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Speakers for use with Low Power Valve Amp??

robbie010

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Evening All,

I recently picked up a very clean pair of Heathkit MA12 Monoblock Tube Amps with what turned out to be a full complement of Mullard valves (EF86, ECC83, EL84 & GZ34).

Thanks to recommendations from wam members, they are currently with Wilkinson HiFi in Nelson having an overhaul, re-cap, quad 4mm banana sockets, modern RCA connectors and new power cords. They should be ready for collection next week after testing and so I have been thinking about speakers........ again!

The Heathkits are billed as 10watts output, so a fairly sensitive speaker is in order. I current have Infinity Kappa 600's which are 90db but have large 10" side firing woofers which I assume will not sit well with the 10watts available. Alternatively, I have Kef LS50's but at 85db, again possibly not a great match. Finally, I have Mordaunt Short MS400's, these are probably my best bet, however, I can't find any specs for these that state the sensitivity.

Having done the obligatory google search, I see numerous mentions of vintage Klipsch and various Tannoy's that are fairly rare and expensive. Although I would love to give them a go in the future, right now they are a bit rich for my pocket, so I am looking for any recommendations that won't break the bank (sub £500).

I will most certainly need to move on at least one of my current sets of speakers to accomodate them but not sure which just yet!

Are there any brands / makes / models that are better suited to low power tubes, horns may be one way to go??

Any thoughts or recommendations much appreciated.

 

Jazid

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Snell J, ideally Mk2 but not very significant, or if affordable the AN J variant. Sweet and punchy with EL84 amps [emoji106].
But I'd try what you have and see how you feel first, you might be surprised!

Sent from my BLA-L09 using Tapatalk

 
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forgot-my-id

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agreed, its surprising what a 10watt valve amp CAN do.

I think you're going to like them.

 
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joolz

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Just picked up some Onken/Oris horns110 db efficient, seller advised that the best he had ever heard them was with a 3watt valve amp. Unfortunatley most horns are not going to be in the sub £500 bracket.

 
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uzzy

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Try to get a pair of speakers over 89 and preferably over 90db for one watt at one meter.  Klipsch springs to mind.  

 

rabski

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As others have said, try what you've got first.

There's not much info about the Mordaunt Short model, but they're late 1960s and rated at 30 watts maximum, so should be quite happy with 10 watts. I certainly wouldn't go buying speakers until you've tried the combination.

 
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newlash09

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rabski

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If it all works and you fnd yourself considering alternatives, then (of course, as a long-term owner) I would also have to add the suggestion of any of the Living Voice range.

There have been a few pairs in the classifieds in recent times at really crazy cheap prices, and LVs plus valves are a magical combination. That said, even at 94dB, 10 watts is a slight stretch, but ought to be fine for ordinary listening. I've run mine on everything from about 8 to 100 watts.

No substitute for experience here, as sensitivity measurements are often only the very roughest guide, because they don't tell all the story by a long way.

 
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plasticpenguin

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Try to get a pair of speakers over 89 and preferably over 90db for one watt at one meter.  Klipsch springs to mind.  
Agreed. My Wharfedale E20s are 96db. One can only assume they were aimed at low powered valve amps. Or, perhaps, serial neighbor annoyers. 

 

Jules_S

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I would also add, to a certain extent it depends how loud you like to listen, and what room volume your speakers have to fill. Clearly achieving concert levels in a 900 sq ft room isn't going to work too well with 10w and speakers of low efficiency!

I'm going to risk opening a can of worms now as I am a long way from being an electronics expert (no doubt one will be along soon to put me right!) but I understand that it's not just about the overall efficiency of the loudspeaker that should be considered, but whether presents a reactive or benign load to the amplifier, which I take to mean how much variance there is in impedence across the frequency range. A (theoretical) speaker that presented a constant 8 ohm load from 10Hz to 100KHz would be a lot easier to drive than one that varied all over the place from 16ohm to 1.5 ohm at different frequencies. So as others have suggested, try out your Kappas first before worrying about changing them, after all that's the cheapest solution!

Apart from the alternative suggestions others have made, I'd consider something from the same vintage as the amps? I'm not that au-fait with individual models but perhaps a Celestion or something similar?

Jules

 

dave

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I still love my Wharfedale Dovedale iii. I have been running them from an SE ECL86 stereo-gram amplifier for 8 years now, I had a little break, and also swapped out the output transformers for some bigger ones, tightened up the bass, and beter treble extension, and got them back together again, and I just love them, the tweeters are very unforgiving of crappy solid state treble, but give it a few clean valve watts, just lovely. 

Most Dovedales the woofer rubber goes hard and eventually disintegrates, but they still sound ok, I have refoamed / rubbered 2 pairs now, helps the LF extension, the tweeters sometimes go open circuit, as aluminium voice coil wire reacts with the steel magnet, the 3s are an earlier version with no tone switches on the back, a bit brighter, some prefer them, I prefer the later version. Am thinking of doing some tweaks, but they are lovely stock, so I am not sure when....

 
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bencat

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Would suggest whihc others have not directly said is that if your current Kappa speakers are correctly rated at 90db then 10 watts should make them go pretty loud and fill all but the very largest of rooms.

I would sit on your hands for the moment and curb any desire to hear or buy any speaker until you get the completed EL 34 amps back plumb them in and give them a good full month of listening . I think you may well be pleasantly surprised at how loud and musical a 10 Watt Valve amp can sound and they may well be just what your Infinity speakers have been looking for .

We would all appreciate an up date wehn you have had a good time to listen .

 
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forgot-my-id

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lots of speajkers are 90db efficient, IF you believe the figures. Especially older ones, made when 50 watts was really something.

as others have said, try all the ones youve got first. except a softer lesser bass perhaps, but rich mids and sweet highs could be a revelation to you.

 

DomT

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My first choice speaker for this would be Audio Note but you need to have room corners that are not 8 meters apart as otherwise I would own them. Have heard most in the range at dealers and shows and had the Es at home. 

 

khapahk

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I'd agree with the advice about trying with your existing speakers first.

I run a pair of ProAc Studio 140 Mk 1 floorstanders (rated at 90db sensitivity) with a 7 wpc Audion 300B power amp and don't even get halfway around the clock before it's too loud for me.  No trace of any nasties in the sound even with full-on orchestral or metal.

k

 

DomT

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I'd agree with the advice about trying with your existing speakers first.

I run a pair of ProAc Studio 140 Mk 1 floorstanders (rated at 90db sensitivity) with a 7 wpc Audion 300B power amp and don't even get halfway around the clock before it's too loud for me.  No trace of any nasties in the sound even with full-on orchestral or metal.

k
Have heard those ProAcs a few times and they sound great. 

 

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