The problem is that the sound of any of these amps will vary with the speaker they are used with. Tell us what speakers you are going to use and we can be more helpful
You might look at 300B based amps. They tend to be the most 'tubey' sounding.
Mastersound make wonderful sounding tube amps - very unlike the US made amps, which don't have that tube magic.
Of course the brand of tubes themselves make a big difference. Most current production tubes sound pretty sterile, which is what you get stock in all of them.
Zabiaud..If you are after that warm, lush, very smooth sweet sound then you should consider the tubes rather then the brand of the tube amp itself. There's a company out of China, called Psvane & Shuguang. Their tubes are made like tubes were in the late fifties and early sixties. With heavy filaments and thick envelopes. They are pricey but have a very long life. The tubes are beautifully cased in wood boxes. They are the best built tubes on the market.
Go to the Grant Fidelity website in Canada. They are the North America Distributor and you can buy direct. Again, these tubes have a very classic sound that was common fifty
years ago and are warmer and richer than other tubes of today. Some may find these tubes too warm and laid back and overly lush. but thats what I prefer personally so it all depends how much warmth your after.
The speaker you have will dictate what is suitable for you in terms of an amplifier. Is your speaker tube friendly? What is the impedance curve like for your speakers? Are they sensitive enough to be driven by tube amps?
Synergy of the system is very important. Not knowing the details of your system it is very difficult to give sane advise.
If I was in the market to buy a tube amp, with no nonsense engineering, sensible pricing and superb sound I would have Cayin at the top of my list. They make a variety of amps to suit every budget and power needs.
Hope this helps
If you want the system to work well with tubes, the first thing is to sort out if the speaker is OK with that. Take a look at
If your speaker is designed to work with amps that are voltage sources (Voltage Paradigm) you will do a lot of struggling to find a tube amp that will work with it.
*actually i have a difficulty to match speaker systems with*
Well, what ARE your speakers? That'd help a great deal to make a recommendation. But in general, for "lush" sounding tube amps, I'd say start with Cary, &/or VTL....."vintage" means something too, sometimes older tube gear sounds more "tubey"......
thanks for many tips and knowings, everybody.
my speaker system is 'dali hellicon 800' - 4ohm needed 400watt amp power.
power amp is 'mcintosh 275'
preamp is 'jeff rowland synergy'
source is 'dynaco pro'
some said 300b amp will be the best for 'warmth'
but i'm afraid that it won't be enough to drive power hungry speakers like dali800 or b$w 802.
anybody objection to use chinese shuguang kt88 tubes for better warm sound?
Here you go.
If you're reading this and rolling your eyes right now its quite understandable. The fact is, if you love your difficult to drive dynamic speakers as well as the presentation that only tubes can give-but the thought of large, hot, and expensive tube amplifiers is not appealing then...
The 180s or the 305s are a welcome alternative. They run substantially cooler than my 75 watt ultra linear, bias once and forget it, feedback selection for modern or warm sound, point to point wiring, no plugs or wire boards, no pricey casework, 2 ohm tap, and made by hand in the USA.
So what do they sound like? Well, ultimately, as everything in this hobby that'll be up to you. I'm thrilled with mine? What they don't sound like is solid state or switching amplifiers yet they have wonderful mid bass and surprisingly good deep bass.
I found more answers at 770-667-5633.
Zabiaud, if you really want to find out what tubes can do, you will need to think about getting a different set of speakers that are higher impedance and hopefully a little more efficient!
Four ohms sort of works with transistors, but any tube amp made will not be sounding its best on 4 ohms. Tube power is expensive, which is why before transistors showed up most speakers were considerably more efficient.
Actually, four ohms does not work all that great with transistors either. Sure, you might get more power, but the distortion will be higher and you will hear it in the form of brightness/harshness. A transistor amplifier will sound smoother and more detailed driving a higher impedance. Plus, speaker cables are far more critical for 4 ohms- they should never be run distances of over 5-6 feet, wheras with a 16 ohm speaker you can get away with hardware zip cord and it will work pretty good. Something to think about.
Audiofeil..your comment that you need to go to Canada to buy Psvane & Shuguang tubes from Grant Fidelity is completely false. Grant Fidelity ships from three locations and ships worldwide. If your in the States the tubes will ship from their warehouse in Las Vegas. They also ship from their other warehouses in Calgary and China.
For those speakers and your goals, the bel canto ref1000m or 500m class d amps might work well. They are smooth and liquid sounding i would say though not inherently warm though results in that regard may vary depending on speaker and preamp used. I use an arc tube preamp with mine to very good effect in that regard.
Audiofeil..my apologies..I stand corrected. "You need not deal with Canada in any way, shape or form?"..whats this?..Buy from America only? How racist!!..I'm certain that your Audio system has separates from Japan and Europe.
Besides, the Trelja website Trelja.net has no phone number listed and has no online order form and no product listings. Its just a blank white page with no descriptions whatsoever. Not very professional for a "premier vendor".
Audiozen, "Besides, the Trelja website Trelja.net has no phone number listed and has no online order form and no product listings. Its just a blank white page with no descriptions whatsoever. Not very professional for a "premier vendor"."
I'm sorry, but allow me to clarify, please. That is NOT my website. Not sure what that website is, other than to say it's not mine. I have no affiliation or relationship with any such site as Trelja.net, Trelja.com, or Trelja.anything.
can we say 'the big speaker systems like proac d40 or b&w (4ohm) generally don't go well with tube amps'?
Yes, and I can take it a step further- 4 ohms does not go well with *any* amplifier, if **sound quality** is your goal. If *sound pressure* is your goal you will get some small benefit from using 4 ohms with transistors, but even transistors sound better into 8 or 16 ohms.
IOW if you are a loudspeaker manufacturer this is a simple way to get your speaker to seem smoother and more transparent- design for 8 or 16 ohms instead of 4.
By the way Trelja..no offense..but since your a "premier vendor" for Psvane tube's, I assume you have a legitimate licensed retail business with a retail website. Whats the name or your retail business and your retail website address so I don't feel like I'm buying tubes out of someone's home basement or off the back of a pick-up truck..
Okay Atmasphere..so is Joe (Trelja) a Distributor or a Retailer..and again..does he have a business location and a website? Every legit Distributor I'm aware of in New York and California have websites and business locations. I don't like the feeling of doing business with a "Garage Distributor"..Heck..Bud Fried still has his transmission line speaker company going for years in PA. and has a website..Let me know the name of Trelja's website..
Audiozen, I hope you will respect my general distaste for conducting business in the discussion forums. In that vein, please feel free to let me know if you desire to contact me offline, and I'd be more than willing to answer whatever questions/concerns you may have beyond what I provide here.
But to address your (legitimate) concerns in brief, yet relatively informative fashion:
1) Yes. I do have a licensed business, registered in the USA and state of Pennsylvania.
However, following the old adage, "if you want to make a small fortune in audio, start with a large one", audio is not my "real (a lead software engineer at the local Blue Cross affiliate) job" but something to instead have some fun (and make some money) with
2) No. I do not have a website dedicated to vacuum tube sales. I do maintain three websites in the high-end audio marketplace, and with the IT background, there would be no issue in standing one up if I deem that day has come.
For me, a website, which is simply a vehicle for advertising oneself, does not a business make. Rather, it must transcend that. It's effort, dedication, commitment, willingness to learn the craft, transparency, equity, honesty, relationships and reputation one makes for themselves in the marketplace, and the ultimate teller of truth, time
3) Yes. I do sell tubes out of my home. As countless other high-end audio professionals do the same, I make no apologies for that. Sadly (at least for me), for the most part, the days of the brick and mortar audio store have passed away.
Yet, it's that lack of overhead that allows me to sell tubes or whatever other product I choose at or below those who do so directly from China, while providing the assurance of dealing with a (familiar, accessible, and approachable) North American entity
4) Further, I do enjoy the transparency the Audiogon, Audio Asylum, and other high-end audio sites provide, which serve as my vehicle of advertisement for now. Inherent in that are the assurances provided to the buyer via the seller's actual (not something they themselves claim) reputation/feedback, protections extended by the site, and the overall buying process itself.
Of course, I believe this works both ways. By that I mean if the seller conducts themselves in the proper manner, they will potentially also reap dividends
5) Entities (manufacturers/representatives of both vacuum tubes and assembled kit alike) in China often inquire regarding my willingness to formally represent them in North America. To date, I have demurred.
Likewise, European (vacuum tube, raw parts [i.e. capacitors, transformers, loudspeaker drivers], and assembled kit alike) companies have also approached me about establishing a formal relationship. For the most part, I don't see the type of advantage I demand being able to provide to the end user/customer
Now, on to something far more important, Bud Fried passed away in 2005. He remains the model of something unfortunately no longer present in this business except in very rare instance. And on a personal level, I continue to miss him terribly...
The vacuum tubes I have purchased from Trelja have been the best quality tubes I have purchased and his prices were less than any other tube vendors with fancy websites that I have dealt with in the past. It was a pleasure to do business with him and I sure hope he is still in business when I need more tubes.
Ok..Ok..Audiofeil..I'll answer so I don't hear from your Attorney..your message.."No need to deal with Canada..no way..no how"..is biased racism towards a foreign country..whats the big deal about buying Psvane tubes from Grant Fidelity?..Psvane.com website list only Grant Fidelity as their North American dealer and Grant Fidelity also has a business license in Nevada and has a warehouse located in Las Vegas. Why should I buy from Trelja? He's nowhere to be found on Google as a "premier vendor" for Psvane and has no website to sell from.
Hell, their's DIY Webmaster services online that for several hundred dollars you set up your own website with uploaded pics and get hooked up to a search optimization service with an 800 number and your up and running in 48 hours.
1. Anyone supporting the USA economy is hardly a racist, and probably should be praised, rather than called a term that is patently ill-founded, ill-considered and clearly unjustified. Check your thesaurus, Audiozen.
2. Anybody having any dealings with Joe Trelli, as I have, over the past 8 years, would know better than question his ethics, reliablity and integrity. It is of the highest order and if you took a poll on Audiogon, you would find 100% support of my contention. Note that he doesnt try to hawk his products in the Discussion fora, as do so many other retailers/manufacturers/dealers. They are all well known. (In this thread, both Atmasphere and Audiofeil are both fanatical in their maintenance of integrity and ethics, as well, and also never push their products)- So lay off Trelja - he is indeed one of the good guys in our hobby.
After reading the past week's posts to this thread, I throw in my two cents' worth about Joe Trelli (Trelja). Although he and I are only acquainted from a few private emails and reading each other's posts over the years, I know of his past manufacturer relationships and have to agree with Springbok10 that Joe is a good guy, and I wouldn't hesitate to do business with him.
Audiozen, maybe you need to learn what the word racism means. It has nothing to do with Canada vs. USA. You seem to be confusing the word with nationalism, another word you can look up. If you favor buying from Canadian businesses, fine, but please keep race out of the discussion.
Relax..I'm not dumping at all on Joe. Supporting the US economy? Give me a break. Do you buy only audio components made in the U.S.A.? I doubt it. Everyone of us owns gear made in the States, Asia and Europe. However, I plan on putting together a vintage system in my home this fall and you can be assured that I will buy Psvane tubes from Joe. I am glad Audiofeil brought him to my attention, and after checking him out on Gon, its a no brainer to buy from him due to the loyalty and history that surrounds him and the immense respect given him by Gon members for many years. Appears that he is one remarkable person. Thanks Audiofeil.