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Old 18th November 2002, 03:58 PM   #1
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Question Bottlehead Paramour vs Decware Zen Triode?

I would like to get a low-powered tube amp kit, and have narrowed my choices to these two well-known examples. Any opinions on their relative advantages/disadvantages sonically? I plan to use them with high-efficiency full-range speakers, or something along those lines, and currently have a Melos MA-111 pre-amp that would be nice to integrate (it's got a good phono stage). FWIW, I don't HAVE to use the Melos, but I'd like to if possible (it does seem to have a high output level).

Here are the respective blurbs:

BOTTLEHEAD (pair monoblocks)
"Single ended tube amp designed by Paul Joppa, at a price so low our competition can't figure how we do it - $549 for a pair of monoblocks with 3.5 watts of SE 2A3 articulation, resolution and sweetness." http://www.bottlehead.com/et/et.html

DECWARE (stereo, bridgeable for mono)
"The famous Zen Triode Amp model SE84C...a stereo single-ended triode amplifier with input level control. Uses SV83 output tubes. Still our hottest product! $499." http://www.decware.com/tubes.htm
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Old 18th November 2002, 05:29 PM   #2
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Default ROUND OF VOTES.

Hi,

As you said FWIW my vote would go to the 2A3 design and both should work with your preamp anyway.

My vote goes for that design for a number of reasons (nothing to do with the blurb I didn't bother to read)

1/Mr.Joppa knows what he's doing and I read a lot of his posts on the Joelist.

2/A 2A3 is a linear DHT that I prefer over the 300B on most occasions especially working full range.

Just my
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Old 20th November 2002, 07:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: Bottlehead Paramour vs Decware Zen Triode?

A lot will depend on the speakers you plan to use. The Zen likes low impedance loads 2-6 ohms, the Paramour higher impedance...

You may find some comparisons on the
Decware Forum but keep in mind the crowd there tends (but isn't necessarily) biased towards Decware product.

dave
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Old 22nd November 2002, 12:09 PM   #4
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Default Sounds like it'll be the Paramour

Based on what you guys are saying, and my own incliination toward monoblocks as opposed to all-in-one, it'll be the Paramour. My speaker plan (another project) would be a back-loaded horn based around the Fostex 168 Sigma "E" (6.5-inch FR). That one is plenty sensitive, it seems (94db) and is 8-ohms, and I'm not interested in research below-8-ohm options, since that's pretty standard (thought there's a thread on the Single-Driver site about a $2.38 auto speaker that has at least some kind of intrigued).

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 22nd November 2002, 10:35 PM   #5
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JLG

Do you have a set of plans for the cabinets?


Cheers,
Craig Ryder
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Old 23rd November 2002, 05:40 AM   #6
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My speaker plan (another project) would be a back-loaded horn based around the Fostex 168 Sigma "E" (6.5-inch FR).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

These are tricky to get right (well the straight 168 Sigma was) and Godzilla and I have both been unimpressed with the final results of our backloading efforts with this unit.

Worse still, a company in Australia was selling a horn based on these and got the closest thing to a bad review that the A-Licking Australian Hifi press has ever handed out. (And this from a mag who NEVER publish negative reviews).

I think Cain and Cain are the only people who've actually reported a backload success with the 168 Sigma. Various iterations of ported and sealed cabs seem to have more success.

Good luck though.

Drew
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Old 23rd November 2002, 06:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by DrewP
I think Cain and Cain are the only people who've actually reported a backload success with the 168 Sigma. Various iterations of ported and sealed cabs seem to have more success.
I don't think C & C does a horn with the 168S, just a Voigt Pipe. He uses the 208S in his horns.

The Q of the 168S is kinda high for a horn... the new banana cone 168ES has a bit better Q for horn loading...

dave
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Old 23rd November 2002, 01:18 PM   #8
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I'm going to be using the 168 Sigma (6.5", banana pulp), and as for the enclosure, I'm considering a few possibilities. I'd like to use a Tractrix contour, and to keep things simple would like to use published plans; then again, maybe I'll design them myself. Here are some of my ideas:

1. Something along the lines of the Hedlund horn -- which, as described on the web-- see links below-- appears to be made for an 8" speaker (the baffle hole is 19.2cm or 7.55 inches). Complex, and would require mods for my purposes, but intriguing. Plans:

http://www.vt52.com/diy/diypage/hedlund/hedlund.html
(click on the plans link for a .zip file containing complete diagrams in .pdf documents!). There are other approaches to the Hedlund, but this one uses mostly straight cuts (others use bendy plywood and are beyond my woodworking abilities -- see, e.g...

http://www.homestead.com/sparkgap/Hedlund.html
This guy is a master! His horns are beauties and check out his other stuff. He's got links to other pics of Hedlund variations.

2. The ML TQWT, i.e., the tapered-quarter-wave tube. His design is meant for the Fostex 164, a less expensive 6.5" Fostex driver than the 168 Sigma. It's cool-looking, but I'm not sure it's my style. Rationally or no, I kind of dig the back-horn approach just because of the design principles. The TQWT seems a bit dull. Plans: http://www.t-linespeakers.org/projects/martin/MLTQWT/
He's got a whole ton of stuff, include a 70-page paper on his project, plus updates and tweaks.

3. There is a Japanese site with heaps of plans, including two for the 168 Sigma series:

1. http://www2.nkansai.ne.jp/hotel/nakanou/bs-168.htm. This one is a ported box (boring).

2. http://www2.nkansai.ne.jp/hotel/nakanou/D-37.htm. This one is a back-loaded horn (cool).

The main site is: http://www2.nkansai.ne.jp/hotel/nakanou/page12.htm
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Old 24th November 2002, 08:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by jlg4104
I'm going to be using the 168 Sigma (6.5", banana pulp), and as for the enclosure, I'm considering a few possibilities. I'd like to use a Tractrix contour, and to keep things simple would like to use published plans
Being a brand new driver there aren't many (if any) published plans for this driver.

Quote:
2. The ML TQWT, i.e., the tapered-quarter-wave tube. His design is meant for the Fostex 164, a less expensive 6.5" Fostex driver than the 168 Sigma. It's cool-looking, but I'm not sure it's my style. Rationally or no, I kind of dig the back-horn approach just because of the design principles. The TQWT seems a bit dull. Plans: http://www.t-linespeakers.org/projects/martin/MLTQWT/
He's got a whole ton of stuff, include a 70-page paper on his project, plus updates and tweaks.
The stuff on my site is the original published info. More up-to-date stuff can be found on Martin's new site http://www.quarter-wave.com/. Have a look at what he did for the 208sigma, and keep a watch on the Lowther project as it develops. These are low Q drivers like the new 168 ES

dave
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