I own Focal speakers that are older versions of what you have. As long as you use tube power output they will sound better. I don't know the amps you are considering but use tubes all the way and you will be rewarded with great sound.
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I run a Primaluna Preamp into a solid state amp. CD's sound a lot more analogue and easy to listen to for long periods even at higher volumes. The Primaluna really smooths out the sound and adds a richness and warmth that the matching SS preamp cant even compete. With an all tube amp I think you would get a lot better tone. Cant speak for the Vincent ...haven't heard it.
"Scenario #2 - Vincent SV-237 (hybrid)
I love the idea of keeping everything in one device. I also love the idea that the first 10 watts are all tube before the solid state takes over."
I wouldn't even consider buying an amp like that without a demo first. Switching from tube to ss sounds like a really bad idea, (at least to me).
I have a Yaqin MC-30L with my Focal 836v speakers and love the combination. I also have a two kids under three. The tube amplifier isn't hooked up all the time, but my older one has no issues with leaving it alone. The baby is still learning to not touch the audio gear, but is doing well overall. I vote tubes!
Tube cages protect everyone. I never had problems with teaching the kids "HOT". My bigger problem was speakers on stands and/or no grills. One kid really had a thing about pushing in dust caps on drivers...
Sandbag the speaker stands, use blue tack to keep the speakers attached to the stands.
For an amp, you don't need a ton of power. If you want to keep it simple, get something with a DAC built in (Music Hall, Peachtree or ...). Most of preamp outs so you can go bigger one day.
I agree, tough decision for an all tube integrated amp and small children.
I also love the idea that the first 10 watts are all tube before the solid state takes over.I think you may be confused about this. The tubes are in the preamp, and the solid state amplifier output is biased to operate in Class A for the first 10 watts, then going into Class AB as more power is required.
I also don't like the idea of the tubes being soldered in, as it would seem to make better common sense to just use a quality tube socket.
"I think you may be confused about this. The tubes are in the preamp, and the solid state amplifier output is biased to operate in Class A for the first 10 watts, then going into Class AB as more power is required."
That definitely makes more sense. I though he was talking about the amp section only.
"I also don't like the idea of the tubes being soldered in, as it would seem to make better common sense to just use a quality tube socket."
I'm pretty sure the tubes are not soldered to the board. This topic came up in another thread. In the sales literature for Vincent, they show a picture of a tube that hasn't been terminated with a socket. That's why they thought it was hard wired.
My dad owned a mom & pop TV and appliance repair shop in Brooklyn at a time when there were only tubes ... TV picture tubes, big radio tubes, small tuner tubes ... you get the idea. We were 3 boys doing most of our living in the two (9 X 12') rooms behind my dad's store and no one got burned from a tube. We may have broken a shop light bulb or two dueling with car radio antennas and radio dial cables were fair game, but you learned and not necessarily the hard way, to avoid hot things like stoves and radiators and running motors and exposed equipment on a test bench, which was often the kitchen table. Kids aren't stupid.
I own both the Prologue 2 (integrated) and 5 (power amp) and they run nowhere near 200 degrees. They don't run cool, but they are not raging hot, either. I have owned them for 9 years now and love their sound. Can not say enough positive things about the Prima Lunas. I use the PL 2 with Ascend Sierra 1 monitors and the PL 5 with Opera Platea floor standers. I can understand the concern about tipping over the speakers, my brothers and I probably would have tipped over speakers. Is there any way to wall mount the speakers?
I got my first tube amplifier when my two children were 2 and 4 years old (they're 24 and 26 now) and had no problems. They were firmly told to not touch/ bother and they didn't. You say you "absolutely love the sound" with the tubes driving your speakers? Well that's the intended objective I would think, and the direction I'd follow.
I would get which ever amp sounded the best or that I think would sound the best, personally I have no idea?
My point is a tube product usually has a cage to protect the tubes and if not something could be constructed and if placed in a location where little fingers can't get to easily I believe you could teach your children to not touch. Just my opinion but it worked for me.
Look for amps that have low output impedance, say below 1ohm. Some tube amps are higher than 1ohm output impedance you may find with these you end up with an amp that sounds bright without much bass or punch.
As these speakers have some nasty areas of impedance and negative phase angle to contend with in this area as the Stereophile measurement tets show/state.
I think you could use something like heavy duty screen mesh to cover the primaluna tube cage (Which is already protected by enclosed sides) to prevent your kids from actually touching the tubes. Check it out with a call to upscale audio which might have other suggestions. Otherwise, put it up high away from harm's way. BTW, you cannot go wrong with primaluna and bang for buck!! I LOVE MY DIALOGUE TWO,
If you have things narrowed down to 2 options, is auditioning not a possibility? If you don't have a local dealer, I think Audio Advisor sells Vincent gear, and they have a decent return policy.
Not sure about Primaluna, though Upscale Audio might offer a return option.
You're at audition point in my book.
@ Zd542, Hi, The subject of the tubes soldered in or not was with me, this was a few months back, I called audio visor, the very cheap entry level componets of vincent is soldered tubes, you remember, the tubes in the mid-level to top componets of vincent are tube sockets, really, I recall audio visor said two models only out of many models were soldered tubes, likly this vincent the op is talking about is socket tubes, I recommend the op to call audio visor, they are very nice, and will help with any questions, even if the sale is not theirs, If they do not know the answer, they will look into it, and you call them back, they will give you the answer to your question, my exsperience with the vincent equipment is very musical, warm, exspansive sound stage with bass slam, for the price of alot of vincent gear, they are giant killers!, meaning, they simply sound better than alot more exspensive gear out there, if you are looking for musicality, this is it, if you are looking for over resolving, steril sound, look else where.
I own the Focal 1027be (I previously owned the 1007be)and have owned SS integrated amps from Modwright, Pass, Hegel and Sim which all cost over $5k. Last year on a whim I purchased the Primaluna Dialogue 2 and never looked back. At time I owned the Hegel 300 and compared to the D2. There was nothing wrong with the Hegel but the D2 is more musical, fuller and throws a better soundstage than the SS amps. Another great thing about Primaluna is the adaptive auto-bias feature so there is no need to make bias adjustments which keeps the tubes at their optimum performance plus it makes it easy change tube types.
Since the beryllium tweeter can sound a little bright especially on poorly recorded digital music , I prefer using the EL34 power tubes instead of the KT88. The best part of an all tube integrated amp is the ability to change both the pre-amp and power amp tubes to make your speakers sound their best.
Best of luck
That's quite an endorsement for the Primaluna amplifier when one
considers the well regarded SS amplifiers you've used. It doesn't surprise
me that you'd find it more musical and natural. These qualities do make
listening to music more involving and enjoyable. It's difficult to go without
these desirable characteristics once you've been introduced to them.
I've been an audiophile since '74 and have been thru many phases of audio equipment since then. At this stage of my life I want to sit back and enjoy the music. I once owned a $40k HT set-up but felt it wasn't natural and kind of artificial with the different DSP settings. So I decided to down-size and go back to 2 channel. I experimented with different SS amps before trying a tube amp as I stated. The bass might not be as tight as a SS amp but it's not as important as the overall sound to me.
As for Big10purdue, the best amp is the one that sounds most natural and engaging with your speakers. Everyone hears differently and the synergy between components is most crucial. For me tubes sound more natural and less sterile with my Focals than SS amps.
Happen to think George makes an excellent point. I've been looking for a speaker that has a worse impedance/phase angle plot than my Paradigm 8 (v3) ... and thanks to George I've found it.
Sorry to throw water on the OP's Q, but I would do a Paradigm (pun) shift and think about a very low output impedance tube amp or a SS amp. As JA said in his test report, if a high'ish impedance tube amp is used, there could be significant sonic colorations tipping in the midrange/treble range.
Not sure how much the amp's in the OP's post cost, but I gotta believe there's some great SS gear in his price range. The Focal 1007s have a "fair'ish" sensitivity (88 db) (per JA) and IMO could use all the power (watts) the OP can provide to sound their best.