My system consists of the following

Integrated Amp. - Hegel H160

Speakers – Fritz Carbon 7

Dac – Denafrips Venus II

Server- Innous Zenith MK3

Turntable – Rega RP8

Cartridge- Hana ML

Phono Pre – Icon Audio PS1 MKII

Power Conditioner – Puritan PSM156


I stream most of my music, listen to everything from 60’s rock to blues and Jazz.  My system as it currently exists sounds pretty good.  My wife thinks it sound great.  My main complaint with the existing system is it is still a little bright and I do experience some listener fatigue. 

I am considering another upgrade.  I have always had solid state integrated amplifiers. I am considering tube integrated amplifiers.  My budget is 7 to 10K.  If you have gone from SS to Tube, what did you buy?  What was the most striking difference out of the box and 300 hours in?  Did you keep the speakers you had?

I am not completely sure that a tube amp. is what my system needs.  I thought speakers could also make a difference.  So, I am considering adding Joseph Audio Pulsar 2 Graphene to my current system.  If anyone would like to give me their impression of them I would greatly appreciate it.  I have read that they pair well with Hegel Amps.   

I have had the Carbon7’s since 2013.  I like them a lot.  I had also purchased Fritz’s Carrera 7Be.  I sold them because I did not like beryllium tweeters, I thought I would, but I did not.  BTW Fritz is a class act.

Ag insider logo xs@2xjili12

My experience over the last fifty years has been a slow nearly inpercetible move towards tubes. First to an Audio Research tube preamp, then an Audio Research tubed phono stage, then ARC tubed amp… and finally an ARC tubed DAC.

Each step added musicality and better midrange bloom, lower noise floor, and absolutely no fatigue.

Of all the integrated amps I have heard, I like the ARC VSI 75 the most. To me it really captures the essence of what is beautiful about tubes. incredible mid range, well articulated bass. Would be a huge upgrade to your system.


I would recommend finding a dealer and listening to it. Worth a trip to a nearby city if one is not near.

You could look to swap to warm interconnects and cables… but give you have an opportunity for such a large upgrade… well you can’t do that with cables. Also, it sets the stage for future sound quality improvements to source components. There is a big difference between a $4K integrated amp and a $10K integrated amp. You should be able to trade in the Hegel.


Wives will frequently say they like the sound to discourage additional audio purchases. Females have much more sensitive hearing… if I thought my system was fatiguing (and I can’t tell you how intolerable that is to me) then your wife should be screaming in pain. My partner finally absolutely loved my system only when it became an all tube system. I would bring her along on auditions for her to inform me of high frequncy hash and distortion, just out of my hearing range that I would discover later.

My wife, a professional orchestra and chamber music player and singer much prefers tubes. Me too!

In my experience, the best way to tackle listener fatigue is to treat your listening room with a combination of absorption and diffusion panels. If done properly, you should never have to worry about brightness and/or listener fatigue again. I use GIK Acoustics.

@willgolf I have a Raven Osprey that I kept after the 45 day trial. I'm now lusting after the Reflection and have until May 23' to trade-in the Osprey for full credit.

Given your speakers I get why you went to mono blocks. I have Harbeth 30.2's with 3 REL Subs so the Relection will be a sufficient upgrade I think.

1. What were your impressions of the Reflection?

2. Did you get Raven Monoblocks and if yes, what Pre-Amp?

@jili12 I know zero about the rest of your gear but you can try some Raven gear like the Osprey (but not the Reflection which is $15K) for relatively low risk (7% and return shipping so maybe $500). 

I believe there is significant value for money with Raven as they sell direct only.

I have a Rogers High Fidelity KWM-88 Integrated Tube Amplifier. Like many here I espouse what I have. There is a mint one on ebay but a phone call will save you 13% eBay takes.

The PrimaLuna Amps are all they claim to be.

I had a Hegel H160 but it’s sound pusehed me into a PrimaLuna and that to a KWM-88 for more power with my not so efficient speakers.