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Contemplating Valve power

Grinder

New member
Feb 14, 2008
1
0
0
Hi Guys n Gals,

Time to de-lurke and pose a question of sorts.

Current set up is a laptop running foobar2000 feeding mostly flac at variously levels of definition to a Meridian Explorer on iFi usb power through an Audiolab2000A to a pair of Mission 751 first gen.

I'm thinking of swapping the Audiolab out for a valve amplifier and would appreciate your comments, good, bad and indifferent on options I'm considering.

Essentially there are two - Icon Audio 40 Mkiiim and Separo SE88i

Icon Audion is being considered for power, flexibility and ease of mainenance.

Separo is there for price.

Anyone thinking option one is a bad idea? Be gentle - I'm kinda keen in the idea.

If the speakers need changing my budget will be around the 800 mark, maybe a little bit more if option two gains favour.

I can only audition the Icon Audio - no Sepparo suppliers in Ireland .

Cheers,

G. Rinder.
 

Richard Allen

New member
Jan 9, 2010
12
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0
Grinder said:
Hi Guys n Gals,

Time to de-lurke and pose a question of sorts.

Current set up is a laptop running foobar2000 feeding mostly flac at variously levels of definition to a Meridian Explorer on iFi usb power through an Audiolab2000A to a pair of Mission 751 first gen.

I'm thinking of swapping the Audiolab out for a valve amplifier and would appreciate your comments, good, bad and indifferent on options I'm considering.

Essentially there are two - Icon Audio 40 Mkiiim and Separo SE88i

Icon Audion is being considered for power, flexibility and ease of mainenance.

Separo is there for price.

Anyone thinking option one is a bad idea? Be gentle - I'm kinda keen in the idea.

If the speakers need changing my budget will be around the 800 mark, maybe a little bit more if option two gains favour.

I can only audition the Icon Audio - no Sepparo suppliers in Ireland .

Cheers,

G. Rinder.
Depends how much you want to spend but if you are interested, I know where there's a £7000 Leyban integrated going for £2000.00. Give John Roberts a ring at Midland Audio Exchange on 0044 1562 731100.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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0
Strongly recommend Icon audio, the guy who runs The Affordable Valve Company is known to be 'eccentric' and has a reputation as being difficult to deal with.

The product appears to be generic chinese product and is sold in europe unter different brand names. Apparently it can sound pretty good and if you can deal with the 'issues' it is good value. Personally I think the E34i is probably a better bet rather than the single ended designs, for non expert users anyway.

Icon audio on the other hand are sensible and reliable, though rather more expensive. You pay your money.......
 

respe

New member
Apr 16, 2009
3
0
0
I would add the puresound range into the mix. The A30 is a much nicer sounding amp than some reviews would have you think.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
16
2
0
I prefer SET's to push pull valve amps. Push pulls seem to be a not very good half-way house compromise between SET's and transistor amps. If you have relatively inefficient speakers go for a decent 211 based SET.
 

stevebrock

New member
Nov 13, 2009
183
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0
New Icon Audio owner here - after trying several £2000 solid state amps, I knew I had to try a valve amp - the rest is history!

Go and demo an ST40 with your current speakers and see if valves are for you ! They may not be but at least find out!
 

tino

Well-known member
Sep 29, 2011
135
10
18,595
Is a Unison Research Simply Italy something you have considered? These are reasonably cheap ex-dem, not so many valves to keep running costs low and remote control for convenience.

Review here
 

Al ears

Moderator
Good though the ST40 is I wouldn't dismiss something like the PrimaLuna Prologue 1 as it was specifically designed for 'first timers'.

Audition if you get the chance. Not sure where you are in Ieland or whether or not you can find a dealer. Well worth seeking out.

Like Icon Audio thesae are European designed but manufactured in China. They do have some 'ease of use' features.

Review can be found here:-

http://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/205prima/
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
88
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0
Very different sound between your current 8000a and anything valve based so make sure you try before you buy. The Icon range is well stocked so plenty of opportunity to do just that. I went from solid state to valve my pre-amp 6 months ago and I am a very happy chap. It portrays transients in a different way completely and is actually capable of making me jump! Love it!
 

stevebrock

New member
Nov 13, 2009
183
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0
Good though the ST40 is I wouldn't dismiss something like the PrimaLuna Prologue 1 as it was specifically designed for 'first timers'.
I may be wrong but dealers are a bit thin on the ground arent they, about 3 UK dealers! Think Icon Audio were a little bit more spread around the country! I would of tried a Prima Luna If I could find one.

Also Al isnt the Prologue Classic the new name for the No. 1 at £1750.
 

Al ears

Moderator
stevebrock said:
Good though the ST40 is I wouldn't dismiss something like the PrimaLuna Prologue 1 as it was specifically designed for 'first timers'.
I may be wrong but dealers are a bit thin on the ground arent they, about 3 UK dealers! Think Icon Audio were a little bit more spread around the country! I would of tried a Prima Luna If I could find one.

Also Al isnt the Prologue Classic the new name for the No. 1 at £1750.
Dealers are indeed thin on the ground but I think that goes for just about all valve amps including Icon Audio.

The Prologue Classic appears to be a newer (different layout, and more expensive) version but I know the original Prologue One should still be available around £1400.
 

stevebrock

New member
Nov 13, 2009
183
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0
£1400 - a steal then!

I must say had a while now living with the ST40 - I love it - clean, rich and what is remarkable I can now tell instantly when there is a speck of dust on my stylus - can even here tracking force changes
 

Al ears

Moderator
stevebrock said:
£1400 - a steal then!

I must say had a while now living with the ST40 - I love it - clean, rich and what is remarkable I can now tell instantly when there is a speck of dust on my stylus - can even here tracking force changes
Hear (here) tracking force changes? Must be all the hot air wafting from that amp. :grin:

Not too sure why you would want to change it though, it's either correctly set or it isn't. :)
 

Grinder

New member
Feb 14, 2008
1
0
0
tino said:
Is a Unison Research Simply Italy something you have considered? These are reasonably cheap ex-dem, not so many valves to keep running costs low and remote control for convenience.

Review here
again - auditioning in Ireland is an issue. Not many suppliers since the crash back in 07 and fewer still with any valves of note.

Also, I'm quite keen on the aesthetic, and an alternative heating system so actually more valves the better :grin:
 

Grinder

New member
Feb 14, 2008
1
0
0
Gazzip said:
Very different sound between your current 8000a and anything valve based so make sure you try before you buy. The Icon range is well stocked so plenty of opportunity to do just that. I went from solid state to valve my pre-amp 6 months ago and I am a very happy chap. It portrays transients in a different way completely and is actually capable of making me jump! Love it!
Well, one thing I have done is to hook up a Fatman iTube (15W) , chucked the 6N1's for a pair of RTF ECC85's and it's really not bad.

As an amateur classical musician I'm looking to get a more realistic live sound with improved transient decay and and while the Audiolab is clean and controlled especially on studio recordings when listening to live recordings I feel like the sound engineer rather than a member of the audience.

Likewise I'm looking for some to get me more involved, and maybe enough to jump!
 

Grinder

New member
Feb 14, 2008
1
0
0
Al ears said:
Good though the ST40 is I wouldn't dismiss something like the PrimaLuna Prologue 1 as it was specifically designed for 'first timers'.

Audition if you get the chance. Not sure where you are in Ieland or whether or not you can find a dealer. Well worth seeking out.

Like Icon Audio thesae are European designed but manufactured in China. They do have some 'ease of use' features.

Review can be found here:-

http://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/205prima/
Dublin, so the only real player on valves is Cloney Audio. I'm waiting on their next shipment which should have the mkiii m's

They do have a 60 Mkiii (not m) but I don't want to go to that cost or weight. If anyone else in Ireland is interested it's their last one so end of line and demo discounts apply.

I have auditioned outside of my budget in the past and that can be dangerous so not keen to listen to the 60 yet.

Appreciate the Prima Luna as an option but no where to audition it. - hence go for broke on the Icon or take a punt on the hifiandaudiodotcom offerings
 

Grinder

New member
Feb 14, 2008
1
0
0
stevebrock said:
New Icon Audio owner here - after trying several £2000 solid state amps, I knew I had to try a valve amp - the rest is history!

Go and demo an ST40 with your current speakers and see if valves are for you ! They may not be but at least find out!
Steve, did you go for the Jensens or an alternative cap?

General question - is the cap upgrade worth if their life is of the order of 250hrs? (I could be mis-informed on the 250hrs ... if so blame Google)
 

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