Best Tube amp for ~1600$?

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davejcb

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« on: 18 Feb 2005, 05:18 am »
Hi all!

I've just sold my Decware Zen Selects (monoblocked pair) because they just didn't have enough "oomph" for me with the Royal Masters. They sounded absolutely amazing, but just didn't have enough juice to give me the volume and low end I wanted on most recordings.

So... Time to start reading again. I'm leaning towards the Decware SE34I.2 integrated at 1525$, rated at 6 watts for => 8 ohms, so far I've read it would be a good jump in power and low end response. This is an EL34 tube amp.

This is pretty much the only amp I've considered so far, but wondering if anyone else has input. Budget is 1500$US, give or take a few hundred. I've read of the Art Audio, but the Carissa is too expensive. I've also read of the ASL amps, will go local to hear some but kind of skeptical of these.

Can anyone else recommend? I'm looking for that magical SET sound I had with the Decware, but with more guts and low end.

I also don't have a preamp, would like to stay without one, the Decware had built-in volume control, this is ideal to me, but would consider a preamp if necessary.

Thanks!

DARTH AUDIO

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #1 on: 18 Feb 2005, 01:09 pm »

Carlman

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #2 on: 18 Feb 2005, 01:25 pm »
I'd ask Bill O'Connell at Morningstar Audio when his integrated will be here.  I've been impressed with all of their gear and I know the integrated will be fantastic.

He sells an 8-watt tube amp with a lot of guts but it doesn't have a volume control.  The new integrated is something like 50 watts IIRC.

woodsyi

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Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #3 on: 18 Feb 2005, 03:00 pm »
Dave,

If you are leaving SETs to push-pulls, I would check with Bill at Response Audio for one of his signature Jolidas.  Whatever misgivings in QC you may have with ASLs and Jolidas, Bill's mods take care of that.  I just got my Hurricanes back from Bill with 1 year warranty on the mod.  They are breaking in (it will take forever at 4 hrs a night) but initial impression is fabulous.

dado5

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Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #4 on: 18 Feb 2005, 03:06 pm »
Just came across these a few minutes ago-

http://www.electra-print.com/electraamp.html

The EL84  is certainly in your range.

Rob

davejcb

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #5 on: 18 Feb 2005, 04:16 pm »
Thanks for all your responses! Has anyone actually heard any of these on Reference 3As?

Thanks!

Red Dragon Audio

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Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #6 on: 18 Feb 2005, 09:08 pm »
Von Gaylord Audio Starlett push-pull integrated.

I heard it two years ago in San Francisco (the S'phile show 2003).

It was driving their VON GAYLORD 2-way monitors...

I loved that room.  It was one of my standouts at the show that year.

I've seen them pop up on Audiogon for about $1400 used.  There aren't any that I can see there now  (Von Gaylord Audio aka Legend Audio)

sch

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #7 on: 18 Feb 2005, 09:25 pm »
I am very pleased with my ONIX Integrated H34:
http://www.av123.com/products_product.php?section=processors&product=13.1
At 45W/Channel, it has been juicy enough for not so easy to drive speakers...like the ONIX REF1s I have at the moment.
For US$1295 it is a very good deal IMO.
Happy hunting, BTW :)
Santiago

srclose

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #8 on: 18 Feb 2005, 09:31 pm »
I have the Dodd Audio monoblocks.  There is a lower powered stereo amp with 50W for $1300.  The website is doddaudio.biz, and Gary is very helpful.

beat

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #9 on: 18 Feb 2005, 11:43 pm »
I have a pair of 845 monoblocs from ming da that I think would fit your bill exactly. There is something about those big @$$ 845s that are in a different league than most supposed audiophool tubes when used SE. These are in your budget and will stand up to the art audio carissa in the big picture of punch and authority. However if you want an integrated, you can save some money if you stay with the ming da.. and they offer an 845 that is driven by a 300b rather than a 6sn7!!..I think these can be had for around 900 but you must pay shipping from china. The guy I dealt with and trust in is andy with username virrado at ebay. You might want to drop him a line. These are both units that bill at response used to carry (I think) I picked up a fine pair of ASL kt88 monos from audioasis that crank 25 watts or so in SE for under 1000 with volume pots on each. They were no slouch when paired with 95db 10" 3 ways..darn good bang for the buck!!

http://www.audiocostruzioni.com/r_s/ampli/amplificatori/Ming-da-845/ming-da-845.htm

http://www.mei-xing.com/doce/pro17.htm

davejcb

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #10 on: 6 Mar 2006, 02:14 am »
Bringing this back from the dead...

I've moved, ready to buy, spoke to Bill @ Response Audio, he recommends a Jolida SIG-3205, modified by him.

Anyone have thoughts on this amplifier? Seems like a very nice piece. This is going with the Royal Masters, and an Ack! dAck.

Thanks!

mcrespo71

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #11 on: 6 Mar 2006, 02:34 am »
Do you need an integrated?  Or is this Jolida an amp only?  I used to use VTL MB125 with my old MMDCI's and they worked great, but I'm not gonna say they were the only good thing with the 3a's.  In fact, I always thought the MMDCI's sounded best with SET amps.

davejcb

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #12 on: 6 Mar 2006, 02:39 am »
Don't need an integrated, but this Jolida is fairly cheap and seems to fit the bill.

I did love the SET sound of the Decware amps, but it just didn't have the guts to make me happy. Anything else in my price range that would have a bit more wattage than the Decware, and work well with the Reference 3A?

I'll look into the VTL, definitely. Is it safe to assume the rest of the VTL line is compatible?

doorman

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #13 on: 6 Mar 2006, 03:01 am »
The Decware SE34I.2 would sure get my vote. Handmade, lifetime guarantee, and 30 day return policy. The sonics ain't too shabby either! :nono:

davejcb

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #14 on: 6 Mar 2006, 03:09 am »
Have you tried it with these speakers?

Mike D

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #15 on: 6 Mar 2006, 03:52 am »
Rogue Audio amps can be switched between Triode mode and Ultralinear.  You may enjoy that feature since your ears are accustomed to an ultra clean signal.  Push-Pull offers more wattage, but it may take some getting used to depending on how picky your ears are.  Triode mode give you a very smooth presentation.  My M150 mono block Rogues sound quite different from triode to UL.  The UL mode is great for power, extension in bass and treble, and sound staging.  Triode is gorgeous for smaller ensemble music and vocals.  

I also have a JoLida 302a (upgraded coupling caps and added bypass caps) and have gotten to know the VTLs pretty well.  These amps will have plenty of power and bass for you to enjoy.  

Just make sure you give the push pull sound a listen before giving up SETs.  I've never heard of anyone going from SETs to push pull.

davejcb

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #16 on: 6 Mar 2006, 03:54 am »
Really... Good idea, I'll give a listen to some push-pulls at a local dealer.

Do any of the VTLs come with volume controls, so I can avoid a pre-amp?

mcrespo71

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #17 on: 6 Mar 2006, 03:57 am »
The VTL IT-85 is an integrated with 85 watts tetrode/45 watts triode.

Michael

Mike D

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #18 on: 6 Mar 2006, 04:00 am »
Dave

I just read up on your amps.  WOW!  Please PM me if you decide to sell them.  I may just buy them if the price is right.

davejcb

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #19 on: 6 Mar 2006, 04:01 am »
Looks nice, heard it? You had the VTL MB-125 and VTL pre-amp, right? The reviews on this say it's effectively a combined power amp and pre-amp, so it should be similar to what you had...

Sorry Mike, I sold them last year!  :lol: