New EL84 based amp

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Rocket_Ronny

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Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #40 on: 3 Feb 2020, 07:45 pm »
With the very narrow baffle of the ribbon section - 1.2 kHz up, it is one of the best imaging speakers I have heard, due to almost 0 refraction. Bass section could be better, but was good. Overall, I enjoyed them a lot and the el84 amp drove them well.

Rocket Ronny

Tyson

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #41 on: 3 Feb 2020, 08:05 pm »
What’s the expected hours on these tubes? 😀

Well the 6BL8 is certainly loafing along in this circuit so it should last a long time (thousands of hours).  If it doesn't, I'll report back.  I have my tube amps on pretty much 24/7 nowadays, especially early on during burn in process.

Tyson. What made you decide on that particular amp? Given your speakers, that amp configuration would be a good match.

I have owned a pp el84 amp and the sound was wonderful. It just did not image like a SET, or SE amp. Myself, I will try the Musical Paradise 501. While better than their 301, the 301 is no joke at all.
Rocket Ronny

I'd never heard/owned an EL84 and I wanted something that was a modern take on the circuit.  It was either this, or the fixed bias implementation that you can get from Dynakitparts.com.  I was leaning strongly toward the Dynakitsparts option but liked that the VTA ST35 used an unusual driver stage (the 6BL8).  So that was the main factor.  Plus I like that all the boards and bits are hidden away. 

PS your tube amps look very cool  :thumb:

Tyson, how much extra did the upgrades set you back?

Furutech IEC, Miflex Copper output caps, WBT RCA posts, ETI binding posts, premium input wiring... probably about $250 all together.

iowa

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Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #42 on: 3 Feb 2020, 08:12 pm »
What I thought of when I read this post.
You might be asking, "Did you replace the IEC with a pure copper, gold plated Furutech today?"  Why yes, yes I did.

You might also be asking "Did you replace those brass generic binding posts with pure copper ETI Research cable pods today?"  Why yes, yes I did:



You probably are asking, "Wait, are those pure copper Miflex caps on that board now?"  Why yes, yes they are.

And you might want to know "Hey, did you replace the output wire with OCC copper/teflon wire?"  Yep.

Finally, "Did you dump the stock EH EL84 and replace them with NOS Russian military tubes?"  Oh yeah.

Thanks for the info. This may be exactly what I have been looking for.

Tyson

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #43 on: 3 Feb 2020, 08:14 pm »
What I thought of when I read this post.

Stop making sense.

FullRangeMan

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Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #44 on: 3 Feb 2020, 08:42 pm »
Hm nice, thanks Ronny :thumb:

Tomy2Tone

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #45 on: 13 Feb 2020, 07:19 pm »
Tyson-

Any follow up thoughts on this amp after putting in new caps and wire?

Tyson

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #46 on: 13 Feb 2020, 07:36 pm »
Tyson-

Any follow up thoughts on this amp after putting in new caps and wire?

Absolutely.  A couple other changes.  When I put in the MiFlex caps, the leads got pretty long because the caps are so big, and they started picking up ground noise from the power supply wires running underneath the signal board.  So I had my tech tightly twist all wires coming to/from the power transformer.  The output transformers already had twisted wires so those were fine.

Also, when I put on the WBT RCA inputs, I had my tech remove the ground connection that tied them to the chassis and wired all signal ground to connect to a single point on the chassis.  He also had some super cool input wire that allowed us to run signal wire, chassis ground and signal ground all on different wires.  Normally I just use twisted pair for input wiring, but this amp has a very large amount of gain, so the wire he used is a better choice for keeping the input signal super clean. 

Before I put in the Miflex caps, the amp was actually pretty quiet.  But the Miflex caused the noise to increase due to their long leads.  After the additional changes above, it's even quieter now than when I first got it.  So I am VERY happy about that. 

It sounds so good, I can't seem to get the damn thing out of my system.  Yesterday I got some Sophia Princess 300b mesh plate tubes in the mail and I really should drop my 300b amp into my system & give them a listen.  But I just don't want to.  And I'm a huge SET fan. 

Oh, I did source some Tung Sol 6BL8s and Tung Sol EL84s from the 50's and 60's and they have certainly helped bring the sound up to the level it's at.   

Ah, one other thing - I think the amp runs a bit too hot with the cover on.  Just not quite enough ventilation, especially for those oil-filled Miflex caps.  I'm going to punch a couple more holes in the top near the EL84's to give them some more breathing room.

Does that help?

Tomy2Tone

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #47 on: 13 Feb 2020, 07:47 pm »
Sweet! Thank you for the update.

I was looking at the Tubes 4 hifi site the other day and noticed they're all sold out of these amps so word must be getting around.

Does it compare at all to your First Watt amp?

Tyson

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #48 on: 13 Feb 2020, 07:56 pm »
Sweet! Thank you for the update.

I was looking at the Tubes 4 hifi site the other day and noticed they're all sold out of these amps so word must be getting around.

Does it compare at all to your First Watt amp?

Yes word is getting around! 

Just from memory I'd say it's every bit as good as my hotrodded BA3 First Watt amp.  I really should pull the BA3 into the living room for some comparisons, but I'm just having too much fun listening w/the VTA ST35. 

I will also say this - I recently made some massive changes to the front end in my living room.  Buh-bye to the Chromecast Audio streamer and the iFi iOne DAC.  And hello to the Auralic Aries femto streamer and the new iFi Zen DAC.  To say it's a massive improvement is an understatement.  The cool thing is the amp is NOT a bottleneck at all, you hear these types of changes very clearly and the amp keeps up perfectly with it. 

Tomy2Tone

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #49 on: 13 Feb 2020, 08:03 pm »
Yes word is getting around! 

Just from memory I'd say it's every bit as good as my hotrodded BA3 First Watt amp.  I really should pull the BA3 into the living room for some comparisons, but I'm just having too much fun listening w/the VTA ST35. 

I will also say this - I recently made some massive changes to the front end in my living room.  Buh-bye to the Chromecast Audio streamer and the iFi iOne DAC.  And hello to the Auralic Aries femto streamer and the new iFi Zen DAC.  To say it's a massive improvement is an understatement.  The cool thing is the amp is NOT a bottleneck at all, you hear these types of changes very clearly and the amp keeps up perfectly with it.

Awesome, thanks again for the update!

mr_bill

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #50 on: 13 Feb 2020, 08:19 pm »
Yes word is getting around! 

Just from memory I'd say it's every bit as good as my hotrodded BA3 First Watt amp.  I really should pull the BA3 into the living room for some comparisons, but I'm just having too much fun listening w/the VTA ST35. 

I will also say this - I recently made some massive changes to the front end in my living room.  Buh-bye to the Chromecast Audio streamer and the iFi iOne DAC.  And hello to the Auralic Aries femto streamer and the new iFi Zen DAC.  To say it's a massive improvement is an understatement.  The cool thing is the amp is NOT a bottleneck at all, you hear these types of changes very clearly and the amp keeps up perfectly with it.

Tyson, great update.
The new iFi One Dac - that is in their lower range but sounds like it must be really good if you are using in your living room system?
Do you run the modded Klipsch Forte III's with this set up?

Tyson

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #51 on: 13 Feb 2020, 08:23 pm »
Tyson, great update.
The new iFi One Dac - that is in their lower range but sounds like it must be really good if you are using in your living room system?
Do you run the modded Klipsch Forte III's with this set up?

The iOne is not bad, but the new iFi Zen DAC is much better.  Which is not surprising since they brought on John Curl to design the analog stages.  Thorsten Loesch still does the digital design, of course (and he's a genius at it).  And I know I shouldn't care about looks that much, but the full-metal brushed aluminum design of the Zen DAC looks so much nicer than the iOne's partial plastic design.

Yep, running this with the modded Forte IIIs in the living room area. 

poseidonsvoice

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Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #52 on: 13 Feb 2020, 08:43 pm »
Tyson,

Looking good! One of my first loves was an Eico tube amp which was famous for the EL84 output tubes.

Have fun!

Best,
Anand.

mr_bill

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #53 on: 13 Feb 2020, 08:46 pm »
The iOne is not bad, but the new iFi Zen DAC is much better.  Which is not surprising since they brought on John Curl to design the analog stages.  Thorsten Loesch still does the digital design, of course (and he's a genius at it).  And I know I shouldn't care about looks that much, but the full-metal brushed aluminum design of the Zen DAC looks so much nicer than the iOne's partial plastic design.

Yep, running this with the modded Forte IIIs in the living room area.

My bad - I meant Zen!  Thanks Tyson for your comments.

Tyson

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #54 on: 13 Feb 2020, 08:49 pm »
Tyson,

Looking good! One of my first loves was an Eico tube amp which was famous for the EL84 output tubes.

Have fun!

Best,
Anand.

Thanks man!  After my love affair with SET amps, I never thought I'd find a push-pull amp that I enjoyed, but you are right, the EL84 is a very nice tube. 

Tyson

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #55 on: 13 Feb 2020, 08:50 pm »
My bad - I meant Zen!  Thanks Tyson for your comments.

For $130 delivered from Amazon, maybe the bargain of the century (so far).

mr_bill

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #56 on: 13 Feb 2020, 09:27 pm »
For $130 delivered from Amazon, maybe the bargain of the century (so far).

You had the iFi micro iDsd before if I remember correctly? so that would be a good comparison,

Tyson

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #57 on: 13 Feb 2020, 09:55 pm »
You had the iFi micro iDsd before if I remember correctly? so that would be a good comparison,

Better than the iDSD Micro silver and black both.  Those were both great, beautiful to listen to.  But the Zen DAC has a definitely step up in clarity and punch.  And never ever tips over to any type of cold or analytical sound.  Probably because those Bur Brown chips just sound less analytical than the more common ESS Sabre chips.

The Zen DAC keeps the nice tonality of the earlier iFi designs but adds quite a bit more control and jump factor.  It's really good.  The only downside, IMO, is it only has USB input.  I guess they did that to keep costs down.  But not an issue for most people I would imagine. 

FullRangeMan

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Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #58 on: 13 Feb 2020, 11:24 pm »
Came back to the EL84, I always wondered how EL84 compares to the 45 and 2A3 in SE use, any info on this subject ?

SET Man

Re: New EL84 based amp
« Reply #59 on: 14 Feb 2020, 03:30 am »
Absolutely.  A couple other changes.  When I put in the MiFlex caps, the leads got pretty long because the caps are so big, and they started picking up ground noise from the power supply wires running underneath the signal board.  So I had my tech tightly twist all wires coming to/from the power transformer.  The output transformers already had twisted wires so those were fine.

Also, when I put on the WBT RCA inputs, I had my tech remove the ground connection that tied them to the chassis and wired all signal ground to connect to a single point on the chassis.  He also had some super cool input wire that allowed us to run signal wire, chassis ground and signal ground all on different wires.  Normally I just use twisted pair for input wiring, but this amp has a very large amount of gain, so the wire he used is a better choice for keeping the input signal super clean. 

Before I put in the Miflex caps, the amp was actually pretty quiet.  But the Miflex caused the noise to increase due to their long leads.  After the additional changes above, it's even quieter now than when I first got it.  So I am VERY happy about that. 

It sounds so good, I can't seem to get the damn thing out of my system.  Yesterday I got some Sophia Princess 300b mesh plate tubes in the mail and I really should drop my 300b amp into my system & give them a listen.  But I just don't want to.  And I'm a huge SET fan. 

Oh, I did source some Tung Sol 6BL8s and Tung Sol EL84s from the 50's and 60's and they have certainly helped bring the sound up to the level it's at.   

Ah, one other thing - I think the amp runs a bit too hot with the cover on.  Just not quite enough ventilation, especially for those oil-filled Miflex caps.  I'm going to punch a couple more holes in the top near the EL84's to give them some more breathing room.

Does that help?

Hey!

   Yes, those Miflex caps sure have very long leads indeed, which I do like. Anyway, good to know you got the noise problem solved.

   Still, have you check the direction of those caps? I see in your pic that you have those caps with the line marked the outer foil toward the output tubes. This should be connected to the other way around and connected to the plate or the output of the driver tubes.

   I know these caps are non-polarized but it can make a big difference in some application. I have Jensen copper PIO aluminum case caps in my amps and I can hear the difference in hum... well, I installed one cap backward in one of my monoblock and I noticed that side was a bit noisier and picks up hum.

  Anyway, many people overlooked this. Some caps companies like Miflex went through trouble marking their caps and some don't.

Buddy