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lemarquis

From Tube amp back to SS. Who has done it?

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12 minutes ago, lemarquis said:

Funnily enough, the Cafad and Terry O review was rather mitigated. 

Jeff and Terry, Terry and Jeff. Those boys get together at Terry's and drink too much beer! No just joking, they have a great time. Wish I was up that way. I got the impression you were after something very warm and smooth. Is this what you read?

 

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14 minutes ago, blakey72 said:

Jeff and Terry, Terry and Jeff. Those boys get together at Terry's and drink too much beer! No just joking, they have a great time. Wish I was up that way. I got the impression you were after something very warm and smooth. Is this what you read?

 

That's the one. The Opera Consonance isn't really warm and smooth. It's very detailed, has great bottom end and dynamics.  I think I'd need to go a bit higher end than the Exposure.

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25 minutes ago, mwhouston said:

 

For absolute detail, super bass control and clean mids and treble the Ds can’t be beat and with tube preamps I’m getting the best of both worlds.

 

Im yet to here an SS amp, vintage or modern, which really shakes me. At best I have only been stirred. Good luck with your search. 

 

 

I do enjoy your blog! I have my eye on the Hypex  Class D modules kit. Looks like that's a good way forward with a tube pre.

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2 minutes ago, lemarquis said:

That's the one. The Opera Consonance isn't really warm and smooth. It's very detailed, has great bottom end and dynamics.  I think I'd need to go a bit higher end than the Exposure.

Yeah that;s fair enough. Have you asked Cafads opinion?

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6 hours ago, lemarquis said:

Thanks Peter. Out of interest what kind of SS set up did you go back to?

I went nuts for a while on Accuphase gear. 

 

Which speakers are you using? 

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1 minute ago, Peter_F said:

I went nuts for a while on Accuphase gear. 

 

Which speakers are you using? 

Osborn Eos Reference. I've heard good things about Accuphase, Luxman, McIntosh et al. Subject to my budget of course...

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6 hours ago, betty boop said:

oh theres hybrid integrated too if what looking for... valve pre and SS power :) and some mighty fine ones at various price points....

 

id keep options open if happy to explore both :) 

This should definitely be considered. Vincent and Unison Research make some good ones. Or yes Tubes in Source another option.

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3 hours ago, lemarquis said:

I had been thinking of Class D, especially the more recent implementations. Can you tell me more about that experience after tubes?

 

D class is not hot or heavy for a start.

 

D class has amazing detail and control. Found the uppers to be hard thus the tubes on the input side.

 

Much like our Houston said upthread which is understandable because it's one of his tripaths.

 

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Why not have the best of both worlds with a Tube Pre and a SS power amp?
 

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I had a Copland CSA29 in my system for a while, Hybrid Valves in the pre and 80 watts SS output.

Running a Nelson Pass First Watt DIY  M2x and B1 pre amp these days with MOSFETs in both pre and power.

Only 25 watts but very nice watts.

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I Just did this this week! 

 

However have def thought about going tube pre with SS power.

 

Anyway, i moved from an Audion Sterling El34 amp into a Vintage Sansui AU X -701.

 

I had only one weekend with the Sansui, but i tell already the Sansui is gong to be soooo right!

 

Both amps were great, the ss has the better definition, clarity and power while still keeping, what i would describe as 'the space between the music' a tube like trait.

 

IMO not all SS amps have that trait.

 

cheers Damo

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I went from class A Pass Aleph to all tubes SunAudio and McChanson. Phono is also a tube amp. I don t think i would ever go back to SS. Maybe hybrid with another Pass Amp for the bass.

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Just now, maxsimonjp said:

I went from class A Pass Aleph to all tubes SunAudio and McChanson. Phono is also a tube amp. I don t think i would ever go back to SS. Maybe hybrid with another Pass Amp for the bass.

There are lots of amps which will give you good bass. It’s the mids we should lookout for today. 

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This might be worth a look

 

 

Edited by Pops110

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It's a very interesting discussion! I'm certain that on a money-no-object budget, there are SS and tube amplifiers which are equally thrilling.

On a severely monetarily challenged budget, I went from SS to SS to SS and found myself on a merry-go-round of interesting improvements without ever getting a sense that I was in the midst of the performance.

 

I'm off that merry-go-round, but it has been more by chance than design.

 

My first tube amp is my last, but it has changed phenomenally over the last few years. I heard Joe Rasmussen's JLTi-modded Chinese Yaqin KT-88 based amp (Joe's version 2) at an Audiophile Society of NSW meeting, and fell in love with the near-realism I was hearing. At that time I was running an Arcam Alpha 10 + 9P which was pretty good. But the JLTi Yaqin was on a different planet. I found a Mark 1 version on eBay (apparently the 2nd one Joe had ever modified), bought it and listened to it - none of the magic of the Mark 2 version I'd heard. I sent it on to Joe to modify and it came back to me as the first hint that I might experience live-performance-quality music in my own listening room. That came somewhat closer with Mark 3 and Mark 4. Still it was nothing like listening to a classical concert (which I do many times each year).

 

A couple of months ago, Joe introduced me to his new prototype version, which was an almost total rethink of tube amplification. I expected a step up. I did NOT expect a complete personal re-evaluation of what recorded music can sound like. I convinced him to modify mine (the first unit upgraded to "Mark 5"). And I've been revelling in it ever since.

My brother is a professional musician and music arranger. He was gobsmacked by the sound.

 

My wife has had little interest in my sound system. She commented a couple of weeks ago how beautiful the music is out of my system. We'd been married nearly 40 years and I had never heard words like that come out of her mouth about hi-fi.

 

Truth is, it is no longer a pure tube amp. It now uses a SS (MOSFET + transformers) front end to drive up the transconductance needed for his power tubes, beyond anything he can get from a tube front end. So maybe I've gone back to SS after all, but not really - it's the power tubes which do the real magic, once they are sufficiently primed.

I know you are in Melbourne, but, if you want to change your opinion back again, pop up to Sydney for the Sydney Audio Club meeting on August 18 and you'll hear the world's first public audition of this amazing amp. I guarantee you will not leave unaffected.

 

Cheers

Warren

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On 03/06/2019 at 3:08 PM, Ittaku said:

Never been able to give them up. Tried lots of SS and they never bring that magic that tips things towards realism and have ended up buying valves since I started buying them 25 years ago. Your mileage may vary.

It’s that syrupy like honey sound of arc tube, mine is only a vsi75 and I’m hooked when I first auditioned mine, I have an SS luxman and a rotel, cannot compare.👍👍👍

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29 minutes ago, Warren M. said:

Truth is, it is no longer a pure tube amp. It now uses a SS (MOSFET + transformers) front end to drive up the transconductance needed for his power tubes, beyond anything he can get from a tube front end. So maybe I've gone back to SS after all, but not really - it's the power tubes which do the real magic, once they are sufficiently primed.

Thanks for a very interesting post Warren. I would love to hear that if I can make it. More generally, I'm very happy with the sound I'm getting from the Opera Consonance tube integrated. I also have an option to upgrade to the 100W model but frankly I'm trying to see if I can find find a sound as good or better without the :"maintenance" issues associated with tubes, plus a bit more grunt along the way.

 

Apart from the usual Class A, A/B suspects, it looks like a lot of good things happening on the Class D front. Some of the recent implementations of the Hypex modules are said to be right up there; So far this looks like a valve Pre with SS monoblocks scenario unless an integrated version turns up.

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Anyone who has read my rantings over the last couple of years would know in that time I have gone from a SS to a tube convert big time.

 

That was up until I recently purchased a couple of Music Fidelity 550k Superchargers, these two switchable in-line boosters and or Mono blocks have seriously changed my system for the better and for only a few dollars., they are simply the best bang for buck purchase I have made and when used as inline booster they have turned my favourite PrimaLuna Integrated in to 550 watts of tube goodness.

Disconnect the PL and bolt in the Mystere CA21 tube pre and flick a switch on the back of each  Supercharger and they become 550 watt mono blocks that take on almost faithfully the sonics of the Mystere tube pre-amp to a degree that it is almost spooky.

 

So am I still a tube man, yes I am 100% ... providing I can keep the Superchargers. ... :winky:

 

cheers Terry

Edited by TerryO

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1 minute ago, TerryO said:

Anyone who has read my rantings over the last couple of years would know in that time I have gone from a SS to a tube convert big time.

 

That was up until I recently purchased a couple of Music Fidelity 550k Superchargers, these two switchable in-line boosters and or Mono blocks have seriously changed my system for the better and for only a few dollars., they are simply the best bang for buck purchase I have made and when used as inline booster they have turned my favourite PrimaLuna Integrated in to 550 watts of tube goodness.

Disconnect the PL and bolt in the Mystere CA21 tube pre and flick a switch on the back of each  Supercharger and they become 550 watt mono blocks that take on almost faithfully the sonics of the Mystere tube pre-amp to a degree that it is almost spooky.

 

So am I still a tube man, yes I am 100% ... providing I can keep the Superchargers.

 

cheers Terry

Easy to see how black and white can quickly turn to 50 shades of grey. Tube amp with SS booster? 

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1 hour ago, Warren M. said:

It's a very interesting discussion! I'm certain that on a money-no-object budget, there are SS and tube amplifiers which are equally thrilling.

On a severely monetarily challenged budget, I went from SS to SS to SS and found myself on a merry-go-round of interesting improvements without ever getting a sense that I was in the midst of the performance.

 

I'm off that merry-go-round, but it has been more by chance than design.

 

My first tube amp is my last, but it has changed phenomenally over the last few years. I heard Joe Rasmussen's JLTi-modded Chinese Yaqin KT-88 based amp (Joe's version 2) at an Audiophile Society of NSW meeting, and fell in love with the near-realism I was hearing. At that time I was running an Arcam Alpha 10 + 9P which was pretty good. But the JLTi Yaqin was on a different planet. I found a Mark 1 version on eBay (apparently the 2nd one Joe had ever modified), bought it and listened to it - none of the magic of the Mark 2 version I'd heard. I sent it on to Joe to modify and it came back to me as the first hint that I might experience live-performance-quality music in my own listening room. That came somewhat closer with Mark 3 and Mark 4. Still it was nothing like listening to a classical concert (which I do many times each year).

 

A couple of months ago, Joe introduced me to his new prototype version, which was an almost total rethink of tube amplification. I expected a step up. I did NOT expect a complete personal re-evaluation of what recorded music can sound like. I convinced him to modify mine (the first unit upgraded to "Mark 5"). And I've been revelling in it ever since.

My brother is a professional musician and music arranger. He was gobsmacked by the sound.

 

My wife has had little interest in my sound system. She commented a couple of weeks ago how beautiful the music is out of my system. We'd been married nearly 40 years and I had never heard words like that come out of her mouth about hi-fi.

 

Truth is, it is no longer a pure tube amp. It now uses a SS (MOSFET + transformers) front end to drive up the transconductance needed for his power tubes, beyond anything he can get from a tube front end. So maybe I've gone back to SS after all, but not really - it's the power tubes which do the real magic, once they are sufficiently primed.

I know you are in Melbourne, but, if you want to change your opinion back again, pop up to Sydney for the Sydney Audio Club meeting on August 18 and you'll hear the world's first public audition of this amazing amp. I guarantee you will not leave unaffected.

 

Cheers

Warren

Ampzilla does the same thing, SS front end driving doubled up 300Bs. Can’t comment of the sound, haven’t heard it and won’t comment until I do. It would be wrong regardless how I feel about tubes and SS and tubySS! 

 

Once more it’s about synergy. “This goes with that at Susan” type of mix. Getting the mix right, tubes or any shade of grey is the trick. Gear focused folk can struggle with this - music lovers don’t. 

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17 minutes ago, mwhouston said:

Ampzilla does the same thing, SS front end driving doubled up 300Bs. Can’t comment of the sound, haven’t heard it and won’t comment until I do. It would be wrong regardless how I feel about tubes and SS and tubySS! 

 

Once more it’s about synergy. “This goes with that at Susan” type of mix. Getting the mix right, tubes or any shade of grey is the trick. Gear focused folk can struggle with this - music lovers don’t. 

My understanding is that James Bongiorno's Ampzilla was solid state, and is essentially the design on which many massive class AB solid state power amps are based today.

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This is the one I was thinking of. 

DE56B051-D63C-4DD3-8C9A-00B4B1B339B4.png

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8 hours ago, mwhouston said:

This is the one I was thinking of. 

DE56B051-D63C-4DD3-8C9A-00B4B1B339B4.png

Ampzilla does the same thing, SS front end driving doubled up 300Bs. Can’t comment of the sound, haven’t heard it and won’t comment until I do. It would be wrong regardless how I feel about tubes and SS and tubySS! 

Interesting. Not 300Bs. Most emphatically NOT Joe Bongiorno's (100% solid state) Ampzilla.

 

And these Kronzilla monoblocs are definitely not for the financially challenged, at US$20,000 per channel (a tad under AU$70,000 the pair after duties GST and shipping)!

 

Fundamentally different design from Joe Rasmussen's new JLTi completely re-engineered Line Magnetic and Yaqin switchable power/integrated push-pull amps.

 

Like these Kronzillas, Joe's amps have no global feedback, no caps in the signal path, no op amps, and a very similar 40 "practically" class A watts per channel, but that's more-or-less where the similarities end.

 

You can buy one of Joe's amps for way under 10% of a pair of these "Kronzilla" monsters.

 

And you don't need to be concerned that you need to wait for an hour or three after switching on before the sound stabilises. Maybe my ears are defective, but Joe's push-pull amps sound identical to me after 10 minutes warm-up or 10 hours listening.

 

Single-ended electricity-gobbling house-heater amps like the Kronzillas need to stay on more-or-less all the time because the timbres change so substantially until the temperature becomes absolutely stable. I guess if you can afford the Kronzilla cost of admission, you can also afford the electricity to run them 24/7 and to air-con the room at the same time.

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With all my low wattage tube amps, generally SE UL types, I have them on for an hour before serious listening. Currently with class D power amps and tube (6SN7) preamps I like them on for 20 mins before sitting down for the afternoon’s four hour session. 

 

I disagree  with leaving any system parts on 24/7. If gear is used very regularly an hour should be enough warm up time. I have found with Mundorf foil and oil caps firstly from new there are distorted and fuzzy and this take about two hours to go away. Also if I don’t use the unit with them in for a few weeks they take about 20mins to settle again. 

 

If gear is very regularly used one hour warm up should be enough. Even speakers have definitely a break in period (probably 100hours of music) and a little warmup time once broken in.  I make a lot of DIY gear mostly from brand new parts. I try to get 20hours+ on them before real evaluation (and enjoyment) and inviting others for a listen. 

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51 minutes ago, mwhouston said:

With all my low wattage tube amps, generally SE UL types, I have them on for an hour before serious listening. Currently with class D power amps and tube (6SN7) preamps I like them on for 20 mins before sitting down for the afternoon’s four hour session. 

 

I disagree  with leaving any system parts on 24/7. If gear is used very regularly an hour should be enough warm up time. I have found with Mundorf foil and oil caps firstly from new there are distorted and fuzzy and this take about two hours to go away. Also if I don’t use the unit with them in for a few weeks they take about 20mins to settle again. 

 

If gear is very regularly used one hour warm up should be enough.

I'm not disputing what you say, but these are 42W per channel single ended pure class A - you can be pretty sure that they will take vastly more than an hour to stabilise each time you switch them on.

Edited by Warren M.

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