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Pat Casey

Suggested amp/reciever for set of Belles?

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Can anyone suggest a starter amp/reciever "under $500" to pair with a set of Belles from 1979-80? I'm am new to the high end stereo world,so go easy on me. I just got them last week and am running them through an Onkyo a-9050 2channel integrated amp 75watts per channel and they sound pretty lifeless. I've tried doubling the power with a 150 watt per channel Onkyo power amp and not much better. Most people are telling me to get a tube amp and this is where my basic stereo skills end.... How much power from a tube amp is sufficent to power these? Any brand names recommended? I live in a small town with no audio store to speak of,so I will probably be purchasing through Amazon. Thanks for the help!

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Welcome Pat,

 

Power is NOT your problem. I have powered La Scalas (essentially the same as Belles) to deafening levels with a 5 watt chip amp.  I powered Belles with a vintage h/k 730 (~35w/channel) receiver. "Lifeless" was never the result.  Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to watts for Klipsch.

 

I would use a restored h/k x30 receiver, but I love to tinker.  Such a used receiver, including restoration is within your budget, but don't even think about it. You seem to need, or want, plug and play.  

 

Before throwing more power at them, loosen, clean and re-tighten each connection on the crossovers and drivers.  Make certain the speakers are wired in phase. If you want to talk in detail, send a PM.

 

image.jpeg

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Hi Pat- the tubes section of the forum contains a great deal of information about using various types of tube amps with Klipsch speakers.  If you post your question there you will generate lots of discussion.  One of the participants, William ("wdecho"), has extensive experience pairing various tube amps with his La Scalas.  I'm sure he will see your post and contribute.  Where are you located?

 

Maynard

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Pat, welcome to the forum.  Your crossovers almost certainly need to be updated with new capacitors, and it would be helpful if you could post a few photos of the speakers and the crossovers.  Hopefully you were able to verify that all of the drivers are actually working as well..  Placement and room setup are also considerations, so a description of your room, dimensions, ceiling height, carpeting, drapes, furniture will be helpful to suggest even minor tweaks to help you get the most out of your Belle's.  As has been previously stated, with these kinds of efficient speakers, more power is not the answer, but a proper, appropriate configuration certainly is.  Feel free to post more questions.

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I had the same problem with my belles. A buddy of mine came over one day and bright a vintage Sony receiver that gave the belles new life. I bought the receiver from him as fast as possible. There is something skit vintage receivers that pairs well with vintage klipsch speakers. I just bought a pair of klipschorns. For an initial test I hooked them up to my home theater setup (denon receiver and a Yamaha 120 watts per channel) and they were less than impressive. I then hooked them up to a Lafayette LR-990 receiver from 1977 and they sounde great. I'm picking up a Pioneer sx-1010 tonight to try with them, should be even better.

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The Yaqin suggestion above is good, as is the older HK amp. I have used similar amps on K-horns and La Scala with good results.  Just to throw something more modern in there, take a look at the NAD and Teac little class D units. Excellent sound and with built in DACs. I currently use a Teac with my K-horns and have no desire to upgrade.

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First post here, I just joined today.

 

I have a set of 1984 Belles with Crites tweeters and crossovers. I use a Decware Select Zen Triode with 2.3 watts and have been thrilled with the amplifier. I came from a 19 year old Jolida tube 502 60WPC integrated that I keep on "standby" when louder volume is necessary. I have yet to use the Jolida since I got the Decware amp in April and believe it or not, I am still capable of pissing off the neighbors with 2.3 watts! I could not be happier with the Decware amp. 

Entry level Decware Zen Triode msrp 995.00

My Select Zen Triode with some options was 1400.00

They do show up used on occasion but they tend to sell very quickly.

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10 hours ago, tube fanatic said:

Hi Pat- the tubes section of the forum contains a great deal of information about using various types of tube amps with Klipsch speakers.  If you post your question there you will generate lots of discussion.  One of the participants, William ("wdecho"), has extensive experience pairing various tube amps with his La Scalas.  I'm sure he will see your post and contribute.  Where are you located?

 

Maynard

Thanks for the info. I am in Nacogdoches Texas,which is hallway between Dallas and Houston but closer to the Louisiana border.

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Welcome to the forum Pat. Although I haven't had time to get into tube amps, they do great with Klipsch. For 2 channel listening, digital amps haven't had the sound that i like. What's worked best for me has been receivers and amps from the 70s and 80s. A few such as Marantz, Sansui, Pioneer, Yamaha, HK etc...

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The old twin-powered HK X30 series stereo receivers are great because even at low RATED watts RMS per channel, they have the ability to provide the oompf for complex passages, without draining power from one channel to the other due to their twin power supplies, while other single power supply items just pale by comparison.   All you really need is an H/K 430!...rated at 25 WPC RMS!

 

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Welcome to the madness! I have two pair of Belles and have used several power sources, none of which sounded "lifeless" so I would have to agree with Jim that the x overs need a little updating. Post photos and suggestions will come flowing in. I have used a small chip amp and they still sounded great. Currently my main set is powered by a NAD 356 integrated amp (80 watts) and they sound great. It is a little over your budget but the next step down, the 316 is under budget and with 40 watts of good clean power, would be plenty for Belles depending on your room size and listening habits, but will still rock out. Just my 2 cents. Enjoy them.

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Hello Pat

 

i told you that the two channel area would get you more traction. Lots of good info here. Wdecho knows his stuff for darn sure! And HDBR has been promoting the vintage HK for years and has made a lot of folks happy with his recco. Can't go wrong listening to either. 

I chuckle at the know it alls that request drape color, ceiling height , length of carpet shag etc. as if any of that info is going to change their lunkhead perspective. I've seen the same people ask those questions over and over and while in the end room set up is important, I've never witnessed the serial askers of those questions make a recommendation based on that input. 

If you have any interest in trying a nice single ended tube amp let me know. I have a Justin Webber (forum member) built amp that I am not using and you would be more than welcome to borrow it. Just let me know 

Info is here 

Little Ben – Single Ended Tube Amp

Little Ben was drawn from the idea that some customers required more than 1 watt of sweet tube power, but couldn’t afford the all-out nature of Big Ben. Little Ben uses iron sourced by the same supplier as Big Ben and with nearly the same sonic signature and bench specs. This allows us to bring a budget friendly version of a single-ended tube design to a larger audience. The draw of single-ended amps has always been realism and engagement. Little Ben is setup for clarity over crazy power. Parts selection was crucial during this build and each chosen not for price, but for best quality or synergy between parts.

Output iron is placed under the chassis to give the tubes center stage. Rectification is SS for cool running and reliable performance. The amp is configured for ultra linear operation allowing great power output and minimal use of feedback. The sonic signature is deep rich bass, and soundstage to die for.

Each amspandsound amps is built with attention to grounding schemes/ star grounding and use of common ground contributing to its ultra-low noise floor and wide bandwidth. Well paired speakers: Little Ben pairs well with most speakers 84db and above. Little Ben is ultra-quiet allowing use with full range or horn loaded speakers with efficiency above 100db. Speakers with can go cleanly down to 30hz really bring out the very best of the amp.

Our 3 Speaker suggestions:

1. DIY Econowaves (12” and a 1” compression driver; great sounding 95db efficient).
2. Klipsch horn loaded anything… Preference to Cornscala’s; (15” woofer with elliptical horn/2” compression driver and horn loaded tweeter with 1” compression driver 98db efficient and able to shake the house).
3. DIY/ampsandsound bass reflex cab ~.25cu ft with Fostex 103 4” or audio nirvana 4” ~approximately 89db efficiency. Probably not for a big room, but gives low 50hz response in a crazy small cabinet. Wonderful for near field, offices or small rooms.

Tubes:

The amp is compatible with all 6l6 family tubes, including 6l6GC, KT66, KT77, KT88, KT90, and EL34s. The driver tube is a 6SL7. My personal favorite currently is new EH6550 paired with new production Tungsol 6SL7 driver. For new old stock tubes, I like RCA 6L6GC clear tops.

Little Ben with (1)complete tube set – $1,100

Little Ben
Little Ben
Little Ben
Little Ben
 
Little Ben Underside Wiring

 

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Most likely the speakers are at fault......out of phase, bad not working drivers ,bad connections at crossover, needs new caps. The receiver you got should be fine I would think. 

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