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K-horns tubes and solid state?


y2keglide
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So I often see the debate about tubes VS solid state but that's not my question.

I've read tubes are warmer and have better sound quality (debatable for some)  but high power solid state really cranks at higher volumes.

I listen a wide variety of genres of music which got me to thinking. I might want to hear tubes for something like Satchmo and Ella doing Summertime or Lady day doing

Fine and mellow one day and later on I might be in a rock mood and want to really blast Get you Wings from Aerosmith or some Led Zep or SRV etc.

So I got to thinking "why not set up some switching and have both?"

I'm looking at  a few different pieces including a new The Dynaco ST-70 Series 3 rated 35wpc and a used Phase Linear I have a line on rated 250wpc.

I also have a Kenwood Eleven G receiver 125wpc and a Marantz 2240 currently.

Anyone else doing this? Am I all wrong headed? Your thoughts?

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If you want to alternate between multiple amps, I suggest that you terminate the speaker cables with banana plugs.   For example:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005E1CGZC/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Wire the amplifiers' speaker connections to one of these:

https://www.vadcon.com/pp/pps8-bbgs.html

https://www.vadcon.com/pp/pps16-bbgs.html

https://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-Bi..._rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=Y5A5HWV010J5S8H07JFH

With the amplifiers powered off, you simply plug whichever speakers you want into whichever amp you want.

Use something like a Niles AXP-1 to switch the RCA output (e.g., from CD player) between the amps.

This can serve many amps, and many speakers, and has no amp power limitations, and no concerns about frying an amp because of what's going in inside a box.

I have this installed in several systems. Works great.   I collect vintage tube amps, and I enjoy listening to different tube amps with my Klipsch via this arrangement.
Synergy between speakers and amp is extremely important.   I suggest that you start a thread on "Talkin' Tubes" asking for tube amp recommendations for Klipschorns, based on the genre of music you like, the size of your room, and how loud you listen.  (I don't own Klipschorn, so I can't make a specific recommendation.)
FWIW, for my RF-7II and Palladium (different systems), I have found that Klipsch and tube amps go together like peanut butter and jelly ... if you mate the right tube amp to your specific model of Klipsch.  The "right" amp depends on your room ... your music ...  your ears/brain ... based on your budget ... and based on the inevitable compromises in sound quality that suit you.  With that said, there is an ongoing debate about which is the best sounding tube amp ... a McIntosh MC225, or a pair of MC30s.  Oops, I just opened a can of worms ... 😊  (Seriously, there's plenty of tube amps that sound great.)
I listen to classical music, and I prize reproduction of the natural timbre of orchestral instruments.  (I just got home from the symphony.)  IMO,  tube amps and Klipsch excel at classical music and opera.  If it were me, I'd skip the solid state amp and get a quality vintage tube amp.  If you buy a quality collectible tube amp, and you don't like it, you can always sell it later and recoup your money.
If you like to "crank it up", I suggest that you consider large powered subwoofer(s), with a crossover in front of the amp, thereby off-loading the power-hungry low frequencies from the amp and main speakers, resulting in increased dynamics, and increased deep bass (e.g., pipe organ).  I use the bass management feature of my Oppo UDP205 (and BDP-105 and BDP-95).  The Oppo universal players provide a configurable subwoofer crossover, and line-level RCA connection for a powered sub.  (You can use a Y cable for 2 subs.)
Unless you have a large room, and/or listen at "earbleed" levels (i.e., sound pressure level that can cause hearing damage), I imagine that a tube amp with 30wpc, plus large powered subwoofer(s), will provide all of the dynamic range you'll need.  (Many people use Klipschorn with single-ended amps that put out 5wpc or less.)  Your power needs depend on room size, listening volume, genre of music, and type of recording.    (Most pop music has little dynamic range.  OTOH,  a modern hi-res recording (e.g., Blu-ray, SACD, 24bit/192kHz FLAC) of large scale orchestral music can have tremendous dynamic range.)
Bottom line, I suggest that you read some of the threads that discuss how little power Klipschorn need in most home listening environments.   
That's my 2.5 cents
 
S
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I have used a variety of amps with my K-horns over the years. The lowest powered was an 8 watt tube amp which turned even close to half way up would have been deafening. 

That said an AB switch can be fun and allow you to compare directly different amps.

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I have used a Russound amp/speaker switch for multiple amps and speakers.

It has connections for 2 amps, and for 4 sets of speakers.  

Any combination of speakers and amps can be made.  

I have had a MC 275 and MC 7270 in, and various combinations of speakers out.  

I use the Russound unit more for convenience than for critical listening-way too many pieces of equipment that would have me tripping over cables and wires by the time I hooked things up separately.  

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10 hours ago, robert_kc said:
  With that said, there is an ongoing debate about which is the best sounding tube amp ... a McIntosh MC225, or a pair of MC30s.  Oops, I just opened a can of worms ... 😊  (Seriously, there's plenty of tube amps that sound great.)
 
 
S

I have a line on an HH Scott  two piece tuner/preamp and amp set that's 28wpc,might be all I need 'eh?

Forgot to get model numbers but will find out, the owner is a tech that just serviced my Marantz 2240 and said he will be selling the Scott when it's finished.

It looked very nice cosmetically and will have just been serviced by a pro, not sure on the price seemed it a little high at $1500 for the set but I don't have a clue the value of these units. I know it's less than many tube amps I've seen for sale so maybe reasonable considering there's a tuner and preamp?

 

Edit: on another forum I found the prior owner, gotta love the interweb and I'm sure it is his set so I now have the model numbers.

It's an HH SCOTT model 355 tuner with built in preamp  & a 208 tube amp.

Edited by y2keglide
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15 hours ago, y2keglide said:

Anyone else doing this?

Thought we all did this :D  ... and too often :D 

Have tried the "new" Dynaco ST-70 on my Forte I's ... initially liked it (probably because it took me a week to build it), but quickly went back to my vintage Marantz 1060 (30+ wpc). The Dynaco was just anemic compared to the SS amp :( .

OK; one more ... used to have a Marantz 2252B (52wpc) on my KPT-904's.  Always sounded very refined and the neighbors enjoyed the sound also :)  Switched to a Crown K1 amp (350wpc?) and there is indeed a small difference. Highs are crispier and bass is tighter (faster?).  Think it may have something to do with the damping factor on that amp ... not sure a tube amp would ever reach those levels.

Getting some 18" JBL bass bins next week. Will try those with K-510/K-691 horns AND use different amps ... we'll see :D 

Cheers, Emile

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18 minutes ago, moray james said:

you might want to give your ST70 some time to burn in. It should not sound anemic if everything is in order.

Tried and tried ... OK; not "anemic," but it just did not live up to my expectations.  Sold it about 3 months ago to a forum member.

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Since you are going to switch to SS for the extremely loud listening, consider trying a flea power SET or SEP.   You haven't lived until you've heard vocals on K-horns with those types of amps!   I've run many K-horn installations with only 1 wpc and it was more than enough.  There are many extremely reasonably priced options out there.  Read through the posts in the Talkin' Tubes section and you will find many of them discussed.

 

Maynard

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22 hours ago, y2keglide said:

high power solid state really cranks at higher volumes

Here is an interesting SPL calculator :D http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html  

For example, my 98dB (corner) bass bins give me 116dB's with my Marantz 1060 (30wpc at 8ohms; prob more at 4ohms) and 131dB's with a Crown XLS 2502 (looking at it :) ; 775wpc at 4ohms).  Haha ... just what I need; major hearing damage after 30 seconds :D 

Cheers, Emile

 

Add-on ... @tube fanatic's 1 wpc it yields 102dB's ... 8 hours to get hearing damage :) 

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7 hours ago, tube fanatic said:

Since you are going to switch to SS for the extremely loud listening, consider trying a flea power SET or SEP.   You haven't lived until you've heard vocals on K-horns with those types of amps!   I've run many K-horn installations with only 1 wpc and it was more than enough.  There are many extremely reasonably priced options out there.  Read through the posts in the Talkin' Tubes section and you will find many of them discussed.

 

Maynard

 

+1 to this. I get more than enough volume driving my Belles in a 14' x 25' basement listening room with my 3 watts/channel 2A3 SET or my 4 watts/channel EL84 SEP.

 

Just my opinion.

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On 3/9/2019 at 7:31 PM, y2keglide said:

So I often see the debate about tubes VS solid state but that's not my question.

I've read tubes are warmer and have better sound quality (debatable for some)  but high power solid state really cranks at higher volumes.

I listen a wide variety of genres of music which got me to thinking. I might want to hear tubes for something like Satchmo and Ella doing Summertime or Lady day doing

Fine and mellow one day and later on I might be in a rock mood and want to really blast Get you Wings from Aerosmith or some Led Zep or SRV etc.

So I got to thinking "why not set up some switching and have both?"

I'm looking at  a few different pieces including a new The Dynaco ST-70 Series 3 rated 35wpc and a used Phase Linear I have a line on rated 250wpc.

I also have a Kenwood Eleven G receiver 125wpc and a Marantz 2240 currently.

Anyone else doing this? Am I all wrong headed? Your thoughts?

 

 The quality of the watts is more important than quantity. I've been a tube guy for 25+ years. When I bought an Inspire tube amp and preamp from Dennis Had I took the combo to a friends house. He has Volti Audio modified Klipch Belles. I have Heresy III's. We hooked up my gear with Pope 6V6's, Maybe 2-3 watts in triode. Jaws dropped. My Heresy's were certainly out classed though they are good speakers. 10-20 quality tube watts will rock your world and also sing you a lullaby with your K-Horns.

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On 3/10/2019 at 12:43 AM, robert_kc said:

With that said, there is an ongoing debate about which is the best sounding tube amp ... a McIntosh MC225, or a pair of MC30s.

There will always be an ongoing debate about this, and it really doesn't matter.  You like what you like.

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  • 2 weeks later...

or do the best of both worlds; Bi-Amping I know I know... but it was the best thing I have done since acquiring a pair of K-Horns

8 tube watts powering the mids and tweeters

120 SS watts driving the woofers Bryston 3B ST, damping factor >500=TIGHT bass

Plenty I mean Plenty of power, what did you say you were mumbling.

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On 3/10/2019 at 12:17 PM, y2keglide said:

I have a line on an HH Scott  two piece tuner/preamp and amp set that's 28wpc,might be all I need 'eh?

Forgot to get model numbers but will find out, the owner is a tech that just serviced my Marantz 2240 and said he will be selling the Scott when it's finished.

It looked very nice cosmetically and will have just been serviced by a pro, not sure on the price seemed it a little high at $1500 for the set but I don't have a clue the value of these units. I know it's less than many tube amps I've seen for sale so maybe reasonable considering there's a tuner and preamp?

 

Edit: on another forum I found the prior owner, gotta love the interweb and I'm sure it is his set so I now have the model numbers.

It's an HH SCOTT model 355 tuner with built in preamp  & a 208 tube amp.

I've owned (2) Scott 208 amps over the years.Tube compliment is (2) 6U8 and (4) 7591 I believe.Going from memory.The power transformers run a little warm.Nice little amps.

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