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Affordable "starter" SE amp
Affordable "starter" SE amp
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Old 20th December 2003, 03:02 PM   #1
Kashmire is offline Kashmire  United States
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Default Affordable "starter" SE amp

If I didn't already have a bunch of projects on my bench, I'd want to spend the money to try this one out:


Two channels of iron = $280. Add that to a pair of Electro-Harmonix 300B bulk matched tubes for $110 from:


Cha-chig! A pair of 300B SE monoblocks for $500.

Has anyone tried it out yet? Cheap trannies, cheap tubes, but for a mighty cheap price. You can easily make something that sounds better (plitron OPT) but I bet this is best sounding $500 possible.
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Old 20th December 2003, 05:31 PM   #2
G is offline G  United States
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I used "Handwound transformers" on my SE EL84 amp. They sound pretty nice. I can't testify about their power transformers though.
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Old 20th December 2003, 05:55 PM   #3
The-Planet is offline The-Planet  United States
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Default Transformers

I'd suggest you do a search on Handwound transformers on before making any decisions. There have been some long threads on AudioAsylum for example. My own experiences have been long shipping delays, very long delay in getting replacement of defective products and mediocre sonics.

If you're looking for inexpensive, go with Hammond. The 125ESE is surprisingly nice at low currents and VERY inexpensive. The One-Electron line is also reasonably priced.

If you can spring for a bit more look at Magnequest or Electraprint. Frankly I don't think that the transformers are the place to save money. At the very least, they don't wear out and can almost always be resold at almost what you've paid for them.

- Gary
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Old 20th December 2003, 06:11 PM   #4
dhaen is offline dhaen  Europe
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Default Starter SET

I'd recommend a pair of Paramour's from Bottlehead.
I recently assembled a pair for someone, and although the cosmetics were poor, the sound was surprisingly good.

In some respects these are the cleverest of designs: the components are regular (cheap) grade, but their implementation is clever, and produces results that exceed expectations.

Alternatively do a full diy of their design, and source your own components.
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Old 20th December 2003, 07:32 PM   #5
Kashmire is offline Kashmire  United States
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I don't debate the OPT thread. I am a believer in good OPT iron.

I adhere to the theory to buy a set of very good iron, and then build DIY projects around it. I expect to put at least a dozen designs around my new Plitron 1040CFB push-pull transformers and LL1660S interstage. These are incredibly versatile transformers, able to accommodate numerous design philosophies. I can't wait to compare triode/UL/pentode connection, cathode feedback or not, different single-ended line stage with phase-splitter transformer, KT88 vs. KT90, et. With $1000 invested in transformers, I'll be giving each one of the design philosophies a fair chance.

However, it took a lay-down of cash to bring home the expensive iron. Something a noob probably won't be interested in doing.

The purpose of this thread was to promote entry-level complexity and prices, while providing great sonics to the novice. If the package sounds good, I've got some novice friends who could be enticed into trying it.

Honestly, I haven't built a 300B amp. When I do, I'll probably use Lundahl. The Lundahl SE OPT has very interesting winding topology, allowing the eventual use of the same transformer for cathode-coupled designs (for 300Bs) and/or ultra-linear designs (for pentodes). If I wasn't interested in using CFB or UL taps, I'd go straight for Plitron or Magnaquest.

However, for $500, I could play with a 300B for awhile, and probably sell it to a friends, who would end up wanting a couple more channels.

The most exciting aspect of a 300B amp for $500 is I could compare it to cost-comparable options, such as the Pass Labs Zen 4. It would be a $500 shootout. Can single-ended solid state sound as good as tubes dollar-for-dollar?

I doubt it you can tell me, unless you've built the amps and tried 'em out.
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Old 20th December 2003, 09:31 PM   #6
SHiFTY is offline SHiFTY  New Zealand
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Depends how much of a DIYer you are. If you are confident with circuit design, chassis building etc. you could get some vintage PP iron and design your own parafeed SET with 2A3s.

If you are more inclined towards a kit, then there are plenty to choose from, including the ultra cheap ASL wave 8... http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...2/aslwave8.htm

Personally I would love to get a pair of expensive SE trannies and design my perfect SE amp, but they are megabucks and I have bills to pay!

PP amps are a step up to build- I would say a PP amp would be easily twice as difficult to build, and therefore not too good for the DIYer...
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Old 20th December 2003, 10:17 PM   #7
Aud_Mot is offline Aud_Mot
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These transformers look very familar. I used to see them all over Ebay. As I recall, this guy had alot of negative feedback regarding orders taking too long to deliver and poor cutomer service and lousy exchange of defective transformers. Buyer Beware.

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Old 20th December 2003, 11:35 PM   #8
Sch3mat1c is offline Sch3mat1c  United States
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Affordable != $500

If I had $500 I would not spend it on iron. There are more useful things in life, and cheaper and better iron (possibly to be made by your own hand).

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Old 20th December 2003, 11:48 PM   #9
The-Planet is offline The-Planet  United States
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Default Transformers

Kashmire -

I appreciate that $280 for a 300b partial kit is very attractive. I'm just "hinting" that this may be a bad bargain.

I have a pair of the 3K Handwound SE transformers, so I am speaking out of some experience. I had another pair initially, and found they had <<1H inductance on the primary. They also sounded horrid. After many months of emails back and forth, excuses, and delays I finally got this pair in exchange. While much better than the original pair they still don't come close to what else is on the market sonically.

If anyone really wants a pair of the Handwound 3K transformers email me and we can work something out. At least you'll get them shipped promptly

Heck, just my experience...
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Old 21st December 2003, 12:29 AM   #10
fdegrove is offline fdegrove  Europe
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There are more useful things in life, and cheaper and better iron (possibly to be made by your own hand).
Cheap and cheerful folk as we are we all wind our OPTs and chokes ourselves; they all have incredible bandwith and outperform any manufacturers' offerings.

It so easy you won't believe it...

Get real, Timmie.

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