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-   -   Tube amp kit and speaker recommendations? (http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/tubes-valves/202945-tube-amp-kit-speaker-recommendations.html)

mrcandyman 21st December 2011 05:48 PM

Tube amp kit and speaker recommendations?
 
Currently I am using a set of Logitech Z-5500s, using only the front speakers and the subwoofer. This is connected to my computer running a very nice Auzentech X-Fi Prelude (basically a really nicely upgraded X-Fi card). My volume control is usually only 2.5-3/20 of the way up. My speakers are set up about 70cm away from me, in a good position on top of my desk. I mostly listen to alternative and hard rock music (Pearl Jam, Moist, Hurt, Straylight Run, Serj Tankian, Silversun Pickups, ect)

What I am looking for is to replace my Z-5500 setup with a small tube amp built from a kit, and some bookshelf sized high efficiency full range speakers.

I have been reading a lot on this site the last week and I think it's actually made me dumber than when I started, so we'll just assume I am starting at square 1 with electronics, and I definitely am with tube amps. I have the means to make my own speaker cabinets, I have a soldering iron and am very good at soldering (I grew up soldering). Speaker kits are also on the table, though most I'm seeing are 85-88/1W/1M, and I'm not sure how suitable such a thing would be with a single digit output amp.

Cost? Really, I would like to do everything for 500-600 Canadian. Of course even less would be fantastic as long as it sounds great. Any recommendations, guy?

rmyauck 21st December 2011 11:29 PM

Welcome!
It will be hard to do for low $ with speakers & shipping taxes etc., but look at the tubelab.com site for a start.

His site is messed up, but just click on all the blue links and you will get around. George has a Form on this site. Google differences between PP and SE for differences and opinions if you don't know. Lot's of info if you look. Lot's of help too.

He sells boards for a SE called the Simple SE and a PP EL84 amp called the Simple PP. He has a parts kit for the PP for $65 and may have one done in the new year for the SE. All boards are $35 and are Stereo. You still have to buy transformers and tubes and make an enclosure or use an aluminum plate /chassis etc. You will usually need big high efficiency speakers for small SE amps.

Maybe you can scrounge for used parts or vintage amps and speakers too. Like a kit as will need rebuilding. Speakers can be refoamed. Dynaco's can be good with mods on some and affordable. There are even new clones and whole kits, but will cost you all of your $600 with shipping and taxes. Dynakit ST-35 from dynakit and diytubes version. Stock said to be the best sounding Dynacos, but not many were sold as the higher power ST-70 wasn't much more in cost for double the power. A used working ST-70 for around $350 may be a good start as there where 350K built. New kits start at $700 without tubes. There are many boards out there to upgrade it as some don,t like the stock amp. ST-35 is 17W/CH and ST-70 is 35W/CH, but speakers will be the deciding factor.

Sometimes you can find a good tube console for rebuilding, using it whole if in nice shape . Whatever you do keep all the electronics from it including speakers as they are usually high efficiency and have crossover electronics.

A stand alone amp is usually higher quality than what is found in a console, though sometimes they were found in them. Output transformers are the key to the quality on a tube amp as the rest can usually be upgraded.

Used or new shouldn't just be plugged in without speakers as output transformers can be ruined. Also a variac and light bulb in series should be used to bring it up to voltage, (old & newly built.) Capacitors are the reason. They get old , dry up and leak current causing shorts and burned out transformers which can be very expensive to find or fix.

I know I was confused at first, but gradually it sunk in about the basics and what people are talking about.

Other big forms to look at are audioasylum, audiokarma and videokarma. Diytube sells Dynaco boards etc and has a Form. Antiqueradios has vintage form.

There are many diy speaker forms including here.

In all I think a really good EL84 PP amp may be a good start as everyone likes the sound of those tubes and you don't need the highest efficiency speakers which are more $.
Also tubes are in production and very affordable.

vinylkid58 22nd December 2011 12:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrcandyman (Post 2829540)
and some bookshelf sized high efficiency full range speakers.

Not exactly high efficiency, but the Alpair 6p in P10 mMar-Ken boxes are my current fave for desktop duty. The only amp I haven't tried with them is my old PP EL84 HK, wired in triode. All my other amps are overkill for the desktop, but all sound good with these speakers.

jeff

mrcandyman 22nd December 2011 01:38 AM

Thanks for the response. What would you think about me starting on an S5 Electronics 12G kit (Untitled) and getting some Fostex FF85WK 3" Full Range speakers (Fostex FF85WK 3" Full Range: Madisound Speaker Store) to use in a cabinet I construct? This should easily be able to be done in my price range. I see good things about both these speakers and these amps (not the L series though). Fostex even has some simple (too simple?) designs for bookshelf speaker cabinets.

mrcandyman 22nd December 2011 01:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vinylkid58 (Post 2829889)
Not exactly high efficiency, but the Alpair 6p in P10 mMar-Ken boxes are my current fave for desktop duty. The only amp I haven't tried with them is my old PP EL84 HK, wired in triode. All my other amps are overkill for the desktop, but all sound good with these speakers.

jeff

I was looking at those drivers, as well at the 6M. The 6M might be the way to go for me since they are apparently a little bassier, and I'll be ditching my sub. I can't find this cabinet you're talking about though. Do you have a link?

vinylkid58 22nd December 2011 02:14 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by mrcandyman (Post 2829991)
The 6M might be the way to go for me since they are apparently a little bassier, and I'll be ditching my sub.

Can't say I've heard that before?

I can't find this cabinet you're talking about though. Do you have a link?

Pretty sure there has been a revision for this design, along with a subscription cost. Probably best to email Dave.

jeff

mrcandyman 22nd December 2011 03:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vinylkid58 (Post 2830019)
Pretty sure there has been a revision for this design, along with a subscription cost. Probably best to email Dave.

jeff

Mark said it here: http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/marka...ml#post2362444
He also said in that thread in post #24 that "It was my intension to lower the total Q and Fo on the 6M making it more desirable for desk-top and near-field use, where smaller volumes are desired."

That attachment won't open with either SumatraPDF or Adobe Acrobat

vinylkid58 22nd December 2011 03:34 AM

Ok, let's try that again:

http://homepage.mac.com/tlinespeaker...map-231009.pdf

jeff

mrcandyman 22nd December 2011 03:48 AM

Thanks. It looks pretty good. One question though: Why is the piece with the two holes offset to one side though?

vinylkid58 22nd December 2011 04:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrcandyman (Post 2830087)
One question though: Why is the piece with the two holes offset to one side though?

It helps reduce box coloration.

jeff


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