Upgrade to Cayin TAD-30 or tweak ASL?

Current system: Quad 99 CD-P > ASL 1003 Dt > VMPS 626R
Goals: To get more warmth, and dark sweetness, and euphonic emotional midrange.

I was wondering if I should puchase a used Cayin TAD-30 modded by bizzy bee (if I can find one) or I should just tweak my current ASL. My current tubes on the ASL are JJ E34L and cifte 12au7 Nos, and stock JJ's. I was thinking of rolling to EH 6Ca7 and something like Amperex Holland 12au7 or 5814a NOS triple mica or command series. I know this is not a ton of cash but I am on a tight budget after purchaing the quad. What do you guys think?


Your goals of more warmth, dark sweetness, and euphonic emotional midrange are all characteristics of triode tube amplification. I had a modified (caps, resistors, tubes, and output posts) pentode amp for nearly eight years that came close - but when compared with triode amplification - couldn't get me there! The difference is that now I spend my listening time smiling at the nuances and realism rather than wanting more of this or that. If while you're listening desires for more this or that come to mind - then you are not there.

If you must stick with pentodes - you can mod the ASL for with a pair MIT or Auricap capacitors, some Cardas output posts, and add a pair Siemens EL34s to sweeten it a bit and see if you are closer to that goal of being there. EL34 is as sweet as it gets in pentode land, so if that doesn't do it - it may be time to go triode (the final frontier).

Greg_P, please forgive me for sidetracking your thread, but I thought I'd ask here rather than start a new thread.

There is a lot of discussion of the TAD-30, but the current models of Cayin integrateds that Acoustic Sounds sells are the S A-50T, S A-70T, S A-88T/6550 and the S A-88T/KT-88. How do these relate to the TAD-30, does anyone know?

It was the S A-88T/KT-88 (I'm pretty sure) that I really liked at RMAF a month ago, but I want to be clear about the various models present and past. I take it the deal with Cayin is each amp is meant to mimic the sound of a classic vintage tube piece, such as the Dynaco Stereo 70 or the Macintosh 275 or the Marantz 8B. What's the TAD-30 profile?
Guess I'd better start a new thread then...
I just popped a set of Electro-Harmonix EL34s into my tube amp and love the way they sound. Got them at www.partsexpress.com