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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been listening to vinyl for several years and tubes for a few days. I'm stunned by what both of these formats have to offer and would like to see what some other people's experiences are with tubes or vinyl.


I don't want to debate the CD vs. Vinyl or the Tube vs. Solid State issue here. There's other threads for that. I just wanted to start one where people could share information on what their systems are, what tweaks they like, where they buy their vinyl and general experiences whith these wonderful technologies.


-Mike...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I recently picked up a pair of ASL Waves (AV-8), halfway as a lark, but also to hear for myself what all these tube users are talking about. As soon as I got them hooked up and started spinning some CDs, I did a few double-takes. It was a combination of wonderment that these little amps could produce such a big confident sound, and also that they just did it SO well.


The final "selling" point for me was when I played some Diana Krall. I love her sensual voice and she's always good for a goosebump or two through the course of an album. After getting goosebumps about 10 times during the first song, I swore to myself I'll never go back to solid state again! (alright, maybe a rash decision but I reserve the right to change my mind any time).


Playing vinyl through tubes was yet another level of "wow". Presence, warmth, richness and occasionally I just feel the need to look up to make sure someone hasn't just dropped the band in my living room. I never thought I'd be so close to "that" sound with the humble equipment I have.


-Mike...
 

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I am all for tubes as I have stated in other threads and am in the process of moving to a set of tube amps for both my music and HT.

____

As far as vinyl is concerned, I admit I abonded it due to how inconvient it was. The 5000 albums were taking up an incredible ammount of space, the constant cleaning of the needle, from dust was a pain, and the cleaning of the records themselves. Warping from improper storage, etc, a host of similar reasons.

___

It has been too long for me to go back to vinyl. But I must relate that I did not originally enjoy the sound of CD. It took a lot of getting used to for me to accept it. The transition was'nt easy for me, but in the end the convience of CD won out over the harsh sound quality. Besides I also got older and lazier.

___

It was probably a mistake, but at least I have now seen the tube light (some pun intended), and maybe I can restore some of that sound that I used to love.
 

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I have been a fan of tubes for a few years now. My preamp is a Rogue 99 Magnum edition with one Tung Sol VT-231 and one Sylvania 6SN7 Chrome Top per channel. My power amplifiers are Rogue M-120 magnum edition monoblocks each with two RCA 12AU7 Clear Top Side-Getters, one RCA Command Series 5751 and four Tung Sol Smooth Grey Plate 6550s - the amps are running in triode mode at 60W. My source, although not vinyl, is a Sony SCD-1. Main loudspeakers are Alon Lotus Signatures. Interconnects are all Acoustic Zen Silver Reference, power cables are HT Pro AC-11 and speaker cables are Alon Black Orpheus Triwire. My components sit on Symposium Rollerblocks and Symposium isolation platforms.


I am primarily a 2ch audio fan, HT is secondary. I listen to mostly Jazz/Blues/Contemporary and Rock. This system is very detailed but not harsh, with incredible soundstaging and imaging. Although not cheap, I do consider it a bargain against some of the higher priced gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Are there a lot of gains from using tube preamps as well as tube amps? I assume the increase wouldn't be as dramatic. It's the next thing I'm considering to upgrade but I'm a little hesitant since I'm also toying with the home theater/5.1 setup. I don't know of any multichannel tube preamps. The HT thing is a bit of a quandary for me in general... 2 great speakers or 5 mediocre ones...


-Mike...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by saxguy


Main loudspeakers are Alon Lotus Signatures.


This system is very detailed but not harsh, with incredible soundstaging and imaging.
I listened to some Alons at one of my favorite dealers in Arizona (Arizona Tube Audio) and was very impressed at how natural they sounded. Your system sounds looks it's really goosebumply!


I think the main things I noticed with my tube amps was the absence of harshness (even with CDs) and how much bigger and accurate the imaging/soundstaging was. I think tubes simply recreate the ambience really well and the resonations of voices and percussives ring truer and decay more naturally.


-Mike...
 

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You can count me in with the SF Line 3 & Rogue 99 pre's each running it's own separate stereo systems. :)


Btw, there's also a Rega/Black Cube combo with the Line 3 system.


PF
 

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I get more enjoyment listening to music through my EAR864 preamp and TT/Koetsu combo. I rarely listen to CD's anymore. My biggest problem of late is that once I play a record, I can't stop listening, a minimum of 2 hours a night but usually 3 or 4.

Quote:
As far as vinyl is concerned, I admit I abonded it due to how inconvient it was. The 5000 albums were taking up an incredible ammount of space, the constant cleaning of the needle, from dust was a pain, and the cleaning of the records themselves. Warping from improper storage, etc, a host of similar reasons.
I will agree that space is a concern but the rest of your statement is open for debate. I find that if I give a record(any record) a good thorough cleaning using my Disc Doctor/Vacuum method and then store the record in a new VRP sleeve, I don't have to dust or clean it for many plays. So clean it good once and take care to store it properly, problem solved. :)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Frank_S


I find that if I give a record(any record) a good thorough cleaning using my Disc Doctor/Vacuum method and then store the record in a new VRP sleeve, I don't have to dust or clean it for many plays. So clean it good once and take care to store it properly, problem solved. :)
I must ask, what is the best way to clean records? I remember a solution of 50/50 water/alcohol and a soft cloth was usually what my father used. This seems like it could be damaging to the label, unless you were REALLY careful. I would really hate to blur the labels on my MFSL collection, because the way it works with me is, the more careful I am, the more likely some fluke accident will happen. Never fails...


Also, what is the proper way to clean the needle? I know my "scraping dust bunnies off with finger" procedure is probably not correct...


cryppie
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ask 10 Vinyl-lovers how they clean their records and you'll get 10 different answers :D.


I think that it's generally considered that alcohol-based solutions are a bad thing, especially if it's 50%. Most of the pre-made solutions that do use alcohol are on the order of 1% or so. Alcohol tends to rob the vinyl of natural oils which can make it brittle, so after time, your needle may be chipping off those precious grooves you're trying to protect.


The Disc Doctor method and solutions ( http://discdoc.com/ ) are generally well-regarded. Discwasher and LAST solutions are also widely used. A good dust brush is OK for getting surface dust off the records, but something like an Allsop Orbitrac is a good next step for not too much money ($40 or so). This is what I use to get most of the surface junk and some of the gunk out of the grooves. Not a miracle worker but does an effective job on relatively clean vinyl.


Vacuum cleaners like those made by VPI and Nitty Gritty are the best way to get the dirt out of the grooves. Manual Nitty Grittys start at $200 at places like Audio Advisor and and the VPI HW-17 is about $1,000.


I'll probably be buying the VPI HW16.5 which is about $450-$500 with a month or two. It's a good balance between cost, effectiveness and ease of use.


Disc Doctor and Last both make stylus cleaners. I've never used either one. I'm equally guilty of the "finger scraping" method which I will quit as soon as I get my new cartridge.


-Mike...
 

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You must be careful using Last or other stylus cleaners with certain stylus... if the stylus is hollow, they can whisk the cleaner into the needle and ruin it (I know someone who did in a $1500 cartridge this way). Your best bet is to get a stylus brush and not use any solution.


The 16.5 is a great cleaner but I find it to be a pain to get the vacum tube adjusted correctly. You can get various cleaning solutions from Audio Advisor that work well. Just make sure (and this is with any record cleaner) that the record is dry before you plop your needle onto it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by scooter_29


if the stylus is hollow, they can whisk the cleaner into the needle and ruin it (I know someone who did in a $1500 cartridge this way).


The 16.5 is a great cleaner but I find it to be a pain to get the vacum tube adjusted correctly.
Eeek! I think I'll stay away from the solutions for now, then. Thanks for the warning.


I thought the new 16.5's vacuum arm auto-adjusted for different thicknesses of LPs now? I don't have any personal experience with the machine, just going off what I've read. Either way it seems like a good machine for the money and doesn't have the "velvet lips" like the Nitty Grittys which can get gummed up.


-Mike...
 

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I like tubes and solidstate. In my primary system I have three preamps: a passive, an active solidstate and an active tube. I also have both solidstate and tube power amps. Depending upon my listening mood and the music I've selected, I might run all solidstate, a tube preamp and ss amp, or all tube. They both have their strengths and weaknesses and I saw no reason to not take advantage of both.


Tom B.
 

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Looks like the $70 ZeroDust system is the latest thing in stylus care. As for LP care I agree vacuum machine cleaning followed by a new sleeve ought to be able to keep an LP dust free for a while.


PF
 

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The first time I heard tubes (other than my dad's old all in one stereo console with built in TT, receiver) was at a "High End Audio" in Toronto. The owner who lived above the unit gave me a demo of his personal system. If I recall, he was using the original Martin Logan CLS's with Entec subs, Jadis JA-80 tube amps, Counterpoint preamp, VPI table (can't recall the arm or cartridge). The room was huge must have been at least 20 * 30 with a 10 ft ceiling. Anyways WOW - the thing that struck me the immediately was the naturalness of the sound - it didn't have an edge to it. Effortless might be a better word. It would be years later (when I could afford it) that I took the plunge with tubes (kind of) with a Sonic Frontiers SFL-1 signature hybrid preamp. Later I bought Quad II monoblocks and an Oracle table. Still got the TT but sold Quad II monoblocks to make more space as I was running two 2ch systems in the same room (now my HT room).


As I mentioned in another post, the Quad II monoblocks are a very simple design that yields tons of sonic pleasure. These things are still highly sought after like similar tube amps of the era like the Dynaco's and Marantz's. Why would so many people be interested in these outdated, terribly measuring, low output amplfiers :) ? Probably the same reason I was interested - it just sounds good.


Sad to say I will be selling both my turntables / tonearms - the Oracle Delphi and the JA Mitchell Focus S. The good news is that I will pickup a Rega Planar 3 or 25. Always regretted in not picking up the Rega Planr 3 when I bought my JA Mitchell. I need more space now that the HT and 2 ch stereo share the same real estate.


Unquestionably, the most pleasure I have derived from listening have been from tube amplification using a decent TT and a well mastered record.
 

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Wow, looks like it's going to be difficult finding a good/easy/cheap way to clean my records. Thank you for the responses, it will definitely give me a good research starting point.


Mike, I'm with you buddy. I would have opened up that sealed $1000 MFSL UHQR Dark Side of the Moon after about a week of staring at it! For that reason alone, I have told myself (numerous times) to NOT buy the expensive sealed stuff!


Again, thanks for the guidance.


cryppie
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The first time I heard tubes was actually just about a year ago at Arizona Tube Audio ( www.tubeaudio.com ). I had gone in there to check out some ProAc speakers. I briefly auditioned the ProAcs and was really impressed, and given their namesake, they were driving them with tube amps. I didn't really think about the amps, though.


The second time I heard tubes is what really got me. My roommate and I went back to Tube Audio a few months later just too look around and they happened to have a tube amp kit, mounted on a piece of wood. You can see it here: http://www.tubeaudio.com/page23.html


Anyway, we asked the dealer the general newbie questions: "Does it work?"... Yes; "How many watts?"... 8 watts per channel; "Is that enough?".. Yes; "Can we hear it?"... Yes.


Expecting no more than the decidedly lo-fi transistor radio kits my roommate and I had to built in class when we went to ITT, we sat down as he hooked things up. CD drops in, expectations are really low, and ZOIKS, we're both washed over with very respectable sound. I've never seen my roommate's jaw drop on the ground like that and I couldn't help laughing!!! I still chuckle about it when I think of his expression that day. It just was ridiculously good for a PCB stuck on a piece of wood.


That's what had me sold on the concept of tubes. When I finally ran into some reviews of the AV-8 and their bargain-basement price, I called up Tube Audio and had them ship me a pair (I'm living in TX now).


-Mike...
 

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Talked to your people at Arizona Hi-Fi mentioned in the previous post. Vey knowledgable people, Gave me some very good advice on what to buy in different price ranges. I will be doing some business with them soon.

___

They do have a very nice Tube Clock on there website for sale. I ordered one today. Take a look at it its very nice looking.
 
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