Jump to content

Sell Everything you Own...


Recommended Posts

...buy SET

...and give the rest to the poor

I had to find out for myself, and I have.

These "pure distortion devices" make a luxurious sound.

The Welborne Apollos showed up today, and I had a nice, extended lunch break. I hurt my back a little when I pulled one of the amps out the box while I as in a somewhat awkward position. I was fighting back peanuts and twisted my upper body to get the amp and bubble wrap to clear the top of the box. Damn, it hurt. Each monoblock weighs 12 pounds more than the Super Amp. They are heavy. Almost 50 lbs a piece. I buy solid state amps by the pound (the Aragon 4004 MK II weighs in at 75lbs), but never really thought about it in regards to tube amps -- which is strange, because so much of what a tube amp does is related to the transformers.

Externally, the amps are gorgeous. I figured even if they sounded like crap, I was going to keep them for asthetic reasons alone. No scratches, dings, or otherwise. There are some micro-knicks on one of the edges of the transformer covers, but one would have to be as anal retentive as me to notice. The bottom plates are not perfect, there are some "scuffs" -- but the wood around the bottom edges are flawless.

The KR300BXLS output tubes are about the size of a three-way light bulbs. Actually, I think they ARE three-way light bulbs -- and KR must be making a mint relabeling these things.

I wiped them both down with some damp paper towels, and then hoisted them upstairs with my back already going into spasms. Yesterday I referred to them as "The Apollos". Today -- I called them many other things.

I had everything all set up, awaiting their arrival, and so I just put them in place, put the tubes in, attached the wires, and powered them up.

They hum alright, with a little buzzing just to make things interesting. Not too bad though. It was expected, so it didn't surprise me. I was letting them warm up when I heard a very slight, barely discernable thump. They do have some kind of internal startup sequence that I'm not quite up to speed with -- so I ignored it. After a few minutes I went to grab a CD. Remembering most of anything I wanted to hear was downstairs, I leaned over and punched the eject button to see what was sitting in the 9000.

Pantera's Cowboys from Hell


Did I really want to subject these things to that sort of abuse?

I hit play and dialed up to about 8 o'clock.

O.K. This is cool. Like the Super Amp DJH, but the leading edge of the transients aren't as sharp. It's warmer, and the remaing splash from the treble is gone. Most of digital "splash" vanished after I added the 9000ES -- now it's completely gone. What's left are cymbals that trail away into the empty space. Nice.

Imaging is about the same as the DJH. It's a little different, but I can't put my finger on it just yet. Listening to this made me think about how good the Super Amp DJH must really be. I have to honestly say here that the difference isn't worth getting excited about. Actually, I'm glad -- because I thought the Super Amp DJH did a fantastic job of throwing an image. The Apollos are the same. It's wide and deep, and most of the sound just kind of hangs out there in front of you.

The bass is not as dynamic, not quite the authority of the AE-25 DJH, but nice and tight -- with good body. Very natural sounding and more than easy to live with. The Apollos' bass is not quite as percussive in character, but very musical and articulate. The bass work on this Pantera CD is insane, and I could easily hear every blistering note.

Like the treble, the midrange is also warmer. A nice glow instead of a hot white light. The Apollos somehow do this without giving up clarity and detail. I thought the Super Amp DJH kicked some serious butt in the clarity department -- and the Apollos match it, but without the brightness that usually comes with clarity.

The RF7's seem happy with these guys. If there is a problem in the frequency response due to any dips in impedance -- I don't hear it. Of course, the amps are wired to the 4 ohm taps -- maybe this helps. At any rate, everything is just dandy from top to bottom.

I thought going from the Bryston to the stock Super Amp was a pretty big jump in quality of sound. The move to the DJH version of the Super Amp was a couple of notches better still. The Apollos cover about the same amount of distance as the jump from the stock Super Amp to the DJH version.

It just might be easier to say that all four amps are in the ballpark. The Bryston is in the nosebleed section. The stock Super Amp is playing shallow center. The DJH model is covering second. The Apollos are on the mound. I'll leave that distance between the mound and homeplate for Moondogs, Laurels, and cost no object state of the art designs.

I will need to email Al K. and a couple of others regarding my findings. I'm sure these things will pinch up if I take them to the limit -- but that's not why I bought them. Even at 8 o'clock on the preamp, it's loud enough. I'll throw a little juice on the RF7's later and see what happens.

I'll add some pics later tonight after I get home.

Again, thanks Kelly, for always working to help me keep an open mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dean, I second Justin's vote. Well done ... felt like I was there, back spasm and all, with you while you booted those puppies up. Good baseball analogy ... I would have chosen drivers, drawn 5-woods, shoved 4-irons and a wedge with "side sauce", but I got the picture :)

I know SET is in my future ... probably a few years out ... awaiting a good room and nice lighting (and a wet bar somewhere next to the dimmers) ... and I know it will involve Klipschorns somehow and 2A3's ...

The next chapter remains to be written.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I will make this simple. You are not that far away from me and I have gotten tired of listening to you drone on about the amp merry go round you have going on. You need to visit me and my house of Klipsch or I need to visit you and see what the hell you are talking about. I could bring some stuff or you could bring some stuff. What do ya think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Congratualtions on the amps and being the first RF-7 owner to find out for real. Something that will maintain that prcision RF-7 image and back off the intense highs (I think I read your review correctly) is very attractive. Nice going.

I hope your back is getting over it and it's not outside the Advil domain.

I've been thinking of better coupling and power caps and/or Wright Sound WPA3.5s. Now I'm thinking much more.

Thanks for the great review.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


So does this mean you may have the Apollos for more than 6 months?

Ok, all jests aside, Congratulations again on your new aquisitions. I'm sure you've noticed that I don't recommend SET amps because until you've heard them, most don't believe how wonderful the sound can be. They're definitely not "pure distortion devices".

Who knows, maybe soon you'll find some Heritage horns and a vinyl playback device to set off additional aural sensations. Enjoy!

Klipsch out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I'll be damned; you like the beasts. I even think there are better tubes to power those amps that might lose a tad bit of power but gain musicality. When you're through getting used to them and enjoying in their current guise, you might want to hop down that path. I think you might be surprised. Also, might I suggest some other music to add to the equation? You might enjoy listening to some other material; good SET amps can expand your listening habits.

As for now, congratulations. I do believe you now own some of the most esoteric amplifiers in this forum. Throw me some shots and some succinct text and perhaps I'll make you a page.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me guess -- I'm the only one that can see them. I don't get it.

I actually have to find a server to host these damn things before they can show up here!! You got to be kidding. Upgraded forum? What B.S.

I'll figure out a way to do it in the morning. I need to go to bed.

What do you think about the microphonics problem Kelly? SET amps more of a problem in this area.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Send them here and I'll post them if you like. You left links to your actual hard drive on your own machine, which is why YOU are seeing them and no one else is. Welcome my dear SET friend.

As for the microphonics, this is mainly to do with your tubes. I have actually never had any microphonics problems with my SET amps or any I have had on loan. You might need a good base for those beasts.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kelly, I sent you mail with pics attached, uh -- I think. AOL compressed the damn things into one file, so I have no idea what you are going to see. In addition, when I'm this tired I become just about completely inept.

Jeff, yes -- these are the amps that were on AudiogoN

Crash, where abouts do you live, and who's "droning"? Sure easier for you to drag some Heresies and an Eico here, than for me to drag 300lbs of SET and RF7's to you:) We might have to come back and report how you waxed my *** with two squawkers and an Eico:)

As far as the amplifier "merry-go-round" goes, well...4 amps in a little over a year ain't THAT bad. Thanks to AudiogoN, each upgade ran me about $300, including this one. It's been fun climbing the ladder, and I've been able to try some things I otherwise would never have been able to try.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK Dean you talked me into it.

I am going to trade in these:


and maybe this:


If he will take them for this:


plus some cash (from the sale of) this:


That should leave me some money left over so I was thinking of picking up on of these:


And maybe his new tube phono stage if it will drive an MC cartridge.

I'm also thinking of getting the above mentioned MC cartridge. For the money it seems that the Denon 103 is aces but I might go for the 110 with its higher output.

I should after all of that still have some money left over so I might listen to Tony who is driving me mad to get a new arm for the TT as well.

Whatever I buy I will make sure it can be moved to a new TT when I stump up the cash for it.

Exciting times ahead - I wonder if it will all get me back to the music??

(Just showing off my picture posting abilities!!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...