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Using SET amps, are you music "limited"?


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Yes, I'm in the hospital room with my mother where I've been for 10 days now. Been doing a lot of reading and pondering about SET amps and have bugged Maynard as well. It seems that when most SET amps are described, they talk about vocals (specifically female), instrument placement, staging, depth, etc. Are SET's more of a music genre limited amplifier? Since that type of music may be about 40% or less of my listening, and the rest being more in various iterations of rock, what happens then? I'm assuming the sound quality is still there but the power of the SET would be more taxed in trying to play R&R, etc. 


Do those with SET switch to other amps when they feel the need to crank? Just curious. I'm 50...I still crank it up on occasion when the family is gone. 80's hair bands, 70's rock, harder newer stuff, etc. 

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Kip, I was going to suggest holding off on thinking about amps under the circumstances, but I guess it is therapeutic for you to have some diversion.  My thoughts are with you and I empathize (I lost my mom on new year's eve 2 years ago).


All amps have their strong points and weaknesses (and this includes SS amps in spite of many having ridiculously low distortion levels- they still can sound very different from one another).  I listen to all kinds of music on both SETs and SEPs and can tell you that I enjoy everything from Bill Haley to Santana to Alison Krauss to classical on them.  But, the presentation is somewhat different, and both are wonderful in their own respect.  I don't listen to stuff like heavy metal so I can't tell you what that type of music would sound like on either.  And, much depends on just how loudly you want it to get when you crank it up.  Many guys I know keep a high power SS amp around for those latter occasions when they want their ears to bleed (when listening that way, sound quality isn't their goal)  And, with a couple of simple switch boxes from Niles, it's easy to go between them as the situation demands.


And, you are not bugging me at all!



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I personally love what SETs do for rock and other rockin' genres.  Its the genres that sport really wide dynamic swings and highly complex content that seem more troublesome.  They sucker you into setting the volume during a relatively quiet passage, only to have a more rowdy passage come along and expose the lack of power. 


'Yes' to having a powerful backup amp, for when more than just a couple watts is required.  Usually this is for something awful, such as my old lady listening to that damn Dave Matthews crap, which she likes at virtually concert levels.


Sorry to hear of the circumstances.  Best wishes to you.    

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   We have around here 4 tube amps and all we use these days is our SE/SET's.  Music varies. 70's rock, Classical, blues, lots of instrumental stuff and plenty of female vocal type. 2a3's are runner up to the 45's In our listening room, sublime to say the least

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First of all, thoughts and prayers sent for your Mom, you and your entire family.


My musical tastes include Jazz, Classical, Progressive Rock, Classic Rock, Blues, some Grunge and even some Country.


As with @mkane , I have a variety of PP, SET and SEP amps in residence.


The amp/speaker combination that is currently commanding my attention is the CazTech SE-845 SET monoblocks driving Klipsch La Scalas. In my opinion, the combination of a good SE amp driving an appropriate HE speaker brings me closer to the soul of the music, draws me into the music and beckons me to play more music.....


Regarding limitations with volume, dynamics, scale, drive, etc.....? These items have not been an issue for me and should not be an issue at all as long as you take care to match your amp/speaker combination.


As always, just my opinion and YMMV. :)



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  • 2 weeks later...
4 minutes ago, Lemon string said:

I have to agree with HiFiNut's comments. I have 12 watts of SEP power driving Khorns, the combo will blow the roof off the joint with no lack of bass just beautiful, open and clean sound.  


When did you pick up Khorns?

Haven't talked to you on a while, sounds like things are good with you and the family



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