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Archive through April 17, 2005

 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 243
Registered: Jan-05
Not surprisingly, I have no idea what absolute phase is. But, from what I'm reading, it is not just the system that can affect the phase. The recordings do too and there is not necessarily any commonality between the phase of the recordings. Which, it seems would require making adjustments based on the recording to truly maintain absolute phase. Do you do this Jan? Do you make adjustments frequently or do you have a setting based on the phase of the majority of the type of recordings you listen to?

http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/absolutephase.html

Now, off to do some research to see if I can figure out my subwoofer questions.

 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 244
Registered: Jan-05
I was wondering about something like this the other day. Lo and behold, it exists (even if it is, uh, ugly):

Tubes On The Go
 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 245
Registered: Jan-05
Since the SP3 has no subwoofer or preamp output, would a connection similar to this allow the use of a subwoofer? This looks like it would connect to the speaker taps of the amp and then speakers would run from the subwoofer?

http://store1.yimg.com/I/hsusubs_1831_396215

This particular sub is not one I'm interested in but found the pic and thought it might be a good indicator of the type of connection I would need. The sub I really want, the Rocket UFW-10, doesn't have this type of connection. It only has the LFE or XLR type.

jan, if the sub isn't in the corner, where should it be?
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 979
Registered: Dec-03
SM,

I can only speak for myself, but I never felt the need to run a sub with my 1.6's. Planar speakers, as you know, have very fast transient response, and tight bass. What they may lack is deep bass extention. I suggest you let your MMG's run in more, and your amp as well. I would let both get 200+ hours on them and re-evaluate at that time. What you think is lacking right now may change as you get use to planar sound. I found it very clean and articulate, just not a lot of impact or slam.

Cheers!
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3271
Registered: May-04


"Panasonic B-flat Tube CQ-TX5500D is the world's first car receiver with a built-in vacuum tube"

With "a" tube? "Built in" makes it sound like the old Luxman integrated amps with the 12AX7 tube in the window at the front of the amplfier. The tube wasn't in the audio circuit, it had just enough voltage going through it to make it light up and was put in a place where the user could look at it.

First? Somebody should tell the copywriter that cars had tube radios before transistors were invented. Even those of us who grew up with 8 tracks know that.

****************

SM - Yes, the speaker level inputs on the HSU sub are what you'll need. In the case of the inoperative sub, it should be out of the room completely. For a functioning sub, corner placement can still lead to boominess. If you decide to go with a new sub, there are several methods used to determine the best placement of the sub. I tend to agree with Rick about listening for a while with the planars by themself. Consider getting the room acoustics and the equipment set up correctly before you add too much speaker for the space.

For a time, absolute phase was a hot issue in audio. Some manufacturers put phase switches on the front of the pre amp to allow easy changes in absolute phase. Those switches are now as uncommon as mono switches. Too bad about the demise of both. I know the Macs do not invert phase, most of the other equipment I own does not invert phase, but my tube pre amp does. I have my system set up for what sounds best over the widest number of recordings. This approach is similar to setting the VTA on your phono cartridge. You can find the most often correct position or you can obssess and change things constantly. If it were as easy as flipping a switch, I would check phase for each recording. As is, I go with what sounds right the majority of the time, realizing some recordings may be out of absolute phase. If you don't have a phase switch, you can set the system up with banana plugs or 1/4" phone plugs and switch as needed. That becomes a matter of which is more important to you; either absolute phase or the fewest breaks in the connections within your system.

The music you listen to will help determine the usefullness of absolute phase. If you listen to recordings that use simple recording techniques, phase can make a difference. The article you linked explained it well. Every piece of equipment a signal passes through, whether in the recording or playback chain, can reverse the phase (or worse, just shift the phase 45 degrees). If you listen to recordings that are highly processed, the issue of absolute phase is often meaningles to you.

Once a system is stabilized as far as components are concerned (and, in my case, the system has not changed drastically for quite some time), you can experiment with phase. It requires a short time listening and crawling around behind your equipment to get what can amount to the same change you might pay lots of money to obtain with new equipment. There are instances where I can't say a client didn't hear an improvement when they bought new equipment mainly because they got the absolute phase of their system corrected.


 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2340
Registered: Dec-03
While Jan and Rick are in the wait and see camp for a sub, I think you know
where I'm at on the issue. And some of the best subs for the money are SVS
HSU and of course rel, some of the velodyne models can have great bang for the buck!

"Since the SP3 has no subwoofer or preamp output, would a connection similar to this allow the use of a subwoofer? This looks like it would connect to the speaker taps of the amp and then speakers would run from the subwoofer?"

As Jan said yes that one will work.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2341
Registered: Dec-03
Sm that car radio you mentioned has been out for quite some time and if you see
it up close it's much nicer looking than the pic shows, check this out!

http://www.firingsquad.com/media/article_image.asp?fs_article_id=1137&pic_id=03

http://www.trygve.com/blog_2002_07.html

 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 246
Registered: Jan-05
Rick,

I agree, the bass is clean and articulate with the MMG, too. I'm not interested in slam, so to speak. I just wonder what I'm missing from the extension. In fact, I've been very happy with the overall balance of the MMG's and, in a month of listening, have not really missed having a subwoofer. Maybe I should stop wondering if I'm missing notes. :-)

Jan,

The absolute phase is something to add to the list. But, it sounds like something for the future once things have settled?

 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3273
Registered: May-04



"If it measures good and sounds bad, -- it is bad. If it sounds good and measures bad, -- you've measured the wrong thing." - Daniel von Recklinghausen (Chief Engineer H.H. Scott)


 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 981
Registered: Dec-03
Great Quote.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2919
Registered: Dec-03
Yes, great quote!

"First? Somebody should tell the copywriter that cars had tube radios before transistors were invented."

Damn right. I remember waiting for my father's and brothers car radios to warm up.

Most HT-type active subs have a continuously-variable phase control, from 0º to 180º. I could not see much use for that in 5.1, but I think it would help in SM's planned set-up.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 982
Registered: Dec-03
Kegger,

I just wanted to check in and let you know, that I am still blown away by the sound of the RCA's. I am vey curious to hear your impressions of your ASL SET amp. Have you had a chance to play with it yet?
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2344
Registered: Dec-03
Rick I'm still experimenting but I love what I hear and this thing, it's much
more powerful than 8 watts has a right too!

I have a tough time describing sounds as I've mentioned before but the
words smooth and articulate come to mind. I would like to try another pair
of output tubes but 300B's aren't cheap!

I recently redid the xovers in my klipsch speakers to a much more minimal
design, a single coil in series with the 2 woofers paralelled (first order)
then a second order on the tweeter/horn. so the woofers only have a coil in their
path and tweeter/horn has a cap and padding resister in it's path.
Much less complex then the original and I'm still tweaking values but very close.
The sound is improved over stock!

I've tried several nos input tubes in the unit and it responds very well.
So far very very satisfied exspecialy for my entry fee! LoL!

I'm glad the tubes are doing you justice, I didn't want to work out a
transaction with you and not have the results we both thought you would get.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 983
Registered: Dec-03
Kegger,

I'm sure that SET sounds real sweet. With the Klipsch speakers, it should run in pure class A. Any more time spent with the EL84 based amps?
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 530
Registered: Feb-04
Kegger,

Do you have a reference system or are you always running gear in and out of your system? What combination of equipment comes closest to your ideal sound? Do you find that it depends on the kind of music you're listening to?

Last question, are you pulling for the Spartans to spank the Tar Heels this week?
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2345
Registered: Dec-03
2c that is a lot of questions that I don't have time to really answer correctly right now!

But I do have a reference system not in my main listening area. I use it to
compare equipment and double check myself as to what I think I'm hearing.

In my main system I swap out amps, preamps, speakers, tubes. (one at a time)
after they have been modded and tested in my reference system. I like extended
highs but not to far and can't stand sibulance so with hoirns tuned just right with
the combo of tubes and the efenciency can be incredably detailed. but I also like
a nice soulful midrange with powerful and extended bass so a 3-way design
is my usual speaker design of choice (but I like electrostatics and would love to own some)
I have a pair of monitors I built with a ribbon tweeter that sound awsome.

With the music I listen to and the speaker of choice I don't find any shortcommings
when everything is finally setup to my liking.

Lately I have been more critical of the upper registers and digital harshness.
That is part of the reason why I rebuilt the xovers in the klipsch (tame the horns).
And I run a zman tube enhancer out of my sacd/cd player and swao tubes. (digital harshness)

But when it's all said and done I do like tubes and horns!
Then I augment them with solid state and subs.

----------------------------------------------
Rick I have used the el84's a little more and find them rolled off but sweet. I like!
----------------------------------------------

Unfortunitaly I have the tar heels winning in my final against illinois! Go figure!
If the tar heels win so do I! So I have to root for the heels!
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2350
Registered: Dec-03
No new tube info?

Ghia nothing from you?

Rick try anymore tube swapping?
Same with you 2C!
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 988
Registered: Dec-03
Kegger,

Been busy at work, no time to play lately. I'll have to make some. Also getting the house ready to put on the market.

MC-2C,

Woild like to hear an update. Tube rolling is where the fun starts.

Cheers to all.
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 543
Registered: Feb-04
Kegger and Rick,

Haven't had much time lately to tweak the system and I think I'm also suffering from upgrade fatigue. When I'm ready to try different tubes, I'm thinking of getting Mullard 12ax7s and/or EH EL34s. What do you think about that?

Rick, so you're really moving to the Sunshine State?
 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 255
Registered: Jan-05
Not much from me, either. I've been listening to a Reference Recording of Liszt this a.m. Sounds fine on the tube system. I did hook up a pair of "box" speakers to the Onix to see how it sounds. Let's just say the MMG's were quickly put back in place. lol.

No tube rolling for me, at this point. My guess is that is a couple of months away.

BTW, I removed the cages a week or so ago and found the cats haven't bothered it at all. Plus, with the cages off, the shelf above the amp doesn't get nearly as hot. Maybe without the cages, the heat has a wider dispersion point?

 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 258
Registered: Jan-05
Rick,

A guy on this thread is seeking some feedback about Ohm speakers. Do you still have yours? If you get some free time, maybe you can give him more feedback. :-)

Kegger,

I also told him about your system. He wants a 2 channel system but wants to keep open HT integration down the road.

 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 989
Registered: Dec-03
2c,

Sounds like a plan to me. Yes, I am definitely moving to Florida, hopefully before August.

SM,

Thanks for the heads up. I'll see if I can be of any help.

Kegger,

Just keep on, keeping on my brother. LOL!
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2351
Registered: Dec-03
2C: "I'm thinking of getting Mullard 12ax7s and/or EH EL34s"

I would definatly do the 12ax7's as it's cheaper and a larger difference. IMO

But if your going to spend the cash to get mullards I would do telefunkens instead.

Now unless your system is a little bright and maybe needs filling out in the
lower regions then the mullards are what you want.
personaly I would go for some inexpensive rca's first.
Or if you want to splurge some ge 5 stars or rca clear tops. The older the better!
 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 1002
Registered: Dec-03
What is the role of the driver tube, and what is it's importance in the overall sound?
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3326
Registered: May-04


The driver stage(s) amounts to early gain stages where the signal is stepped up in voltage and impedance is shaped from the incoming pre amp signal. After the signal has been increased to a designated level it is then passed on to the output stages where the actual (large scale) amplification process takes place. Driver stages operate at low current and reasonably high impedance, like the pre amp, while the output stages are responsible for the current capability of the amp. (Such as it is in a tube amp. Most tube amplifiers do not have large current capability.) Until the signal is passed to the outputs, the impedance is kept relatively high whereas the output stages are then faced with having to drive a loudspeaker load of approximately 4-16 Ohms (or fed to a 25/70 volt transformer for distribution systems). To do this the output signal is fed to the output transformers which act as a step down/impedance matching device or the tubes are parallelled in a output transformerless design.

Since the drivers act as gain stages, they will have the same effect on sound quality as the pre amp tubes. In the Mac tube amps, the driver stage is comprised of three tubes per channel so the gain is lower in each stage which will lower distortion and noise. It also allows a lower impedance at the output of each stage to get more dynamic gain in the overall amplification stage. With three tubes per channel the effect of changing one tube is less significant than in an amp such as the ST-70 which uses one tube per channel.


 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 1004
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks Jan. So in the case of my JD-102B, I have one driver, and two pre-amp tubes. So the driver tube will have as much impact on the overall sound as the pre-amp tubes.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3330
Registered: May-04


I can't predict the amount of change that one tube will have on the sound of the entire amp. It depends how the tube is used within the circuit. If more gain is developed in the pre amp (which is entirely possible since the designer could assume you would only use the pre amp mated with the associated power amp), the driver tube may play a minimal role in the scheme of the whole amp. In general I would say, yes, the driver will affect the sound in a noticeable fashion. If for no other reason than you are changing the sound before the large scale amplification of the output tubes. At the cost of small signal tubes, it is well worth the experiment.




 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2360
Registered: Dec-03
Rick I keep forgetting your amp is an integrated which has the preamp section built in!

When you asked me if I had any tubes for sale I was thinking the tube that was
single must be a voltage devider tube or some design like that then the 2 tubes
were the driver tubes but after realizing my mistake I'm with Jan and I'm not
sure which of the small tubes would have the most signifacant change on the sound.

Like Jan said they may be very simular in the amount of change.
I'd be interested when you change all those tubes what your thoughts are!
 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 1009
Registered: Dec-03
Can you explain recommended circuit type usage and circuit gain usage?

Such as:
low mic line level 100x gain
ultra low mic line level 1000x gain
moving magnet phono input 10,000x gain
moving coil phono input 100,000x gain

Which one is the right one for my amp?
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3335
Registered: May-04


"Which one is the right one for my amp?"

To do what? Are you trying to run a microphone into the amp?

I'm going to assume not and these are optional settings you can make for one input. Think of microphones and phono cartridges as the analogous portions of your system to your speakers. All three represent the "transducers" in the system in that all take one form of energy and convert it to another form of energy. Mics and phono cartridges take mechanical energy and convert it to electrical energy. Speakers do the reverse. In the case of the low level transducers gain must be applied early in the circuit for the pre amplifier to drive the rest of the circuit. (Pre amps and amps are best thought of as a series of gain stages.) The two types of mics they refer to would be; "low mic line level 100x gain", a dynamic mic with what is considered average output for a microphone. It requires minimal gain before being sent along on its path. An "ultra low mic line level* 1000x gain" would expect to see a condenser microphone which, like a moving coil, has very low output voltage and requires additional stepping up (gain) before leaving this stage of the pre amp. A dynamic mic can be viewed as the analog to a dynamic speaker, there is a voice coil that is excited by the movement of the membrane that is the mic's pick up. A condenser mic operates much like an electrostatic speaker with a membrane being energized by movement from the source and the movement is generating an electrical field by varying its relationship with a charged body. The condenser mic's pick up assembly, like the ESL, is smaller, thinner, lighter and more able to respond to the smallest details of the signal. There are also ribbon type microphones, but they still fall under the general classification of condenser mic.

"Condenser Microphone - A design of microphone capsule in which a capacitor (or condenser) is created by stretching a thin conductive diaphragm in front of a metal disc called a backplate. By positioning the two surfaces very close together, but not touching, a capacitor is created whose capacitance varies as the sound waves strike the diaphragm and change its physical relationship to the backplate. The electric charge required for this process to occur is provided by an external source, such as a power supply unit or phantom power delivered from the mixing desk. Condenser microphones have very few moving parts but are susceptible to shocks; however, their sensitivity and electrical characteristics far outweigh any detriments, and are the preferred choice of microphone when micing musical instruments or the human voice."

"Dynamic Microphone - A type of microphone capsule design in which an electrical audio signal is generated by a voice-coil or ribbon (called a diaphragm) moving within a permanent magnetic field. The diaphragm moves in response to actual sound pressure waves; moving within the magnetic field causes changes in magnetic induction, which comprise the audio signal. This type of transducer operates almost exactly like a standard loudspeaker, except in reverse.Dynamic microphones are often chosen in sound reinforcement applications due to their durability, expense (generally, they are the least expensive type of microphones), and ability to withstand very high sound pressure levels."

Of course, the two cartridge types are moving magnet and moving coil. Once again there is the same anology to speakers and microphones. The MM cartridge will move a somewhat massive magnet assembly within the field of fixed coils to produce a fairly high level signal, by comparison to a MC, that requires less gain. The MC will move the small, light coils against the field of the magnets and will produce a signal that requires more gain be applied before the signal can be sent forward.

I don't know if that tells you what you need to know, but those are the references made in what you gave me. The cartridges (and often the condenser microphone) not only require gain but also some signal shaping. In the case of the cartridge, the inverse RIAA curve must be applied. In these three cases there may also be a provision for loading (L/C/R) which is given.

*Since the condenser mic is much lower level than a dynamic mic, the appellation "line level" here is a bit misleading.





 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2365
Registered: Dec-03
Check these operating instructions out for a used piece of tube gear and the
first time you fire one up. Most sound straight forward and what others have
said including Jan but one is a little strange but seems to make good sense!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------

First of all if you run across one of those great finds hope that no one plugged
it in to see if the tubes lit. Chances are they did, but maybe for not very long.
The first thing to do with an old piece of gear is to check the tubes. That might
be the reason it was taken out of service to begin with. The second thing is to
make sure you get all working tubes back in their original places so before you
do, the first thing is mark the tubes so you know where they were placed.
Usually a bit of cleaning is in order and a large soft bristled paint brush is a great
dusting tool to start with. Get rid of much dust as you can.

Bake the piece. I know it sounds strange but remove the bottom cover, check for
strange deposits of wax or capacitor oil and if none is present then pop it in to the
oven upside down. If you can set it at 175 that will be good. The upside down is
to allow any moisture inside the transformers to escape. Do it right side up and
steam can get trapped and later short out your transformer. The reason for this
is that carbon resisters will slowly get moisture ridden and go out of tolerance.
This is to get them back in so a couple of hours will take care of that. Needless
to say, carefully look power cords and replace if need be. Check the fuse, you do
want it to be original ,ie, correct value. Now you are ready for the variac!
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3368
Registered: May-04


I assume you are referring to the baking process that I never mentioned. It's an old trick that is the equivalent to pouring oatmeal in your crankcase to get an old engine to seal its gaskets. It's dangerous and, at best, is only a temporary fix. The idea is to reheat and redistribute the potting solution that is surrounding the windings in the transformer and various components. I didn't mention this because it is equivalent to me suggesting the way to light your house is to build bonfires in each room. It is up to you whether you want to try this method of "restoration". Let me know if it works and for how long. I've honestly never had the guts to try this. The better way to go, in my opinion, is to bring the unit up slowly on a Variac and let the potting materials do their own thing. Either they will resettle or not. The best solution is to just replace the parts that are defective.









 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2366
Registered: Dec-03
hey Jan I'll be looking for a tube fm stereo tuner at this fest.

any suggestions not toooo expensive?

how is the dynaco model 3?
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3379
Registered: May-04


The Dyna tuners were OK. If you can find a lower priced Scott tuner they were, as far as I remember, considered the superior product to the Dynas. The Pilot's and Eico's were not too bad for what you'd probably pay for them. I haven't thought much about tuners for years. I'll rumage around through some of my older stuff and see what suggestions I can find.


 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2367
Registered: Dec-03
sounds good thanks!

anything you might want me to look for for you?
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3384
Registered: May-04


Thanks, no. Like I said, my money has all gone to the back room lately. All my tubes are working, so nothing I need right now.


 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3405
Registered: May-04


Kegger - I spoke to a friend who has a restoration service locally and asked about tube tuners. His suggestion would be look for a Fisher tuner. Very stable and good sounding. Next would be the Mac's and the Dyna's. He would stay away from the Scott unless you can realign them on a regular basis which will require special equipment. He is less inclined to sugest an HK or Sherwood. Everything else that is likely to be reasonably priced is lower quality in his opinion.






 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2368
Registered: Dec-03
One of the guy's on audiokarma.org offered to sell me a pretty good dyna for $85
plus shipping I may do it. Any idea if that's a decent price?

Man just got home from karmafest whoo I'm beat, but I go back tommorrow! WEEEE!!

I'll try to get pictures, there was some killer sh!t there.

SEE Yu!
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3415
Registered: May-04

TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBES - GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!

The MC240's are up and going again after being out of the system for almost a year waiting for the back room to get finished. They got a new set of Svetlana 6L6's (supposedly the last of the "great" Svetlanas before things changed hands and lines merged - great line to close the sale.) Right out of the boxes with the transformers stone cold the sound is terrific. I'm totally unclear on what exactly is the situation with the Russian tubes right now. I am certain though these Svetlanas are miles ahead of the Sovtek 5881's I had in the amps last time out. "Great sound at a bargain price" they were not. The change to the Svetlanas is worth every penny.

The story on getting the 240's up and running again is worth telling (probably).

The back room is 95% ready to go, so it was time to start sorting out the hifi for back there. The new tubes got taken out of their containers and the amps got put up on the table for a quick cleaning. The caps in the amps are twenty years old now so any time an amp sits there is a danger of the caps drying out and then there can be problems when the amp gets hit with AC voltage. I should have run these up on a Variac, BUT NO, not me. Let's plug them into 120 volts and see just what happens. So what if I take out a few output tubes along the way. Yeah, right!

Cleaned and with new tubes the amps got put in the spare bedroom to listen for problems before they move into their new home. The first amp went in to place and the speakers were connected. The Macs have a thermistor and a choke in the soft start up circuit so they take a few seconds to light the tubes. I plugged the amp into the Panamax and turned out the room lights to see how things would come up to operating temperature. About ten seconds after the amps are plugged in the first glow of filament voltage starts to light the tubes in almost a year.




The tubes stabilize with no gas burn off and no sparks inside the tubes. I place my ear to the speaker ... dead quiet! Not a sound can be heard. Is this good or is this bad? The CD goes into the player and the volume on the pre amp is raised very slowly. Music! Familiar Mac tube music. So the quiet is a good sign. I turn the volume down and start to clean the second amp.

Repeating the procedure for the second amp the new tubes go in and it gets hooked up to a speaker before I plug it into the Panamax. With voltage going in, I turn out the lights to see what is happening with the tubes. After about fifteen seconds the tubes start to light and there is a spark in one of the Ei 12BH7's. Blue light shimmering up and down the inside of the tube bottle. Crackling starts to come from the 3/5a. Not a good sign, I don't want to blow up a speaker, they're hard and expensive to replace now days. I turn on the room lights and bend down to check the tube to see if this is just some gas burning off (hopefully) or a leaky tube or signs of problems elsewhere in the amp. Just as I get eye level with the amps sitting on the floor the tube gives a bright spark and



blam



By the time I pick myself up off the floor several feet away from where I was a moment ago, the smoke and smell are already filling the room. The explosion was about the same as an M80 going off next to my ear. Anything that blows up with 450 volts going through it is impressive!!! Quickly I unplug the amps and think about the possibilities. It is now after midnight so there's not much to be done until the morning. I shut everything down and go to bed wondering how much this is going to cost. I have no idea whether the bang took out the tubes or not. Dollar signs snuggle up with me for the night.

This morning I pull the amp into the kitchen and put it on the table. The bottom cover comes off and I find one of the small bypass caps I had placed across the large filter caps has met its maker (Mallory). The inside of the amp looks like a pinata factory has exploded inside of it. All the connectors and switches have capacitor bits all over them. Relieved to find it is not a consequential piece of componentry and probably just a bad capacitor, I clean the amp up and snip out the blown up part. A new fuse that doesn't look like it met the French Resistance goes in, and I hope it was just a bad bypass cap and nothing more.





Tonight I plug everything in again and the same 12BH7 starts to spark. Lots of crackling through the speaker no matter what I do. I shut the amp down again and swap the bad plug with the good plug in the other side of the monoblock. With AC in, the same BH7 is still crackling and shimmering. It will not burn off the gas. Suddenly ... the crackling stops.


Terrific I think, the tube has cleaned itself up. Nope, the tube is still going to town but now there's no sound at all from the speaker. The woofer still moves so this is probably not too bad. It's back to the rear closet to dig out some spare tubes. A quick exchange for some old Groove Tube BH7's and let's try this again.

This time everything works perfectly. If you listen, you can hear the Macs playing in the background right now. Give a listen ...









Pretty good, huh? Just listen to that sound ...





















Yeah, I know but you can't have them.





 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3416
Registered: May-04


Kegger - That's fair price if you are sure it is in good working order and doesn't need alignment.






 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 2987
Registered: Dec-03
Amazing post, Jan. Ecoustics should pay you for stuff like that.
 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 1035
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

I could actually hear them.................sweet!

Kegger,

More on the Fest, when you get a chance.
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1677
Registered: Aug-04
Jan,

When we want to get some music going all we have to do is turn the SR-7300 on. Works every time and sounds really sweet too!

Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh, tubes gooooood, heh, heh, heh, yeah baby!

Now listen up you tube guys and gals, you gotta be careful - crispy old dogs don't hear to good.

[grin]

The Tube Rollin' Song

Rollin' rollin' rollin'
Keep them tubies rollin'
Rawhide
Make sure you turn off the power
or we'll have to leave a flower
on your crispy burnt and sizzlin'
Rawhide!



 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 1036
Registered: Dec-03
Rantz,

Enjoyed the song.......very clever!

However, when you turn on tubes you hear music. When you turn on transistors, all you hear is solid state. LOL!
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1681
Registered: Aug-04
I like a solid state Rick.


Once upon a time I liked an altered state.


Just so long as I'm not lying in state.


Darn, wait until I tell Mrs Rantz she's been hearing solid state and not music all these years. Hope she doesn't go into shock! [grin]
 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 1038
Registered: Dec-03
Rantz,

That's my point. Old Dogs should avoid solid state at all costs. We will be there soon enough. LOL!

It's finally spring in New England, and I am going out to dig, and put my hands in the soil.

How young and reborn I feel!
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1683
Registered: Aug-04
And it's autumn (fall) here in the land downunder, no digging - no hands in soil.

Perish the thought.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3418
Registered: May-04


Hey Mr.Tally man, tally me my circuits
Solid state come an' I wanna no mo'
Solid state come an' I wanna no mo'
Listen to de circuits til the morning come
Solid state come an I wanna no mo'


Ohho - no!
Ohho-no!
Solid state come and my music no go
Listenin' to solid state all day long!
P-N-P come and I wanna no mo'
Sixty watt, seventy watt, eighty watt job
I'm listenin' thru sand an' I wanna no mo'

Ohho - no, Ohho - no
Solid state come an' my music no go
Solid state come an my music no go




 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3420
Registered: May-04


"When we want to get some music going all we have to do is turn the SR-7300 on. Works every time and sounds really sweet too!"

It's true. It's a shame when a company puts out a product that has a defective part after forty plus years. I'm sure your Marantz will last much longer than that.


 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 1039
Registered: Dec-03
If Harry heard that version, he would say................YEAH MON!
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1685
Registered: Aug-04
"It's true. It's a shame when a company puts out a product that has a defective part after forty plus years. I'm sure your Marantz will last much longer than that."

Gosh, I sure hope so - as much as I would have hoped my comment would have been taken in jest - guess I'll have to resort to the little smiley faces again :-)

I'd have another tune here but no time - gotta go to the dd-d-dentist :-(

Later

 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1689
Registered: Aug-04
The rubber duck lips have worn off thank Eric. Well, the dentist got another great swag of my money and I left with his promise he was going to get a lot more of it. Anyway this is a tube thread:

Tubean Farewell

Down the way where the tubes do sway
to the luscious warm music from the solid state

I took a disc - and without a risk
placed it gently on the Denon's sturdty cd plate

Well I'm - glad to say - the Marantz did play
so sweetly and so warmly as it does every day

My heart went down - the little tubes all rolled around
They were sad because they knew they couldn't make that sound

Macs and Jolida's dancing to and fro
and I must declare all those of Keggers were there

They all were swinging round and having lots of fun
As the solid states kept belting out the number ones

Sm was there - with her latest toy
runnin round and showin it to every boy

But they said no chance - we just love the Marantz
How it soothes and makes music the perfect joy



 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 2995
Registered: Dec-03
"Hah!" re: Belafonte.

The power of the popular song. I was going to do one on "Island in the sun" but time is short.

Minimalist music is a bit like Novocaine, I always think. And eventually wears off.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3430
Registered: May-04


Little 'sistor
_________________

Little 'sistor, don't you
Little 'sistor, don't you
Little 'sistor, don't you switch on once or twice
Then say it's very nice
But it's no fun

Little 'sistor, can't you
Do what my old tubes done

Well, I once owned a big 'sistor
And missed my old tube glow
They said you were dandy
But tubes are like candy
So I'll toss you out the door

Little 'sistor, don't you
Little 'sistor, don't you
Little 'sistor, don't you switch on once or twice
Then say it's very nice
But it's no fun

Little 'sistor, can't you
Do what my old tubes done

Ev'ry time I see a 'sistor
Well it's in something new
It's mean and it's evil
Like that little old boll weevil
Guess I'll stick with my old tubes

Little 'sistor, don't you
Little 'sistor, don't you
Little 'sistor, don't you switch on once or twice
Then say it's very nice
But it's no fun

Little 'sistor, can't you
Do what my old tubes done

Well, I used to twist your pigtails
And smell you when you blow
But you been a switchin'
And babe, it ain't bewitchin'
You just give me woe

Little 'sistor, don't you
Little 'sistor, don't you
Little 'sistor, don't you switch on once or twice
Then say it's very nice
But it's no fun

Little 'sistor, can't you
Do what my old tubes done

(Repeat chorus until the signal fades - gradually)




 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3431
Registered: May-04


The Bipolar Transistor Tarantella
______________________________________

(Sung to the tune of odd order distortion)

I'm on
I'm off
I'm on
I'm off

I'm positive
No, I'm not
I'm negative
No, I'm not

Am
not
am
not

I'm on
I'm off
I'm positive I'm on
I'm not negative about being off



 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 1042
Registered: Dec-03
........little 'sistor, OH I'm sorry, I was singing along and tapping my toes, and got carried away.

Kegger-What's new? We need a Tube Fest report. Did you buy any new toys young man? LOL!
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1692
Registered: Aug-04
Little 'sister - Bravo! But that voice - er someone should apologise to Mr Cooder.

Hmm - no one has written a song about "tubes"

About Kegger - maybe he has eloped with S.M. ??????????

 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 1043
Registered: Dec-03
OH Man! Eloped with SM ? I had a real nice blender too. I left it on the Palace doorstep in London. Danm! Well, I'm off to pick up another.
 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 263
Registered: Jan-05
I don't need a blender but a Dualit toaster would be nice.
 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 264
Registered: Jan-05
Of course, once Kegman finds out about my betrayal, there will be a quick divorce....can I keep the Dualit?
 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 265
Registered: Jan-05
Regarding the betrayal...here's a little hint...Mr. Mac is happy as is Uncle Sam.
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1695
Registered: Aug-04
Aha SM!

Glad to see you're alive and kickin' thought the flu might have had you beat!

A "betrayal" you say - sounds like something ominous in the romance department perhaps ????

So are your tubes all aglow? - Er, just getting back on thread of course [grin] How's the new gear sounding with more use - still delivering a lot of joy I hope?


 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 266
Registered: Jan-05
Hello MR,

I've caught up on all the mischief you've been creating. ;-)

No, the betrayal is the removal of the tubes. I did my taxes yesterday and found I owe Uncle Sam, copious amounts of money. So, I'm in cash raising mode and the stint on the corner only goes so far. Ahem, anyway, one quick way to help pay Uncle Sam is to return the Onix combo. AV123 has a 30 day money back guarantee and I decided to take them up on it. The company was very gracious when I spoke to them today. Should things change down the road, I may give them another shout.

This experiment did whet my appetite, so to speak. I wouldn't be surprised if I dip my toes in the pool again in the future....don't say a word, Larry! ;-)
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1697
Registered: Aug-04
SM

Sorry to hear that! What a darn shame! Taxes phooey! Ah well, the tube camp has one less soldier, even if only temporary, but I can't shout hoorah :-(



 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1698
Registered: Aug-04
I see it, but I don't believe it:

http://store.acousticsounds.com/browse_detail.cfm?Title_ID=15292

A DVD-A for TUBES!

Good Eric! What next!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 2996
Registered: Dec-03
Now we're talking.

Those Polish guys make good tube amps, I read. And tubes. And that is a good label. And band. Then there is the WAM factor.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Asimo

Post Number: 59
Registered: Apr-04
SM
Sorry to hear that Uncle Sam took your Onix
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2369
Registered: Dec-03
Well as I was picking up none other than a tube amp at the festival and heard of
SM'S betray'l my back went out. SM the papers are in the mail, please sign them
and fed ex overnight at your earliest possable moment.

More to come later! (the rest of my friends) sshheeeezzz!!
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2370
Registered: Dec-03
And yes rick I did pick up some goodies at the fest!

This one is probably the most substantial.

Upload


A vintage 1964 Sherwood S-8000 MK-IV FM-Stereo Receiver!

More to come later.
 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 1045
Registered: Dec-03
Very nice Kegger! It looks to be in great condition.
 

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 947
Registered: Oct-04
Kegger: Good Eric! I had one of those once! Looked at the pic and nearly fell off the chair! Yep - I "think" it was the S-8000 - been a long time, but I loved that thang! Had it until I went to the Tribune's Washington Bureau - sold it before I left Denver for the long trip East.

Hope you love it as much as I did a long, long time ago, sir! Man, does THAT bring back memories!!!
 

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 948
Registered: Oct-04
To All: I may have to stop reading this thread. With all your talk of warm, enticing sounds and the soft glow of tubes - well, I feel so, uh, "inadequate!"

Next thing you'll probably tell me is that they're still selling my beloved old LPs somewhere, eh? (grin)

Yeah - I know - tubes and LPs never left. Sigh. And here I am - "stuck" with my NAD and B&Ws and new Yammie CD player. . . (no, they're NOT for sale!)

On the other hand, I might stick around - it's nice to read about other people's happiness. . .

respectfully. . .
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1702
Registered: Aug-04
Kegger,

That is some piece of gear you got yourself. It looks like Electronic City! Glad you enjoyed the audio fest!

Larry

Stop kowtailin to these tubephiles they'll get too big-headed. And it's not too shabby being "stuck" with a Nad 763 receiver, 705 B&w's and a universal dvd player. As much as these tube thingamybobs might deliver warm enticing sounds, seems to me they're like owning an old sports car: you get to drive it on a rare occassion in between tuning and tweeking. LOL!

 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 1046
Registered: Dec-03
Just showing the love Rantz. LOL!

Just imagine this for a moment if you will. There is something very magical playing back music with the original tubes the music was played through (amps) and recorded with (mics and preamps). There is something very special in those 40 & 50 year old tubes. If you really love music, and experience it once, there will be no more questions my friend.
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1706
Registered: Aug-04
I know you know I jest about you guys and your tubes and will probably keep doing so if no reason other than for my own amusement. I have no doubt whatsoever that they deliver a warm magical sound, however, I do love music - incredibly so my better half would tell you - and I admit to spending too much time listening. What we have is a compromise: we have one room for both visual and audio entertainment and we have slowly acquired a system that allows us to listen to our music delivered in excellent sound quality - so good in fact, we listen to far more music than ever. I don't mean having music playing - I mean listening to music? And that's the bottom line is it not?

 

Unregistered guest
Hi all!

I was just wondering if it would be possible to pick some of the brains of some of the very knowledgable folks in this forum. I have always considered myself "old school" when it comes to my home audio. I still have every piece of vinyl I've ever purchased (about 3000 LPs now) as well as CDs (about 5000). I prefer the vinyl. Regarding how I spend my hard earned money, I decide in advance what I want and then I buy the best that I can ALMOST afford. Then I live with it and enjoy it with no regrets or worry even though "newer" and "better" come out every few months. You would be suprised how well this system works out for me. As a matter of fact, the one time I disregarded my little system I ended up paying for it in spades . First time out of the box, I skimped and went for the bargain wife resulting in my having to lay out for the best divorce lawyer I could ALMOST afford. Guess I should have seen that coming.

Anyway, It's time for a new phono preamp. What I wanted to know is what some of you folks think regarding the pros and cons of a tubed phono stage as oposed to solid state in an otherwise solid state system. I am also considering the option of a tubed pre-amp to mellow the sound of my CDs and perhaps put a little more life into playback. don't get me wrong, everything sounds great now, but since I'm in the market anyway, I wanted to see if it can be better.

I have several audio rigs at my house in different configurations, but the one I am upgrading is the one that is mine and that only I am allowed to use. The new "top dollar" wife is very understanding and loves music as much as I do. Sure, she costs a little more, but I'm worth it! LOL. I would like to keep the purchase to under $1000 for a phono stage or to about $1500 for a pre-amp, so any recomendations would be appreciated. The system they would be integrated into includes a Sony ES Amp from about 1987 and a Sony ES CD player from the early 90's. I am currently using a Sure V15VxMR cartridge (MM type) but the option to use an MC cartridge would be nice.

Your consideration and input in this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thanking you all in advance, Greg.


 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 570
Registered: Feb-04
Greg,

Very fun post to read. I think if you have all solid state gear now, getting a tube phono preamp makes sense. The combination of tubes and vinyl is a natural sounding combination. Having said that, I must confess I'm using solid state phono preamp (Dynavector P-75) with a tube integrated amp. Your system will benefit by introducing a tube stage along the amplification chain. I'll let others who are more knowlegeable recommend specific tube preamps.

Good luck with selecting your preamp and your brand new wife :-)
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3469
Registered: May-04


Greg = When you say a Sony ES amp, what are we talking about? A receiver or integrated or basic amp? If you bought a new (or used) pre amp, what are your plans for connecting it to the amp?

The components you now own are somewhat on the other side of what most tube equipment will do in a system. If you are looking for a tube pre amp to smooth out the CD's, my opinion has always been tubes are not the answer in all cases. People read about tubes having a "rolled off" high end that will "tame" the high frequencies. Any good to very good tube unit I've come across is not rolled off to my ears. The solid state may be overly emphasized in the upper octaves, but the even frequency response of tubes can often be no more than a BandAid to that situation. Finding a source that has a smooth, even "tube like" sound might be a better solution. The V15, though not as bright as some cartridges, can be somewhat emphatic in the high frequencies. (What do you track the cartridge at in gram force? Does your tonearm have any provision for adjusting VTA?) But that tilted high end is also a characteristic of many, many moving coils.

The system you now own is balanced in one direction. As I see it from what you describe, a slightly bright frequency balance that brings the soundstage forward to possibly even in front of the plane of the speakers. The soundstage and imaging of the old ES line, to my recollection, was somewhat shallow and compressed with images that have moderate definition to the space they occupy compared to most tubes. Bass and treble are a bit on the dry side of neutral. Midrange is clear but lacks warmth and body. In short, what is known as good Japanese sound. I have no idea what your speakers are, but this is what I assume your system feeds to the speakers. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

If you inject just a tube phono section into this mix, there is a likelyhood the tubes will have such a different sound, you may find the overall character of the sound to be quite different between CD and LP. Not everyone wants what I like, but in my experience matching the sound qualities you get from one source to the rest of the sources will prove more satisfying. Maybe what I'm discussing isn't even a concern for you.

Please tell us more about the sound qualities that are important to you. Tubes tend to give acoustic instruments a woody sound that solid state will most often gloss over. Solid state will have a different sense of dynamics and what I can most easily refer to as life or flow to the music. For me the difference between tubes and solid state is largely how the notes start and stop. How both technologies go about detail retreival is somewhat different. If the somewhat brighter sound of the ES is what attracts you to the details of the music, again tubes may not be the answer. Have you ever listened to any tube units? Do you have the ability to audition any tubes or is this a purchase that will be made from recommendations? Most importantly, do you ever listen to live music as a reference? How does your present system stack up to live music?

If you are telling us everything sounds great now, why are you considering tubes? What exactly do you think they will bring to the system? Can you tell us what you listen for? What's important to you when you sit down and do nothing but listen?

Or have I asked for too much information?






 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2371
Registered: Dec-03
Jan ask's good questions and gives great advice.

I differ from his sound solutions a little some times and do think that you
can use tubes as a "bandaid" for the lack of warmth a full solid state system
"can" give you and in the past had found a tube preamp made a world of a positive
difference in my listening experience and think a nice tube preamp with a good phono
section could very well give you what your looking for and believe it helps the
sound of cd's also "not as harsh". Just my 2cents!

If I had $1500 to spend on a preamp I would be looking at the audio research sp-16.
You can find them used on audiogon for about $1200 without the phono stage but
I'm not sure how much with the phono stage.

Anyways I do believe a tube preamp will put you towards the direction you want to go.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2372
Registered: Dec-03
I just did a quick search on audiogon and found 2 of the preamps listed above.

Niether has a phono stage but it can be added to the unit "don't know how much"

Here is a link to one to see what I'm talking about.
http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?preatube&1118291513
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2373
Registered: Dec-03
OH I didn't, He wouldn't, How could heee!!

Upload
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2374
Registered: Dec-03
Larry!

"Kegger: Good Eric! I had one of those once! Looked at the pic and nearly fell off the chair! Yep - I "think" it was the S-8000 - been a long time, but I loved that thang! Had it until I went to the Tribune's Washington Bureau - sold it before I left Denver for the long trip East. "

What kind of other gear were you using with the sherwood?
______________________________________________________________

Other than really needing to replace the output tubes (7868's) in this thing
it works fine and the phono section has adjustable gain, kinda cool!

______________________________________________________________

Rick I'll post some karmafest pics when I get a chance to enhance them because
most if not all were taken with the blinds closed and the pictures are dark.
 

Unregistered guest
Hi Guys!

Thanks for taking the time to get back! I'll answer some of the questions asked and give you a better idea of what I already have and what I've been thinking about.

My amp is a straight power amp. Its one of those 80's behemoths with the spontaneous twin drives. It drives a pair of early 80's vintage Polk RTA12s. These have a fairly complicated crossover arrangement of the type that has fallen out of favor of late so the amp's relatively high damping factor (80) and power output (35 watts before reverting to class B up to the rated max of 200w @8 ohms) coupled with the speakers relatively high sensitivity (91 db@ 1ft / 6 ohm nom. impedance) make for relatively effortless driving and control at reasonable volume levels. Jan's description of "good Japanese sound" is pretty darn close.

As for my CD player, what can I say. On the plus side, it sounds like a really good CD player. On the down side, it sounds like a really good CD player... if you know what I mean. I wasn't really looking to put the proverbial band aid on it. I was actually thinking more along the lines of taking off the digital edge and making it sound more natural if that is possible. Of course the darn thing is about 20 years old and I guess a little long in the tooth. Maybe it's time to start thinking about a new one.

My turntable does indeed have VTA adjustment and I run it a shade high on the pivot side because it seems to open up the midrange on this particular cartridge. I would disagree that the V15V has an emphasized top end. If anything, the cartridge is just on the "right side" of warm with a very flat high frequency response, especially compared to the Ortofon OM20 it replaced and which offered a much brighter presentation at both ends of the spectrum. I ended up going with the Shure over a Benz Micro high output MC because even though the Shure is a bit warm (and I'm talking a hair here) it is REALLY flat from top to bottom, which translates into nicely presented and more natural low end. (Is a natural lower end too much to ask for, damn it!) In other words, drums sound like drums and drum machines sound like drum machines. In exchange, I gave up a bit of "air" and a bit of sparkle across the board. I'm talking about that little bit of life that you can't just add by turning a knob on the head. I track the needle at 1g with the little brush up, and at 1.5g with the little brush down. Oh! I'm sorry. Did I say "little brush"? (Putting on my hardest look) I meant the "dynamic stabilizer". After all, you can't be having a little brush all up in there with spontaneous twin drives and all, now can you? No Sir! For that, you NEED a dynamic stabilizer!

As far as live music goes, I am fortunate enough to live in central New Jersey (Now there's a sentence I never thought I'd type.) and I work 10 minutes from midtown Manhattan. We go to between 15 and 20 shows a year. We saw the Psychedelic Furs last Friday (my honey is a fan) and I have the stomach virus they were handing out as a door prize to prove it. Before that, we caught Greg Allman and The Fixx. We have tickets for Greenday, James Taylor, Buddy Guy, and Southside Johnny coming up. My honey and I DO love our music. I guess the best way to get into someone's head music wise at any given time would be to ask about the last 5 things they listened to. For me, that would be: Paul Simon/Graceland (vinyl), Verdi-Il Trovatore / Maria Callas w/Karajan conducting (Mono CD), Led Zeppelin/Physical Graffiti (vinyl and an absolutely SEMINAL work), John Coltrain/Soul Train (vinyl), and Julie London/Best of (badly put together CD where the hiss from the original master tape just jumped right out at you... but what a voice!).

Anyway, here is how the whole question came up in the first place. I have another system set up in the bedroom. Here were the parameters I had to work with. The room is just friggin' huge and "L" shaped to boot. Honey was emphatic that any system set up in there had to be relatively unobtrusive, it had to be easy for her to work, and it absolutely HAD to play the crappy old mix tapes that she nagged her boyfriend from high school to make for her on his stupid old boom box. Since her bottom is REALLY hot and since I never argue with anyone who I could conceivably end up giving everything I own to somewhere down the line, I looked on the whole thing as an opportunity and a challenge. I could understand how a big, ugly, old set of speakers could not be allowed to displace... oh I don't know... the sassy little lamp meticulously culled from the vast selection at Pier One, for instance. And I could absolutely see how an audio rig that looked like the com panel on the starship Enterprise would just SO clash with that nice "ten cent bordello" motif we are obviously going for up there. Besides, if an endless loop of Anita Ward warbling Ring My Bell from a base quality cassette that has spent the last twenty years marinating in a glove box is what it takes to make my Honey happy, then I'm there! (I know what you're thinking, but did I mention that her bottom is REALY hot? Hey, I know which side my bread is buttered on!)

So, here was my solution. I auditioned and really liked a pair of Polk bookshelf speakers that had a really clean sound. I mated them up with a 12 inch, powered sub-woofer that I placed at the corner of the "L" and set up the speakers so that imaging was best at the bed and at Honey's dressing table. While looking through the Sony catalogue, I found a nice receiver that put out 100w/channel into 5 channels and set it up for simple stereo with the LF output feeding the sub. Then I had a friend come in and analyze the speaker's response so he could make custom filters for each speaker to compensate for room dynamics and so that the sub would blend seamlessly with the satellites. I finished up with a Sony ES Cassette Deck, a Sony 5 disk carousel DVD Player, and for my own enjoyment a Thorens TD-190 turntable with a Shure V15VxMR cartridge and a Grado Phono Stage. I arranged everything neatly on the long rack of shelves that was already holding part of our records, CDs and DVDs and I ran a feed to the FM antennae on the roof. The TV that was already in the room and the digital cable box were hooked in and we were off to the races! The system is bold and tight. Dynamics are fast and open. The sweet spot is just huge. Even CDs sound natural. Coloration in absolutely minimal and the only drawback is if you stand with in a yard and a half of the satellite farthest from the sub you can tell that it doesn't have any base. Take a step back and it works itself out. All the colors matched (all the components were black), there weren't too many light blinking, and a simple universal remote worked it all... even the tape deck. Honey was so thrilled, I could almost swear her bottom actually got a little bit hotter. It was all I could do to keep from bouncing a quarter off it. JOY!

Now, a few weeks ago, a friend gave me a simple tubed phono stage that he had laying around. It had no brand name on it and it almost looked home made. It is a simple chrome box with a transformer, a capacitor, and two tubes coming out the top and a switch to route the single phono or single line level input to the output. He said he got it from his father and that it dated to the 70s. I ran it down to a friend of mine who loaned me 2 new tubes and I went home to try it out. I wired it into the bedroom system and screwed around with it.

The results: The line stage was completely shot. The phono stage worked. The bottom was as soft as a cloud. Read that as "sucky". The top end was just this side of unacceptable. I figured the unit had seen better days and wrote all that off. But here is the thing... the entire midrange just came ALIVE. I took the sub out of the circuit and just listened to the satellites while ignoring everything from about 10000 cycles up. Guitars sounded like... well... like guitars SHOULD sound. Voices were incredible too. The soundstage from the upper bass to the mid highs felt like someone turned a lens and snapped it into focus. It was almost holographic. I played around with it until Honey made me put it away so she could hear her R. Kelly CD. I put everything back the way it was, informed Honey of what R. Kelly was getting at when he named his album "The Chocolate Factory", hung around just long enough to see the look of realization start to light up her face like a new dawn coming up over the horizon, and I retreated downstairs to contemplate the possibilities of what tubes could bring to my system.

So THAT is where I'm at. I was wondering what a decent tube stage could do for my phono and possibly for my CD player so I turn to the experts for advise. What are the compromises and what can I realistically expect. I figure that it's like when Christie Brinkly married Billie Joel. I mean, is there any possibility that the babie might look like him and sing like her? Please feel free to state opinions too. I value your input.

Thanks for the ear guys and thanks to you folks that too the time to get back to me. I'm going to look up those components that you took the time to recommend. Let me know what you think or if you need to know anything else about my system. I'll check back tomorrow. You guys are the best!

Greg.

 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 1053
Registered: Dec-03
Kegger,

Yes you did. A TURNTABLE! Be very careful my friend. Once you hear vinyl and tubes together, there is no going back. I's like going over to the dark side of the Force. Only this is a good thing. LOL!
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3473
Registered: May-04


Oh, no! Are we going to find out who Kegger's father is? Is this going to be scary or what?


 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 572
Registered: Feb-04
Kegger,

It's beeee-yuuuuuuuuu-teeeee-fuuuullllll!
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2376
Registered: Dec-03
2c I agree with you that turntable is beautiful and thanks for noticing.

Now all I need is a decent phono stage! Anybody got a used one cheap?
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3489
Registered: May-04


Kegger - What's with the Linn piece?
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3490
Registered: May-04


Greg - It sounds like you have an idea what you'll be getting into with a tube unit. And where you live should, if you desire, give you some access to auditioning various pieces.

I didn't see a mention of what pre amp you are now using. I'll assume it is also an ES product. If so, I would advise against running the tube phono section into an ES pre amp and suggest it is time for a new pre amp with a phono stage. This will give you the "tube sound" (I really do hate that phrase) on CD's also.

As to which pre amp to buy, I have no idea. Firstly, I seldom make product recommendations on the forum for several reasons. The most important being the availablilty of many very good to excellent products to choose from. All of which may suit your tastes and many of which may not. What you like is certainly up to you
to decide. You cannot go wrong, in most cases, with a well known name such as Audio Research or Conrad Johnson. A vintage Marantz 7C or a McIntosh C22 will give you all the tube sound you could ever ask for. An old Mac 110 tuner/pre amp is highly prized. I personally use an Audible Illusions Modulus pre amp and think it is terrific. But it is somewhat hair shirt in its lay out and features.

Where you go with tubes is up to you. Read some past reviews and determine what sounds like it might suit your needs. The Mac, A.R. and C.J. all have a sound that is very consistent from generation to genration. Audition these brands and if you find one that is to your liking, used gear from the same line will give you most of what you heard new.

I am sorry I can't be of more assistance, but there's just too much to choose from. If it were mine to do, I would put some into the pre amp and save some for a new digital source.





 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2379
Registered: Dec-03
Jan I believe it's an LK1 preamp.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2380
Registered: Dec-03
greg258 I would agree with Jans whole second post including the cdplayer.

cdplayers have come a long way from back then.

I would even look at a universal player (sacd/dvd-a/cd) like a denon 2200 or
something along those lines as those new formats can be very nice.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2385
Registered: Dec-03
Rick "Once you hear vinyl and tubes together, there is no going back. I's like going over to the dark side of the Force."

So far I'm impressed with how little extra noises the table puts out and how it
sounds for just hacking the setup and how easy it is to use but so far cd still
sounds a little better not to mention sacd/dvd-a.

I can see it getting better being setup correctly and a sinergistic phono stage
for my setup but I think this denon universal player of mine is going to be tough
to beat! This disk player plays all 3 formats very very well. But hey I'm going to
give vinyl a very big try and at the least give me another source choice as I have
been able to gather about 50 Lp's including 3 brand new ones!

So will see.
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1733
Registered: Aug-04
Well, even though I haven't got tubes, I still can't say enough about hi-res surround with our Denon/Marantz combo. Just had 7 more titles arrive from the US today and from what I've heard so far I am just as blown away as ever (sound not wow factor). If your tubes (stereo or MC) and T/Tables sound half as good (and I'm not arguing - okay - they may well be better) then you are on the right side (not the dark side) for music.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 2997
Registered: Dec-03
Kegger,

You did it. A turntable. Great!
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2388
Registered: Dec-03
John I know can you believe it? What Am I doing!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3000
Registered: Dec-03
You did good, Kegger! If that is a Linn Sondek LP12, you got a classic deck. Jan will recognise it from the photo, I am sure.

There are two outstanding new vinyl pressing record companies. They are Sundazed (US) and Simply Vinyl (UK). I am sure you will find lots of things in their catalogues. I doubt if you want to go messing around with used LPs, but who knows. If you have posted details of the arm and cartridge, I have overlooked it. Some of us will be interested.

I look forward to your posts under "phono"!

Good on yer, Kegger.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

Warren, MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2390
Registered: Dec-03
John I allready have a post going on phono. (GRIN)

with all the info and the deck is a DENON DP_62L with a denon DL-103 cartridge.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3007
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, Kegger.

I am catching up slowly after a nearly a week out. You still got a good turntable; Denon has been serious hi-fi for a long time. Jan and Frank A. know more than I do, on that thread.
 

New member
Username: Taz_devil

Post Number: 1
Registered: Apr-05
G'day. I'm calling from a small island, (Tasmania), south of the Australian mainland and am desperately in need of some advice/direction.

I have decided to move into tube equipment, and need some suggestions on what represents good entry-level gear for the bottom rung of audiophile membership?

I currently own (I'm kinda embarassed to admit this in the present company, having read the posts here, but...) old Rotel equipment, Pre and Power amp and CD with Australian made Richter speakers.

I would like to replace it all but can't seem to get any good advice. I either get salesmen trying to offload the latest gear or unintelligible techno-speak.

I am not technically inclined, and only know what I like from listening to gear, not reading its vital signs. This doesn't mean I shouldn't be learning about that stuff.

The other day I had a listen to a Cary CD 300/303 CD hooked up to a Cary SLI-80 and it sounded great, but at almost $AU5000 a pop so it should. I emailed Cary for some more information but was met with deathly silence.

I am wondering if an quality "entry-level tube system" exists? I read, I think in this forum somewhere, that Jolida(?) make good quality cost-effective amps? But that's about as far as my knowledge extends. A jumping off point would be great - even honest pat-on-the-back advice would be appreciated.

Is there any consensus on manufacturers that build great tube gear at reasonable prices? I guess my pain threshold cost wise is about $US8,000 - CD, AMP, speakers

ANY help, advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3010
Registered: Dec-03
Taz,

I have been watching this thread go by with similar thoughts.

There is certainly new interest in tube/valve amplification.

The amps I am considering at "entry level" are from Icon Audio and the Affordable Valve Company in UK (not chauvinism, it is just where I happen to be) and the PrimaLuna Prologue amps (1 or 2?) which are being flogged internationally through a Dutch specialist company. All the above are actually made in China, to various designs. When you consider made in Europe, or North America, things get more expensive. Though, with the state of the US$, Jolida might be worth checking out if you can find a local supplier, or even buy direct. US McIntosh are clearly a standard by which to judge everything, but still very expensive. Italian amps tend to pricey and stylishly designed. There is a Polish company called Amplifon but I see no distributor in your neck of the woods
http://amplifon.staszow.com/

You could investigate these Australian guys:

http://www.melody.com.au/about.htm

There is a argumentative b_gger/nice guy here from up in Queensland with a Richter sub, but he is not into valves. However, he found a DIY-kit valve supplier, I think in Hong Kong, with very reasonable prices. One US poster here had one of the "Melody" amps I think, loved the sound, but had to send it back due a cash flow crisis or similar.

Personally I am in to "Fair trade" and have no problem with things being made in China. I would also seriously consider Cadence, in India.

http://www.cadenceaudio.com/

I recently lashed out on electrostic speakers, thread: Quad Electrostatic Loudspeaker 63 and note that Quad (these days Chinese-owned) still makes and sells a "retro" pre/power valve combo, and that Cadence make electrostatic speakers, too; another reason to take them seriously.

There you are, a hotch-potch of prejudice and half-baked ideas, but it is maybe something to think about. I do not intend to start yet another debate about where things are made, but it is the case, I think, that "low-tech" places have continued to refine, develop and produce things like valve amps and turntables while the West mostly chucked all these things away in favour or digital and solid state some decades ago.

You could also consider used. That's what I did with my speakers and have no regrets; in that case it was the right thing to do.
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