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The Klipsch Audio Community


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About rhing

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    South Carolina
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    Denon DJ VL12 Prime direct drive turntable, Talisman Alchemist IIB MC cartridge, Sony ES NS999ES DVD/SACD/CD player, Audio Research PH5 vacuum tube phono stage preamp, Audio Research LS7 vacuum tube line stage preamp, rebuilt McIntosh MC240 vacuum tube power amplifier, rebuilt and modified Dynakit Stereo 35 vacuum tube amplifier, Wiener 2.0 TI TPA3118 PBTL (dual mono) Class D amplifier (diyAudio.com group buy), TI TPA3255EVM BTL Class D amplifier, rebuilt and modified Klipsch Forte II floorstanding speakers, KEF LS50 bookshelf speakers

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  1. The Pass Labs and First Watt amplifiers are built with different design philosophies. Pass Labs amps are built to work with a wide range of high end audio speaker systems—some which represent very difficult loads, while most First Watt amplifiers are designed for high sensitivity speaker systems like horns and full range single driver systems with minimal crossovers. Not sure if meaningful apples-to-apples comparisons can be made since they are designed for different purposes. Having attended several Burning Amplifier Festivals in San Francisco including the last one a month ago, I can tell you that Nelson Pass’ passions are with the First Watt and Pass DIY crowds.
  2. When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I used to attend the San Francisco Tube Users Group meetings at the small auditorium in the Randall Museum. We used a pair of Klipsch Chorus speakers that were re-capped by one of the members. I hope the group still gets together, because I met some really great people in that group, had the opportunity to learn from others, and hear some great gear. The class should be very educational and the hands-on building experience is priceless. It’s a great way to get into DIY audio.
  3. When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had the privilege of meeting Roger when he moved his operation from Santa Barbara to El Cerrito to start up a school to teach others about audio electronics. Roger was highly opinionated and eccentric. He was a true genius with designing and building audio electronics, and he was generous in lending me some of his creations. He taught me about A/B testing and showed my friends and me how his amps were both musical and iconoclastic in terms of their design. He was in the process of releasing a fantastic sounding OTL tube amp and a budget-friendly tube preamp. He auditioned a pair of electrostatic speakers with a pair of subs that sounded open and lively with his RM-200 Mk II power amp. He also regularly attended San Francisco Audio Society and Burning Amp DIY Audio events, and shared his opinions about boutique components, exotic cables and point-to-point wiring vs. printed circuits. I will miss him.
  4. The Elekit TU-8600R with upgrades including Lundahl output transformers is high on my list. https://diyaudiostore.com/products/elekit-tu-8600r
  5. Just a little bit with the pots. I still need to set up a distortion analyzer to measure harmonic distortion and phase. Setting the test points, T7 and T8, to 10 VDC works well for my ears.
  6. I just built this kit offered through the diyAudio.com store and Nelson Pass. It is Nelson Pass’ JFET B1 buffer married with a Korg NuTube dual triode. The Korg NuTube dual triode is essentially a vacuum tube built on a Silicon wafer footprint. https://diyaudiostore.com/products/korg-nutube-b1 Having built several DIY projects, I assembled this kit over a weekend and used Duelund DCA20GA Tin-plated Copper wire for all signal connections and Kimber Kable TCSS Copper wire for DC power supply connections. The chassis fits very nicely together to make a very professional-looking preamp. The Korg NuTube provides gain, so this is an active preamp with two line-level inputs. I brought this preamp with me to Northern California recently and tried this preamp in a couple systems at friends’ homes. The preamp was used with a Conrad-Johnson MV75-A1 tube power amp driving KEF Reference 101 monitors, and with a Texas Instruments TPA3255EVM Class D power amp driving a pair of Klipsch Forte II speakers. In both cases, this little gem performed very well creating a deep soundstage with holographic imaging as most tube preamps do. The detail and tonality are excellent and this preamp is really quiet. Even better is that this dual triode runs cool. Nelson Pass has even recommended leaving the preamp powered on all the time with the kit-supplied wall wart power supply. You can read this lengthy forum thread on this preamp where some people have installed film caps instead of the electrolytic caps that fit the PCB, installed stepped attenuators and tweaks for taming tube microphony. https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/pass-labs/313612-b1-korg-triode.html
  7. When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area several years ago, I had an opportunity to attend the San Francisco Vacuum Tube Users Group where the group had a shootout between several vintage tube amps of varying designs including the Marantz 8B. The group used to meet at the Randall Museum auditorium which sat maybe 100 to 175 people and used a pair of Klipsch Chorus II speakers. Among the amps which included a fine our of Fisher monoblocks (sorry I do not recall which ones), the Marantz 8B was the most musical amp of the group. Like vintage Mac tube amps, you would have to carefully search for a Marantz 8/8B in good shape or properly rebuilt. With careful shopping, you will be rewarded for your efforts.
  8. Wish I could join, but I just moved back to South Carolina from Minnesota. I now have my full complement of amps working with my Klipsch Forte II’s.
  9. When I still lived in California several years ago, Roger Modjeski was generous in coming to my home and joining other friends to try a few of his tube amps including his RM-10 MkII EL84/6BQ5 amp in my system, which includes an upgraded pair of Klipsch Forte II’s. We compared it to my Dave Gillespie EFB-modified, rebuilt Dynakit Stereo 35 tube. Even though I have not heard the Forte III’s, I would think they perform similarly as my Forte II’s based on their specifications. From our listening sessions performing a true blind ABX comparison with matched levels, the RM-10 MkII and Dynakit Stereo 35 were very close in performance. That said, both amps sounded fantastic driving the Klipsch Forte II’s with a wide range of material. You will need an equally great preamp and source to work wonders with the RM-10 MkII and Klipsch Forte III’s. My tube line stage is an Audio Research LS7, and this combination was stellar. The RM-10 MkII is among one of my favorite amps. Roger put a lot into that amp’s design with custom wound transformers, point-to-point wiring and a solid tube biasing system.
  10. I would also recommend using the Dueland DCA16GA or DCA12GA Cotton-insulated, Tin-plated Copper wire for speaker wire. It’s not terribly expensive, and you’ll be amazed at how this wire will enhance your listening pleasure.
  11. Nice work. I used some Dynakitparts.com components in restoring an original Stereo 35. I went further and purchased Dave Gillespie’s Enhanced Fixed Bias (EFB) circuit board to improve the performance of the amp. The EFB modification reduces distortion, increases headroom and extends power tube life. I highly recommend this modification of an already fine amp. http://tronola.com/html/daves_store.html You will be rewarded with cleaner and smoother mids and highs, and a better defined bass. It sounds like the amp is weightier and more powerful, but still maintains that rich EL84/6BQ5 tone.
  12. Well I’ve finally moved to a home with a dedicated listening room and I have been able to get a lot of my equipment out of storage and hook up my Klipsch Forte II’s to the Pass DIY Sony VFET amp. Wow! I thought the Pass amp amp performed exceptionally driving the less efficient KEF LS50’s, but this combination of the Klipsch Forte II’s and Pass DIY amp is on another level. I feel like this amp was made for speakers like these. The bass is deeper with more punch and the whole package is more dynamic and lively, but still very refined with detail, tone and timbre. The soundstage is huge and deep as most people have observed with this amp. I was also able to get my rebuilt McIntosh MC240 tube P-P amp out of storage and I plan a shootout between “Papa” (what most people at diyAudio.com refer to Nelson Pass as) and “Mac Daddy” (my MC240).
  13. Joe, You did a tremendous job with building both of those amps. Your dual-mono Sony VFET has to be challenging with the tight quarters of the chassis. I am curious how the Burning Amp compares to the Sony VFET amp. The reason I ask is because a good friend of mine used to own a Pass Labs Aleph 3 years ago and regretted selling it. Is the Burning Amp remotely close to the Sony VFET in terms of sound quality, and how many watts does the Burning Amp output? He owns a pair of KEF Reference 101 monitors (basically BBC LS3/5A monitors with an 8 ohm nominal impedance). Rich
  14. After about 15 hours of total play time, this amplifier is starting to settle in. The bass notes are more complete with detail, depth and sustenance. The soundstage is still growing in all three dimensions, separation and space are coming into better focus, and the dynamic range has also increased with greater slam and transient response. This is a very solid amplifier and I can certainly understand why many would prefer this amp over a tube amp. In fact, it bears some resemblance to my McIntosh MC240 6L6 push-pull stereo amp with that holographic presentation, warmth and body. Even though my Forte II's are in storage, my KEF LS50's are doing a respectable job of creating room-filling sound. I can understand where many Klipsch Heritage or classic Altec horn-based speaker owners would be very pleased with an amplifier of this calibre generating 15 high quality watts into 8 ohms. I have posted on these forums about my push-pull tube amps and some really good Texas Instruments Class D amps, and this Nelson Pass designed amp is one of the best in my amplifier collection. It really has the soul of a tube amp, but it also has the desirable hallmarks of a solid state amplifier. It is an incredibly musical amplifier that allows me to get lost in the music. I really cannot rank my amps, because some are in storage or just don't work well with my KEF LS50's for a fresh comparison, but what I can say is that I will be keeping this Pas DIY amp in my system for a while.
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