You might as well start thinking about examples now...
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i think what you are describing is a situation where many audio enthusiasts have been willing to try high end ss gear over the years as it has improved and the demand for the tube amps is therefore generally much smaller than ss gear. but i do not think that a 'vacuum' exists for quality tube amps. it is a matter of economics. i fear you have opened a can of worms here tho, so i'll be watching this thread for entertainment ;). btw i am no expert on tube amps but from what i read on this site there are lots of superb tube amps being produced still if you got the bucks.
Yes there are about 2X's as many ss amps for sale vs tube.
Every yr you'll see that ratio increase, until, however there will eventually be a turning point as lately more tube amps are sold at retail level vs ss amps. There will be upgrades going on, as the asian makers come out with new models, and so you'll see more tubes on the market.
There's more folks switching from ss amps to tubes.
Alos look at the ad day average, more ss amps have a long ad history, tubes shorter as they sell faster.
jmho don't get all bent out of shape.
How about Vladimir Lamm's new SET the ML 3 which at 30 wpc has an MSRP of $126,200.
Debuts next month at CES at the Venetian hotel
Dear Friends and Associates,
LAMM INDUSTRIES, INC. announces the arrival of the long-awaited ML3 Signature power amplifier -- to be unveiled at CES 2007, Venetian Hotel, Tower Suite #34-309 (Las Vegas, NV). We welcome all to visit us there!
The text of the official press release follows; PDF version is attached.
December 26, 2006
The ML3 Signature Power Amplifier
LAMM INDUSTRIES, INC. is proud to introduce its crowning achievement, the ML3 Signature power amplifier. The ML3 is a single-ended amplifier with a separate power supply utilizing a very powerful direct-heated triode GM70 (plate dissipation 125W).
The ML3 continues the fine tradition that began with the Lamm ML2 single-ended amplifier, and takes it to unimagined heights of performance attainable only now.
The ML3, along with the renowned Model ML2.1 amplifier, is practically the only single-ended amplifier on the market capable of reproducing the entire range of audio frequencies. The ML3s midrange is beautifully rendered, along with a natural and extended bass, and unparalleled high frequency reproduction, up to now only available in our ML2, ML2.1, and ML3 models.
The ML3s innovative circuitry enables a recreation of the original spectral balance and harmonic structure of the recorded material without loosing a strand of low-level detail or nuance. Another unique aspect of the design enables the ML3 to recreate a three-dimensional soundstage without boundaries or limitations, while maintaining an extraordinary transparency of perceived sound. The ML3 truly demonstrates what a properly designed single-ended amplifier can do.
Technical Aspects in Brief
The ML3 is a 32 Watt, no overall feedback pure class-A single-ended amplifier. Its built on one of the most sophisticated power supplies ever used in audio, and its most prominent features are:
Separate plate and filament transformers
Six filter chokes
Six rectifier tubes
Highest quality film capacitors used in high-voltage power supply feeding the output stage
Refined soft-start and delay circuits
Option for turning the amp on/off controlled via Lamm preamplifiers
While the ML3 has no overall loop feedback, the amplifier features an option allowing the user to introduce small amounts of local feedback in the output stage. You can choose between two levels of feedback: NFB1 and NFB2, which differ in their levels. This allows for three feedback options: No feedback, NFB1 or NFB2.
A multi-turn trimming potentiometer, accessible through a special opening in the amplifiers chassis, along with a set of test points, allow the user to adjust and measure the plate current of the output tube via an external voltmeter.
Absolutely unique custom-made output transformers, along with our unique output stage and sophisticated power supply, allow the ML3 to drive most real-world speakers yielding tremendous sonic impact and stability under the most dynamic conditions. Although the ML3 can drive most speakers, their full potential is best realized with high-efficiency speakers of 92dB and higher.
The design goal of the ML3 was to use best modern technology and processes in a style reminiscent of equipment from the golden age of vacuum tubes. Each amplifier is carefully constructed and handcrafted of the finest materials and world-class parts, some of which include military-graded DALE metal film resistors, PRC wirewound resistors, CADDOCK power film resistors; BOURNS multi-turn potentiometers; CORNELL DUBILIER and UNITED CHEMI-CON electrolytic capacitors, ELECTROCUBE, ROEDERSTEIN and ELCON film capacitors; HAMMOND chokes; gold-plated NEUTRIC and FISCHER connectors; military-graded low-noise long-life vacuum tubes.
Special attention was given to designing the plate and filament transformers that have no mechanical contact with either the transformer cover or the chassis, and are suspended in a special encapsulant that almost completely absorbs even residual mechanical vibrations. This plays a significant role in assuring absolutely unique clarity and micro-resolution.
Four 6N30P-DR / 6H30П-ДP (cyrillic)
One GM70 / ГМ70 (cyrillic)
The ML3 is designed to function on AC line voltages throughout the world -- 100/120/220/230/240 V -- and can be internally adjusted without elaborate modifications.
Suggested retail price (preliminary): $126,290.00/pair
See you at the Venetian at CES, Suite 34-309!
About 6 years ago, I purchased an used Jolida 502a for $400 in the local paper. Today, it's about double that used!!!! I think tube amps are more popular today than 10 years ago, personally. I think people have discovered the benefits that tubes offer, and they like what they hear. I just think they tend to keep them longer, for the most part. But, what do I know...it's just an assumption
RE: The new Lamm amp.
I respect Lamm amplifiers, but repeat my dismay (as expressed in another thread) at what is, in the ML3, an example of outrageous excess and waste. That's enough money to buy a $30k tube amp, with $95k left over for good deeds. Just focusing on sound quality alone, no way is the premium justified compared to the sound one can get from a darTZeel or CAT's best amps (or Atma-Sphere's best amps, etc.) in the right system. One could hire a good chamber ensemble to perform every weekend for two years for that kind of jack. Only a true idiot would spend that kind of money on an amp.
" Just focusing on sound quality alone, no way is the premium justified compared to the sound one can get from a darTZeel or CAT's best amps (or Atma-Sphere's best amps, etc.) in the right system"
and what makes you so sure about that?
I would certainly put my Lamm ML 2.1's up against your aforementioned amps and test your comments
OBGYN: I am not certain what your point is, but if you are saying that your amps stack up against the amps I mentioned, we are in complete agreement -- your amps are superb. And that is my point -- anything more would be, in my opinion, grossly excessive given how good these amps are and given the other things that much money could be used for. Will the new, trillion dollar Lamm sound better? Sure. Of course it will. I am saying, however, that the $100k price differential is unjustifiable.