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.

Showing 5 responses by hilde45

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.

-- 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...

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.
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.
@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.)