Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

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iShootRAW
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Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by iShootRAW » 22 Oct 2019 19:20

What is the Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000?

rewfew
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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by rewfew » 22 Oct 2019 21:12

Like I tout many times here. Transcendent Sound. Unique, reasonably priced and reliable quality amplifiers and preamps for the DIY kit crowd. The otl amps have no output transformer. I've used an early T.S. design otl for many years now with no issues. The designer's 1st amplifier from the late 90's was vetted a recommended component by Stereophile.
https://www.stereophile.com/tubepoweram ... index.html
The products are not listed in Stereophile any time since because there is no advertising. It's customers like me praising within audio forums.
https://www.transcendentsound.com/products-.html
There's a couple in there a little over your price point with tube purchase. They're all a bargain.

lenjack
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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by lenjack » 22 Oct 2019 22:02

New or old?

True...Stereophile will not recommend anything that is not advertised in their magazine. Long gone are the days when their late founder, JGH, did honest reviews, without concerns for advertising revenue. :evil: :cry: :x

iShootRAW
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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by iShootRAW » 23 Oct 2019 00:16

rewfew wrote:
22 Oct 2019 21:12
Like I tout many times here. Transcendent Sound. Unique, reasonably priced and reliable quality amplifiers and preamps for the DIY kit crowd. The otl amps have no output transformer. I've used an early T.S. design otl for many years now with no issues. The designer's 1st amplifier from the late 90's was vetted a recommended component by Stereophile.
https://www.stereophile.com/tubepoweram ... index.html
The products are not listed in Stereophile any time since because there is no advertising. It's customers like me praising within audio forums.
https://www.transcendentsound.com/products-.html
There's a couple in there a little over your price point with tube purchase. They're all a bargain.
Thanks for that information, they look very nice and will definitely consider one. I’m still learning and really want to get a good setup going without having to do any changes to it for a good while. I have some High End Audio-Technica Cartridges I will be using so I need something that will compliment them nicely. I will be pairing the Vacuum Tube Amp with Parks Audio Puffin Phono Preamp it has tons of great reviews and seems to be a good match for me since I will be switching between MM/MC cartridges. What are some advantages and disadvantages of an OTL Amplifier? Will I need any other equipment for it to work?
Last edited by iShootRAW on 23 Oct 2019 00:29, edited 2 times in total.

iShootRAW
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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by iShootRAW » 23 Oct 2019 00:18

lenjack wrote:
22 Oct 2019 22:02
New or old?

True...Stereophile will not recommend anything that is not advertised in their magazine. Long gone are the days when their late founder, JGH, did honest reviews, without concerns for advertising revenue. :evil: :cry: :x
I don’t care if it’s a New Amp or Old Amp as long as it’s in great working condition. Just want something that’s a good bang for my buck.

aardvarkash10
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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by aardvarkash10 » 23 Oct 2019 01:34

what speakers?
What room size?
Preferred listening level?
What music genres?
Power amp only, or integrated?
$1k USA, CND, or other variant?
$1k including freight, taxes etc?
Prebuilt, kitset or scratch built?
Kids?
Cats?

Questions in a kind of descending order of importance.

iShootRAW
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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by iShootRAW » 23 Oct 2019 03:43

aardvarkash10 wrote:
23 Oct 2019 01:34
what speakers?
What room size?
Preferred listening level?
What music genres?
Power amp only, or integrated?
$1k USA, CND, or other variant?
$1k including freight, taxes etc?
Prebuilt, kitset or scratch built?
Kids?
Cats?

Questions in a kind of descending order of importance.

You’re the guy I need to be talking to, seems like you know exactly what you’re taking about.

What Speakers?
As of now I’m using (2) Paradigm Mini Monitor v7 & (2) Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 450. I am looking to upgrade to just 2 Floor Standing Speaker just don’t know which ones yet, that was going to be my next question.

What Room Size?
My music room is 12ft x 12ft

Preferred Listening Level?
I would say Really Loud. I love to feel the Bass.

What Music Genres?
I mostly listen to Hip-Hop, Soul/R&B, and Classic Rock but occasionally will listen to random records from different Genres.

Power Amp Only, or Integrated?
Power Only, I have a Parks Audio Puffin Phono Preamp I plan on using with my Power Amp.

$1k USA, CND?
$1,000 USD before Taxes and Shipping & Handling

Prebuilt, Kitset or Scratch Built?
Prefer it to be Prebuilt. Don’t know too much about the others.

Kids?
Yes, but won’t be getting near my turntable

Cats?
No cats.

aardvarkash10
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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by aardvarkash10 » 23 Oct 2019 09:01

OK, now we have some information to work with.

First up, you are not going to get chest-compressing, wall-shaking bass from a $1k tube amp. Its just not their gig - there are lots of technical reasons I can go into but it would probably bore you senseless and you'd drift off drooling out of the side of your mouth.

So, if music with plenty happening below the plimsol line is your preferred style, you will need to bi-amp or run a powered sub and a crossover of some sort. This may well be a Good Thing since it significantly widens your amp choice.

Your room size is great - small enough that, bass drive needs aside, you won't need lots of power.

Your speakers are not tube amp friendly. They are not very efficient (need a lot of power to drive to high volumes), and the design indicates they would have a very peaky impedance curve with a problematic damping factor. Both of these are no problem when the amp driving the speakers is solid state and able to deliver lots of current. Tube amps are not that way inclined - they are voltage drive devices with poor ability to control the reactive movement of a heavy speaker element.

You will need different speakers. There is no way around this really unless you are prepared to spend a lot more on the amp. They need to be efficient (91db/w or better) and have as flat an impedance curve as can be got. These are not common - you will need to look around. Check out single-driver designs as a starting point.

There is a rule thats useful for working required power out. Its attributed to Paul Joppa who is closely associated with Bottlehead and so is called (by some) Joppa's Rule. It states that for "typical" listening spaces an amp/speaker combo should be capable of 102 dB. SPL pulses at a 1 M. distance.

If your speakers are tube-friendly (flat impedance curve and efficient say, 91db/w to 93db/w) Joppa's Rule indicates that 15 watts per channel of power would work ok, 20 to 30 watts per channel of tube amp will put a smile on your face. Pair that with a powered sub for the doofdoof days and you are going to meet your objectives.

Since you are in the land of the free, a Dynaco 70 (or a "dynaclone") is probably a good option. However, there are plenty of other offerings in that power range.

lenjack
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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by lenjack » 23 Oct 2019 14:37

"What Room Size?
My music room is 12ft x 12ft"


You have problems right here. Any time the room dimensions are the same, length and width, you will have uneven bass, with dips and peaks in the bass response, no matter what equipment you use, If there is any way you have another room available, look into it.

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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by rewfew » 23 Oct 2019 17:10

iShootRAW wrote:
23 Oct 2019 00:16
What are some advantages and disadvantages of an OTL Amplifier? Will I need any other equipment for it to work?
Realism, holographic sound you can step into and either key on instruments, vocals, soundscape. You'd need speakers with 8 ohm impedance and probably at least 91 db sensitivity speakers. Higher is better. Your choice of speakers gravitate towards horn type, but not a hard fast rule. This aspect is a magnet for diy types. Probably not your choice unless you are budget conscious with a penchant for that. From the link, there is a transformer coupled amp that would mate well with any speaker impedance and sensitivity. And 30 watts of this transformer coupled tube power in recommended triode mode is formidable. It would play very loud. If using subwoofer, any room presents anomalies that can be mitigated well with multiple subwoofers. Cancellations of single sub response is smoothed out with another, with three helping considerably towards smoother response.
I'd concentrate more on what kind and quality of speakers you would want to live with in the long term.
An alternative tangent combining vintage solid state amplification with unique tube preamp with a nice speaker system is here. viewtopic.php?f=85&t=114452

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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by JoeE SP9 » 23 Oct 2019 18:32

lenjack wrote:
22 Oct 2019 22:02
New or old?

True...Stereophile will not recommend anything that is not advertised in their magazine. Long gone are the days when their late founder, JGH, did honest reviews, without concerns for advertising revenue. :evil: :cry: :x
This is simply not true. It seems like more of the "they don't review what I like/own so they're dishonest" crap. If you were a reviewer that already owns a "high end" system, given the opportunity to review a BOTL/MOTL Pioneer integrated or a Mark Levinson which would you choose to audition/review? Nobody wants to review anything that's not at least as good as what they own.

FYI: Magnepan stopped advertising in Stereophile several years ago. However the cover picture of the August 2019 issue is a picture of the Magnepan LRS. A full review is inside. The review is quite positive.

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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by lenjack » 23 Oct 2019 19:32

It is true. They whored out their reviewing decades ago. I was an inaugural subscriber in 1961, and gave it up in the early 90s, because I could no longer tolerate the bs, although I occasionally check in to see what's going on. I do not own any hi end stuff. If you're a manufacturer, and you buy lots of advertising, and you loan and/or give their reviewer a unit for free, or 60% off, you will get a glowing review. [-X :roll:

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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by rewfew » 24 Oct 2019 15:55

lenjack wrote:
23 Oct 2019 19:32
It is true. They whored out their reviewing decades ago.
I'd tend to agree with that. I subscribed during the period of the link I referenced, as I was interested in this amplifier topology, and the designer who lives a mile or two from me. I dropped the rag after the subscription became due. I just found it a pompous bore, the similar writing style and lead up for their reviews. Dropping names and creating some atmosphere of sumptuous aural delight that ensues. Drivel. Invariably ending with, "Though said device going for such amount, (as much as a luxury car sometimes), on the whole, at this level of retrieval, a bargain." They are whores.

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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by JoeE SP9 » 24 Oct 2019 20:28

lenjack wrote:
23 Oct 2019 19:32
It is true. They whored out their reviewing decades ago. I was an inaugural subscriber in 1961, and gave it up in the early 90s, because I could no longer tolerate the bs, although I occasionally check in to see what's going on. I do not own any hi end stuff. If you're a manufacturer, and you buy lots of advertising, and you loan and/or give their reviewer a unit for free, or 60% off, you will get a glowing review. [-X :roll:
That you feel the need to say "I don't own any high end stuff" says a lot in and of itself.

Anyone that thinks any magazine other than Consumer Reports buys "whatever" for reviewing is demented.

As I previously posted, Magnepan does not advertise in Stereophile. Yet Stereophile gave the LRS a very enthusiastic review.

IME, most of those with all the negative comments about Stereophile, TAS and other magazines feel that way because they don't like the cost of the products being reviewed.

If you were a reviewer that owns a very good (high end) system would you be reviewing "bargain basement" gear? I think not.

High performance cars are a lot like audio gear. However, no one complains when, Road & Track, Car And Driver or Motor Trend review million dollar cars like a Bugatti or La Ferrari. They certainly don't buy the cars they test. In fact some cars they keep for extended loan periods.

What is it about audio gear that makes some so upset that others can afford what they can't? It sounds like sour grapes to me.

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Re: Best Vacuum Tube Amplifier Under $1000

Post by lenjack » 24 Oct 2019 23:07

You incorrectly, and audaciously assume that my audio gear consists of Consumer Reports recommended products. It does not, never has, and never will. I look down on Consumer Reports recommendations for serious music listeners. CR recommendations are probably ok for Joe 6-pak, who really doesn't listen seriously.

I sold high end, years ago in the northeast, and I know what's real, and what's "woo". I don't believe it's necessary to spend multi thousands to get superlative sound. I don't believe you need to spend $35,000 on 15 feet of speaker wire, that can't be distinguished from coat hangers.

If I make an extremely expensive, new audio product, and put a very big ad in Stereophile, and, give it to my favorite reviewer, on extended loan, meaning he can keep it as long as he likes, I know damned well, it's going to get a amazingly great review, even if it sounds like a Crosley Cruiser. [-X :roll:

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