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elee532

Questions about adding a tube amp to my setup

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I use my La Scala speakers as the main speakers in a 4.2 surround sound setup with a Denon AVR and Emotiva 5-channel amp. I'm wondering...

 

1. Is it possible (advisable) to use a separate amp for the FR/FL speakers and continue using either the Denon's internal amps or the Emotiva amp for the surround speakers?

2. Is there a tube amp, maybe in the $1,000 or less range that would be an upgrade over what I'm using now?

 

Thanks!

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Please describe the 4.2 configuration.  Left, center, right with a single rear speaker, and 2 subwoofers?

 

How far apart are the main left & right La Scala speakers?  

 

What are the other speakers?  What subwoofers?

 

Is this system used for movies and/or music?

 

If music, what genre(s)?

 

What types of recordings do you use?  Blu-ray?  SACD?   Streaming for audio?  Streaming for movies?

 

Size of room?

 

How loud do you listen?

 

Does the Denon AVR have analog line-level pre-amp outputs for the front left & right channels?

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1 hour ago, elee532 said:

1. Is it possible (advisable) to use a separate amp for the FR/FL speakers and continue using either the Denon's internal amps or the Emotiva amp for the surround speakers?

2. Is there a tube amp, maybe in the $1,000 or less range that would be an upgrade over what I'm using now?

1. Yes, possible.  Mostly depends on your Denon AVR.  If it has pre-outs, just feed those into your new tube amp and keep the surrounds/etc hooked up to the Denon's speaker terminals (or to your Emotiva). You will probably have full output from your LS's ... not dedicated L/R. If you have no pre-outs, it's time for an upgrade :D 

2. Bob Latino makes Dynaco clone kits ( http://www.tubes4hifi.com/bob.htm ) which are very well regarded and in your price range ... ST70 model. (But add the stepped attenuator so you can control the volume.) Had one and it sounded very good ... but sold it as I needed more power. Others will chime in on more tube amps ... heard the Jolida's are pretty good also.

Have fun :D  

 

Add-on ... Seems like you have a nice setup with the Emotiva amp.  Not sure you will gain anything with a $1000 tube amp :(  Just my personal opinion ... played with (cheap) tubes, but never felt I got my money's worth out of it.

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2 hours ago, elee532 said:

I use my La Scala speakers as the main speakers in a 4.2 surround sound setup with a Denon AVR and Emotiva 5-channel amp. I'm wondering...

 

1. Is it possible (advisable) to use a separate amp for the FR/FL speakers and continue using either the Denon's internal amps or the Emotiva amp for the surround speakers?

2. Is there a tube amp, maybe in the $1,000 or less range that would be an upgrade over what I'm using now?

 

Thanks!

If it even enters your mind to try out a tube amp,  this being a bit of a hobby, you should definitely go for it and test the waters,  both for fun and personal experimentation.  It will work just as you surmised, tube amp for the mains, Emotiva for the rest..  Just to give a direction, if you don't mind buying used, there is a Primaluna tube amp on Usaudiomart.com that I have read good things about.  It has been up for 2 months if it has not sold.  Offer him $800 and see what happens.  Perhaps, others here will have other models worth exploring. 

 

https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649535405-primaluna-prologue-four/   

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PrimaLuna pic ... looks nice :D  but ... no volume control and don't think he can control it via his Denon ...

PrimaLuna ProLogue Four

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I don't see why not, it seems to be a standard power amp, L-R pre-outs from the Denon in the  Primaluna inputs,  is that not so?

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10 hours ago, elee532 said:

I use my La Scala speakers as the main speakers in a 4.2 surround sound setup with a Denon AVR and Emotiva 5-channel amp. I'm wondering...

 

1. Is it possible (advisable) to use a separate amp for the FR/FL speakers and continue using either the Denon's internal amps or the Emotiva amp for the surround speakers?

2. Is there a tube amp, maybe in the $1,000 or less range that would be an upgrade over what I'm using now?

 

Thanks!

 

Depending on which sonic qualities of your La Scalas that you favor vs. what you might wish were different, what comes to mind are the dynakitparts.com reissues.  They are available as fully assembled, plug-and-play reproductions of the classic Dynaco circuits.  I find them to have a rich sound with a low fatigue factor, without giving up the sonic goodies we audiophiles like.  Like many if not most tube amps, they probably won't have quite the detail and extension of a solid state amp.  But, they could bring a very agreeable transformation to your La Scalas, again, depending on your personal preferences.  Here's the website, and, BTW, I have no business affiliation: https://www.dynakitparts.com/product-category/dynakit-products/amplifier-kits/

 

 

Edited by petercapo

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At first glance, I don't see any issues with what you're proposing since it sounds like your Denon has the necessary preamp outs to connect to your Emotiva 5 channel amp. Likely the only change you would need to do is run the Front L&R outputs from your Denon to the tube amp instead of sending those signals to the Emotive amp.

I started down a similar path about a year ago. My previous setup was a Denon AVR-4806Ci with Epic CF-3's as my main L&R, Klipsch center & rears. I found myself listening to more music than anything else so I began to dig into tubes, finally buying a Dynaco ST-70 with all the VTA/Bob Latino upgrades. I connected the Dynaco to the L&R preamp outs on my Denon and used the internal amps on the Denon when watching TV & movies for powering the center & rears. No regrets, it was a very good setup - so good that I recently purchased a pair of vintage monoblock tube amps that are being updated with some new parts. Should be fun to listen to this fall & winter.

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6 hours ago, mimalmo said:

At first glance, I don't see any issues with what you're proposing since it sounds like your Denon has the necessary preamp outs to connect to your Emotiva 5 channel amp. Likely the only change you would need to do is run the Front L&R outputs from your Denon to the tube amp instead of sending those signals to the Emotive amp.

I started down a similar path about a year ago. My previous setup was a Denon AVR-4806Ci with Epic CF-3's as my main L&R, Klipsch center & rears. I found myself listening to more music than anything else so I began to dig into tubes, finally buying a Dynaco ST-70 with all the VTA/Bob Latino upgrades. I connected the Dynaco to the L&R preamp outs on my Denon and used the internal amps on the Denon when watching TV & movies for powering the center & rears. No regrets, it was a very good setup - so good that I recently purchased a pair of vintage monoblock tube amps that are being updated with some new parts. Should be fun to listen to this fall & winter.

If you listen to a lot of two channel for music, you might try a dedicated pre-amp instead of using the Denon as a pre-amp. I think a 2 channel pre, especially a tube pre, will sound better than the Denon. Just a though, it's always fun playing with gear.

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3 hours ago, Ceptorman said:

If you listen to a lot of two channel for music, you might try a dedicated pre-amp instead of using the Denon as a pre-amp. I think a 2 channel pre, especially a tube pre, will sound better than the Denon. Just a though, it's always fun playing with gear.

Yeah, I've already got a few different stereo preamps that I use in other systems- both tube and SS but I think you'd be surprised by the sound from my current Denon. It's the AVR-5308Ci; priced at $5,500 when new, it has a stellar preamp section.

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I do this exact thing with my setup. With a Marantz SR7012, I send the front channel pre-out to a PrimaLuna Prologue Premium power amp that powers some Forte III’s. The Marantz is used to power an Academy center channel and R120 sub... It works very well for both home theater and streaming Tidal music from an Intel NUC running Audirvana.

 

Edited by Dustyzz
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