How much does it cost to get into tube hi fi?

Discussion in 'Tube Audio' started by weegee, Feb 11, 2018.

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  1. Trojan4Life

    Trojan4Life AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    It doesn't really cost a lot to get into tube hi fi. What costs a lot is getting more and constantly upgrading tube gear, and the tubes themselves. But, like I tell my wife, it's better to spend time and money on tubes and tube gear than hanging out in a stripper bar.
     
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  2. arts

    arts Super Member

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    Qc, Canada
    Hey,I've used that one too!!:thumbsup:
     
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  3. Wildcat

    Wildcat Spring ain't here... Subscriber

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    4,019
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    SCS, MI (near a lake)
    One thing to keep in mind is that @weegee is most likely looking to buy tube gear, not rebuild or refurbish anything vintage. Plus, buying "old" tube gear is a huge unknown, unless the seller is someone here on AK who can be trusted who has also already gone through and taken care of any of the issues that older electronics have, or is a reputable, proven business that rebuilds and resells vintage gear. I would also think this tends to mean an integrated amp, or a receiver (in the case of vintage).

    Keep an eye on the integrated amp category at sites like US Audio Mart or Audiogon for listings or HiFi Shark (although I am wary of anything listed on eBay for a tube "newbie").

    So...if I am done upgrading tube amps, and the tubes have a long life...does that mean I can go back to the "gentleman's club"? :D
     
  4. Dadbar

    Dadbar Super Member

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    1,834
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    Waltham & Gloucester MA
    KB3 photo 1.jpg
    If you have the stomach for it, DIY is always a good way to go. I just built this simple 5 watt amp for a friend. The trannies from Edcor (new) were $150 and the 3 tubes are about $50 new (1 x 12AX7 and 2 x 6V6). Another $100 or so on miscellaneous parts.
     

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  5. Tubeglowpio

    Tubeglowpio Active Member

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    119
    Location:
    AZ
    This is basically our view as well except I never put the stripper part in there, don't need my wife giving me the mad look.
     
  6. Tubeglowpio

    Tubeglowpio Active Member

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    119
    Location:
    AZ
    I've only built el84 amps thus far, how did the 6v6 amp sound? I have a couple 6v6 tubes laying around, thinking about building the lacewood amp.
     
  7. FB night

    FB night New Member

    Messages:
    44
    Location:
    Central Iowa
    If you are just curious, find someone in your area who has some tube equipment to listen to. How much you like the sound will depend on several factors. What are you listening to now? If you have a high quality solid state amp with appropriate matched system, that sounds good, you may go...meh...when you first hear tube sound. For me, it was the early 80s and I was listening to those awful first compact discs, with just so so solid state gear. I had lost all interest in music at that point. Found some tube amps, dove in and rebuilt them, and my music enjoyment came back. Later found that the small power tubes seem more musical than the larger power tubes (6bq5/EL84 family). It is hard to find a bad sounding 6bq5 amp, as they say, and I agree. If you need more power, EL34 and 6550 can also sound good, maybe not as "sweet" though. I have many amps including Dynacos, and have heard the newer kit versions, I think they sound every bit as good as the old, and will be reliable, being new. Why not get a kit, and you can learn all about em. Do a nice job, and your amp will retain its value and you can always pass it on, if you decide to. tubes4hifi has great kits.Dynakitparts has an ST-35 (EL84 based) kit.
     
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  8. Danglin

    Danglin AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Hillsboro, OR
    I'm about 3 months into the tube game, with a Chi-Fi 6550 being my first foray into this exciting universe. Fantastic sound for the $600 (shipped) that I spent, but I found myself wanting to step back in time, so I have a Scott 299b on the way. It's been restored, so I'm excited about the notion of plug & play...At least for now. Inevitably, I'll begin swapping out tubes to see how it impacts the performance, and it's that customization, that user interaction, is what completely separates tube audio from the stuff found in the SS and IC worlds.

    That being said, I have a restored Sansui 4000 that would pass for a tube amp in a blind test. And I'll go to my grave with it!
     
  9. timsclips

    timsclips AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    351
    Location:
    Central Illinois
    I am currently running a KW-55 receiver with p-p EL84 output tubes that has been completely rebuilt driving a pair of FMI 100 speakers which are not highly efficient. I took a chance and bought it as found at auction for about $125 shipped. I spent another $300+ having a tech restore it so for a little less than $500 I am into tubes with a vintage "midfi" receiver. It sounds great.

    Also in central Illinois, slightly further south in Mattoon.
     
  10. 63pontiacgp

    63pontiacgp "Tubes Smell Good" Subscriber

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    2,270
    Location:
    Scottsville Kentucky
    I picked up a couple Magnavox Mono blocks that I sent to fellow AK'er GordonW To "work his magic" and build me a fantastic stereo 6L6 Integrated. Even with shipping costs I'm maybe just a tad over 500 clams invested and it sounds Beeyootiful!

    Mike
     
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  11. Tubeglowpio

    Tubeglowpio Active Member

    Messages:
    119
    Location:
    AZ
    I like many others started with a magnavox tube amp, I see them come up so often it makes me want to take a poll on how many of us started with a maggie.
     
  12. Djcoolray

    Djcoolray Addicted Member

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    A rocks throw from JBLM !!!!
    I’d say it depends on how many Estate Sales you go to; sell what you buy to cover the cost of what you want to keep. That way you only have to deal with restoration costs....
     
  13. Well, you can spend a lot of time with research and still not get the low down. It may even be biased. I thought I'd poll the group. This is a discussion forum...right?
     
  14. Kits! I was looking through the old mag ads and kits were a big deal back in the day. Heathkit and it looks like many of the big names offered kits.

    I'd like to listen to them to compare, but nothing around here that I know of. It looks like from the pictures the 'glowing tubes' area big part of the tube mystic, but just guessing.
     
  15. Beautiful equipment Gordon!
     
  16. Thanks, I'll
    Thanks, I'll check out both links. I was wondering where you buy gear from. Yes, you have my MO down, no interest in building or mods, just an end user.
     
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  17. I just have some Kenwood and Sony gear. About 20 years old. Just medium priced stuff from the box stores. I had never thought about tubes until I joined this group and saw some of them glowing. The I thought back to when I was a kid and we would take the tubes out of the back of the TV and go down to Thrifty's and we could test in the tube machine.
     
  18. FB night

    FB night New Member

    Messages:
    44
    Location:
    Central Iowa
    I have similar memories. I would go with my dad to Oscos to test the TV tubes on the machine there. When I was older, in the 80s, I was obsessed with speakers. I had subscriptions to several audio magazines, and was always reading about tube equipment sounding very good. Then I went to a church garage sale, found a couple Dynaco MK III amps that needed rebuilt, and I was hooked. The first tubes I used were 6550 Chinese tubes, and they sounded very good. They had thin glass, and as they warmed up, they would make "tink" noises, and they had a certain smell also that was a sort of industrial odor, that was not unpleasant.
     
  19. Wildcat

    Wildcat Spring ain't here... Subscriber

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    Location:
    SCS, MI (near a lake)
    Funny...when I was a kid, my grandmother got a new MGA color TV and we took her old black and white Maggotbox (which is what I called the Magnavox). It had tubes. Since it wasn't used much, I would remove and replace all of the tubes just for kicks. I amused easily. ;) I don't recall us going to the tube store but once or twice--the only thing we had by then was a monaural Admiral hi-fi in the basement (12AX7, two 6W6GT, and another I don't recall).
     
  20. E.Man

    E.Man Super Member

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    1,162
    Location:
    Bega Valley, Australia
    Yep. Got a 6550 2nd hand with a load of new production tubes. Based on a UK design.
    Sold two SS power amps so the nett cost was Zero !!.
    Since old iron is not common around here I've put nos US tubes in it.
     
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