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audio note /valve amps

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by iluvlesta, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. iluvlesta

    iluvlesta
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    i'm using a cyrus 3i and smartpower at the moment

    heard some valve amps recently, and i'm thinking about a change.

    heard a couple audio note and croft pre's and powers.

    any comments anyone on these makes?

    any comments about buying them from abroad? states for example
     
  2. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    What kind of budget do you have and what is the rest of your system
     
  3. iluvlesta

    iluvlesta
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    i've got some totem rainmaker speakers and a cairn fog v2 cd player

    think i want to spend about 1500 although i'd like to see some change out of it. the room they live in is not that big but with valves then the watts aren't that high. i just want sound not power.

    thanks
     
  4. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    Croft and Audionote are both good brands IMO but there are many others as well. The sensitivity of 87 dB is not ideal for your speakers so I would stay away very low powered amps and most importantly, get a home demo.

    If you are handy with DIY dont overlook the huge amount of kits (WAD, Audionote etc).

    One of the best systems I ever listened to was a Croft - Quad ELS-63, stunning sound quality
     
  5. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    All the Audio Note amps under £2k are gaspingly underpowered IME. The Totems are very nice speakers and I wouldn't be in a hurry to change them so unless your listening levels are very quiet indeed I'd give them a swerve.
    You could give the Prima Luna a go though. I very nearly bought one myself as it has a real world usefulness and tractability coupled with a lovely sound. Your budget would cover either versions and upgrading the valves as well if you wished.
    Londondecca's suggestion about home demoing is the most valid piece of advice here though.
    ToF
     
  6. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    yup most of the crofts and AN will be too low power for you, you really need to be looking at the 40/50w amps.[your speaker are of lower than average sensitivity and 20w is touch too low let alone 10w] This is PP territory using something like 6550, KT88 or EL34s. I would look tho the Prima Luna range first, bargain, I love it, and there aree one or two other good chinese valve amps in similar bracket now, Icon etc. WAD stuff was always good but my experience of te latest generation 'bigger' amps in non existant. I use the older stuff (cos I have it) and like it.

    Most of my valve stuff is low power but I use with more sensitive speakers.
     
  7. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I have a set of WAD 300B's here which with a few upgrades sound absolutely superb,with beautifully detailed midrange and treble.

    Only 26W or thereabouts but they will drive my B&W 805s(if not to high levels!)which is something a lot of Ss amps havent managed.
    With ESl's they sound lovely...highly recommended,and they will offer help with building as well.
     
  8. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    If I was getting into Valve amps tommorrow the WAD designs (DIY) that Alex mentions would be interesting to me, Also read up on the Prima Luna Prologue 2 this looks like a classic amp, And Eastern Electric are doing an interesting range called the Minimax that is worthy of investigation.

    Don’t rule out Solid State amps thought, you can get very nice SS / Vlave Hyrbrids from Unison Research, Copland & Shanling. Copland from what Ive heard are as lucid and begulling and good valve set ups with plenty of poer on tap.
     
  9. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Everything I've read about the PrimaLuna amps has been very good,although I haven't heard them myself.
    I must admit to not liking the Croft amps in terms of presentation and build,but the sound is fine.

    As to things like the WAD and Audionote kits.....I think in overall terms the WAD kits are easier to build,as even a novice like myself had little trouble once I'd got started,and the value for money is much better.
    The WAD 300b's sound quality in basic form is excellent,and certainly up with valve amps costing several times as much,and once a few components are changed(such as using PIO capacitors etc),it just sounds superb.

    Other tube amps I've heard and liked would include Tube Technology(mostly the bigger models)and to a lesser extent Audio Research and the now defunct Lumleys.
     
  10. iluvlesta

    iluvlesta
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    thanks, and here's me thinking that it'd be a simple choice. i fancy a change of sound i think and i think that i'm going to keep hold of my cyrus kit anyway

    i had found a funny little thing http://www.sophiaelectric.com/ and go to S.E.T. music amplifiers and then select the S.E.T.™ Music Baby Amplifier. £450!

    how easy is it to build your own then? i really have no idea how to solder and have no experience of building electronic stuff

    anyone have exprience of buying second hand kit from abroad?
     
  11. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I'd virtually never buy 2nd hand from abroad,unless it was a piece of kit I know well,and know I can get fixed if necessary.

    As to building a valve amp,if I can do it,I think most people can,as I was a complete novice when I built the 300B amps.
     
  12. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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  13. iluvlesta

    iluvlesta
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    i have listened to a croft vitale integrated and it was the first tube that i'd heard. with my eyes closed it was if i was there, corny i know but very strange in comparison to what i'm used to. i did have a look inside and it did look like a birds nest inside which i suppose is what put me off buying a kit and building one!

    :clap: thanks for the ideas and opinions lads, think i need to go and listen some more :clap:
     
  14. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Had my croft pre now for 18 years, ugliest bit of kit I own but I STILL own it. I think that says it all.
     
  15. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    Croft never went in for looks just the capabilities. He once made a preamp called "Recession what recession" Bit of a maveric he is.He also modifies Leak stereo 20s.I have one.
     
  16. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    so do I :)
     
  17. mikeoxsmall

    mikeoxsmall
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    jadis orchestra ( awesome amp)
     
  18. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    just a little more money ;) I would recommend a Tekni Fi Zikkra 600se in that case, with the right speakers ;)
     
  19. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    Who sells these vaunted Javis amps then?
     
  20. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    posh dealers :)
     
  21. iluvlesta

    iluvlesta
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    i have to say that i did really like the vitale i heard and it so exceeded my expectation of what i had stupidly preconcieved in my head. i know it's my decision but it's reassuring to know that something is still standing up today.

    have you had to tweak it Nic? does it need servicing or is it easy to do yourself?
     
  22. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    It has had the full Rhodes treatment. The circuit is basically the same. All caps and some wiring and R changed now. No volumes anymore as it is basically just a RIAA stage but easily transferred back. The sound is basically the same just more so...and loads of tube rolling so I don't even use screws in the lid anymore.....:) Never HAD to tweak it but put an engineer and soldering iron in the same room ;)
     
  23. iluvlesta

    iluvlesta
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    the more i read about people building their own/or tweaking or altering then the more it makes me think that i'd taken just a bit more notice in science lessons at school! i think i'm going to buy something first, then build myself a little single input for the kitchen! i'll be back for info on what later

    thanks nic
     
  24. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    Bloke at Eminent audio( Croft distributors) suggested I should have a no gain version of the Vitale( apparently made specially to order) because of the sensitivity of my Leak. I bought a cheap Qed passive pre instead which seems to do a freasonable job.Previously I had used an Audio Innovations 800c pre and still do but only as a phono stage
     
  25. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Absolute Sounds are the UK distributors.

    Not cheap,but they are good amps by any standards.
     
  26. mikeoxsmall

    mikeoxsmall
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    as i said jadis orchestra, for the money there is no better sound,
    one hell of a good amp, and looks fantastic
     
  27. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    They will be on show at Heathrow then.
     

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