Tube amp location

I've got a question for you tube guys. I'd like to add a couple of mono tube amps to my combo HT/audio rig. Problem is I have my equipment in an entertainment center which has glass doors on the front, so heat would probably be a problem.

The glass doors are not sealed and have about a 1/4" opening aroung the edge. The back of the entertainment center is fiber board which I cut out around all my equipmet for ventilation and access to wiring. I can easily get 6-8" clearance on top of the components, but only have 20" side to side.

I'm thinking this is not enough ventilation for tubes and I don't have space to put them on floor. Not to mention my wife would throw a fit. So my only other option is on top the of the speakers.

I have Klipsch Cornwall III's so I have a fairly large area to set the amps on, but I'm worried the vibration from the speakers would adversly effect the amplifiers/sound.

What do you guys think? Stick with solid state?

I would make a suggestion with the use of a small cooling fan inside the cabinet,one or even two would be fine.

Ok then please instead of saying both are bad ideas, tell us your idea about how to properly cool the amps and cabinet?My idea was the use of fans because of the wife exceptance problem with taking amps out and placing them on the floor.
certainly don't place the amps on top of your speakers. I believe my suggestion with the use of fans might be a good option.
Putting the amps on top of the speakers is absolutely not a good idea for hi-fi, although guitar amps are more or less made like that. You might manage to operate tubes OK in your entertainment center if you had a good fan system--perhaps extraction would work better than impulsion--and as many openings as possible.
Bet you have room behind the speakers? I'd still try to keep them off the floor though, maybe on amp stands or modified speaker stands?
I agree with putting them on the floor behind the speakers. It's really your only option, IMO.
If you have to keep them in the cabinet stay with solidstate. It is a bad idea to enclose them and placement on the speakers is equally bad. Behind the speakers is the best solution.
It goes against audiophile wisdom, but you can place the amps on top of the speakers with little ill effect. Just be sure to place them on a solid surface that you can decouple from the speaker cabinet.
Mrjstark, Schipo is right, they make cooling fans specifically for these types of situations. At this point, let's just make sure that Jack doesn't use his speakers as a platform for his speakers!!
As long as the amps stay of the speakers - plus enough ventilation is provided.

1. Amps on spks = vibration.
2. Accident waiting to happend.


3. To much heat = shorter life.
4. Tube amps need a lots of air around them.

1. Yes, your idea with fans might work as long as enough (hot) air is moved out of the cabinet.
2. (to author) Wife exceptance problem - nice flowers would be nice.
If that won't work maybe some jewelry.
3. (to author) If we had an idea what your room looks like, it would be a lot easier to come up with some kind of solution.

If your wife cann't see your amps - why asking us - as her.
I am running out of ideas......Your wife don't want to see them or she don't want them on the floor....or your space is limited.

I have answered author's question base on informations given. My answer was maybe short but safety was my biggest concern.

Mariusz Stark

Email sent to you.
Look into the "silencer" 12 volt computer fan. This is one of the lowest noise computer fan. You can also hook up an adjustable "wall wart" and adjust the voltage accordingly. I even put a lamp switch between the wall wart and the fan to turn my fan on/off. You probably need 2 of these fans to cool your amp.
If the tube amp operates in Class A, you are going to have to move a lot of air. The on top of speaker scenario is going to be a problem with microphonics and feedback. If you have to go tubes and cannot use monoblocks on floor behind speaker, then you should go with a Class A/B amp known for running cool(er), and with fewer tubes overall.
My last solution with your wife exceptance problem, why not just buy another entertainment center. I would look for a larger unit with more room inside for your gear. Something that you both find attractive be it wood,metal,marble, and granite or any other material's or a combo that would go with your decor. Look for a unit with good ventalation and solidly built.
Many posters seem concerned about the transmission of vibration from the speaker cabinet to the amplifier if the amp is placed on top of the speaker. IMO this concern is misplaced and over stated. The speakers are not flimsy. The Cornwalls are constructed of heavy plywood with a veneer layer. They are more than sturdy enough to support all but the most massive monoblocs. Tube guitar amplifiers are typically built to be positioned right on top of the speaker cabinet(s). The sound volumes from the guitar amps go much louder than home speakers, yet there is little regard given to vibration transmission. It doesn't appear to effect the sound, nor does it impact reliability. Are people forgetting that tubes are very rugged (that's why the Russians used them in their military jets). If you place the amps on an MDF board (or other material) and then isolate the board from the speaker with cork, sorbothane, etc. then you will have solved the "vibration issue". Is it as good of a solution as getting dedicated Gran Prix amp stands? No, but it's simpler and more cost effective than placing the amp in an airflow limited cabinet.

BTW, tube damper are a good idea whether you place the amp on top, inside, next to or even underneath the loudspeaker. They can do a good job at lessening thru air sound transmission artifacts.
My wife was not too sure about my pair of McIntosh 2102 amps, either. Then she noticed this is where the guys all gather as they just stare into the blue lights while I explain my system.

I waited a while before pointing out that this is where the guys can finally go while she and her friends hang out in the kitchen.

Amps can be really beautiful. How about getting her that piece of furniture she has been wanting...?
Can you leave the doors open while playing? Since you have efficient speakers, you could use low wattage SETs and the heat should not be a problem.

I spend a lot of money on isolation of my amps on special racks between the speakers. Even putting them on the floor behind the speakers is unthinkable to me, much less putting them on the speakers If you are going to put the amps within the entertainment center, you also need to consider isolating everything in the cabinet. Certainly, no entertainment center provides much isolation for anything including the television.

Much depends on your goal here. If you are only concerned that the amps might fail, I would just leave the door open while playing. If you want good sound, put them on good stands behind the speakers, isolate the speakers from the floor, and isolate everything within you entertainment center.

I have to agree with you, with all of the polished shiny aluminum on the turntable and rack and the lights on the mono amps people just ask does that really play music? In regards to the wife, yes, buy her furniture, in my case a new kitchen, now I have a kitchen pass, no pun intended, to get my next big thing if I want it, hmmm, 2 more mono amps, or 2 more tonearms, or whatever, hmmm.... but I think I might be done, really.
Hereabouts WAF--stands for Wife Acceptance Factor

I use more the WAF--Wife Assimilation Factor
you are wife gets assimilated when i tell her I will play whatever she wants and she brings down the wine...then the assimilation begins shortly after.
It seems that the biggest concern here is
the heat...from (????)
but, it doesn't nessesary have anything to do with tubes -
If you know what I mean...
In that case my only advice IS
"TUBE" rolling or some bias adj.

Resistance is futile
the obvious: old school meets new. entertainment centers of today are not designed for tubes generally. if you really want tubes that badly then take the plunge and work with the reality of using heavy heat producing amps, show those puppies off! you ask.. stick w ss? why are you considering tubes in the first place? mono blocks are a big jump from a ss amp in an ent. center with glass doors. don't mean to offend but, tubes are not little black and silver boxes that offer convenienc and mobility. fwiw, i think tubes are a great match with those spkrs. peace
Thanks to everyone for your responses and sorry for the delayed follow-up. Step mom died so I was out of town for awhile.

You guys reinforced what I thought, but just wanted to hear from some tube guys.

Some asked why tubes? I like the sound of tubes with Klipsch CW's. I've heard these speakers with many amps and have yet to hear a solid state unit that sounds as good as tubes.

Many recommended placing the amps behind the speakers, but I just don't have enough room and most recommend against putting them on the speakers.

At this point I've decided I have to do something with the entertainment center or stick with solid state.

Anyhow, thanks to all for your responses and suggestions. I appreciate your time.
I have a similar problem, though slightly different. I have an open architecture rack, open on front, sides and rear. However, there is only about 3 inches of clearance from the shelf above it. No room for seperate amp stands, and this tube amp runs in Class A and throws off a lot of heat.
My wife and I both like the way it sounds, but I need to do something to cool the amp down. I've tried a few 120V fans, and found one that is fairly quiet. It can still be heard from 10 feet away when there is no music or quiet passages though. However, it does a great job of cooling.

I find the idea that the 12V fans may be even quieter to sound reasonable, but how would I run this on a 120V line? Would I need a step down transformer? Would I be better off just finding a variac to slow the fan I currently have a little more?

Also, do these 'tube cooler' items that I've seen selling really work? They seem kind of pricey, but if they drop the temperature significantly they may be worth it. Which are the best?

John I have some small (5" ?) 120v fans made for electronic cases I got at an electronics store. Run full speed they were quite noisy from air flow. They also vibrated a tad as well. I got a 'varible fan speed control' at Home Depot which works very well, and I mounted the fans with glue and some soft rubber to prevent the vibrations. Very quiet results with reduced flow. I've never used 12v but the little (3"?) computer ones might be a bit noisy due to the amount of air they would have to move (if my conputer is any guide).

I've used Pearl tube coolers on a Cary V12i amp at one time. I really didn't notice that much difference when I removed them.
Thanks Newbee and Clio09. I didn't think tube coolers would make enoguh of a difference to make them worthwhile.
I will make a run to Home Depot to look for this 'variable fan speed control'. That sounds like what I would be looking for.