SET the best?

Is SET amplification where we should all end up? I keep reading posts where people tell of their journeys from plenty power to micro power, and how amazing SET amplification is 45 set 211 set 845 set otl, and usually, ....with the right speaker. I have yet to read of anyone who has gone the other direction from SET, to High watt beast class A amps or others.
If your speakers can be driven by minimal wattage, is this the most realistic, natural sound we can achieve? versus say, 86db sensitive speakers and a 1000w amp?
Is the end result solely based on speaker pairing? circuit? tubes?

I am in the process of changing my direction in my search for realistic sound, just because, and wondering if this really is the best direction to be going.
From what I have been reading I think it may be.

What do we get with SET? What do we give up?

What's you favorite color?

Showing 50 responses by mozartfan

these things run hot, hot, hot





I was joking with my tech, why he does not get the Wavac 833 amp, he said something to the effect,,,*I don’t need a heater in my home...** especially with our New Orleans 100+ degree heat 6 months of the year. well looks like I’ll never own a 845. As I say I already have a power amp with the Defy’s 12 tube set up. And surprisingly does not put out much heat. The center trans has been running cool. But thats about to change with dual FR + woofer + tweeter, ohm load about to test Defy’s power. Also need to ck with tech to make sure that ohm load is ok with the 2A3 amp.

so  how would you describe the sound of a  845 tube?  I guess this would depend on front  tubes, driver/pre tubes.

something. The horn speaker was as dramatic a transformation for speakers as tubes were with amps.

Big high tech horns Rule, 

Matched with a    high tech SET,, 
WOW factor off the charts.
One day I will take a  look at horns, , I am quite content with my new WBer speaker system for now.

philjolet2,302 posts11-01-2009 7:49amI like SET but you will never resolve this with a post here on Agon because too many disagree. You can not get people to agree on SS or tube as the best let alone SET t

Oh for sure.
The 90%+ Audiogon members are sold out on the xover low efficiency types.
SETs really have a  hard time making Wilson's, Vandersteens, Magnepans, come to life.

So SET's have to take  a  back seat for the big PP amps.
My Defy7 100 watts.
But if I can only employ 10 of these watts before  the SPL is overalod in my small lsitening room, near field,, what's the point have all these wtts, i will never use??
My New WBers really work best with SET amplification...Or maybe a  low powered EL34 with triode/linear switch, like a Cayin I had, but sold off, as **being under powered***. The cayin was 25 watts/35watts.
Might have worked better than this big EL34 and Defy.
But again, a  Low powered el34, tube  will not present music as a  good SET tube will.

Big SS/PP amps rule around Audiogon.
Note how so few SETs are up for sale.
Once folks add a  SET, its a keeper for life. 
SET the best?

Is SET amplification where we should all end up? I keep reading posts where people tell of their journeys from plenty power to micro power, and how amazing SET amplification is 45 set 211 set 845 set otl, and usually, ....with the right speaker. I have yet to read of anyone who has gone the other direction from SET, to High watt beast class A amps or others.
If your speakers can be driven by minimal wattage, is this the most realistic, natural sound we can achieve? versus say, 86db sensitive speakers and a 1000w amp?
Is the end result solely based on speaker pairing? circuit? tubes?

I am in the process of changing my direction in my search for realistic sound, just because, and wondering if this really is the best direction to be going.
From what I have been reading I think it may be.

What do we get with SET? What do we give up?

Finally after some 40 years in audio, I finally got to hear a  SET amplifier in my WBer assist speaker system.
Yes, SET is the ultimate amplifier.
Because high sensitivity WBers are the ultimate speaker experience.
(excluding  big horn systems of course, obviously...)

With the DEfy7 and a  friends own design of a  EL34 amplifier, both  offer too much power to allow  the linestage frredom in the vol gain pot.
Its just too much current.
The tech geek also has his own 250 SET tube amplifier he designs, and finally got  a  chance to power it up with my new WBer speakers.
Now I a, able to use the vol gain on the DPL at much higher gain  with no stress on the speakers.

The WBers are 92 sens, the W18's are 87.
The 250 tube SET is 6+6 watts.
And the sound is like the Defy/kt88 and EL34, but  with superior gain on the DPL , now the wonders of the gorgeous inner design of the Jadis DPL can kick in its magic, which was basically  locked up with the 2 big PP amplifiers.

For me, the ultimate sound system, starts and ends with
SET + WBers. (or big horns if you can afford)

No doubt about it, PP amplifiers are always trumped by SETs.

You know,,,I 'm wondering,,,the 6 watt SET really drives the low efficiency Seas W18's with massive punch in the bass.,,, The Defy can do the same punch on the W18's, but at a  much lower gain on linestage. 
With the vol gain at 9 oclock on the DPL with the Defy/ and EL34, small listening rm, near field,, thats quite enough SPL..
Now with the SET, I can go 12 oclock on the Jadis DPL linestage  showing no stress on the speakers and the music is  a ~~~bit more~~(are not we all after  the nunaces and gains) ,  detailed, more alive, more colors/deeper soundstage.

IOW the Jadis  Linestage now is unlock and can add its charms along with the gorgeous 250 tubes magic.

EL34/KT88 have their tube charms, but  seem to be more of a  POWER tube, vs a SET's  ability to deepen the soundstage, and  so i am hearing nuances missed with PP tubes. 

IMHO SETs are  the best musical  amplification. 
Have not heard a  300B tube, but know from others testimony, its not their cup of tea.
Trying right now  to find a   845 amplifier, that  is within my limited budget.
Have my eye on one, , waiting for the lister to respond.

SET + High Effiiciency, match made in heaven.

~~~~OP 2009, and here i am in 2021 getting Mike's  drift.

5,865 posts
05-28-2020 1:44pm
It is interesting that one can box yourself in with a lower watt tube amp, and deny yourself the vast multitudes (and clear large margin majority) of 83 to 90db efficient speakers...I check efficiency in every review and simply say will be a while before I lose interest in efficiency, and I'm happy with the sound of my massive 12 watts into horns...the dynamics are there, the clarity is there, the musical "correctness" is there, and I'm there.


The vast majority of speakers are low efficient, unefficient, poor efficient.
Like you the very 1st thing i ck is 
~~~~~db sens level~~~~
I boughta  single brand new Seas
New Flagship tweeter
~~Crescendo~~ Seas on their site claijms 92db
So I bought it on the cheap/winning bid.
. Not even close to 92db. More like 84db
IF THAT!!!!!!!!!
at 84db, you will need
~~~Jadis's JA800~~~ to  force it to sing..

WBers at 92db (true db sens) and on up, , now here is where a  SET amplifer gets happy.

My friends 6w+6w 250 tube had made amplifier, packs a   punch in bass. 
The Seas W18E001's with 87 db, ROCKKK  on Sophie Milman's  recordings.

I've got all kinds of nice mods in my Jadis Line stage and Jadis DAC, that now finally can take on presence
Mundorf Caps, Takman resistors.
New high  tech Class A JFET's opamps in the DAC, 4 duals. 
Now these tweaks can voice via  higher gain on the DPL linestage vol pot.
Vs the Defy's over load 12 KT88's power, where gain could not be more than say 9 oclock with spilling over massive SPL strain on the speakers

SETs allow the mods to come alive with usage of more gain on vol. 
+ the WBers are more happy with SET power vs PP  power. 
Its a 

SET. However, if you feel that you need the entire frequency spectrum at decent or full weight, then you may end up disappointed

You might be refereing to the 300B tube amplification.

My tech says avoid 300B.
Cayin has a  massive incedible 845 witha  300B power tube as driver.
I am not sure this is the right mix,.
Will the added 300B tube make the sounda  bit too tuby/fluffy.

The 250 tube SET I have borrowed from my techs hand made collection, has slam, massive bass. On the wide band8 92db + Seas W18E001(duals per channel)

Don't underestime a  SET;'s bass SLAM potential.
SET's can rock matched with the right speakers.

It's hard to understand how some audiophiles have such an aversion to tube gear in general, and in some cases plain prejudicial, without even hearing one. But thats' how some people are. They don't like change


That attitude against tubes, back then, has chnaged over the past decade,
Seems more posts are about tube amplification.
So thats a  good thing..
But there remains the aversion, the neglect, of showing any interest whatsoever in WBer speakers, as single point source or combined in a  multi WBer speaker system.

Posible in another 10 years this  misunderstanding and disdain,   concerning  WBers(as ultimate midrange experience)) here too, we may  begin to pale as more folks jump on the WBer  speaker train. 

Train's leaving the station,,all aboard.......

, if low efficiency speakers make a come-back

So you think the energy sucking xover types are falling in popularity??
Look at the speaker page.
Your average low efficiency speakers get top attention.
High sens = WBers?pointSource/Full Range single driver + all Horns in one camp

Seas/ScanSpeaks, / all A-Z xover style speakers /Stas/ the other camp= Low efficient, low db sensitivity.

OK just tested the SET and havea  YT  uploading, will post when finished...
Look even 6 watts is too much power for these 92db WBers.
I should add, the desiner has pure COLBALT output transforers, which are the best, but pack a  super wallpo of punch.

I can not even imagine driving AER/Voxativ's 94db-100db speakers with this 250 tube pure colbalt trans amplifier.
I mean at 8 oclock, the SPL would be over whleming.

Seems to me, ideally, the best SETs are flear watts, 1 watt, - 5 watts. 
And not sure if pure colbalt trans, which are  very expenisve are necessary.
Why the added power of colbalt trans???
Not needed.
My 92db WBers are maxed out at 10 oclock on the vol pot.
I'm wondering if the  high tech super Class A JEFT opamps in the DAC are adding too foraward a  gain in the source..???
paid $100 each  for those guys, but perhaps these high tech guys are amplifiying the source too much..??
I'll go back to jadi's stock ops and see what gives.
I doubt if much ..if at all.

This test proves we do not need PP amplification. 
Low powered SETs have more, wayyyy more than enough power to drive any higher sens speakers, with massive SPL.

There is so much dis-information, mis-understandings surrounding SET amps. 
SETs have just as much if not more bass SLAM as any  PP amp. 
Can not see any reason why PP amps have  received so much attention these past decades.
SET amplification   is the most practical and most musical amplification. 

RIP PP amplification
You served us well....

Maybe a  Cayin low powered EL34 linear/Triode mode amp maight be acceptable along with SETs. 
Amp I had, but sold off, due to the reasoning *has not enough power* under the delusion, more power = better amplification.
More power = less superior amplification.
 Sold it off cheap.

PP amps = fidelity
SET amps = high fidelity. 
Close but 
No Cigar
oldhvymec3,796 posts09-28-2021 12:47amWow!

I'm not done yet.
Poor  Jadis
Now that the real news is starting to go viral, 
SETs are back as the new high tech WBers are in
Leaves no place for big hefty PP amps..\
Not sure what Jadis was thinking.
They offer maybe 1 set amp. 
The future is 100% SET.
Here is what went down
95%+++ of all USA audiophiles jumped on the 
high impedance/low sens/big box xover types.
You know Wilson's, vandersteens, magnepans, Von Schweigert's, Jadis went where the money is, A-Z big box speakers require PP amps besides the avg USA audiophile loves adores massive soundstage SPL and monsterous size bass slam.
Places SETs at a slight disadvantage
So Jadis knowing what the consumer demands, made all its models PP amplification.

Now with everything headed to SET/high sens speakers.. Jadis is going have serious issues trying to play catchup, when you can get a  great chinese SET for under $3G's. 

Over the comming decades you'll see big PP amps dumped along with big box speakers on the cheap.
SET + high sens speakers will be The Bomb. 
I see Larry is trying to market his PP votes and a  OT amp.

Can't agree
After my experience with a  SET + WBers, sadly my Jadis will collect dust.
I have $2K recent mods done and am not going to sell.
WE need to educate the newbies about SET's as magical magnifience, Pure music, finesse, super high fidelity and lush mids, solid bass, glorious highs.
Sure we are only talking a  miniscule gains in these areas, but its a rather nice modification in fidelity vs a  PP's pure POWER energy.
Also note this 250 tube SET has  bass slam as good, better than  the Defy's 100 pure true watts.
6+6 SET  wattts, = same as Jadis ' 100 true watts.

Go figure..
We need to demystify these SETs, 
there is alotttt of misunderstanding about what these amplifiers are capable of. 

Its all about using the linestage vol control, 
PP amps  make awaeful limitations on how much  gain you can use,, whereas SET's give freedom on the vol pot.

This is what I mean about **only a  nuance,,but a  significant  nuance**

I will never leave SET, live performers in room, ability to change flavors, micro dynamics just amazing, sufficient macro dynamics with correct speakers, transparency that just amazes. Whats not to like!

SETs are the   marraige of King to Queen.
But look at whats most often talked about here.
Big PP amps and low sens speakers.
I plan to get a  budget chinese 845.
The Defy  with new Mundorf high end caps, Takman resistors will most likely`~ collect dust.
Poor Mr Jadis.... so sad,......ARC in Minnesota as well....
The sign of the times,,, 

I see a  change up ahead...
As the poet sang

OK 6 watt SET 250 tube with PURE COLBALT output tansformers.
Tiny but packa  super punch and very expensive trans.'
Wayyy more than enough power, Close to the  Defy's slam.
Defy and EL 34 amps, both max on SPL at say 930 on the linestage vol pot. SET 6 watt, 10:30 maxed out.
You might say thats only a  1 hour dif..
But its better than nothing.
I really want the freedom on vol control, which I don't have with PP amplification..
I should say, SET and PP power are  very close and musical image is close.
I have to recant some of my superlatives on SETs are superior to PP amplification..
I  bet  these 6 watt colbalt trans amps can drive even the big Sound lab, big magnepan, bif martin Logan's with  flair and finesse.
But of course not a  happy match.

WE really need to clean up, clear up the many misunderstandings, mis info surrounding SET amplification.

I feel these SET amps are the superior amplication and see no need for PP designed amps..
Not sure if pure colbalt trans  are needed, as its actually too much power from the output transformers. 
But not sure, its possible low quality trans lack the slam  the colbalts deliver. 
SET amps  require 20 minutes to warm up for max output. 
As I just learned......

Ahhh but I love seeing a  big fat 845 glowing at night in the dark, just too cool...
I mean at 8 oclock, the SPL would be over whleming.
SETs generate up to 10%THD at full power. If you have a lower powered SET on a speaker of insufficient efficiency, the result will be a lot of distortion, which the ear translates as 'loudness'.

But if you use a sound pressure level meter, you see the truth of the situation.
SETs have just as much if not more bass SLAM as any PP amp.
This is demonstrably false. SETs have a lot of trouble making bass because of limitations in the output transformer

I will admit I am spaeking in generaliztions

The 92db WBers were screaming at above say 11 oclock on some recordings. maybe ina  larger room , might have better results.
But as i selectively only listen low/mid vol, never ever high,,SET's at say 10 oclock on the linestage pot is top SPL for my near field listening enviornment.

The SET made just as much solid bass as the KT88 and EL34.

Perhaps on a  low eff/lower sens big box speaker,, yeah , PP are the preferable.

But lets not underestimate what a  SET is capabale of
Especially when we have solid COLBALT  out put trans in the mix, 
These powerful trans, are not cheap, I should add.
Tech says something like $1G each.. which if true, makes these SETs one very special amp.
But again it was too much power than I need/want.
More /better control on linestage vol pot vs the PP amps, but just by a tad margin.
Its the only SET I;'ve heard, and my opinion is this based on this SET.
PP and SET's are very close in sound, Its not like SETs are sooo much better.
I don't believe this at all.
But givena  choice, I'd rather have my music flowing through, a very cool looking 845 tube vs a  basic kt88/el34 POWER tube.
You get more finesse, something superior froma  SET tube.
Miniscule nuance, but certainly the better choice. 
If we blind test low vol, it would be a  lucky guess if a  PP vs SET is on the speaker.

Overall SET's take the Cigar. 
My tech who designs and retails both,  enjoys both designs.
I'm a  either/or kind of guy, as you can tell.
Only 1 can take the prize home.
Again, we are talking nuances, but also I like the  fact SETs seems  to have less curent, power push, and so I gain more control on linestage vol pot.

Again to point out, perahps the Voxativ/AER 's allow even more power w/o breakup in higher SPL's. 

I don't need high SPL, so the DavidLouis works perfectly fine at say 80db SPL.

To me thats loud. 

SETs may not have all the power of  say a  Jadis JA200 mono blocks,, but they are not wimpy on  slam either,
SET fans are less interested in power  , more(by a  slim margin= nuances) about finesse, details, dynamics, 
SETs vs PP, sound is not that far apart on most higher sens speakers. 

I thought the Defy would  heat my small rm too much down here in new orleans,, but really has not been an issue.
Actually its a  dry heat, and may burn up some of the humidity in the room, mixed with a  small ac in the wash room window 1 short hall away...., its  been all ok....
Gotta have a  845 glowing at night, more spectacular than  the Defy's 12 KT88's...

larryi2,703 posts 11-29-2021 12:01pm Speaking in very broad, generalized, terms, I tend to find pushpull amps to have a "tighter" more punchy sound than SET amps. But, too much of that quality and the sound seems a bit artificial or "mechanical" and less natural than the more relaxed sound of good SET amps. For me, for example, KT88 pushpull amps tend to be particularly likely to sound too punchy


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yes the Defy’s 12 KT88 tubes in certain recordings that offer a punding bass line is wayyy too much low hz’s for my 10x15 room. Grates my nerves,e ven at low vol. Mundorf supreme caps both in the W18Excdel and Defy7’s coupling caps, Now with dual FR and eliminated 1 W18, runninga single with a 20 uf Mundorf Supreme,, I know the bass will be explosive when I retube the Defy in Janurary. At 100watts, per channel, its not a good match for higher sens FR. But it will have to work, as thats my current amplifier. Luckily I listen only to CM, so might keep the W18 in, as most CM is recorded with mics distant from kettle drums and cello sections. But for hard driving music, + big PP amp, extra large room is a must to endure the pounding low range. I just uploaded a new video with the single W18 Dual FR and tweeter. results were good. Details open up, but lose some of that laid back linear magic, but gain in dynamics. I prefer duals vs a single FR. SETs are more laid back, the music flows witha natural grace and charm. While PP amps, as Larry correctly points out has this **driving* energy, again which some may prefer. Bottom line as I hear the 2 amps, with PP just about any speaker will work. Although both my techs mentioned over and over ,,,and over,, **You realize you have the wrong speaker for the Defy,,don’t You??...** I politely disagreed.

The Seas Thors with the Defy was a stunning experience,,


that is you like xovers and low efficiency,,and lastly have no issues with a middwoofer carrying mids up to the 2k+ hz region and a dome tweeter going as low to pick up where the midwoofer left off. I’ve not heard the king of all SETs a 845 big power tube. Thats a ways off, and have big expectations. Givena choice of Jadis new KT170 or a 845, no contest, 845 will dedliver a sound field full of nuances that will leave Jadis KT170 behind in the dust. I think the era of big PP power amps is slowly riding off into the sunset. SET’s star is arising in the eastern horizon.


China manufacturers are making SET’s at a more reasonable price with stunning designs. Once you hear a SET, PP amplification has lost some of its sheen. .

I can listen to piano on my iPod earphones which definitely don’t go as low as 27.5Hz, but I can still "hear" bass notes on the piano ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Yes Although my FR specs say 40hz. lets say bass guitar riff, bass drums are hitting fq’s below that mark, Still you are hearing bass/kettle drums, maybe not as deep as say a 10 inch woofer, = You just don’t miss out on bass.


FR play bass just like Wilson’s Monolithic towers with dual 10 inch woofers,,just not as deep.

philjolet’s avatar philjolet2,302 posts 11-01-2009 7:49am I like SET but you will never resolve this with a post here on Agon because too many disagree. You can not get people to agree on SS or tube as the best let alone SET tubes which can have limited bass control (compared to SS especially) and only drive a handful of speakers.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yes the ancient discussion of SS vs Tube has not been settled. SET takes the tube experience to a whole new level,,.I should say, and forgot,, my tech built his UX250 with pure colbalt out trans, and that also may have added to the magic of SET. Colbalt trans are like $1000+ each and are not in current production.


And yes with SET you can not use xover type speakers.

Speakers are  critical,

Linear + Linear = SET magic.

So your choices are horns or FR.


My 300B amp measures flat well below 30hz. 30hz is the lowest range of piano ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ hummm My tech mentions the 300B was made for tele industry and the low hz and top hz's are cut off. Its made for human voice. Also note, most high end FR do not go below 40hz, but the good news is, there is only 1% OR LESS of the music below 40hz. Cellos lowest notes are 65hz. If you want more sparkle on the highs with a FR just add a high end high sens tweeter. SET + FR + Tweeter = Music made in heaven. I have not heard any other SET other than my techs UX250. My hopes are to add a 845 amp late next year. I do not hear limpy wimpy bass in the SET, again it has pure colbalt out trans, so that may give more slam vs Z6 and Z11 steel tran

SET the best? Is SET amplification where we should all end up? I keep reading posts where people tell of their journeys from plenty power to micro power, and how amazing SET amplification is 45 set 211 set 845 set otl, and usually, ....with the right speaker. I have yet to read of anyone who has gone the other direction from SET, to High watt beast class A amps or others. If your speakers can be driven by minimal wattage, is this the most realistic, natural sound we can achieve? versus say, 86db sensitive speakers and a 1000w amp? Is the end result solely based on speaker pairing? circuit? tubes? I am in the process of changing my direction in my search for realistic sound, just because, and wondering if this really is the best direction to be going. From what I have been reading I think it may be. What do we get with SET? What do we give up? What’s you favorite color? hanaleimike ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Answer: Yes,


Let me share My tech builds a UX250 tube SET amp, I borrowed it due to my Jadis Defy needing tubes, and that will be some months. I borrowed it some months back and was not so impressed,,, He reloaned it again, and this time one channel stoped playing ’He saw the 2 issues, 1 which was a cap was not soldered at one end. Now running full mode,. WOWWW Factor high. NOw I finally **get** what is all this SET Magic.

. However, the speaker makes the difference. as we all know, speakers are everything I have the DLVX8 about to make a dual FR addinga DLVX6. So like all light jazz, classical chamber the music floats across the room, the speakers completely disappear. Its just unreal, so effortless. SET + High end FR is what jazz fans draems are made of. I have not tried out full orch swing blues , like Gatemouth Mouth Brown/Gateswings.


With light jazz, chamber classical , the musical image is just pure magic. SET + FR = Musical Magical wonderland. Jazz fans take note.


Your xover speakers,, ain’t cutting it. You have no idea what you are missing out with your PP/xover setup.

alexberger472 posts 05-26-2020 1:30pm IMHO, SET are most transparent, best in texture and tone, most organic and musical. They need sensitive speakers. But in any case, the sensitive speakers are MUST for any good, musical system. SET sound quality depends a lot from parts quality: tubes, transformers, capacitors, resistors,... So a good SET can’t be cheap to built. SET are best for acoustic music: classical, jazz, vocals. If you listen electronic music, POP, rock - there are better options than SET amps. I will never go back to transistor amplifiers and low/mid sensitivity speakers. Regards, Alex.





Very well written post here I will say its only been in the past 10 yrs that FR speakers has come into new high fidelity development. Fostex seems to be still struggling getting rid of its characteristic **The Shout*,. Maybe they have in a few recent models,,I don’t know. AER, Voxatix, Cube and my DavidLouis are Fr to consider pairing up with a SET. The magic of a SET is only limited by ,,well obviously as Alex mentions, quality parts of the amp’s build,,,but also limited by the quality of the speaker, whether horn or FR. The finer voice of the speaker = more magic opens up with the SET. Once you heard the magic of a SET via a high end FR , PP amps lose some of their emminence.


Caveat in order here, light jazz/classical chamber SETs shine. For big orch swing jazz/heavy blues, big orchestra, then PP is the amplifier for the task. And yes a PP amplifer(under 100 watts)  will work just fine with a FR speaker,, provided the db sens is not higher than 95db.


THe DLVX8 is 95db. DLVX6 @ 93. Best sens for a FR is 93-95db.

QUOTE from Mozartfan:::~~Poor Mr Jadis.... so sad,......ARC in Minnesota as well....End quote




Well not true. Jadis amps, PP amps (under 100 watts please) will work just fine with a FR speaker, provided the speaker is not over 95db sens. Here’s the thing SET’s offer a super linear *speaker disappears* musical image pair witha high end FR. But on heavier jazz/blues, big symphonic orchestra, PP amps offer the ideal power for these complex loads. Good thing about a FR is a big PP amp is not required though is usable. With a FR speaker any/all PP will work just fine.

SET. However, if you feel that you need the entire frequency spectrum at decent or full weight, then you may end up disappointed ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Somehow I failed to mention,, the highs witha SET may also be a bit rolled off along with hz’s under 40.

But really in classical chamber there is not much in terms of highs,, and for your ligher weight jazz ensembles, you might want a higher sens tweeter, say 94db+,, Now I know why bache Audio uses the Fostex super horn tweeter in his FR designs. So you see there are options to achieve sparkles in the highs with SET. We love SET’s for lifelike magical midrange, how you achieve the below 30hz and above 15khz is something you will need to figure out.

Myself, a dome tweeter at 91db and a single 8 inch FR offers all the band width I need.

18Hz - 20Khz transmisson lines. Somehow I don’t miss this. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I just unhooked the dual Seas Excel W18’s from the system, running a single FR W8 + tweeter, I don’t miss the dual W18’s. A high end FR does not need bass assist, as far as voicing light jazz, chamber classical. Even heavy big orch jazz, symphonic/kettle drum, you might want to add a single 10 ibch woofer, but again, there is not much below 40 hz, so why add more ohm over laod to the SET?? If you want more bass w/o adding the ohms of a W26, , maybe try Cube Neuphar’s 10 inch speaker.

I'll take a  SET + FR over any BIG NAME xover type speakers, Any and all.

I'm sooooo done with xover type LOUD speakers,


OK listening and thinking things over



With jazz quartet, light jazz such as Sophie Milman, Diana Krall, classical chamber, solo piano/violin


~~~SET gets the Cuban Cigar

For large blues/jazz swing orchestra/large symphonic orchestra,


PP gets the Cuban Cigar.

SET  the ultimate musical experience, 2nd to none. 

Since its Xmas time

A Musical magical Wonderland

Willinston 100 vs Muzishare 100

Going with the Muzi as it has TWO 12ax7's, vs the  one  12AX7 of Willinston

Both are incredible amplifiers. 

antigrunge2674 posts 11-27-2021 6:06am @mozartfan , in the video running both a coax tweeter and a second tweeter in paralell off-axis will reult in a blurred soundstage, partial cancellation of frequencies through overlap as well as issues of phase coherence. I’d suggest to use a supertweeter with the Coax driver instead. On bass, similar issues apply although localisation is less critical. The SET looks intereting and you rightly point out the importance of transformers.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In theory, dual tweeters (FR’s tweeter + Philips) might work out as conflicting higher end fq’s mashing together,,,but in real time all sounds very natural, nothing Consider Tekton’s multi tweet design, Folks love em. Yes my tech hammers on trans quality. Colbalt trans, EVEN IF still in production are wayyy out my budget. Most higher end chines SETs are using Z11, which offers a pretty good band for the buck. With me its all about speakers, less trans quality/amp design. I’m looking at a 845 now and the one reason I’m considering the model over all overs has 300B as driver + two 12AX7’s.


But then again the 12AX’s will be bypassed anyway, going with the PRE OUT which is the main reason going with this amplifier.


If you think dual tweets might cause high fq’s distortion, next week I will be testing dual FR, W8 + W6. Which some DIYers suggested it can’t be done, **we tried it**


 look at all the big names in xovers speakers, multiple drivers in all fq’s. Seas Thors has dual W18’s. Wonderful speaker, no muddy bass/mids whatsoever, Just pure music. My FR has surpassed Seas by a significant margin. FR speakers experience is something like a SET experience. Both components  are magical.

SETs do things a  PP amplifierr can not

FR do things a  xover speaker can not. 

While researching dif 845 models,,I came across this Stereophile review from June 2021 on the LM 845


Seems I’m not the only one that gets **high** listening to a SET,, I was like , **wow, this music is like trippin on LSD..** ,,**Better I not post this comment on Audiogon, as the folks might think I’m crazy....**😜

Then I came across the Stereophile comment



buoyancy and a high-contrast vividness that some listeners refer to as psychedelic.



The comment can be read in its context page 1 near the bottom


Posted wayyyy back in 2009...48,800 views, 187 comments.

 folks just dont GET IT

Very few really understand what high fidelity really truly is


SET will always and forever be for a  select,,, aka The Chosen Few...

Reference bible quote. 

And yes we are special


Its a  well known fact by now music via  SET amplification is simply magical,,if not mystical.

w/o a  magical speaker,,  just what do you have?

1/2 the magic. = not practical.

Speaker selection with SET is more critcal than any other type amplification 


PP amps, whatever speaker you chose is just fine.

Not so with SET. 

Never ever buy a  SET BEFORE you buy the speakers 

Horse before the cart. 

This OP is all about one Q

SHF (wont be long before my new tag phrase catches on,,watch Stereophile begin to employ SHF in their reviews..)

SET + ?which speaker?

SET amplification is SHF vs PP amplification = HF.

SETs are **set** apart from the pack of PP amps

Its a whole nother amplification. Another level, another league of soundstage.


light jazz/blues , classical chamber /solo piano/violin. Lets keep this in the discussion please.



@ david_ten


Oh indeed, wow factor off the charts.

Here is a  review of the NAF 845

Note what the reviewer says.


I guess most of us appreciate transparent amps. But it comes at a price - you will hear which part of the chain that’s not up to the standards. Meaning new speakers, cables or source components. On the other hand when all things are well-matched music just flows and nothing can stop it. 



Which is my above comment about matching a  SET witha  equal performance speaker.

SET s are magical, Speaker needs be same  level of magic.

PP amps, ahhh just about any old speaker will be acceptable.

SETs is a  whole nother amplifie.

 which  demand super high fidelity speakers, 

= Not even 1 tiny flaw/distortion , nada, same level of purity equal to the SETs purity.

Which goes back to my mantra

**Speakers are everything*

 I can find dozens of excellent  SHF SET amps

But can I find dozens of SHF speakers  which are worthy to be  paired with a  SET?








SET Esoterica

Perhaps even ~A Secret Society~

Or even ~~A Mystery Religion~~

atmasphere's avatar atmasphere9,960 posts 11-11-2009 10:22pm IMO if there is a subsonic rolloff, you hear it as a diminution of bass impact ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ having not read your further posts, will do so today,, well yes SETs are often taged as roll off at both ends of bandwidtyh I GET THAT But again, as Ive reiterated so often on this board,,how much music are we talking about below 40 hz and above ,,say 10k hz..? maybe 1% Working right now on dual FR, trying to get a tad more bass slam out of a UX250 SET/Colbalt out trans. Runninga single W8 right now and not missing any bass in jazz ensembles. But when we come to classical orch/kettle drums, micing is too far away to get good slam, so addinag 2nd FR might open up a richer bass respose. So the old rumor that SETs roll off lows/highs,, has to be properly explianed. Besides the reason we love SET is for the rich, life like complete midrange Its in this mid band width that PP amps just are not able to match in the same magical nuances. PP are magical amplifiers, BUt SETs are another level of sublimity

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Well your post raises up a thought,,,what if this magic ofSETs is the experience that classical composers, jazz quartets intend their music be heard. That is to say, what if the SET opens up this Jimi Hendrex *Are You xperienced* emotive sound field , which remains locked in a stereo system that either has the key of magic, or regretfully does not hav the secret of the code word... Webern’s chamber was quite nice on the Defy/FR, Smooth, clean, nice. But along comes a SET (with a proper solder on a filter cap, which was my 1st listen, and was not wowed, repairs made, SET came to life) and WEbern’s chamber was simply psyche-delic. The music has no source, the speakers, the entire system disappeared, and you are left with your consciousness being mind blown and the musical sound field. SETs are like LSD, you cant describe the exp, either you are initiated or you are outside the initiates.

alexberger474 posts 11-28-2021 1:52pm SET roll off highs ? My SET has bandwidth -3db from 7 Hertz to 95K Hertz



. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I dont know,,maybe its a idea I got visiting Audiogon yrs ago in discussion about SET amps,, So yeah SETs do all and everythinga PP amp can do,,,~~~ But better.... SETs rule.

Exclusive use of SET’s these days, both 845 and 300B,




haha you old rocker,, I almost did a tab, Purple Haze,, I was scared and nervous, I opoed it in,,but i do think it missed my mouth,, anyway, yes a single FR + SET is pure magic.. I just uploaded a YT vid showing dual FR . Success? WEll yes and no. No as in the intimate exp of a SET magic + a single driver and the listener is now broken. What you get is more dynamics. For my classical it works ok,, for jazz fans, I’d have to say,, its a matter of room size and recording characteristics. And if you are willing to sacrifice some linear purity for more dynamics.


But there is no doubt in my mind SET is  the  ultimate amplification for true highest fidelity. PP amplification is 2nd place to SET. Did you hear that Jadis, your PP amps do not get the Cuban Cigar..

MY Jadis::


**BUT all the big money audiophiles demand massive ohm sucking speakers, which require 100+ lb PP amps. ***


GOT it. But guess what, your PP amps take 2nd place to a SET. No Cigar. 

SET. Amps are great holographic midrange especially 300 B but are softer at the extremes , 845 I feel has more drive


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You know I was *set** on getting the 845 with 300B as drive tubes,, Pehaps I should consider a 300B SET before making final decision. My tech says the 300B tube was made for the tele industry and so big roll off at both ends of the band widths. I’m going to take this up in discussion with tech today.

Now I switch between the two systems. They both sound awesome. They both have compromises. But they both have synergies and areas where their performance excels. Neither is perfect. The destination should be contentment, not perfection. Everything matters and there’s always something better out there.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Well I can’t subscribe to everything you just said. As I hear the 2 designs, I much prefer SET amplification. Now its true I’ve only heard 1 SET amp and several PP amps. Buts it my firm belief SET delivers almost all the bass ofa PP amp, superior midrange and almost same level of highs as a PP amp. Thus SET’s offer superior nuances and make fora finer musical experience. Seems IMHO PP amps **push and pull** the music. = a bit more aggressive sound. Attacks. SETs never ever attach, More relax, refined, laid back, more natural, neutral, linear. Significant number of numances superior = SETs offer a superior musical soundstage. And with the new FR drivers out past few years, big PP amps are not needed any longer. They served their purpose as we all know audiophiles for decades now have been enomoraed with big box xover types, highly IN-efficient thus rendering the need for big muscular PP amps. My plan is to own a good SET amp one day, and us my Defy7 as a 2nd amp, backup of sorts, But never as Principle Amplifier. Jadis now takes 2nd place. Jadis catered to the audiophile community that wanted pure big bad power for their low sens speakers, Jadis delivered the goods.


But in another 10 years, big PP amps, eh, dime a dozen. Used market will be flooded with PP amps. Dime a dozen. Give away prices. In 20 years it will be all SET. SETs are a superior amplifier is so many ways. Jadis will not be able to compete with china SET made amplifiers. At that time. Jadis is going in the wrong direction with their new KT150 and KT170 designs.

You could not give me a jadis KT170 amp. I alrady have their Defy7, why would I need yet another PP amplifier = all PP sound basically the same. El34/KT88/KT120/KT150/KT170, nuances of dif.


SETs offer a  greater nuanced  realm of musical experience.

WE, Linlai Elite mesh and solid plates to choose from. My 300B monoblocks aren't soft at either freq. extremes, ea~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hummm , here we go with another vote for 300B amplification. You know i listen exclusively to CM,, which has kettle drums, deep cello sections, is mainly centered in midrange. hummm I need to figure out going 300B or 845. Going to hear some 300B's on youtube now, see hows the bass/highs. And yes I can hear how a amp performs via the right music/w a good upload. /Correct speaker.

sure glad we revived this discussion,. 

I'm going ~~~300B~~~. 

845's too heavy and out my budget. 

If anyone has a  300B they are not using, please contact me, Budget is 2G;'s

There is no inherent superiority of any particular design ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Fully aware this is the general consensus in audiophile beliefs. But seems to be, the best for me let say, maybe not for others, is the SET.

Seems to me push pull is the proper tag for that typology, **pushes and pulls** the delicate musical signal apart. IOW shreds, the electrors to tiny bits. vs a SET , pure linear, natural, just stunning. Lets say PP attacks the listener

VS ,


SET gently caresses the music.

Nothing wrong with PP for hard rock, big blues, big jazz bands

Let me try to summerize  my very long winded post above

~~SET amplificatio allows <<<more>> of the emotional expression of the music to come through~~~


<<More>> meaning are the speakers  CAPABLE of voicing this emotive expression??

SEe how amp + speakers is critical in SET amplification. 

AS my mantra goes 

Speakers are everything

EVEN MORESO critical with a  SET amplifier. 


Just trying to express things that are longgggg over due for clearing  up 

~~~The Mystery of SETs~~~

and the saga of the Magical Mystery Tour (Beatles 1967) of SET discovery continues........

I did say above 

**PP amps are not so much needed with a  SET around, now more readily avaliable..**

WEll I am still in experimenting stage.

I am learning alot about what a  SET does and  not doing so well.

Depends on the recording, music.

Its a complex issue.

When I get new KT88's in the Defy, I can make further comments, 

In classical chamber/light jazz/blues, a  SET  takes precedence , pure linearity, astonishing rendering of the midrange.

With more complex music, like say Santana McLaughlin Love Devotion Surrender,  Although SETs offer... every detail in midrange, the bass and highs are indeed rolled off a  bit

So here's some  early conclusions.

CM being mainly midrange, roll off in highs and lows (as engineers miced  far away from kettle drums, cello sections, which is how a  orch SHOULD be mic-ed)

SETs excel in linera/liquid midrange

Full Range Speakers are not really **full range** But the DIYers wish   the FR tag remain on the speaker. A Full Range is really a  FULL Midrange with some bass, some highs

So the Equation goes

CM + SET + FR = perfect combination. 

That is to say if you love CM in all its variations, there is no better amplifier than a  SET and for speakers, nothing will outperform a  **Full* Range speaker.

In driving jazz/blues, seems to me PP amplification is the power for the superior soundstage.

And  in more complex music, a  midwoofer with cutoff somewhere at 500-1khz is  a  must have. Any tweeter is also a  must have, both in light jazz/chamber and complex driving music. Adds sheen.

So to anser the OP 

*Are SETs  the best?*

DEpends on what music is on the turn table and what the audiophile expects. 


I had to bring up speakers in the topic, as a  SET amp w/o the right speaker,,and what do  we have?

In comes horns and or FR.

PP amps  are not as limited in speaker selection. 

But I would strongly recommend FR + Assist for all tube amplification. 

My guess is the Defy will render the Love Devotion Surrender cd with more dynamics, bass/high extenstions. 

So I was indeed wrong in my above opinion, a  SET is not **end all/be all**

There is still a   place   for a  PP amplifier. in certain recordings. 

That said, I wonder if  hooked up dual  8 inch manesium midwoofers,  and had  the 845 amplification , now its more than likely my opinion is indeed correct.

WE do not need a  PP amplifier.

The main issue with a  845 amplifier is the weight and price tag. 

Takes resources to obtain a  845 amplifier. And really , ideally best are  mono blocks. 

If I could do it all over again,  I would not have a big PP amp, it would be the 845 + FR speakers.

I went down the wrong path, 

Then again, the DavidLouis were not out back in 2008, and I would never pay $5k for a  FR driver. 

So its all finally comming together.

FR is the ideal speaker for a   845 SET,,all I need now is the mono blocks.

I believe a  845 will do everything the Defy 7 with 12 KT88's can do, but only much superior.

So ,,, back again,,, PP amps are not at all needed  when there is a  845 in the house. Thats my final opinion, 845 surpasses all PP amlification in all genres. 

The 845 has more muscle than a  300B , UX250 and many other SET designs. 




No none of the above

Hey Larry

I am only basiing my opinions on some sound bites from our local tech,,who has heard quite a few SETs and has built a 300B SET.

All I was trying to say is that the 845 hasa good reputation for delivering the goods.

My tech points in the 845 direction for what he feels will give me best bang.

He also likes most other SET tubes.

I mean if we want to take this to the last word in SETs

There’s always Kronzilla 4 tube PER CHASSIS!!!! Super SET.

Now that amp will beat any PP amp.


But back to reality.

Sure my exp is limited to the UX250,

What I was trying to express is a SET design will offer a certain liquid midrange that I doubt even Jadis new KT170 will deliver.

Again not heard the 170 but PP is not going to be same sound image as a SET.

btw my tech does not care for the 300B in any part of a SET design. AS main or driver.

But again my guess is the bass of a KT PP amp will deliver a superior bass response, and maybe highs.

Give and take.

I prefer midrange liquid gold, as my CM is 95%+ midrange fq’s.

SET vs PP 2 dif sound fields. .

mglik614 posts 12-01-2021 5:32pm I was a die hard SET guy for decades. And 45s are the best. The lower the power, the more the magic. However, I now have my destination amps-AGD Audion mono blocks. I do not miss SETs at all. The AGDs are like a great SET combined with a great SS. They give an “open window” into the sound and make even the best SET dull. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Well its now beena few more days of listening to various recordings,,, now moved into big symphonic works,,, hummm, , well initially I was captivated completely by the magic of the UX250 SET amplifier ina dual Full-Midrange-Speaker system... Got to rethink this before I click BUY NOW on the 845 amplifer I am looking at. 1st i need to get some new KT88's in the Defy. Its possible I may be missing some of the dynamics and power of the Defy in symphonic works. Just waiting on my tech to get back with me, before I make any final decisions. Although it would not be til July when I had the cash for the 845,,I just like to know if the plan is scraped or still on the planning table... **lower the power , more the magic.** 'No you see I need MORE power to deliver symphonic works with dynamnics and more weight in bass, better extrention in highs. Got to think this through and proceed with caution. Actually I have no issues with the Defy, other than, with the excessive power, limits the abibilty to empoy more gain on the linestage vol pot. My room is 10x15,,, 60 db SPL is where I am confortable. This is the issue, I want more freedom on the vol pot, which the UX250 allows, But the more gain, does not deliver more dynamics. Seems a SET and PP amplifier operates under dif parimeters of power/gain from linestage. New tubes janurary, I will let you know how the speaker respond with new tubes on my new dual Full-Midrange-speaker system. The older tubes had 4k+ hours So some of the upper sheen had worn off. If the new tubes add some sparkles, I may pass on adding a 2nd amplifier.