Looking at a Few Tube Amps

Discussion in 'New Gear - Values' started by Fusion, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Addicted Member

    Please keep us informed. I've been in touch with King as well but am a little leery of making the financial transaction. I have a vintage single ended EL84 and it has really stirred my interest in these amps
     
  2. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Addicted Member

    FWIW I just realized that the KA-101 has four EL84 output tubes and makes 12 wpc which based on my experience means it's a push pull ( negative feedback ) amp and not a single ended amp. An SE version would have only two EL84 output tubes and make no more than 4 or 5 wpc.
     
  3. RGA

    RGA Super Member

    Messages:
    1,004
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    It is a Push Pull amplifier and people who know me know that Single Ended is my preference - but there are exceptions - it sounds a LOT better than the ASL MG head and LM 218mini (both are SETS). The headphone amplifier is an additional add on for King as he is mainly selling it as an integrated amp - the fact that beats up mainly headphone amp amplifiers for the same price is pretty good. And with stock tubes. I just finished my interview with King today - preparing now to write the review.

    King has sold and repaired a lot of amps over the years including the likes of LM, Melody, Almarro, Rogue Audio. He was the Asia representative so if an item failed it was sent to him to repair.

    I also like the feet - they're solid aluminum feet - not the usual cheap rubber crap or plastic painted to look aluminum. Metal film capacitors and EI transformer with silicon metal.

    Next year he plans to make available front plates in different colours - you can just unscrew the black front plate and put in a new one (white or blue or something). But the rest of the thing has to remain black to keep the price down.

    I am happy to hear something that is relatively budget in the audiophile world that I have liked. The magazine I write for just reviewed a $137,000US preamp and I wish I had my review ready so the next review would have been this amp for ~ $800. I like Audio Note as much as anyone but for those of us who live in the real world we must admit that that other world is batcrap crazy. It should be about getting good quality sound that makes you happy at a price that makes sense.

    Audiophiles are too into showing off how much they spent or having tried the most products - No. The thing sounds like music yes or no. Not everything expensive is great and not everything cheap sucks.

    This sounds good but you still may like other amps more - no guarantees in life. I like it you may not. It is push pull after all but this thing rips apart my Audio Space Mini 2SE PP amps for $1600 or the 211IA IMO. I comfortably replaced my 219IA with this amp as well. And I didn't have to give up the meters. :)

    King recommends changing the RCA NOS 5u4g and Gold Lion gold pin 12AX7 or TungSol 803s gold pin.
    He also likes Gold Lion gold pin for the EL84s and for the 12AU7 Brimer NOS or Amprex NOS.

    I think Push Pull slightly bullies the sound to one degree or another where a good SET amp does not. So on some speakers (usually the kind I like) push pull is a little abusive pummeling music at me that displaying it there for me to discover. This amp doesn't entirely get away from this pitfall and neither does the Audio Note I-Zero. But these amps do it less than other PP amps and they're not entirely without their own strengths. More impact isn't entirely without its strengths on harder hitting material. Drums are taught and robust for example and there is a tactile feeling throughout.

    I see why tube fans own a variety of different amplifiers - none of the tube amps I have heard regardless of price do it all (and certainly no SS). This amp will be no different but for the money as an all rounder it is pretty terrific. Plus it's a nice way to get into tubes not too expensively and is a mean headphone amp.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2017 at 2:57 AM
  4. Fusion

    Fusion Active Member

    Messages:
    426
    Looking forward to hearing Brendan's thoughts. For the price I may just grab one. I don't plan on running tubes all the time and it makes that type of plan more difficult if your tube amp costs $3,000. Hard to justify the expense for something that sits on the sidelines half the time.

    Just wish it had a remote!

    I haven't listened to my AN AX-Two's in a while. I think I'll put them in either today or tomorrow. See how they stack up to my ProAc's. The ProAc's have been in there pretty much since I bought them a couple of years ago.
     
  5. RGA

    RGA Super Member

    Messages:
    1,004
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Fusion - if you don't want those AX Twos there is a fellow on the Canuckaudiomart forum that has been trying to get a pair for ages. His name is David Niece and his handle there is byebye88. Unfortunately I was permanently banned on that forum so I can't directly put you in touch with him. I figured Canadians who invented Hockey would be made of tougher stuff but the safe-space crybaby moderators would run away from a 12 year old girl selling girl guide cookies.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017 at 10:23 PM
  6. Fusion

    Fusion Active Member

    Messages:
    426
    Thanks, RGA. I don't post much there but I am on CAM (more of a lurker - and I've actually noticed David's posts as he signs his name at the end of them). If I end up selling the AX-Two's I'll definitely check in with David to see if he wants them.

    Listened to them last night. They do a lot of things really well. It's about trade-offs I guess. I think they do better than the ProAcs in some areas but worse in other areas. I'm going to continue listening to them for a few weeks and go from there.
     
  7. RGA

    RGA Super Member

    Messages:
    1,004
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I think they'd be similar enough to not bother keeping both of them. Same sonic ballpark - both pretty easy to drive - both limited in the bass and ultimate volume capability. ProAc is probably the easier when it comes to what it likes to be partnered with - like SS. Martin Grennel of Audio Note got on my case to put the AX Two up near the wall or corner. Basically - fussy. If you had them boxed up for two years and if you don't feel they really beat the ProAc - I'd sell em - you might get more than you paid or very close to what you paid since the list price has gone up and is now $965US. Which means you might do well.

    But as you note - speakers often do some things better and some things worse so in my case I much prefer acoustic instruments, live music and vocals through the AX Two over the LS-50 but if I want more thunder for trance I would take the KEF. Then again the AN K's price has been lowered (thank you Brexit) to $2k which means they can be had for $1800 which is $300 more than the LS-50 and they beat the ever loving hell out of the KEFs.
     
  8. opnly bafld

    opnly bafld AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Illinois
    Last time I checked @ 2 years ago base AN Ks were $2400 shipped; if they can be bought for $1800 shipped that is much better.
     
  9. opnly bafld

    opnly bafld AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Illinois
    I believe the price is 1800+ GBP which is over $2300 USD; I've been quoted just under $2400 /Lx.
     
  10. RGA

    RGA Super Member

    Messages:
    1,004
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Sorry - I just checked their price list and the AN K/LX is $2490 plus $515 for the matching stands (and you probably should get the matching stands). Less 10-15% off for negotiating.

    The model I was thinking of is the AN K/D which can only be had in black ash and is $2160. BUT I don't know what you lose. You get D copper instead of Lx and the D may not be fully Russian birch - if this is the case you may as well pony up the extra $330. The Lx gives you over 20 finish choices as opposed to one as well.
     

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