Maybe a move over to valve! What say you?


The Duke

At present I have a "typical" separates system.
Now, having got hold of some Living Voice Avatars, I am toying with moving over to valve as they are sooooo easy to drive and I quite facy putting some valve "colour" into my life!
This is just for a change of pace & scenery. You know what it's like, you live with a system for a year + or even ++, and one day you wake up and fancy that maybe the grass is greener on the other side!
Unless I try it, I simply will never know.

Am I right in thinking that some cd players do away with the need for a pre amp?
If so, I am looking at a possible set up, with the same sort of £ as I have below in my signature box +25%.
The system would have a glorious valve amp and then see how that all sounds!


Distinguished Member
There are a few CD players which have a variable output(as some of the Wadias do)but they are relatively few and far between.

An alternative is to use a good passive preamp between a CD player and power amplifier,and there are examples to suit most budgets,from the Creek in the £100+ bracket,and all the way up from there.

Were you looking for a valve power amp,or an CD player with a tubed output stage to run your current amps?

The Duke

This is new terretory for me, so I am fairly unsure of the best options available.
The valve route that gives me the most options on gear is possibly the best route as we do so love to tinker!
I realise the move to valve will limit these options whatever by default.
Do you have any thoughhts on the matter?


Well-known Member
The valve route that gives me the most options on gear is possibly the best route as we do so love to tinker! I realise the move to valve will limit these options whatever by default.
A contradiction? I'd have said a valve amp (whether it's integrated or pre/ power) would give you more options than you can shake a stick at. I'm in the same position as you- I've had a look but it's information overload. Swap this valve for that valve, 300B, El34, EL84, 6SN7GTB, Sovtek, push pull, tube rolling... A whole new language to learn.


Active Member
A couple of questions upfront:
1. What does your system not do, that you think you're missing?
2. What are you expecting a valve amp to add that you don't have already?

I've heard a whole bunch of valve amps quite recently, most of which have left me distinctly unimpressed, though some have been awesome.

I think that you need to get out and listen to a few options, preferably whilst driving your speakers, as system synergy is simply vital. How about trying Definitive audio, who do after all make LVs.
The best I've heard with LVs were a set of Border Patrol amps. Unfortunately they've moved to the US, so getting hold of them at the moment is not anything like as easy. Go checkout reviews of the S10 and S11, which would probably meet your needs if you do go valve. To start with you can always use your MF pre amp.

Ref the CDP question with a built in volume control, I'd say your probably options are:
- Wadia unit, expensive, but very good
- Quad CD99. IMO the best £1k CDP I've heard
- Opus CD21 (I believe that these have built in volume control). Heard one recently and was one of the first times that I've thought CD has matched vinyl.
- US import version of a Consonance Droplet. There's two key versions of the Droplet, I'm told that one has volume control. Wonderful CDP.

The Duke

A change of pace and emphasis really.
The ML Arius i's that I have with the cables, power leads etc make for a huge picture you can almost step into.
However, I have heard the system with a Naim and a Denson cd, and both were fab.
I have bought some LV Avatars so I can best see if they work well too.
I wanted to try somthing warmer, something altogether more organic.

Thanks for the excellent comments though.


dynamic turtle

Active Member
I would second Sukebe's comments

If you are going to go down the valve route, you might be able to get better value for money than Border Patrol amps. They are VERY expensive (more than twice the price of AlexS2's WAD 300B monoblocks, for example) for what's on offer, IMVHO.



Active Member
Hi I also have a pair of ML Aerius i and was biamping with a pair of quad 909s. By chance I heard the Quad valve amps and ending up buying the II forty monoblocs with preamp. Put simply, and given a good recording, I felt I was listening to musicians playing the music rather than hearing the music second-hand. Overall I find the sound more organic and less processed, string instruments particularly sound much more like the real thing. A small difference but one that has made a big difference to listening pleasure. Further experimenting has had me using the valves for the electrostatic units and the 909s for the bass units. Maybe a slight improvement in "oomph" (sorry, can't think of another description at the moment) but not so much of a difference. I think it is the effect of the valves on the electostatic units that is doing the magic. for me it has been well worth the cost of upgrading and shattered some of my prejudices about valve equipment - I hope I don't end up going back to vinyl as the clicks, pops and hisses used to annoy the hell out of me!

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