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Tube amps for home stereo

oakfloor

Member
Messages
962
As many have said, the amp and speakers have to “get along”, so to speak. I have a Fisher KX-200 I had refurbished and it was just fantastic with a pair of Klipsch Heresy.

I also have a McIntosh 275 that didn’t pair well with my KEF Reference 4.2 so I replaced it in that duty with a Parasound A21; perfect. I still use a tube preamp with it.

Tube stereo can be very cool, and I like it, but truth be told, there are fabulous SS components out there.

I do like tube preamp with SS power amp as the ideal combo.
Yup a good combo, tubed amps can be fussy about speaker loads, and some folks just don't want to deal with expensive power tubes.
 
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sa1126

Member
Messages
2,496
I use an Audio Nirvana 6v6 ultra linear. It sounds amazing with my setup. Solid state gear can sound good too, but this is top notch.
 

Alan Dunn

Member
Messages
1,298
Teles are a 10,000 hour tube Im told! I bought a old Harmon-Karden tubed integrated..and it had 4 Tele smooth plate blue bottoms! I keep them around for tube rolling.
I think the 10,000 hrs is conservative in a lot of hi fi applications. I've got a pair of Philips Miniwatt 12au7 [look like a mullard box plate] in my amp for 12 years and they'd be well past 10k hrs.

I threw in a pair of Russian EH tubes last month as a comparison - it sounded like someone had thrown a blanket over the speakers. Back in went the NOS tubes - happiness restored.
 

oakfloor

Member
Messages
962
I think the 10,000 hrs is conservative in a lot of hi fi applications. I've got a pair of Philips Miniwatt 12au7 [look like a mullard box plate] in my amp for 12 years and they'd be well past 10k hrs.

I threw in a pair of Russian EH tubes last month as a comparison - it sounded like someone had thrown a blanket over the speakers. Back in went the NOS tubes - happiness restored.
My current Preamp uses 6SN7's...those NOS tubes are $$$, my old Quicksilver Line Pre had 12AX7's back when they were not so expensive, needless to say I went thru dozens of them, so now I have a nice collection.
 

oakfloor

Member
Messages
962
I'm sold on solid-state for power, tubes for preamp.

In my experience, for high wattage pure, clean, immediate power then solid-state is the only answer. You get higher wattages without distortion than with a tube amp. Tube-driven power amps are fine for low watt audio, but aren't as fast as solid-state when resolving bass frequencies; they just can't physically keep up with the treble. Sag adds blurring and muddiness when you turn it up.

Distortion and sag is great for guitar amps, we love that. For higher wattage audio, go solid-state for power and use a tube preamp to sweeten it all up.
I must respectfully disagree, there are many well designed Tube power amps that perform both audibly, and on a test bench, delivering excellent test results. However I'm talking expensive high end equipment, that I will never own. Some but not all Tube amps fall short.
 
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Messages
2,693
There is no need to be respectful unless you are wrong. If the goal of audio is to reproduce fast, sufficient, distortion-free power to the speakers, then solid-state will get more than tubes with far greater efficiency. Nobody will gang eight tubes to get 150 distortion-free watts unless the objective includes heating the house.
 

Doug's Tubes

Member
Messages
10,541
There is no need to be respectful unless you are wrong. If the goal of audio is to reproduce fast, sufficient, distortion-free power to the speakers, then solid-state will get more than tubes with far greater efficiency. Nobody will gang eight tubes to get 150 distortion-free watts unless the objective includes heating the house.
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doc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,018
In the end, they're all machines to accurately reproduce music. I'm not religious about one vs the other, but of course almost all the progress going forward will be with solid state and digital amps. Having said that, my current system is a hodgepodge of approaches from various eras, and I have all tube reproducing the mids and highs, with tube pre and solid state power handling the lows.
 

fataxeman

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,024

These might sound better; I'm sure I'll never get the chance to find out.

750 watts per channel mono amp (so you need two of course).

170 pounds each and 395 pounds a pair shipping weight.

70k is the retail I believe and yes there are heavier, more powerful and more expensive power amps out there. Usually solid state.
 

oakfloor

Member
Messages
962

These might sound better; I'm sure I'll never get the chance to find out.

750 watts per channel mono amp (so you need two of course).

170 pounds each and 395 pounds a pair shipping weight.

70k is the retail I believe and yes there are heavier, more powerful and more expensive power amps out there. Usually solid state.
Cool and if one goes deaf from having 750 Watts per channel, you could always use them as a arc welder.
 

Alan Dunn

Member
Messages
1,298
Slightly off topic - but just looked at the price of Mcintosh gear and prices look to be double what I paid twelve years ago. I hope they haven't gone the way of Rolex and others who have managed to double their prices through marketing more so than improving build quality.
 

Jeff Scott

Member
Messages
1,686
Slightly off topic - but just looked at the price of Mcintosh gear and prices look to be double what I paid twelve years ago. I hope they haven't gone the way of Rolex and others who have managed to double their prices through marketing more so than improving build quality.
That is the case.
 

amigo30

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,528
275 didn't work for me with a pair of Dynaudio Contour 3.4 either - They just don't have enough grunt to drive them to their sweet spot.
I've used an MC275 with a pair of Contour 60's and it was stunning. Was it the version VI (current) of the MC275? The later versions sound much better than
the earlier ones.
 

amigo30

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,528
Slightly off topic - but just looked at the price of Mcintosh gear and prices look to be double what I paid twelve years ago. I hope they haven't gone the way of Rolex and others who have managed to double their prices through marketing more so than improving build quality.

In general, everything has been going in that direction, and McIntosh certainly isn't bucking the trend! However, they've been very well funded after some business moves, and you can see the results of that in their latest products. I'd say what they've been putting out for the past 4 or 5 years, but especially the last 2 years, is some of the best gear they've made in their entire legacy. Current gear is dramatically better then previous generations.

However, they are still innovating and making equipment in more attainable price points, such as their newer MA252 hybrid integrated and the MT2, etc.

 




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