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Audio/Video Gear and Systems => Low Wattage Systems => Topic started by: isRelative on 29 Oct 2015, 07:30 am

Title: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: isRelative on 29 Oct 2015, 07:30 am
Hello AC'ers,

So once I sell everything I have, I believe I'll have ~$2,000 USD to purchase a small tube integrated amplifier and a pair of bookshelf speakers.  I'm thinking of going the low wattage route because a small footprint is something that I find important.  I'm not at a point in my life where I can settle down into a house and invest in end-game gear, but rather I'm moving to and from apartments and maybe even to and from cities in the next few years.

I've only owned push-pull tube amps (Onix SP3 mkII, HH Scott LK-72, Grant Fidelity RITA-880) so I'm not sure what to expect with SET tube amplification.

Also, I know it's hard to find smaller speakers that are efficient enough to be run on SET amps.  Do you have any suggestions within my budget? 

Cheers,
Brian
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: FullRangeMan on 29 Oct 2015, 07:50 am
I suggest a Decware Rachel stereo tube amp + a fullrange diy speaker as Alpair 12P, Visaton B200 or Nirvana Classic10CF.
You started in the right way.
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: JLM on 29 Oct 2015, 11:23 am
For a small footprint have you considered active monitors with a DAC/pre-amp/headphone amp?  Active speakers have great dynamics, flat frequency response, and unbelievably deep/full bass for their size.


DAC/pre/headphone amps:

HiFiman EF2A ($169 tiny with tubes); iFi Micro iTube & iDAC2 ($299 pre/headphone, $349 for the DAC, this is a very sweet and modular tiny little system); Emotiva DC-1 ($500 flexible, good sound quality includes remote but no tubes).


Monitors:

Adam 3AX ($650 with ribbon tweeter, desktop sized but can fill a room); Focal CMS 40 ($900 more bass, also desktop friendly); Event 20/20 BAS ($900, larger, deeper bass)
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: Nocturne79 on 29 Oct 2015, 01:08 pm
Hello I would recommend either omega speakers or decware speakers,  I have both and they are great speakers.  For Desktop I have the decware trapeziums and just love em.  great sound for use with my computer and at one time I had the mini torii running them with good results. 

Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: seikosha on 29 Oct 2015, 01:20 pm
I've heard quite a few low watt high efficiency speaker combinations.  A Decware SE84CKC and some Omega speakers fit in your range comfortably.  It's a potent combination.
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: smk on 29 Oct 2015, 04:14 pm
Check out The Horn Shoppe, too!
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: Vlad on 29 Oct 2015, 04:52 pm
I would check iFi Retro 50 system - it seems to fit the bill at $2,000. It is a push-pull tube amp.
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: mcgsxr on 29 Oct 2015, 04:53 pm
No doubt you will be looking for higher efficiency speakers.

Some excellent single driver suggestions already.

You might also consider the Zu Omen - http://hometheaterreview.com/zu-audio-omen-loudspeaker-reviewed/ (http://hometheaterreview.com/zu-audio-omen-loudspeaker-reviewed/), or some of the 3A De Capo's (used ones would fall inside your target budget) http://hometheaterreview.com/reference-3a-mm-decapo-i-speaker-reviewed/ (http://hometheaterreview.com/reference-3a-mm-decapo-i-speaker-reviewed/).

I have heard the older de Capo's (not BE tweeter, and not Nextel finish on the cabinets) and on a lower powered (under 8wpc) single ended amp they sounded very nice.
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: isRelative on 29 Oct 2015, 08:48 pm
What do you guys think of any of the various versions of the LS3/5A?  I know finding a pair for relatively cheap is going to be hard, but I can be patient lol
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: JLM on 29 Oct 2015, 10:23 pm
I don't think of them as being efficient enough for SET's (mine sounded great with 100 wpc).  I'd aim for 95 dB/w/m and above. Benign impedance curves can help, but expect an relatively anemic performance (poor dynamics/weak bass).  Realize that you can have efficiency, small size, or deep bass (but one of the three must be sacrificed).  The smartest one to give up on is the deep bass (can always add a sub later). 

I gave up years ago trying to find smaller/affordable speakers I liked to mate with SET's.  All lacked deep/full bass, most sounded thin, most had a very forward midrange.  But if forced to make a choice I'd probably go for the Decware SE84UFO ($995, 2 wpc, class A SET design, zero negative feedback, custom output transformer, 8"x6"x12", life time warrantee, hand built in the USA) and Omega Super 7 Monitor Mk 2 ($995/pair in laminate, 95 dB/w/m, 45 - 20,000 Hz, 8 ohms, 15"x9"x12.5", 7" extended range driver with whizzer, better meat on the bones than smaller extended range drivers, built in the USA, stands extra). 
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: parbaked on 29 Oct 2015, 10:30 pm
The iFi Retro is a good suggestion for a versatile system especially with the streaming capabilities.
For a traditional SET amp and  speakers I'd look at a a new AC member's amps: Tube Nirvana and Omega desktop or 3i speakers.
Tube Nirvana makes a nice looking $700 SET amp: http://www.tubenirvana.net/ray-charles.html
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: isRelative on 10 Nov 2015, 09:43 pm
I'm supposed to be picking up a pair of Omega Super 5 FF speakers this weekend.  They have the RS5 driver, which I think is an upgrade from the Hemp drivers?  I'm getting them for $250, good deal?
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: RDavidson on 10 Nov 2015, 09:47 pm
Yeah, $250 for those is a bargain, especially if they have the RS5 drivers.

I LOVE the speed and transparency of the RS5, but you might want to add a sub, depending on your room, the types of music you like, etc. With that said, I like the recommendation of the small Decware amp (just 3 tubes and they're not expensive like 300b's), but I'm not sure if it can be configured with a pre-out (to easily add a sub later). Something to consider.
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: isRelative on 10 Nov 2015, 10:04 pm
Yeah, $250 for those is a bargain, especially if they have the RS5 drivers.

I LOVE the speed and transparency of the RS5, but you might want to add a sub, depending on your room, the types of music you like, etc. With that said, I like the recommendation of the small Decware amp (just 3 tubes and they're not expensive like 300b's), but I'm not sure if it can be configured with a pre-out (to easily add a sub later). Something to consider.

I'm super excited to hear what the speakers have to offer, I know that I'll have to sacrifice some bass extension but I'm not sure what that'll sound like until I hear it.  I listen to mostly classic rock, indie rock, jazz, new wave, and some modern electronic / pop music.  I'm in a smaller room so hopefully it doesn't sound too thin :P
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: RDavidson on 10 Nov 2015, 10:25 pm
Yeah. It really depends and only you can decide. But at $250 you have a SOLID starting point. There's no way you could do better for $250 for truely high fidelity speakers.....unless you come across another set of Omegas for $249. :thumb:
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: FireGuy on 11 Nov 2015, 01:41 am
I'm supposed to be picking up a pair of Omega Super 5 FF speakers this weekend.  They have the RS5 driver, which I think is an upgrade from the Hemp drivers?  I'm getting them for $250, good deal?

Good deal?  It's a hell of deal.  If you don't buy them send me a PM and I will.  Having a 2nd pair is a no brainer.  They are steal at the Omega's level 1 pricing as it is, new.
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: rockadanny on 11 Nov 2015, 03:33 pm
Perhaps go active?

I did, and am glad for it. I purchased a pair of Adam F7 active monitors for my office and am extremely satisfied, even without a sub. Active (each driver separately powered internally) so no preamp, amp, or integrated necessary - talk about a "small" footprint.

Mine:

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=131612)

And these are selling well below your budget for a pair:

http://www.fullcompass.com/prod/223723-ADAM-Audio-F7?utm_source=googleps&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=googleps&gclid=CJCv5ffXiMkCFY0AaQodwGMKmw (http://www.fullcompass.com/prod/223723-ADAM-Audio-F7?utm_source=googleps&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=googleps&gclid=CJCv5ffXiMkCFY0AaQodwGMKmw)

Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: isRelative on 12 Nov 2015, 09:47 pm
Update!

Instead of going for a pair of Omega Super 5 FF speakers that were a couple of hours from me, I serendipitously found a pair of Omega Super 3XRS right here in my own city.  Still looking for a nice SET integrated, but I'm not discouraged yet!
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: isRelative on 13 Nov 2015, 03:18 am
Hey everyone,

Just got a pair of Omega Super 3XRS speakers with the RS5 Omegacone drivers.  Not sure how broken in they are, but they sound pretty nice so far :)  Running them with a 50 WPC TEAC A-H500 at the moment, still on the hunt for some tubey goodness :)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=131687)
Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: mlundy57 on 17 Nov 2015, 03:30 am
Yeah, $250 for those is a bargain, especially if they have the RS5 drivers.

I LOVE the speed and transparency of the RS5, but you might want to add a sub, depending on your room, the types of music you like, etc. With that said, I like the recommendation of the small Decware amp (just 3 tubes and they're not expensive like 300b's), but I'm not sure if it can be configured with a pre-out (to easily add a sub later). Something to consider.

I don't know how well it would work with a low powered amp, but if the sub has speaker level inputs you wouldn't need pre-outs. You could run a second pair of speaker wires from the amp to the sub.

This worked fine with my Jolida 801A but at 70 wpc, it's not low powered. Is it feasible with a 2 wpc amp?

If it won't work with a low power amp by itself, then the addition of a preamp or a buffer with pr-outs could be used.

Title: Re: Low Watt Tube Integrated + Bookshelf Speakers for ~$2,000?
Post by: Poultrygeist on 18 Nov 2015, 11:50 am
This Chinese company is also known for their quality transformers. You can probably save a couple of hundred on eBay over the Amazon price with a best offer bid.

http://www.amazon.com/Hi-End-RAPHAELITE-Amplifier-Permalloy-Transformer/dp/B009ZP8VHU/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1447846583&sr=8-6&keywords=raphaelite+sinovt+amplifier