yes into tubes amplifiers I haven't had a solid state amplifier for years. It works with either type I'm sure.
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If you generally like the BAT amp sound, go with their tube amps. VK 60s are a steal used right now. Run mono for more power. VK75se's will give you better detail, depth, bass control, top end extension.
With the BAT tube amps, you'll get a more round, detailed midrange and more realistic highs. The SS are champs on bass control, although the newer 75se closed the gap there. Which BAT SS amp do you have?
Thanks for your input, guys.
Jfrech, I've had the venerable VK200/VK3i combo for five years. In a smaller space (12x14x8) the amp has never been underpowered and married well with Meridian sources and the Parsifals. I've heard the 75se in other systems and it was very good...with a larger room your suggestion of monos make sense. The new VK55s might work though I suspect supertube afficionados will suggest I look for used 75ses.
Do you guys isolate your source? If so, how?
I have my SME 20 turntable on a Symposium Ultra shelf, ditto for my BAT VK51se. My Esoteric DV 50 (brand new) is on some very large metal cones. My BAT VKP10SE is on Symposium Rollerblocks and fat padz. Everything then sits on a Arcici Suspense rack. My amp is on a sound anchor custom stand. It made a huge diff for the amp and only $200.
I used to have a Wadia 850, it benefited greatly from isolation. Depends where you want to push the sound on what type. Rollerblocks, more detail, silence generally. cones a warmer sound. All depends-these are general statements.
Since you're using a vk200, I went from that amp to a VK60 several years ago. You loose a little in bass control, everything else clearly better, mostly the midrange and depth.
You'd love a VK60se or a 75se. You won't notice any power difference. For the price of a vk55, you can get a used 75se.
I've owned a few Wadia players and I'm currently using an 861 with a GNSC Statement upgrade. I've used Spectral amps and preamps and ran the 861 straight into a 150 II and through a DMC 20 II and I preferred it without the preamp. I also used a Rowland 8TiHC with and without a Lamm L1. I still preferred the Wadia running directly to the amp. I have also run the Wadia straight into a pair of Tenor 75Wis and also connected it throught the passive volume attenuators and my preference was the direct route. I currently have the 861 going straight into a Boulder 1060 and I think it sounds more like the real thing to me. I've run both balanced and single ended and it's really a matter of preference because with an all balanced system you get more impact, but you lose a little something in top end finesse. That's not to say that there aren't some preamps that will work well because I sure others out there will attest that they do. Obviously I think you chose a great player to experiment with.
I'm running my Wadia861se GNSC into a Boulder 1012 pre-amp. I never seriously considered going direct to the amps for three reasons:
1. i wanted a greater range of volume setting than just affording by staying near the top of the Wadia digital attenuation
2. i required the ability to switch between a couple different source components
3. the Boulder is a fantastic pre-amp, and i believe that the buffering and drive capabilities of a good pre-amp should not be discarded off-hand (especially when mated to the same mfg's power amps).
just my opinion.
From a Purists standpoint you would think that running a Wadia straight into the amp/amps would benefit it's sonics by eliminating the pre-amp from the chain? In my trials I have done this, however when adding a revealing line-stage and adjusting the Wadia's internal dip voltage out switches to match the pre-amps input requirements it takes things to an entirely new level. If digital was my only source, maybe I would speak to Steve at GNSC to see if he could help? However once hearing the difference, I only have intentions of using the Wadia as a CDP with a pre-amp. Good Luck!
I'm a recent owner of a Wadia 861 myself & have played both with feeding the 861 directly to my solid-state Symphonic Line monos & feeding the 861 into my CAT pre. I lived w/ both setups for atleast 2-3 weeks before making a change & comparison. My conclusion is that I prefer the 861 thru my CAT pre any day, any time! For me the conclusion is pretty night & day. While the 861 direct has very good sound, the sound thru my tube pre is just in another world (for the better).
Like Audiobugged indicated, I had to set the internal DIP switches for the correct output voltage because both my monos & my pre have a lot of gain. There was no way that I leave the 861 output @ the max. & have any useful volume control range.
I also did not like the fact that the digital volume control in the 861 is a DSP volume control i.e. is lops off bits (LSBs albeit) each time the volume is reduced. They say that it has no effect on the sound but I'm a skeptic! To overcome this, I use a preamp wherein I can set the dig. vol. control to 100 (which multiplies the music signal by 1, i.e. has no effect) & then use the preamp vol cntrl to adjust the loudness level.
If you lose it @ the source, you are never going to get it back downstream!
Anyway, my personal opinion, FWIW.
Gents, thanks so much for the thoughtful input. Obviously, system synergy is the bottom line and the variety of responses underscore the need for me to do some serious personal auditioning (oh, damn). It's encouraging to see that the 861 is successfully employed in such diverse systems. I'm attracted to the simplicity of running direct but, ultimately, if the sound is improved by the presence of an excellent pre- then that's the way I'll go. Consensus, so far, suggests that I head into tube territory.
Chrysler, may I call you Mopar?, I've employed a tubed preamp/SS amp combo for five years (with Meridian front ends) and this has been a very good combo. And it may be that I end up upgrading along that route. My feeling is, after dropping $7 or 8K on a front end, I want to maximize its value. What monoblocks and preamp are you using?
Mopar works for me. I am running the Wadia 27i/270 through a Mcintosh C2200 (mullard 10m's) and into Mcintosh 1201's. Speakers are Thiel CS6. The Wadia direct was great but I was able to lay back the soundstage of the Thiel's by using the tube preamp and swapping around the tubes. I am using the bypass so only the tubes are affecting the Wadia signal. The result is quite amazing.
Mopar, was the overall sound of the Wadia compromised by the insertion of the 2200 into the chain? I infer, from your enthusiasm, that any loss of PRaT was worth it for the adjustment to the soundstage...or was PRaT enhanced as well? I'm wondering, per some of the suggestions above, if running direct to a tubed amp will deliver my desired result. The Parsifals are known for their midrange, but with a SS amp they deliver a very good low frequency signal. I know the only reasonable path is to audition with both tubed and SS amps, using my tubed pre- as part of the process. Thanks again, for your insight.
I personally feel that any signal loss from using the Wadia direct/volume control issues is reasonably equivalent to any affects of the preamp insertion. This is assuming the use of a decent preamp of course. McIntosh has a tone bypass so only the input signal is amplified through the tubes which I find does not compromise the accurate detail obtained with the Wadia combo. Quite obvious is if one chooses to use the tone controls the output is dramatically different than the direct Wadia, hence in my personal opinion blurred.
In my set up the addition of a preamp extended the superb detail and resolution of the Wadia, enhanced PRaT, but additionally by lenghty tube comparison and employing the tone bypass allowed the soundstage corrections. Coupled with the imaging of the Thiels, I can obtain significant orchestral stage presence throughout the room.
I will also admit freely that my original purpose was to improve the low end response by adding the preamp and use the bass attenuation but have stumbled upon the aforementioned results by accident, and of course buying very expensive NOS/NIB tubes. This is also all with budget cables which I hope to upgrade upon.
Islandear I am using a Sierra Audio K2 Preamp in my main system w/ the Wadia which is very revealing. I this morning added my second systems Bat Vk-3i to the Wadia just for kicks, & it still rivals the Wadia w/o a Pre-amp! And adds a nice amout of tube signature to the soundscape. Do NOT sell your Bat Vk-3i as there's lots of tube-rolling that can be done to take this under-appreciated pre-amp to an entirely higher level! IMHO
Thanks, Audiobugged, for your comments re the VK3i. If it's not used in my main system it'll go into my 'kitchen' rig. Yes, I've got NOS tubes in it and for the money it's a great performer. I'll be doing my critical research over the next couple of months and will keep everyone apprised of my findings. My thanks to everyone for their suggestions and insight, you guys make the process even more enjoyable!
Four sheets of nylon window screen stitched together, which also helps to damp a very live end room... All right, a fellow literalist!
Actually the system resides in an adjacent family room but the Vandys fire directly into the kitchen. We love to cook and we really love to listen to music while we are cooking or eating...like most of you.