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Old 3rd September 2014, 09:44 AM   #1
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Default newbie question - best kind of tube amp for full range speakers

Hello All -
I have been spending a bunch of time lurking on these forums, and now I am about to dive in building my own system - I plan on making full range speakers, and I understand that these work well with lower powered tube amps.

Is this the case? Am I right in thinking this?
I understand also that it depends on what kind of music I intend to play - this will be quieter music with lots of dynamic (not compressed...) and field recordings.

Forgive me - there is just so much information on the forums.... What kind of amp works well: Class A? Class A/B? Push-Pull? Single Ended?

Is there a PDF somewhere or specific thread that might answer these questions?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Cheers,
Kevin
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Old 3rd September 2014, 10:23 AM   #2
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I hear push-pull,SE with different tubes such as 2a3, 300b, 211, gm70, el34 etc.
And i prefer my 6em7 modified Loftin-White schematic, its most dynamics and realistic sound I ever heard.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 03:45 PM   #3
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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Sorry if it is off topic but is there a reason you are looking at tube amps? Do you want excellent sound quality rivaling or better than many tube amps and even some esteemed class A amps? Try the TPA3116D2. Huge thread in class D forum and folks with tube and class A amps have compared and many agree this amp sounds better. In stock form it is pretty good but add $20 in mods of better caps etc and you have a great amp for $50. Add $100 for input balanced transformers and you have a potentially world class amp. For $20 ea give it a try and see what you think.

If you want something good out of the box, get the SMSL 36A pro (TPA3118D2) for $50. It is boxed with terminals and volume knob with some of the key upgrades already done.

Last edited by xrk971; 3rd September 2014 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 03:58 PM   #4
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hey, which tp3116d2 on ebay would you recommend?
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Old 3rd September 2014, 04:02 PM   #5
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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There has been a lot of documented work on the Yuan Jing blue black or "Danzz" board amp. That is one option you can get direct from YJ. It requires at minimum the main power cap upgrade. Lately there is the new Sure TPA3116D2 that has good reports, order direct from Sure. There is also low cost $13 option called the Ybdz or "Weiner" amp from Aliexpress. I use that and really like it.

Also, like I mentioned above, the SMSL 36A pro is very good stock.
SMSL SA-36A PRO 2* 20W TPA3118D2DAP Amp Stereo Digital Amplifier + Power Adapter, by Gemini Doctor:Amazon:Electronics

Many good reports on this one stock. You can upgrade the power caps near the chip with some Panasonic OSCON's SEPF 330uF 25v and it will sound even better.

Last edited by xrk971; 3rd September 2014 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 06:46 PM   #6
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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What, all TD311X amps don't sound the same?

I quite like the Yuan Jing complete kit version I picked up a couple of months back for about $140 landed cost, but sorry, compared to a well executed 6BG4 P/P, such as I heard recently there's some subtlety of "inner detail" and transparency missing with a high resolution FR driver - in this particular case the Mark Audio MAOP7 .

To the OP's question - if serious about pursuing a tube amp, as FR drivers can range quite a bit in net system sensitivity, I'd be inclined to recommend a P/P in the range of 10-15W - something like the Tubelab Simple P/P, for example. I built one with EL84 a few years ago, and it's been sufficient for any of my speaker builds from FR to MTM 2 ways with both series and parallel XO. I believe that George is still in business, but might no longer be selling complete parts kits - i.e. PC boards and schematic/parts lists only.

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Old 3rd September 2014, 07:21 PM   #7
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I will be building this tube amp in Germany, where I am located right now... so I am trying to find something that will be available here, and not ship from North America.

I am going to be using the Lowther Dx55's I think, and putting them into Nelson Pass's Kleinhorns.... Crazy I know, but they are just so ridiculously big, I have to have them.

Thanks for the input, and any more ideas would be super....
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Old 3rd September 2014, 07:28 PM   #8
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kvnschmdt View Post
I will be building this tube amp in Germany, where I am located right now... so I am trying to find something that will be available here, and not ship from North America.

I am going to be using the Lowther Dx55's I think, and putting them into Nelson Pass's Kleinhorns.... Crazy I know, but they are just so ridiculously big, I have to have them.

Thanks for the input, and any more ideas would be super....
The Yuan Jing and Sure's all ship from China to Germany in 7 days - not expensive shipping.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 07:34 PM   #9
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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Quote:
I quite like the Yuan Jing complete kit version I picked up a couple of months back for about $140 landed cost, but sorry, compared to a well executed 6BG4 P/P
Since you say "well-executed"... none of the amps from YJ factory will have the necessary mods to make them considered well-executed leading class amps unless they have these mods:

1. Panasonic OSCON SEPF 330uF 25v power supply rail caps x 2 ($1.80 ea)
2. Upgraded TDK ceramic 220nF 50v C0G bootstrap caps x 4 ($2 total)
3. Bootstrap snubber circuit of 330pF 50v caps and 1/4w 10ohm thin film resistors x 4 ($4)

It will sound completely different. The SMSL 36A comes close minus the OSCON's.

To be fair, if you ever get a chance to listen to a TPA3116D2 (note it is T PEE A not T DEE A - which is a different type of amp) with these mods on good speakers, you may change your mind.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 08:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
I quite like the Yuan Jing complete kit version I picked up a couple of months back for about $140 landed cost, but sorry, compared to a well executed 6BG4 P/P, such as I heard recently there's some subtlety of "inner detail" and transparency missing with a high resolution FR driver - in this particular case the Mark Audio MAOP7 .
There also seemed to be a lack of bass weight with the chip amp. To be fair though, it was tough to hear anything over Cal's PA downstairs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kvnschmdt View Post
I am going to be using the Lowther Dx55's I think, and putting them into Nelson Pass's Kleinhorns.... Crazy I know, but they are just so ridiculously big, I have to have them.
I'm guessing with those drivers, that system efficiency would be approaching 100dB/w/m? Single ended class A triodes would definitely be on the short list.

jeff
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