What is a good entry level amp for tube amps

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

  1. hobbit

    hobbit Active Member

    Northern Ireland
    It was, but compared to the USA even the normal working Joe didnt have a huge amount of disposable income.

    Watch The Commitments , for a good view of pre celtic tiger Ireland.
    Belfast wasnt much different even in the early 90`s
    The best gear I remember seeing was a primary school friend whose dad had really nice SS Technics Gear.
    So started my love of the Jap brand.
    Ireland was pretty bleak in the early half of the 20th century, hence why so many left for a better life in the USA from North and South!


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  2. primosounds

    primosounds Powered with pure tube sounds. Subscriber

    Terra, 21st century CE
    [QUOTE="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[/QUOTE]
    I apologize for not knowing your upbringing and i sincerely hope those days are far in the past. Still, one can get a single ended amp that was rescued from a console for around a 100 bucks . I have gotten them for as little as 50.00. Then you buy some parts and build your own amp. The sound from such an amp is much better especially knowing that it was your work that made it possible DSC05287.JPG . Here is one that i made for just over a hundred dollars in parts, well, maybe around 150.
  3. hobbit

    hobbit Active Member

    Northern Ireland
    Not an issue re my upbringing, just simply an observation that sadly, we dont have the abundance of defunct tube gear available.
    The only recycled bit that I do own, is a lovely little 20 watt guitar amp built from old parts.
    Many of those were sourced by its guitar tech builder whilst on tour with Leonard Cohen (RIP) in the USA!
  4. juno

    juno Super Member

    Pembroke Pines, FL
    Thanks! I may pick one of these up sometime soon!
  5. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Brisbane, Australia
    Nah, just running an xDuoo TA-01 headphone amp. It's okay though not as good as I'd hoped for.
  6. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

    West coast
    my two cents

    I've had about 2 dozen old tube amps including Dynaco ST70s/Pas2-3, Conrad-johnsons,
    HKs, precision fidelitys, and EICOs. I have tube and SS skills and knowledge and have abandoned
    all of these.-. the reason why is continuous maintenance. my last straw was an ST70 that
    developed problems each and every quarter. Fuse holder, bad tube-side pin, red-plating,
    wide swings in bias settings. not to mention, unstable/unreliable Mullard el34s. sold it all.

    I also have Xiangsheng Dac-01 (see post 32), appj (see post 45), mingda el34 amps,
    XS headphone amp, several other el34 PP amps, and numerous boards from China.
    and that Audioromy using the 829 tubes.

    no comparison. no hacking on the new tube stuff (like windmill, flaying saucer getters
    with 5 stars or 5 mica getters, or cryogenic goldplated supports, etc). all are in daily
    use and no failures. and before you yell foul about Chinese manufacturing, talk Apple.
    you will always find one statement about anything from appj to Magico TOTL speakers
    there are over 100 trillion url entries and growing by 100million per hour or so.

    point is that once you buy something you become the chief galactic marketing and sales
    for them, for free, until the thing fails. you will always find a tube radio or a PAS2 that
    is original and still working, 24 hours a day, for the last 55 years.

    if you do buy something old, and tubes, be prepared to learn or pay someone.
    console/organ pulls, barn yard Dynacos, early tube gear all need specialized
    knowledge to fix. my example is the HF52 I had for almost a decade, it was missing
    an output transformer. never showed up ebay/CL. finally sold it to someone who
    had this pedigree/storied/sought-after transformer. I could have fixed it but didn't
    even have a shorted transformer to be rewound.

    so for the $500 budget you can get a dac/preamp and a low power SE tube amp
    and still have money left over for boutique tubes. if used then enough for more stuff.
    just not old American tube equipment that needs a complete refurb and perhaps
    needing parts that are unobtanium.

    another point, my last, is that what you buy today may not be in your gear years later.
    if you believe that your first tube amp is to be your last, then show me your first car.
    (I know of only one teenager who got a brandnew Porsche on his 16th birthday)

    Upgrading as your income and tastes evolve is a time-honored tradition for cars,
    watches, fountain pens, houses, IRAs, furniture, clothes, shoes, living locations,
    but maybe not for tube amps?

    no matter what - enjoy the music. listen and judge with your ears. listen to
    those with experience (not web opinions they may have "heard") and with
    those who share your musical tastes (otherwise, buy CV D9s and 1000wpc
    amps and declare victory).


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  7. ctjetta

    ctjetta AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Whoa, don't hold back! Tell us how you really feel!

    Just my opinion, but, you make way too much sense for this crowd.

    And, yes. Victory shall be mine!
  8. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

    West coast

    its all about people who slam gear never having owned or heard. then slamming
    all gear from one country without owning it after reading one post out of a million.

    meanwhile buying everything they own (washers, microwaves, phones, dishes, car parts,
    clothes, goods, etc) from china yet slamming only the audio gear they never heard. then
    going overboard about 50 year old console pulls as the best possible audio gear assuming
    everyone doing so is a tube expert and can do dv/di for anode resistance, rewind transformers
    for new primary loads, change core gaps to accommodate SE operation, and re-engineer
    cathode to computer controlled fixed bias, dynamic switching from pentode to triode operation
    and conversion to DRD, changing PS topologies, etc.

    however, those who do the 50 YO organ/consoles - build a business, redesign the form factor
    (do a @leesonic with his incredible NAD front panels for example), bullet-proof (simple
    stuff like fuse the B+ line), and modernize the whole package sonics wise (like caps tested
    for their undisputed sonic contributions), and I might be first in line. in fact, I'd dump all
    my remaining old tube amps, my current Chinese stuff, and my intended purchases.

    I would much prefer folks to describe what they have, the music they play then to suggest
    a solution. then not assume that all posters asking have the requisite tube/ss background
    to go fix old or crappy gear and make them state-of the-art.

    some folks just want to turn it on and enjoy the music.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  9. triode17

    triode17 Super Member

    Agreed, but you need a preamp with that. And you can't get both for $500. I recommend the HH Scott LK-48. It's 20w/ch. of tube power (which sounds like 40 w. of SS power), but it may need a rebuild. I prefer it over my HH Scott LK72.
  10. GChief

    GChief Not well known, super member or other silliness Subscriber

    Eastern NC
    Thanks brother!! I had a bad day and you just made me laugh out loud!!

  11. soundmotor

    soundmotor super modified Subscriber

    Perhaps you can't...



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  12. reggaenaut

    reggaenaut Addicted Member

    Brooklyn NY
    $500, limited tube knowledge and skill, Chi-Fi seems the best way to go...A Yaqin perhaps.
    DavidTT likes this.

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