Desire to try tubes


So I am new to this have no audio contacts, and low budget it seems based on reading forum. I inherited my brothers Heresy I’s (and LP /CD collection) two years ago and started my journey. First bought a Rega P3 and Rega Fono stage running with existing 20 yo Denon 5.1. Then upgraded the Hereseys from Crites with crossovers and new tweeters (46 yo units). Months later after research and savings bought Stellar GCD and Stellar S 300 amp along with Syzygy SLF 870 sub from Underwoodwally. Nice! Next Marantz 6006 CD as transport and Underwood Emerald Physics and Core Power gold power cords and speaker cables. As able Audio Quest entry connects for all. Each move improved sound. Added a Bluesound node 2i as well only listening to Pandora though. I have no reference to options as I’ve only owned Hereseys and never heard a tube amp in a home and am very curious if a tube pre-amp would be a big plus? If I tried one could muster up to 5k. Just looking for the best sound quality I can afford.
Room is 14.6 x 14.10 x sloped ceiling 8-13’ with 5’ flat section at 13.
bilyeauxbrew
Used/new Cayin KT88, either the mid size with a  quad of 88's or the big boy with 8 KT88's, 
have caps changed to Mundorf SESGO. For power tubes, Svetlana 6550's, pretubes Tele's.
A tube pre-amp would offer a different sound, for sure, and you’d have to decide if it would be a big plus. A budget going up to $5k for just the pre-amp opens the floodgates for many, many options, plus tube substitutions which can also vary the sound.

Not sure from your post if you're asking about just a pre-amp or a pre-amp AND an amp. $5k would be sufficient for both, but you could really get an amazing pre-amp with $5k as your available budget. You could also get a pre-amp first and then add an amp later.

Rather than suggest specific models, I can tell you what parameters might be worth looking into:

-- matching impedance between preamp and amp: PS Audio has a post on it and you could also email them or search the forums here. See, e.g. https://www.psaudio.com/pauls-posts/mix-and-match-impedance/

-- seeking input from Heresey owners about what they’ve liked.

Good tube providers are also very important to know about -- I’ve had good experiences with Brent Jessee, Jim McShane, and Vivatubes.

I’m sure many others will pile in on this thread with better information, but hopefully this helps get you thinking about some general directions your inquiry might advance.


Thanks, will starting with pre-amp better than tube amp? Do you need both for the best tube sound? 5k would be tops for both if need/desire both. And yes i will check those resources to understand impedence matching did not know about that...
Another option would be to look for a good quality tube integrated amp that would match with your speakers
There is no best tube sound. If you are able, I strongly recommend you audition some tube products to see what kind of flavor you prefer. Some of us like tube amplification that is somewhat  solid state like while others prefer the glow or burnished sound some tube designs can provide.
Thanks, will starting with pre-amp better than tube amp? Do you need both for the best tube sound?


^^^^
Yes a  high quality tube pre + high quality tube amp = superior sound, But will cost ya $$$$$$. 
Best bet stay with tube integrated. 
If your experience with speakers is fairly limited, I’d recommend going out and listening to a bunch to get more of a perspective.  My opinion, there are other speakers out there that would show off more of the virtues of a tubed preamp (depth of soundstage, holographic imaging), but you need to appreciate those things as well or it’s moot.  Since you’re familiar with Underwood and they offer a nice 30-day trial period, I’d recommend giving one of their excellent LSA models a try and see what you think.  BTW, now that you’re streaming it’s definitely worth $15/month to upgrade to Qobuz for significantly better sound quality.  Best of luck. 
Thanks, will starting with pre-amp better than tube amp? Do you need both for the best tube sound? 5k would be tops for both if need/desire both. And yes i will check those resources to understand impedence matching did not know about that...

I have experience with one all-tube system and one higher quality solid state integrated unit. Then, I've mixed and matched as follows: (a) tube preamp with a solid state amp and (b) also the other way around, a solid state preamp with a tube amp.

Overall, the all tube sound is preferable to me, but the next biggest difference is delivered by (a), the tube preamp w/ solid state amp.

The suggestion of a hybrid integrated is an excellent one, as are the suggestions to consider trying things out, including speakers which might also be more expressive of what tube gear can deliver. Only once you've educated your ear a bit can you know what's most important to you. That said, if you got a hybrid integrated, you'd have some variability in the tube rolling section of the preamp already at your service.
Skip the pre-amp. Tube integrated amps are a lot more value per dollar. In your price range and with your speakers this is a no-brainer.   https://www.ravenaudio.com/product/blackhawk-mk3/
This will be way better than I have in my system, and its one damn fine system. https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367

My next amp will be either an Osprey or https://www.ravenaudio.com/product/reflection-mk2/

Separates are a waste of money. The extra power of the Osprey is insignificant. Get it only if you think you will really enjoy tube-rolling. In your price range the Blackhawk is totally the way to go. You can thank me later.
Supratek preamp. $2500. Best deal in audio. My previous preamp@$7500 didn’t hold a candle to it.  

Whatever you do, OP, don’t expect to be "one and done." No matter what people tell you, even the "best" systems eventually move on to something better. Even the most confident audiophiles eventually replace their "ultimate speakers" with better ones, same with amps, etc.

Oh, and by the way, Raven has a pretty amazing 45 day trial period while Supratek, which I’ve read great things about, is shipping from Australia. [From their site: "Most product is made to order, a deposit is required and balance on completion . Completion is typically 4-8 weeks, depending on demand. Freight is typically $US 200 to USA, EUROPE, ASIA , $AUD 150-200 within Australia."]

Other names to just toss around which were on my shortlist: Erhard Audio, Herron, Don Sachs, deHavilland, Quicksilver (which I own), VAC.
I had a TWO real bad experiences from the folks down under.. the problem, BOTH companies didn’t give a hoot if they got bad reviews or not.. AND there was NO legal recourse. NONE... Unless you’re a lawyer and can practice law in Australia. NO THANKS!

The travel and transportation cost, tack on a HEAFTY price, alone... 10-15 %.

Our domestic products, 1% for import cost, at the most.. AND you can fly to their doorstep and complain.. You can’t with Australian products. Again there is NO recourse anyways...Better luck dealing with the Chinese, really!, Hate to say it..

There are three products I’m going to try before I quit. Raven is one.

One (ONLY ONE) if I can ever afford it (rich uncle thing). TOP TOP TOP of the line Mcintosh gear. Speakers back to the wall sockets their hardwired into.

Cary Audio, SPL-05, all the WAB, and a pair of TOP TOP TOP, OTL monoblocks (RE) in Jaguar burgundy RED.

My current speakers collection, and unfinished collection will last me 5 lifetimes...

Thank you very much... MY wish list fellas... 250-300,000. aught to cover the Mac stuff... :-) No I’m not a Mac Speaker fan, I don’t think I am anyways. Haven’t heard a ton of them.. Where you gonna listen to them "A Show"..??

Big Plus 1 for Raven..dollar wise in the long run...

I want to hear a 30 watter on the new Planars from GRS.
In 2 month I'll be close.. No paint but I'll have working Bookshelf/planars, Kmini, KMaxy speakers. :-)

Time to feed the chickens... Come on Dog....


Regards
Pathos Classic One MkIII.

Hybrid Integrated, tube preamp section and SS  Amp 130 glorious amps @ 4 ohms. 
Tried the Raven Blackhawk and  it was not to be.

Raven makes great cables and speakers though I own all their cables and the CeLest towers.



https://forum.audiogon.com/users/millercarbon

@millercarbon how much is Raven paying you?

considering my experience with the Blackhawk must be a lot. 

Billeauxbrew,
You have received some very good recommendations.
You have several factors in your favor that can help you fulfill your stated goal. 1Your speakers are both high sensitivity and are known to be easy to drive. You do not require much power so the focus can be on power quality as opposed to quantity.

2 Yout budget range opens the door for some really fine options.
3 Your room dimensions aren’t cavernous so again no need to chase high power amplification.

Some have suggested tube integrated amplifiers and that makes a lot of sense. However I don’t agree with the idea that seperates components are a waste of time. Not true. For roughly the same cost of a Raven Blackhawk integrated here is a highly competitive alternative using seperates.

Atma-Sphere UV-1 preamplifier that utilizes a very simple class A circuit using 6SN7 tubes. Built and backed by the esteemed Ralph Karsten.

Coincident Dynamo MK III el 34 in a single ended pure class A circuit that’d hard wired. 8 watts (Plenty for your speakers and certainly your room size). This is a very high quality built amplifier.

These two excellent separate components will provide you superb sound quality for very reasonable cost. For a bit more money the Dynamo can be built as a 300b SET rather than the SEP el 34. This combo will give any similar priced tube integrated a serious run for the money and may possibly exceed them. There’s plenty of information and reviews available for both of these highly regarded components.
Charles
Charles, you can always be counted on for providing balanced and thoughtful responses.
skypunk- @millercarbon how much is Raven paying you?

That’s an insult, not an argument.

considering my experience with the Blackhawk must be a lot.

Really. You don’t say. No, I mean literally. You don’t say.

With only 116 posts it only took me a minute to scan them all and see no threads related to the Blackhawk you supposedly own. There are however a whole bunch of times you say how much you love your Raven speakers. So apparently its okay for you to recommend Raven. But not me.

There’s words for when people are so dishonest, assume for themselves rights they would deny others, and insult people for no good reason. It would seem you’ve earned the right to be called all of them.

Unless you are able to show how Raven is paying me, which you can’t, because they aren’t, then this would be a good time for you to apologize for insulting me. Or let the whole world know what a bloody hypocrite you are.

Your choice.
The Supratek was a great addition to my system, there are many good tube preamps and amps. Check the Supratek threads as well as the Don Sachs preamps. Both use 6SN7 output tubes. 
The Hereseys are efficient so you don't need lots of power. I have high efficiency speakers as well, all tubes. Just be careful, even with tubes you can get a bright presentation, especially with Klipsch. 
You might also consider taking a look at Aric Audio for either a tube preamp , or for separates. There are a few threads on Audiogon that you can search on some of the models, and one member - teajay has professionally reviewed some of these. Likewise, based upon my recent interactions with Aric he is fairly easy to reach and engage with about his products if you have an interest

http://aricaudio.com/tube_gear.php
Hi facten,
Thank you for your kind comment.  The OP admits he is new to this endeavor.  I just wanted to assure him that with reading, time and patience he'll realize that 5,000.00 can go pretty far if he's careful and learns more about the high end marketplace. There are a lot of good choices available. 
Charles 
@bily   
several years ago i bought a tube phono preamp and it sounded so good that it was my gateway entry into tube amplification.
i started with a tube integrated, then bought another, then went to tube preamp and amplifier and then tube preamp and a few solid state amplifier.  i experienced the best sound when i used a tube preamp and tube amp followed by a tube integrated amplifier.  i switched to a tube preamp and solid state amplifier in order to increase the power and dynamics to my speakers and should have left well enough alone.   with your speakers full tube amplification from a robust integrated amp will be plenty.   
my first integrated was a raven audio blackhawk and it sounded spectacular- great open, refined transparent sound and enormous sound stage.
i then moved to a rogue audio cronus magnum ii that sounded nearly as good but had more oomph and dynamics.
now i am running tube preamp and solid state power amp that is 3X the price of my rogue cronus magnum but added a much smaller percentage of sonic upgrade.  
in hindsight the cronus magnum ii is all i needed for spectacular, muscular, refined transparent sound and aforementioned sound stage.  the new cronus magnum iii are shipping and are highly recommended.     
Thank you all for the suggestions and thought processes. I will follow these as I move forward and continue visiting this forum daily.

Bilyeaux
Go try as many different tube amps as you can. As someone else mentioned, there are as many flavors of tube amps as there are solid state. I’ve had all tube, tube hybrid, tube rectified, tube pre amps and tube integrated. Each were more different than similar in a lot more ways than I previously would have thought. Tubes DO seem to offer a wider range of flexibility in terms of customizing and tweaking the sound you want with just a tube change. That’s the fun of it.  
Post removed 
Funny Millecarbon chump you even responded to my post about my brand new raven going up in smoke.

Stooge.
Millercarbon quite the opinionated chump.

later tool.
Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

No thank youse expected.
don’t overlook the EL-34 VTL integrated, plenty of power and tons of finesse


Have you considered DIY? My current system consists of a Bottlehead BeePre 300B tube preamp with a Bottlehead Kaiju 300B power amp. This SET combo provides 8 watts, which would be fine with your high efficiency Heresy speakers. Bottlehead provides great instructions and tech support, which essentially guarantees a successful build experience. I really enjoy the sound, and with your budget you could also build a Bottlehead Eros 2, a really great upgrade to your phono preamplifier. 

For ready built gear another company I would recommend that you consider is PrimaLuna. For under $5K you could get one of their higher end integrateds or go for separates. The PrimaLuna amps are based on the sweet sounding EL34 tube and would provide more power over the SET setup above, opening more options for speakers should you decide to upgrade those in the future. I owned a PrimaLuna Evo 300 and was quite pleased with it until I got into SET and DIY.


Quicksilver Audio has an integrated tube amp for $2000.  20 watts per channel.  Looks nice. 
@jwlaff -- I’ve heard that Quicksilver integrated with Dynaudio 84 db sensitivity speakers; it’s a great value and its 20 watts kicks more butt than one can imagine. Watts aren’t everything, and the quality of the Quicksilver build proves that.

@jjss49 listed great used options worth serious consideration. (Nice to see people posting things they *don’t* own as options for the OP.)
Like Raven, don’t overlook Decware that offers excellent sound and value, plenty of posts on their site. They sell direct. 
Think you need to hold your breath and wait millercarbon, wait, wait, wait, yep here it will never come.

Fact is I did post about my Blackhawk experience and you even responded. But then I was attack by James and Dave at Raven and asked the moderator to take it down.

So you owe me an apology.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoy coming here for information....not so much from shills.

I only have 116 posts because I have a life and would rather spend it with my family than reading your post and listening to you bloviate.


@skypunk

if you and miller have a history or grudge, take it offline

don’t know who did who wrong... doesn’t matter, rest of us here don’t care

let up and chill - none of this helps the op who posted here looking for advice and useful input

miller is happy being a cartoon character here, rest of us hold our noses, mostly ignore

no need for you to add to the pollution - you have a full life... go live it
You should try the Shiit Freya + for sure. Under a grand tube stage that you can engage and disengage preamplifier. Get it home try it out if you don’t like you can send it back. This unit performs way above its price, you can always spend more money but that does not mean it will be better. I have done a ton of research into this and always found that tubes in the preamplifier was the best way to go.
Please consider the Line Magnetic LM805ia. New around $5k and you can find a used one for less. It’s a 300b 42wpc SET integrated which will rock your world, Brother!
- Hulk Hogan
After rolling all the tubes, amp upgraditis will be a thing of the past.
It may be to your advantage to buy an inexpensive or used pre amp to start with and experiment with tube rolling. From what I’ve read some modern amps aren’t as differentiated by what might be considered the typical “tube” sound - tube amps sounding more SS and SS amps described as “tubey”. Apparently there’s more overlap than there used to be, but I’ll need to listen to a lot more amps of both kinds before I could possibly form a first hand opinion.

This year I got my first tube amp and tube pre to replace a 20yo SS integrated. When playing around with setups I noticed a more profound difference when changing between the tubed pre and the integrated’s pre out with either power section than when changing between power sections with either pre. The kicker is I’m using a $400 Schiit Saga+ with a $50 NOS tube. Of course I don’t think one would work for your setup because it has no gain and you probably need some with the phono stage. I’m just trying to give an example of a tubed pre making a bigger impact than might be expected. 
Hi Veerossi,
I also think that the Line Magnetic 805ia  is an excellent recommendation. One minor correction, this integrated amplifier uses 300bs as driver tubes. The output tubes are the DHT 805 producing 48 watts per channel. That’s a lot of SET  class A power for the very efficient Herseys.
Charles
I'm not unhappy with my SS gear, but I admit that I'm curious about the vaunted "tube sound".  From everything I've read, that Cronus Magnum iii looks to be a quality integrated.  Wish I knew someone locally who has one.  Don't know if the local Hanson store has it. Might ask.
Heresy are efficient so Shindo would be worth checking out, a few of my friends have Klipsch Scalas and Horns paired with Shindo and it’s gorgeous. Hard to find but the Appetite is a 15w integrated.
I use a Schiit Freya (original version) with NOS GE 6SN7GTB tubes driving a Dennis Had Inspire Firebottle HO ("high output" at 10 to 17 watts depending on tubes selected) SE amp. Total cost for both was originally around 2 grand (the Had amp was 2 months old bought from the original owner). This combo is the best sounding amp/preamp rig I've owned, and better than any I've actually heard...into Klipsch Heresy IIIs...great "budget" stuff with world class sound.
klipsch’s have their own sound signature for sure... if you like their sound then it is certainly a major benefit that they afford the use of some very very very fine sounding low powered single ended tube amps - amps that cannot be used with many other good speakers with lower efficiency
+1, for the integrated thoughts.      + another 1 for the VTL integrated, though; you’ll never need that much power.             Excellent construction, wonderful performance, great customer service and made in the USA.      ie: https://www.hifishark.com/model/vtl-it-85
800 bucks entry level chinese 300B amp on amazon see steve guttenberg  adiophilac  for excellent review woud pair well with your speakers

Thanks for the continued information gathering it up, will take some time to sift through, love it!
Another Line Magnetic option to look at if you don’t want the power of the 805 integrated is the 845IA , I have the 518IA which was the prior moniker for it, 22wpc 845 DHT output tube, roll in some NOS preamp, rectifier and drivers and it is really nice sounding. Think either are good choices.

Another line to maybe take a look at to see if there are options of interest to you are Finale Audio and its sister company Triode Lab up in Canada.
Hi facten,
Even the Line Magnetic 845 SET is a lot of power for the Kiplisch Hersey. I have no doubt that it would sound sensational. Agree that the Finale and Triode Lab brands are terrific choices as well.

Dennis Had SEP amplifiers as mentioned by wolf_garcia is another very good option (Just not sure how often these are built by Had).
So many really good tube amplification choices, one could get dizzy 😊.IMHO low power SEP or SET would be simply  ideal with the Hersey. Purity, tone and transparency.
Charles
I’m another one in favor of the line Magnetic 845 Ia.You could probably pick up a new one for 4000 or perhaps less and that would leave you money for rolling Tubes which is a must because that will be a large improvement. I’m sure Charles didn’t know that there are two line magnetic 845 amps one has 22 watts a channel and the other one 48 watts a channel. All the best