OK, help me decide

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zacster

Member
2003-12-03 10:49 pm
NYC
I'm a tube guy. I have playing right now a PP 6B4G amp that sounds just wonderful. I went to Burning Amp last November and heard all of these solid state amps and saw how they were built, and briefly met Nelson Pass.

But my question here is what to build. I have one chance to get this right as my income is limited (but not too limited). Given that my amp is maybe 10 watts on a good day, I want something with some power. Coming from low power DHT amps though high power is 25 watts. So that would be many of the FirstWatt clones. And I'd be good with that. But then I saw the Honey Badger at 150w and I'm thinking that would be a good complement to my tubes. But would I be satisfied? Or is class A the way to go?

Unfortunately I wasn't paying close attention at Burning Amp as it was just a beautiful day and I wanted to be outside. And being a tube guy I didn't pay close attention to what I saw. I paid more attention to the speakers, and I can say that it confirmed my opinion of the MarkAudio builds. Big thumbs down. I built a pair myself and they sit in my basement unused and the examples at BA sounded just like them, which is to say just awful. There was one pair I did like, some giant horns. Those sounded like real music.

So what should I build? Class A at 25 watts which I'm sure would sound good, or class AB at 150 watts which would shake the house? Or should I just keep tweaking the tubes? I have a set of Lundahl transformers ready to go...
 
I paid more attention to the speakers, and I can say that it confirmed my opinion of the MarkAudio builds. Big thumbs down. I built a pair myself and they sit in my basement unused and the examples at BA sounded just like them, which is to say just awful. There was one pair I did like, some giant horns. Those sounded like real music.

Curious what you built and with what MA drivers? If they're in the basement, what are you listening to with the PP 6B4G amp?

jeff
 
I bought 6 of these from Craig's List and Ebay … for our church and our studio. There is no better “investing in a solid amp” than this.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fr...&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=0&_odkw=alesis+ra-100

Here are the points that make these so darn compelling.

Full output-short protection.
Excellent audio-band response
Excellent sensitivity.
Independent channel volume knobs. Very smooth.
Ability to drive anything from 2 Ω to 16 Ω speakers, without oscillation or ringing
Simple I/O on back.
Rack-mount ears built in.
NO FAN cooling. Just heat sinks.
Runs cool with no signal. Not a room heater.

In short, extraordinary value for the at-present cost. Only 10 years back, I spent … on the used market … $150 a unit, for 6 of them. Not-a-one had a glitch. In fact, they're all still in use.

Why so many?

Large church space. We have at-choir facing monitors, next-to-piano monitors, upstairs-in-the-organ-loft monitors; we have large Bag End speakers in the main hall, and smaller Yamaha speakers in the side vestibules. Even have one very small satellite speaker in the sacristy. Kind of overkill, but that's where 12 independent output channels end up going to.

That and 24 digital input channels on the mixer. Drums, guitars, lots-and-lots-and-lots of microphones, of different types. All “dial'ed in” and well marked on the mixing consoles. (There are 2 of them … a Yamaha 01D and another Analog Yamaha 8 channel for the percussion and acoustic bass, piezo-input full-sized concert harp).

But that wasn't your question.

Thing is … if you drop the $100 to $150 into one, get it home, and after a month-or-two don't like it, you can sell it for essentially the buy-price back to the market.

Call me a renegade, but I've at least got the experience here.

⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅
 

zacster

Member
2003-12-03 10:49 pm
NYC
Curious what you built and with what MA drivers? If they're in the basement, what are you listening to with the PP 6B4G amp?

jeff

They were the frugal horns. You can’t push them, you can’t play them loud and they have no bass. I thought it was my build but BA had a few examples of different builds and they sounded the same.

I built a pair of the Proac 2.5 clones about 10 years ago and I still use them as my main speakers. They are far from perfect but they are very engaging.
 

6L6

Moderator
Paid Member
2010-10-22 6:43 pm
Denver, Colorado
I do like Goat Guy’s suggestion. :)

Build a Pass amp. They are all great sounding, there isn’t a bad one in the bunch, so basically pick the one most interesting to you... Aleph J - single ended. F5 Push Pull. F6 Push pull with transformer phase splitter. M2x push pull with autoformer for voltage gain. F4 push pull current buffer.
 
They were the frugal horns. You can’t push them, you can’t play them loud and they have no bass.

With a 4" driver, what were you expecting?

I built a pair of the Proac 2.5 clones about 10 years ago and I still use them as my main speakers. They are far from perfect but they are very engaging.

They might sound quite nice with 25W class A.:scratch2:

jeff
 
Honey badger has great specs. Fully documented. If you don't need 150 w, leave some output transistor pairs off. Class A is highly overrated IMHO, spend your money on your speakers. My SP2-XT were $1000 the pair with a whole band PA system, about half broken. Fixed now, no big $ problems, just niddly stuff.
In budget speakers, I'm getting pretty good sound in the TV room+kitchen from 6.5" coax drivers I salvage out of dead projection TV's left on the curb.
Get a cardboard box 12" x 8" x 8". I use newark boxes. Cut a 6.5" hole in the front, poke four screw holes. Poke a 1" square hole in the back for some bass reflex action. Use #6 or 3 mm screws with washers to keep the speaker from rattling. Use elastic stop nuts to keep the screws from coming loose. Tape the top shut.
If you have to buy something, the 6.5" Visiton BG17-8 from parts express 292-546 was $19 and will handle 40 watts instead of 12 of the salvage drivers. I'm driving the salvage drivers with a 130 W/ch Peavey PV-4c, no problem. I paid $32 for the broken PV-4c with freight, and put $80 of parts in it including new rail caps for no trouble the next 30 years.
 
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...So what should I build? Class A at 25 watts which I'm sure would sound good, or class AB at 150 watts which would shake the house? Or should I just keep tweaking the tubes?...

I see the above as your key statement. Ask yourself, which is the more important objective; good sound, or house shaking? Yes, it's possible to have both, but for a lot more money than either objective alone. Once you decide which of the objectives has priority, the answer mostly become self-evident. Tube tweaking of your current amp sounds like a dead end, since you already feel that it's power deficient.
 
...So what should I build? Class A at 25 watts which I'm sure would sound good, or class AB at 150 watts which would shake the house? Or should I just keep tweaking the tubes?...

I see the above as your key statement. Ask yourself, which is the more important objective; good sound, or house shaking? Yes, it's possible to have both, but for a lot more money than either objective alone. Once you decide which of the objectives has priority, the answer mostly become self-evident.
 
An obvious alternative is to not address the amplifier at all, especially since you already like the sonics of your tube amp. Instead, obtain more sensitive speakers.

And an even more obvious “have it both ways” solution would be to get a class-D amplifier of about 100 watts, and use it to power a subwoofer. Trimming out the bass from that-which-feeds-the-tube-amp gives it a LOT more headroom to amplify the good stuff “in the middle”.

And the Class-D amplifier couldn't be more well suited to the deep-bass-to-low-midrange band. Truly, if there was any duty-of-service better, I've not heard of it.

Moreover … the existing speakers would do just fine driven at higher levels … in the midrange-to-treble. Just keeping the bass away from them gives them a lot of handling headroom.

See?

⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅
 
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