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What do you use? Not technical but relative.
What do you use? Not technical but relative.
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Old 3rd August 2008, 10:26 AM   #1
hdlcx2 is offline hdlcx2  United States
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Default What do you use? Not Techicnal but relative

Hi all

Some outstanding and awsome work here.

This is not a technicial question, for a change. But I'm wondering, what other input/outputs do you use with your amps?

For example, do you use turntables, CD Players, Tape, Preamps, Tuners or what?

Also, are these units also tube or ss? does it bother you to have constructed an excellent amplifier only to utilize a digital/ss CD Player for example.

Im aware the differences between a fine CD DAC but not everyone can afford one.

Do you think a basic (But good) turntable is adequate)?

I am curious as I have just aquired a new PP amp.

Thanks in advance

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Old 3rd August 2008, 12:21 PM   #2
SY is offline SY  United States
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What do you use? Not technical but relative.
Both CD and phono here. No, the digitization doesn't bother me- I think the main advantages of tubes comes in very low level, high dynamic range circuitry like phono and in power amps. The "in the middle" stuff is frankly not as critical and much easier to do well. Unlike phono, the levels and bandwidth of CD are quite tightly defined.

A basic-but-good turntable will do very, very well for you, but make sure you've got things optimized to get the most out of it. That means mechanically (cartridge alignment, turntable siting) and electrically. Most phono systems fall down badly at the phono preamp portion, and here's where a good tube setup, with proper cartridge loading and good overload characteristics, will really shine.
"You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."
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Old 3rd August 2008, 03:14 PM   #3
SigloOne is offline SigloOne  United States
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I have a multi disc CD player, a vintage Pro-Ject 1.2 turntable and my big screen tv running through my Lafayette 224A. I did connect a subwoofer as well, but it's modern solid state (I only use it for the movies).

I am considering mod'ing my CD with a tube preamp, there are a few kits out there, it bypasses the audio path giving you a better sound (or so I am told) , but thats down the road aways, when I get motivated.

Building my own 30 P-P is my first priority.

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Old 3rd August 2008, 06:03 PM   #4
Gordy is offline Gordy  United Kingdom
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Default Re: What do you use? Not Techicnal but relative

Originally posted by hdlcx2

...But I'm wondering, what other input/outputs do you use with your amps?
CD player, Tuner, TV, Record player (RIAA / phono amp). A DIY preamplifier / attenuator / power amplifier can be constructed to accept a signal from any input that you choose. You choose how it is configured.

Originally posted by hdlcx2

...Do you think a basic (But good) turntable is adequate)?
Adequate for what? You decide. Your choice.

Originally posted by hdlcx2

...does it bother you to have constructed an excellent amplifier only to utilize a digital/ss CD Player for example.
You sound as if you have been hanging around on them audiofool websites. Stop it immediately !!!

Personally I would quite like to try an 'old fashioned' reel-to-reel with tapes from 'The Tape Project', but finances do not allow. So does it 'bother' me by having to stick with records and CDs? Not for a second... entertainment is entertainment... sometimes relaxing... sometimes dancing around... but never 'bothered'.

Must go... need to flip sides...

: )
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Old 3rd August 2008, 06:58 PM   #5
rdf is offline rdf  Canada
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Phono, DAC, tuner and .....computer (the latter using Gentoo linux to stream movies from a server.) When it comes to turntables you live in good times. The recent revival means a vastly superior kit can be had for less in equivalent dollars than the ~$125 I paid in the early Seventies for an AR XA & Shure M91ED. If you have a decent collection of vinyl it's worth it.
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Old 3rd August 2008, 07:37 PM   #6
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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What do you use? Not technical but relative.
My system is an odd mix of tube and solid state, but it would not have been that way 10yrs ago...

Let's see, three digital sources:

A Sony SCD-777ES sacd player that I have heavily modified, audio output is from a single pair of differential I/V converters (LM4562) per channel driving UTC A-20 line/mixing transformers - output is balanced or unbalanced as I choose..

A media server and a "Shigaclone" transport driving my custom dac loosely based on some boards and a receiver module from Twisted Pear Audio - differential I/V converters using the THS4131 driving UTC A-21 line/mixing transformers, both balanced and unbalanced out as I choose.

These digital sources are both transparent and not overtly solid state sounding..

Analog sources:

FM Tuners - A couple of tube tuners and a Mitsubishi DA-F10 which is all solid state. Frankly my favorite tuner at the moment is the DA-F10..

Records - Handled by a restored Thorens TD-125/SME 3009 Series II/Grado and the riaa amplifier is my own D3A/5842 based design.

Tape - I just got an Otari MX-55-T-M mastering recorder I am integrating into the system. (10.5" reels, 2 track, Dolby HX Pro, NAB or IEC EQ., and up to 30 ips operation.)

No plans to support cassette tape now or in the future.


Line Stage - Transformer coupled line stage with 26 dhts..

Power Amplifier - 300B DHT SE two chassis

My designs generally have tightly regulated tube power supplies and simple audio paths.

I have no problem (any longer) mixing and matching for the best overall sound. Eventually I plan to replace the LM4562s in the sacd player with THS4131 on adaptor boards I've yet to make.

I have had all tube analog paths in several d/a and cd players I've tinkered with and frankly my current approach with d/a converters provides me with better overall performance than my older tube designs. (These days I would use 5687/5842/D3A and similar types - old designs used 6SL7, 5751 and 12AU7A and sounded nice, but just a bit euphonic, they had neither the speed nor resolution of my current approach.)

Speakers are homebrew Onken cabs with JBL horns on mids and tweets.

Mix and match I say with the aim of getting the type of sound you are looking for and whatever level of convenience you need..
"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine
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Old 3rd August 2008, 08:32 PM   #7
kmaier is offline kmaier  United States
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A collection at this end too:

Front ends:

- Sota TT w/Sumiko FT3 arm rewired with pure silver and Adcom VdH SXC
- other cartridges about... Decca Gold, Sumiko BluePoint and others
- Kenwood KD500 with Infinity Black widow - still about, not used for 15+ years
- Otari MX55 deck
- Dyna FM3 tuner (hardly used as FM in South Florida not worth listening to)
- Marantz Pro Portable cassette deck

- Tascam Pro DAT machine
- Apogee PSX 100 24/96 workstation converter
- Mytek Digital Workstation 24
- Mytek Digital Stereo96 DAC
- Mytek Digital AD2021 ADC
- Mytek Digital DDD-603 Mastering Meter
- RME Digi/96 for computer I/O
- Digigram VX/Pocket for laptop
- Digidesign Mbox2 for laptop
- Simple Toshiba DVD deck using SPDIF output
- Custom XLR Pro to Consumer RCA interface using Jensen transformers
- Windows and Apple computers with pro audio software

- customer vacuum tube unit designed and built in the latter 80's
- McIntosh C22, not currently functioning

Power Amps:
- Dyna Mk-III rebuilt with better parts
- Dyna ST-70 custom built with better parts and improved PS
- Dyna ST-70 custom built with Audio Research kit with upgrades, DC balance
- Dyna ST-35 rebuilt with better parts
- McIntosh MC240, not currently functioning
- Custom built 45 triode amps using MQ iron
- Custom designed/built 45 triode amps using Hashimoto iron - premium parts
- Custom designed/built 2A3 triode amps using Hashimoto iron - premium parts
- more stuff en route... WE300B and larger 2A3 amps with single-plate tubes

- Quad ESL-63 US Monitor rebuilt/upgraded in Arcici stands
- Fostex F120A in ported enclosures
- Feastrex D5nf in BVR
- Hornshoppe Horns
- other Fostex units around, Decca London Ribbons, Kef units too

- mostly homemade using Mogami cable (if it's good enough for studios...)
- some older Monster high-end stuff, line and speaker

More stuff if I start digging about... but that takes time

Regards, KM
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Old 3rd August 2008, 10:25 PM   #8
hdlcx2 is offline hdlcx2  United States
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WOW!!! Great response!

Thank you all very much.

Iíve just had a look and am surprised at the amount of replies.

Iím also very surprised at the context of the replies. Computers and TVís? I would never have thought.. It is very eye opening to me. I had thought that tubers were just that and avoided mixing it up. I suppose there are those out there but as people in here have related, itís all in the final sound you hear and what combination sounds best to you.

I currently have:
Kenwood KR5200 receiver
NAD 7030 Receiver
Pioneer PL 550X Turntable
Yamaha CD300
Luxman D102 CD
Polk Monitor 5Aís on stands
And a MA6P1 10watt pc PP due in about one week.

I plan to do away with the receivers and acquire a tuner as there are some decent radio stations in this area. This is about my zillionth sound system, as I move around the world a lot and tend to leave things behind. However, this will be my first tube amp. I want to build one sometime fairly soon and depending on what 10 watt PP sounds like will help in the decision of what I chose to build.. Iíve gotten some great ideas from this forum, also from the ďAudiofool WebsitesĒ of which I plan to ďStop doing immediately!!!Ē.

Thanks again

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Old 4th August 2008, 05:53 AM   #9
gingertube is offline gingertube  Australia
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10 Watt per channel should be fine for those Polks.

I have driven these with a 7 watt per channel 6GW8 push pull amp (design is posted here somewhere) and they sounded stunning.

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Old 4th August 2008, 11:42 AM   #10
kstagger is offline kstagger  United States
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I use the passive version of the RAKK DAC - PCM1794 DAC hooked to a Lundahl transformer. That's about it really.

I am planning a future turntable and phono stage, but its on the bottom of the list right now.

System is in flux right now:

6N6P DIY linestage or Nelson Pass Zen DIY linestage
Dynaco Mark IIIs with tubezone Poseidon and SDS boards
UREI 813As or KEF Q30s(!)
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