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About to take the plunge and looking for last minute Valve amp suggestions.

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#1
Hi again folks, I`m about to take the plunge with a valve amp.
This one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07GKZNJV3/ref=ox_sc_saved_image_1?smid=A12LYJB2612SHL&psc=1

At first I was thinking of a headphone valve amp, a hybrid so I wouldn`t encounter any problems with my Sundara`s, but the more I researched and read the more I realised that what I really wanted was something that would drive speakers also. Then I hit another problem in that most of the stuff that was getting anything like good reviews the Blue Aura V40, the Reisong A10, though I would actually prefer the A12 for the 12AX7 tubes or the Reisong A50 MK3 for those 300B`s, all of these don`t have a headphone output, or any output, other than speakers.
Then I found the DARED MP 5BT which from what I understand is hand welded with good components, it seems to be very similar in design to the Blue Aura, a hybrid with 2 tubes in the pre amp and a magic eye for show/power level indicator, with the addition of some features like headphone out and pre amp out.
I have come across some very complimentary reviews from the likes of Positive-feedback and enjoythemusic and also PierreV on this site. So I have decided to give it a go and am just waiting for Prime day to see if I can pull a discount.
So I thought before I invest my oh so hard to get £££ I would give one last call to the folks here to see if anyone can come up with a better alternative?
I am based in the UK so Schiit gear is unfortunately very hard to come by. I do like my Magni Heresy/Modi stack but after shipping and tax and handling fees I felt like I had paid way over the odds.
The main idea is to have a play with the Dared as it is only around £300, I already have my eye on a set of Russian equivalents for the stock 6N1 and 6N2 and if I like what I am hearing then upgrade to the Reisong A50 Mk3 or something similar and keep the Dared for my son.
Thanks for any input.
 

DVDdoug

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#2
I`m about to take the plunge with a valve amp.
Why?... Why do you want 1950's technology? :p

It's more expensive and less energy efficient. Some tube amps have "desirable distortion" but if you want that you have to listen and choose for yourself because distorted amplifier-A will sound different than distorted amplifier-B. With some tube amps, changing the tubes (or aging tubes) will change the sound, and others are more stable and predictable.

If the amp is clean it will sound identical to a good solid state amplifier.

At first I was thinking of a headphone valve amp, a hybrid...

...I realised that what I really wanted was something that would drive speakers also.
It is a LOT easier to drive a low impedance load with MOSFETs or transistors. And tubes are way-way-way more expensive if you want power (lots of Watts) and good sound quality.
 
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MakeMineVinyl

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#3
I would go with the Reisong amps which seem to be a bit better in construction. You will need very efficient speakers with any low powered tube amp such as this - like >90dB efficiency. A 300B based amp will give you around 5-7 watts, but you still need efficient speakers if you listen at anything louder than background or moderate levels.

If you have less efficient speakers and still want to go with tubes, a class A/B push-pull amp would be best which uses something like EL-34s.
 

Marc v E

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#4
Hi again folks, I`m about to take the plunge with a valve amp.
This one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07GKZNJV3/ref=ox_sc_saved_image_1?smid=A12LYJB2612SHL&psc=1

At first I was thinking of a headphone valve amp, a hybrid so I wouldn`t encounter any problems with my Sundara`s, but the more I researched and read the more I realised that what I really wanted was something that would drive speakers also. Then I hit another problem in that most of the stuff that was getting anything like good reviews the Blue Aura V40, the Reisong A10, though I would actually prefer the A12 for the 12AX7 tubes or the Reisong A50 MK3 for those 300B`s, all of these don`t have a headphone output, or any output, other than speakers.
Then I found the DARED MP 5BT which from what I understand is hand welded with good components, it seems to be very similar in design to the Blue Aura, a hybrid with 2 tubes in the pre amp and a magic eye for show/power level indicator, with the addition of some features like headphone out and pre amp out.
I have come across some very complimentary reviews from the likes of Positive-feedback and enjoythemusic and also PierreV on this site. So I have decided to give it a go and am just waiting for Prime day to see if I can pull a discount.
So I thought before I invest my oh so hard to get £££ I would give one last call to the folks here to see if anyone can come up with a better alternative?
I am based in the UK so Schiit gear is unfortunately very hard to come by. I do like my Magni Heresy/Modi stack but after shipping and tax and handling fees I felt like I had paid way over the odds.
The main idea is to have a play with the Dared as it is only around £300, I already have my eye on a set of Russian equivalents for the stock 6N1 and 6N2 and if I like what I am hearing then upgrade to the Reisong A50 Mk3 or something similar and keep the Dared for my son.
Thanks for any input.
This is only based on reviews, not my own experience, so take it with a grain of salt. Primaluna is a Dutch company that apparently makes high quality tube amps for a reasonable price and high build quality. They can do this because they are built in China. Here is their website: https://www.primaluna.nl/products/integrated/
 

mhardy6647

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#5
Did you consider, e.g., the Rogue vacuum tube amplifiers?
Personally, I would avoid generically branded Chinese amplifiers -- and not that I am anti-China per se. "Big name" amps made in China can be OK (e.g., the above mentioned PrimaLuna, Vincent, and oh-so-many others) -- but knock-offs, 'fell off the assembly line' clones., and other, even worse ripoffs at bargain prices, IMO, would be best avoided.

Also, if you don't mind slingin' solder, there are excellent kit options from www.dynakitparts.com and www.bottlehead.com e.g.

PS This is a funny choice of sites to be asking about vacuum tube amplification ;)
You might want to try audioasylum and/or audiokarma :)
 

Jim Matthews

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#6
Tube amplifiers with heavy output transformers are most stable.

Check the weight of any contender. Lightweight equates to poor bass extension in all but the most esoteric (read: expensive) designs.
Not all Vacuum tubes are easily replaced, either.

Verify spares of the tube types used can still be found, first.
 
OP
S
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Thread Starter #8
This is not a first amp. I have a Vieta VR 6100 digital AV receiver and a Mission Cyrus 2 with the PSX power supply paired with some EPOS ES14`s from the late 80`s.
But the best sound setup I ever heard was a Quad 4 valve amp connected to a pair of Warfdale corner cabinet speakers and in my dotage I fancied trying to put together a system to try in some way to replicate it.
 
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OP
S
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Thread Starter #9
I would go with the Reisong amps which seem to be a bit better in construction. You will need very efficient speakers with any low powered tube amp such as this - like >90dB efficiency. A 300B based amp will give you around 5-7 watts, but you still need efficient speakers if you listen at anything louder than background or moderate levels.

If you have less efficient speakers and still want to go with tubes, a class A/B push-pull amp would be best which uses something like EL-34s.
I have heard very good things of the Reisong amps. I totally understand about the speaker efficiency. And I am also considering the Reisong MT34 mk2 that uses the EL 34`s. This is for a bookshelf system it doesn`t need to deafen a hall.
 
OP
S
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Thread Starter #10
This is only based on reviews, not my own experience, so take it with a grain of salt. Primaluna is a Dutch company that apparently makes high quality tube amps for a reasonable price and high build quality. They can do this because they are built in China. Here is their website: https://www.primaluna.nl/products/integrated/
Very nice, but way above my price point.
 
OP
S
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Thread Starter #11
Did you consider, e.g., the Rogue vacuum tube amplifiers?
Personally, I would avoid generically branded Chinese amplifiers -- and not that I am anti-China per se. "Big name" amps made in China can be OK (e.g., the above mentioned PrimaLuna, Vincent, and oh-so-many others) -- but knock-offs, 'fell off the assembly line' clones., and other, even worse ripoffs at bargain prices, IMO, would be best avoided.

Also, if you don't mind slingin' solder, there are excellent kit options from www.dynakitparts.com and www.bottlehead.com e.g.

PS This is a funny choice of sites to be asking about vacuum tube amplification ;)
You might want to try audioasylum and/or audiokarma :)
I will check out Rogue thanks.
I like to see different sides and opinions, I love the science of amps, my Schiit Heresy is so quiet I could hear a mouse fart! But there is also no denying valve amps sound great despite a bit of hiss. To quote Dave Gilmore `where would rock n roll be without a bit of feedback?`
I listen to the likes of King Crimson which most people I know take for an awful cacophony, but to me it the strumming of angles.
Dared seem to have been about for quiet a while the 1st version of the MP5 was over 19 years ago and if you look there are old posts on this site recommending it Reisong have been getting a lot of good press of late and the prices are in the range where the old lady might not notice :D
 
OP
S
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Thread Starter #12
Tube amplifiers with heavy output transformers are most stable.

Check the weight of any contender. Lightweight equates to poor bass extension in all but the most esoteric (read: expensive) designs.
Not all Vacuum tubes are easily replaced, either.

Verify spares of the tube types used can still be found, first.
Thanks. I always look for a good heft in my audio gear as weight often equated to better parts. The 300B`s are particularly expensive I have heard so I might avoid the A50 because of that. If it costs as much for a new set of tubes as the amp itself I could be heading for a hurting in the wallet.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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#13
Thanks. I always look for a good heft in my audio gear as weight often equated to better parts. The 300B`s are particularly expensive I have heard so I might avoid the A50 because of that. If it costs as much for a new set of tubes as the amp itself I could be heading for a hurting in the wallet.
300B tubes last a very, very long time. I wouldn't be surprised that the tubes in a 300B amp outlast you.
 

mhardy6647

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#15
I will check out Rogue thanks.
I like to see different sides and opinions, I love the science of amps, my Schiit Heresy is so quiet I could hear a mouse fart! But there is also no denying valve amps sound great despite a bit of hiss. To quote Dave Gilmore `where would rock n roll be without a bit of feedback?`
I listen to the likes of King Crimson which most people I know take for an awful cacophony, but to me it the strumming of angles.
Dared seem to have been about for quiet a while the 1st version of the MP5 was over 19 years ago and if you look there are old posts on this site recommending it Reisong have been getting a lot of good press of late and the prices are in the range where the old lady might not notice :D
My daily driver, FWIW: single-ended 2A3 @ about 3.5 watts per channel, based on Joseph Esmila's "Simple 2A3" with some minor modifications. :)

015a
by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
 

Wes

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#16
Amazon carries Reisong amps, so you can easily get one, listen & return. Also, they are only $400 which helps if you don't like it after a while.

I have heard the Rogue amp - several hour listening session with 2 different Maggie speakers. It sounds nice - if I were prone to characterize the sound I might use the terms sweet or liquidity...

It is summer, so maybe you'd like to go to camp? Amp camp...
 

MakeMineVinyl

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#17
My daily driver, FWIW: single-ended 2A3 @ about 3.5 watts per channel, based on Joseph Esmila's "Simple 2A3" with some minor modifications. :)

015a
by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
Can you post a schematic of that amp?
 

Jim Matthews

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#18
Can you post a schematic of that amp?
http://web.archive.org/web/20060618122016/http://www.angela.com/catalog/how-to/SE.2A3.html

Be advised that zero feedback, single stage amplifiers demand robust and stable power supplies. If it's a first time build, caution is advised.

They also have frequency response limitations, distort abruptly and require high sensitivity loudspeakers to sound best.

In my opinion there is nothing in contemporary playback to rival the sense of immediacy in close micc'd acoustic recordings of a Direct Heated Triode paired with a well made broad band (large) paper driver and large horn.

That said, it's an enormous PITA to get there.


I'm doubtful any of the inexpensive amps mentioned above will satisfy.

If you *must* have tubes, the excellent kits from Bob Latino at Tubes4hifi
have good support after the sale and an thriving community of enthusiasts.

Some of the designs have a "triode emulation" feature that gets close to what a genuine triode can do with music.

http://tubes4hifi.com/
 
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mhardy6647

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#19
Can you post a schematic of that amp?
http://jelabsarch.blogspot.com/2012/06/je-labs-simple-452a3.html

The original design specifies 6SL7 for the driver (voltage amp). The driver circuit's wiring has been modified on this particular to accept a broader range of twin triode base 8BD tubes, specifically to allow use of the 6EM7.
https://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/je-labs-2a3-amplifier.86502/#post-922727
https://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/the-je-labs-angela-se-2a3-amp-done-my-way.112767/
This is the same amplifier I have, built by my friend & hifi colleague Nate ("Redboy" at AK and other fora).
I also have a pair of Bottlehead Paramour SE 2A3 "monoblocks" - built from kits by my kids & I many years back.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #20
Amazon carries Reisong amps, so you can easily get one, listen & return. Also, they are only $400 which helps if you don't like it after a while.

I have heard the Rogue amp - several hour listening session with 2 different Maggie speakers. It sounds nice - if I were prone to characterize the sound I might use the terms sweet or liquidity...

It is summer, so maybe you'd like to go to camp? Amp camp...
I am based in the UK at the moment and there are no Reisong amps available. I would have to go through Aliexpress. They are being sent from Belgium though, so would not take long to arrive. It is actually another reason I was going to try the Dared, as that one is available on Amazon UK.
 
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