opinions on getting a tube amp - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 9Likes
  • 1 Post By hogger129
  • 1 Post By Nodscene
  • 1 Post By Nodscene
  • 1 Post By RayDunzl
  • 1 Post By RayDunzl
  • 1 Post By uglyjay
  • 2 Post By marjen
  • 1 Post By arnyk
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 25 Old 08-23-2014, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
dalvis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: atlanta, ga
Posts: 27
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 10
opinions on getting a tube amp

This summer I decided to get into vinyl. So I dusted off my old stereo consisting of an exposure XV integrated amp and sound dynamics 300ti speakers (both about 20 years old). I bought a project carbon table and just got the drivers in the speakers refoamed. I've always been curious about tube equipment and I'm now contemplating getting a restored scott 72 integrated amp.

Is this going to be a step up? I know I'll have to be a bit more careful, but am I nuts for wanting to try?

Thank for any input.

Dwayne
dalvis is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 25 Old 08-23-2014, 01:48 PM
AVS Special Member
 
A9X-308's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Australia; now run by adults.
Posts: 5,317
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 103 Post(s)
Liked: 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalvis View Post
Is this going to be a step up?
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalvis View Post
but am I nuts for wanting to try?
If by nuts you mean wanting to spend money on a vintage, unreliable fixed tone control, then, yes.
A9X-308 is offline  
post #3 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 12:40 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
arnyk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Posts: 14,381
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 748 Post(s)
Liked: 1162
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalvis View Post
This summer I decided to get into vinyl. So I dusted off my old stereo consisting of an exposure XV integrated amp and sound dynamics 300ti speakers (both about 20 years old). I bought a project carbon table and just got the drivers in the speakers refoamed. I've always been curious about tube equipment and I'm now contemplating getting a restored scott 72 integrated amp.

Is this going to be a step up?
In terms of sentimentality which seems to be the order of the day, yes.

I still remember oogling the Scott 72 integrated amp. I ended up getting and building an Eico ST70 kiit for about half the price.
arnyk is offline  
post #4 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 12:40 AM
Member
 
CSG123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 43
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Liked: 14
If you want to go vintage, I'd be looking at stuff along the lines of the Marantz 22__ series, or Pioneer, Kenwood, Sansiu, etc.

Tube gear tends to be hot, fussy, and distorted (which its fans call warmth). If you can be devoted to dealing with it, it's hard to get more old school than tube audio. I do have two tube radios, one a 1936 Zenith tombstone and the other a 1942 Philco console. I love them for what they are but both were restored internally.

Home Theater: Yamaha RX-V990, Onkyo C-S5VL, Technics, SL-QL1, Celestion DL-8 Series II L/R, NHT center and rears

2-channel living room : Marantz PM8004, Marantz CD6004, Denon DP-23F, NHT SuperOnes

2-channel office: Marantz PM6004, NHT SuperOnes, internet radio fed by iPad Air
CSG123 is offline  
post #5 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 05:21 AM
AVS Special Member
 
commsysman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,285
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 130 Post(s)
Liked: 256
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalvis View Post
This summer I decided to get into vinyl. So I dusted off my old stereo consisting of an exposure XV integrated amp and sound dynamics 300ti speakers (both about 20 years old). I bought a project carbon table and just got the drivers in the speakers refoamed. I've always been curious about tube equipment and I'm now contemplating getting a restored scott 72 integrated amp.

Is this going to be a step up? I know I'll have to be a bit more careful, but am I nuts for wanting to try?

Thank for any input.

Dwayne
You would get much better sound quality from the Music Hall 15.3 integrated amplifier, which retails for $550.

If you want to get a tube amplifier, I suggest the Jolida 801 amplifier, which Music Direct sells for $2000.

I would not mess with an old tube amplifier unless it has had ALL of the power supply and coupling capacitors replaced with new ones.

Most tube amps are in the 20-30 watts range, and are a waste of money unless you have speakers with a sensitivity of 94 db/watt or higher (which is unusual).

You need at least 60 watts per channel for the majority of speakers when using a tube amp.

Last edited by commsysman; 08-24-2014 at 05:29 AM.
commsysman is online now  
post #6 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 05:27 AM
FMW
AVS Special Member
 
FMW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,930
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 304 Post(s)
Liked: 725
For most of us the move to a tube amp would be a downgrade in sound. But you may be different and like the tube sound. In that case, knock your socks off, as they say.
FMW is offline  
post #7 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 05:28 AM
Member
 
hogger129's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: The Dark Side Of The Moon
Posts: 194
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Liked: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalvis View Post
This summer I decided to get into vinyl. So I dusted off my old stereo consisting of an exposure XV integrated amp and sound dynamics 300ti speakers (both about 20 years old). I bought a project carbon table and just got the drivers in the speakers refoamed. I've always been curious about tube equipment and I'm now contemplating getting a restored scott 72 integrated amp.

Is this going to be a step up? I know I'll have to be a bit more careful, but am I nuts for wanting to try?

Thank for any input.

Dwayne
I've always heard that tube amps sound richer and fuller. If you have the money, why not give it a shot and see how you like it?
Divergent9999 likes this.
hogger129 is offline  
post #8 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 05:44 AM
Senior Member
 
EnjoyingMyRide's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 215
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Liked: 24
Are you able to audition a setup such as Commsysman suggested (or any new tube system)? Dip your toe in before jumping all in; so to speak.

Steve
EnjoyingMyRide is offline  
post #9 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 05:51 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
arnyk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Posts: 14,381
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 748 Post(s)
Liked: 1162
Quote:
Originally Posted by hogger129 View Post
I've always heard that tube amps sound richer and fuller.
One major source of this is their much poorer damping factor.

It's really not that much different than a bass boost control, but its not adjustable, and its not tailored to the room. Its pretty random.

If a system sounds thin, the usual causes are speakers with poor bass response or rooms with a lot of bass holes. There are more reliable ways to deal with those issues.

Quote:
If you have the money, why not give it a shot and see how you like it?
Because you have something better to do with the money?
arnyk is offline  
post #10 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
dalvis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: atlanta, ga
Posts: 27
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thank you for the advice. I think I would have to spend quite a bit more than $550 (cost of the music hall amp) on a solid state amp to improve my current setup. I'm still thinking, but I like the idea of having a 50 year old tube amp. If it doesn't work out, people collect these things. Based on eBay sales, the most I'd lose is $100.

On a side note, this old two channel setup sounds better than my HT (ATI 1506 amp, ERA D14, D4's, outlaw lfm plus). It may be time to drop the HTPC and get a processor.

Dwayne
dalvis is offline  
post #11 of 25 Old 08-25-2014, 06:01 PM
Member
 
BayStateTech's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 2
Flip the switch ... wait a minute or so ... buzz ... hum hum hum ... crackle .. OK there is some audio there ... we'll call the buzzing warmth. Don't bother trying to demo it to your friends as that is the day it won't work. Use it to heat up your house when the furnace is busted ... spend lots of cash fixing it when a tube or transistor blows. Yes we sure do love nostalgia, now don't we.
BayStateTech is offline  
post #12 of 25 Old 08-25-2014, 06:19 PM
Member
 
Nodscene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 73
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Definitely try the tube amp. I personally love the sound and there are a lot of people out there who do as well, otherwise Emotiva wouldn't be releasing a Glass (tube) series. Not too sure why there is such a hate on here about tube stuff but whatever. From what I've heard the best way to go is usually with a tube pre but if you already have something might as well play with it, especially if you don't mind dropping a couple bucks on it.
Divergent9999 likes this.

Make something idiot-proof, and they will build a better idiot
Nodscene is offline  
post #13 of 25 Old 08-26-2014, 01:58 AM
FMW
AVS Special Member
 
FMW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,930
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 304 Post(s)
Liked: 725
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodscene View Post
Definitely try the tube amp. I personally love the sound and there are a lot of people out there who do as well, otherwise Emotiva wouldn't be releasing a Glass (tube) series. Not too sure why there is such a hate on here about tube stuff but whatever. From what I've heard the best way to go is usually with a tube pre but if you already have something might as well play with it, especially if you don't mind dropping a couple bucks on it.
It isn't a matter of hatred. Our position is that an amplifier shouldn't color the sound. Coloring sound is fine but it is better to do it with an equalizer which is adjustable and defeatable. With a tube amp you get the coloration permanently.

I've owned several tube amps and enjoyed most of them. But I prefer to have my music served straight up the way the recording engineers mixed and mastered it. If I want a coloration, I can adjust my way to it in some other way. There are some excellent tube amps and some bad ones. At least with solid state there isn't too much bad because producing a product with inaudible noise, distortion and variance from a flat frequency response is quite easy thanks to the chips used to do it nowadays.
FMW is offline  
post #14 of 25 Old 08-26-2014, 07:38 AM
Member
 
Nodscene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 73
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Everyone is allowed their opinion obviously but there have been a few people distinctly saying it will sound worse which is very misleading and not giving the OP proper information. I figure at the least people should say they are in the camp where they don't believe that an amp or pre-amp should not colour the sound and not outright say it will sound bad. Some of these posts are disingenuous at best (not saying yours is) and I don't understand why they are even posting here in the first place.
Divergent9999 likes this.

Make something idiot-proof, and they will build a better idiot
Nodscene is offline  
post #15 of 25 Old 08-26-2014, 08:18 AM
FMW
AVS Special Member
 
FMW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,930
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 304 Post(s)
Liked: 725
Whether a tube amp sounds better or worse is a matter of preference. But it is fair to say that the tube amp, with a few exceptions, will sound less accurate and the coloration is built in permanently. That's the point and the reason some of us don't recommend them.
FMW is offline  
post #16 of 25 Old 08-26-2014, 09:55 AM
AVS Special Member
 
RayDunzl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 1,002
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 323 Post(s)
Liked: 345
My memories of the Eico integrated tube amp we built from kit and had from 1959 was that it was good.



It was fine till it got rained on in 1973.

Here's a modern review of it:

http://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/606eico/
Divergent9999 likes this.

I'll be back later...



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
> digits >
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
>
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
>
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
>
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
and
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
>
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Last edited by RayDunzl; 08-26-2014 at 10:04 AM.
RayDunzl is offline  
post #17 of 25 Old 08-26-2014, 10:39 AM
FMW
AVS Special Member
 
FMW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,930
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 304 Post(s)
Liked: 725
Looks nice. My first kit amp was from the fine folks at HH Scott. I built it in 1962. I still remember the hours of wire stripping and point to point wiring and soldering.








Last edited by FMW; 08-26-2014 at 10:43 AM.
FMW is offline  
post #18 of 25 Old 08-26-2014, 11:14 AM
AVS Special Member
 
RayDunzl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 1,002
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 323 Post(s)
Liked: 345
I'm on the left, probably wasn't all that much help with the kit...



I still burn meat, too.

Actually, that grill stand and the speakers are still in operation here at Neverland East.
DaverJ likes this.

I'll be back later...



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
> digits >
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
>
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
>
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
>
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
and
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
>
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
RayDunzl is offline  
post #19 of 25 Old 08-26-2014, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
dalvis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: atlanta, ga
Posts: 27
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I didn't think I'd start a thread that would create this much discussion. I did enjoy reading the review on the EICO.

As far as maintenance goes, I just sold an 83 fiat spider. There is no way this amp can cost as much as that.

I'll probably get the amp in the next couple of weeks and post my impressions.
dalvis is offline  
post #20 of 25 Old 08-28-2014, 12:57 PM
Member
 
uglyjay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 11
I find many of these posts misleading and very biased.
I consider myself a novice but have been fortunate enough to find myself in a position to afford a relatively high end system.
I have been listenening to high end systems for a little over a year now and have heard some excellent tube and solid state based systems.
Maybe it has to do with the level of systems that I am listening to but I Have found the tube bases systems to be much more musically enjoyable.
Right now I am deciding between the Classic Audio T1.4(soon to be T1.5) with atma-sphere ma2's and Avalon Isis with spectral audio.
Very different sounds and both incredible in their own ways but I am leaning toward the Classic Audio because I find the sound much more musically natural and still detailed without the harshness of the Avalon/Spectral combination.
But to say the Classic Audio/atma-sphere combo is colored and not detailed just ain't true.
I have dragged my wife to my listening sessions.
She is a retired violinist with a much better ear than mine and her preference is always with the tube amps although she doesn't know the prices(blind study)
Any and all helpful and civilized comments welcome.
Divergent9999 likes this.
uglyjay is offline  
post #21 of 25 Old 08-28-2014, 01:15 PM
FMW
AVS Special Member
 
FMW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,930
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 304 Post(s)
Liked: 725
Quote:
Originally Posted by uglyjay View Post
I find many of these posts misleading and very biased.
I consider myself a novice but have been fortunate enough to find myself in a position to afford a relatively high end system.
I have been listenening to high end systems for a little over a year now and have heard some excellent tube and solid state based systems.
Maybe it has to do with the level of systems that I am listening to but I Have found the tube bases systems to be much more musically enjoyable.
Right now I am deciding between the Classic Audio T1.4(soon to be T1.5) with atma-sphere ma2's and Avalon Isis with spectral audio.
Very different sounds and both incredible in their own ways but I am leaning toward the Classic Audio because I find the sound much more musically natural and still detailed without the harshness of the Avalon/Spectral combination.
But to say the Classic Audio/atma-sphere combo is colored and not detailed just ain't true.
I have dragged my wife to my listening sessions.
She is a retired violinist with a much better ear than mine and her preference is always with the tube amps although she doesn't know the prices(blind study)
Any and all helpful and civilized comments welcome.
There are a few tube amps that have no sound signature just like solid state amps. I once had an Audio Research amplifier in that category. But if you are hearing a sound signature from a tube amp then it isn't one of them. That means it is colored. Understand that your preference for that sound doesn't change the facts. It is fine to prefer the tube sound. But it is definitely a coloration. You are arguing preference and we are arguing measurements and accuracy. They are different arguments.
FMW is offline  
post #22 of 25 Old 08-28-2014, 03:13 PM
Member
 
noisebeam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 146
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by uglyjay View Post
I find many of these posts misleading and very biased.
I consider myself a novice but have been fortunate enough to find myself in a position to afford a relatively high end system.
I have been listenening to high end systems for a little over a year now and have heard some excellent tube and solid state based systems.
Maybe it has to do with the level of systems that I am listening to but I Have found the tube bases systems to be much more musically enjoyable.
Was the only variable in these comparisons the amp?
noisebeam is offline  
post #23 of 25 Old 08-28-2014, 06:34 PM
AVS Special Member
 
A9X-308's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Australia; now run by adults.
Posts: 5,317
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 103 Post(s)
Liked: 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by uglyjay View Post
I find many of these posts misleading and very biased.
You're entitled to your opinion, but that doesn't mean it's correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uglyjay View Post
Maybe it has to do with the level of systems that I am listening to but I Have found the tube bases systems to be much more musically enjoyable.
The presumption here is that you're listening to systems that are better than many of ours.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uglyjay View Post
Right now I am deciding between the Classic Audio T1.4(soon to be T1.5) with atma-sphere ma2's and Avalon Isis with spectral audio.
Very different sounds and both incredible in their own ways but I am leaning toward the Classic Audio because I find the sound much more musically natural and still detailed without the harshness of the Avalon/Spectral combination.
But to say the Classic Audio/atma-sphere combo is colored and not detailed just ain't true.
You obviously don't see the silliness of this comment. You are listening to two very different systems, possibly in two different rooms and a different times. The speakers, which are by far the least linear components and will have by far, along with the room, the greatest effect on reproduction. The two speakers are of very different design: one (Isis) is a direct radiator throughout, and the Classic uses compression drivers and horns for everything somewhere above 400Hz. Let alone the effect on the sonics of the individual designs, polar patterns will differ greatly, affecting how they energise the room and the effects you hear. Amplifiers are generally small fry compared to that. How do you possibly pull any tonal characteristics of the amplifier out of that mix?

Quote:
Originally Posted by uglyjay View Post
She is a retired violinist with a much better ear than mine and her preference is always with the tube amps although she doesn't know the prices(blind study)
The prices are irrelevant and don't make it a blind test in the least. She obviously is happy with the budget you have for any system you choose to purchase, right? She also knows what she's listening too, right? She sounds like likes the idea of tubes for whatever reason, even if that's to make you happy. My late partner was a pianist, also with better ears than me, and she hated my tube gear. So what?
Quote:
Originally Posted by uglyjay View Post
Any and all helpful and civilized comments welcome.
My background is linear electronics and I have been around the design, construction, maintenance and repair of a lot of it for about 35 years so I've had through my system a lot of tube gear, probably more than you've seen in the flesh. I like building and working on them, but there is no way they are better than well designed SS. For an equivalent amount of power, they're more expensive, they require at least some level of ongoing maintenance, some more than others, so more expense especially if you damage it whilst DIYing the changes or paying for a tech to do so. They always have a high Zout with regard to SS amps which can affect the speaker's FR and typically have about 2 orders more distortion. So what you get for more money, is more lifetime expense and poorer performance, and with the Atma Sphere amps, you'll definitely have a lot more ongoing expense with OTL output stages using many tubes run hard.
A9X-308 is offline  
post #24 of 25 Old 08-28-2014, 09:24 PM
AVS Special Member
 
marjen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: CT
Posts: 1,057
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Liked: 19
I just ordered my very first tube preamp to go with my turntable. Currently running it through a multichannel receiver and wanted a more dedicated two channel system. I ordered the yaquin mc-10L. I will let you know how,it goes once it comes in next week. I Adam looking forward to trying something different.
Divergent9999 and Cerumen like this.

Mark-
marjen is offline  
post #25 of 25 Old 08-29-2014, 09:42 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
arnyk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Posts: 14,381
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 748 Post(s)
Liked: 1162
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post
Looks nice. My first kit amp was from the fine folks at HH Scott. I built it in 1962. I still remember the hours of wire stripping and point to point wiring and soldering.


Point of order. The amp above is a Scott 299 which was sold only as an assembled unit. The corresponding kit was the LK72 with a front panel that had negative coloration:



At about the same time I was 16 and built this Eico ST 70 kit:



I hated the clunky plastic knobs and eventually turned up a set of solid aluminum knobs for it.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	scott lk72.png
Views:	112
Size:	249.8 KB
ID:	235089  
Divergent9999 likes this.
arnyk is offline  
Reply 2 Channel Audio

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off