With the efficiency at 93db you don't need a lot of watts
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Right. I got 92dB but whatever, point is you will be fine with a handful of watts. No need to go used. Raven Nighthawk will do you just fine. https://www.ravenaudio.com/product/nighthawk-mk3-tube-amplifier/ Totally the high value/high sound quality way to go.
The Ref 110 is a superb tube amp and a bargain for what they go for used. I saw o Hifishark that one just sold for $3200. I have had no trouble with mine since I purchased it. And I have no real desire to upgrade at this point.
IMHO 100 watts is the sweet spot for tube amps. My speakers are 92db and the Ref 110 is an excellent match. You want a bit of headroom. I tried a Ref 75 and in my system the sound was not as open. I found over time that I much prefer tube amps with 4 output tubes per channel. They don't tend to sound thin at times like some amps. My old V70 was the same way.
Miller Carbon. It seems the less expensive are integrated. I'm looking for just a power amplifier, and it needs to be balanced out. The only thing holding me back on the Ref110 is no protection for the tubes. I've read that if you loose a tube it usually takes out a resistor. Any thoughts on the Prima Luna Evo 400?
If you have a bad tube failure it can take out a resistor. The resistor is for protection of the amp. It is very simple to replace. When I had a resistor blow, my ARC dealer fixed it for me at no charge. If need be I could have done it myself. I think it has happened to me twice in 30 years. Use good quality hand matched tubes from a reputable dealer. I use Jim McShane. He burns the tubes in a bit before matching them just like ARC. But he is much less expensive.
"...To Russ69, please take my apologies. I believe you were trying to be humourous..."
Thanks, no problem. I was shocked as hell when the General Electric Triton dish washer was the first thing Google grabbed. Us older (maybe I should say vintage) guys grew up with GE everything and GE commercials on the TV on all the prime time TV shows. I still fight to not say Victrola instead of record player. (Not really but my Grandad had one). The Edison cylinder player was up in the attic by that time...
Thanks Russ69. That's kinda what I was thinking about different sound. That's why I went with the Audio Mirror. This is my first tube set. I started speakers first, preamp second, dac next now amp. I have always ran SS. Starting in '77' with my Sansui 9090. Lots of info on tube sounds with the Prima Luna.
I would also consider Atmasphere amps.
A quick check showed the ARC amps you are looking at are near $10K.
Considering your speakers are so efficient, I bet you'd get away with a lower powered amp.
I own Atma MA-1's and they drive my slightly less efficient Vandy Treo's with ease.
And, dealing with Ralph Karsten is always pleasant. If you are interested, call him, he might have a demo available for a very reasonable price.
I have a conrad johnson mv55 and it sounds amazing. It doesn't have balanced inputs, but that wasn't important to me and they can be had for about 1400 bucks. I build my own tube amps as well, but when I heard the mv55 I knew that I REALLY had to step up my diy game...lol
Its a good sounding amp playing through 94db speakers (audio nirvana super alnico 15" full range drivers in a ported bass reflex cabinet about as big as I am) and I never have to go past the 9 o'clock position on my preamp volume knob. Plenty of head room with enough to spare. I will never get rid of this amp. I absolutely love it.
The PL Evo 400 is a wonderful amp. I’ve heard it a few times and it’s extremely impressive. It’s also a real bargain for the price. I wouldn’t think twice about getting one if I didn’t already have McIntosh gear. Speaking of which, I have the MC275 which is just excellent and you can get a used one in the 4s. It’s a lot of power for a tube, but the downside is that you’re limited to just KT88s unlike the PL Evo 400.
your speakers have the tremendous advantage of having built-in subs with their own amps built in.
According to Raven (millercarbon’s recommendation), discussing their built-in high-pass crossover, bass averages 65% of program content.
That means you can drive your speakers, already high efficiency, with much less power than others.
that’s a nice position to be in, especially when considering tubes.
The range of recommendations vary widely in how they sound. Have you heard many tube amps and can you describe what appeals to you? Both tube type and individual design matter. The difference between great OTL, and different pull pull tube type amps is like comparing a great sports car to a great SUV to a great sedan. All can be great, but which are you looking for?
Personally, I love the sound of Atma-Sphere OTLs and the M60s would be a great value and plenty for your speakers. Speedy, airy and spacious with beautiful natural tone.
BAT 6C33C designs are proven, evolved and convenient w/auto-biasing. Ballsy bottom end and a slightly darker tonal balance.
If you are inclined to stick with ARC, I've heard comments from a famous speaker designer about how much better the KT150 is vs. the KT120. Lots has been written on this topic and I'd suggest sticking w/the KT150-based designs if ARC is your cup of tea. IMHE, many ARC power amp owners end up dissatisfied after large investments and move sideways cost-wise to other options that make them happier. ARC built their rep on their preamps for good reason.
Quicksilver may not look the sexiest, but their owners satisfaction and their longstanding reliability are worth noting. Cheers,
He is correct. Different topologies will give you a different sound. You should really listen to some different tube amps before making a decision.
ARC sounds somewhat cold to my ears, whereas CJ sounds warmer. Mcintosh will sound different still. It all comes down to what you expect a tube amp to sound like and picking one that meets those expectations.
Maybe save up and go to the RMAF or one of the other audio shows. That way you can audition plenty of amps in one place and make an informed decision as to what sounds best to you.
Lot's of great suggestions and recommendations. Really appreciate the information. Since I live in Colorado, I might wait for RMAF. I hate to wait. I am kinda leaning towards the Prima Luna 400. Like the analogy on the cars I'm a sedan. But I want to tinker with my ride. Lots of options for tubes to get a different sound. Thanks again everyone.
Sandy from GoldenEar uses Primaluna amps. That would be a great place to start and possibly finish. You can find great deals on used Dialogue Premium amps. That’s what I would be shopping for as my first tube amp. My first tube amp was a used Primaluna Dialogue One. Loved it and sold it three years later for almost what I paid for it. Haven’t really gone back to solid state since.
point to point wired and likely one of the most reliable tube amps out there. Ive been using a low powered iteration for years , never a hiccup. In your price range and new of course and the reputation of Decware .
Ayon is a great 1st tube integrated for a couple reasons
it’s the Only microprocessor controlled amp that you calibrate by pushing a button it monitors each tube, and it s not a cheap auto bias system where a resistive network averages voltage and aging to all tubes , Ayons patented system literally adjusts each tube to be at its optimum, and if a tube does blow
no big surge to take a a transformer or circuit ,it just goesinto stand by
and a led light will tell you what tube is bad ,shut down wait 15 minutes
put in new tube hold bias button for 30 seconds it takes a few minutes to calibrate then your back up and running ,also a transformer kand chokes is the heart of a vacuum tube amp,preamp, Ayon uses world class Lundahl chokes and transformers , I know of No other company in the $5k range that uses chokes and transformers of this quality. I have owned 2 of these with -0:issues.
Good choice on the PL. Will be interesting to hear your thoughts. I think PL can be the tube gateway drug. At least it was for me. My tube journey started with PL then to a Line Magnetic LM508 and now with a Canary M90. Also tried amps from Odyssey, Peachtree, Van Alstine, PS Audio, Linear Tube Audio, and a small tube integrated from Tektron along the way. All good, and sometimes great, but I'm considering going back to a PL Evo300 amp. Before I do I have a used Mastersound EL-34 integrated on the way that I want to use while my preamp gets serviced. I've also been wanting to check out Mastersound so this will be a good time to do it. It might end up staying in my main system or office. However, my wife keeps telling me her favorite overall was the Primaluna, and she has better hearing than me. I also thought I could live with that amp forever and be happy. For some reason, while other amps have sounded better in some ways, none have given me the enjoyment that my PL did. Maybe it was because it was my first tube amp and my "benchmark," so in the end I may end up pretty much back where I started.
Yeah I'm not going to chase a bunch of different amps. I'm no audiophile in any sense. I just like great sound. I'm not needing to hear the breath between words or the sound of every pick on the guitar string. I do like good bass. That's why I bought the Golden Ears. The ARC puts out good bass also. I just want an Amp that is easy to use. This seems to fit the bill. No guess work and it's not that expensive. Plus I know where the seller is.
I had ARC gear, including the Ref 40th and then the ARC Ref. 10. About 4 years ago I started switching to Octave. First the MRE 220 Monos and then the Jubilee preamp.
Octave amps with the additional capacitance provided by the Super Black Box ("SBB") will drive any speaker, irrespective of the load challenges. More importantly, Octave gear represents the best of both design worlds: the transient speed, inner detail and punch of solid state and the bloom, realism and atmosphere that only valves can produce.
There RE 320 is an incredible stereo amp and only requires a single SBB. It will amaze. One of the members in our local audio club has one and it is the envy of our group.
I haven't heard one myself but have a good friend that says the REF75 is a very special amp, Read all the reviews and you will find how amazed people are of the output and sound from that amp. Now with the REF80 out, maybe prices will fall below $5k. They seem to go for around $5500. My friend is driving the Wilson Sophias which are 89db and he says the REF75 is more than they need. You can't go wrong with more power than you need. From the reviews it really seems ARC nailed the design so you may want to stretch your budget a bit and check it out.
That's a bummer. Wonder if damaged in transit somehow. Hope that gets resolved because I think you'd be very happy with the sound. I did just read that Primaluna is planning on some reference line products. Looking forward to hearing more details, but I'm guessing it may be a while because I think the pandemic has created some component supply and assembly issues.