Valve Virgin


Standard Member
Dear Learned Chaps,

Current system Quad 909 power amp, Wadia 16 cd player, Biwired Quad 22l floorstanders.

Been curious about taking the valve plunge for years, I was brought up on vinyl but now only play cds, main music listening is rock & dance, but not at mega death levels 30 watts max is enough these days (yes I know I have a 140watt rms power amp, but I was seduced and taken advantage and it has grown on me)

So would switching to 15 watt 300B valve monoblocks, give me apoplexy or would I learn to love those babys (please dont say it depends on the listener, although this is true, its not very helpful). Okay chaps bury me with your knowledge.:lease:

Many thanks


Active Member
Hi Ian

Until two weeks ago I was biamping a pair of Quad 909s into Martin Logan Aerius i speakers, using Meridian G07 CD. Rather by chance I happened to hear the new Quad speakers with valve and 909 amplification, and the valves were so much better. I tried the Quad II forty valves at home and am still surprised at how much more enjoyable it is to listen.

There is much more of a feeling of being there, and it is easier to follow what is going on in the bass. The overall presentaion is more immediate; less polite. It is like listening to musicians playing music rather than just hearing the music. In terms of a concert hall it is the difference between sitting at the back and 6 or 7 rows from the front.

Now; my speakers are, of course, very different to yours so whether you would find such differences is anyones guess. I reckon it is worth a listen at a good dealer though and if possible a home demo.

One slight snag with valves is that on a hot day they do increase the temperature of the room - should be good in winter though!

Peter Baker

Novice Member
Valves are great, giving a superb see through soundstage, and the sweetest treble you can imagine. Try some of the usual suspects such as Art Audio, Canary, Border Patrol, or some of the far cheaper Chinese options and see what you think


Distinguished Member
I've had a few valve amps over the years,from 100W monoblocs to 15W Quad IIs,and currently have both the old Quads,and a pair of WAD 300B monoblocs.

All have been very reliable,and the 300Bs are by far the best in terms of sound quality and imaging,but the limitations in terms of maximum SPL are quite obvious when compared to a 100W+ solid state amp.
Within those limitations,there are few things to compare,and with reasonably efficient speakers,you should be other point....Border Patrol and many of the other established names for 300B amps can be VERY expensive,and also a good set of 300Bs(the best current price/performance compromise are probably the TJ Meshplates)can set you back up to £400 or more.


Well-known Member
I would have a serious listen first

I have used valves for years but listen mainly to folk type music rather than dance and rock. Valves are great for this type of accoustic music but in my opinion dont have the tight base of solid state. Obviously the type of valve used and the configuration affect the sound. With your music tastes I doubt if a 300B amp will work well for you.

I would listen to some sets up first. You might want to explore the heathrow hifi show next month. I would try to listen to the 300b based amps suggested but feel you may prefer amps based on an 845 or 211 tubes, if you can find any. Most people who use 300b use in single ended configuration, about 8 watts, with higher efficiency speakers 94-104 db against the 89? of the quads. Either way I suspect you may find the base just too loose for Dance.

There are other solutions you could consider, like multi amping with a push pull amp on the base or maybe even your current amp and keep the 300b for the mid and top. A totally different route is to list to some of the Tact Digital.

If you cant get to the show and want to experiment I would look out for any of the following second hand on the basis you can sell on afterwards without loosing too much.

Audio Innovations Second Audio 2A3 valve
Anything from Glen Croft
Leak Stereo 20
Anything from AudioNote, Japan, UK or Italy

Having said all of that I use 10 watt leaks for the front channels on my AV set up !

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