Valve monoblocks

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by martinoslice, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. martinoslice

    martinoslice
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    Ive bought a set of icon audio mb90 valve monoblocks and a icon audio la3 valve pre amp, this is my first experience with valve equipment. Ive only just started listening to music so my question is how do these compare to other valve amps, i cant find any reviews on them, are they any good, they certainly sound good but im not 100% sure on what is really good and just ok, they cost £1795 a pair and the pre amp was around £600 they use kt90 valves.
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    AFAIK,Icon Audio products are manufactured by Ming-Da,and looking under that name may produce some reviews.

    The company site has several reviews(admittedly not your particular amp) which would give a flavour of Icon's quality level.
    http://www.iconaudio.co.uk/Reviews.htm

    The general feeling seems to be of good quality and sound,both for Icon Audio,and the parent company when you look around the net a bit.
     
  3. martinoslice

    martinoslice
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    Yea ive seen the site i was hoping for a magazine review, im pretty sure they are a great product but its always nice to have a second opinion, especially from somebody with more listening experience than me. Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. alexs2

    alexs2
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    KT88/KT90 tubes generally have a fairly bright and clear sound,as well as being well suited to push-pull designs like this,and deliver decent power outputs.

    Your amps also have the facility to switch between triode and ultralinear output modes...the latter will give more power,but many prefer the smoother sound in triode mode....I had a pair of valve monoblocs I owned rewired for triode operation with a much smoother sound as a result.

    You may also find that you benefit from changing the input and phase splitter tubes(the 6SL7 and 6SN7 tubes) for so-called NOS or new-old-stock tubes,many of which are superb but can be costly.

    Very old 6SN7's such as the RCA VT-231 and Sylvanias are superb.

    Have a good listen to it in stock form first...the tubes etc will take a while to perform at their best.
     
  5. martinoslice

    martinoslice
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    Ok cool ill look into that.
     
  6. alexs2

    alexs2
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    The preamp AFAIK also uses 6SN7 tubes and may be worth experimenting with...modern 6SN7s such as the Russian/Chinese variety which your amps will no doubt contain,are actually pretty decent tubes,but you will find the older ones are better.

    Whilst I would say that there are plenty of UK sources for these tubes,this is a good place for info and links.
    http://www.tubeseller.com/ratings.html
     
  7. martinoslice

    martinoslice
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    Cool in the gang ill try that link now..cheers
     
  8. alexs2

    alexs2
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    There's a lot more out there...PM me if you need any help.
     
  9. zorgon

    zorgon
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    My experience of valves is as follows:-

    I used to own a Naim based system but realised that they are at bit flat sounding, to my taste they lacked soundstage and depth even though they were very detailed. I also got fed up with the Naim approach to upgrading.
    I now run Audion Silver Night Monoblock valve amps for my stereo and these are stunning. I have never felt the need to change these, even against Levinson and the like.

    However I wish to use this room set up with multi channel and a projector etc, and I dont want to lose the valves.
     
  10. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Welcome to the forums...nice to find another convert.

    I've got both tubed and S/s amplifiers...I predominantly use the S/s end of the system for AV use,and the tubes for stereo when possible.

    There are a few tubed multichannel amps around,but I would imagine few that would be on a par with your 300Bs for the qualities whic you currently enjoy.
     
  11. zorgon

    zorgon
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    Hi Thanks,

    I don't even use a preamp with them. I am looking for a Processor and 5 channel power amp to run 7.1. any suggestions would be welcome, I would be looking at good quality used items. I will also need surround, centre and sub woofer speakers.

    Apologies if hijacked the existing thread. I am not familiar with those valve amps.
     
  12. martinoslice

    martinoslice
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    Also, i have a tube pre but im currently using the mono's in my av system(pioneer lx70, rotel 1095, kef xq range) because this way i dont have to change leads around when i want to listen to music, is this bad as in the mono's are on 6 hours a night. But it does sound good.
     
  13. martinoslice

    martinoslice
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    Anyone?
     
  14. spear321

    spear321
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    Try Hi-Fi World, just did a review of this very amp.

    Got a very good review particullary when run in triode mode.

    :D

    Have aWAD KIT6550 amp kit I built and have just strapped it to triode mode, made a big difference to the sound, and as they point out changing the input valves can make a big difference to the sound.
     
  15. mhuk05

    mhuk05
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    tube-town.de and audiotriodes.com both have good prices on tubes.

    Tube town also sell bias probes should your monoblocks not be self-biasing when you start tube rolling :)
     

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