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Old 29th October 2013, 01:30 AM   #1
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Default New to the Group, whats your fav SPP setup

I'm new to the group and looking forward to building a couple Tube Lab amps. I couldn't make up my mind on which one to start with so I have one of each board on the way. I'm going to start with the SSE and was wondering what the group might suggest for tubes on this amp. I listen to mostly vinyl and my standard system is a Music Reference RM9 MkII. I have built many pieces of equipment over the years, but its been a long time. I'm looking forward to a new project.

So anyway I was wondering what tube/transformers the group might suggest to make this board really sing? I've been going over this forum and the tublab site. I've owned plenty of amps with the EL34, but never owned anything with the 6L6. From what I read it sounds like the KT88 tubes may be a little too heavy for me, but I have no reference except the amp I had as a teenager that used 6550's. My listening then was much different.

Sorry to start off with such general questions. Just getting excited to be able to start my planning.

Thanks
Brian
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Old 29th October 2013, 09:38 PM   #2
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Welcome, Brian! Sorry about your wallet.

Are you doing the SPP or SSE (you mention both)? What kind of speakers are you using?

I also listen mostly to vinyl (Rega Planar 3 w/ Ortofon 2m Blue through a Hagtech Bugle).

As far as the SSE, so far I've preferred the extra weight of KT88s in my SSE with smaller Fostex drivers, but the detail of EL34s with my larger and more efficient Klipsch Heresys. The differences aren't huge though (it's more like fine tuning) and both tubes do sound good with both types of speakers. I haven't tried 6L6s yet, but I will eventually if only just to hear the nuances. One of the great things about the design is that it isn't hard to choose operating points that will play nicely with multiple tubes.

Because of chassis size constraints, I went with the Edcor GXSE transformers (middle-of the road in terms of size and cost). I also chose a 6ohm output so that I can use both 4ohm and 8ohm speakers and stay within 3-5k reflected impedance to the tubes. Although I'm curious about what could potentially be gained with the big CXSE's, I really don't feel as though I'm missing anything. I do believe I read somewhere that with extremely high efficiency speakers, the smaller OPTs may be more balanced than the bassier CXSEs. Turn around from Edcor was only about 3 weeks for me (though they quote 5 weeks on their website).

Many have used Transcendar iron with the SSE and reported good results, too.

Edit: Oops, didn't see you're doing both. You'll have to report back on how they compare!

Last edited by Sodacose; 29th October 2013 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 30th October 2013, 12:07 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Sodacose. I just couldn't make up my mind so I decided I needed all 3 boards. I realize I mess up the subject of my original message. I think I'll start with the SSE. I'm not sure this amp would drive my Thiel speakers but I've been wanted to give the simple high efficiency full range drivers a try.

As for the tubes I have a few sets in my stock I can try but I guess I need to look for a pair of KT88s. I do like strong solid bass but it also needs to be clear and crisp. I'm spoiled with my main system and enjoy a wide sound stage that's clean and crisp.

I'm planning on getting some of the Edcor transformers. My budget for this is pretty open so I was going to see what I can actual get out of these boards. I also have a fair stock of Russian K40Y-9 capacitors so I'm good there. I've been going over the Edcor Transformer site and they seem to have a nice selection with the exception of only single impedance outputs.

I'll be posting more I'm sure once I get a plan for the tubes I want to start with.

Thanks
Brian
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Old 30th October 2013, 12:17 AM   #4
evanc is offline evanc  United States
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you might consider electraprint transformers.
Electra-Print.com Audio Transformers
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Old 30th October 2013, 12:31 AM   #5
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Thanks evanc, Looks like I have another website to go through tonight.

Boy I wish I knew about these custom transformer places in the 90s. I had a Scott LK-150 once that shorted one of the output transformers. I couldn't find a replacement so I sold it for parts.
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Old 30th October 2013, 02:39 AM   #6
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Ok, I guess I've decided on the first amp to start. I just got a pair of new Sovtek KT-88s and a pair of GE 5 Star 6201s for a good price on ebay. I'll work on the iron to order later this week. I also have some old EL34's I can always use to compare with later.

Brian
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