the best 'tubey amp - warm,smooth,liquid' ?

i'm using the word 'tube' as the meaning of warm,smooth and liquid sound.
but i could't compare to some tube amps like mcintosh(mc275), cary(cad 805), arc(vs115) and conrad-johnson(premier) at one place and the same time.
some say mcintosh lean, cary weak and not bloom, arc not tubey and cj no clarity.
i need your experiences and advices.
actually i have a difficulty to match speaker systems with.
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.
I agree with Meiwan that you should set your sights on a 300B amp. Among the superior brands are Art Audio, Larry D. Moore, Fi and Wavelength Audio. Many people agree that the Wavelength Cardinal X2 is superb.
Most amps with EL-34 outputs sound very sweet and liquid.
Cary, Jadis, and Quicksilver usually exhibit these traits.

Overall, I'd recommend the (normally) 6L6 and (sometimes) KT88 as well as the aforementioned 300B.
I happen to have a sweet Mastersound 300b available.
Is your system extremely bright that your looking for those less than neutral traits?
I auditioned the Mac 275 and the Cary CAD 120s and chose Cary over the Mac due to the Mac sounding more SS than Tube. The Mac ran cool compared to a lot of other tube amps though.
I agree with Hifigeek. Look into EL 34 based amps. I have a older Jolida 1000 integrated amp in a second system and it's sweet as syrup with great inter detail.
The Butler TDB-2250 has gotten high praise for its unique design and very high-current output. Google it and see what others are saying...

Early, Which model do you have and what tube was it designed with (Vaic-KR)?
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.
I'd say it's more like EL84 based amps.
I wouldn't go with an off branded component. If you need that soft sound go for a Mac.
"actually i have a difficulty to match speaker systems with."

What's the difficulty? What speakers? What preamplifier? What source? Budget?

Amplifier suggestions without any system information, clever.
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
You need not go to Canada for Psvane & Shuguang tubes.

Contact Audiogon member TRELJA for the best service and pricing available.

Check for his ads on Audiogon.
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.

Good Luck!
*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?

thanks again
Your speakers aren't a good match for a 300B SET amp.
You need to check this thread out as it discusses about pairing with different amps and comments from users.

Sorry if you already had seen it in which please disregard the post.
I dislike using these threads for what should be a personal email so I apologize if this offends: Zabiaud, I have a conrad johnson Premier V that might meet your needs - if your near Chicago.
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.
Audiofeil..just received an email from Rachel at Grant Fidelity. All Psvane tube orders ship direct from their Hong Kong warehouse to the U.S., Canada and around the world with free Air Mail Shipping.
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.
Member Trelja is the premier vendor for Psvane tubes regarding price and service.

Don't put too much stock in what unreliable sources may say or write.
Audiozen, please read my post more carefully.

I said you need NOT go to Canada.

Fact of the matter is, Trelja stocks Psvane and Shuguang tubes in the USA and ships from the USA.

You NEED NOT deal with Canada in any way, shape, or form.

Hope you now understand better. 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 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".

Better walk that back a bit.

BTW, what "race" is Canadian?

Audiozen, "Besides, the Trelja website 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,, or Trelja.anything.
thank you, atmasphere.
your comment on 4 ohm speakers really helped me.
i came to know some relationship btwn gears.
but i still don't understand some about 4 ohm speakers.
can we say 'the big speaker systems like proac d40 or b&w (4ohm) generally don't go well with tube amps'?
need your opinion.
Thanks Trelja for your clarification..I had no offense..I'm glad Audiofeil mentioned your name since your threads and your commitment to reporting on the shows around the country appears to be outstanding.
Yes, thanks Trelja for being the premier vendor of Psvane and Shuguang tubes in North America.

No financial affiliation with his company, just a satisfied customer.
itsn't that funny to think rightaway to go to "" or smt... isn't that a ".com" syndrome? :)(:
simple rx is to stay away from comp for a while and go to the beach or get laid:-)
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 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..
Audiozen, FWIW Joe (Trelja) has been in the audio business for some time. He used to work with Bud Fried and also imported the Consonance line.
Okay 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.
Et tu Zen?
Yoo hoo Zen, where are you?

Seems you owe a bunch of answers here, especially that racism accusation.

Man's game junior.
Answers please.
Especially the racism deal.
Ok..Ok..Audiofeil..I'll answer so I don't hear from your Attorney..your message.."No need to deal with how" biased racism towards a foreign country..whats the big deal about buying Psvane tubes from Grant Fidelity? 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.