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Your Opinion on Tube Amp Reliability???

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May 28, 2004 12:09:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

I am considering going to a tube amp, after 25 years of solid state
amps. (Specifically, it is a conrad-johnson, but my question is general.)
I have read comments through the years about the problems tube amps
have ("always in the shop", etc.). Is this a reality? I live in a town
with no tube amp dealers, and would need to send it back to the manufacturer
if it fails. Are my knees quaking for no good reason?

By the way, I don't consider the need to bias the tubes a problem. I would
be grateful for any feedback.
--Leslie
Anonymous
May 28, 2004 12:32:35 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

I repair high end audio, and I do as much or more solid state than
tube, and most of my customers are tube equipment sellers. Tubes do
require more care and feeding than solid state though. As long as you
keep an eye on bias and periodically replace the output tubes in
particular, ther's no reason a tube amp won't be as reliable.
Conrad-Johnson are particularly good.

On Thu, 27 May 2004 20:09:20 GMT, "Spongebob" <stanley5@charter.net>
wrote:

>I am considering going to a tube amp, after 25 years of solid state
>amps. (Specifically, it is a conrad-johnson, but my question is general.)
>I have read comments through the years about the problems tube amps
>have ("always in the shop", etc.). Is this a reality? I live in a town
>with no tube amp dealers, and would need to send it back to the manufacturer
>if it fails. Are my knees quaking for no good reason?
>
>By the way, I don't consider the need to bias the tubes a problem. I would
>be grateful for any feedback.
>--Leslie

Dan Santoni
DTS Audio
Hamilton, ON
Canada
Anonymous
May 28, 2004 12:42:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

I am probably going to get into trouble for saying this , but the higher
end tube amps sound the same as
solid state. We are going to need more information about what you intend
to drive in what size room.
Could you live with an integrated amp or do you want to go bananas with
dual mono amplifiers.
As far as sending amps back to the manufacturer is concerned, I think
that is a good idea if you do need repairs
but it is a rare occurence. What dealers do you have nearby or within 90
miles? Would you be buying a new Conrad Johnson
or a used one?

Spongebob wrote:

> I am considering going to a tube amp, after 25 years of solid state
> amps. (Specifically, it is a conrad-johnson, but my question is general.)
> I have read comments through the years about the problems tube amps
> have ("always in the shop", etc.). Is this a reality? I live in a town
> with no tube amp dealers, and would need to send it back to the manufacturer
> if it fails. Are my knees quaking for no good reason?
>
> By the way, I don't consider the need to bias the tubes a problem. I would
> be grateful for any feedback.
> --Leslie
>
Related resources
Anonymous
May 28, 2004 12:43:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

spongebob wrote:


>I am considering going to a tube amp, after 25 years of solid state
>amps. (Specifically, it is a conrad-johnson, but my question is general.)
>I have read comments through the years about the problems tube amps
>have ("always in the shop", etc.). Is this a reality? I live in a town
>with no tube amp dealers, and would need to send it back to the manufacturer
>if it fails. Are my knees quaking for no good reason?
>
>By the way, I don't consider the need to bias the tubes a problem. I would
>be grateful for any feedback.
>--Leslie
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

Tube amplifiers have both their proponents and detractors. Comments about lack
of reliability and/or high repair needs from the latter group are, AFAIK, not
supported by any empirical evidence indicating those claims are valid.

I can only speak from personal experience, of course. Starting with the first
amplifier I ever owned, an integrated H.H. Scott amplifier that I built, up to
the present time, I've owned various tubed products, including a DAC with a
tubed output stage. None of these products has presented any unusual service
needs. Tube replacement is necessary at some point of extended usage, but that
is simply a maintenance issue. For the record, I'm currently using a Conrad
Johnson preamplifier and amplifier, both tubed, and have had no problems with
either one of them.



Bruce J. Richman
May 28, 2004 1:44:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"Philip Meech" wrote:
> I am probably going to get into trouble for saying this , but the higher
> end tube amps sound the same as solid state. We are going to need more
information about what you intend
> to drive in what size room.

My room in 20 x 14, with an 8' ceiling.

> Could you live with an integrated amp or do you want to go bananas with
> dual mono amplifiers.

I think an integrated amp will do me fine. I don't ever "turn it up". I
have Spendor SP 1/2
speakers on Sound Anchor stands. Kimber 8TC cable, various interconnects.

> As far as sending amps back to the manufacturer is concerned, I think
> that is a good idea if you do need repairs
> but it is a rare occurence. What dealers do you have nearby or within 90
> miles? Would you be buying a new Conrad Johnson
> or a used one?

I have no dealer within 200 miles, so I will be buying over the Internet.
--Leslie
Anonymous
May 28, 2004 2:40:30 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Bruce J. Richman <bjrichman@aol.com> wrote:

> Tube amplifiers have both their proponents and detractors. Comments about lack
> of reliability and/or high repair needs from the latter group are, AFAIK, not
> supported by any empirical evidence indicating those claims are valid.

Lack of reliability or the converse is relative. Given equal design
attention to reliability, tube amplifiers are simply not as reliable as
solid state amplifiers, especially as regards power amplifiers. The natural
manufacturing variances in tubes themselves, the the increased heat produced by
them, (meaning increased stresses on associated components) and the higher
voltages dictate the empirical facts of the matter.
Anonymous
May 28, 2004 3:06:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

There are some integrateds in all price ranges by C-J, Audio Research,
VTL, Manley, VAC if you have the bucks. Next level is varios amps made
in China and then upgraded with the latest high end parts. I emailed you
a website in Western NY that specializes in those around 1-1.5K for 50wpc.
There are some issues surrounding the depth of soundstage in your room
versus the proper amount of power, but other members are more qualified
than I to discuss the right amount. There are integrated amps that go up
to 85wpc. If you need more, then a preamp/amp setup is required like
Bruce has.

Spongebob wrote:

> "Philip Meech" wrote:
>
>>I am probably going to get into trouble for saying this , but the higher
>>end tube amps sound the same as solid state. We are going to need more
>
> information about what you intend
>
>>to drive in what size room.
>
>
> My room in 20 x 14, with an 8' ceiling.
>
>
>>Could you live with an integrated amp or do you want to go bananas with
>>dual mono amplifiers.
>
>
> I think an integrated amp will do me fine. I don't ever "turn it up". I
> have Spendor SP 1/2
> speakers on Sound Anchor stands. Kimber 8TC cable, various interconnects.
>
>
>>As far as sending amps back to the manufacturer is concerned, I think
>>that is a good idea if you do need repairs
>>but it is a rare occurence. What dealers do you have nearby or within 90
>>miles? Would you be buying a new Conrad Johnson
>>or a used one?
>
>
> I have no dealer within 200 miles, so I will be buying over the Internet.
> --Leslie
>
Anonymous
May 28, 2004 6:19:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Spongebob wrote:

>I am considering going to a tube amp, after 25 years of solid state
>amps. (Specifically, it is a conrad-johnson, but my question is general.)
>I have read comments through the years about the problems tube amps
>have ("always in the shop", etc.). Is this a reality? I live in a town
>with no tube amp dealers, and would need to send it back to the manufacturer
>if it fails. Are my knees quaking for no good reason?
>
>By the way, I don't consider the need to bias the tubes a problem. I would
>be grateful for any feedback.
>--Leslie
>
Leslie:

You sound like me about 9 years ago. Although you didn't provide any
indication of your budget, I STRONGLY recommend the Balanced Audio
Technology tube amps; not only are they excellent sounding and extremely
well made, the company stands behind its products. Owning their tube
amps is not that much different from solid state as they are
self-biasing and the tube complement typically lasts 4 - 5 years. Check
them out at http://www.balanced.com/.

Happy listening!

Jack
Anonymous
May 28, 2004 6:25:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Phillip Meech wrote:


>There are some integrateds in all price ranges by C-J, Audio Research,
>VTL, Manley, VAC if you have the bucks. Next level is varios amps made
>in China and then upgraded with the latest high end parts. I emailed you
>a website in Western NY that specializes in those around 1-1.5K for 50wpc.
>There are some issues surrounding the depth of soundstage in your room
>versus the proper amount of power, but other members are more qualified
>than I to discuss the right amount. There are integrated amps that go up
>to 85wpc. If you need more, then a preamp/amp setup is required like
>Bruce has.
>

Just for the record, my preamp/amplifier combination has approximately 70-75
watts/channel. The C-J Premier 11A is rated at 70 watts/channel into 4 or 8
ohms with its supplied 6550 output tubes. However, I'm using Ei KT-90 Type 3s
which, according to several tube experts, produce slightly more power in most
amplifiers suitable for their use. Before switching to KT-90s, I checked with
C-J and was assured this was an appropriate "tweak".





>Spongebob wrote:
>
>> "Philip Meech" wrote:
>>
>>>I am probably going to get into trouble for saying this , but the higher
>>>end tube amps sound the same as solid state. We are going to need more
>>
>> information about what you intend
>>
>>>to drive in what size room.
>>
>>
>> My room in 20 x 14, with an 8' ceiling.
>>
>>
>>>Could you live with an integrated amp or do you want to go bananas with
>>>dual mono amplifiers.
>>
>>
>> I think an integrated amp will do me fine. I don't ever "turn it up". I
>> have Spendor SP 1/2
>> speakers on Sound Anchor stands. Kimber 8TC cable, various interconnects.
>>
>>
>>>As far as sending amps back to the manufacturer is concerned, I think
>>>that is a good idea if you do need repairs
>>>but it is a rare occurence. What dealers do you have nearby or within 90
>>>miles? Would you be buying a new Conrad Johnson
>>>or a used one?
>>
>>
>> I have no dealer within 200 miles, so I will be buying over the Internet.
>> --Leslie
>>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>


Bruce J. Richman
Anonymous
May 28, 2004 6:28:09 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 5/27/04 6:40 PM, in article y7utc.5462$eY2.1777@attbi_s02,
"jjnunes@sonic.net" <jjnunes@sonic.net> wrote:

> Bruce J. Richman <bjrichman@aol.com> wrote:
>
>> Tube amplifiers have both their proponents and detractors. Comments about
>> lack
>> of reliability and/or high repair needs from the latter group are, AFAIK, not
>> supported by any empirical evidence indicating those claims are valid.
>
> Lack of reliability or the converse is relative. Given equal design
> attention to reliability, tube amplifiers are simply not as reliable as
> solid state amplifiers, especially as regards power amplifiers. The natural
> manufacturing variances in tubes themselves, the the increased heat produced
> by
> them, (meaning increased stresses on associated components) and the higher
> voltages dictate the empirical facts of the matter.

A tube will generally have fewer hours on them between replacement than
semiconductors - though the repair is fairly straightforward and simple for
an end user to do. A semiconductor failure is generally catastrophic in
that it will blow up and the amplifier will have to be sent in for repair.
Anonymous
May 28, 2004 6:37:28 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

jjnunes wrote:

>Bruce J. Richman <bjrichman@aol.com> wrote:
>
>> Tube amplifiers have both their proponents and detractors. Comments about
>lack
>> of reliability and/or high repair needs from the latter group are, AFAIK,
>not
>> supported by any empirical evidence indicating those claims are valid.
>
>Lack of reliability or the converse is relative. Given equal design
>attention to reliability, tube amplifiers are simply not as reliable as
>solid state amplifiers, especially as regards power amplifiers. The natural
>manufacturing variances in tubes themselves, the the increased heat produced
>by
>them, (meaning increased stresses on associated components) and the higher
>voltages dictate the empirical facts of the matter.
>
>
>
>

For the average purchaser contemplating purchase of an amplifier, I would
suspect that reliability would be defined more practically by a manufacturer's
"track record". More specifically, factors such as build quality, attention to
design, as you mention, etc. may play a large role, whether the product be
tubed or SS in determining its "reliability". As regards heat considerations,
I've often heard it reported that many Class A amplifiers, for example, tend to
"run quite hot" compared to others and may require relatively massive heat
sinks to dissipate some of that heat. If this is true, then it would seem that
tubes are not the only item on an amplifier's parts list that can produce heat.

I would recommend that prospective purchasers try and get as much information
about the specific amplifier - and that manufacturer's reputation for
reliability - as they can, whether it be a SS or tubed amplifier.

Of course, if there are published empirical results indicating higher return
rates or service calls for tubed amplifiers
than for SS amplifiers - or vice versa - it would be interesting to see.

Those in a better position to answer this question re. reliability would be,
manufacturers who have been selling both types of amplifiers for years - e.g.
Conrad Johnson or Audio Research. Or perhaps audio dealers who have been
selling both types of amplifiers over a length of time.
In their experience, is there a significant difference in the relative %age of
service requests as a function of sales volume?
That is the type of data I'd be looking at, along with a given manufacturer's
reputation, rather than relying on generalizations based on a given bias (no
pun intended) for one class of products or the other.

Bruce J. Richman
Anonymous
May 28, 2004 6:29:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Bruce J. Richman <bjrichman@aol.com> wrote:
> jjnunes wrote:

>>Bruce J. Richman <bjrichman@aol.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Tube amplifiers have both their proponents and detractors. Comments about
>>lack
>>> of reliability and/or high repair needs from the latter group are, AFAIK,
>>not
>>> supported by any empirical evidence indicating those claims are valid.
>>
>>Lack of reliability or the converse is relative. Given equal design
>>attention to reliability, tube amplifiers are simply not as reliable as
>>solid state amplifiers, especially as regards power amplifiers. The natural
>>manufacturing variances in tubes themselves, the the increased heat produced
>>by
>>them, (meaning increased stresses on associated components) and the higher
>>voltages dictate the empirical facts of the matter.
>>
>>
>>
>>

> For the average purchaser contemplating purchase of an amplifier, I would
> suspect that reliability would be defined more practically by a manufacturer's
> "track record". More specifically, factors such as build quality, attention to
> design, as you mention, etc. may play a large role, whether the product be
> tubed or SS in determining its "reliability". As regards heat considerations,
> I've often heard it reported that many Class A amplifiers, for example, tend to
> "run quite hot" compared to others and may require relatively massive heat
> sinks to dissipate some of that heat. If this is true, then it would seem that
> tubes are not the only item on an amplifier's parts list that can produce heat.

You seemed to have missed the meaning of what I said: "Given equal design attention
to reliability." Are class A amplifiers only solid state?


> Those in a better position to answer this question re. reliability would be,
> manufacturers who have been selling both types of amplifiers for years - e.g.
> Conrad Johnson or Audio Research. Or perhaps audio dealers who have been
> selling both types of amplifiers over a length of time.
> In their experience, is there a significant difference in the relative %age of
> service requests as a function of sales volume?
> That is the type of data I'd be looking at, along with a given manufacturer's
> reputation, rather than relying on generalizations based on a given bias (no
> pun intended) for one class of products or the other.

I am one of those in that have been in that position. In design, testing,
manufacturing and servicing. It is simply an honest appraisal of my
experience and those of many I was associated with. It is a given among
those who have done it, and dealing with it is part of being in the business
of tube amplifiers. And you suggest inordinate bias without any evidence?

People buy tube amps because they simply like and prefer them, and they are
willing to put up with the additional reliability issues for that reason.
Anonymous
May 28, 2004 7:46:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"Bruce J. Richman" <bjrichman@aol.com> wrote in message
news:IBxtc.1542$IB.25@attbi_s04...

> Those in a better position to answer this question re. reliability would
be,
> manufacturers who have been selling both types of amplifiers for years -
e.g.
> Conrad Johnson or Audio Research. Or perhaps audio dealers who have been
> selling both types of amplifiers over a length of time.
> In their experience, is there a significant difference in the relative
%age of
> service requests as a function of sales volume?
> That is the type of data I'd be looking at, along with a given
manufacturer's
> reputation, rather than relying on generalizations based on a given bias
(no
> pun intended) for one class of products or the other.
>

I had a pair of Audio Research D76As which ran heavy duty for about 18 years
driving the tweeters of Tympani 1-Cs with the original four (GE) 6550 tubes
in place, ditto for the rest (Amperex, '70s vintage). I sent one of the amps
to ARC for service because I felt it was "spitting" too loudly. ARC sent it
back saying it was running according to spec and did zip to it. I had to
unload them because they weren't able to drive 3/4 ohm Tympanis. I chose
those amps because of their supposed synergy with Maggies in the years
before I knew better.
Anonymous
May 28, 2004 8:49:10 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Bromo <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> On 5/27/04 6:40 PM, in article y7utc.5462$eY2.1777@attbi_s02,
> "jjnunes@sonic.net" <jjnunes@sonic.net> wrote:

>> Bruce J. Richman <bjrichman@aol.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Tube amplifiers have both their proponents and detractors. Comments about
>>> lack
>>> of reliability and/or high repair needs from the latter group are, AFAIK, not
>>> supported by any empirical evidence indicating those claims are valid.
>>
>> Lack of reliability or the converse is relative. Given equal design
>> attention to reliability, tube amplifiers are simply not as reliable as
>> solid state amplifiers, especially as regards power amplifiers. The natural
>> manufacturing variances in tubes themselves, the the increased heat produced
>> by
>> them, (meaning increased stresses on associated components) and the higher
>> voltages dictate the empirical facts of the matter.

> A tube will generally have fewer hours on them between replacement than
> semiconductors - though the repair is fairly straightforward and simple for
> an end user to do. A semiconductor failure is generally catastrophic in
> that it will blow up and the amplifier will have to be sent in for repair.

A lot of tube amps burn up cathode and plate resistors when a tube becomes
defective. Some have more designed in reserve capacity to handle this than
others. Most tube power amps need an AC balance adjustment after replacing
an output tube unless the owner is willing to accept substandard performance.
(or replace the whole output stage with matched pairs) Sometimes they
decide they prefer the second harmonic distortion when they don't and don't
bother.

Yes, in the days of Flame Linear and etc. a lot of SS amps blew and destroyed
speakers. (so have tube OTL's) Devices have come a long way since then and SOA
is generally very much higher. Nothing is perfect, but some are closer than
others. But in general, tube amps require more attention. Users accept this
because they like them.
May 29, 2004 2:47:00 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Gentlemen,
Thank you all sincerely for your thoughtful answers. The knowledge on
newsgoups is amazing. I'm not afraid to buy a tube amp now.
--Leslie
Anonymous
May 29, 2004 3:36:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 5/28/04 6:47 PM, in article EjPtc.6864$js4.145@attbi_s51, "Spongebob"
<stanley5@charter.net> wrote:

> Gentlemen,
> Thank you all sincerely for your thoughtful answers. The knowledge on
> newsgoups is amazing. I'm not afraid to buy a tube amp now.
> --Leslie
>

Fantastic!!! Let us know how it goes - and be sure to audition more than
one!
Anonymous
May 30, 2004 10:47:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

If it helps, you can always buy a tube preamp and a solid state power
amp and get some tube sound without the maintenance worries and heat
generation of a tube power amp. That also affords a better match to
most loudspeakers. You also gain better control over the woofers,
which is a low point for most tube amps. The combinations are endless.
-Bill
www.uptownaudio.com
Roanoke VA
(540) 343-1250

"Spongebob" <stanley5@charter.net> wrote in message
news:EjPtc.6864$js4.145@attbi_s51...
> Gentlemen,
> Thank you all sincerely for your thoughtful answers. The knowledge
on
> newsgoups is amazing. I'm not afraid to buy a tube amp now.
> --Leslie
>
Anonymous
May 31, 2004 5:32:49 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

What exactly is "tube sound"?
John

"Uptown Audio" <uptownaudio@rev.net> wrote in message
news:g%puc.27378$n_6.27262@attbi_s53...
> If it helps, you can always buy a tube preamp and a solid state power
> amp and get some tube sound without the maintenance worries and heat
> generation of a tube power amp.
Anonymous
May 31, 2004 5:33:26 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"Spongebob" <stanley5@charter.net> wrote in message news:<MVrtc.636$pt3.139@attbi_s03>...
> I have read comments through the years about the problems tube amps
> have ("always in the shop", etc.). Is this a reality? I live in a town
> with no tube amp dealers, and would need to send it back to the manufacturer
> if it fails. Are my knees quaking for no good reason?

My personal experience having owned 2 tube amps and a few solid state
amps is that tubes are not as reliable as solid state and require more
maintenance. Mine didn't "break" but they do drift and require
adjustment. Also they were more delicate and more sensitive to
interference from RF and such. And the tubes must be replaced every X
hours. With the tube amps I had some kind of issue to deal with
(adjustment, tube replacement, etc.) every 6 months or so.

In comparison, my transistor amps need maintenance every 5 years. So
that's about 10 times more reliable / lower maintenance.
Anonymous
May 31, 2004 5:19:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 5/30/04 9:32 PM, in article c9e20101cc9@news1.newsguy.com, "Midlant"
<sherman1125@cox.net> wrote:

> What exactly is "tube sound"?

"Classic" tube sound: a rolled off high end, a rolled off low end. The
midrange sounds very precise (whether it is more accurate, or if the
de-emphasis of the higher end and lower end makes it sound thus - don't
know) and some say will sound "warm"

Many highly regarded tube amplifiers produced today do not have as much of
this sound as some of the "classic" amplifiers, such as the Dynaco + its
modifications.

It is my opinion that if you don't like that sound all the time, you had
better get an effects processor from a pro-audio shop and turn on the "tube
warmth" when desired!

(Some Modern jazz and rock does not sound as good in my opinion with the
classic tube colorations)

>
> "Uptown Audio" <uptownaudio@rev.net> wrote in message
> news:g%puc.27378$n_6.27262@attbi_s53...
>> If it helps, you can always buy a tube preamp and a solid state power
>> amp and get some tube sound without the maintenance worries and heat
>> generation of a tube power amp.
Anonymous
May 31, 2004 10:11:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

<mrclem@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:c9e21601cd1@news1.newsguy.com...
> "Spongebob" <stanley5@charter.net> wrote in message
news:<MVrtc.636$pt3.139@attbi_s03>...
> > I have read comments through the years about the problems tube amps
> > have ("always in the shop", etc.). Is this a reality? I live in a town
> > with no tube amp dealers, and would need to send it back to the
manufacturer
> > if it fails. Are my knees quaking for no good reason?
>
I have owned and enjoyed both tube and ss amps. Owning a high end tube amp
is akin to driving a high end sports car. If you want the perks and tweeks
to always work well, you must be willing to put up with slightly less
reliability and a little more on-going maintenance which is not inexpensive.
But, for the people who enjoy and want the tube sound, I suppose it's worth
it. Owning a ss amp is like driving a Toyota, it _may_ not give the best
performance always, but it hardly ever breaks. And the fact you can bitch to
your cronies about how long so and so's repair shop had your super duper
tube amplifier in for repair will certainly garner you some respect and/or
sympathy! Ha!
May 31, 2004 10:11:20 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

This is a very good suggestion. However, I am utilizing the suggestions of
a fellow named Andre Jean Quintal in making my choice. Did you ever read
any of his many postings on rec.high-end and other audio forums? He really
impressed me through the years.

Someone asked him once what amplifiers would work well with the Spendor SP
1/2s, which I have. Mr. Quintal's suggestions were: the Conrad-Johnson
CAV-50, NAIM, or Electrocompaniet. Of those, I chose the c-j, and hence my
question about tube reliability.

If my former system, I used a tube pre-amp and a SS amplifier with good
success, but the Spendor SP1/2s I have now are considerably brighter than
the Spendor SP-1s I used with that system. I welcome your comments!
--Leslie

"Uptown Audio" <uptownaudio@rev.net> wrote in message
news:g%puc.27378$n_6.27262@attbi_s53...
> If it helps, you can always buy a tube preamp and a solid state power
> amp and get some tube sound without the maintenance worries and heat
> generation of a tube power amp. That also affords a better match to
> most loudspeakers. You also gain better control over the woofers,
> which is a low point for most tube amps. The combinations are endless.
> -Bill
> www.uptownaudio.com
> Roanoke VA
> (540) 343-1250
Anonymous
June 2, 2004 4:11:11 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"t.hoehler" <t.hoehler@insightbb.com> wrote in message
news:5zKuc.24791$js4.14920@attbi_s51...

> And the fact you can bitch to
> your cronies about how long so and so's repair shop had your super duper
> tube amplifier in for repair will certainly garner you some respect and/or
> sympathy! Ha!
>
Owning an Ampzilla II, the design of which was minus Mr. Borngiorna, I
believe I own the most unreliable amplifier *ever* manufactured. It is SS of
course, and seems to have spent more time in various repair shops than
hooked up in my past system(s). At about the same time I purchased 2 ARC
D-76A's which never needed repair or even new tubes! I don't see any respect
coming from repairs, since the longer its been on someone's bench getting
new parts, etc. the more UNLIKE it ends up being like the manufacturer's
original product. Within the last 6 months I had my 'zilla II repaired by an
associate of Mr. Borngiorno, recommended to me by him. Mr B. wrote that he
never had the original zilla come back to him. I can't say for certain
whether he meant to say this applied to the original product as received by
the buyer OR after his first repair, of it.
My 'zilla II is now driving my front speakers in a HT system, which I can
also listen to while sitting at the computer and it seems to be holding up.
I'd be able to recommend this CA based repairman to anyone else, however I
believe he's fed up with zillas, having needed Mr. B's input on the repair
of mine. When it comes to repair I must be the world's most experienced
individual. Anyone one else would have chucked it long ago or put it up on
Ebay as a "parts" component.
Anonymous
June 2, 2004 4:11:47 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"t.hoehler" <t.hoehler@insightbb.com> wrote in message
news:5zKuc.24791$js4.14920@attbi_s51...
> Owning a ss amp is like driving a Toyota, it _may_ not give the best
> performance always, but it hardly ever breaks.

You got that right. We have leased four Toyota 4Runners. I'm presently
driving a 2004 4Runner and two Bryston 7B ST amplifiers. Now if only those
Toyotas came with a 20 year transferable warranty and never needed *any*
service or repairs as is the case with the amps, that would make my day (or
life)! However I do take exception about your comments about performance.
Any suggestions as to what would make my Tympani IVa's perform any better,
SS or tube at any price?
Anonymous
June 2, 2004 4:37:28 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Well, I stand by my comment about tube reliability and getting the
most performance for the dollar while still achieving some of the
sound characteristics of a tube amp. As someone else commented you can
get good accurate sound from a few modern tube amps these days, but
you need to accept their maintenance issues. I did not like the Cav-50
and found it to sound "dull". Some people love that syrupy, smooth
stuff but it wears off on me quickly. It also takes that amp forever
(an hour) to reach it's optimum temp and stabilize for best sound
quality. C-J amps also can be hard on tubes as they run rather hot,
your milage may vary. I had one (a power amp with EL34's years ago and
it needed new tubes twice a year!). That was unacceptable for me and I
found the bass to be "soft" or fuzzy" although it was very well
extended. I then bi-amped and fixed that problem, but got tired of
having all my rack space gone and wasting so much time and money on
tube replacement and extra amplifiers. One good amp is plenty, just
choose a nice one that you like the sound of. One trouble is that you
are not able to hear those sounds easily at your home. You simply must
either trust advise from others (which may be honest and well intened
while still running counter to your tastes) or pack-up and visit a
metro area with a couple of good dealers to listen. I would recommend
a Bryston 3B-SST power amplifier and a Rogue Audio 66 preamplifier for
a well balanced, dynamic sound that has some tube depth, without the
loss of control or tube failure/expense issues if you do like the idea
of mixing ss and vt. Iuse the 3B-SST myself and it represents the
third Bryston amplifier in my rack, so I keep coming back to their
various models. I have also used the Rogue Audio 66 in my system, but
replaced it with the very much more expensive Bryston BP25DA / BP1.5
combination. I still like tube amps and am sure that I will use one
again for some time. The only way to gain true experiences is to have
them, so I do swap components after a while regardless of their appeal
and economy.
-Bill
www.uptownaudio.com
Roanoke VA
(540) 343-1250

"Spongebob" <stanley5@charter.net> wrote in message
news:czKuc.24793$js4.14119@attbi_s51...
> This is a very good suggestion. However, I am utilizing the
suggestions of
> a fellow named Andre Jean Quintal in making my choice. Did you ever
read
> any of his many postings on rec.high-end and other audio forums? He
really
> impressed me through the years.
>
> Someone asked him once what amplifiers would work well with the
Spendor SP
> 1/2s, which I have. Mr. Quintal's suggestions were: the
Conrad-Johnson
> CAV-50, NAIM, or Electrocompaniet. Of those, I chose the c-j, and
hence my
> question about tube reliability.
>
> If my former system, I used a tube pre-amp and a SS amplifier with
good
> success, but the Spendor SP1/2s I have now are considerably brighter
than
> the Spendor SP-1s I used with that system. I welcome your comments!
> --Leslie
>
> "Uptown Audio" <uptownaudio@rev.net> wrote in message
> news:g%puc.27378$n_6.27262@attbi_s53...
> > If it helps, you can always buy a tube preamp and a solid state
power
> > amp and get some tube sound without the maintenance worries and
heat
> > generation of a tube power amp. That also affords a better match
to
> > most loudspeakers. You also gain better control over the woofers,
> > which is a low point for most tube amps. The combinations are
endless.
> > -Bill
> > www.uptownaudio.com
> > Roanoke VA
> > (540) 343-1250
>
June 2, 2004 9:27:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"t.hoehler" <t.hoehler@insightbb.com> wrote in message news:<5zKuc.24791$js4.14920@attbi_s51>...
> Owning a high end tube amp
> is akin to driving a high end sports car. If you want the perks and tweeks
> to always work well, you must be willing to put up with slightly less
> reliability and a little more on-going maintenance which is not inexpensive.
> But, for the people who enjoy and want the tube sound, I suppose it's worth
> it. Owning a ss amp is like driving a Toyota, it _may_ not give the best
> performance always, but it hardly ever breaks.

IMO, a more apt car analogy is a tube amp is a kit car like an FFR
Shelby Cobra replica, where a SS amp is a factory production car like
a Corvette. The kit car doesn't really have better performance, just
more character. It's for the enthusiast who likes owning a unique hand
crafted piece of engineering art and is willing to give it the extra
TLC it requires, even though it offers no real objectively measurable
performance advantage. It doesn't get around the racetrack any faster
than the Vette (it may even be slower), yet it gives the driver a more
visceral experience and a bigger grin on his face.

OTOH, if you're the guy who just wants to have a competitive car to
win his season trophy, doesn't want to mess with it too much, doesn't
care about owning a beautiful piece of art or the visceral wind in the
face experience, then the Vette (e.g. solid state) is more suitable.
!