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CWIV: Tubes to Class A SS


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Seeking experiences and perspectives on shifting from a tube integrated to class A solid state for Cornwall IV.

 

I currently have a PrimaLuna Dialogue HP integrated with several sets of EL34 and one of the Gold Lion KT88.  I use this for music, switching to a Yamaha A810 for TV duty.  A Rythmik F12G provides extra bass duty (I meander between sub or no sub for stereo depending on mood).

 

I absolutely love the PL, but have been using the Yamaha more often lately for less focused music listening to run the Cornwall in.  I’ve noticed the Yamaha delivering a deeper and more controlled bass than the tubes, but with harsh mids and highs.  
 

This has got me lusting after the Luxman L-590AXII, wondering if I can get a best of both worlds.  The improved bass presence with the lush and silky mids and highs.

 

Anyone by chance heard the two or similar with thoughts?

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Cannot give answer on specific equipment you mention but I do have a lot of tube amplifiers and class A SS ones to compare and comment on. My experience on sound, much the same if one compares similar quality equipment. The SS class A amplifiers I have are Firstwatt clones I have built myself which are pure class A and the sound is comparable to the many tube amplifiers I have. This is where you compare sound between PP and then SE (PP being push pull and SE single ended. In other words the sound between a SE SS class A is comparable to a SE SET tube amplifier and the same comparing PP tube and SS. The differences are very subtle at best if quality equipment is compared. All amplifiers sound different with their strengths and weakness. 

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24 minutes ago, henry4841 said:

Cannot give answer on specific equipment you mention but I do have a lot of tube amplifiers and class A SS ones to compare and comment on. My experience on sound, much the same if one compares similar quality equipment. The SS class A amplifiers I have are Firstwatt clones I have built myself which are pure class A and the sound is comparable to the many tube amplifiers I have. This is where you compare sound between PP and then SE (PP being push pull and SE single ended. In other words the sound between a SE SS class A is comparable to a SE SET tube amplifier and the same comparing PP tube and SS. The differences are very subtle at best if quality equipment is compared. All amplifiers sound different with their strengths and weakness. 


Thanks man, the SE to SE/PP to PP experience is good to know.  This would be a PP to PP change.

 

What are your thoughts on shifting from KT88 to KT120 power tubes?  

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For the biggest difference in sound go for a SE tube amplifier. There is a mark difference in sound between PP and SE either tube or SS. I referenced a tube buy being that for the same sound in a SS amplifier you are going to have to buy a SE class A SS amplifier and those can get pricey. To me that is the biggest difference, the cost of SE tube sound vs SE SS sound. You can find many SE tube amplifiers under $1000. A comparable SS SE class A is going to cost 3 times as much. 

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Just now, henry4841 said:

For the biggest difference in sound go for a SE tube amplifier. There is a mark difference in sound between PP and SE either tube or SS. I referenced a tube buy being that for the same sound in a SS amplifier you are going to buy a SE class A SS amplifier and those can get pricey. To me that is the biggest difference, the cost of SE tube sound vs SE SS sound. You can find many SE tube amplifiers under $1000. A comparable SS SE class A is going to cost 3 times as much. 

 

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On any speaker, I haven't found a one and done solution... but I have gotten damned close.

 

it's always a trade off until you begin separating the LF from the HF sections with multiple amplification.

 

Like yourself, I have multiple set ups depending on what I am listening to to using the system for... it's just the way it is.

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Can't comment on equipment either. However, on my Forte III's I went from McIntosh tube amp (MC240) to McIntosh solid state (MC152) and noticed similar improvement in the bass. The highs and mids are not not as lush with the SS amp and the effervescent/ethereal tube magic is missing/diminished. Instead, the highs/mids, while still very smooth, are more crisp.

 

I also confer the ideal situation would be multiple setups or bi-amping.

 

Good luck and have fun!  

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8 hours ago, aperfectcircle said:

Seeking experiences and perspectives on shifting from a tube integrated to class A solid state for Cornwall IV.

 

I currently have a PrimaLuna Dialogue HP integrated with several sets of EL34 and one of the Gold Lion KT88.  I use this for music, switching to a Yamaha A810 for TV duty.  A Rythmik F12G provides extra bass duty (I meander between sub or no sub for stereo depending on mood).

 

I absolutely love the PL, but have been using the Yamaha more often lately for less focused music listening to run the Cornwall in.  I’ve noticed the Yamaha delivering a deeper and more controlled bass than the tubes, but with harsh mids and highs.  
 

This has got me lusting after the Luxman L-590AXII, wondering if I can get a best of both worlds.  The improved bass presence with the lush and silky mids and highs.

 

Anyone by chance heard the two or similar with thoughts?

I changed out the power tubes in my PL to kt 150s and never went back to the el 34s and don’t plan to ever go back. My forte IVs have much stronger bass now - almost more punch and power and I like that. Still warm and very clear midrange. I probably will never go back to ss amps because I love the depth and width of the soundstage I hear with my Primaluna

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I’m running a Luxman L509X on a pair of Belles & the sound is sublime. 

The best of both worlds to my ears, liquid tube like mids & tops with plenty of heft & control on the bottom end. 

No mucking around with tubes either & wondering whether they’re going off song, also totally silent.

 

Beautiful amplifier.

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Moving from my Forte 1s to Forte IVs and from el34s to kt 150s completely transformed my listening experience and I love the extra bass punch while acoustic vocals are even clearer than ever before. I made one change at a time - first the kt150s then the IVs

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8 hours ago, Fido said:

Moving from my Forte 1s to Forte IVs and from el34s to kt 150s completely transformed my listening experience and I love the extra bass punch while acoustic vocals are even clearer than ever before. I made one change at a time - first the kt150s then the IVs


I feel you, man.  Had KT120s arrive 2 days ago, and absolutely loving them.  That bass is incredible - I keep thinking I have the sub on - and they are much sweeter than the KT88 in the midrange.  Think I’m sticking with tubes! 

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On 8/18/2021 at 1:40 AM, henry4841 said:

For the biggest difference in sound go for a SE tube amplifier. There is a mark difference in sound between PP and SE either tube or SS. I referenced a tube buy being that for the same sound in a SS amplifier you are going to have to buy a SE class A SS amplifier and those can get pricey. To me that is the biggest difference, the cost of SE tube sound vs SE SS sound. You can find many SE tube amplifiers under $1000. A comparable SS SE class A is going to cost 3 times as much. 


Any SE tube amps you would recommend, or particular designs/tubes?  The 300B seems very popular.  

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On 8/18/2021 at 6:27 AM, mdm7eb said:

Can't comment on equipment either. However, on my Forte III's I went from McIntosh tube amp (MC240) to McIntosh solid state (MC152) and noticed similar improvement in the bass. The highs and mids are not not as lush with the SS amp and the effervescent/ethereal tube magic is missing/diminished. Instead, the highs/mids, while still very smooth, are more crisp.

 

I also confer the ideal situation would be multiple setups or bi-amping.

 

Good luck and have fun!  


Thanks, man.  Did you consider one of the McIntosh hybrid amps?  

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2 minutes ago, aperfectcircle said:


Any SE tube amps you would recommend, or particular designs/tubes?  The 300B seems very popular.  

All of mine are ones I built myself so I really have no experience with retail ones but from all I have read online there are great deals coming from China right now. There is much praise on the Reison A10 on youtube and the net right now.  https://www.amazon.com/BOYUU-Hi-Fi-Stereo-Amplifier-Single-end/dp/B07L4GL63N/ref=sr_1_4?crid=13M96S7VS816R&dchild=1&keywords=tube+amplifier+stereo&qid=1629543286&sprefix=tube+amplifier%2Caps%2C202&sr=8-4  This is one I would give consideration. Prices have increased a lot this year like most everything else because this amp use to be priced much lower. The thing about a SE tube amplifier is the circuits are really simple to understand so anyone with any electronic knowledge can fix or change components in them. From all said the most expensive part of an amp, the iron, is pretty good on this one. I have two Chinese kit amplifiers I built mainly to see how good the iron was and how they sound. I was surprised on the quality of iron and the sound I got from just around $200 per kit which was many years ago I am afraid. Plenty of good tube amplifiers from other places in the world with reviews and comments to be found all over the net with the rest of them but for me if I were needing a decent tube amplifier I would look to Asia. https://www.amazon.com/BOYUU-Hi-Fi-Stereo-Amplifier-Single-end/dp/B07L4GL63N/ref=sr_1_4?crid=13M96S7VS816R&dchild=1&keywords=tube+amplifier+stereo&qid=1629543286&sprefix=tube+amplifier%2Caps%2C202&sr=8-4

 

A decent SE 300B amplifier has an amazing sound like no other amplifier I own. I consider it my best of over 20 amplifiers I now have up and running. 

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