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Old 27th August 2003, 08:33 PM   #1
Derek N is offline Derek N  United States
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Default Bottlehead questions for a tube neophyte

Hello all!

I have done as many searches as I could but still have a question I would like your opinions on.

I have decided to try tube gear as a new way to listen to my music. Since I like projects I was drawn to the Bottlehead DIY kits. Specifically the Foreplay and the Paramour monoblocks. I have read that the Foreplay gets great reviews.

My question is this; for the money are the better deals as far as sound? For instance how does this compare to the ASL WAVE AV20 at the same price point. Or the ASL Wave AV8 at a cheaper price point. Any others.

While the project nature is a definite plus, i want to make sure I get the best sound for that amount of money. At $750-800, would an intergrated tube amp do better?

I realize that I am talking peanuts as far as tube gear is concerned but its a first step into this area. Besides in this hobby an upgrade is always just around the corner anyway.

i will be using Klipsch Reference Series at a 96db sens. so low watts should not be an issue. Not to mention I don't need ear splitting volume since I never listen at that level anyway.


Also could someone point me to a good site that explains the difference between SET and PP, and the tube desigations. I have learned a little about that by reading and searching the archives but still would like to know more.

Derek N
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Old 27th August 2003, 10:23 PM   #2
zobsky is offline zobsky  India
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for much less money (around $200 to $400) you can pick up some excellent vintage push pull amplifiers / integrateds on ebay ..dynaco 70, pilot, eico .... come to mind.

not much vintage single ened stuff

if you intend to go the diy route (either SE or push-pull), .. there should be plenty of information on this site and others

some sites:
http://www.tubecad.com/articles_2003..._Amplifier.pdf

http://www.boozhoundlabs.com/
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Old 27th August 2003, 11:03 PM   #3
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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Welcome to the forum, Derek N!

Rather than spending lots of money immediately, you might prefer to buy a a cheap vintage amplifier, and tinker with it to learn, then spend serious money when you have more knowledge. I don't know what the sources are where you are, but I find that the free ads section in the local paper is the cheapest place for old amplifiers, and amateur radio fairs are also a good place. Practice indrawn hissing breath between your teeth combined with sorrowful shaking of the head as a negotiating skill.
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Old 27th August 2003, 11:18 PM   #4
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I'll put in a word for the Bottlehead Foreplay. That was my first DIY experience, and it was a lot of fun. Unless you're confident that the vintage amp is working, I'm not sure if debugging a (possibly) complex circuit is the best way to get started on this hobby. The Foreplay costs $150, is easy to build, and sounds satisfyingly very good (especially if your past experience has only been with consumer grade mid-fi). I've also owned the AV8s (just sold my pair, actually), and I think they're great amps for the price. I think the Paramour would be a better amp (haven't heard them), but your choice of speakers becomes much more restricted with 3.5W than with 8-10W.

Based on the path I've followed so far, I think it's a pretty good idea to start with a decent kit or two, and then go on to scratch-building stuff from someone else's design, and then finally try designing your own. And definitely buy some books and study them if you're not very knowledgable about electronics. I found Morgan Jones' "Valve Amplifiers" to be excellent. There are other books that are often recommended for beginners. And finally, don't forget that you'll also have to set aside a budget for tools. Probably a digital multimeter, decent soldering iron, and pliers/wire-cutters etc. for starters, then maybe move on to more sophisticated tools depending on your continued level of interest in the hobby.

Hope that helps.

Saurav
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Old 28th August 2003, 02:00 AM   #5
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If you are looking at the Bottlehead stuff, you should also have a look at the DecWare stuff. The ZENs go head to head with the Paramours (haven't had a direct shoot-out, but they are both quite good), and they have just introduced a new plate pre-amp to go head to head with the Foreplay in the marketplace -- 6N1P instead of ECC81/12AU7 and a seriously larger power transformer (the ForePlay's is very small) with tube rectification -- all things that should give it a performance edge over the Foreplay.

Click the image to open in full size.

dave
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Old 28th August 2003, 02:21 AM   #6
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BTW, the AV8s aren't as good as either the Paramour or the Zen, althou they do put out quite a bit more power -- it is much harder to get a PP right than an SE.

dave
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Old 28th August 2003, 05:02 AM   #7
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The AV8s also cost about half of what the Paramours cost. I doubt anyone could DIY amps like that (with that kind of chassis work) for $100 each.
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Old 28th August 2003, 05:16 AM   #8
r0cket- is offline r0cket-  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by Saurav
The AV8s also cost about half of what the Paramours cost. I doubt anyone could DIY amps like that (with that kind of chassis work) for $100 each.
Apparently nobody can produce one commercially, either. Last I heard, ASL had discontinued them.
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Old 28th August 2003, 06:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Saurav The AV8s also cost about half of what the Paramours cost. I doubt anyone could DIY amps like that (with that kind of chassis work) for $100 each.
Sure you can -- you just have to be creative....

dave
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Old 28th August 2003, 12:09 PM   #10
G is offline G  United States
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I would highly recommend the Bottlehead products. My reason is two fold. If you are going to build a set of amps and a preamp having never done so before then the Bottlehead forum is an invaluable asset. Also the prices are reasonable and the performance, from what I hear, is way ahead of their pricetags.

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