Best Tube amp for ~1600$?

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mcrespo71

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #20 on: 6 Mar 2006, 04:05 am »
I will reiterate what others have said about going from SET to push pull.  I've never heard of anyone who did this and you better listen to push pull if you have a SET now.  How many watts does your amp have?

Mike D

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #21 on: 6 Mar 2006, 04:10 am »
Nope.  But a friend of mine has a pair of yummy Lowther speakers in a folded horn cabinet being powered by 8 watts per side DRD mono SETs.  I think they are 300Bs.  I noticed you like rock and big band music and are running silver cables.  SETs and big music generally are not very happy together.  My experience with silver has been to not use it.  I prefer a bigger, warmer sound as well.  8 years ago or so I ordered several interconnect cables from Jim Wang at Harmonic Tech.  The more expensive Pro Silway (silver) cables did not sound as good to me as the less expensive Truthlinks.  At the time, I was running Hales Revelation Three speakers (87db @2.3 ohms) and a Classe CA-300 (900 watts into 2 ohms or something rediculous).  The silver was just too hot and the bass seemed to dissapear.  Sure there was more information in the music, but it was just too bright and thin compaired to copper.

Mike D

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #22 on: 6 Mar 2006, 04:14 am »
Quote from: davejcb
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:



Dough!!!

Oh well.  I just emailed a couple friends and told them I may buy them if you sell them.  My game plan was to hide them until my wife's birthday and give them to her for our Klipsch system upstairs.   :lol:   That would have gone over like a terd in a punch bowl.

davejcb

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #23 on: 6 Mar 2006, 04:18 am »
Geez, I'm so confused right now!

My Decware amps (which have been gone for a year now, by the way) were 1.8W each bridged, so definitely not powerhouses.

On good recordings, the system sounded great with the Ack! dAck!, amps and speakers. But I always felt like I wanted more volume and more weight in the low end.

To be perfectly honest, I don't have the pickiest ears by any stretch of the imagination. I'll go listen to some push-pulls, and I suspect the extra power and low end will win me over, if it's got midrange and highs anywhere remotely close to what I had with the Decware amps.

I just want what the mids, highs and imaging/soundstage I had with the Decware amps, but with GUTS!  :mrgreen:

toxteth ogrady

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #24 on: 6 Mar 2006, 04:59 am »
My suggestion would be to snag the next Eastern Electric M520 to make its way on Audiogon. I picked one of these up 2 weeks ago for $1000 and everday I listen to it I feel like I robbed the gent who sold it to me. Astounding build quality, switch on the fly between pentode and ultra linear, remote control and sonically beautiful. The slighly forward punchy sound of pentode is to my ears more satisfying than SET's but I listen to music that boogies. I should also mention that tube rolling on the 520 is mandatory.

James Romeyn

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Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #25 on: 6 Mar 2006, 06:21 am »
http://www.pathosacoustics.com/indexeng.htm

The above $2300 MSRP "Classic One", 75WRMS @ 8-Ohms remote integrated Italian amp is everything Sam Tellig said it is.  I heard it & it's among the best I've auditioned.  Hybrid, 6922 inputs, one pair MOSFET outputs.  Icing on the cake is that it's a work of art to look at.  It's beauty makes the industrial design of most other components look like dirt.  Better in person vs. the picture.  No output tube heat & cost.  This amp's value can barely be calculated.  Sfile rated Class A; that's where I'd probably place it.  

My 2c, YMMV.

davejcb

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #26 on: 6 Mar 2006, 07:12 am »
Wow, that Eastern Electric looks promising. Only problem is how the hell you get to listen to one?

That Pathos Acoustics website is a nightmare, I can't figure out what the hell is going on in there!

James Romeyn

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Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #27 on: 6 Mar 2006, 07:39 am »
Click on the "Classic One" model.

nickspicks

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #28 on: 6 Mar 2006, 12:30 pm »
I'll throw in w/my default recomendation of the Manley Stingray, which is easily had in  your budget if you buy used.

its got way more low end than iv'e heard out of any other tube amp in this wattage, 40wpc.

I can't for the life of me understand why i'm the only one on this board who thinks that Manley products are hard to beat.  I never hear anyone talking about them.  the Stingray is right up so many peoples alley on this board.  i've had to make this same post at least a dozzen times in the last year.
 :?:

davejcb

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #29 on: 6 Mar 2006, 02:21 pm »
Lots of good suggestions guys, thank you.

I'll have to go to the local shop and see if any of them are there, otherwise go on reviews, I guess.

Other than mcrespo71, anyone else have experience with my speakers and any of these amps?

toxteth ogrady

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #30 on: 6 Mar 2006, 04:04 pm »
Nickpicks, I agree with you the Manley Stingray is an amazing amp. The Stingray is proof in da pudding that a well designed tube amp can sock you in the gut with bass. Unfortunately the sci fi movie gone bad looks of the Stingray will keep a few of us from owning them.

Another great recommendation with the Pathos... it's reputation is well deserved. I agree with ribbonspeakers that you really can't do much better unless you lay out a lot more cash, and even then the differences would be pretty subtle.

Bottomline is at your pricepoint and especially if you buy used, most amplifiers you try will sound pretty damn good, barring any system conflicts. And incidentally I'm not a decapo owner yet, but I will be soon thanks to a local audition. I'll let you know what I think if you're still in the market.

James Romeyn

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Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #31 on: 6 Mar 2006, 04:24 pm »
Dave
Just so you have a reference for my amp experience to put my Pathos Classic One recommendation in perspective.

Owned &/or have sampled extensively in my room or very familiar room:

Early VTL Compact 100W monos
Levinson No. 23, 1600WRMS @ 1-Ohm (impressive)
Sweet sweet sweet 8W custom SET 300B (best treble ever, absolutely haunting...)
Very sweet British 25W dual EL34 (current amp)
New Son of Ampzilla
Ampzilla monos
Original Classe 25W pure class A stereo (modern rendition of the original legendary Levinson that helped birth the high-end)
Above amps bridged 100W monos
Custom John Curl inventions
Custom chip based analog 25W stereo
Above amps 60W monos
$10k Plinius 250W Mk II
Bedini 25W
Bedini 45W
Moscode 300
John Iverson Eagle stereo
Eagle 400W monos
etc
etc

I only heard the $2300 Classic One in a store.  The room's L/W dimensions approaced square, causing resonance from the lower mid down.  There were several good treatments that made the range above that sound good.  

Source was the very nice Ayre CD/SACD.  Speakers were Monitor Audio, not the best in the world but pretty darn seamless & good musicality.  The Pathos amp has the musicality, dimensionality, palpability, texture, immediacy & illumination from within that tube lovers absolutely crave & must have.  Once you've become very familiar with that type performance it's hard to go back.  It appeared to have none of the negative qualities tubes are known for like thickening & rolloff at frequency extremes.  It probably does not have the haunting treble quality of my buddy's custom built 8W SET 300B, but probably nothing does except that type amp.  The rest of it sounded so good that I'd not miss the treble quality anyway.

Mike D

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #32 on: 6 Mar 2006, 04:26 pm »
I just saw a dead-sexy Stingray with gold highlights for sale.  

The big mono amps from Manley are quite ugly.  They look like 1970's Peavey PA system power amps.

WileyCoyote

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Tube amps
« Reply #33 on: 6 Mar 2006, 10:33 pm »
Hi,

   I had a VAC Avatar several years ago w/ de Capos.  Even used, probably closer to $2000 (standard version, not SE or Super).  However, it seemed like the Avatar in triode was built to work w/ Reference 3a speakers.  Excellent punch, great mids, more extended highs than less expensive tube amps.  Plus, the Avatar has a very good phono stage if you're into vinyl. However, it still isn't a SET.  Still sorry I sold that combo, haven't come up with anything else as good since.  

TLH

nickspicks

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #34 on: 7 Mar 2006, 12:05 pm »
I like the manley look, except the Neo's.  those are not pretty.
the stingray, I never thought of as futuristic, more like Harley Davidson-esque to my eyes.

davejcb

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #35 on: 7 Mar 2006, 01:16 pm »
I couldn't care less if it looked like a microwave, and long as it sounds good!  :lol:

The Manley looks awful good to me right now, I'm trying to hear one locally...

Thanks again, guys!

Bill Baker

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Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #36 on: 7 Mar 2006, 01:54 pm »
Quote
I like the manley look, except the Neo's. those are not pretty.


 Ouch, the Neo 300Bs are on my "have to have" list. If I ever picked up this line, those would be among the first products to come in. But hey, to each their own. Personally, I need a product to look good, or at least to my preferences, as well as sound good.

 
Quote
The Manley looks awful good to me right now, I'm trying to hear one locally...


 Excellent choice. I think you will pleasantly surprised!

ohenry

Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #37 on: 7 Mar 2006, 02:34 pm »
Electraprint has a pair of demo 300B DRD monoblocks selling for $1500.  That's a nice savings...

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

gpkoo

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Best Tube amp for ~1600$?
« Reply #38 on: 8 Mar 2006, 01:35 pm »
One more suggestion just to confuse things...

I have an Almarro A318B with my de Capo's. Had the A318A's and a Sonic Frontiers PP before that, and I think the A318B's are a big improvement.

Price is $1850 rrp I think. 18w SET and plenty of drive.

There's a review over at the positive feedback site if you're interested.