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What is a good entry level amp for tube amps

Discussion in 'Tube Audio' started by rselby, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. rselby

    rselby Active Member

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    jacksonville fl
    I have had a few SS amps , and always hear how tube amps have a better sound , I have never owned a tube amp , so this why I am looking for some advice on what is a good entry level amp( $ 500 or less ) if there is such a thing , I plan on having it drive my older Klipsch SB-3 book shelf speakers
     

     

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  2. airtime

    airtime Super Member

    Messages:
    2,160
    Location:
    Central Arizona
    If you are willing to bump it up to $750 look at tubes4hifi the VTA ST-70 One of the best buys in audio today
     
    smurfer77 and costerdock like this.
  3. nj pheonix

    nj pheonix AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,840
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Are you looking for a power amp or an integrated?
    If you have efficient speakers? I know Tom (wharfcreek) had been knocking out DSG SE amps and i've only heard really excellent things about them (the amp in general not necessarily Tom's. He's the only one i know building them to sell, though i think more because he likes to build them)
     
    ldatlof likes this.
  4. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,882
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    Are you handy? Good with tools/troubleshooting? How important are looks?
    Some ideas:

    1. Dynaco ST-70 (I paid $300 for one 15 years ago, no idea what they're worth now but still some originals out there) (safe option)

    2. Repurposed push pull 6BQ5 or 6V6 amplifier from old console stereo to get a taste - at least it will have all USA iron and tubes, point to point wiring, etc. (ugly)

    3. Pair of 1950s 6V6 mono amps (where I began)...

    4. Try and get a used "high end" amp from 80s or 90s. Lots of used amps out there

    5. I would avoid buying "made in china" amps, they look pretty but the design is weird sometimes and transformers lack any pedigree. May turn you off tubes entirely.

    6. How about a 1960s integrated amp or receiver.. lots of them out there

    7. Don't expect high power in this price range.
     
    smurfer77 likes this.
  5. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,008
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania snow belt
    Not a huge fan--but there are a lot of Chi-Fi tube amps out there that can be had for $500 or less as an entry into the tube foray. Just keep in mind that anything "entry-level" is exactly that, so don't expect a "miracle". One thing to budget in if you go the Chi-Fi route is money for different tubes--especially driver tubes (which have the most impact on sonics).
     
  6. Eric n Kc

    Eric n Kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,655
    Hey
    You might get your self a subscription here . Lots of entry level tube amps come through here.
    Just saying . Eric
     

     

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  7. heath2832

    heath2832 AK Subscriber Subscriber

  8. soundmotor

    soundmotor super modified Subscriber

    2nd on the Dynaco ST70.
     
  9. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Massdrop has APPJ mini2013 for about $100 at the moment, chi-fi or not this is the same amp as the original "miniwatt" amp that got a positive 6moons review some time back. Limited output tube rolling options, but plenty of cheap options for the driver tubes. I just bought one and love it with my Klipsch RB-15, don't let the 3W rating scare you, it's got plenty of power for efficient speakers. I think it is a great entry-level tube amp to be used with efficient bookshelf speakers for the money. Ok people, you can flame me now.
     
  10. ldatlof

    ldatlof We are all steak Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,826
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I second the DG-SE1 from Wharfcreek. I sent Tom a Maggie 8600 and he worked his magic on it. He can build them from scratch too. It sounds great with my Klipsch Cornwalls. I also like the Dynakit SCA-35 (17 watts) for an entry level integrated. Another unit that Dave Gillespie has improved.
     
  11. nj pheonix

    nj pheonix AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,840
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I don't believe this is a tube amp , that is , an amp that makes sound from tubes. It weighs 3.7 pounds. I'm not seeing how this thing has a PT and an OPT. I beleive it has tubes and they light up. It must be some kind of chip amp. I'm not saying it doesn't sound good. I never heard one. I don't think its what the OP is seeking IMO:idea:
     

     

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  12. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Believe it or not but It is an honest tube amp with a switched-mode PSU that makes sound from tubes.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That may well be true, but it is for him/her to decide.
     
  13. nj pheonix

    nj pheonix AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,840
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Fair enough!
    I've never seen anything like it. Regardless, I'm impressed they can cram all that in that package at that weight :thumbsup:
     
  14. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,331
    Location:
    NEPA
    Any interest in a vintage Fisher tube receiver?

    Relatively plentiful, affordable, well made with good performance.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
  15. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,882
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    I see a switch mode power supply and little output transformers, it sure looks modern compared to the tube stuff I'm used to!
     
  16. kve777

    kve777 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,131
    Location:
    South Jersey, near Philly
    The most fun way to get into tube amps is, by far, a repurposed Magnavox console amp. 6V6 and EL84 P-P amps are common and cheap. You can get your feet wet, have fun with mods, roll tubes, etc. for lots less than $500, with a willing market to buy it back if you don't like, or want to upgrade. I'd put the Dynaco ST-70 as your #2 tube amp to own, once you know you like them and want to get serious, as it's much more costly to get decent EL34's as it is EL84's. Plus now you have a 5AR4 to consider, a good one runs the best part of $100 for an early 60's Mullard or Amperex. Rarely do the cheap ST-70's come with decent(or any!) tubes. Having bookshelf Klipsch speakers overcomes one of the hard parts of owning a small watt amp, high efficiency. I, also, recommend getting the membership necessary to buy and sell in Barter Town. It's a well spent $25.00!

    Good luck!
     
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  17. timsclips

    timsclips AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    404
    Location:
    Central Illinois
    I picked up a KW-55 on the auction site and had it restored for under $500 total. P-P EL84s turning out somewhere between 20 watts (advertised) and 15 watts per channel (what my tech told me to expect). My speakers are rated at 92db and makes a decent amount of sound for my smallish living room.
     
  18. nikon f

    nikon f Member

    Messages:
    66
    Take a look at the Bottlehead SEX 3.0 amp. Fun and easy to build, and great sounding. It is currently on sale for a little less than $500. "Music always sounds better when you build it yourself"
     
  19. sKiZo

    sKiZo Hates received: 8642 Subscriber

    $500 or less definitely puts you strong into the used market, or ChiFi. Even then, your choices are fairly limited.

    For new, I've heard good things about the Yaquin MC-84L ... good looker too.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. for_p1

    for_p1 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,484
    Location:
    North TX
    Yaqin MC-100B is probably the entry level. Anything with less power will extremely limit choice of speakers or type of acceptably reproduced music.
     

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