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Old 22nd August 2010, 01:24 AM   #1
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Default Tube choices...........

I've spent more than a little time studying the Tubelab website and this forum and I'm ready to order a board. But I can't really decide which would suit my listening tastes and which output tubes to go with. Mostly I listen to folksy rock and blues. Some blue grass as well. I really like well recorded live performances ( currently listening to disc 1 of Dick's Picks 29 ).

I'm tending towards a 300b configuration for the base but can't really decide between the SSE or the TSE. Not too worried about build difficulty. My current speakers are GR Research NX2's which are not very sensitive but do have well behaved impedance across the frequency range. I plan to build a full range set of horns or BIB's after I get the amp finished.

Advice would be welcomed...........
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Old 22nd August 2010, 08:46 PM   #2
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If you are looking to use 300B, the choice would be TSE. I brought up a question about which brand of 300B to go with but it doesn't seem to be a hot topic on this forum for some reason.
Link: Sophia Electric 300B tube
Some say output tubes are not as critical on sound quality as how they are typically praised on magazines and online reviews. Output transformer is where the money should be spent. I use Valve Art 300B and Electra-Print's 3KOhm OPT for my TSE. It sounds fantastic.
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Old 22nd August 2010, 10:34 PM   #3
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I noticed this morning that the SSE is not designed for the 300B tube. Thanks for the confirmation. It takes some research to determine what kind of output iron one is going to need based on the tube choices. This is going to be fun.
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Old 22nd August 2010, 10:49 PM   #4
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One thing to keep in mind is that the GR N2X's are not very efficient speakers, you may be better off with the SimplePP or if you want to stay SE then consider speakers with a 92db/w efficiency or better. I believe the N2X's are around 84db/W.
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Old 23rd August 2010, 03:49 PM   #5
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84dB...yeah...unless your listening area is quite small, the TSE will have a difficult time generating reasonable volumes with 4W. An "all-out" SSE build will give you about 14W, which might be enough if you don't need a lot of volume. Otherwise, you really need to look at PP designs.
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Old 2nd September 2010, 12:24 PM   #6
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It has been my plan to build a pair of full range speakers once I complete an amp. I'm on the verge of ordering an TSE board and the parts for it. Need to study the options a bit more though.

1. Tube rectification or solid state? What are the differences? Since the diodes have been a trouble spot I'm leaning towards tube.

2. What is the value of switchable output modes? Am leaning towards keeping the build simple (and reliable ).
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Old 2nd September 2010, 03:29 PM   #7
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Default No need for horns...

My SSE (currently running with KT88's) easily drives 87db Vandersteen 2ci's. More than enough clean volume for a 15' x 20' room. The SSE is always amazing me with it's performance. It's a giant killer!
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Old 2nd September 2010, 03:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motosapien View Post
I'm on the verge of ordering an TSE board and the parts for it.
Quote:
2. What is the value of switchable output modes? Am leaning towards keeping the build simple (and reliable ).
Are you referring to Tubelab SE or Tubelab's The Simple SE?
TSE = Tubelab SE
SSE = The Simple SE
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Old 2nd September 2010, 05:56 PM   #9
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Evenharmonics - I'm going to build the simple SE.
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Old 2nd September 2010, 06:27 PM   #10
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If you build the Simple Se then do yourself a big favor and use a 6550 or KT 88 as outputs tubes so you can have something close to 10 watts. Anything smaller you won't hardly get anything worth listening to on your 84 dB speaker. Remember in single ended amps as the power output increases the distortion increases exponentially so you can only count on about half the power as usable. So with the 6550 or KT 88 you are looking at 5 watts rather than 10. Not nearly enough for anything but low volume listening in a reasonable sized room. For your 84 dB speakers I would highly recommend the simple push pull because you will be able to use most all of the 10 watts that it puts out which will come in very handy if your room is any bigger than a shoe box. The big plus here is when you decide you want more power you can just parallel the one you have to get 20 watts and build another one for the other channel. That way you get two mono block 20 watt amps that are well designed for low cost. Do not disregard the well designed statement. You would be shocked at the junk that is sold as quality design.
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