Tube Integrated Advice

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jlafrenz

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Tube Integrated Advice
« on: 12 Feb 2011, 02:56 pm »
I have recently decided that I want a little more power for my 2 channel setup and want to replace my current integrated unit. I am currently running the JoLida FX10. I have been pleased with it and the sound, but feel like its time for a little upgrade. There have been a few different amps I have been looking at, some of which I know very little about. I am hoping that I can get some feedback on the list below. I am also hoping that I can get some opinions on fully tubed integrated vs. a hybrid setup.

JoLida
Vincent
Van Alstine
Vista Audio
Jasmine
Grant Fidelity
Dared
Antique Sound Labs

I haven't listed specific models because I am looking at a couple of models from these manufacturers so general observations are OK. I will say that most of the models I am looking for are in the 25W (tubed) to 100W (hybrid) range. I don't want to get to pricey for my budget and will likely try and purchase used. Thanks for any advice.

roscoeiii

Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #1 on: 12 Feb 2011, 03:23 pm »
Can you give us an idea of what that budget is? And what types of improvements are you most hoping for? Where is your current amp coming up short? What type of music do you listen to? How Loud? What size room? And paired with what speakers?

jlafrenz

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Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #2 on: 12 Feb 2011, 04:55 pm »
Budget is sub 1k and it seems like I might be able to find some of this gear can be found around the $800 mark.

The reason I have been looking into a new amp is that I recently hooked up another integrated and noticed some more punch and a bit better bass. It fell short in other areas so the search continues. I really like my JoLida, but want to explore other options. I listen to rock, folk, acoustic, and other mixed varities of music. Currently I have Aurum Cantus monitors. The kicker is that I have been looking at Magnepan MMG's. Those are just a thought at this point though.

roscoeiii

Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #3 on: 12 Feb 2011, 04:58 pm »
If you are considering new speakers, I would hold off on amplification. Choosing equipment, I would choose speakers first and then find the best amp match for those speakers.

rpf

Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #4 on: 12 Feb 2011, 05:08 pm »
Hybrid amps tend to lean to the SS side sound wise.

I'd recommend the 55 wpc Rogue Cronus (which I own). You should easily be able to pick one up used for $900.

jlafrenz

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Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #5 on: 12 Feb 2011, 05:59 pm »
If you are considering new speakers, I would hold off on amplification. Choosing equipment, I would choose speakers first and then find the best amp match for those speakers.

I was thinking about holding off and I still may because of the speaker situation. I know it may be a long shot, but hoped I could find something that would work for both. I realize that there needs to be some synergy and if I do make a speaker change, I could always make an amp change. It gives me the opportunity to try out new gear anyway. If I find an amp I like I will be happy with my current speakers.

jlafrenz

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Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #6 on: 14 Feb 2011, 02:24 pm »
I have also added Rouge Audio to the list.

Anyone else care to share their thoughts?

Sam-fi

Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #7 on: 14 Feb 2011, 03:37 pm »
Look no further than

Rogue
PrimaLuna
Jolida

 8)

Sam

jlafrenz

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Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #8 on: 14 Feb 2011, 04:21 pm »
Look no further than

Rogue
PrimaLuna
Jolida

 8)

Sam

Any thoughts on the Jolida vs. Rogue. Those seem to be the 2 that I keep coming back to.

Sam-fi

Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #9 on: 14 Feb 2011, 05:32 pm »
I currently have a Rogue Cronus in my system with all stock tubes/components that I compared in my system to a Jolida 302 with stock tubes.

They are quite similar but in my system the Rogue was a cut above the Jolida. The Jolida was great - warm, punchy and I loved the way the vocals were presented. Overall I would give it 7/10, timbres were presented well and the highs were extended. Things seemed quite warm and forward - very involving.

The Rogue on the otherhand. Punched like only what I have heard from ss amps! Snares and drums were presented better than I have ever heard! Snares snapped and the bass thumped and manged to stand out more in the mix. This was assisted by the greater transparency in the Rogue. Also the stage seemed to have less "stuff" between performers - quieter background maybe. The bass was significantly better than the Jolida - not that the Jolida lacked bass - rather the Rogue does bass extremely well. It was cleaner and heftier than the Jolida.
The overall presentation is a little more laid back - the Jolida I would call forward the Rogue I would call neutral with just a little forwardness.
The midrange seemed more liquid. I have not heard a set amp yet but I imagine the finese I hear in the Rogue is what many strive for in Set amps. Perhaps a set amp does this but a lot more? Either way it has a tremendous midrange.
Sam

jlafrenz

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Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #10 on: 14 Feb 2011, 08:20 pm »
Thanks! This is some good info and exactly what I was looking for. It looks like both units would suit me well, especially with some tube rolling. The Rogue looks like it would be the way to go and has the added benefit of the phono stage (which I am also in need of). Now I just need to find a good deal on the used market.

Sam-fi

Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #11 on: 14 Feb 2011, 08:42 pm »
I am going to go ahead and give one more comment. To give credit to the Jolida, even though the Rogue outclasses it in nearly every audiophile aspect I would like to say that the Jolida was equivalent in one important aspect. The musicality. How am I defining it here... The ability for the music to be presented in such a way that it makes "sense". To get the feeling, purpose, and surrounding aspects of the music. If the music is meant to groove and yet have a miles davis kind of cool aspect - a systems ability to convey these things is what I refer to as musicality. I think many amps don't do this well. I would rate both these amps an 9/10 as far as that goes. Both are very musical amps and provide great enjoyment in this very important aspect.  That is why I recommended both to you.

Sam

morganc

Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #12 on: 14 Feb 2011, 09:00 pm »

jlafrenz

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Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #13 on: 14 Feb 2011, 09:12 pm »
I know exactly what you are saying. I have a little JoLida right now and it does provide me with that musical feeling. If a great deal on a JoLida, I'm not saying I would pass it up. Just looking at it though, by the time I add a phono stage to the JoLida, it may be more costly than the Rogue.

morganc

Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #14 on: 14 Feb 2011, 09:23 pm »
Here is another one that is quite good for the price and within your budget:
http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?intatube&1301875792&/Melody-H2A-2A3-push-pull-

I actually used to own this one and for the price again it is a great bargain.  Very musical. 

Zero

Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #15 on: 14 Feb 2011, 09:25 pm »
I don't mean to throw a sudden curve ball into the mix, but having already owned the Rogue Cronus, Prima Luna Prologue 1 and 2, and the  Jolida JD-302 (along with a few of their hybrids), I'd highly encourage you to take a glance at the Vista Audio i34. It's not much to look at, but it's performance more than makes up for it to my ears.  While the aforementioned pieces are all great in their own regards, I just find the Vista Audio i34 to be more of a well rounded performer, with no real gaping holes in its presentation to speak of.  It's linear in all the ways a good tube amp should be, is as musical as one would expect from glowing glass, and moreover, it's performance is pretty darned consistent across a WIDE array of loudspeakers. 

Dunno, just thought I'd mention it!

jlafrenz

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Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #16 on: 14 Feb 2011, 09:53 pm »
Well I haven't purchased anything yet so I will certainly give it a look.

Anything specific you can compare between it and the Rogue or JoLida?

jlafrenz

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Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #17 on: 15 Feb 2011, 07:51 pm »
Now to throw my own wrench into the plans. Since the thought of MMG's have crossed my mind, I contacted a dealer who has been selling them for over 20 year and rebuilds his own tube gear. I asked him what he recommended. He said Cayin and that he was currently running his off of a rebuilt Dynaco. When he asked me what I was looking at I told him the Rogue and JoLida. His feelings were that the JoLida was better built and that the Rogue had a sub-par build quality inside the unit based on the last one he had rebuilt. He did admit that he was not familiar with the Cronus and the last unit he rebuilt was about 4 years ago so things may have changed. Does anyone care to comment?

roscoeiii

Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #18 on: 15 Feb 2011, 07:58 pm »
If he recommends a rebuilt Dynaco, check out some of the Van Alstine tube gear. My understanding is that he works extensively with the Dynaco designs.

Sam-fi

Re: Tube Integrated Advice
« Reply #19 on: 15 Feb 2011, 08:53 pm »
This is the internet audiophile dilemma. You are constantly bombarded by conflicting view points and you never get anything accomplished or completed and opinions fly everywhere and you only get frustrated.

Dynaco makes a quality amp - I am not aware of any of their integrated models. I do know that many of their amps are decades old and refurbished and this ads cost - all my friends who have had a Dynaco have moved on to something else. It would probably be a good start until you start to learn what your preferences are.
I suppose a dynaco is a good start because they tend to hold their resale value if they are treated well. All you lose out on is shipping and pp charges. This is the way to find out a lot of your preferences.

PM me I would like to know more about your experience in audio.

Sam

Ps. Rogue has great build quality.