You may want to try a Cayin A50T or Prima Luna Prologue 1 used. These are nice EL34 based integrateds that are point to point wired or a TAD60 amp (can be used as a single source integrated) if you can fine one, also point to point wired. All of these at used prices represent great value, IMHO. If tubes are not your bag you could probably sell any of these and get your money back. If you like acoustic guitar you will like tubes. Since you are an electric guitar fan tubes may not do it for you. B&Ws are not known to be the most tube friendly speakers, not sure about Axioms. I have had Classe, McCormack, Forte, Superphon, and NAD SS amps. I like tubes better in general. I have a TAD60 and a refurbed Dynaco ST70 (also a consideration)now in different systems. If you want monos I might suggest checking out Quicksilvers (may be a little tough under $1K). I do believe any I have mentioned will have better build quality than the ASLs. You can have a lot of fun with tube rolling input and output tubes and stay broke in the process. It is a slippery slope my friend.
I would not waste any time or money on tubes if you mainly listen to electric guitar. I have Cayin units, also solid state stuff and believe me, you will be very disappointed listening to electric guitar on tubes. Stick to sound state, as there is nothing 'warm' in a steel guitar.
you might be able to find a Rogue Cronus used for about $1K - they are very good (integrated). if you really want to experience tubes, just getting tube power amps will only give you half of the 'experience' (in fact, if you're going to do half, you're probably better off going with a tube pre).
I bought some western electric made 12sl7 / 12sl7gt tubes. They are branded National Union. They are the very best sounding triodes ever made! Make sure you get the tubes made in 1944 / 1945
My first foray into tubes was an Onix SP-3 integrated amp that I bought from AV123 (now defunct). I still have the amp and when paired with efficient speakers works very well. It also responds well to tube rolling. You can probably find one used in the $300-$400 range.
I also own a Prima Luna Prologue One and a Cayin A88T. Both are superb amps, but considerably pricier.
Another way to go to get your feet wet is with a Yaquin Chinese made EL34 amp. These can be had new under $500 and for the money are pretty good.
Good luck and happy rolling!
I am going to play all sorts of music when I get my first tubes. I appreciate the information so far. Lots of reading still to do. I read a few article that make me think tube amps with tube preamps are not always good. any recommendations of tube preamps too?
A good beginner tube amp is a Dynaco amp. I got one from Bob Latino a ST120 and its sound very good, did not break the bank and sounds good. A lot of tubes to roll from kt-88 all the way to kt-120. I have kt-120 and Brimars 12AT7 and its wonderful.
Hey Bucnero117,WTF are you talking about?How many of the greatest guitar players in the world play through Marshall Tube stacks or Vox Tube Amps?Peter Frampton ring a bell,he's used a Marshall Tube Stack with Gibson guitars ever since his days with Humble Pie.How about Carlos Santanna, who regularly uses Vox Tube Amps with his PRS guitars.Sauniq,my recommendation would be one of the new,MODIFIED,remote control operated,40 wpc,EL34 based, Jolida 202 integrated amps that is being offered here on Audiogon & sells for right at a Grand(sorry I can't remember the dealers name but it should be easy to find by searching Jolida).Stable into 4 ohm loads it should be enough power to move even the B&W's.Be warned however,once you go tubes you won't want to go back!
You may want to seek out an ARC D70, either a Mk1 or maybe better still, a Mk2.
These can be had today for a song and are IMO, still ultra competitive with almost any other tube amp out there! Only thing to be concerned with is the very poor ability to bias this amp, which is best left to a tech. However, with that said and the price that these are seemingly going for today, I cannot think of a better tube amp in the price range.
I totally disagree with some of the posters above about electric guitars and tube amps. The tonal density of electric guitars is represented MUCH better on my current tube setup than any of my previous ss setups. Tubes are not necessarily about "warmth" as much as density of tone. Now, granted my amps are way outside of your suggested price range.
You didn't mention if your budget was for just amps or amps and a pre. If you are looking at that price range for an integrated, I suggest you look at a used Manley Stingray. I doubt you will be disappointed, and it will drive moderately efficient speakers.
As for driving B&W speakers, I would tend to agree with others that tubes in your price range might not be a good match.
I am having a hard time finding any information on the ARC D70, any suggestions where I can get some
I agree with Daveyf but again biasing is a bit trickey. You might want to check the archives here and on Audio Asylum. I'm not sure if ARC has any info on their website but this is an amp you can't go wrong with, proven design and excellent performance, good price and easy to resell if it doesn't meet your needs.
Great response Freediver!
Saunig, you might check under the 'Reviews's section, I posted a review there a few months ago. Other areas to research are the Audio Asylum forum on the web.
BTW, Freediver, as a guitar teacher, i don't quite agree with your post about why guitar players favor tube amps. IMO, we favor tube amps for their superior sustain ability and warmth that they give to the pups. Distortion is also more controlled and useable. In our home gear, we are looking for less distortion and more truth to the source, not less. Tubes in home gear are able to give us a 'warmer' sound and IMHO a more spacious sound....not quite the same as what we need in the guitar world, just IMHO.
Daveyf thanks for that review that you did
Just my opinion, don't buy anything else. That Sim Audio Moon gear is outstanding with electric guitar. Of course it is good in other areas too. You will notice the trade offs. I have had a lot of amps and integrated's and if you have speakers that really jive with the Sim's, you really hit a sweet spot. There are certain brands that fit the bill here, maybe your speakers are in this boat?
Kclone my favourite speaker with Simaudio so far is the Axiom M80 and B&w 685....I have also like smaller Dynaudio when listening to female voice and jazz.
you raise a very good point....would you have any suggestions or recommendations?