SET to Solid State

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doctorcilantro

SET to Solid State
« on: 4 Mar 2019, 12:12 pm »
Truth in Audio. I think that’s Tommy O’Brien’s (Digital Amplifier Company) Facebook group name. I haven’t yet spent much time there, but this phrase speaks to me as of late. Using speakers as a signpost, I’ve owned about 6 different hifi systems with varying stereo separates over the last 20 years. I’ve always been interested in vacuum tube technology, mainly because of my high-school crush on Lowrey organs that we used to “help” centenarians with. Our “help” consisted of removing these monstrosities from polite ladies living rooms, and promptly rocking out with them in a garage band. Occasionally we would sell an RCA 12AX7 to eat. I digress. So many of my hifi amps have been tube-based designs, all quite well designed, quiet and solid performers. Mainly, I felt they were fun, my buddies all love thier tube guitar amps, and the sound was rocking, so I retired my Sansui 9090 in a donation to a friend.

Other amps I've owned since then...Quicksilver monos, Cyber 211s, Sophia Electric, Decware Mini-Torii, Carver Sunfire preamp, to name a few that come to mind, and recently a fully tricked out Decware EL34 SET amp. I have not played with some esoteric and truly high end stuff,  but I’ve been to some of the big audio shows and luckily live near a few audiophiles with tricked out rigs. So I've slept around a bit.  The SET amp with the Zu Audio full rangers was a great SET sound. This was the longest system I owned and for good reason, is five years a longer term audiophile relationship?! I will not soon forget, lots of late night sessions with good friends, folks digging deep into the stacks. Recently, we had a mate’s KEF LS50 (Job 225 powered) here and really, they are quite stunning, that edge they bring, laser-like detail but really warm and listenable overall.

So, loved the SET amp, but I did have some small issues with DC current ghosting on the AC power at times. I mention the audio gremlins because these Golden Cherry monos are rock solid. Coming from the SET amp’s sonic signature I can find nothing to gripe about. I have new speakers, the PAP Horn, and while they aren’t overall over 100db/w I am guessing the horn is the most sensitive, and the black background remains even as your spouse watches you pop your head into it thinking “WTF here he goes again”. “Everything ok hon?” Obviously such performance is to be expected from this caliber of equipment, but as a lifelong tubehead, I always welcome the extreme SNR.

Have I finally arrived in the Class D future. Yes, as far as I’m concerned. What I am hearing is jaw dropping so far: lots of detail, SET richness, and no fatigue. Get Better Sound copy? Don’t need it anymore. Power cords? Don’t care. I am running direct XLR from a Vega G2 DAC whose signal is fully coupled to DC which works very well with the Tommy’s design; getting just amazing bass response out of these 15”. Truth in Audio indeed. These aren't going anywhere any time soon. Thanks Tommy.









timind

Re: SET to Solid State
« Reply #1 on: 4 Mar 2019, 01:13 pm »
Loved you write up Doc! Great sense of humor there. Are those new speakers you're talking about the Audio Project Speakers? 

I'm gonna have to try one of Tommy's amps.

doctorcilantro

Re: SET to Solid State
« Reply #2 on: 5 Mar 2019, 07:50 am »
Yes, I had the Zu Audio Union Cubes for about 5 years. 10" co-axial.

Open baffle sound in my treated room is amazing, the bass is huge without being boomy or flabby, pick your shitty bass adjective.

I've got the Heil driver as well for the PAP but I havben't tried it yet, loving what the horn is doing but may try some other main signal capacitors soon.

cheers,

AmpDesigner333

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Re: SET to Solid State
« Reply #3 on: 5 Mar 2019, 03:07 pm »
Truth in Audio. I think that’s Tommy O’Brien’s (Digital Amplifier Company) Facebook group name. I haven’t yet spent much time there, but this phrase speaks to me as of late. Using speakers as a signpost, I’ve owned about 6 different hifi systems with varying stereo separates over the last 20 years. I’ve always been interested in vacuum tube technology, mainly because of my high-school crush on Lowrey organs that we used to “help” centenarians with. Our “help” consisted of removing these monstrosities from polite ladies living rooms, and promptly rocking out with them in a garage band. Occasionally we would sell an RCA 12AX7 to eat. I digress. So many of my hifi amps have been tube-based designs, all quite well designed, quiet and solid performers. Mainly, I felt they were fun, my buddies all love thier tube guitar amps, and the sound was rocking, so I retired my Sansui 9090 in a donation to a friend.

Other amps I've owned since then...Quicksilver monos, Cyber 211s, Sophia Electric, Decware Mini-Torii, Carver Sunfire preamp, to name a few that come to mind, and recently a fully tricked out Decware EL34 SET amp. I have not played with some esoteric and truly high end stuff,  but I’ve been to some of the big audio shows and luckily live near a few audiophiles with tricked out rigs. So I've slept around a bit.  The SET amp with the Zu Audio full rangers was a great SET sound. This was the longest system I owned and for good reason, is five years a longer term audiophile relationship?! I will not soon forget, lots of late night sessions with good friends, folks digging deep into the stacks. Recently, we had a mate’s KEF LS50 (Job 225 powered) here and really, they are quite stunning, that edge they bring, laser-like detail but really warm and listenable overall.

So, loved the SET amp, but I did have some small issues with DC current ghosting on the AC power at times. I mention the audio gremlins because these Golden Cherry monos are rock solid. Coming from the SET amp’s sonic signature I can find nothing to gripe about. I have new speakers, the PAP Horn, and while they aren’t overall over 100db/w I am guessing the horn is the most sensitive, and the black background remains even as your spouse watches you pop your head into it thinking “WTF here he goes again”. “Everything ok hon?” Obviously such performance is to be expected from this caliber of equipment, but as a lifelong tubehead, I always welcome the extreme SNR.

Have I finally arrived in the Class D future. Yes, as far as I’m concerned. What I am hearing is jaw dropping so far: lots of detail, SET richness, and no fatigue. Get Better Sound copy? Don’t need it anymore. Power cords? Don’t care. I am running direct XLR from a Vega G2 DAC whose signal is fully coupled to DC which works very well with the Tommy’s design; getting just amazing bass response out of these 15”. Truth in Audio indeed. These aren't going anywhere any time soon. Thanks Tommy.



My pleasure!  Thanks so much for your write up (:

-Tommy O

Wind Chaser

Re: SET to Solid State
« Reply #4 on: 7 Mar 2019, 01:26 am »
Coming from the SET amp’s sonic signature I can find nothing to gripe about.

Have I finally arrived in the Class D future. Yes, as far as I’m concerned. What I am hearing is jaw dropping so far: lots of detail, SET richness, and no fatigue.

Indeed, SET amps are the Mount Everest of tube amplification. Once you've climbed to the top of tube mountain you'd hardly suspect there's anything else worthy of consideration, least of all something solid state - never mind Class D.   :o :o

No doubt that is a bridge too far for some, but for those who dare, once they get over the shock and awe  :o :o it's all smiles.  :D :D :D :D


smargo

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Re: SET to Solid State
« Reply #5 on: 7 Mar 2019, 03:15 am »
much to my chagrin - i have to agree about at least the stereo maraschino - that it is fulfilling in a lot of ways that i couldnt get from other amps - tube and solid state

every time i come back to it - im amazed at the speed and richness

sumoking

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Re: SET to Solid State
« Reply #6 on: 9 Mar 2019, 06:04 pm »
Couldn’t agree more. I’m thrilled with my King Cherry Mono Blocks .
Said goodbye To my custom  Set tube amp that was my darling.
The future is Class D done right and the future is here .