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khorn79er

Tube recommendations with Klipschorns?

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Hi everyone,

 

I'm new to this forum but a passionate Klipsch fan. So glad that this is forum is active and alive! Glad to be among you.

 

I'm the proud owner of a pair of '79 Khorns in all stock condition which I now can't live without. I'm thinking about modifications but the sound just blows me away every time. I don't think it's even necessary and probably will keep them stock.

 

I'm currently running them with a Yamaha SS receiver (approx $150 on Amazon) which already sounds great but I know the ideal is to power them with tubes..

 

What are your recommendations with tube amplifiers for Khorns? I play mostly on vinyl and want to keep that "warmth" and "dynamism" as much as possible..

 

Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

 

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Well, let's start with some basics.  Where are you located?  There may be someone nearby who can bring over a tube amp for you to experience in your own system. How large is your room, how far from the speakers do you sit when listening, how loudly do you listen, and what type of music do you listen to?  Is the room very bright and reflective due to wood floors, little furniture, and window coverings?  Or is is more subdued due to heavy drapes, rugs, chairs/sofas, etc.?  

 

Does your Yamaha receiver provide the "warmth" that you mention enjoying?  With SS equipment, unless it's some of Nelson Pass' class A designs, it's usually the opposite-  many SS users complain of excessive brightness.  

 

Keep in mind that much modern tube equipment does not include a phono stage, so an outboard unit of some type would be necessary.  Alternatively, if the Yamaha receiver has a separate pre-out capability, you could use that as your phono preamp.  And lastly, do you want to keep things "simple" by having an integrated amp, or do you want to use a separate preamp and power amp?


Maynard

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16 hours ago, tube fanatic said:

Well, let's start with some basics.  Where are you located?  There may be someone nearby who can bring over a tube amp for you to experience in your own system. How large is your room, how far from the speakers do you sit when listening, how loudly do you listen, and what type of music do you listen to?  Is the room very bright and reflective due to wood floors, little furniture, and window coverings?  Or is is more subdued due to heavy drapes, rugs, chairs/sofas, etc.?  

 

Does your Yamaha receiver provide the "warmth" that you mention enjoying?  With SS equipment, unless it's some of Nelson Pass' class A designs, it's usually the opposite-  many SS users complain of excessive brightness.  

 

Keep in mind that much modern tube equipment does not include a phono stage, so an outboard unit of some type would be necessary.  Alternatively, if the Yamaha receiver has a separate pre-out capability, you could use that as your phono preamp.  And lastly, do you want to keep things "simple" by having an integrated amp, or do you want to use a separate preamp and power amp?


Maynard

I'm located in New York and just found a store that sells tube amps which is a good start I guess (Bright Audio). They specialize more in home theater setups but have quite a few tube amplifiers for sale.

 

In terms of my setup, my Khorns are in a small rectangular room wooden floors and I listen about from 7 - 15 feet away, so very close proximity in current setup. However this is temporary and I want to get tubes that will also be able to easily drive the Khorns in larger rooms without too much effort. I listen to soul / disco / funk / reggae mostly through vinyl at soft to loud volumes, really depends.

 

My friend just bought Prema Lunas Prologue Classic (2x 35 watts I think) and we hooked them up - they sound amazing and definitely a quality piece of kit. However $1800 is very expensive and I'm looking to spend less than that if possible while still getting something of similar build quality and performance.

 

My current setup sounds good now because of the speakers and mixer (I don't need a pre-amp because of this). I think the Yamaha SS is definitely the weakest link in the chain and is more of a degrader than an improver the brightness you mention is definitely there.. especially after I head my friend's tubes and the warmth / dynamism they bring to the sound.

 

Seems like the Dynaco ST70s are icons that I should check out - any other recommendations? Also, are any of you more inclined towards vintage tubes vs. modern ones? Is the consensus to buy new?

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, avguytx said:

Wasn't this same thread started in another area?

 

Yup - sorry about that. I only saw the tube-related section after I posted in the other. I'm going to try to delete my other thread - couldn't find how to.. any pointers?

 

 

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The decision to buy new vs. a properly restored vintage amp is always tough.  The latter can save you some money initially.  However, the risk you run is having difficult to replace parts like volume pots and wafer switches fail.  The latter can be particularly tough to source, and then you have to find someone who can do a proper replacement.  I dealt with problems like those 40+ years ago when the equipment was fairly new, so units which have remained in service all these years are far more likely to have issues.  That said, I believe Al Pugliese (on Staten Island) is still doing business which may make the vintage route more appealing since you won't incur any shipping charges if issues develop.  I would give him a call to see what he has available for sale:

 

http://www.fisherdoctor.com/

   

As to power, 35 watts should cover any conceivable listening situation and room size (in my own experience, I've rarely encountered the need for more than 5 wpc with K-horns).  The best value in the Dynaco world is the Bob Latino offering:

 

http://www.tubes4hifi.com/bob.htm#ST70

 

If you have experience, you can save a lot by building the kit yourself.  But, even if you have Bob build it for you, it is still an excellent value.  

 

Do you have a definite budget in mind?  There are likely many other options available depending on what you want to spend.

 

 

Maynard

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Hello Khorn79er!

I'm a noob here too,  and wouldn't  have much to add if Tube Fanatic hadn't suggested you take a look at building an ST 70 kit from Bob Latino. I built a pair of his M-125 mono blocks last fall, and I think if you can make a good solder joint, you can build the ST-70. The instructions for my 125s were clear and easy to follow and walked me step-by-step through the build and the amps worked the first time I powered them up.  There is also a bunch of knowledgeable, helpful folks over on the Dynaco forum who have built the kit and will help you out if you have any questions. http://dynacotubeaudio.forumotion.com/f2-basket

I had a question about the power transformer and Bob answered my email almost immediately, ON A SUNDAY! 

Cheers,

Jim

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On 3/14/2017 at 8:12 AM, tube fanatic said:

The decision to buy new vs. a properly restored vintage amp is always tough.  The latter can save you some money initially.  However, the risk you run is having difficult to replace parts like volume pots and wafer switches fail.  The latter can be particularly tough to source, and then you have to find someone who can do a proper replacement.  I dealt with problems like those 40+ years ago when the equipment was fairly new, so units which have remained in service all these years are far more likely to have issues.  That said, I believe Al Pugliese (on Staten Island) is still doing business which may make the vintage route more appealing since you won't incur any shipping charges if issues develop.  I would give him a call to see what he has available for sale:

 

http://www.fisherdoctor.com/

   

As to power, 35 watts should cover any conceivable listening situation and room size (in my own experience, I've rarely encountered the need for more than 5 wpc with K-horns).  The best value in the Dynaco world is the Bob Latino offering:

 

http://www.tubes4hifi.com/bob.htm#ST70

 

If you have experience, you can save a lot by building the kit yourself.  But, even if you have Bob build it for you, it is still an excellent value.  

 

Do you have a definite budget in mind?  There are likely many other options available depending on what you want to spend.

 

 

Maynard

 

Hi Maynard,

 

Thanks a lot for the advice. I think i'm going to go the Dynaco route. I checked out Bob Latino's website and his modernized ST70 looks rock solid. 

 

My only hesitation going this route is with warranty and things like that... how will I know if the tubes go bad or if some areas need repairing? Then if something does go bad, where could I get it repaired if it is out of warranty? If I would bring this to any specialty audio shop would they be able to service it and repair adequately?

 

Long story short - I would ideally like to buy a tube amp that:

- has proved it's performance and is an icon (such as the Dynaco ST70) and therefore has a quite a bit of units in circulation and associated knowledge / repair expertise

- moves away from the standardized product and instead includes expert tweaking from audiophiles (Bob Latino is the perfect example) 

 

... a balance between icon and niche...

 

Besides Dynaco ST 70, are there other models that would fit these criteria? Finally, are DIY tube kits such as these or generally customized tubes a fire/safety hazard? I know these beauties get hot so just want to be cautious... any safety pointers?

 

Really appreciate the input.

Alex

 

 

 

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On 3/15/2017 at 7:01 PM, waxburger said:

Hello Khorn79er!

I'm a noob here too,  and wouldn't  have much to add if Tube Fanatic hadn't suggested you take a look at building an ST 70 kit from Bob Latino. I built a pair of his M-125 mono blocks last fall, and I think if you can make a good solder joint, you can build the ST-70. The instructions for my 125s were clear and easy to follow and walked me step-by-step through the build and the amps worked the first time I powered them up.  There is also a bunch of knowledgeable, helpful folks over on the Dynaco forum who have built the kit and will help you out if you have any questions. http://dynacotubeaudio.forumotion.com/f2-basket

I had a question about the power transformer and Bob answered my email almost immediately, ON A SUNDAY! 

Cheers,

Jim

 

Hey Jim,

 

From noob to noob, I salute you!

 

Good to hear you had a positive experience with Bob Latino. What's the warranty you got with the M-125s? Any recommendations on tubes (EL34, 6550) - have you tried different ones? 

 

I've never made a solder joint before but will look into it more and make the call regarding kit vs. fully set up. The savings are pretty substantial with the former..

 

How happy are you with the tube generally? Was this your first tube amp?

 

Thanks,

Alex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It's hard for me to understand how the fisher doctor is still in business. I did business with him years ago and it was a bad experience and a lot of others were getting bad services from him too then. 

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Alex, if you can be a little more specific about your location (i.e. Manhattan, Queens, etc.), and your budget, it will make recommendations somewhat easier.

 

When it comes to audio equipment, a niche product and affordability are often mutually exclusive.  However, it's not an impossible balance!

 

Well designed equipment should not need servicing for a long time, so I would not be overly concerned about that side of things.  And, when it comes to tube equipment, there are plenty of guys around who can perform repairs.  Even an experienced guitar amp tech should be able to easily diagnose a problem and replace a faulty resistor or cap if needed.

 

When tubes are in need of replacement, you will know!  An amplifier's sound is contingent upon the tubes performing within spec.  Any radical departure from that is audible.  Again, any experienced tube guy can direct you to which tube(s) are likely to be in need of replacement.  And, unless the amp uses some really exotic tubes, cost is usually not bad so keeping a replacement set on hand is worthwhile.  

 

All tube amps should be placed on an open shelf to allow for maximum heat dissipation.  And, they should be located so that children can't grab onto a tube, especially when the amp is in use.  As to fire/safety hazards, all electronic equipment is subject to that unpleasant possibility.  The best advice I can give (and this applies to all electronic equipment) is to be present when it is in use.  If you're going to leave the house, or even if you're not going to be nearby for a length of time, turn it off!  

 

As far as Al Pugliese is concerned, and Soundbound's bad experience, my understanding is that years ago he had some personal stuff going on which occupied most of his time.  A phone call to the man doesn't cost anything.


Maynard

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Alex,

 

I work for Klipsch so please understand these are my personal preference and not at ALL affiliated or endorsed by Klipsch.  I have a set of 70th anniversary Khorn.  

 

My room is rectangular and the Khorns are in the corners of the long wall. 

 

Wood floor and the room is not complete yet...but I have done a ton of listening.  I also have a lot of vintage speakers, and high efficiency speakers with low power SET or Push Pull amps are my preference-but I have a pure class A 25 watt amp and an 80 watt hybrid. 

 

I have been listening a lot to a 32 watt push pull (Leben) and an 8 watt 300b SET amp.  They sound very different, the 300b is romantic, its not necessarily "accurate" reproduction, it does midrange amazing, but the bass is as you can imagine not as controlled or authoritative.  Volume wise I can't at all imagine you "need" more volume, but everyone is different. 

 

I have a 2.5 watt 45 tube and haven't yet hooked that up. 

 

I listen to most everything except for country.  Have 5 turntables in the house and also do streaming and computer audio.  

 

If you want something that sounds radically different from the Yamaha, or want to truly hear what tubes can do right, I would look at something like a push pull amp using EL84 tubes, should net 12-14 watts.  If you can live with lower overall volume capabilities and aren't after bass so much as you are tone and as you stated warmth, to me that comes more from SET than push pull.  There are always tradeoffs, but when I hear, Vinyl and warmth, I immediately go to SET and low power push pull.  I don't want to generalize, but based on what you described above, something like KT66, KT88, KT120 leads closer to solid state than warm tube sound...

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16 hours ago, khorn79er said:

Hey Jim,

 

From noob to noob, I salute you!

 

Good to hear you had a positive experience with Bob Latino. What's the warranty you got with the M-125s? Any recommendations on tubes (EL34, 6550) - have you tried different ones? 

 

I've never made a solder joint before but will look into it more and make the call regarding kit vs. fully set up. The savings are pretty substantial with the former..

 

How happy are you with the tube generally? Was this your first tube amp?

 

Thanks,

Alex

 

 

Well Alex, I don't know how much of a warranty we should expect with equipment built from kits, most of the responsibility for converting a box full of components into a quality piece of gear lies with the builder, so I guess I pretty much 'self-warranty' what I build, but I believe I  learned enough about the amp while building it that I'll be able to handle  repairs or component replacements,  and I won't have to ship the amp off and wait for it to come back. 

I'm not knowledgeable or experienced enough with all the different types  to make tube recommendations, but I'm using matched quads of new production Tung Sol 6550s with 12BH7s in the driver board, I'm happy with the sound I get from them, but I haven't  tried the KT-88s and 12AU7s a friend loaned me. Maybe this weekend I'll plug them in for a while. Overall I'm happy with my 125s. They weren't my first tube kit, the first was an inexpensive kit with not very high quality components, but I learned how and why to upgrade it with bigger capacitors in the power supply, better caps in other places and better output transformers.

Soldering is really pretty easy, and a handy skill to have in your repertoire, for example  you might decide you want new capacitors in a crossover at some point. There's plenty of how-to videos you can watch and a little practice joining two pieces of wire should teach you the basics pretty quick.  There's several reviews on the ST-70 kit linked to on  tubes4hifi, here's one ST-70 review that's pretty recent. I hope this helps you out some,

Cheers,

Jim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 3/13/2017 at 11:44 PM, khorn79er said:

My friend just bought Prema Lunas Prologue Classic (2x 35 watts I think) and we hooked them up - they sound amazing and definitely a quality piece of kit. However $1800 is very expensive and I'm looking to spend less than that if possible while still getting something of similar build quality and performance.

If you want something that you don't have to build and similar SQ of the Dynaco ST 70, the Yaqin MS 13S 6CA7 EL 34 is a nice option (45 watts).  This is a high quality amp, good parts and user friendly.  It does not have a phono stage or remote.  I have had this amp for around 6 months and this ranks up there with my top audio purchases.

https://www.amazon.com/YAQIN-MC-13S-Integrated-Push-Pull-Amplifier/dp/B00A7IZN70

http://wallofsound.ca/audioreviews/amplification/review-yaqin-mc13s-stereo-integrated-amplifier/

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On 3/17/2017 at 8:21 AM, tube fanatic said:

Alex, if you can be a little more specific about your location (i.e. Manhattan, Queens, etc.), and your budget, it will make recommendations somewhat easier.

 

When it comes to audio equipment, a niche product and affordability are often mutually exclusive.  However, it's not an impossible balance!

 

Well designed equipment should not need servicing for a long time, so I would not be overly concerned about that side of things.  And, when it comes to tube equipment, there are plenty of guys around who can perform repairs.  Even an experienced guitar amp tech should be able to easily diagnose a problem and replace a faulty resistor or cap if needed.

 

When tubes are in need of replacement, you will know!  An amplifier's sound is contingent upon the tubes performing within spec.  Any radical departure from that is audible.  Again, any experienced tube guy can direct you to which tube(s) are likely to be in need of replacement.  And, unless the amp uses some really exotic tubes, cost is usually not bad so keeping a replacement set on hand is worthwhile.  

 

All tube amps should be placed on an open shelf to allow for maximum heat dissipation.  And, they should be located so that children can't grab onto a tube, especially when the amp is in use.  As to fire/safety hazards, all electronic equipment is subject to that unpleasant possibility.  The best advice I can give (and this applies to all electronic equipment) is to be present when it is in use.  If you're going to leave the house, or even if you're not going to be nearby for a length of time, turn it off!  

 

As far as Al Pugliese is concerned, and Soundbound's bad experience, my understanding is that years ago he had some personal stuff going on which occupied most of his time.  A phone call to the man doesn't cost anything.


Maynard

Hi Maynard,

 

Happy to let you know that I got in touch with Bob Latino and ordered an ST-70 from him with the capacitor upgrades which he recommends. I'm going to pick it up in a few days and will let you know my thoughts. From the customer reviews and Bob's tenure in the business, I feel like I've made the right choice and that this amp will last a long time. Thanks a lot for pointing me towards this. This is why forums like these are so valuable. To get input from people that have much more experience....

 

I'll be using the ST-70 to drive Forte Is and the Klipschorn. I was initially leaning on the ST-120 but it seems like this is overkill from a wattage perspective since both are highly efficient speakers (96DB+ I believe). 

 

Cheers!

Alex

 

 

 

 

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On 3/17/2017 at 9:39 AM, Jainbaby said:

Alex,

 

I work for Klipsch so please understand these are my personal preference and not at ALL affiliated or endorsed by Klipsch.  I have a set of 70th anniversary Khorn.  

 

My room is rectangular and the Khorns are in the corners of the long wall. 

 

Wood floor and the room is not complete yet...but I have done a ton of listening.  I also have a lot of vintage speakers, and high efficiency speakers with low power SET or Push Pull amps are my preference-but I have a pure class A 25 watt amp and an 80 watt hybrid. 

 

I have been listening a lot to a 32 watt push pull (Leben) and an 8 watt 300b SET amp.  They sound very different, the 300b is romantic, its not necessarily "accurate" reproduction, it does midrange amazing, but the bass is as you can imagine not as controlled or authoritative.  Volume wise I can't at all imagine you "need" more volume, but everyone is different. 

 

I have a 2.5 watt 45 tube and haven't yet hooked that up. 

 

I listen to most everything except for country.  Have 5 turntables in the house and also do streaming and computer audio.  

 

If you want something that sounds radically different from the Yamaha, or want to truly hear what tubes can do right, I would look at something like a push pull amp using EL84 tubes, should net 12-14 watts.  If you can live with lower overall volume capabilities and aren't after bass so much as you are tone and as you stated warmth, to me that comes more from SET than push pull.  There are always tradeoffs, but when I hear, Vinyl and warmth, I immediately go to SET and low power push pull.  I don't want to generalize, but based on what you described above, something like KT66, KT88, KT120 leads closer to solid state than warm tube sound...

 

Thanks for the input. Could you please elaborate on what a push pull tube amp is? I made the decision to get the reconditioned modernized Dynaco ST70 from Bob Latino fitted with EL34 tubes. I will let you know my impressions once I hook it up. Just to confirm, you're saying KT66 + tubes are less warm sounding, so I should go with lower power tubes to keep the warmth of analog sound right?

 

Cheers,

Alex

 

 

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On 3/17/2017 at 3:50 PM, waxburger said:

Well Alex, I don't know how much of a warranty we should expect with equipment built from kits, most of the responsibility for converting a box full of components into a quality piece of gear lies with the builder, so I guess I pretty much 'self-warranty' what I build, but I believe I  learned enough about the amp while building it that I'll be able to handle  repairs or component replacements,  and I won't have to ship the amp off and wait for it to come back. 

I'm not knowledgeable or experienced enough with all the different types  to make tube recommendations, but I'm using matched quads of new production Tung Sol 6550s with 12BH7s in the driver board, I'm happy with the sound I get from them, but I haven't  tried the KT-88s and 12AU7s a friend loaned me. Maybe this weekend I'll plug them in for a while. Overall I'm happy with my 125s. They weren't my first tube kit, the first was an inexpensive kit with not very high quality components, but I learned how and why to upgrade it with bigger capacitors in the power supply, better caps in other places and better output transformers.

Soldering is really pretty easy, and a handy skill to have in your repertoire, for example  you might decide you want new capacitors in a crossover at some point. There's plenty of how-to videos you can watch and a little practice joining two pieces of wire should teach you the basics pretty quick.  There's several reviews on the ST-70 kit linked to on  tubes4hifi, here's one ST-70 review that's pretty recent. I hope this helps you out some,

Cheers,

Jim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Jim!

 

So I went with the Bob Latino ST70 fully set up! I'm picking it up in a couple days. I didn't want my first tube amp to be my playground for soldering apprenticeship.... Bob is a great person to work with and I'm confident I'll be very happy with it.

 

Will post my thoughts here in a couple weeks.

 

Alex

 

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On 3/17/2017 at 7:48 PM, derrickdj1 said:

If you want something that you don't have to build and similar SQ of the Dynaco ST 70, the Yaqin MS 13S 6CA7 EL 34 is a nice option (45 watts).  This is a high quality amp, good parts and user friendly.  It does not have a phono stage or remote.  I have had this amp for around 6 months and this ranks up there with my top audio purchases.

https://www.amazon.com/YAQIN-MC-13S-Integrated-Push-Pull-Amplifier/dp/B00A7IZN70

http://wallofsound.ca/audioreviews/amplification/review-yaqin-mc13s-stereo-integrated-amplifier/

Thanks for the  input Derrick - I looked it up and indeed the reviews give this amp a lot of praise. I will keep it in mind.

 

Alex

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I have heard this amp next to some nice tube amps and I love it,  The SQ and build quality is top notch.  It is a beast at 45 lbs.

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On 3/25/2017 at 4:39 PM, khorn79er said:

Hey Jim!

 

So I went with the Bob Latino ST70 fully set up! I'm picking it up in a couple days. I didn't want my first tube amp to be my playground for soldering apprenticeship.... Bob is a great person to work with and I'm confident I'll be very happy with it.

 

Will post my thoughts here in a couple weeks.

 

Alex

Congrats and many hours of happy listening!:emotion-29:

Jim

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