If I were in your position, I would look for a tubed integrated... it eliminates one component, one interconnect and one power cord... and the possibility and added noise. There are some integrated tube setups that are outstanding, especially for 5,000.00 When you are all done, i'd like to help you demo some Speaker wire. Oliver 973-812-6707 www.delveaudio.com
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How much bass and volume do you want from your system?$5000.00 is not enough for tube separates new.Before you embark on this tube quest try to audition Jeff Rowland Concentra 100watt/ch. integrated($5600.00).You may not want to go further.Just make note that Rowlands require at least 200 hours of break-in time.Aronov Audio tube separates(about $6000.00 new) would be the best overall in this price range.Your current amplifier is grossly inferior to both of these choices.
Can I swap my tube separates for your wife? No offence intended but I am jealous. You would certainly get an improvement over the Anthem with BAT or Sonic Frontier separates, but these days (assuming you do not use vinyl) a US$5,000 tube integrated, as DelveAudio suggests, is probably the best use of your money. But when you do, you should really try the Plinius 8150 (this is me being patriotic) - it does not have tubes, but has a tube-like warmth in the midrange that you may well like. Coupled with plenty of power and remote control it just might appeal. As to separates :- The Line 1 sounds nice with Amperex tubes in it (the stock Sovteks sound thin and zippy to me), would look nice together with your SFCD1, and can be gotten fairly readily for around US$1,300 second hand. But I was never too keen on SF power amps and would suggest looking at VTL or VAC.
I haven't had a chance to check them out yet, but I've read a few good things about Bel Canto Designs("A few" is all the press they've gotten). They make an integrated tube unit (the SETi40) that retails for $5200, and they say they think it may sound better than their seperates. It's a single-ended triode design (which you may or may not want), but I think it puts out 35 watts RMS into 4 or 8 ohms. The only problem may be the fact that it only has 3 inputs. It was chosen by Stereophile as a class A integrated (Issue 3 of 1999, I think), and a few other mags liked it too. Check out their website... www.belcantodesigns.com (If that doesn't work, try it without the last "s")
Kora makes some very fine sounding amplifiers. Check out the design 50, I believe it is at your price point. Jeff Starrs at Kora can answer any of your questions. There are SS designs that sound incredible, but in my opinion there is just no substitute for the intimacy a great tube desing can impart. You may also want to lok at the Joule-Electra Vamp, it is a hybrid, but it retains much of there world class OTL sound and the retail is only $2800.00. Joule makes some truly incredible products and the price they charge is a bargain when compared to what some others ask for lesser equipment. I own Kora equipment and I have owned joule gear (with a new Joule purchase in the wings, so I am speaking first hand knowledge). If you awan to discuss offline I would be happy to: [email protected] Mike Marcellas
It is my opinion that seperates are much better than integrades.I have tried both.If you are interested in good tube gear,Quicksilver is not only affordable it sounds great.I personally own Quicksilvers products and have had no problems with them.Another route to tube gear is an AMC cd player.Really cool!!!
Yes, seperates will make enough difference to sustantiate their purchase. Probably at some time in every audiophiles life, the "tube bug" will appear. Those who can afford it will purchase tubed gear, roll different tubes in and out of each component until they feel they find the ultimate euphoric sound. There has always been a battle so to speak between solid state and tubed listeners. I decided to attempt a little of both worlds. I have a BAT VK-500 w/batpak as my amp, SF Line 2 preamp and SFCD-1 CD player. Every one of the original tubes have been replaced with NOS Amperex 7308 gold pins. Sonic Frontiers has never been known for a 'tubey' sound but with the right tubes in the system, it ventures forth in the general direction. The BAT amp is known to be somewhat mellow and tubelike also. Being solid state, I get incredible bass and very good detail. The combination of solid state and tubed gear gives me somewhat the best of both worlds. Keep your SFCD-1, just upgrade your tubes. You can find this same amp and preamp here in the Audiogon for just about your $5000 limit. Just remember, the replacement of the tubes is essential in creating some of the warmth, liquidity, and resolution that you and your wife may be looking for. Best of luck...
Please visit http://www.audioreview.com/reviews/Amplifier/product_2745.shtml Follow the sequence and you will get a lot more out of the Integrated-2. This is very special amp. Send me an Email and I'll tell you where to get NOS tube and which tube amp to bi-amp. Remember that any tube amp is as good as the tube it uses. The 6922 supplied by SF is not very good.
Buy a Radioshack SPL meter, sit in the listening seat, and try to figure out how loud you like to listen. Then figure out how strained your amp is when playing that loud. IF WE'RE TALKING LEVELS THAT YOU CAN CARRY ON A CONVERSATION OVER with your wife, you won't be needing much power. Yes, tubes don't begin to deliver the current of solid state...but doubling power when impedance is halved isn't always called for. ANYWAY, I'M TRYING TO FIND OUT ABOUT THE VTL INTEGRATED I SAW IN THE BUYER'S GUIDE...VTL's website doesn't have anything more recent than the '98 HiFi show...sounds like somebody's gotten complacent...