Tube Amp Recommendations

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Kaiju2189

Tube Amp Recommendations
« on: 29 Jun 2022, 07:41 pm »
Hey all. I’m looking for some opinion/ advice on budget friendly tube amp pairings for a set of M3 Holograms. Quick break down of my current set up
11x19 room. Front wall diffusion and bass traps in the corners. First reflection absorbtion. Speakers are 4’ off the front wall and I sit about 6’ away. Blue sound node for streaming and DAC. Elekit 8500 tube pre and Amp Camp amp monos, 16ish watts

I would like to build out the Elekit TU8200 8 watt EL34 / KT88 tube amp but am not sure if it would have the current to drive the 3-4ohm load of the M3 holograms.
My other thought was the Willsenton R8 since I could pick it up via Amazon and utilize return period to see if it is a solid amp.

Please share any experience, opinions and thoughts. I appreciate hearing everyone’s feedback.

Scott

Tyson

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Re: Tube Amp Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: 29 Jun 2022, 08:17 pm »
Single ended amps are going to struggle a bit with a full range load that dips to 3 ohms.  Push-Pull amps are going to be a better match.  If you're looking for something specifically using pentodes (like the EL34/KT88), the Cary makes great amps using those tubes. 

If you want something a little off the beaten path, try an amp that uses EL84's instead.  They have less power than the pentodes, but should still be fine with the M3 Holograms. 

tull skull

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Re: Tube Amp Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: 29 Jun 2022, 09:56 pm »
I would like to hear your thoughts on the 8500. Thanks for your time.

Kaiju2189

Re: Tube Amp Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: 29 Jun 2022, 11:18 pm »
I very much like the TU 8500. It was a fun build. I built it after my amp camp amps and was glad I had practice soldering though. There are some parts that are a dense with small resistors.

It’s probably not the most tubey sound but I enjoy the bit of fullness it brings to a class A amp. The stock JJ 12AU7 tubes were fine but I added some new production Gold Lions and love it. For under $600 it would be tough to beat. I have run this set up on these Spatials and Klipsch RP5000f and it is dead quiet.

I don’t use the phono stage currently so I can’t speak to that but I did add Mundorf coupling caps. Those took some time to settle down but sound fantastic after 30-40 hours. I would recommend just installing nice coupling caps up front. I put mine in after a month or so which meant disassembling a good portion of the unit.

The only down side is the tubes are hidden in the chassis. I wish the stuck out just because it looks good. The 8500 is also single ended only.

motorcitym3

Re: Tube Amp Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: 29 Jun 2022, 11:34 pm »
Don Sachs Valhalla.  Pm if interested.

geerock

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Re: Tube Amp Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: 30 Jun 2022, 01:12 am »
Hey OP......
Sounds like motorcitym3 may have a Valhalla available.  It is a very very nice amp.  Plenty of juice for those speakers.  And sweet sounding.
I'd PM him to get the story.

geerock

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Re: Tube Amp Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: 30 Jun 2022, 01:13 am »
Hey OP......
Sounds like motorcitym3 may have a Valhalla available.  It is a very very nice amp.  Plenty of juice for those speakers.  And sweet sounding.
I'd PM him to get the story.

catluck

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Re: Tube Amp Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: 30 Jun 2022, 01:26 pm »
Kaiju,
Perhaps as important as "class" of amp is whether the amp has 4 ohm taps.  And, truth be told, sometimes impedance dips can seem worse than they are. For instance, upstairs I'm running tube amps with speaks (Merlins) with impedance dips down to about 3 ohms (don't know the phase angle).  So I initially tried the 4 ohm taps on my tube amps (Manley Neo-Classic 300B and Granite Audio 864 SR [KT-88]).  But, in operation, gain, soundstage, the whole presentation seemed "shrunken," less potent and, well, not as satisfying as usual. So I switched back to the 8 ohm taps and, voila! The presentation was significantly superior in every way.  Additionally, in feeling the transformers after an hour of operation they were no warmer than usual.  Thus, suggesting,  again, that you just have to try each variable in a system, even those counter-intuitive or seemingly contra-indicated, to determine what works for your system. Final example, downstairs (M3 Sapphires) I'm running 50 watt class A 845 monos off their 4 ohm taps and the system sounds F'ing splendiforous.  Can't ascertain any difference between the 4 ohm and 8 ohm taps so I run with 4 ohms to ease the amps' load. It's all magic.

tull skull

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Re: Tube Amp Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: 30 Jun 2022, 09:50 pm »
I very much like the TU 8500. It was a fun build. I built it after my amp camp amps and was glad I had practice soldering though. There are some parts that are a dense with small resistors.

It’s probably not the most tubey sound but I enjoy the bit of fullness it brings to a class A amp. The stock JJ 12AU7 tubes were fine but I added some new production Gold Lions and love it. For under $600 it would be tough to beat. I have run this set up on these Spatials and Klipsch RP5000f and it is dead quiet.

I don’t use the phono stage currently so I can’t speak to that but I did add Mundorf coupling caps. Those took some time to settle down but sound fantastic after 30-40 hours. I would recommend just installing nice coupling caps up front. I put mine in after a month or so which meant disassembling a good portion of the unit.

The only down side is the tubes are hidden in the chassis. I wish the stuck out just because it looks good. The 8500 is also single ended only.

Thanks so much Kaiju.Seems like a really good project and your feedback is right in line with others I've read.

Mr. Big

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Re: Tube Amp Recommendations
« Reply #9 on: 1 Jul 2022, 03:31 pm »
Kaiju,
Perhaps as important as "class" of amp is whether the amp has 4 ohm taps.  And, truth be told, sometimes impedance dips can seem worse than they are. For instance, upstairs I'm running tube amps with speaks (Merlins) with impedance dips down to about 3 ohms (don't know the phase angle).  So I initially tried the 4 ohm taps on my tube amps (Manley Neo-Classic 300B and Granite Audio 864 SR [KT-88]).  But, in operation, gain, soundstage, the whole presentation seemed "shrunken," less potent and, well, not as satisfying as usual. So I switched back to the 8 ohm taps and, voila! The presentation was significantly superior in every way.  Additionally, in feeling the transformers after an hour of operation they were no warmer than usual.  Thus, suggesting,  again, that you just have to try each variable in a system, even those counter-intuitive or seemingly contra-indicated, to determine what works for your system. Final example, downstairs (M3 Sapphires) I'm running 50 watt class A 845 monos off their 4 ohm taps and the system sounds F'ing splendiforous.  Can't ascertain any difference between the 4 ohm and 8 ohm taps so I run with 4 ohms to ease the amps' load. It's all magic.

Spot on!
When you have an amp that gives you the choice of 8ohm, 4ohm, and perhaps even 2ohm taps, like McIntosh, and many tube amps have by all means always try them no matter what the speakers say their nominal impedance is, I had Dynaudio Confidence 5's an 8-ohm speaker, I was speaking with the McIntosh rep one day and told him of my system and what speakers I was using, he said try the 4ohm tap, I said it is an 8ohm speaker, he said does not matter try it, and if 4ohm is better you will easily hear it. So I took his wise advice and tried the 4-ohm tape and the speaker reproduction just transformed, night and day, from top to bottom, things were more quite, dynamics, the bass now shook the room, mids had more body and the highs more detailed and solid sounding. That was one of my better sound systems in my 40 years in this hobby, did I buy new gear? Nope, just went from the 8ohm tap to the 4ohm tap.