Opinions on Music Angel or Pacific Creek Tube Int.

Hi Fellow Tube Integrated Amp. Lovers :

As The New Year is appoarching and tax return time shortly there afterwards I'm looking to add yet another Tube Integrated Amp to my collection. As I've taken the time to research what's available between $800 - $1.300 I've only been able to come across two different amps which have catch my attention. Problem is I more the likely with be obtaing one or the other sound unheard as the aren't any Dealers here in Michigan.
Hence my logic for coming to you guys in dire need of assistance in this matter.

The said two Models in question are:

The Music Angel 500 Mk.III or also called the Sheng Yi/Music Angel XD-SE with either EL34 or KT-88 Tubes for around $1.300 as shown at: Pacificvalve.us

The other is fairly new to these shores which goes by the title: P34i at $1.300 as well and shown @ Pacific Creek.com

Which has had one of its stablemate the SE300i reviewed at AudioTone e-Journal @ Tone.ws and it was after reading this review that I was totally able to understand what said reviewer was taking about first and foremost.

And being able to read between the lines if you will, am totally in agreement with his view that sometimes less costly alternatives can in fact be found that enables us everyday working Consumers an opportunity to obtain something which doesn't require us to take out a second mortage or cost us an arm and a leg on what many would have us think of as the latest and greatest designs. As those in the know will admit - it's all based upon the same designs of old with just a tad bit more modern internal components added enough to offer a better bandwidth if nothing else.

[ Again reading between the lines on what Art Dudley has said in his review of the Lamm Industrial ML 2.1's - I don't see $27.000 worth of Technology inside the amps to justify their price. But oh what a sound. Sound Indeed, but at what cost?. ]

I for one have come to except what many have known for years now - that given the chance the Asian Culture are more then capable of making Audio Components which are very Musical and offers those of us whom love and respect the Hi End sound yet don't have the deepest pockets to obtain said toys an opportunity to listen to properly designed and very Musical Tube based CDP's and/or Tube Amps in the comfort of our own homes without going broke doing so.

Think Jolida CD-100 CD Player here or some of those nice sounding and even nicer prices ASL Tube Amps which have recieved a lot of attention since 2000 or so or how about those Cayin/Prima Luna [ both designed by Spark Audio ] CDP's or amps or Eastern Electric MiniMax Components - Onix Products - Melody Products - Jungson and Quad Speakers and so on.

I don't know about you but I think that these sound damn close to what Music sounds like to my ears.

With that in mind, I'm simply attempting to use this forum as a means to gain more insight into either. Hopefully one of you'll be able to offer your heartfelt opinions on either one or both? Thanks for your consideration on assisting another Fellow Music First - Tube Loving Audiophile.
Just recently I purchased my first tube integrated amp. I have wanted a tube based system for many years. The two you mentioned I have also considered. My leanings of the two was for the Pacific Creek model.It seemed to have a better built quaility to it from the pics online. Should you go with the Music Angel, don't forget there first Tuesday of the Month sale. In addition to those two I looked at and ended up buying, the SQ-88 from Quest for Sound. A dealer on Audiogon. It is in and around your price range and comes with a remote volume control. I have it paired with some Von Schweikert VRjr4s'. Very musical combo. Steve, there is a super guy to deal with.
Hi Glenfihi-

I just wanted to say thanks for your input regarding question. As it obvious appears that no one else is willing to be of any assistance.

I shall indeed be pursuing the Pacific Creek P34i as I do believe it might be a more sound investment as well, as you've mentioned above it does appear to be better made.

Thanks again and here's to wishing you and yours the very best for the upcoming Holiday Seasons.

- EL34EH
As it obvious appears that no one else is willing to be of any assistance.

That's a harsh slap in the face to the Audiogon community, don't you think, El34eh?

Music Angel and Pacific Creek aren't exactly household names in the high end audiophile market. Perhaps the lack of response to your thread has more to do with a dearth of users than a general unwillingness to assist.
In your post you mentioned adding to your collection of integrated amps. What other amps have you and how do they compare with each other? Not just in sound but features as well. In the times to come I would like to add a second amp for use as a bedroom or office system. But it would have to have such features as a headpone output and tape output. In your search, you may want to check out Golden Age Audio, it seems not to compare with the heft of say my SQ-88, but are quite handsome to look at online.
What does the system into which you'll be dropping a tube integrated consist of?
I will give some input on the Music Angel/ Marantz 7 preamp only not the integrated on this older thread. Maybe it will help others who are considering buying this fine preamp that is still currently in production.

First of all this is quite a hefty pre & its exterior casing looks very well made. The wood faceplate adds alot of character & class. Interior-wise it carries alot of quality parts like Wima & Nichicon caps coupled with a large E-core transformer that is metal encased to avoid magnetic field stray. Uses two 12AX7s, one 12AU7, and a 6Z4 for tube rectification. It has three pairs of inputs and two pairs of outputs. The three knobs on the front do the following; Power off/on/off, volume, & input selector. The input selector has four positions, the fourth is used to mute the preamp.

The sound is quite remarkable and is on par with much more expensive tube preamps. The Music Angel is suppose to clone the sound of a Marantz 7 that routinely sells between three & four thousand dollars used on A'gon but I can't confirm this since I have not heard a Marantz 7 but because it is made in China would explain its relatively cheaper price tag. But hold on, this preamp really sings and has very good dynamics to boot. Soundstage is very big and airy and transparency is there in spades. Really excels with softner music like jazz, classical or any audiophile music for that matter with an added sweetness. I have not swapped the stock tubes with quality NOS tubes but when I do, I anticipate a huge improvement over what already is quite good. I will add more comments once I tube roll. Stay tuned!
I have been enjoying my MA Xd500Se for about 8 months now and am quite pleased with it for the buck vs. bang. I did change out the Chinese EL34's for some Electro- Harmonix that i picked up for relatively cheap and I beleive that are a wonderful upgrade.I would be hard pressed to spend more trying to find better for my untrained ears. Running through Klipsorns with no modifications, just added a velodyne powered sub for better lows.
After a couple of weeks spent with the Music Angel pre-amp I can second Phd's opinion of the sound. It's gorgeous! This is the first tube component I've owned, and for $238 including shipping (arrived in 10 days in perfect shape) it is a true bargain. Compared with the Hafler DH-110 I've been running I hear a more coherent ambiance, less punchy but more tuneful bass, and a presentation that makes it easier to follow individual voices and instruments in the mix. It's a bit softer on the very top, and overall I prefer it to the Hafler so far, and am looking forward to comparing it with my Apt-Holman when it gets fixed (again). I haven't gone back to the Hafler for a reality-check, because I don't want to yet - I'm hearing too many new textures and smiling too much!