Yup, EL84's again.
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I've got about 35 more hours on it now. Grain is slowing going away and the overall sound is warming up more. I was told about 200 hours to break the amp in, but I was pretty happy with the sound to start. Of course I don't have the very revealing Merlin TSM XMr's yet to judge, but thus far....this is a VERY impressive amp.
I'm interested in hearing more about the Stingray II after some more break in of it and the speakers that are on the way.
I agree completely with what you said about the iPod version. I have no idea what they were thinking. Seems like a stupid idea. Maybe its about marketing - ie trying to rope in the iPod crowd? I highly doubt too many be interested in a $3400 integrated amp that only puts out 32 or 18 watts when they can get a $1000 watt JVC boombox from Target for $200 or so.
If it extracted the digital data, maybe. I can't see very many audiophiles buying one that doesn't, especially for a $400 premium over the standard version.
Yup....plus I didn't want the added wiring and complexity cluttering and possibly effecting the purity of the Stingray. They might as well have added a slot for 8 Track!
If I decide to use an Ipod, I'd do with a Wadia unit at the very least.
I think the best result from the Ipod version is that it got quite a bit of press and updated their image a bit.
I have the Mahis the mono block version of the Stingray. Love the glorious midrange of the EL84s ......
I swapped the 12AT7 for 1962 Brimar cv4033 from Tubmonger, improved eveything smoothed out the treble while opening up the soundstage with added air, mids are liquid and warm while the bass remains deep and controlled. All in all these amps can deliver in spades.