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Tube amp research

Rgrossberg

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I am new to the world of higher end quality audio equipment. I have a Carver power amp (class A, discrete channels, 100w) and preamp (1985) and they are driving Ohm Walsh Two speakers built in 1985. I now wish to move into the world of tube amplifiers. I have come across many online ads which sell what is called "white label equipment". This means that one factory (in China) produces the same amplifier but puts anyone's name on it.

One company which stands out and may produce quality is Nobsound Audio (Douk Audio in Shenzhen China). They claim that they have been producing quality, higher end audio equipment, at a reasonable price. But it is also clear that they are also a white label manufacturer for certain pieces of equipment.

Anyone have an opinion about this company?
 

MakeMineVinyl

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From what I have seen, they are pretty typical of such companies and are probably a safe purchase option but I would not power your Ohm speakers with a tube amp. In general, currently made tube amps have evolved into what amounts to 'tone controls' by design - they are not necessarily meant to reproduce audio without editorializing on it. When tube amps were the only game in town in the 50s and 60s, they were designed to be as transparent as the technology of the time allowed, which can be very good. Times have changed.

If this is OK with you and you are prepared to accept the coloration, have at it! :)

Lest you think I'm against tubes, my system is almost entirely tube based, but I have very efficient horn speakers which do not place the tube amps into operating conditions which would unduly color the sound.
 

Jim Matthews

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If you're committed to testing the waters with tubes, Bob Latino's excellent VTA amps have real power output in the 75-125 watt range and excellent linearity. I owned and sold on a VTA 120 amp that was quite good. The tubes are readily available and the transformers used, hefty.

 

mhardy6647

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The Ohm Walsh Two (and most of those smaller "quasi" Walsh Ohms) are reputed on teh webz to be insensitive, needing large amounts of power to thrive.
As fate would have it, I have a pair of Walsh Twos. :) I actually found them to be quite tolerant of low-powered vacuum tube amplification. Specifically, push-pull EL84 amplifiers like the venerable EICO HF-81(ca. 12 wpc) did a pretty good job to my ear driving them. Note that I'm not recommending PP EL84, but manage your expectations as to how much power you need, and your budget may go further than you'd expect.

Of course, it may depend upon your room size & "condition", taste in music, and how loud you like to listen -- not to mention your expectations about how it all sounds.

To your question: Personally, I'd avoid Nobsound and its clones, but if you don't mind the risk and you like the price, go for it.

One "insight" that I've gleaned from the Carver Crimson 275 imbroglio: The push-pull stereo Rogue Audio vacuum tube amplifiers seem to hit a pretty admirable price/performance/quality point.
 
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Gorgonzola

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Wow, well, back in the remote past I owned a pair of Ohm F's. (Foolishly I sold them for a B&W DM7's -- bad mistake.)

For a while I drove the Ohm F's with at Sony TA-4650 V-FET integrated amp that only put out about 20 wpc. The F's sounded OK but when I switched to Phase Linear 400, the dynamics really opened up. Yes, I'd agree that the Ohm speakers, (at least most models), require quite a bit of power to sound their best. If you want to go tube, I'd say look for at least 60 wpc, something like Bob Latino's ST120 would be a descent choice.

No my own pics ...
 

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