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whats the appeal with valve amps?


jcr71
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47 minutes ago, audio_PHIL_e said:

You have probably read this, which I should have done before posting.

No did not need to I had an uncle who was employed by what became an aerospace company. He made and repaired watches as a hobby. Taught me the rudiments of blue prints in the 1950's when I was 7 from  the actuator system of a yet to be built iconic fighter jet, this has stood me in good stead over the years.

10 minutes ago, audio_PHIL_e said:

he said, quoting the Quad strapline (nothing wrong with that btw)

  Maybe that's why I'm happy with my OTA quad 57's and valve tuner, pre & power amp's the later a derivative of an American design specifically aimed at US Quad 57 enthusiasts.

I believe valves make the most sense of treble, though I'm sure that there are class A & the recent crop of class D amps that are satisfactory. Similar to what I used when I was involved in the car stereo scene.  I am happy with my lot though.          

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I have to say I've never been bothered by which sounds best, the results can be on their head anyway, my 303 sounds like a pair of Quad IIs and my Leak 20 sounds like a modern Solid state monster 😊.

Edited by Ian
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Super Wammer

I’ve never owned a valve Hifi amp, so not really equipped to answer, but I’ve always imagined they seem like they’re ‘alive’.  To some extent, playing LPs is similar, because things rotate, arms move etc. Whereas a CD is hidden and a streamer is just a box.  

Many valve amps look great too, and even big VU meters on amps like Luxman and Accuphase aren’t quite the same. 

Edited by Nopiano
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My KT88 monoblocks are considerably better than the previous class A Plinius power amp I had.

Instrument separation and neutrality is exceptional. No lush sound here, just clean, fast sound.

These are my first tube power amps and definitely the best I've heard, and I've had many transistor power amps.

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Super Wammer

It's definitely a case of the right amp to drive the speakers you have as I found out on Wednesday when my MLs arrived. For 4 1/2 year my 90wpc Icon Audio MB845SEs have driven initially Usher Dancer Mini 2 DMDs then Quad 989s, but when the MLs arrived they just didn't cut the mustard. Bass was flabby and I'll defined and the Mids were a bit unfocused, a swapped over to a pai of Nord One UP SE NC500Ms and all was right with my hifi world. Bass powerful, solid and tight, Mids rich and nuanced with detailed airy treble. 

As much as I loved the Icons, they'll be getting sold, as at the end of the day this hobby is about the music, not the kit. The kit is only the tool to transmit the music in a way we enjoy. 

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Surely that is because your tube amps aren't supplying enough  power to the ML speakers.

There synergy mismatch and then there is just plain incompatibly.

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Here is an overview I posted a while ago, which covers various aspects, like Brands/Sound signatures/Types/Advantages and Disadvantages/Valve brands etc.

It doesn't take long to have a skim through and may (or may not) help:

Edited by CnoEvil
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One thing about valve amps is that they are incredibly satisfying to build. You have complete control over everything, and you can substitute most of the valves to change the overall sound. And owners of valve amps enjoy tube rolling since it gives them a way of being creative with their investment. 

As for sound quality, I've never heard anything better than a really good valve amp. The closest has been a pure Class A single ended solid state amp with obsolete Sony SIT devices. Huge heatsinks and ran hot, but it was marvellous. Built by Piotr who you may remember from these pages.

So the combination of satisfaction and sound quality has meant I've only built and used valve amps for the last 12 years. I don't see that changing unless we get a new batch of SIT devices or some other step forward in solid state. And unlike transistors which regularly go obsolete, valves from the 1920s are still sounding great. That's a century ago! They made mountains of valves, and still do. There's a fabulous choice out there, absolutely fabulous and totally fascinating. 

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4 hours ago, Fourlegs said:

We forget that for many decades valves were used in military equipment in some of the most arduous environments it is possible to imagine.

Valves (or valve-like) devices are relatively immune to some radiated forms of energy that will fry solid-state devices. Mind you, most of the mil-spec valves that are incredibly robust are sonically awful.

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Oh don't be harsh, the 211 is alright as an audio tube surely!

Sent from my BLA-L09 using Tapatalk

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26 minutes ago, Jazid said:

Oh don't be harsh, the 211 is alright as an audio tube surely!

Sent from my BLA-L09 using Tapatalk
 

I don't class 211s and the like as 'miltary' though. Used in radar and RF transmitter possibly, but originally I believe intended as simply 'amplifiers'. That said, I still prefer 845s (which were originally designed specifically for audio use AFAIK).

No. The stuff I moan about is 'ruggedised' 9-pin and octal stuff. Ruggedised usually means plate supports and heaters like a wrestler's arm. All strength and no subtlety. Plus, the idea that milspec valves are bult to take a battering and are therefore lower microphony is somewhat disproved by experience.

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Anyway, what's the appeal?

You don't get light like this from class D...

glow.jpg

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Yes they are decent. Usual MF house approach to quality and sound.
Re milspec valves its true they aren't always up there for sonics, recent ones can be pretty poor, but CV4004, CV4024, and arguably VT231 are up there as the very best available in their type, the 6C33C and GU70 amongst others are up there as fantastic valves in their own right, no civvy equivalent was made until recently. But milspec is a spec, not a developmental agenda, and audio types were used, so were requisitioned and produced for forces use. Anyway, Im boring myself let alone you lot, sorry guys

Sent from my BLA-L09 using Tapatalk

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