Upgrade my Yaqin MC-100b for $2,000 - should I or not?


The scenario:  The Yaqin MC-100b is my first real tube amp.  I'm using it to drive the panels only on a set of Martin Logan SL3.  The woofers are bi-amped on my SS Nakamichi 100WPC old-school amp.

I LOVE THE SOUND TODAY.  I've rolled tubes in the Yaqin and my room sounds wonderful to me.

I listen a couple of evenings each week...so the amp is turned on and off lets say four to five times a week.

If you want all the details on my room/system, here it is:  http://www.martinloganowners.com/forum/showthread.php?17931-System-541-(SL3-Logos-Aerius-I)

Please don't give me a bunch of grief about the surround speaker placement...it's not gonna change...and I do have room treatment now.

What I want:  Real feedback about the potential of upgrading my Yaqin to a used Tube Amp.

I'm looking through the ads here and see plenty of options under $2K.  I am not going to spend more...I don't care if there is something at $4k that should be at $20k...I told myself I am ONLY going to spend my credit card rewards...not one dime more as I am pretty dang happy right now.

I feel like the Yaqin is hitting way above it's price tag.  Everyone that listens to my room is blown away.

So...would an Audio Research D-70 be a good option for an upgrade?  What about the Genesis Advanced Technologies M60 Mono's?  PrimaLuna ProLogue 7?  Rogue ST100?  Conrad Johnson LP-66s?

Thank you in advance to anyone that has feedback for me. 

The ML are said to be hard to drive as they have a pretty challenging impedance curve at the top end...but the little Yaqin seems to be doing fine.

-TooSlow
tooslowmonroe
My first tube integrated was a Yaqin & I'm a big fan,no doubt they punch way above their weight class...They use excellent quality Japanese steel in the transformers & play clean.Your going to have to really step up to see a major improvement...
 As for upgrading what is the end game?Better bass,mids,resolution etc...?You say you like the way it sounds..If you don't have a clear end to an upgrade better to sit back & enjoy what you have..
If you really do love the sound today relax and enjoy it. Audio systems are all about synergy. It is easy to say that there are many integrated amps available which may be constructed better and have potential to sound better than your Yaqin. But the operative word is ’may’. A different one may not sound different and could sound worse. Better to be ’happy’ than frustrated or unhappy.

Out of curiosity, your Yaqin is listed as an integrated yet you are inquiring about Amps. What will you use for a pre-amp? How will it interface with a different amp. I assume the Yaqin has a pre-amp out and you intend to use that but that could only complicate what you are thinking about because you would need to pin down whether or not your ’new’ amp would interface well with the Yaqin pre.

FWIW, unless you are prepare to really get involved with the ’audio’ issues potentially involved there is no way that I would make the change you are contemplating. If you’re just bored you could have a lot of fun exploring the differences you might bring just by changing tubes, small and large.
Awesome.  Thanks for the input.

I guess I was wondering if someone had been down this path already...and could give me insight as to if I would have another one of these WOW moments or not.

As far as the system goes, the Yaqin in mine is just doing duty as an Amp...all processing is done by my Anthem...which I totally love...it seems to hit way outside its class as well.

Looks like I am going to sit tight and just enjoy the system for a while.

Each time I fire it up, I have so much fun.  We're unpacking CDs that have been in boxes for more than eight years...it's great to rediscover our music again...and we have been through almost a whole bottle of record cleaner as we're firing up LPs that have not been played for years.

Thanks again for the input.  I appreciate all that have read and/or commented.

-TooSlow
Post removed 
you could upgrade parts in the yaqin.

Hi there,

Very nice setup! I am glad that you enjoyed you MC-100B as much as I do. There is nothing wrong with exploring other amps. If you chose that route that’s totally understood from any hifi buff. Sometimes There was a time I was thinking about the same thing from the years when I was trying to improve the setup of my MC-100B. The moment that I hit the perfect sound that I wanted, the perfect speaker matching, the right cables, settings, my approach to the Yaqin is totally different now. have learned to sit down and enjoy the music more. I bought an internet radio connected to the yaqin so I can demo listen to different cultures and sounds. Then I try to get a re-master of that music everything analog. My setup is not as nice as yours. I have a Yaqin MC-100B, analog 3 octave EQ, Rauna Ymer Speakers replaced with all high efficiency speakers. A friend of mine from JBL helped me set it up and explained it to me very well what are the different type of speaker materials and the proper matching to as far as wattage and the type of wood or material you’re using on your cabinet. The amp is only 62 watts per channel on UL mode and probably 33 on triode. The sound on my system is just like the old Jbl when it comes to clarity. The bass side is thundering. when I’m in front of the speakers its just like almost an easy listening. when I’m away from the room I can feel the natural acoustic vibration 55hz bass frequency. Its just a personal preference. But the bottom line is, the journey to the sound that you want can be a hit and miss. The other thing is getting a used amp as a replacement for your prime setup is another quest. These are all your choices its just an experience from an MC-100B owner.
Besides the quest for new music sounds, I would like to get your opinion on the output tubes youre using. Been using a Shuguang KT-88. I have been tube rolling these 6 pieces for almost 6 years now and they getting low now. What kind of tubes did you try and the sound that youre getting. Basically I want a tube that has a strong bottom end, a clear high with a good lifetime.

PS. I am looking for a "possible" transistor integrated amp as a backup incase the yaqin fumbles along the way. It can be heartbreaking if your favorite amp is inoperative in your favorite music room. Atleast I want to get a good mosfet solid state integrated amp for a just in cast situation till I get my amp up and running again.

Hi, 
I had the 100b, it re-introduced me to tube amps. I recapped it and swapped out the volume pot for a black beauty. I really liked it, but I was wondering what the next level would bring.

I since tried Jolida 502a, Cronus Magnum, Pimaluna Dialogue Premium integrated.
With the exception of the Jolida (which is a really good amp) I’ve only kept the Cronus and PL. 
They both are an improvement over the Yaqin, better soundstage width and depth, both respond more to tube rolling ( I can use more varieties of tubes in the PL), better resolution, and the lazy aspect of the remote ;) . 

That being said, The differences were noticeable, but not epiphany level.

If you’re happy with your room and sound enjoy! That’s what it’s all about. 

If if you’re curious, buy used. That way if you’re not happy you can always resell without being out of pocket too much, or in some cases actually making a few bucks.

Looking at your room I’d look at some room  treatments, DIY some an play around, it’s a hobby.

good luck 
mdr

To: mdelrossi1,

Good thought about the Yaqin volume potentiometer. I will be changing mine too very soon. I am ambitioning to make the volume knob wireless remote but using the hi-end analog pot (no sacrificing on the sound). I got away with the not blowing up my electrolytic caps due to the heat shield I made with vented insulator between the tubes, mildly on the tranny to the caps. I have a small cooling fan on the side too. For the sound that I am looking for, I find this amp excellent on classic pops, classic jazz, rock, from time to time classical basically the music of the golden hi-fi era, I love the Yaqin being an all around player. Especially with the Rauna speakers I got its a match made in heaven.

Thanks to everyone for their responses.  To answer a few items that were brought up:  My Yaqin had several different variations of tubes rolled into it.  I am convinced that everyone's room is going to sound different, so what happened to work in my room may not work in someone else's room.
My Yaqin had Mullard NOS for the 12AX7's, Baldwin NOS for the 6SN7's and Electro Harmonix 6550's for power.  That gave me the best sound in my room with my speakers.  The Yaqin to me was a little bright and needed to be tamed a little bit.
Now, the most recent updated came as a Jolida JS-1000-RC happened to come available for me to test.  The tubes were all stock when I got it, and once I listened for a week or so...I started in on tube rolling this one as well...and I have to say the Jolida just takes the room to the next level...it was the same WOW factor that I got from going from my SS amp to my Yaqin tube...the Jolida took it another step.
All the things that you can read in the magazines happened better with the Jolida once I got the tubes replaced and broken in...soundstage, imaging, all that stuff...it just got a little better.  
I am loving the room so much with the Jolida in it right now...it's just wonderful.
I upgraded the tubes in the Jolida along the same path as the Yaqin, finally setting with Mullard NOS for the preamp section and Electro Harmonix for the power tubes.  The sound is so sweet.
Hope this helps anyone considering tubes on their Martin Logans.
-TooSlow

try kt90's for the power tubes.