I should add my total budget for speakers and amp is $3-4k, room is around 12' x 18' x 12' (decent sized, not huge). Source is strictly cd.
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I recently bought a Rogue Audio Tempest II Magnum and a pair of Tyler Acoustics 7U speakers here on Audiogon. This is my first tube amp and it sounds wonderful. I was using Paradigm Monitor 7 speakers and it sounded good but when I put the Tyler's in, it went from good to fabulous!! I got both pieces for less than $3000.00 inc. shipping. The MSRP is $6595.00 not inc. shipping. As far as maintenance, I have been told to check output tube bias about every 6 months and adjust it only if more than 10% off from factory recomendations. This is not set in stone just a good starting point. Some tube savvy members here can probably give more technical advice. I do know this,tubes need to warm up before they sound their best. I find about an hour of warm-up before serious listening is good for my system. I have to admit that I have had good luck in buying my equipment without the benefit of hearing it first. I suggest you listen to some different tube equipment and speakers if you can. I wish you luck in your search.
Tpreaves, I believe you posted another thread some time back thinking your cd player was too bright, and the ensuing group consensus was that it was your speakers. And you bought the Tylers and it was a revelation. Congrats to you...
My interest is piqued by tubes, I think there is something magical about them, but aware of the maintenance, cost and potential downsides. My system now sounds good, but lacks dimensionality among other things. I also think the mids sounds a bit 'glary' and unnatural. There are a few reasons why I want to try tubes, most of all curiosity.
Unless you know exactly why you want to switch I wouldn't. It is akin to starting over. If you have a system that is satisfying you now do not believe that all its virtues will be preserved in your new one. All systems are tradeoffs and many audiophiles tread in a constant circle seeking a system that will give them everything.
I like Tpreaves choice of Rogue, but isn't the Tempest an Integrated amp? Since Tholt has a great preamp, he needs a power amp. My advice is to go with the Rogue Stereo 90 which has a good amount of power, sounds great, and is built like a tank. I used the Stereo 90 with Triangle speakers. In tandem with the Rogue, they sound awesome and are very tube friendly. I've also heard good things about the Tylers, but have never auditioned them.
For me I think it really comes down to whether I want to change out my speakers for more efficient ones. Of all the audio components that have come and gone, my speakers have remained. Partly because I believe they are very good, partly because they would be a b*tch to pack up and ship. And up until now, I haven't seriously considered doing a total system shift.
The thought of getting a tube amp with efficient speakers is something that I've been thinking about the last few weeks. From what I know and have read, I doubt I would not like the sound, as I find myself appreciating musicality over accuracy, warmth over clinically correctness, which tubes seem to have and more. And I have a Shindo preamp, which would be in my mind a great start to build around.
For about $6500, you could buy AudioKinesis Jazz Modules speakers ($4500)
and a used Atma-Sphere S30 or M-60 (about $2000 for the M-60, and less for
the S30...but rare on the used market), and you would have a tube-based
system that was designed to work together, and that has received many positive
comments. The AudioKinesis speakers are sold with a 30 day home trial.
I know it's over your budget, but it's an ideal match that might stop you from
I concur with Stanwal. I did what you're thinking of doing. I decided to go with efficient 2 way monitors and a powered sub. It's taken me about two years to get the sound that I'm now very happy with. I had to re-cable, re-power condition, and re-tweak every component. Of course, that's the fun of the hobby. But, it was time and expense that I didn't anticipate. Fortunately, the system now sounds wonderful - especially for vocals and blues.
If bass slam is important to you, do some extra homework. That's where tubes have their notorious weakness. With that said, I've heard the 20w Mahi Mahi's (in triode) kick butt with Kharma speakers. The bass just pounded away.
>>If bass slam is important to you, do some extra homework. That's where tubes have their notorious weakness.<<
Tube amps are not bass weak; that is an old wives' tale perpetuated by the unknowing.
It is imperative, however, that a speaker be matched properly with a corresponding amplifier so both components are optimized.
It's that simple.
Something to think about if you plan on moving to very efficient speakers. Noise floors of components become far more obvious, especially in tubed pre-amps and their tubes. As does the matching of pre-amp's gain and the amp's input sensitivity. Very efficient speakers combined with high gain pre-amps (DAC's/Phono Stages/amps) often challenge the effective range of a pre-amp's attenuator. fwiw.