What is a good entry level amp for tube amps

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

  1. PAGS

    PAGS AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,043
    Location:
    North of Philly
    What folks seem to conveniently forget is that the VAST MAJORITY of electronic equipment - including the computers, tablets and smartphones we're collectively using right now - are made in China. It may say Apple, Hewlett-Packard or Dell on the outside, but odds are very good that it was made in Asia. I believe the same is true of most audio equipment. That said, the QC for most "American" branded products tends to be very, very good.

    What's referred to as ChiFi is the stuff that one typically finds only on the internet. The quality and reliability can be a crap shoot. There are exceptions. I really like my Line Magnetic amp; it's built like a tank. Cayin and Audio GD also come to mind as quality brands. Of course, the good stuff ain't cheap. Then again, it holds its value.
     
    airtime likes this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,000
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Yes, we've the same problem here in Australia. Only the older cities in Victoria have any decent used gear. We're mostly limited to Chinese manufacture gear when it comes to getting better sound quality without paying through the nose.
     
  3. hobbit

    hobbit Active Member

    Messages:
    282
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    Hence why I said, you are taking a chance
    If you buy from ebay or amazon you do have a degree of protection,
    I`d give the likes of aliexpress a VERY wide birth.
    I have never had a good experience with them.

    I can only comment on personal experience.
    I have various bits of china stuff about me.
    i built my man cave system from chinese chip amp boards and it sounds far far better than completed boards bought for less than $10 have any right to.
    I have some SMSL stuff that is in the bedroom and a nobsound chip amp with the computer for sound.

    I have a few little bear tube buffers won cheap in auctions, only one of which was a little iffy.
    I have a little Dot Mk2 which really sweetened the sound in my very flat sounding Onkyo amp.

    The Boyuu A9 SET amp I am currently listening to with my cheap xduoo X3 mp3 player sounds better than any cheap tube amp should.
    So, maybe I have been lucky, but , as I have had much of this in bits , and have been impressed with the build I suspect a lot of it is down to the chinese catching on to what we in the west want, and the fact that so many big companies manufacture there.
     
  4. Tom Bombadil

    Tom Bombadil AK Member

    Messages:
    1,674
    Location:
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I picked up a 2 year old Dennis Had handbuilt single-ended EL84 amp about 18 months ago for $520. Only makes about 4-5 watts per channel but is a very high quality amp. If you take your time and know what you are looking for, you can stumble across good deals. I've seen used Jolidas going for around that price.
     
  5. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Lunatic Member

    When you pay $99 for a fine sounding single ended APPJ/Miniwatt who would care about resale value?

    [​IMG]



    For the record the last nice tube amp I pulled from a Fisher console brought less than $100 on eBay.
     
  6. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    51,967
    Sounds like an excellent rationale for the OP to consider a decent quality Chinese brand on the used market! There are some nice ones, and if they truly don't hold their resale value as well as other brands* then there should be some excellent values available used.
    ________
    * Most of the components from most of those "other brands" are built in China, as well -- in some cases in the same plants as the cheap 'off-brand' hardware.
     
    DonC1965 likes this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. airtime

    airtime Super Member

    Messages:
    2,107
    Location:
    Central Arizona
    Thank you !! Once again I have to point out that China is not the problem. The problem lies in the INDIVIDUAL COMPANY and THEIR FAILURE to maintain quality. All in the name of profit a company will allow this. While China is just doing exactly the same thing - making profit by cutting even more QC. Only China is blamed and not the company that should be blamed.

    Stop blaming China and START blaming the COMPANY that is more concerned with profit than their own product.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2016
  8. jeb98

    jeb98 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    New Haven, CT
    I do. I have the Elekit tu-8200.. and I highly recommend it. It uses high quality Japanese transformers and it sounds wonderful. It also accepts EL34 tubes, 6550, and other tubes and is switchable between triode, ultralinear, and pentode mode. It's what I would recommend.
     
    juno likes this.
  9. primosounds

    primosounds SE KT120 w/ 6J5G drivers. LCLC ps + 2 x 5ar4 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,381
    Location:
    Terra, 21st century CE
    Yeah, pick one up just in time for that poor solder joint to finally shake loose and send you on a wild goose chase searching for a short or hum. Then you can use it to anchor your boat at the marina. At least if you had a Fisher or EICO of Scott, you could sell it under the same condition for at least the same amount you bought it and have someone else have a new boat anchor. :rolleyes:
     
  10. hobbit

    hobbit Active Member

    Messages:
    282
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    And I repeat, if you dont live in the USA you simply wont find such brands

    I have had no serious issues with chinese stuff I have bought recently.
    Yes, unless you buy via amazon etc you need to accept you do your own repairs or find someone who can do.
    Much like second hand gear , which will have dry caps, dry solder joints and all the things you speak of
     
    mjw21a likes this.
  11. primosounds

    primosounds SE KT120 w/ 6J5G drivers. LCLC ps + 2 x 5ar4 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,381
    Location:
    Terra, 21st century CE
    That is the kind of reasoning why our closets and landfills are full of dead electronics crap. Our country and many others suffer from the worst kind of consumerism which is rapidly depleting our natural resources and fills the pockets of the greedy corporations and governments.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. primosounds

    primosounds SE KT120 w/ 6J5G drivers. LCLC ps + 2 x 5ar4 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,381
    Location:
    Terra, 21st century CE
    Actually, the vintage European tube gear is of better quality than the American made.
     
  13. oglethorpe

    oglethorpe Active Member

    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    southeast
    Good question OP. At least we got a few good places to start looking.
     
  14. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Lunatic Member

    :boring:
     
    DougRuss47 likes this.
  15. FlaCharlie

    FlaCharlie Active Member

    Messages:
    493
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    OP? . . . OP?? . . . Am I the only one who noticed that the OP hasn't commented on anything here? Makes me wonder if he was making a serious inquiry. Maybe he just likes :lurk:
     
  16. johnblue

    johnblue Active Member

    Messages:
    267
    I think he changed his mind and and bought a "breats by Dre pill" nicki-minaj-beats-by-dr-dre-pill-wireless-speaker-pink-edition-qtooth.jpg
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. hobbit

    hobbit Active Member

    Messages:
    282
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    I have been into Hi fi for over 35 years.
    I can remember some interesting stuff that friends parents had when I was young, but the only valve gear I ever saw was the WW2 era radiograms that my grandparents still had in the 70`s.
    We got our first colour TV only in 1975.
    The 70`s , for large parts of the UK and Ireland were bleak, with bugger all income.
    As a result, high end gear was not the preserve of most of the masses.
    The USA generally had a much much higher standard of living, hence why as callow youth we were so drawn to the glamour over the pond.
    I grew up in Belfast. If you removed the bombs and bullets, Glasgow wasnt much different - check this out for images of the reality of inner city life in Northern British isles. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ter-electricity-rats-rubble-50-years-ago.html
     
    mjw21a likes this.
  18. FlaCharlie

    FlaCharlie Active Member

    Messages:
    493
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    Hobbit - great link, thanks for posting that!

    I had one friend whose dad had some type of cool mono rig, McIntosh maybe. I wasn't too interested in gear at the time.
     
  19. hobbit

    hobbit Active Member

    Messages:
    282
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    I know this is a primarily american site, and believe me, those of us in the 3rd world (UK) are very jealous that you guys have such amazing kit lying around in second hand shops.

    The best deals I have had in recent years is picking up late 80`s early 90`s gear at low prices from those going down the single box bluray 5.1 route.
    Older gear just doesnt exist here, not in any quantity.

    For that reason, the chi fi route is our only real option when it comes to budget tube gear.
    I built a guitar about 8 years ago from a chinese no name.
    My son still uses it.
    As has been pointed out, its a crap shoot, but checking amazon it seems quite a lot of ch fi gear is available there, at a slightly higher cost, but with less risk than the action sites, if the OP is still listening!
     
  20. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Lunatic Member

    I would hope that Belfast/Glasgow was better than McCourt's images of Limerick in the 40's.
     

Share This Page