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Old 12th July 2004, 03:28 AM   #1
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Default solid state just isn't doing it for me!!

hi, after hearing a nice tube preamp and amp at a local store with Vandersteen 1c's, i've realized how much solid state just seems to rob you of good sound quality.. Then after looking at the price tag for the preamp $600, and $1000 for the amps, it seemed like there should be a less expensive solution that's good. A while ago they let me audition that preamp at home w/ my current setup:

Inter-m r500 amp 170W X 2
Rotel Rcd-02 cd player
Advent 2002 speakers

and it brought everything to life! Currently the system uses an nad preamp, which plays the music, but the question is, should i upgrade the system to some kind of tube preamp, or go for different speakers first? Maybe build something??

Thanks!
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Old 12th July 2004, 04:03 AM   #2
Jay is offline Jay  Indonesia
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If you upgrade into tube pre-amp, I doubt you will get better result.
Most tube pre-amps do not work optimal with solid state amps. Unless
you are only looking for that "warm" signature.

The speaker is the heart of the system. It is usually the weakest link.
If you have the budget, why not? But then you have to decide whether
you want a speaker for a tube amp or for a solid state

How long have you been listening to tube amps? The most important
knowledge I think I have gained from this hobby is to know what my
brain want (and then only the expert who can align that knowledge with
electronic knowledge). Tube amps are really capable of bringing
everything to life, but it is not necessarily what our brain want, isn't it.
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Old 12th July 2004, 12:02 PM   #3
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Default upgrade

well here's the thing, there's a pair of speakers i really like, called the vandersteen 1c. They are capable of producing some very incredible sound, but they seem to enjoy nice electronics.

http://www.vandersteen.com/pages/1clit.html

I have heard it both with an all tube system, and a musical fidelity integrated amp.

http://www.musicalfidelity.com/x150.html

There was absolutely no contest. The tube system reproduced the midrange in a FAR cleaner way than the musical fidelity could, though it didn't sound warm to me. Sure, there wasn't as much bass with the tube amp setup, but that doesn't really matter. There was something about the tube system that was just so pleasant and easy to listen to. I have listened to various tube amps maybe a couple of years now.. of course they were popular before i was even born, so that kind of makes it a novelty Upgrading to a tube preamp would probably be the first step towards going to an all-tube system, and that solid state amp would be used in conjunction with a crossover to power a subwoofer or something like that..
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Old 12th July 2004, 01:26 PM   #4
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If you only listen to CD's, you might just need a tubed buffer feeding a volume pot. Or, if you need gain, check out a bottlehead foreplay kit.
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Old 12th July 2004, 01:56 PM   #5
zobsky is offline zobsky  India
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Default Re: solid state just isn't doing it for me!!

Quote:
Originally posted by bonsai171
hi, after hearing a nice tube preamp and amp at a local store with Vandersteen 1c's, i've realized how much solid state just seems to rob you of good sound quality..
Thanks!
... a lot of commercial equipment (tube / ss) rob you of a lot of money too


Quote:
Originally posted by pedroskova
If you only listen to CD's, you might just need a tubed buffer feeding a volume pot. Or, if you need gain, check out a bottlehead foreplay kit.

just thought i would mention it, .. over the last weekend , .. we put a (mod'd) foreplay up against my simple 12b4a preamp (made up of generic components) and they were pretty much on the same level ,

to split hairs.. the foreplay had a slight edge in high end smoothness, .. whereas my preamp won in bass response and pace / rythem, .. .


power amps were a friend's paramour 2a3 monoblocks , speakers were his corner horns

others on this forum have had similar success, ...

if you're willing / able to tackle a build from scratch, you should be able make this for
(cost of transformer and choke) + about $50 in tubes and materials

i guess it could always be configured as a buffer too, if desired


for the record, .. i normally have this preamp driving solid state marantz or mcintosh power amps, ... until i build a suitable tube amp to match.

as a rule of thumb.. look for the pre-amp output impedance / power amp impedance and also the value of the output coupling cap when trying to decide whether they will match up.
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Old 13th July 2004, 12:42 AM   #6
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Hi,

The Vandersteen 1Cs have been around for quite some time and are definetely speakers I wouldn't mind having either...
Along with the late Peter Snell and Kevin Voecks designs these must rank among the better design efforts of the past 15 years your side of the pond.

Depending on what you can do financially, I'd get the LS boxes and build the electronics as funds permit. No doubt in my mind about that.

Cheers,
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Old 13th July 2004, 01:48 AM   #7
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You could simply try an old Dynaco tube premp or a newer Bottlehead and keep it if you like it or sell it. They're both low cost in terms of seeing whether it's the right component to change.
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Old 13th July 2004, 03:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Depending on what you can do financially, I'd get the LS boxes and build the electronics as funds permit.
What do you mean by LS boxes? Also, which electronics, a tube preamp and amp? Sorry i'm a little confused

Dave
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Old 13th July 2004, 05:14 AM   #9
Jay is offline Jay  Indonesia
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonsai171
but they seem to enjoy nice electronics. I have heard it both with an all tube system, and a musical fidelity integrated amp. There was absolutely no contest.
IMO the Vandersteen is for tube amps. Not surprised. I don't know the MF but I'm sure my DIY Musical Fidelity A1 (amp only) will work better with the Vandersteen than the X150.

And with tube amps I will prefer "standard" speaker than fullrangers like the Lowther or worse the Fostex.

Quote:
Originally posted by bonsai171
The tube system reproduced the midrange in a FAR cleaner way than the musical fidelity could, though it didn't sound warm to me. Sure, there wasn't as much bass with the tube amp setup, but that doesn't really matter. There was something about the tube system that was just so pleasant and easy to listen to.
I think 5th-element was right somewhere in the forum, that it is easy to build an acceptable tube amp, but very difficult to get an acceptable solid state. That's why I like solid state amp that sounds like tube amps

The dynamic in the bass region is almost a give-up in tube amps. But with certain choice of speaker, some solid state amps are still possible to produce what tube can (close to but enough)

Of course we can say that bass inexistence doesn't really matter, but how much can we be sure? How much we know the effect of low frequency in music to the enjoyment of music listening? How about those music around 40Hz from piano?

Quote:
Originally posted by bonsai171 and that solid state amp would be used in conjunction with a crossover to power a subwoofer or something like that..
Tube system with a sub???

Oh, don't you notice that tube fans usually have vocal music as the majority of their CDs? And country pop as well
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Old 13th July 2004, 11:25 AM   #10
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Hi,

Quote:
What do you mean by LS boxes?
LoudSpeaker boxes....
By which I mean that it's supposedly easier to build good tubed electronics than loudspeakers of the caliber of the Vandersteen 1Cs.
Knowing the technical data of the speakers will also make it easier to narrow down the kind of amp it requires to make the combo sing.

Cheers,
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