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Old 1st February 2004, 08:18 PM   #1
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Default Where is the best place to add tubes in this system?

I would like to add some tubes to my system to warm up the sound a bit however I am not sure which place to start. I am currently running the following:

McIntosh MX-113 Preamp/Tuner (SS)
McIntosh MC-2505 Power Amp (50w SS) -drives bass
NAD 3020 Power Amp (20w SS) -drives treble
B&W DM602 Series 2 Speakers - passively biamped.

The source is usually a toshiba CD/DVD player (nothing special - upgrade soon). Occasionally I plug in other line-level stuff. No plans for phono in the near future.

I like the B&W's and the McIntosh stuff so I want them to stay in the system. I am considering one of the following:

Tube DAC - This would make a lot of sense however the few that I have seen look like complex DIY projects. I restored and rebuilt tube radios but haven't built much from scratch

Tube Preamp/Headphone amp - I've considered building one of these and occasionally playing it in place of the Mac preamp. There are several on the headwize.com site that seem to be within my capabilities.

Tube Power amp for treble section - The NAD is good but sometimes a bit too SS sounding especially if it hasn't had an hour or so to warm up. I have considered maybe replacing it with tube amp. I know that for the best and most predictable biamped results, speaker manufacturers recommend two amplifiers exactly the same however they suggest that amplifiers could be mixed and matched to best suit their charicteristics. B&W even had mentioned running tubes for highs, and solid state for low end (although I think they may have taken this back). The McIntosh and the NAD seem to play well together.
The speakers have an effeciency of 91.5 (8 ohms) so I would need something of moderate power. Crossover frequency is 4khz The McIntosh has an adjustable gain so it is easy to match to another amplifier.
I would need something with some ooomph to it. I have a large listening level and I tend to be a bit of a leadfoot with the volume control.


What do you suggest?
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Old 2nd February 2004, 01:04 AM   #2
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Old 2nd February 2004, 02:21 AM   #3
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If you really believe it will help, why not just put a tube stage right after the pre-amp?
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