My opinions re. SET and pp triode

My old stuff: Data3/ Enkainthus dac/First Sound 2/ CJ8xs/ Montana EPS.(92 sen)/ all x dig and analog ics/ AM Stealth/Custom power for the front end/ 7k in power cords (yes)
I just bought a Sophia 845 The one with the 205 tube ect.($7500ret.) --(bought used)
The dif as I hear it is; with the set you loose most of the lower slam and 10% of the highs. BUT; the mid magic is to die for. Never heard Nora sound like this.--- But one keeps looking for cds that are in the 'zone' of the set amp. I love this so much. Rock ain't its forte. When you come across a bad cd,female voice or not;its bad. Anybody did the switch? If you're coming from a 6550 amp the differences are huge. Ed, where R U?-Tell us what U think.
hi George -

congrats on making a leap into that -the big 845 is such a nice tube. And if the sophia 205 is anything like the WE 205, that's a hell of a nice tube too. Glad that you like what you hear - I think in general SET stuff is my favorite type of amp/preamp/etc. the Big CJ stuff and other PP pentode/beam tetrode amps are nice too - they just have a massiveness of power which is unlike the SET scene. Different flavors, different roads to similar ends. Ultimately the best is to have at least one of each (SET and big-ass PP amp), and enjoy them both for what they are. Fortunately there's a lot of good choices in either camp.

The bass and treble rolloff is related to the output transformers, and are not specific to the triodes. My Berning SET ZOTL has no bass or treble problems,it's pure "midrange magic" from top to bottom. It has no output transformers. However, my speakers roll off at about 40Hz, so there is a lack of real deep bass in my system. But, it is surprising how I never miss any of the stuff under 40Hz, and quite often there is nothing on the recording that goes that deep anyway.

Also, for maximum coherency with SET amplifiers, single-driver louspeaker systems are preferred, due to the elimination of the crossovers and the true single point-source of sound for each channel.
when you give up the bass and the highs, the midrange had better be magic. in fact it had better be so magical that you think that what you are hearing even distantly resembles real music. even anne murray will send an set into clipping with a quality fullrange loudspeaker. as b.b. king said..the thrill is gone.
Jrd351 - B.B. was probably listening to Anne Murray when he wrote that. LOL on your post, but I whole-heartedly disagree. Most of the music is in the midrange, and if you don't get that right, you ain't got squat! Bringing it to the magical level that good SET amplifcation is capable of is more like "being there" to me than anything offered by other forms of amplificatiion. SET amplification thoughtfully paired off with an efficient speaker offers the most engaging, holographic presentation of the live music experience I've encountered, and is capable of very satisfying levels without clipping. The 'hair-rasing' presense of such a system is downright spooky. When driven to clipping (which on my work system is loud enough to wake the dead), it is also far more listenable than an SS system driven beyond it's limits. Though the thought of Anne Murray played at any level is enough to drive me out of the room! No experience with the 845 tube at all, but I do love the 300B in my works system (which is lacking neither in bass nor highs IMO, but would fall short if compared with SS), as well as the 2A3 sound of my home system which is more dimensional, albeit less dynamic and full range as my work system (the 2A3 is a PP and not SET though). As far as the SS alternatives are concerned........."send in the clowns, there ought to be clowns!"

Hey thanks guys for 'all' of your input. The more I 'hang', the more I learn. (esp. the crossover point) The one thing I have noticed is some cds are breath-taking.Pink Floyd, then Nora Jones is in the room breathing while others are such a come-down.(Dan Fogelberg--is,well OTL, or the cd is) Spank me with a wet noodle; I own and have played on this amp; Anne M.--- another disc that is a come-down, re. sonics. I kinda dislike wondering, when I pull out a cd; what is it going to sound like.
On the CJ--remember this is the triod moded one--- everything sounds good.
I think talking set is needed here. ('cause I need to learn) Thanks, enjoy the music.
I would disagree about a full range speaker being sent into clipping playing average pop music (ie, Ann Murray as an example). I have used the Audio Note ANj/L speakers and my current ANK/L speakers with both the P2SE amplifier (17 wpc pentode, single ended) and my current amplifier (Audio Note Conqueror, 300b, 8wpc/SET) with no shortage of volume. There was plenty of bass with both sets of speakers; the J models have significantly more and really do not require a subwoofer. The K speakers have solid bass to 50hz and I use a REL Strata II crossed at 40 with very low volume setting; sounds wonderful and I never want for power.

With the right speakers you can have full range sound with less than 10 watts. The old Klipsh cornerhorn speakers have something like a 104db efficiency; all you need is 3 to 5 excellent watts AND good transformers for room filling full range sound.
C12366 is right about transformers. I have an AirTight 300B amp (8-10wts) with Tamura trannies designed just for this amp. I have beautifully extended, pristine, natural highs. However, because of the speakers I use (ProAc 2.5s) the bass is a tad soft. With 30 or more watts, the ProAcs will do superb bass. I also use an REL Strata II which works wonderfully with the speakers run full range. Proper transformer design is the key to proper frequency extension in SETs. SETs can do everything with proper trannies and appropriate speakers.

Unfortunately, I have to disagree about Klipsh speakers - I've never heard one that sounded musical. Oh yeah, it helps to have a small or medium sized room when creating music through SETs.

One more thing, last week I was listening to a live CD from the original Fleetwood Mac, "The Boston Tea Party", from 1970. Hard driving rock and roll which my SET banged out just fine.
I agree that really good transformers are very important, and that is why I made the comment I did earlier. I don't use any output transformers, but it is true that the sound can be extremely good when you use excellent output transformers, as mentioned by others above. Don't skimp on the output transformers when you buy your SET amp, even if they seem very expensive. It is a key part that needs to be very good.