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Old 20th February 2010, 01:09 PM   #1
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Default Tubelabs SE vs. Simple SE ??

This is for my first tube project. I've researched kits, and considered doing my own design, but the TL SSE and SE sound like a great way to get started.
I am looking for > 3w/ch to drive my bedroom speakers.

I'm trying to get my head around the advantages /differences of the TSE vs. the SSE.

BTW, what is a DHT amp?

Thx,
Rob
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Old 20th February 2010, 01:41 PM   #2
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DHT: directly heated Triode (like 2A3). The Simple SE should be easier to build, probably will cost less overall, and potentially can give a few more watts as well. Russian and Chinese 6L6s are quite inexpensive.
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Old 20th February 2010, 02:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bavis View Post
DHT: directly heated Triode (like 2A3). The Simple SE should be easier to build, probably will cost less overall, and potentially can give a few more watts as well. Russian and Chinese 6L6s are quite inexpensive.
Simpler to build, maybe. Both are on PC boards, so not a big deal. I know the SE involves messing with some heat sinks that require some mechanical fiddling, but not a big problem. As for watts, it's hard to say. The SE uses a thing called "power drive" that can really make the most of low powered DHT's. Plus you get the sonic advantage of the DHT, but the downside of the MOSFET in the way. I have built the SE and enjoyed it with 300Bs. As with many (all?) SE designes, the output transformers make a lot of difference!
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Old 20th February 2010, 02:27 PM   #4
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In summary:

TubeLab Simple SE is a more cost effective design using readily available tubes, lots of tube choices, requires no adjustments once built and can easily deliver 5-8W or so depending on tube type, cathode R value and B+ voltage. It uses common output tubes such as such as EL34, KT88, 6L6GC, 6V6. It can also be configured to operate either in triode or ultralinear (UL) mode.

The TubeLab SE is a bit more advanced (and expensive to build), using directly heated triodes, fixed bias, regulated voltages, MOSFET coupling, etc. It can produce around 2W using the 45 tube, and maxes out around 8W using the 300B tube ($$$).

There is loads of info here: Tubelab Home

and here: Tubelab - diyAudio

I couldn't decide either and bought both boards........which are both about 80% complete.....so many amp, so little time.

Last edited by boywonder; 20th February 2010 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 20th February 2010, 02:33 PM   #5
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Thanks guys.
I'm thinking now the Simple SE would be better for a 1st project.
I am willing to invest in the OPTs. Any recommendations on OPTs for best sound quality?
Driving 8ohm speakers, 3-5w/ch. I may try the KT88s.

Thx,
Rob
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Old 20th February 2010, 05:20 PM   #6
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For a bedroom amp the Simple SE is the most build and forget. You don't have to check bias or set it.
As far as OPT's you need not spend alot to get a great sounding amp.
For the KT88 option I used the edocr 15W 5k8 I think it is their GX series. If I would do over, I would probably go with the 25W CX series from EDCOR.

If you have really "Prime" bedroom speakers and a great set-up then spending more on a set of Electraprint, Onetics, or others could be considered. Then there are the boutique OPTs but $$$WOW$$$. The term "better" almost doesn't apply at that level.

I have both the Simple SE kt88 and the Tubelab SE 300b the later uses the 25W CXSE Edcors. I couldn't decide either.
My Simple SE is in my bedroom because of simplicity.
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Old 20th February 2010, 06:15 PM   #7
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I also have both. For a bedroom amp, I would agree that the SSE is the way to go. To my ears, the differences between the two amps are the most apparent during dedicated listening sessions (sitting alone with the music in "the spot"). The SSE just works and you don't have to hunt on eBay for tubes.

I have the big Edcor CXSE as well for the SSE and One Electron UBT2 for the TSE. The UBTs do not have an UL tap anyway and the huge CXSEs are great match when using big tubes in the SSE, like KT88s...awesome bass.
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Old 20th February 2010, 10:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albireo13 View Post
Thanks guys.
Any recommendations on OPTs for best sound quality?
Driving 8ohm speakers, 3-5w/ch. I may try the KT88s.

Thx,
Rob

If you are patient, you can pick up a pair of Transcendars on Ebay. Gery from Transcendar does not always have them listed, but they are listed quite regularly.

They are 10W, and are available in 3.5K and 5K primaries with 8 ohm secondaries. They are also available with and without UL taps. I would get the UL taps since you would then have the choice between UL and triode modes.

Here is a completed auction for reference:

Pair 5k UL Audio Output Transformers for SE amp, 8 ohm - eBay (item 280457884232 end time Feb-07-10 10:40:33 PST)

Looks like the prices on these are creeping (jumping!!) up. They used to be "buy-it-now" for $120+$15 shipping.

The trick to finding these is to search for Gery's user name, which looks like he just changed to Transcendar, since he does not put "Transcendar" in the auction title. You can also get these directly from Transcendar.

For a little more cash, look at the Electra-Prints (around $200-$220). They are also sometimes listed on Ebay (search for user name "electraprint"), or you can order Directly from Jack.

If your wallet is a little fatter than above, check out the James 6123HS. These are around $259 a pr new from TCtubes.com stateside, and are also regularly listed on Ebay. One nice thing about these (besides looks and quality, etc) is that they have both multiple primary impedances (2.5K, 3.5K, & 5K) and 4-8-16R secondary impedances.

If all of these are above your budget, as already mentioned Edcor has several choices at different price points and are a great value.
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Old 20th February 2010, 11:24 PM   #9
smbrown is offline smbrown  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder View Post
If you are patient, you can pick up a pair of Transcendars on Ebay. Gery from Transcendar does not always have them listed, but they are listed quite regularly.

They are 10W, and are available in 3.5K and 5K primaries with 8 ohm secondaries. They are also available with and without UL taps. I would get the UL taps since you would then have the choice between UL and triode modes.

Here is a completed auction for reference:

Pair 5k UL Audio Output Transformers for SE amp, 8 ohm - eBay (item 280457884232 end time Feb-07-10 10:40:33 PST)

Looks like the prices on these are creeping (jumping!!) up. They used to be "buy-it-now" for $120+$15 shipping.

The trick to finding these is to search for Gery's user name, which looks like he just changed to Transcendar, since he does not put "Transcendar" in the auction title. You can also get these directly from Transcendar.

For a little more cash, look at the Electra-Prints (around $200-$220). They are also sometimes listed on Ebay (search for user name "electraprint"), or you can order Directly from Jack.

If your wallet is a little fatter than above, check out the James 6123HS. These are around $259 a pr new from TCtubes.com stateside, and are also regularly listed on Ebay. One nice thing about these (besides looks and quality, etc) is that they have both multiple primary impedances (2.5K, 3.5K, & 5K) and 4-8-16R secondary impedances.

If all of these are above your budget, as already mentioned Edcor has several choices at different price points and are a great value.
Don't forget the Magnequest Robin Hood series. $99 each last I looked. I have a pair of the Parafeed units with nickel pin stripes. On my TubeLab SE amp, sound great. For a lot more $ you can get units like the FS030, I just took delivery on a pair of these. Kind of surprised they didn't come in crushed velvet pouches, but I think it would be really hard to beat them. Yes, expensive, but it is a long-term investment. Not to mention, it takes a long time to get them. Oh, and One Electron which you can get through Antique Electronic Supply are inexpensive and from people I've talked to, very nice indeed. I have not personally heard them, but they seem to stand the test of time.
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Old 20th February 2010, 11:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
I'm thinking now the Simple SE would be better for a 1st project.
I am willing to invest in the OPTs. Any recommendations on OPTs for best sound quality?
Driving 8ohm speakers, 3-5w/ch. I may try the KT88s.
Definitely. The Simple SE is pretty much build it right and it will play. The Tubelab SE does take some adjustments to make it work, and the component density on the PC board is about double. The Tubelab SE can be a more revealing better sounding amplifier IF you spend the money for good components, tubes and transformers. If you are on a budget you can get quite a bit more sound for your dollar with the Simple SE.

The KT88 can make 12 to 14 watts per channel in ultralinear mode. If this interests you make sure that you get output transformers with the UL tap on them. If you have big speakers and want room shaking bass the big Edcoe CXSE 25-8-5K's are the ticket. They sound good overall too. The Transcendars are also good. I have a pair of his older transformers in one of my Simple SE amps.

Quote:
Looks like the prices on these are creeping (jumping!!) up. They used to be "buy-it-now" for $120+$15 shipping.
I liked the older ones so much that I bought 10 pairs. I paid a lot less. It was a few years ago.
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