Getting SET


My system is sounding pretty nice now. But after listening to some high-quality, low-power high-efficiency systems, I realize that they are capable of reproducing music like nothing else I've been exposed to. So, please help me take the plunge, intelligently.

I have enjoyed listening to Lamm ML2, Wytech Labs, and some home-brew designs, among other SETs. One option is to simply buy a commercial SET that I audition. On the other hand, the idea of building a kit is appealing to me. I think that I would gain alot of enjoyment listening to something I build myself. I might learn something, too! (I do not have experience with DIY, but not afraid to learn).

My question (finally!) to those experienced with SETs: Are the kits comparable in sound quality to the (higher quality) commercial products? If you believe so, can you suggest specific kits, for a newbie to DIY? I have read great things about the DIY HiFi Ladyday and the Wellborne Labs 300b. I know that Bottlehead makes kits, and that there are others. Anybody been down this road care to share their experience?

I realize that we must consider both speakers and amp in this discussion. My current speakers are Nola (Alon) Circes, but I am leaning towards a more SET-friendly custom Edgarhorn. If your amp suggestion has adequate power to drive the Circes, all the better, so that I won't have to change amp and speakers simultaneously. The rest of my system is listed under Ever Evolving, "Seattle Sound".

I listen to mostly classical music of all types (chamber, piano and orchestral), as well as some jazz, blues, and vocals. I mostly listen at moderate levels, but sometimes enjoy listening at loud volume. My dedicated listening room is 18' x 15' x 8'. Thanks for your thoughtful replies.
skushino
I share the same affinitys music wise than yours and the only amps (3) that have been able to provide me long terme satisfaction have had in commun a SET configuration.
The Japanese compagny Sun Audio uses their famous Tamura transformers in their SET amps. I own one of their factory assembled SV-300B se and Sam Tellig (stereophile) own one of their SV-2a3 se amp. He loves his and I love mine. Those beautifull minimalistique looking amps are available as KIT and I dont see why they would sound any different than their assembled version.
Their prices are extremely interesting in KIT version and
as both models provide volume attenuators, if you are using a single source, you can even dispense the use of a pre-amp,.. and its additionnel expenses,.. or use a phono stage into it for even more satisfaction.
In my appartment, my Reference 3A Virtuoso at 92db is a good match, sound wise and loudness wise. But since I play alot of large orchestral work the fact that a REL self-powered subwoofer is part of the team doesnt hurt, I gess. The major point for me is that even late at night, when the loudness level to witch I am able to listen to, is disproportionnelly low compared with the concert hall experience.....I still manage to enjoy what am listening to.

Pboutin, thank you for sharing yoru experience with Sun. I read that transformers may have as large an influence on final sound quality of SET as the tubes used in the circuit. Also read that Tamura is a well regarded manufacturer.
Are there any other SET users out there willing to share some experience? Come on, SET users represent such a small niche within a niche of high-end audio, I hoped that more SET people would want to help a newbie along. Thanks in advance.
I'd take a serious look at a used David Berning Seigfried SET-ZOTL in either 300B or 811.

Very top notch sound quality.

I use a custom version of it , with the Type 45 tubes(2wpc), on single-driver speakers.
HI,I BUILD MY OWN SINGLE-ENDED AMP.I COMPARE ALMOST ALL TRIODES 2A3,300B,45,50,801 BUT NOTHING SEEM TO SURPASS THE MUSICAL BEAUTY,PRESENCE AS IF IT IS IN YOUR FACE THE MUSICIANS AND POWER OF 8417 IN TRIODE MODE AND ALSO DRIVEN BY THE SAME TUBE IN TRIODE MODE,AND IF YOU STILL LIKE TO REV THE POWER,PUT 1:2 INTERSTAGE TANSFORMER IN BETWEEN AND THE POWER WILL BE FOUR TIMES AS BEFORE"RADIOTRON 4TH EDITION STATES THAT DOUBLING THE INPUT AND YOU YOU HAVE THE SQUARE IN THE OUTPUT.
Stop Shouting.
Try Sun Audio 2a3.
Maybe Realdeal hit the caps button by mistake?
Audio Note has a couple set kits. I built the kit1 and although I haven't compared it directly to other set amps, the sound is very good. The kit comes with everything well laid out and consists of high quality components. Oh, and building it was fun!

http://audionotekits.espyderweb.net/
You should probably check out this thread also. Lots of good SET info:

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1115470733&read&keyw&zz2a3
I have the Sun Audio SV-2A3 and now I do have the modded Midwest Audio 2A3 since I love the sound of 2A3 tubes. Even though your SET amps are fully modded you should look for an excellent high efficient speakers to match with them. I have had a chance to have friend of mine built a pair of vintage Stephen Trusonic speakers, which sound very neutral, articulate, involved and musical from high, mid and bass.