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Old 23rd April 2009, 04:31 PM   #1
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Default Tube system for classical audio

Hey everyone, just want to get some reccomendations. I'm new to tube amps, but I was considering using them for a music system I'm putting together for a piano teacher. In his words "I ONLY listen to mahler Symphonies, Beethoven Quartets, operas, and the like. No other music, ever...sorry very rascist! Therefore, my sound is more ROUND and brilliant, but not strident.
I need a sound equipment of small dimensions, perhaps around 800 dollars." If an LP player can be fit into the price, he'd also like that.

Anyway, I've done a little reading and was thinking of putting together one of the kits from S-5, they're local to me (Phoenix AZ) so I might be able to get one pretty quickly. I've read good things about them, and as I've never built an amp before I'd rather start with a kit then with schematics. I've got access to a circuits lab at the uni, so I'll have a good scope to work with and the like. What's everyones thoughts on this? Also, what are some good speaker reccomendations to go with a tube amp? I'm also open to solid-state, if you all think that would be more suited to his tastes... I'll defer to the experts on that haha.

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Old 23rd April 2009, 08:26 PM   #2
dubdub is offline dubdub  United Kingdom
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''I ONLY listen to mahler Symphonies, Beethoven Quartets, operas, and the like. No other music, ever...sorry very rascist! '' this paino teacher is... a rascist (sic)? fine if you dont like other music but ...?
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Old 23rd April 2009, 08:38 PM   #3
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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Oh dear, Mahler symphonies and opera require clean power and valve watts are expensive. Can your music teacher tolerate large open baffles (with sensitive drivers)? If so, you might get away with < 10W. He can have two out of the following three:

Loud and clean.

Why does he think something to emulate all instruments simultaneously should be cheaper than a honky tonk piano?
The loudspeaker: The only commercial Hi-Fi item where a disproportionate part of the budget isn't spent on the box. And the one where it would make a difference...
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Old 23rd April 2009, 10:26 PM   #4
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By "racist" he just means he doesn't like music other than what was described, so it's a figurative one haha.

As for the size issue... I'd have to forward whatever you recommend onto him, and then see if that's acceptable. I'm doing this for a friend, so I don't know the man personally (or have much familiarity with classical music.. hence the need for advice). I haven't seen the room he intends to use these in, so I couldn't say as far as that either. Do you think a solid state receiver would be more suitable in this case, due to their (relatively) lower cost, and higher wattages?

I'm also not opposed to DIYing the speakers if it would save money and produce better quality, although I don't have a lot of familiarity with woodworking so a kit with at least flat packed panels to assemble would be preferable. So, where are my best options here?
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Old 24th April 2009, 12:18 AM   #5
limono is offline limono  United States
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spend $700 on speakers .For mahler /opera/ piano you need something with bass and scale . Look for used , good but not pretty (meaning little abused) 10+ years old from English manufacturers,B&W, KEF, etc. also original Snell speakers from the period they were concerned with sound first not with pleasing bitches with fancy boxes and veneers. For remaining $100 you may put together decent hi-power gainclone which will kick -ss of most AB PP tube amps 10 times the price.
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Old 24th April 2009, 12:31 AM   #6
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Default Look for these used speakers;

I only listen to serious music myself. Neanderthals didn't die out, They became rock and rap musicians. Klipsch Heresy, Klipsch LaScalla, Klipsch Cornwall. Electro Voice Sentry 4B. Some of these are large in physical dimensions. Also look for Altec Model 19 or Gillum G3 speakers. High efficiency is the ticket then you could spend less on an amplifier All you would need with any of these speakers is a 10-20 watts per channel. In amplifiers look for a Luxman MB3045 or Dynaco Mark 3 or Dyna Stereo 70 and maybe a Luxman CL32 preamp. But you're gona have to increase your budget. Try to get it assembled instead of kits. Then you will have some resale value.
" Polarities are seldom aware of their polarness." Prospero
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Old 24th April 2009, 12:59 AM   #7
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Sorry, the S5 stuff is barely better than a toy.

That $800 budget hamstrings you BADLY. $300 should buy the makings of a decent "El Cheapo". Buy an OK CDP and you will know how much is left for speakers. You will need something with a mid 90s sensitivity. I hope your musician friend can tolerate some weakness in the deep bass region. Enclosures of reasonable size will not go there.

Forget about vinyl. A decent TT setup will consume the entire budget and then some.

BTW, Saturday Audio has a $129 special on Denon DVD-1940CI players. My hunch is you will be hard pressed to do better within the difficult financial limits.
Eli D.
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Old 24th April 2009, 02:04 AM   #8
PH104 is offline PH104  United States
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In my music appreciation course - about 25 years ago...........
The university had McIntosh, Klipschorns, AR turntable, cartridge unknown. What a big sound! The opening to Mahler's 2nd was incredible. I've since heard another Klipschorn/tube McIntosh/CD source system with some opera (Verdi or Wagner??) and Beethoven piano sonatas. Very impressive on both. I think my system now is 'better' but missing that impact.

oops- just noticed the $$ limit. Eli Duttman's recommendations are good.
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Old 24th April 2009, 04:29 AM   #9
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Default Re: Look for these used speakers;

Originally posted by grhughes
I only listen to serious music myself. Neanderthals didn't die out, They became rock and rap musicians.
Ouch, as a rock fan I got burned. Haha.

Back to amplifiers, would this look like a good buy to you then?:

As much as I'd like to increase the budget, unfortunately its not my money, so I am somewhat limited in choices. I realize for this price range you can't get true audiophile quality, I'm just trying to make the best of what I can. Thanks for the recommendations though, and if anyone else has one, feel free to chime in. Clearly, I've got some more research to do
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Old 24th April 2009, 05:47 AM   #10
rknize is offline rknize  United States
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What you are buying there is a repair have to provide the amp. The MkIII is a monoblock, so you would need two.

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