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Old 9th July 2009, 12:53 AM   #1
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Default Tubelab Simple SE Sound Quality

I've been looking for reports on how the Tubelab Simple SE sounds and have found a few here and there but would like to start a thread specifically asking for builder/user reports on it's sound quality.

No need to get too technical as there are many Simple SE threads that cover the tech/engineering details. It would be good to know what tubes and what output transformers are being used, but mainly I'm wondering how it sounds and what other amps you have compared it to.

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Old 9th July 2009, 02:02 AM   #2
chrish is offline chrish  Australia
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I was an early adopter. Have had mine for a while now. It is the main amp in my system. I am not that great at making flowery descriptions, but it is my main amp for a reason! I love it. I have had an Adcom 555 power amp, and have built several chip amps.

My system is Simple SE running a pair of Lynn Olson Ariel transmission line speakers. I have an active crossover (Eliot Sound Products DIY) splitting the +80Hz to the SSE + Ariel combo and the Sub 80Hz to the Adcom 555 with the Lynn Olson recommended bass enclosures (twin 100litre boxes each with two Scan Speak 25W/8565-01 drivers). So, I do not require bass from the amp and I have them running with the small Edcor XSE15-4-5K output transformers. Also, as bass is not a requirement for this amp, I have found the E34L from JJ to sound more detailed than the KT88. Others have reported that they prefer the KT88 when required for full range duty. Have found the Cheap Russian 6L6 clones sound very reasonable too. As for driver tubes, have tried a few and have not heard much of a difference. JJ seams good value here too, and is what is in the system at the moment.


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Old 9th July 2009, 05:19 PM   #3
rknize is offline rknize  United States
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I made a rather lengthy post on my thoughts after a few weeks of use and tube rolling. Rather than regurgitate it, I'll just link the post:

Right now, my SSE is idle while I enjoy the TSE (Tubelab SE) on its breadboard. The TSE with 45s is a joy to listen to for "critical listening" where I sit in a chair, by myself, usually in the dark, in the sweet spot. It helps my speakers do magical things to live recordings, especially older ones that don't sound that great normally, even with headphones.

The SSE can do that to, but not to the same degree. What the SSE can do is rock the house while keeping that SE sound and that's mainly what I use it for. When I just want music playing or if I want to pretend that I'm at a Pink Floyd concert, the SSE with KT88s or similar is a blast.
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Old 9th July 2009, 07:23 PM   #4
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The SSE (Simple SE) was my second tube amp. For me the difference between this amp and any SS that I've owned was phenomenal. The first tube amp was a PP design that was ok, but just didn't have any real guts or specialness to it.

I built a pair of fostex FE166E horns - 94db speakers and the combination is perfect! KT88's give you some serious wall shaking power, 6L6GC lack somewhat on bass - but have some really nice detail, and the EL34's are all about vocals.

It's an excellent amp, and my implementation has just the faintest amount of hum - which I attribute to my lack of knowledge in amp building more than the design itself.

The best part of building this amp is that there are at least one or two being built at any one time, and if the designer (tubelab) isn't here to help there are several of us that have built one, so there is plenty of support.

I'm in the process of fixing(1) the Tubelab SE, which was George's first board, and it is a remarkably, quiet and detailed amp. It's also a little more challenging to implement - and a bit more expensive. 300B's, 45's and 2A5's are pricey tubes these days...

But I love my SE.

(1) I deviated from the initial plans... or I didn't heat sink properly... or some other god knows what thing bit me!
For security reasons my name is changed daily...
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