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Want to get started with a tube amp setup..


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Guest David H

Welcome to the forums. Choosig a tube amp is tough and reccomending one is worse. I like the 6BQ5/EL-84, but I have heard alot of tube amps with other tubes that sound fantastic as well.

What power range are you looking for? 20w 50W 100W? How much do you want to spend?

Dave

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I have a pair of Rb-5 II's powered by a Denon AVR-3805. Not sure about all I need to get a decent sounding setup running and what the rough costs will be. Looking for some suggestions por favor! Big Smile

Check on ebay,lots of mcintosh stuff there but not cheap.
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When coupled with a high

efficiency loudspeaker, there are few reasonably priced, solid state amplifiers

that can truly provide the same warm, lush and three-dimensional image of a

tube amplifier. I would start, and most probably finish, with refurbished,

vintage integrated tube amplifiers (VITA) such as those models that frequent

forum poster Craig works on at NOSvalves.com (http://www.nosvalves.com/queue.htm).

Most of these models will sound excellent with your high-efficiency loudspeakers.

The VITAs are a bargain compared to the cost of modern tube amps, but... But they

must be refurbished. Unlike solid-state equipment, which suddenly stops dead

when any little ingredient is off spec, tube equipment keeps running. Except

the sound quality slowly heads south for the winter...and never returns. Aging tube

bias, filters, capacitors and knobs have to be checked, cleaned, replaced or

upgraded. Craig has a better reputation than any politician can dream of. His

refurbishing fills the lungs of middle age amps and makes them stand up straight

again! Although inconvenient, and damn hard to wait for, refurbishing a low

cost VITA for high-efficiency loudspeakers provides sonic qualities that rival

modern units at several times the price.

One of the very best sounding,

meaning solid bass plus all of the delicious musicality of tubes, that I

reviewed for EnjoyTheMusic.com on big ole horns was the Delta amp (http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0306/delta_studio_6s33s.htm).

I heard, but have not seriously auditioned,

yet!, Craig's new VRD amps. (http://www.nosvalves.com/vrd.htm)

They are just as good as the Deltas and the powerful Quads I heard at DaddyDee's

Klipsch gathering in Arkansas (now five years ago)!

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Most of these models will sound excellent with your high-efficiency loudspeakers. The VITAs are a bargain compared to the cost of modern tube amps, but... But they must be refurbished. Unlike solid-state equipment, which suddenly stops dead when any little ingredient is off spec, tube equipment keeps running. Except the sound quality slowly heads south for the winter...and never returns. Aging tube bias, filters, capacitors and knobs have to be checked, cleaned, replaced or upgraded. Craig has a better reputation than any politician can dream of. His refurbishing fills the lungs of middle age amps and makes them stand up straight again! Although inconvenient, and *** hard to wait for, refurbishing a low cost VITA for high-efficiency loudspeakers provides sonic qualities that rival modern units at several times the price.

If you follow Colin's advice, here is just the amp for you. Read the comments from others.

Frank

http://community.klipsch.com/forums/t/136550.aspx

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BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET. Need to know your budget.

But if your looking for the most "Bang For The Buck", and want something new and/or barely used. Hang around the Garage Sale forum, and pick up a pair of Craig's (aka NOSValves) VRD's mono-amps and try and find one of Mark Deneen's (aka mdeneen) Juicey Music "Peach" or Blueberry" pre-amps. These are modern-day tubed gear, and when couple together they make for some serious kickasss music listening, especially when mated to a pair of Klipsch speakers.

If you want to go nostolgic, i.e. vintage Marantz, McIntosh, Luxman, Fisher, Scott....... you better know who your buying the gear from. Go to NOSValves website or other sites like AudioClassics. If you buy your gear from either of these guys, you won't need to worry about a thing.... plug and play. I've been through lots of gear, and I mean "lots of tubed gear", vintage Luxman, VRD's, McIntosh, and Marantz. They all make killer muic sound systems. If you buy vintage gear from ebay, you better believe that it needs to go to a Tech, almost immediately. Voice of experience; been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt.

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When I first started on this site I too wanted to get into tube amplification. I bought my first tube amp right here in the garage sale section. I have enjoyed many hours of listening with them. They are plenty powerful for my heresy and cornwall speakers.

http://community.klipsch.com/forums/p/123245/1247520.aspx#1247520

These can be found new on Ebay. Here is a link to a set the were sold on an accepted offer of $650. They list them on ebay for 750.00

http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Dared-vp-20-tube-6L6-monoblocks-USB-DAC-module-/140419777021?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20b1abc1fd

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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I'll be looking into these options shortly and pricing things out.

As has been said....what's the budget? What kind of power needs do you have?

I have had the following tube amps:

McIntosh MC-30's (monoblocks 30 watts each)
McIntosh MC-2102 (2x100)
George Wright 2A3 (monoblocks at 3 1/2 watts ? each)
Viva 300B SET (2x8)
Transcendent Sound SE-OTL (monoblocks at 4 watts each)
Jolida 502A (2x60 give or take I also forget the exact model)
Quad II monoblocks (15 watts each)

Of all those, I personally found the OTL amps to be the most spooky real. I sold all the others and finally, not being able to live with 4 watts, I sold the OTL's. The next tube amp I buy (if I do) will be an OTL type amp.

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What about some of the 70's receiver's from Sansui, Marantz, Sherwood, etc? I have heard they have a tube like sound as well and for budget reasons are good buys.

I remember growing up; my father had JBL 3 ways (not sure if 12 or 15" woofers) mated to a Sansui 9090(I believe).

Our whole house used to resonate with The Beatles, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison......

Back then, I did not realize how nice this system truly was...... It's definitely not tubes, but I think if the OP can find a nice Sansui receiver from the mid '70s, he would have a nice starting point.....

That being said; he specifically said tubes...... So...... [:#]

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Based on what you posted and the system in your tagline, I'm guessing that the RB-5s are for stereo only.

I will reiterate what others have said....how much do you want to spend?

Also, how big is the room? What kind of music do you like and what is your typical listening level? This will give us an idea of how much power you need.

According to the measurements in this review (http://www.audio-ideas.com/reviews/loudspeakers/klipsch-rb5.html), the original RB-5 was very efficient and a pretty easy load for the amp. Probably safe to assume yours measure very similarly.

If I were you, I would definitely look for a small number of high quality watts to hook them up to. The previous recommendations of vintage integrated tube amps is definitely a good fit, if they are refurbished. Since you are new to tubes, I would call one of the guys who fixes them and ask what sounds good AND is easy to maintain.

Part of the easy to maintain part is that it should use tubes that are currently in production. There are lots of amps out there that use tubes you can't reliably find any more. That will make life a lot more difficult/expensive for you.

I would be less enthusiastic about buying a monster receiver from the 70s & 80s. Reliability will be a problem at this age and they are far more complicated than the tube integrateds already mentioned. Similarly to the out-of-production tubes above, there are LOTS of transistors that are out-of-prodcution. My experience with such receivers tells me that sonically you are better off with tubed Scott, Eico or Fisher.

Do some homework on Scott, Eico and Fisher and ask back here about any particular model you are interested in.

Jeff

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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I'll be looking into these options shortly and pricing things out.

As has been said....what's the budget? What kind of power needs do you have?

I have had the following tube amps:

McIntosh MC-30's (monoblocks 30 watts each)
McIntosh MC-2102 (2x100)
George Wright 2A3 (monoblocks at 3 1/2 watts ? each)
Viva 300B SET (2x8)
Transcendent Sound SE-OTL (monoblocks at 4 watts each)
Jolida 502A (2x60 give or take I also forget the exact model)
Quad II monoblocks (15 watts each)

Of all those, I personally found the OTL amps to be the most spooky real. I sold all the others and finally, not being able to live with 4 watts, I sold the OTL's. The next tube amp I buy (if I do) will be an OTL type amp.

Very interesting Coytee, very interesting.

I've never sampled (in my own listening evironment) a pair of low vattage mono's, at least not below 30 vatts. Which is still more power than I need to blow my ceiling off vith zee Klipsch heritage. Maybe an OTL type ampemzeeflier could be in my near future?

I respect your opinion commrad, because I know gou've been throught zee gear. What ampenzeeflier vouldst you recommend zee here? Unce, I need to drive a pair of industrial heresys in an office environment, vhere zee volumes vill never get unce crazy.

I vill vee vatching gu.

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post-12381-13819618333448_thumb.jpg

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Well Mr. Gilbert,

I owned the Transcendent Sound SE-OTL's.

http://www.transcendentsound.com/

They were used on my Khorns and at 4 watts each, never punched my power ticket. (even the Viva SET at 8 watts didn't do it for me even though it was being used as a biamp and was powering ONLY the K402.....but it came close, doing about 80% of my needs)

Since I'm biamping and have the XLR outputs on the active crossover, I'm thinking I might end up with the Beasts and they would run just the K402 though I'm sure I would try them both on a single Jubilee and see how they work on the bass bin. I have a hard time thinking the Beast will smoke a Crown K2 on my woofers but am willing to try.

Given your comments above, I would wonder if the T-16 would be enough to float your boat?

There are other OTL brands out there, this is the only experience I have personally had. I think LarryC has an Atmosphere OTL amp. I think he also loves it but I'm not 100% sure that's the right brand.

I also think JC has a Transcendent OTL amp in his playpen of toys... if he has it, I don't know that he's ever hooked it up as he's never said much about it. Either I'm wrong and he doesn't have one or maybe he wasn't as thrilled with it and prefers to keep quiet....or maybe he's not heard it yet.

Regardless.... unless I find something used when I'm in the market to buy, I will most likely go with the Beast. (stupid name if you ask me)

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