Speakers and Tube Amps. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-29-2006, 01:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Got a question for the congregation.

I'm looking to get into tube amplification. Unfortunately, it appears my budget is going to keep me in the lower wattage arena. I'm very interested in the Rogue Audio Titan series integrated amplifier which puts out 55 watts per channel. At the same time I'm looking to upgrade my speakers. I'm going to stay with a monitor because my room is small and well I just like 'em. Monitors are saucey! My question is what should I be looking for in a monitor when considering the lower power output of tube amps in my price range (sub $2k). Most all modern monitors call for amplifier wattages well in excess of 55 watts so what's the story, any key specs, such as sensitivity levels that I should be looking to stay in.

My monitors of interest are, Dynaudio Focus 140, Totem Acoustic Model 1, and Sonus Faber Concertino Domus.
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-29-2006, 06:25 AM
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If you're going to be using a relatively low powered tube amp (though 55 wpc really isn't low power for a tube amp), you should be looking for a speaker with reasonable efficiency ratings and something that is a relatively easy load to drive. Most tube amps don't like low impedances nor do they like speakers that have wild impedance swings or reactive loads.

Some folks use Autoformers to increase the impedance that the amp sees and smooth things out a little bit.

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post #3 of 7 Old 12-29-2006, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpape
you should be looking for a speaker with reasonable efficiency ratings and something that is a relatively easy load to drive. Bryan
I fully agree - however generally speaking most monitors are less efficient than their bigger floorstanding brothers because of cabinet size, driver size etc. Now I believe power is over rated having run the Sonic T amps (11 WPC) with inefficient speakers (Totem Arros). About 10 years ago I ran Quad II monoblock tube amps (15 wpc if I recall) with Proac Super Tablette monitors and I felt I had ample power in a decent sized room 13 * 22 * 7.5

I have only listened to the Totem Model 1's in your lists and I think they are fantastic speakers but a bit on the pricey side.

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post #4 of 7 Old 12-29-2006, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm sorry I should have clarified, I meant wattage lower compared to what one would expect to see on a solid state amp.

The amp that I'm looking at is configurable for 8 ohm or 4 ohm loads. So it begs the question do I really need to mess with the speaker load. I guess the best answer is maybe. It has been my experience that in the lower ohm realm, things start to sound harsh and cold. The autoformers might be a good idea to kick up the speaker impedance and make the amp work less.. My fear would be introducing an RF interference please enter here beacon, but who knows, it might be worth a shot.

What do you think? Still worth the trouble? The Zero Autoformers at zeroimpedance caught my eye.
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-29-2006, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EC
I fully agree - however generally speaking most monitors are less efficient than their bigger floorstanding brothers because of cabinet size, driver size etc. Now I believe power is over rated having run the Sonic T amps (11 WPC) with inefficient speakers (Totem Arros). About 10 years ago I ran Quad II monoblock tube amps (15 wpc if I recall) with Proac Super Tablette monitors and I felt I had ample power in a decent sized room 13 * 22 * 7.5

I have only listened to the Totem Model 1's in your lists and I think they are fantastic speakers but a bit on the pricey side.
The power is encouraging.

I was feeling the price shock on the Totem's too. I am not sure they're worth their price tag.
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-29-2006, 11:43 AM
 
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I have seen tube amps with as little as 10 watts/ch for sale and as low as 1 watt/ch reviewed, so 55watts is actually pretty good. Remember that highly efficient speakers (eg Klipshorns) are designed with tubes in mind.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-29-2006, 12:05 PM
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All depends on your listening habits.

As for the load, I'll give you an example from first hand experience. I have a friend who has a 3 VTL amps - 2 mono 150's and an ST85 to biamp his Magnepan 3.6's. They do a decent job on the 4 ohm taps. Add in the Autoformers and move things to the 8 ohm taps and things totally change. The bass tightens up, imaging improves, dynamics are improved, etc.

Switch over to the 16 ohm tap on the autoformers and things get better yet. Not all tube amps are this way but many still prefer a bit higher load and definitely something more purely resistive rather than reactive.

Bryan

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