First and last Integrated tube amp. not much $$$.

I'm about to purchase my first tube amp and my budget is very tight. These are the amplifiers I'm considering:

Cayin TA-30 $849.00-(all BizzyBee mods, plus 1 Year of service) Paul of BizzyBeeis a Cayin U.S. dealer. Preamp out is included.

Conrad Johnson CAV-50: roughly $1,300.00 used. Preamp out is

Dec Ware SE 34-I $1,600 new, plus $195.00. Preamp out is included. subwoofer.

I have enough money to purchase the Cayin now. My question is
whether I should go for the Cayin, or save, till I can afford the other amps mentioned? BTW it would take me some time to save enough money to buy the other amps mentioned. Other amp suggestions are welcomed.

My system:
Klipsch Heresy's (1977) $500 new and unfinished Mom's Warehouse/ Colonie, NY

Conrad Johnson Dv-2b Tubed CD player. $995.00 used on Audiogon.

Rega Planar 3/ RB 300/ Rega Elys. $500.00 used on Audiogon.

Lehman Black Cube/ standard power supply. $325.00 used on

Hsu VTF-2. $500.00 new.

Should I go for the Cayin, and, enjoy the magic of tubes, now? Or, should I begin saving enough money to step up to the other amps mentioned? How much of a step up would it be? Auto-biasing is a requirement because, I have Carpal Tunnel in both hands. I also
need 4 inputs, and, one preamp output ,for the Hsu subwoofer.

As you know, the Klipsch Heresy's lower end needs to be augmented with a sub. I'm pretty happy with the Hsu, although, this
is my first subwoofer.

In terms of power requirements: Cayin TA-30- 35 watts per channel in EL- 34 push pull pentode. 4 watts in S.E. mode

Conrad Johnson Cav-50- EL-34- 40 or 45 watts (not sure) push pull pentode.

Dec Ware SE -34I - EL-34 - 7 watts Zen triode and many different
sound signatures available.

Will I be missing another audio plateau by settling on a push pull amp?. My listening room is roughly 13 1/2 x 16.

Speakers are 4 feet apart.

Back wall distance is 1 1/2 feet.

Speaker to listening seat distance is 6 1/2 feet.

Speaker to side wall distance is 4 feet.

Ceiling height is 9 feet. Tin Ceiling and wood floors.

Listening position is at extreme of back wall.

I listen to Classical, Opera, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Country, World Music, and everything in between.

I want faithful music reproduction , and, enough power to rock out
without distortion.



Showing 4 responses by mmaudio

Hello Reubent,

Thanks for the quick reply! Your absolutely correct about the external bias feature on the Cayin. It is not self-biasing! Never-the-less, I think that I can handle the small screw driver and DVM meter, since adjustments are made on the outside of the amplifier-
instead of the inside. I definitely can't go inside the amp because my dexterity is gone, due to the Carpal Tunnel.

Yes, I'll email you for a review on the modded Cayin TA-30. Enjoy!!!

Happy Listening,

Hello Winegasman,

Thank you posting a response. It is greatly appreciated.

Would you be so kind to answer the following? I think more information about the dynamics of your audio system and listening space, would be most helpful to everyone reading this thread.

What type of music do you listen too, and, at what sound level?

What are the dimensions of your listening room?

What other amplifiers have you auditioned to use as a reference?

Could you list other associated equipment in your audio system?

Thanks again and happy listening!

Thanks Ruebent and Winegasman for your input. Much appreciated!

Yes, I do live in a 1800's three family home. My wife, my three step
children, two dogs ( 9 year old female Rottweiler/Black Lab mix and 2 1/2 year old male full-bred American Pitbull) and our 4 year old female domestic cat, occupy all three floors.

My listening room is on the third floor. Away, from most of the madness of our chosen chaos. We do have wood floors ( which we
had sanded and finished) and tin ceilings in a large portion of each apartment. However, we do not have marble fireplaces!
All of the walls are made of plaster and are in need of repair.
Alot of work, but, tons of character. Were very happy here!

Back to the Cayin TA-30!

I'm glad that you were considering solid state, as well as, tube amplifiers, in your auditioning tests. I've had several fellow Audiogoners (former tube lover's) strongly suggest specific
solid state amplifiers as an alternative to tubes. Tube maintenance,
tube cost, and tube noise, were some of the reasons given. Of course, power and a weak bottom end, were also factors to consider.

Specific amplifiers mentioned were 47 Labs Shigaraki, 47 Labs Gaincard, and Audio Zones Gaincard clone. Unfortunately, all of these amplifiers exceed my very limited budget. The amplifiers mentioned start at $ 1,700 +. Top of the line offerings from Creek,
Cairn, Musical Fidelity, and Arcam (to name a few) were also suggested.

In a perfect world, I wish that the Unison Unico (in mod form) ,or the Pathos Classic One, were within my budget. Unfortunately,
they are not.

Luckily, there are audio companies (like Cayin, Antique Sound Labs, Jolida, Consonance ect...) that are trying to reach an audience with a limited budget, but, whom are critical listeners none-the-less. It seems like the Cayin TA-30 has reached that goal
in spades. Point to point hand wiring, high quality parts used throughout, and a very well built and attractive chassis, make this
amplifier stand out from the crowd. Not to mention, the fully modded unit ($849.00) competes with amplifiers costing up to $2,000. It is the audio deal of the century!

I've held onto my Klipsch Heresy's because they are a perfect match for tube amplifiers. Now, I finally can afford a tube amplifier
which, is hand made, and with little comprimise. I'm going to buy a modded Cayin TA-30 from Paul (of BzzyBee) very soon. BTW, now
I'll start upgrading all of my cables as funds permit. Does it ever end?

Happy listening to my fellow Audiogoner's!


Give Paul of Bzzy Bee Tube Audio Design a call. I'm sure he can
answer your question. BTW, I just received my fully modified Cayin
TA-30. Just like everyone else is reporting, this amplifier is a visual
and sonic gem. I have five hours of listening time thus far, and I'm
pleasantly amazed.

Here's Paul's info: [email protected] and