When you find one, lets look for $1.50 gas next :-)
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I guess I should be more specific.
A couple of months ago I bought a Rawson Aleph Mini J. 15 wpc of pure class A fire.
The mini is an incredible amp that reminds me
very much of the N.Pass built Aleph-3 I once owned.
At first I used the Mini with my 90dB 7ohm Soundwave speakers.
I couldnt get enough clean volume to satisfy me.
So out went the Soundwaves,and in came my 96-98dB 8ohm MINT Sansui sp-2700's.
This combo sounded excellent,and of course I had more than enough volume.
A couple of weeks after I bought the Mini J I bought some massive and heavy 98dB 16ohm MINT Electro-Voice 12-TRXb's
The EV's beat out the Sansui's,so the Sansui's went to my kitchen rig being run by my 25wpc Mitsubishi DA-R8 RCV (the tuner sounds awesome)
I used the Mini J and AV's for several weaks, and I thought this was a match made in Heaven.
I wont get into describing the sound,but if anyone has heard/owned/still owns the Pass Aleph-3,you know what Im talking about.
Going on memory from 9-10 years ago,I'd have to say,the mini J and Aleph-3 may be equal in sound quality with one exception.the Mini J has bass that should only be coming from a high watt solid state amp. I dont know how Tim Rawson does it,but the 15wpc Mini J beats out the 30wpc Aleph-3's bass by a good margine. That I do remember. The Aleph-3's bass was always its weak point anyway.
Of course my old EV's were voiced with tubes,and I've read the EV's do sound their best with tubes.
For the several weeks using the EV's and Mini J,I kept looking at my Dynaco ST-70 that was rebuilt from the ground up,and has the Curcio power supply mod and very good tubes,thinking theres no way my Dyna could beat out the Mini J, which is a clone of a classic,and one of the best sounding amps ever built.
There are many solid state amps that can fool ya into thinking you are listening to a tube amp,and the Mini J and Aleph-3 are near the top of the heap in that regard.
I figured since the EV's were voiced with tubes and sound best with tubes,the Mini J would fit right in.
I knew my Dyna would play louder,even though the Mini J gives me all the volume I can stand.But I thought the Dyna would fall on its face when it came to soundstage size,layering,transparency,imaging etc,but especially in the bass dept.
3-4 days ago I finally got up enough courage
to be let down by my Dyna,so in she went.
It only took a matter of seconds to hear how totally wrong I was doubting my Dyna's abilities.
I thought I had it all with the Mini J and EV's, and I was always thrilled with the sound.
The Dyna brought my EV's to life more than I thought was possible.
Wider and deeper soundstage,better transparency,better layering and more rock solid imaging. What possibly surprised me the most was, the Dyna has tighter and deeper bass over the already excellent bass of the Mini J.
Even playing the Dyna at the same volume level as the Mini J, the Dyna sounds more powerful and just takes control of the EV's in a way I thought the mini J did (wrong there too)
My Dyna has never sounded this good with any other speakers I have used with it.
It totally sounds like a different amp.
The bass with the Dyna and EV's is so tight,deep and powerful, I now have my sub for sale.
I know 60wpc isnt exactly high watts,but it is for me. The 35wpc Dyna is the most powerful amp I own.
The reason for this tread is,Im thinking if a 35wpc tube amp can sound so good and really take control of the EV's, a higher wpc tube amp 'should' pull off a better job.
Someone,please correct me if I am wrong.
No one mentioned Jolida for a 'high' watt amp.
My first tube amp was a 502A that was very powerful at 60wpc using 6550 tubes.
Besides having real guts,imo the older Jolida's look much nicer than the new B Jolida's that dont have the black,metal flake paint the A's have.
Im wondering how a 502A would sound (besides louder) compared to my Dyna. I wouldnt want to buy a another amp unless it sounded at least as good,and hopefully better than my Dyna. Any opinions on this?
BTW,I've seen 502A's for sale <$500.
Thanks all for participating.
Save your pennies and try to find a VTL ST-80 or 85 for $800+. I own a ST-85 and it sounds more powerful (better bass, plays louder before compressing the sound stage) than a Jolida 302b. It also has that mid-range magic that most other sub-$1K tube amps lack. Otherwise go with a tube-pre and solid state amp combo.
Thanks for the advice,but my budget is $500 or less.
Your ST-85 plays louder and sounds more powerful than the Jolida 302b because your ST-85 is rated 35wpc higher than the 302b.
As far as mid range magic,my Dynaco uses EL-34's and the Jolida 302b as well.
Other than some s.e.t power tubes (or other $$ specialty tubes),I dont think there's a power tube that does the midrange as well as a EL-34.
If your ST-85 uses EL-34's,I'd dare to say,Im sure my modded Dyanco or the Jolida would have a similar midrange as your ST-85 (or close enough) but 'probably' not have the same quality bass a more powerful tube amp would offer.
If you had read my long post well enough,you would have noticed I've used a solid state amp with my EV speakers.
Also,In my 'system' right next to my user name,and quick to click on,you would have seen I have a tube preamp.
Im wondering now if with these super easy to drive 98dB 16ohm EV's,if I even need a more powerful tube amp than 35wpc.
As I've noted above,the Dyna 'seems' to take firm control of the EV's.
Maybe 35wpc gives the EV's more than enough control,and buying a more powerful tube amp would be overkill and a waste of money.
Any comments on this?
Its not that Im 'that broke' I just set a budget for certain items in audio Im willing to spend.
I wasnt always that way. I learned the hard way $$ doesnt always buy the best sound.
Im getting better sound now with older or vintage items I've been buying compared to when I use to buy higher priced 'brand name' new audio products.
Also,I dont know all thats out there for a older or vintage tube amp with higher wpc than my Dynaco for $500 or less.
Thats basically the point of this thread.
Your opinion of your VTL sounds like it comes from pride of ownership.
There are many fine sounding tube amps on the used market for $1000 and less.
A VTL wouldnt be my 1st choice.
I'd say Chinese amps own the 'budget' and beyond tube amp catogory.
You're always going to get a biased answer to an audiophile, equipment based question. Having owned both a Chinese amp (Jolida) and a American made amp (VTL) I can tell you that the $400 price difference (based on used prices) is worth it. I think most people who have upgraded will say the same.
Since you already own a pre-amp I'm not even sure why you are considering a Jolida integrated. I would sell off some of the equipment you own and put it towards your amp budget. Of course that's my highly biased opinion that you don't really want to hear ; )
actually what I want to hear is some answers to the questions I asked in my long post.
It doesnt look like thats going to happen.
Mathewm,I've used a outboard tube preamp to drive a tube integrated amp more than once.
Many 'philes have done this also.
If I can get a good deal on a integrated amp I'd go for it.
Unless you're buying a high priced integrated,many times ones preamp is better than the preamp circuit in a integrated anyway.
Since none of my questions have been answered,Im outta here!
David99 -- a bit late in the day, before you purchase anything, try programme material with ridiculous low frequency content (Bjork; anyone with synthi /emi induced "bass"). Look for cone movement that is NOT coincidental with the music being played... try to note the speed with which the cone STOPS moving (not starts) vs. the sound you hear. Try to check for intermodulation distortion -- example, trying to reproduce voice + unnatural bass.
If you can't detect anomalies, stay with your amp. If yes, you probably have to buy vintage and save up for extensive repair.