Ancient old creaky system needs shot of adrenaline - anyone had a valve amplifier recently?


New member
Aug 10, 2019
Visit site
Anyone know much about valve amplifiers?
I was wondering if anyone knew about valve amps. I have an ancient HiFi rig I want to upgrade. I have Mordaunt-Short speakers (smallish ones), an ancient but very serviceable Sony PS-1150 turntable with new belt and cartridge system installed, a Technics cassette deck (which will shortly be replaced with a Nakamichi) Technics Cd player and ancient Pioneer SS amp (about 25w p/channel).

What I would like to set up is: Sony turntable with pre-amp (apparently you need this - any suggestions?) + USB analogue to Dig converter unit (already have this - it was a £50 Snap Music thing from Maplin that looks a bit crappy but does capture CD quality sound for iPod's etc) + connection to notebook (Toshiba p20 widescreen NB about 3 years old for playing i-Tunes, music library & DVD's + tape deck. Cd player is really little use these days as NB has DVD/CD player. Could always use elsewhere in the house or sell.

I listen to all music from classical to jazz - through to rock, electronic, dance and folk. I'm told a valve amp delivers a nice warm sound - I like the idea of that. I'm thinking as I have a 4m x 8m room with a 4m vaulted ceiling I probably improve the tiny little speakers a bit too?


New member
Jan 18, 2008
Visit site
What you are asking is the equivelant of ... yes you guessed it ... HOW LONG IS A PIECE OF STRING?

Valve amps can sound as different to each other as most solid state ones do compared to valves if you get my drift. To complicate matters further but without getting into detail, because I'd send myself to sleep again, speaker matching can be tricky with thermionic gear, usually more so than with trannies. You also did'nt mention a budget which makes me think, looking at the rest of your system, you're looking at the 'budget' end of valve amps.

Not so great.

Valve amplifier components cost money. Good quality transformers, quality cabling etc. are not cheap. Add to that the (usually) smaller scale manufacturing ... and you won't find all this in a £500 product. Not even if its made in china, sorry. Whereas its quite 'easy' to make a decent sounding Transistor Amplifier for that amount of money I would say you're looking at the 1k mark minimum (Puresound, Prima Luna etc etc) if buying new. There are some KIT versions of the breed, but you have to be confident with the burning iron tip and be able to read circuit schematics. Also, if you short something while working on it ... make sure you have decent health insurance mate.

Alternatively, go and hunt second hand for an older audio research or perhaps even audio innovation series 500/700.

Thing is, unless you actually LISTEN to the things, you never know what you like or dislike. So, clean your lug holes and get your axx to a good dealer that specializes in Valve amplification. Dont fork out hundreds on something from ebay you've never heard.


Thanks - sound advice (no pun intended). There are an awful lot on E-Bay and I wouldn't know a good one at this stage from a hat-stand.

No way on the kit option - my father built one about a million years ago - but that was a 1960's system and his hand isn't that steady these days with a soldering iron!


Latest posts