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Boriso

KG4 with low power tube amp

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Hello

 

Redirected here from the "2 Channel..." discussion, I'm told the solution lies with tubes!

 

I know that KG4 are efficient speakers, but how low can one get with the power with them? Do people have experience driving KG4 speakers with very low power amplifiers? I am considering buying a 1 wpc amp, and trying to understand the implications.

 

It's a big(ish) room, I tend to be about 9 feet from the speakers, don't listen at high volumes (low to moderate at best). Jazz, blues, classic, instrumental, some prog rock.

 

I prefer it to be an integrated amp. I have explored the vintage tube option, but it seems that without the knowledge of electronics it's a risky business as most of those pieces need work. I love my music, but know little about the technology of playing it.

 

Budget is <$1.5K.

 

Thank you!

Edited by Boriso
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Irrespective of other factors, the 12 foot listening distance precludes going with only 1 wpc unless your listening levels are fairly low.  By chance, have you taken a sound pressure level reading at your listening position to get an idea of how loudly you are listening?  Of course, if you are typically listening at background levels in the low 60 db range, for example, 1 wpc would cover the bases and would allow peaks into the low 80 db range.  Going to around 4 wpc would allow a few db more headroom.

 

Do you have the flexibility to change the distance at which you listen?  That could possibly open up some possibilities.   Alternatively, you could buy a decent Chinese amp (check out the offerings from Yaqin) with fairly considerable power output for far less than your maximum budget or, for around your budget, go with a Dynaclone from Bob Latino either of which would have enough power to crack the drywall.

 

 

Maynard

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@tube fanatic thank you. It's actually more like 9 feet. 

 

If to believe the app Decibel X, at the higher volumes I listen to, the range is ~70-80 dB.

Edited by Boriso

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I'm not familiar with the app so I can't tell you if it is accurate or not.  Some guys use calibrated mikes like this:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Dayton-Audio-iMM-6-Calibrated-Measurement/dp/B00ADR2B84/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523035631&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=dayton+calibration+mic

 

If your  maximum spl is around 80 db @ 9 feet, you are now in the territory for very low power.  I'd go for a bit more power than 1 watt, and a good contender is one of the Decware Zen Triode units.  They are within your budget, are returnable if you are dissatisfied, come with a lifetime warranty, and are made in the USA (if you buy one, tell Deckert to send me a commission ☺️).  Seriously though, they are excellent amps and are rarely seen on the used market.  You can even call Steve and discuss your needs with him before ordering to verify that the power output would be satisfactory.  Also, for jazz/blues/instrumental music I personally find SETs to offer a very immersive experience.

 

http://www.decware.com/newsite/homepage.html

 

 

Maynard

 

 

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I honestly don’t think you’ll be happy with that low of wattage on kg4 . Keep your eyes open for a el84 pp amp. The kg4 are 94db if I remember correctly. Forte and chorus are in the 96-98db range I own both and I wouldn’t want these running on less than my 14 watt amps. When you get in the 103db area (k-horn Lascala) then those flea watt amps are a great match. I’m definitely not an audiophile just my opinion. 

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Hi Boriso,

 

Welcome to the forum!

Had KG4's with a 30W/ch Marantz 1060 (actually I think they put out at least 40W/ch).  Really great!  But don't know how "low" you can go. OK; I like to blast myself out of the room :D  The KG4's are efficient, but not up to Heritage standards. Tried them with a Bob Latino 25W/ch Dynaclone, but just not enough output (for me). Since you said you had a "large" room, I think a 1 Watt tube amp will never be enough. 

 

Suggesting a vintage amp ... many can be bought for $100-$700 ... with more than enough power (if you ever want to "turn it up.")  FYI, got a Marantz 2252B (52W/ch) for $550 a year ago ... and a Yamaha CR620 (35W/ch) for $100 and a Kenwood (40W/ch) for $200 :D And, BTW, most tube amps only have "ONE" input ... if you have more components you either have to "manually switch" them or buy an RCA switch box.

 

Cheers, Emile

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I am using one of the Chinese amps Maynard is speaking of, but had mine customized to run in triode mode, and had the power supply worked on. It puts out 5 WPC and I run KG-4.2's and a pair of KLF-1O's. This amp will definitely give you what you want in power. My room is 14x24x8 and has no issues with me sitting at the other end of the room for background listening, as well as 7-8 feet. 

 

Total cost was less than $600.00

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For what you want to do, IMO, your budget is too large and going to one watt, IMO, is/maybe too low.  I love both topologies, single ended, and push pull, but those KG4's need a bit more oomph.  I've owned five sets of various KG's and efficiency rating aside they are a different beast from their more refined cousins.

 

A well restored push/pull from back in the day will last you to the grave, has cool looks, and built in magic. The Chinese stuff will last you until your next oil change.

 

Also before you do anything, take the time and money to recap those KG's crossovers.  At their age they most certainly need it. Do that first. Play them awhile so they open up and then go from there.

 

Too complicated for you? Sell the KG 4's, buy a pair of Heresy's and then we''ll talk some more.

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I've used the KG3.5's with a 1 watt amp kit I built from Oddwatt. Does it peel paint off the walls? No it won't. If you are listening to jazz or concertos then 1 watt might be enough. If you are into Led Zeppelin and room shaking, ear-splitting volume then you'll want more wattage. My 18 watt/ch MIllett DCPP tube amp will drive my KG3.5's so loud that it is uncomfortable in my 12 X 18 listening room. 

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Madman 1 gave you great advice.  The very best sounding amps in audio are 2 Watts or less, and it takes a real/true 100 dB speaker - to use such amps. 

 

I have found that the correct way to build the world-class audio system, is to buy the best possible amp first, then you buy the speaker to match the amp.  Few know to do this. 

 

Amps, IME, are the worst problem in audio, not speakers !! 

 

Also, no matter what amp and speaker you have, use what Steve Deckert and I use for speaker cable.  That is Mil Spec m22759/11 equaling 8 AWG.   He uses a single run of 8 AWG, for esch polarity, and it easily out-performs what I used to use, an 8 AWG " equivalent", which was 12+12+14 AWG. 

 

ALL larger Klipsch speakers should be running this wire.  It does two wonderful things :  allows you to a) hear the music better and b) allows you to use lower-powered and better-sounding amps. 

 

But at 94 dB, no matter the quality of the speaker wire, you are not going to be OK with a 1 Watt conventional tube amp.

 

Madman 1s suggestion of a P-P EL34 amp is a very good one.   IF you can find it........if anyone even builds and offers one, a P-P 6AQ5 / 6005 amp could be be even better.

 

Have fun.

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I use a KingKo Audio KA-101 in the living room system.

 

Power output  : 2 x 12W

Tube : EL84 x 4, 5AR4 x 1, 12AU7 x 2, 12AX7 x 1

Input : CD, AUX1, AUX2, PRE-IN

Dimension(cm) : (W)20 x (D)23 x (H)21, (W)8" x (D)9" x (H)8"

Weight : 11Kg

Power consumption :120W

 

It's got three inputs so you can use it as an integrated amp plus a direct "power amp" input that bypasses the selector and volume control.

 

http://kingkoaudio.com/en/pages/KINGKO-AUDIO.html

 

I really like this amp - a lot. When I get the Man Cave back together, it will take a shot against the various SE amps in residence on the modified Belles with Community SRH90 mid horns and Pyramid/Sequerra T1 Ribbons and the Lowther PM2A/Medallions.

 

I THINK the KA-101 is still available for less than $1,000US but you'll have to contact KingKo directly to confirm pricing and delivery.

 

No affiliation whatsoever with KingKo Audio.

 

Just my opinion.

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I used a modified 8600 Magnavox with my KG4'S  for the last couple years and loved it. It's around 3 or 4 watts and has all new parts. I purchased it from a really talented builder on audiokarma. 

 

I just replaced my KG4'S with Forte II's so I'm still getting used to them, but my first thought after plugging in the Forte's was wow, my Kg4's were really good with this amp.

 

I mostly listen at low to moderate levels too. You absolutely don't need more than a couple watts for this. I did not try a one watt amp though, so cant comment on how well that would work. They get plenty loud with 3 watts though,  and still sound good doing it. 

 

If you don't find a good integrated, make sure you find a good preamp. I tried a lot of them and they can make a huge difference in the sound. I still cringe thinking about the bad Carver I tried. 

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Works rather well with Cornwalls, for low to moderate listening in a small place...

 

post-4542-0-94940000-1438313837_thumb.jpg

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Posted (edited)
On 11/3/2018 at 7:24 AM, Madman1 said:

I honestly don’t think you’ll be happy with that low of wattage on kg4 . Keep your eyes open for a el84 pp amp. The kg4 are 94db if I remember correctly. Forte and chorus are in the 96-98db range I own both and I wouldn’t want these running on less than my 14 watt amps. When you get in the 103db area (k-horn Lascala) then those flea watt amps are a great match. I’m definitely not an audiophile just my opinion. 

 

 

Edited by Jeffrey D. Medwin
Deleted post, did not realize I had already responded.

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