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Going tubes...

oemcar

Member
Giving my Marantz Quad Amp to my son-
Considering commercially available tube amp DIY kits as replacement. Thinking Class AB over A...

Thoughts and experience?

And BTW- what is up with these 300B triodes? are they worth the $$ to integrate in design??
 
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Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Do you really want to go for lower quality, vastly less power, a large price tag, and much lower reliability?

It's like the minor vinyl revival, another example of the "Emperor's New Clothes" for those too young to have been there the first time.
 

Ian Rogers

User Extraordinaire
Forum Supporter
Most Helpful Member
Do you really want to go for lower quality, vastly less power, a large price tag, and much lower reliability?
Yeah!! Have you seen my spectrum collection.... Nostalgia man, Nostalgia....
 

schmitt trigger

Well-Known Member
Nostalgia indeed. I also own tube (valve) equipment, but I recognize it is pure nostalgia for the earliest electronics.
I still enjoy them.

Speaking of the 300B:
If I remember correctly, in the early 1990s a craze started in Japan for Class-A, single ended, directly heated triode amplifiers.
Of which genuine Western Electric made 300B tubes were considered the pinnacle of that rarefied segment.

Like many other Japanese fashions of the day, it caught around the world.

Nowadays there are Chinese and Russian clones of the 300B, not cheap, but not diamond-grade expensive of a Western Electric NOS device.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Speaking of the 300B:
If I remember correctly, in the early 1990s a craze started in Japan for Class-A, single ended, directly heated triode amplifiers.
Which of course was how the very earliest amplifiers were built, and the later enhancements (tetrode, pentode etc.) where developed to considerably improve their quality and power output.

Going back to when I was young, in the small village I grew up in, there was a young guy called Philip (can't remember his surname now) you lived up the top of the village with his parents, and had a shed up the hill behind the house - where he did electronics.

He built numerous valve amplifiers, of various kinds, and on one of the very few occasions I was there he had just finished building a triode push pull amplifier, and I remember him been amazed how much power he actually managed to get from it. I presume at that time he was actually at Uni?, and was home for the summer - I know he went on to a career in electronics.

I think that was probably the day he drew me a circuit?, for a single ended valve amplifier - and he drew it on old lined computer paper (this was back in the 60's) - it used an EF80 (common valve in TV's) as a preamp and a 6BW6 (output pentode). He gave me a 6BW6 (as they weren't used in TV's) and a suitable mains transformer - everything else could be found in old TV's, of which there were many in an old rubbish tip about half a mile away.

So I got all the rest of the components from old TV's at the tip, I had no money and no access to components anyway, and built it on a piece of hardboard (also from the tip) by drilling holes through and running wires underneath, with the components on top. It was all mounted in an old suitcase, including the speaker and grill, all of which again came from the tip. Anyway, it all worked :D - and it was the only valve project I've ever built.
 

oemcar

Member
The debate of tubes V solid state is ongoing.
Search on YouTube and find plethora of opinions from many in the Industry. I accept tubes aren't the latest tech, but theres a lot of hi-end products that employ tubes. MacIntosh, as an example, is a well known higher end component supplier. They offer both solid state and tube designs.

I guess it boils down to the hobby of electronics- I want to try something different. That's what makes electronics fun.
Jim
 
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gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
That's what makes electronics fun
It's extremely fun for the guys that wire up 70-year-old+ circuit designs and sell them to buyers who are so happy with their purchase that they spend more time telling random strangers on the internet about their purchase than actually listening to a Brooklyn Dodgers v New York Giants game on their new purchased.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
The debate of tubes V solid state is ongoing.
Search on YouTube and find plethora of opinions from many in the Industry. I accept tubes aren't the latest tech, but theres a lot of hi-end products that employ tubes. MacIntosh, as an example, is a well known higher end component supplier. They offer both solid state and tube designs.
Yes it's a really good scam, sell 'low' quality audio gear at hugely inflated prices :D - admittedly it's very nicely build, but that doesn't overcome the many drawbacks and much poorer performance.

I guess it boils down to the hobby of electronics- I want to try something different. That's what makes electronics fun.
Perhaps they should be looking at making their own wind up gramophones? :D

Funnily enough, that reminds me of a recent TV show - called 'Repair Shop' - where people take interesting items in for repair. One such item was a home made gramophone, which had been made by the ladies grandfather many years ago - it wasn't wind up, it used an electric motor, but still used a simple acoustic horn for it's audio. I can't remember what the grandfather actually did?, he wasn't any kind of engineer, but he'd made a really good job of it.
 

oemcar

Member
Nostalgia indeed. I also own tube (valve) equipment, but I recognize it is pure nostalgia for the earliest electronics.
I still enjoy them.

Speaking of the 300B:
If I remember correctly, in the early 1990s a craze started in Japan for Class-A, single ended, directly heated triode amplifiers.
Of which genuine Western Electric made 300B tubes were considered the pinnacle of that rarefied segment.

Like many other Japanese fashions of the day, it caught around the world.

Nowadays there are Chinese and Russian clones of the 300B, not cheap, but not diamond-grade expensive of a Western Electric NOS device.
Thanks for your feedback- Yours, so far, is the only post of value in this thread.

Otherwise,
If the tube amp industry in totality is a bust- then there must some hard data to back up your opinion(s)?

Show me, or link your testing data thereof- not being a smart ass, only want the facts...
Well... maybe a little smart ass-lol. I've dealt with gaslighting tactics before.
Jim
 

oemcar

Member
I'm particularly disappointed with posts from Nigel,
From the aspect of discussion, a moderator should welcome all clean topics of discussion...regardless of his own opinion-
A moderator should not lambast or demean any poster's query- imo.
Inclusion of all discussions that increase viewership are good for the viability of the site- so as to drive up revenue generating potential for site's owner...

Just sayin'...
 

gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I'm particularly disappointed with posts from Nigel,
From the aspect of discussion, a moderator should welcome all clean topics of discussion...regardless of his own opinion-
A moderator should not lambast or demean any poster's query- imo.
Inclusion of all discussions that increase viewership are good for the viability of the site- so as to drive up revenue generating potential for site's owner...

Just sayin'...
He did drive up discussion. How much discussion would we have if we all agree?
Also, I don't think this site exists for the sake of driving up views. Facebook took over that niche so we can focus on truthiness and sciencing.

Let me restate my earlier post.
Please buy and enjoy your new amplifier.
 

rjenkinsgb

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
OK, two points re. the technical side:

The current "tube fad" is rather like the "Vinyl fad" - most buyers are non technical, they buy things just from seeing some buzzword or phrase they recognise and have no idea of the quality of what they are buying.

Most of the turntables being sold are little more than toys, absolutely abysmal quality.

Likewise most of the valve gear for that market - solid state (often low quality) with a single valve stage if you are lucky, or even a valve that lights up but has no signal connections....
I suspect that's what annoys Nigel; it certainly annoys me..


In the high quality valve gear market, it's more a religious that technical following.

When the "tube amp" fad started a few years back some of the more serious technical mags did some blind tests with professional musicians and a selection of valve and solid state amps, all preset to the same volume and tone.

No one could tell which was which type at anything much better than chance levels.

I get the impression the original anti-solid-state feeling was from when cheap transistor amps first appeared decades ago, with a lot of them badly designed and pretty poor quality, significantly inferior to long-established and refined valve amp designs.

That (mostly) no longer applies with any decent maker that publishes specification for their gear.

Personal taste and preference are totally different matter; use any type you prefer!
 

gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
This "tube sound" argument is like arguing about cars or even genres of cars. A coworker tells me about the expensive rear-wheel drive sports car that he bought. I tell him, interesting purchase. Then, for the past 2-years, he stops by my office to tell me about his ride home the previous night and his commute back each day.

it seems like a terrible car to commute to work but, since he is in denial about that topic and the $156k he spent cannot be recovered, he can only cope by continually telling me about his car, his commuting experience and little kids that look at his car in parking lots.

I just cannot figure out if that car somehow gets him to the grocery story "better" than Mine does or what benefit he gets from spending more on a vehicle, the maintenance, repair, gas as well as spending more time getting shuttled from/to the dealership while they complete each required maintenance task. It seems to make him very "happy", so, I guess, I'll shut up and let tube-amp buyers be happy as well. Just don't stop by my desk to tell me about your amp, Charlie already reserved my free time to talk about his 2019 AMG GT-C.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I get the impression the original anti-solid-state feeling was from when cheap transistor amps first appeared decades ago, with a lot of them badly designed and pretty poor quality, significantly inferior to long-established and refined valve amp designs.
The issue was cross-over distortion, basically on Germanium based amplifiers, as thermal runaway was a serious problem - plus engineers didn't know how to design transistor amplifiers back then. With in a year or two transistor based amps (germanium ones) were available that easily bettered valve amplifiers, and it wasn't very long before the introduction of silicon made their design a great deal simpler.

But certainly the distortion at low levels was horrific on some of the VERY early transistor amps, and they quite rightly were slated for it - but I suppose like anything else, that's how you learn - and transistors were used in power amps before they were really ready.
 

gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
A friend of mine bought a digital amp... DSP processing at its finest PLUS he could carry the damn thing!!
I say, buy the tube amp - any tube amp. Do your part to pump cash into the economy. Buy soon, please!
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I say, buy the tube amp - any tube amp. Do your part to pump cash into the economy. Buy soon, please!
I've always wanted to build a 'proper' valve amp (just for fun), but never been prepared to pay the high prices for transformers etc.

I do have a few valve amplifier books, so have no shortage of schematics for them.

'Back in the day' I could easily have got the valves for free, as we stocked them for service purposes, but not the transformers - now of course you can only get fairly dubious quality valves either Soviet or Chinese in origin. I've owned, repaired, and sold, a fair number of valve amps and valve based devices over the years (but none recently) - an old friend of mine had built a few simple valve radios in the last few years, mostly out of spares and second hand bits.
 

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