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Old 3rd August 2011, 05:01 PM   #1
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Default First time hearing an SET

My current system has way too much sand in the signal path so i was over at a guys house who designs amps and makes transformers. My plan is to put in a tube line stage and hopefully add some musicality (sp) to my system. Anyway, somehow we got on amps and I said I didn't understand how people could swear by little flea powered amps. He asked if I had ever heard one, and i said that no I had not. We then go to his listening room and he fires up a 1.7 watt 45 set. Well boys and girls, I was humbled. The sound was nothing less than stunning. I don't know all the proper audiophile terms to describe it, I can only say it was superb. Sounded orders of magnitude better than my old mc275, and up until yesterday i would have said those were some pretty strong words. This amp only had 1.7 watts, it clipped over that. But at about 1 watt, it was loud enough to where i couldn't here the owner maybe 10 feet from me.
I must say that my attitudes on power have been at the very least, shaken. Would 1.7 watts replace my mc2205? No, I sometimes like to irritate the neighbors and shake some walls. Would a 10 to 12 watt 300B? Maybe. The clarity and just plain music were very impressive. I think I'll build this preamp and if i don't get the desired results, fork out the dough for some good iron and build a nice little 300b. Guess I'm not too old to learn new tricks after all. Anyway, thanks for reading. Regards, J.D.
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Old 3rd August 2011, 05:08 PM   #2
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had the same humbling revelation.... now a tube lover...
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Old 3rd August 2011, 05:14 PM   #3
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Do you know what the efficiency of the speakers were ?

Although squarely aimed at the solid state forums this might interest you,

So how much power do you really need for domestic listening ?

A watt is a watt is a watt after all... just that hollow state ones are louder
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Old 3rd August 2011, 07:33 PM   #4
Bigun is offline Bigun  Canada
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welcome to the converted

I build SS amps for fun, but my main stereo remains a low powered SET. Even though it's considered a poor-mans SET (6AS7 via Hammond low cost OT) and I use it with low sensitivity speakers - I still prefer it over any SS amp I've listened to.
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Old 3rd August 2011, 07:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooly View Post
Do you know what the efficiency of the speakers were ?
Yes, He said the were 98db. I must admit that my opinions of diy have changed also. Previously, i considered diy an interesting hobby for a garage or office system. Not so sure about that one anymore either. Think the more I learn, the less I know. Regards, J.D.
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Old 3rd August 2011, 08:41 PM   #6
Loren42 is offline Loren42  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsackett View Post
My current system has way too much sand in the signal path so i was over at a guys house who designs amps and makes transformers. My plan is to put in a tube line stage and hopefully add some musicality (sp) to my system. Anyway, somehow we got on amps and I said I didn't understand how people could swear by little flea powered amps. He asked if I had ever heard one, and i said that no I had not. We then go to his listening room and he fires up a 1.7 watt 45 set. Well boys and girls, I was humbled. The sound was nothing less than stunning. I don't know all the proper audiophile terms to describe it, I can only say it was superb. Sounded orders of magnitude better than my old mc275, and up until yesterday i would have said those were some pretty strong words. This amp only had 1.7 watts, it clipped over that. But at about 1 watt, it was loud enough to where i couldn't here the owner maybe 10 feet from me.
I must say that my attitudes on power have been at the very least, shaken. Would 1.7 watts replace my mc2205? No, I sometimes like to irritate the neighbors and shake some walls. Would a 10 to 12 watt 300B? Maybe. The clarity and just plain music were very impressive. I think I'll build this preamp and if i don't get the desired results, fork out the dough for some good iron and build a nice little 300b. Guess I'm not too old to learn new tricks after all. Anyway, thanks for reading. Regards, J.D.
Your test is so subjective that you may be jumping for something that is an illusion.

You also are listening in a different room and with different speakers.

The problem is that you did not bring your own amp and run an AB comparison in his room with his speakers.

Additionally, how can you be sure your MC275 is running its best, too?

Maybe compare the MC2205 with his SET.

I really don't want to start a war over SET versus PP versus solid state, but you have to choose the sound that you like and it is purely your call.

However, you really owe it to yourself to do a fair comparison to make sure that it is the amp's sound that you like and not his system that is doing the talking.

As far as tube sound goes, that is a subjective call. I have a 60W per channel tube power amp I built, but I would not say it has a tube sound. In fact it has no discernible coloration (or distortion) at all, which was the design goal for me.

By the way, did you mention what speakers you have? What is the speaker sensitivity? That and how loud you like to listen determines how much wattage you need, but I would always recommend having more than that just for the headroom.

Remember, you need to double your amp's power for every 3 dB of SPL increase.
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Old 3rd August 2011, 09:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loren42 View Post
Your test is so subjective that you may be jumping for something that is an illusion.

You also are listening in a different room and with different speakers.

The problem is that you did not bring your own amp and run an AB comparison in his room with his speakers.

Additionally, how can you be sure your MC275 is running its best, too?

Maybe compare the MC2205 with his SET.

I really don't want to start a war over SET versus PP versus solid state, but you have to choose the sound that you like and it is purely your call.

However, you really owe it to yourself to do a fair comparison to make sure that it is the amp's sound that you like and not his system that is doing the talking.

As far as tube sound goes, that is a subjective call. I have a 60W per channel tube power amp I built, but I would not say it has a tube sound. In fact it has no discernible coloration (or distortion) at all, which was the design goal for me.

By the way, did you mention what speakers you have? What is the speaker sensitivity? That and how loud you like to listen determines how much wattage you need, but I would always recommend having more than that just for the headroom.

Remember, you need to double your amp's power for every 3 dB of SPL increase.
1: Agreed, purely subjective. I wouldn't call it an illusion, I heard what I heard. Besides, I would say that how music sounds to anyone is purely subjective.
2: Again, agreed. He didn't say what make the speakers were, but they were very nice. I may yet take my amp over and give it a listen.
3: The mc275 ran pretty good, think it was optimal, was only 3 years old when i sold it.
4: Agree again, he does have a nice system.
5: My speakers are Klipsch rf7. Allegedly 102 db/1m/1watt. I don't want to start a war over set, pp, solid state either. I'm just saying i was stunned by what i heard out of this little 1.7 watt amp, and that I may just be willing to fork out the bucks to find out just how well it does sound in my house. Didn't mean to start anything. Regards, J.D.
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Old 3rd August 2011, 10:03 PM   #8
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Tubes sound better by distorting the sound in a nice way.
The distortion is got rid of by using feedback.

Rock guitarists love the sound of overdriven tubes distorting.

A cheap alternative to tubes is a soft limiter which soft clips like a tube does.
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Old 3rd August 2011, 10:08 PM   #9
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I've owned solid state amps for over half a century.
Then, out of curiosity, I built a small, low powered SET flea-amp (6AU6/12B4A).
At 1.5 wpc, couldn't run much.
But what it did run, sure sounded sweet!!

Steve
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Old 3rd August 2011, 11:23 PM   #10
ChrisA is offline ChrisA  United States
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[QUOTE=jdsackett;2659749]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooly View Post
Do you know what the efficiency of the speakers were ?

Yes, He said the were 98db. I must admit that my opinions of diy have changed also. Previously, i considered diy an interesting hobby for a garage or office system. Not so sure about that one anymore either. Think the more I learn, the less I know. Regards, J.D.
I have a single ended guitar amp that is 5 watts and has a 103dB speaker. The sound can be heard inside the house across the street, that is "loud enough". The thing to remeber is that moving from a 98dB to a 101dB speaker does not seem like much but it has the exact same effect as doubling the amp's power. Efficiency matters so much more than power.

Why aren't consummer audio systems built with efficient speakers? It's simply that transistors and chips cost a LOT less than speakers so today to reach a given sound volume level the cheapest way is more power. But 60 years ago when amps were made with transformers and valves speakers were cheaper and watts expensive.

Much of the sound you liked was do to the speakers. maybe the amp contributes only a small amount to the sound. You will never know until to try the sensitive speakers with a different amp. Sensitive speakers by definition need to be designed differently typically with much larger driver cone area and larger cabinets. This alone is enough to make the sound more musical. Musical instrument if you look are physically large. That the sound is not coming from a small point, I think matters
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