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heartsandarmor

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Best match
« on: 26 Jan 2004, 04:44 pm »
Louis,

I certainly understand your time contraints and applaud your efforts to date.  I believe your produts are without equal but hoped that if you can find the time, perhaps give me your opinion.  I am establishing a bedroom system using TS3 speakers and am deciding between two different integrated amplifiers and wondered if you felt one might better match your speakers.  The amplifiers in question are the Cayin TA-30 and the Sun Audio SV PM200. Any advice or suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated.  If there are any others that have any strong opinions, I would welcome imput from the learned members of this forum as well.  Thank you all.

heartsandarmor

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« Reply #1 on: 26 Jan 2004, 05:09 pm »
Sorry,  I nearly forgot.  One other integrated that had been mentioned is the Sophia Electric Baby but I know even less about its attributes.  Thanks again.

Seeker

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Sophia Electric Baby
« Reply #2 on: 26 Jan 2004, 09:39 pm »
I know you didn't ask me, but thought I would throw my 2 cents in anyway.  I've heard the Sophia Electric Baby and would love to have one.  It's one of those amps that you keep and that constantly amazes you; especially when you consider all the money that has been spent in the past on stuff no where near as good.  It is also a product that can replace whatever is in your main system without leaving you with the feeling that you are missing something.

JLM

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« Reply #3 on: 26 Jan 2004, 11:13 pm »
Don't know the Sun amp mentioned, but all the Omegas I've heard definately prefer tubes.  

Either the TA-30 or the Baby would work well in the bedroom.  

The Baby/TS3 would have to make for the cutest/coolest/most compact system ever.

moltosolo

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« Reply #4 on: 26 Jan 2004, 11:25 pm »
I am using the Berning microZOTL with Super 3R. Just love it.
If you don't want something heavy or producing heat, microZOTL might be another choice.

heartsandarmor

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« Reply #5 on: 27 Jan 2004, 01:46 am »
I certainly apppreciate the replys to date and seeker, please do not misunderstand;  I welcome any and all opinions.  I just presumed Louis would know best what works with that which he himself produces.  Yet in reality, just like art, we like what we like.  Please keep your responses and opinions comming.  Thank you.

Mathew_M

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« Reply #6 on: 27 Jan 2004, 03:19 am »
Are there any other 'small' tube integrateds besides the Norh SE18 that incorporate a phono section?

rosypup

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« Reply #7 on: 27 Jan 2004, 12:17 pm »
Louis may or may not know.  Speakers and amps are two different things, two different specialities.  

Sure people know matching but it depends on the full range of experience.

I heard the baby amp. It has alot of soundstaging magic.

Ultimately, it's not a set, but it is a good sounding amp

My friend has a sun audio 300b.  I wouldn't be bothered with it even if I was paid to listen to it.

jwha

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« Reply #8 on: 27 Jan 2004, 10:03 pm »
I've tried out both the Sophia Baby and the Cayin TA30 with my pair of TS2's... and I've decided to stick with the Cayin.  

The Sophia was an excellent (and cute) amp, but I thought the power of the Cayin and the warmth of the EL34 tubes beat out the Sophia (have to buy replacement tubes from Sophia).

The Sophia had excellent frequency response and possibly a little better imaging, but overall I really enjoyed the warmer sound of the Cayin (also, I think the Cayin looks MUCH more high-end).

My 2 cents...

heartsandarmor

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« Reply #9 on: 29 Jan 2004, 12:08 am »
Thank you all for your opinions.  It would seem at present given both the responses and subsequent research, that I am leaning toward the Cayin.  I am curious however;  Rosypup, you speak so ill of the Sun Audio and I am surprised as their reputation and their other models, the 2A3 for example are so highly regarded.  Would you mind expanding upon your impressions?  Thanks.

rosypup

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« Reply #10 on: 29 Jan 2004, 03:26 am »
sure.

 My friend and I have a couple of set amps before he got into building them himself. He's got the sun audio 300b and I have a sonic fronitiers assemblage. Plus I have heard numerous sets at this point.

I haven't heard the sun audio in some time.  It's sitting on my friend's shelf.  But last time we heard it maybe I would describe the sound as somewhat dead.

Both the assemblage and the sun audio have direct current (dc) on the filaments as opposed the ac (alternating current) on the filaments.  The dc has a dead sound to me.

The way you can tell if an amp is ac or dc is whether it has hum controls on it. Ac has hum controls. But a 45 may not because it does not seem to have much hum to deal with, so perhaps it might be ac and not have hum controls.

The assemblage has too much electronics in it.  It almost sounds like a ss amp.

If you listen to a set amp that is made simply and sounds good,  and you do this for a while say for 6 months,  then it's very difficult to appreciate these other types of sets.

I obviously into sets.  They are the only amps I really like and that I can recommend. And within that domain there is quite a variety of quality.  But there are certain basic principles that I believe are important.

I've heard that the p-p sun audio is suppose to be good,  and I've heard that the sun audio 2a3 is good.  but I would ber skeptical based on my understanding so far.  They might sound good if you haven't been delving into sets for a while, that's what I suspect.

heartsandarmor

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« Reply #11 on: 29 Jan 2004, 08:10 pm »
Rosypup,

I really cannot thank you enough for helping to enlighten me.  I was enthralled the first time I heard any tube amplification and vowed then and there never to look back.  Perhaps you would further help in offering your suggestion for the best of the low cost SET choice, though that may still be a contradiction in terms.  I realize that this can be a very personal issue but I would be happy to defer to someone with more experience and a greater understanding of both the fundamentals and their respective attributes and disadvantages.  As this is really ment to be a smaller more intimate version of a main system I hope to aquire sometime soon, I rather doubt I will suffer too greatly using someone elses experience as a learning opportunity for my future choices.  Thank you again for your help to date and for any further assistance you are willing to venture.

Kind Regards.

rosypup

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« Reply #12 on: 29 Jan 2004, 08:47 pm »
That happened to me too. The first time I heard tube amplification which was about i guess 3 years ago, it brought me back into an interest in music at home and it gave me an interest in audio.

But now 1 and 1/2 years of listening to sets, tube amplification in itself is no longer the most satisfying.  I have and I know the p-p and otl sound.  I really want it to be a set and it needs to sound a certain way.

And I had a bigger system in one room and the 2nd set system in an adjacent room, and after 6 months I became convinced that the set system was way better.

I think sets and low cost, and sets and personal systems go hand in hand.  

Past this, I cannot offer too much information.  I'm sure Gordon Rankin's wavelength amps are very good.  He uses ac and he knows what he is doing, keeping it simple. But his stuff is not cheap.

I heard the early Jeff Korneff 45 with vintaqe transformers, and that is probably an excellent amp. His newer stuff may be excellent also, but I haven't heard it.

Maybe some of the bottlehead stuff and wellborne stuff is good.  I don't know.

I get my amps from a friend who builds them,  pretty much the way I want them.  And I have some diy's from other that I had purchased previous to my friend's building that weren't too expensive and are good.

The output transformers are the most important ingredient in a set amp, it seems to me.  But I don't know and can't say yet which are the best among the good ones. Other than that, the other variables that i mentioned such as simplicity and ac.

 But if you have a chance to listen to a few, you realize that some really just sound right and good, and others less so.  But if they have the basic principles most sound pretty good.  

Speaker matching matter too.

That's all I really know.

jwha

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« Reply #13 on: 29 Jan 2004, 11:06 pm »
I would suggest looking at the Decware Zen Select... low power, but a pretty good match with the Omegas.

heartsandarmor

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« Reply #14 on: 30 Jan 2004, 12:21 am »
Ok Rosypup.  Just could not find it in yourself to make it easy for me.  All I wanted was for you to tell me unequivocally the very best SET for an unbelievably low price.  Now was that really so much to ask?  In all seriousness, I truly appreciate your candor and your honesty.  Though you may have not narrowed my search quite as much as I might have wished, you may have done me an even greater service in helping to define precisely that for what I should look.  You have contributed to my education and that is of immeasureable value.  Thanks again for everything.  While I am here, JWHA, thank you for your input as well.  The Zen had been on my list.  I will have to remember why it moved down in its rankings in my eyes.  It may just be that I have been inundated with information.  I truly think simplicity is the key both in the process and in the product.  The less that interfers with both the decision and the sound probably represents the true path. Best wishes all.

JLM

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« Reply #15 on: 30 Jan 2004, 11:47 am »
Cheap/quality tube amps for the Omegas:

Cayin TA-30 (4 wpc SET mode, 35 wpc push pull, $600 & up depending on options)

Decware (best bets would be the 5 wpc Select Extreme $725, 7 wpc Integrated $1,600, or 12 wpc Torii $1,500)

Norh SE-18 (18 wpc, $900)

Sophia Baby (8 wpc, $900)

I'd stay with Cayin (quality Chinese build, with plenty of power) or Decware (built in the American heartland, limited power but the best sound).

Stated specs are from memory.

rosypup

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« Reply #16 on: 30 Jan 2004, 12:13 pm »
That's interesting about the Cayin that it can go from 4wpc SET mode (whatever that means), to 35 wpc p-p mode.  That's a nice versatility to have.

I think you can get a good diy set for around 6-8 hundred.  I'd bet a 2a3 would sound better than the other offerings, but I can't say for sure.

Like I mentioned previously, I heard the baby amp and it has a quality sound. Plus I've seen them go for about 600. But it's ultimately not a set.  I have two zen amps, I guess the older model. I like a 2a3 better.

Wish I could be of more help.  Commercial offerings can be good. But I don't know any right now that offers a great set sound at a great price.  Such a product should be there but maybe it's not. The Kornefff 45 was close to that before the prices went up.  You use to be able to get one for under 1200.

Non-commercial, like home cooking, can be the best.  That's just the way it is.  But perhaps some of the kits are very good, I don't know for sure.  I mean if you find one that has already been built.

Brad

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« Reply #17 on: 30 Jan 2004, 04:21 pm »
Don't forget the Fi X.

$750ish used, up to $1250 new.
Great 2a3 sound!

Can also run the 45 tube with minor changes.

hmen

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« Reply #18 on: 31 Jan 2004, 07:16 am »
Check out Decware. If you only need one input you don't even need an integrated. http://www.decware.com/

heartsandarmor

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« Reply #19 on: 31 Jan 2004, 07:05 pm »
I really cannot thank eveyone enough for their assistance.  Oddly enough after all I have learned, I seemed to have come full circle and the Zen se84cs has moved to number one on my list.  I am a strong believer in simplicity and that any added features and/or engineering do nothing more that create greater potential for damage rather than improvement.  My personal feeling is that nothing appeals to me more than SET design but still cannot justify most prices demanded by "high end" manufacturers.  Besides, I have to save every extra penny for the Ferrari. Thank you again for all your imput.