Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....

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Dmason

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Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....
« Reply #40 on: 6 May 2005, 11:51 pm »
I still would be interested in hearing about how Albert's pre amp might sound; the original ClariT is NO slouch, that's fo shoo. Failing that, I would like to perhaps try it with my conventional source. Who knows. I think Mttbsh pulled his out, after awhile. Found it in the way.

JLM

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Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....
« Reply #41 on: 7 May 2005, 02:13 pm »
Elsewhere at AC is a thread that is discussing similar issues.

There I recently suggested that a stand alone stereo tube output stage with adjustable output level may be the answer.  It would become a cathode follower when added to any line level source.  Installed between player/DAC and the Clari-T it would take care of any impedance mismatches and replace the Clari-T volume control.  For $400 (plus two more sets of interconnects) Decware has just such a beast:

http://www.decware.com/newsite/zbox.htm

Steve Deckert runs a small shop in Peoria, IL and hand builds quality stuff.  Steve is an easy going guy, but be aware that he has little use for solid state.

-Richard-

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« Reply #42 on: 7 May 2005, 06:17 pm »
Hi JLM,

Nice discovery here...I looked at the site...thanks
so much for the link...and read the copy...and I
think you are right!...this looks like an excellent piece
of equipment that could be a perfect go between
from the CD/dac to a stand-alone amp...if impedance
issues are keeping things from working properly...

I wonder if Steve has created a new kind of preamp...
this should fit Dan's idea of less-is-more very nicely...

I am very tempted to get it and see what it could do
for my own set up...however I suspect now...after thinking
about it...that my pentoid amp with its 12AX7 type output tubes
made by JJ/Tesla may be doing exactly that for the sound
I am hearing...of course I am guessing...something I should
not do given my limited knowledge about such things...

I am working with Vinnie on an upgrade of the ClariT
based on Dan's own evolving iterations..and this may
become an important part of the equation...

Again, thanks JLM, I have definitely placed that product
on my list to explore more deeply in the near future
thanks to you...

Warm regards -Richard-

Tralfaz

Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....
« Reply #43 on: 7 May 2005, 11:18 pm »
Hi Richard

I read your post on the "tweeter" forum and figured this is the best place to reply.

I'm currently using a Fi X 2A3 (configured as an integrated amp with 3 inputs and a volume control but using it as a power amp only) with the Magnaquest upgraded output transformers to drive my Super 3Rs with Louis's tweeters and a REL Storm III subwoofer.  I don't have any experience with the Fi 2A3 Stereo or Mono amps.

Yes, there is a vestigal hum even with the upgraded transformers, but it's only really apparent when there's no signal.  When music is playing it's inaudible.

I find it to be the best SET I've had in my system by a mile.  I've had a BEZ T3B amp (a Chinese-made 300B stereo amp) as well as the Almarro A205-A (which I really liked).  While the Fi had the lowest rated power (3.5 W/ch) it sounds the most powerful.  It's more extended at the frequency extremes and projects a bigger, better soundstage from the speakers.  It is unfazed by the 92dB sensitivity of the 3Rs, at least in my smallish room (12" x 17" or so).

The other thing I like about the Fi is having the ability to drop in 45 output tubes.  You lose some output (it puts out approximately 2 W/ch) but I like the fact that I can experiment.  I tried some old Sylvania 45s in the amp and really liked what I heard.  With either tube (2A3 or 45) the sound is dynamic while maintaining the wholeness of the sound.

Finally, for grins I tried my EAR 509 IIs on the 3Rs.  They are 100 W mono tube amps.  It was nice, but with the Omega speakers I prefer the Fi.  The sound and music was more "alive", if that makes sense.

I find it interesting that you use the Clari-T, as I'm planning on trying one in the future, probably after I sell one or 2 of my other amps...  It seems to have almost perfect synergy with high-efficiency, single-driver speakers.

I hope this helps.

Tralfaz

JeffB

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« Reply #44 on: 7 May 2005, 11:32 pm »
I have read about the Zbox on the Decware site.  I get the feeling that you really need the Zbox and a preamp to get the ideal sound.  I have a lot of trouble discerning what exactly the difference between the Zbox and a pre-amp is, but Steve seems to state that the Zbox is there to improve the sound of the source.  He never mentions it as a pre-amp replacement.

GHM

Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....
« Reply #45 on: 7 May 2005, 11:55 pm »
I'm guessing the Zbox is a tubed buffer stage. Basically designed to increase the mA output of the cd player or electrical pressure. Just a guess though :?: . This should tighten the bass and make the sound more dynamic.

Dmason

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« Reply #46 on: 8 May 2005, 12:47 am »
It's a tube buffer, summed thru one tube. It is not a revolutionary design. Musical Fidelity has one as well.

Looks nice, but maybe an active pre amp is ultimately more effective. I like the ZBox tho, and it should be interesting to see how it shakes out.

doug s.

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Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....
« Reply #47 on: 8 May 2005, 01:50 am »
Quote from: JLM
Elsewhere at AC is a thread that is discussing similar issues.

There I recently suggested that a stand alone stereo tube output stage with adjustable output level may be the answer.  It would become a cathode follower when added to any line level source.  Installed between player/DAC and the Clari-T it would take care of any impedance mismatches and replace the Clari-T volume control.  For $400 (plus two more sets of interconnects) Decware has just such a beast:

http://www.decware.com/newsite/zbox.htm ...

musical fidelity came out w/a tubed buffer stage years ago, the x10-d.  one f/s on agon right now.

http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?preatube&1120685615

i have never tried one, but a friend of mine got one to use w/his sirius digital radio.  now, at least, it's ok for background music, where before, it would give me a headache after thirty minutes or so... (no negative reflection on the x10-d - digital radio SUCKS!)  at the same time the x10-d came out, a small company released the ase z-man tubed buffer stage.  this unit was actually reviewed:

http://www.soundstage.com/greg12.htm

i have two of these that i think are great for tunas & cdp's.  i did a coupla easy mods on them & installed good nos tubes, which helped quite a bit.  (i have not tried one on digital, since i started using my modded art di/o a while back; i have recently thought about giving one of 'em a go here...)  supposedly the z-man is more neutral than the x10-d, but as i said, i've never tried the m-f unit in my system.  and, m-f now has a new tube buffer stage - the x-10v3

http://www.musicalfidelity.com/mf/en/Products/SmallX/SX10V3

and, kailin audio also makes one, the mu-1 - i bought on new on an a-gon auction for ~$180 shipped, from the usa distributor.  it also works well.  i have yet to a-b it w/my z-man, tho.  also, i am awaiting some nos tubes for it to replace the junk chinese tubes that came w/it.  perhaps it will sound even better then...  there's one on ebay now:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=3280&item=5772715539

it's kinda cool looking, imo:



none of these units have a wolume pot, tho...  preamp is needed, or wolume pot on the source.

i have also found the z-man to be a worthwhile improvement between solid state preamp and solid-state amp...

doug s.

doug s.

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Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....
« Reply #48 on: 8 May 2005, 02:30 am »
also, since this thread is about set amps, while i don't have a lot of experience w/set amps, i *do* have a pair of audio mirror set amps that i like a *lot*.  these are based upon the 6c33c tube that other well-known (and infinitely more expensive) products like bat & lamm also use.  these are relatively high-power for set amps - 40wpc.  they retail for ~$2300.  (i got mine quite a bit cheaper used!  :) )  




audio mirror also makes a pair of 20w set amps for ~$1700, based upon the 6as7g tubes...



http://audiomirror.com/

doug s.

Dmason

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Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....
« Reply #49 on: 8 May 2005, 03:06 am »
Doug,

Now you're talking!  And apparently the Lamm 2.2 sounds eerily similar to the totally tweaked out ClariT, according to an owner of both. :lol:

World without End. Alpha~Omega. Can't afford the $20,000 Lamms? Get a full-out ClariT for that SET sound.  :lol:

-Richard-

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Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....
« Reply #50 on: 8 May 2005, 03:43 am »
Hi Doug,

Nice piece of research...you seem to have fleshed
out and covered the field of what is available with
an extraordinary  thoroughness...

The Kailin looks awesome!!!!  Someone did a really
kitsch retro/post-modern design execution on it...

Please keep us posted if you get the chance to
compare the three buffer stages...the X-10d, the
Z-man and the Mu-1...

So...my understanding of what the buffer stages do
is to effect the impedance of the signal from the source...
lets us say the CD player...so that the amp is seeing a
signal strength that is most optimally compatible with what
the amp likes in order to translate the signal with the least
"stress" to its operation...is this correct?

And this is different from the "gain" of an active preamp in
the sense that the preamp boosts the signal more dynamically?
Or is the difference more subtle than that?

Warm regards -Richard-

kbuzz3

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albeerts pre amp
« Reply #51 on: 8 May 2005, 04:15 am »
which pre are you referring to ..the space tech. and if what model..thanks

-Richard-

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Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....
« Reply #52 on: 8 May 2005, 05:01 am »
Hi Kbuzza,

hummmm...a recapitulation may be in order here...

1. JLM suggested the Decware Z box with adjustable
output level
2. I wondered if it was a kind of simplified less-is-more preamp
3.JeffB suggested it was not based on his conversation with Steve
4.GHM suggested that the Z box was a tubed buffer stage
5.DMason agreed and mentioned that an earlier iteration was
designed by Musical Fidelity
6. Doug presented 3 models that all performed the same function
7. I asked what the difference was between a stand alone buffer stage
that controls impedance and a preamp
8. You are asking which preamp?

My question is generic...any preamp...as a conceptual
idea...not a specific product...

Warm regards -Richard-

lonewolfny42

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Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....
« Reply #53 on: 8 May 2005, 05:30 am »
-Richard- ,
    When I was at a past Rave, and John had his Omega speakers there, the sweetest sound I heard that day was when they were paired with the Sophia Baby amp... the last thing that we listened to that day. And if bought used...a great buy. [/list:u]
    [/list:u]
      You'll notice a volume control...just add player and speakers, and your set. Works for me !! :) [/list:u]
        Info link...
    http://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/sophia_baby_e.html [/list:u]
      Audiogon For Sale listing...
    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?intatube&1118193712[/list:u]

    -Richard-

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    Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....
    « Reply #54 on: 8 May 2005, 05:49 am »
    Hi Lonewolf...I cannot thank you enough for your kindness
    in pointing me to audiogon for sale threads...first for Ron
    Wellborn's 300B suggested by Scott F. and now for the
    Sophia Baby amp...both amps have been very well received
    and much talked about...thanks so much for your help...I am
    seriously looking at them...

    Also thanks Brady for insights about your 2A3 in comparison
    with your 300B...you have seriously made me rethink...along
    with Dan, who obviously agrees with you on this....the whole
    2A3 choice for my Omega speakers...and I am definitely leaning
    toward the 300B now as a top choice as the tube SET amp I
    should be considering...

    Also thanks Tvyankee, for your suggestion and link to the Opera
    series of amps...reminds me a bit of Don Garber's Fi series...
    with, in this case, the tubes sticking out in the back...like something
    one would expect to find on the original Star Trek series...operated
    by Spock to contact the Klingons...I especially liked their 300B design...
    very industrial...clean...Bauhaus...Dada...

    Warm regards -Richard-

    lonewolfny42

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    « Reply #55 on: 8 May 2005, 05:59 am »
    Your welcome -Richard-...too bad you don't live closer...I'd "loanwolf" you mine for a listen. Good luck in your search !!! :thumb:

    -Richard-

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    « Reply #56 on: 8 May 2005, 06:40 am »
    Hi Tralfaz,

    Your AC name conjures a great deal of associations...
    like a good puzzle, or secret code, or metaphor...

    OK...it is getting late and I am getting tired enough to
    start to imagine things...

    Thanks so much for your overview of your Fi amp...the Fi X2A3
    configured as an integrated amp...very interesting, honest and
    well thought out...

    For AC members who may not be entirely familiar with what most
    of the Fi amps look like..imagine looking down on an X shape as
    it rests on a surface...each space between the X configuration is
    filled with the amps vital parts...so that the tubes, the transformer,
    and other important "internal" parts actually are placed in these
    "open" spaces creating a strange yet altogether very satisfying
    "design"...original...self-contained...definitely Bauhaus/industrial...
    sexy in the best sense of that idea...almost like a scientific experiment
    one might see produced from a college physics department...this
    configuration allows for the shortest distances between components
    possibly ever conceived...and finally, his design is completely convincing...

    Don Garber is a legend...he makes his amps by hand and does not give
    them out to be produced like almost every SET amp maker currently
    in business...

    Don actually "invented" the SET movement single handedly...he opened
    an "audio shop" in downtown SoHo in New York city...I think at first he
    repaired older tube amps...then he began to invent his own...based on
    earlier design configurations...but refining things a great deal as he went
    along...he used his ears to figure things out...not just "measurements"...

    His store attracted many audiophiles that were intrigued with his SET
    designs...he began to sell them directly from his store....and many
    future innovators inspired by Don's designs were placed on the path
    to creating their own designs...his store became a hangout and mecca
    for American designers of SET amps and in a very real sense Don created
    a renaissance for the re-emergence of American SET designs...

    He is still making his amps...and they are always well received...and he is
    still working on new designs...a great original elder American designer...
    in Japan he would probably be a "National Treasure"...we Americans do
    not appreciate our designers or artists they way they do in Japan and other
    countries...too pre-occupied with movie stars and athletes...

    The wealth of talented American innovators is staggering...I would like
    to see us as a culture give all of them some recognition...some form of
    "award"...after all the Swedish give the Noble prize...OK we have the
    Pulitzer prize but can't we expand that a bit to include designers and
    artists...including designers of "industrial" products like audio gear
    for example? OK enough of that...

    Warm regards -Richard-

    -Richard-

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    « Reply #57 on: 8 May 2005, 07:12 am »
    Hi Lonewolf,

    "...too bad you don't live closer...I'd "loanwolf" you
    mine for a listen..."

    What a lovely offer...I sincerely wish I did live near you...
    then I could give a really good listen to your set up
    as well...

    I mean this as a theoretical idea mind you...I am quite mad
    about Ojai...with its spiritual energies saturating every blade of grass...
    every flowers colorful radiance...

    The mountains speak to you here...their low earthen voices carried
    by the wind...the clouds rest wearily in the mountains embrace...
    you can hear them whispering in the early morning...in the descending
    twilight...

    Here the crows are smarter than men...their complex language emerges
    incorporeal from the shadows of the swaying trees...

    The noble horses throw their tails in the air and stamp the dry dusty ground
    showing their supreme indifference to our frenetic lives...

    The rains pour down like nectar greening the hills into a lush blooming...

    Today on my walk down the rough path to the river bed I passed a tree
    that was receiving a new hive of bees...the bees swarmed the aperture
    in the trees trunk...climbing over each other to form their new complex
    cellular home..their loud buzzing filled the quiet air with a deep and rich
    resonating hum...I lingered there and watched them busy at work...
    I became the bee...the tree...the hum...there was no separation...
    no me and them...only one movement...one expression of life...

    Warm regards -Richard-

    GHM

    Looking for a 2A3 SET amp for my Omega 8R's....
    « Reply #58 on: 8 May 2005, 12:05 pm »
    A friend and I did some listening test this past week with a couple of buffers. He uses an active tubed preamp(EE MiniMax). We hooked a BVaudio SR-10 between the cd player and the preamp. The definition of the instruments increased and the highs sounded better tamed.
    Next we hooked a second BvAudio between the preamp and the amplifier.
    WoW at the difference..bass got extremely tight. I would say it's as tight as I've heard in this system.  

    I also tried this on my reciever between the sub outputs and the sub's inputs.
    The difference is night and day. With the buffer my gain level is set at 0 dB with tons of force. Without the buffer and the gain set at plus 10 dB. I still couldn't match the forcefulness with the buffer in the loop.


    Buffers may not work in every system ..but I think they will work in most. Since  opamps/buffers are made to a price point in most equipment. They don't always have the current that's needed to drive the interconnects. Just like owning an amplifier that runs out of steam on a pair of speakers. The sound can really get bad.

    As always Richard has a way with words! :o
    Definitely in a league of his own. :D

    doug s.

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    « Reply #59 on: 8 May 2005, 04:47 pm »
    Quote from: -Richard-
    Hi Doug,

    Nice piece of research...you seem to have fleshed
    out and covered the field of what is available with
    an extraordinary  thoroughness...

    The Kailin looks awesome!!!!  Someone did a really
    kitsch retro/post-modern design execution on it...

    Please keep us posted if you get the chance to
    compare the three buffer stages...the X-10d, the
    Z-man and the Mu-1...

    So...my understanding of what the buffer stages do
    is to effect the impedance of the signal from the source...
    lets us say the ...


    hi richard,

    my understanding is that buffer stages deliver the signal at a lower impedence, making for an easier load for the preamp (or amp, if yure not using a preamp).  being tubed, of course, yust adds that li'l smoothing effect that those of us who like tubes can appreciate.  :wink:

    not sure i will ever borrow my friends' x10d for a comparison, but it may happen.  perhaps i shouldn't base my judgments on what others say, but when folk say they are more coloured than the z-man, i kinda lose interest in comparing...   at some point i will likely compare the z-man to my mu-1, but at this point i can unequivocally state that the mu-1 is extremely uncoloured sounding.  also, mention of space-tech reminded me that they offer a slew of buffer stages, as well as conwentional preamps.  you can find them here, ranging in price from $400 to $2000.  $2k for a buffer stage?!?  yikes!!!

    http://www.space-tech-lab.com/BufferPage.html

    doug s.