I recently purchased an integrated from Antique Sound, the little 2x15 integrated. We use it with a mid-level Toshiba DVD player for digital, and Mordaunt-Short MS90 speakers. Cables (speaker) are Audioquest, interconnects are by Vampire. Although the first amp we got had to be replaced due to one channel dying after 2 hours of use, the sound we're getting now is really amazing for the total dollars spent. Careful system matching is important when you're dealing with 15wpc, but well worth the effort. I would recommend the Antique Sound unit as a good way to experiment with tubes without spending thousands... One other thing, these amps come with "throw-away" quality tubes, so you need to figure on retubing the unit IMMEDIATELY. You can figure about another $100 or so to do it right. Hope this information helps, best of luck!
Eldragon: I have researched a lot of inexpensive tube amps recently and have also considered the little Antique Sound Lab's. I have read of others having reliablity problems with the amps. I do not know if they are assembly or design problems. I have not considered buying old Dynaco or Eico models that I have owned in the past due to the fact that most of them need to be rebuilt, which can be very expensive. The best that I have found (per user feedback) is the Audion Sterling series though the cheapest retails for $1200.00. It uses EL34's (one of my favorite tubes) in some kind of pseudo SET configuration. The power supply has been upgraded on recent models and it should sound even better than the old reviews. We have a poster at this site from Alaska that own's one and hopefully he will respond. I am also curious about the "Cyclops", which is featured as a debut auction at Audiogon, that uses EL84's also a good tube that I used in an Eico HF81 years ago. If you want to go with more power and push/pull a lot of people seem to like the Jolida 300 and 500 series which can be had for under $600.00 used. Too bad that Jolida doesn't make a power amp though. I will be able to audition the Sterling in the next couple of weeks if I can make time. I will not be visiting the other dealer that we discussed until mid December. I want to wait until he has the whole Renaud line (well broken in) as to not make multiple trips. Should have an opinion of both the Audion and the Mesa after the trip.
Thanks Alden! David, it was just an idea. I'll probably "stick" with my Linn,( i still appreciate neutrality and detail) bit longer, 'till i am able to afford Jadis, Mesa...or? Integrated tube amp. My speakers are sensitive enough, for most, but the "tiniest" SET, amps. I would like your opinion on Mesa, when you can! Thanks!
Dragon, I heard the Mesa Baron a few times. I thought it was a great sounding amp w/the 5881s it had. I know it accepts many other tubes. You may want to check it out. From what I heard, Mesa is now out of the high end market(will only do pro audio now). I don't have any experience with the two brands you are considering, but I have always wanted to check out Antique... It is very easy to cut corners on a tube amp, all the stuff that people never think about(we usually only talk tube types/brands). Things like the transformers(THE most important - and expensive part of a tube amp), PCBs instead of hard wiring, capacitors, resistors, etc. That being said, Jolida and Rogue do very well. If I was forced to buy another amp at less money, I would pick up a Jolida 302B, and upgrade the tubes and power cord immediately. But, from what I know about you, you may not like the sound. But, maybe one day you could give it an audition and see. Good luck!
get a Rogue 88.It is a little more than you might want to pay 800/900 used.you will be very happy.
I GOT MY ROGUE 88 FOR $949 ($1500) BRAND NEW, FROM CHRIS AT AUDIO GALLERY IN SACRAMENTO, back in June. If you want to spend that much, contact him, and ask if he has any left (or if he knows any other dealers who are selling thme at/near cost). My amp does not lack anything that you think you are wanting to hear, Dragan........I'm also going to build a Bottlehead 2A3 SET amp, but I doubt any of those would be enough power for your speakers, unless you like to listen at or below normal conversation level very much. The one I'm gettiing is 3.5 watts per channel, and costs $400 plus shipping. There is a waiting list, and you have to pre-pay. I've been waiting over a month for mine.
hi eldragon, ewe said yure gonna keep the linn; from this thread, i assume it's an amp. i don't have experience w/linn amps, but, until recently, i had a linn kairn preamp for several years. i appreciated all it did in the way of accuracy, neutrality, & detail (w/electrocompaniet amps), but the soundstage depth seemed to me a bit shallow. it *did* have excellent width & height, tho. so, i experimented w/tube preamps. i had a magnum-updated rogue 99, a cary slp98, & i finally settled on a melos music director. except for poor bass response w/the rogue, which i attribute to an impedence mismatch w/my system, *all* the preamps maintained the accuracy, neutrality & detail of the linn, but the sound was more like music, & the soundstage depth got much better. perhaps a tube preamp would work for you...
Try the Quicksilver Mini-Mites monoblocks. $998 a pair and I believe it's wired point-to-point. Quicksilvers are known for their excellent mid-range. Apparently Mike Sanders the owner is really helpful.
I too am interested in getting into tube amp and pre-amp. I am looknig at purchasing my equipment from Audio Electronic Supply, a subsidary of Cary Audio. I am looking for some opinions about their product line. Is there anyone who has bought any of there procduct and what kind of service did you recieve for your product purchase. I know that there are a lot of people here with a lot more knowledege about tube amps, so I would really appreciate your input.
audionewbie, i'd suggest calling dennis had of cary - he's *wery* friendly, & will give ewe the straight poop. i can say that the cary slp98 preamp is an excellent unit, especially at its price-point. i ended up preferring the melos, but its retail price is ~$2k more, & melos isn't known for the supreme reliability that cary is... doug
I checked out the AES SE-811. I found it to be a great amp. Very open and clean. If you can handle the fact it is only 12(I believe) watts, you would be fine. More people than you would expect can do very well on that amount of power. I have seen they now have the same amp with an 845 output tube. The name is probably SE-845. I think it may be 27 or 32 watts. I would love to get the opportunity of listening to it. Then there is also the Cary SE572(20 watts). Benefits of the AES amps are the input level controls, which you can use for volume. This would bypass the need for a preamp if you are only using one source, or don't mind switching cables back and forth. I have yet to hear a bad tube amp from Cary.
Thanks thanks for the advice. I think that I willbe looking into purchasing my amp & pre amp from AES for christmas.
You might also check ou the AES AE-25 Super ... Good writeup on their site, and Sam Tellig loved it a couple issues ago.
I just bought a AE-3 pre-amp from them. I am really pleased with it. I havn't listened to any of their amps but I would jump at the opportunity. My Hales can be a difficult load and my SS Aragon amp has no problem driving them but sometimes I long for just a little more tube sweetness.