Review Almarro 318B

I originally started out with solid state amps and then my taste in sound changed and I moved on to tube amps which I find provide a more "alive" sonic presentation.

My Almarro 318B SET tube amplifier is rated at 18 strong tube Watts per channel (measures 20W) and provides the magical palpable mids famous for single ended triodes, yet possesses enough power to play my efficient Zu Audio Druid speakers loud with strong dynamic control and ease. I purchased it used for around $1,250 with low hours on it (its similar sounding 318A sibling can be purchased for much less). The Almarro bested over a dozen amps including four other "favorite" amps, the Cayin A88T, VTL IT85, Musical Fidelity Nu Vista amplifier, and a Unison Unico hyprid amp and other also fine offerings from Melody, McIntosh, Cary, BAT and others.

By the way, I replaced the factory gold over brass speaker posts and amp RCAs, with gold over copper - as careful listening showed the copper to sound superior to the brass. Note: look under the speaker cable review for budget alternative sources for gold over copper RCAs & Speaker Posts.

Although the Almarro to me sounded to be the best amp overall, if you need more power from your amp, an alternate amp with great immediate front row center live sound is the Cayin A88T tube amp (or Cayin A100T for even more power). With its under rated 35 tube watts, it easily drove my somewhat inefficient Spendor S8e floorstanders (the Spendors seemed to sound best with the Cayin amp). I did notice a little upper midrange glare (not a deal breaker) with the Cayin which I was able to eliminate with lovely Joule and VTL preamps, although the sound was fine to me even without the preamp.

Note: I tried the Almarro A205A with the Druid and its 5 Watts of power seemed a little weak when I turned the music up, as the sound then became distored.


Svetlana Winged C 6C33C proved to be the best sounding Power Tubes available for the Almarro. The advantage of the 6C33C tube is that it not only sounds great, but its double triode configuration offers very high power levels for an SET amplifier.

In the pre section, I found an RCA JAN CRC-6SN7GT VT-231 sounded best, and for the 6SL7 I preferred a Sylvania JAN CHS-6SL7GT VT-229. I sometimes replace the Sylvania 6SL7 with a Mullard 6SL7 CV569 (ECC35) Brown Base tube that provided more detail although a little less midrange warmth than the Sylvania.

The tubes that I preferred with the more powerful Cayin A88T, were SED Winged C KT88 power tubes, and interestingly, the same options in the pre-section of the Cayin: RCA 6SN7s, and Sylvania,or Mullard 6SL7s.

Where did you get the new speaker posts? Where they hard to install?
Any good reason why you might put a tube amplifier review in the analog forum? Think about future searches for "Almarro". They probably won't search a forum famous for discussions of turntables and cartridges.

It is of no consequence to the goodness of the amplifier, but the 6C33C is not a double triode. There is a single cathode, grid, and plate in each glass envelope. There are indeed two pairs of filament pins, perhaps because the tube sucks up 6.4A of filament current. Perhaps that is the source of confusion. The audio press goes gaga over the Lamm SET that uses 6C33C, so I trust that it would work great in such a topology. I've used it in OTLs.
Thanks for your perspective on this amplifier. You have put it in context for me by delineating what others you have owned and compared to it.

I've recently acquired a pair of Coincident Speaker technology Total Victory II. Was thinking of a high quality PP triode switchable integrated, the Melody 2A3i or the Alamarro 318B.

Will seriously consider the Almarro for this system.

Does anyone know if a subwoofer can be connected directly to the high level speaker outputs of the Almarro amp? My sub (a Martin Logan Depth i) takes both RCA and speaker out inputs, but I know some amps don't like a sub hanging off of their speaker outputs.
Does anyone know a source, or where I can pick up a pair of Svetlana Winged C 6c33c-b tubes? Googling didn't really uncover an leads.