a lot of little details that i never heard existed in the mix...like suddenly the layers from the music are coming up and im hearing them for the first time...kinda cliche...but its true...now i can listen to them for hours without feeling ear-strained

i spent a lot of research trying to fix that harshness in those recordings..looked into "Loudness War"...and for the most part i attributed it to the way it was recorded / mastered...i figured there was no way to fix since these recordings were made for the ipod crowd and not the audiophile...but u learn something new everyday...

tubes are cool! (and hot at the same time)
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:05 AM
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Yep, I had the same experience the first time I played my tube amp.
There's a rather humorous site here about valve/ss amps. It's got everything from sociology to electrical theory included , but page 7 has an interesting read about how valve and ss amps react differently to speaker impedance.
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:32 PM
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I like your pictures.
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rntlee View Post

The bass with probably come in with a little more time on the tubes (>100 hrs).

It's far more likely your perception changes/adapts to the sound, rather than any physical (measurable) change to the tubes output/ soundwaves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rntlee View Post

Yep, I had the same experience the first time I played my tube amp.
There's a rather humorous site here about valve/ss amps. It's got everything from sociology to electrical theory included , but page 7 has an interesting read about how valve and ss amps react differently to speaker impedance.

That was pretty funny from a quick peruse. Also check this out http://www.dmitrynizh.com/LoadingTubeSE.htm as it nicely illustrates why the bass may be a bit missing, details popping out in the midband, spatial "enhancement", etc.....especially with a multi-way speaker like Ivis's. The syrup is usually a combination, with heavy doses of 2nd order distortion, to sweeten things up a bit.
More power to you if this suits your desires, it's all subjective anyway. But it should be clear that you are dealing with an amplifier+effects processor, rather than a more typical (staid/boring?) voltage multiplier.

cheers,

AJ
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
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baniels - u kidding? they are nothing compared to yours...those 4tse's look amazing!
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJinFLA View Post

It's far more likely your perception changes/adapts to the sound, rather than any physical (measurable) change to the tubes output/ soundwaves.

That's entirely possible...but whether the perceived change is physical or psycho-acoustic doesn't really matter does it?
I 'm not aware of anyone actually trying to measure "tube break-in", but it's a phenomenon that almost anyone who's fooled with new tubes experiences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJinFLA View Post

That was pretty funny from a quick peruse. Also check this out http://www.dmitrynizh.com/LoadingTubeSE.htm as it nicely illustrates why the bass may be a bit missing, details popping out in the midband, spatial "enhancement", etc.....especially with a multi-way speaker like Ivis's. The syrup is usually a combination, with heavy doses of 2nd order distortion, to sweeten things up a bit.
More power to you if this suits your desires, it's all subjective anyway. But it should be clear that you are dealing with an amplifier+effects processor, rather than a more typical (staid/boring?) voltage multiplier.

cheers,

AJ

I actually don't want "syrup" on my hotcakes. A well-designed tube amp doesn't impart audible distortion.
It makes me smile a bit when it's implied that we tube-heads simply like out gear because it's just an "effects processor" or a "distortion extender". Getting scolded by ss chaps who run amps with all sorts of phase shifting networks engaged on them (treble, bass, loudness controls etc.) is a bit hypocritical, no? (that's not directed at you personally) Modern tube amps omit all these types of "syrup" producers.
Which amps are actually usually being used in true "high fidelity"?
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rntlee View Post

That's entirely possible...but whether the perceived change is physical or psycho-acoustic doesn't really matter does it?

Concur 100%. But how often do you see "I'm going to wait 100 hrs for my ears/brain perception to adapt"? Ever?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rntlee View Post

I actually don't want "syrup" on my hotcakes.

I do! Just don't like it on steak or veggies, etc. unfortunately, I'm not a aware of a "syrup control" or "syrup gain" knob on any tube amp....usually kinda fixed...syrup on everything...yummy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rntlee View Post

A well-designed tube amp doesn't impart audible distortion.

Concur again. Test after (controlled) test supports this fact, no difference found between Tube and SS when well designed (which rules out "audiophile injurneering"). By definition, if an amp (voltage multiplier) has its own inherent "sound"...is it just an amp?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rntlee View Post

It makes me smile a bit when it's implied that we tube-heads simply like out gear because it's just an "effects processor" or a "distortion extender".

I always figured it was the retro-cool looks and that warm glow..."warming" the sound.
The visual post data processing is not independent of the aural post data processing at the CPU. Quite intertwined in fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rntlee View Post

Getting scolded by ss chaps who run amps with all sorts of phase shifting networks engaged on them (treble, bass, loudness controls etc.) is a bit hypocritical, no? (that's not directed at you personally)

Not taken as directed at me personally at all. Now of course, those bass/treble phase shifters are only found on integrated's, not power amps....and you do realize that frequency and phase are inter-related, so when you have large FR deviations as with high output impedance tube amps......
Btw, sans tone controls, how do address speaker/room acoustic issues at the source?
Quote:
Originally Posted by rntlee View Post

Modern tube amps omit all these types of "syrup" producers.
Which amps are actually usually being used in true "high fidelity"?

This thread sez...not all of them obviously!
It's all subjective, that fidelity.

I'm in the hunt for something like a SET myself, given their popularity and the odd '"solutions" I see for speakers purportedly "friendly" to them.

cheers,

AJ
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:48 AM
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nice lookin amp, you are brave to make such a purchase, glad it's working out for you
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.. yes...it was a bit of a leap...but. I read up on reviews of the Shuguang S8mkii (which there was little of) ..I figured this would at least better that...also the seller had positive reviews ( although with mostly selling of tubes..not the amp)...

Who knows..Im probably the first person to own one of this in the US as there has been no reviews on this amp at all (none that I have seen)...so I figured ill put one up..as I have myself rellied on reviews for the most part of my audio purchase...just paying it forward
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rntlee View Post

Getting scolded by ss chaps who run amps with all sorts of phase shifting networks engaged on them (treble, bass, loudness controls etc.) is a bit hypocritical, no? (that's not directed at you personally) Modern tube amps omit all these types of "syrup" producers.
Which amps are actually usually being used in true "high fidelity"?

I reject the notion that treble, bass, loudness controls are not found in true "high fidelity" amps. My last two amps - NAD C375BEE, and (current) McIntosh MA6600 - I think both qualify as high fidelity (stable, low noise, low distortion, excellent volume control tracking) and both have bass/treble controls. ..And McIntosh continues to offer these controls even with their tube pre-amps/integrateds b/c they know they help people enjoy more music more often.

These basic controls help make poorly recorded music listenable (for me about 5% of the music I listen too are improved by some small adjustment of either bass or treble control). Some manufacturers elected to eschew the features on the premise that their presence in the signal path - even when set at neutral - somehow degrades the signal. ..I've had several amps with tone controls and a bypass switch and neither I nor anyone in my family could ever hear one spec of difference b/w tone controls engaged (but zeroed) and bypass switch engaged. I will never again own an integrated amp or preamp that lacks these features. I much prefer having tone controls to having an amp that imparts colorations on everything I listen to.

As an aside, I find a mono switch and balance controls to be equally helpful with some recordings (eg., beatles music where paul/john heard only from left speaker, and all music heard only from right. --terrible. time to hit the mono switch).
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:10 AM
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You're taking that a little too seriously, syd.

My point wasn't that inclusion of those networks disqualify an amp as "high fidelity", just that if you employ them on your ss amp(and the vast majority of us do, I'm sure), please don't criticize tube amps as being imprecise in their reproduction. Fidelity, as used in "high fidelity", means "exactness". Tube amps are just as capable of high fidelity as ss.
They don't sound different from ss because they add "syrup" to the signal, they sound different because they react differently to speaker impedance. In a valve amp, power output is directly proportional to speaker impedance. In a ss amp power output is inversely proportional to speaker impedance. This is why good valve amps sound "livelier" and "holographic" etc.
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Speaking for myself.....i try to will seek what sounds good to me...whether or not that involves employing eq / effects processing or not.

I believe...effects processing is done through the whole chain..from the mastering/mixing up to the speakers (they present the sound in their own unique way)...even your room has an effect, employing a subwoofer is eq'ing the bass in someway



so my philosophy is..if it sounds good..then i like it
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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i have logged 50+ hours on this integrated...so far...ive noticed no significant changes in the sound...i did make changes to my setup though...since this amp has only 2 inputs....i used 1 input for my cd player and the other for a audiosource equalizer. i know..i know..but i wanted to try the equalizer and cost me less than $50..so on the equalizer..i have my phono, cd player and cellphone/kindle hooked up. I used a fiio e11 for my cell/kindle and access pandora and other streaming apps through it. The equalizer gave me an additional boost in volume (just a bit) and with the fiio on my cell/kindle ..gave me additional volume boost. It actually sounds better than i expected..so for now i could probably skip buying the Squeezebox route. Im pretty satisfied with this setup for now. I may try to shop for speakers that would be more tube friendly than the dyns...the upcoming audio show in NY should help me in my decision :-)
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