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Valve Amps

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insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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Would love a valve amp at some point. Problem could be speaker matching as not all the speakers can be run with valves. Should it be difficult I would consider bi amp situation with solid state running bass driver and valve amp running the rest. Or either hybrid or valve pre with solid state power. The problem for me as already mentioned is simply the cost.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
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Vladimir said:
If I am going to buy a valve amp in the future it's going to be a custom order from an individual amp builder, not a commercially produced unit. Main problem for me is finding suitable speakers, I'm extremely picky. That may also have to be a unique build, likely a bin and horn system. 
Why?
 

Al ears

Moderator
insider9 said:
Would love a valve amp at some point. Problem could be speaker matching as not all the speakers can be run with valves. Should it be difficult I would consider bi amp situation with solid state running bass driver and valve amp running the rest. Or either hybrid or valve pre with solid state power. The problem for me as already mentioned is simply the cost.
Strangely enough my pre / power has a solid state pre and valve power ( Vibe + Linear A). Yes it only produces 25 epic but it will quite happily drive any speakers of 88dB and up very well. That leaves quite a bit of scope for speaker choice always assuming you don't want disco levels of volume.

Currently have EB2's hooked up as in a smallish room but have had Acoustic Zen Adagio's attached and possibly looking at Heco Direkt's
 

lpv

New member
Mar 14, 2013
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Gazzip said:
I have to agree that valve amplification is wonderful. Valve pre and solid state power is my poison. All that valve fluidity in the mids and highs with the control of the lower frequencies that only solid state (or very expensive valves) can give you.
pre valve into some actives?
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
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lpv said:
Gazzip said:
I have to agree that valve amplification is wonderful. Valve pre and solid state power is my poison. All that valve fluidity in the mids and highs with the control of the lower frequencies that only solid state (or very expensive valves) can give you.
pre valve into some actives?
So long as the drivers are Class A/B amplified. I don’t rate digital amplification at all, particularly at lower listening levels.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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My Adam actives have 3 x 50 watts class AB per speaker, if I had a requirement for an analogue pre-amp (i don't), first thing I would try would be a Schiit Saga.

A fully remote control line pre-amp, switchable passive or valve active for just £360! A great choice to get valves into your system at modest cost.

If I was feeling a little more expansive, maybe go balanced with the £710 Freya, the balanced outs would be perfect for driving a good pair of actives, my favourite Unity Audio 'The Rock' for example.

There is just so many options if you are prepared to step off the mainstream, the Freya/The Rock combo is a shade over £3k , and were I still 'in the business' these are the kind of setups I would be looking at.
 

lpv

New member
Mar 14, 2013
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yeah, schiit ( forgot) good call

I’ve heard few years ago original atc 20 active with valve pre.. it was good back them

u can get any croft with remote and single volume pot
 

Vladimir

New member
Dec 26, 2013
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drummerman said:
Vladimir said:
If I am going to buy a valve amp in the future it's going to be a custom order from an individual amp builder, not a commercially produced unit. Main problem for me is finding suitable speakers, I'm extremely picky. That may also have to be a unique build, likely a bin and horn system.
Why?
Please be more specific. *scratch_one-s_head*
 

Rethep

Well-known member
May 2, 2011
15
0
18,520
Finally a valve subject again!

But.... there's nothing new! Valves sound gorgeous if you like their sound. I do!

Valves give more stage-depth, stage-width, sound fluently, and especially with voices, - very exciting. In total to me they sound captivating. Not even an expensive ss amp comes close in these charactristics!

But valves give less 'slam' especially in the bass department.

High efficiency - and easy load speakers help to get the best out of valves, and can give you good bass, but it will never give you the 'slam' from even cheap solid state! If a valve-amp sounds good in the 'slam department', i think it will sound less good in the beatiful valve characteristics.

So it all depends on your taste for sound! And yes, in any case (SS or Valve, or hybrid) you have to spend some serious money!
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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I think if more mainstream outlets such as Sevenoaks, Audio-T, Richer Sounds could stock entry-level valve amps, the average person would probably gravitate more to valves. But the fact remains, if you are under 40-years the chances of you knowing about valve amps is remote - or may look at valves as something from the dim and distant.

It's the same with Leema: There's not much love towards their products. Same reason: Limited outlets.
 

Al ears

Moderator
plastic penguin said:
I think if more mainstream outlets such as Sevenoaks, Audio-T, Richer Sounds could stock entry-level valve amps, the average person would probably gravitate more to valves. But the fact remains, if you are under 40-years the chances of you knowing about valve amps is remote - or may look at valves as something from the dim and distant.

It's the same with Leema: There's not much love towards their products. Same reason: Limited outlets.
+1

This lack of ability to audition is a major factor in sales figures. The weight of valve amps makes posting expensive as well but for anyone seriously looking towards valves then a long drive to a dealer is worth the trip.
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
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Now an active speaker offering with built in valve amps for mids and highs and solid state taking care of the LF driver would be a very interesting option, although it would probably have to be a home consumer rather than recording industry driven product. Kef put a foot down that path with the the LS50W (Class A/B for mids and highs and Class D for LF). Imagine how cool they would look with the valves popping out of the top...
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,827
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"This lack of ability to audition is a major factor in sales figures. The weight of valve amps makes posting expensive as well but for anyone seriously looking towards valves then a long drive to a dealer is worth the trip".

The weight is a fair point, however, if they are in those high street outlets, I reckon most people collect and take them home after demoing. Or if not in stock, then arrange a time that suits. But I think if you are grabbed by the valve sound then weight will pretty much be down the pecking order of priorities.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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Gazzip said:
Now an active speaker offering with built in valve amps for mids and highs and solid state taking care of the LF driver would be a very interesting option, although it would probably have to be a home consumer rather than recording industry driven product. Kef put a foot down that path with the the LS50W (Class A/B for mids and highs and Class D for LF). Imagine how cool they would look with the valves popping out of the top...
Indeed it would be interesting. I cannot see it with built-in amplification. Valves are microphonic and wouldn't really be suited to stick out of speaker enclosures. But I'm sure you knew that already.

Actives with outboard valve amplification for mid-thigh and class a or even class d for bass could work. But for most people would not have the visual benefits of actives. The number of boxes and weight would be large.
 

S83 Trike

New member
Jul 6, 2015
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I had a pair of Leak TL10 monoblocks driving Heybrook HB1 speaker in late 80's - HK pre amp and Linn LP12 Itok AT9 front end-

OMG that was a sweet sweet sound.

I also has Icon stereo 40w valve amp about until maybe 3yrs ago and that too was very sweet.

Sometimes you end up going backwards when you think you are upgrading *crazy*
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
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insider9 said:
Gazzip said:
Now an active speaker offering with built in valve amps for mids and highs and solid state taking care of the LF driver would be a very interesting option, although it would probably have to be a home consumer rather than recording industry driven product. Kef put a foot down that path with the the LS50W (Class A/B for mids and highs and Class D for LF). Imagine how cool they would look with the valves popping out of the top...
Indeed it would be interesting. I cannot see it with built-in amplification. Valves are microphonic and wouldn't really be suited to stick out of speaker enclosures. But I'm sure you knew that already.

Actives with outboard valve amplification for mid-thigh and class a or even class d for bass could work. But for most people would not have the visual benefits of actives. The number of boxes and weight would be large.
Hadn’t thought of that! I was still in the early concept stage! *blush*
 

Al ears

Moderator
plastic penguin said:
"This lack of ability to audition is a major factor in sales figures. The weight of valve amps makes posting expensive as well but for anyone seriously looking towards valves then a long drive to a dealer is worth the trip".

The weight is a fair point, however, if they are in those high street outlets, I reckon most people collect and take them home after demoing. Or if not in stock, then arrange a time that suits. But I think if you are grabbed by the valve sound then weight will pretty much be down the pecking order of priorities.
Of course it will and should be. I was referring to those who might chance to buy over the internet as they have no dealers within striking distance. Wouldn't suggest it unless they offer a trial period but then cost of shipping it back comes into effect.

Prima Luna amps are very good for beginners but you try finding a dealer... :)
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
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Vladimir said:
drummerman said:
Vladimir said:
If I am going to buy a valve amp in the future it's going to be a custom order from an individual amp builder, not a commercially produced unit. Main problem for me is finding suitable speakers, I'm extremely picky. That may also have to be a unique build, likely a bin and horn system. 
Why?
Please be more specific.  *scratch_one-s_head*
Why a custom amp builder?
 

Macspur

Well-known member
May 3, 2010
77
0
18,540
Al ears said:
plastic penguin said:
"This lack of ability to audition is a major factor in sales figures. The weight of valve amps makes posting expensive as well but for anyone seriously looking towards valves then a long drive to a dealer is worth the trip".

The weight is a fair point, however, if they are in those high street outlets, I reckon most people collect and take them home after demoing. Or if not in stock, then arrange a time that suits. But I think if you are grabbed by the valve sound then weight will pretty much be down the pecking order of priorities.
Of course it will and should be. I was referring to those who might chance to buy over the internet as they have no dealers within striking distance. Wouldn't suggest it unless they offer a trial period but then cost of shipping it back comes into effect.

Prima Luna amps are very good for beginners but you try finding a dealer... :)
HiFi Corner in Edinburgh stock them and Guildford Audio for those of us in the South.

Mac

www.realmusicnet.wordpress.com
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
16
2
0
Rethep, speakers are more important than amplifiers when it comes to bass slam.

So that my 2 watt SET through my EV Patricians has more slam than my 300 watt solid state through my EV Sentry III's, Sansui SP5500's, Linn Isobariks, Linn Saras, Heybrook HB1's.

The difference in slam between the SET and the solid state is neglible through the Patricians. There's a difference in the bass tightness that I'd describe as audible in an A/B demo but not a deal breaker with those speakers.
 

Vladimir

New member
Dec 26, 2013
220
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0
drummerman said:
Vladimir said:
drummerman said:
Vladimir said:
If I am going to buy a valve amp in the future it's going to be a custom order from an individual amp builder, not a commercially produced unit. Main problem for me is finding suitable speakers, I'm extremely picky. That may also have to be a unique build, likely a bin and horn system.
Why?
Please be more specific. *scratch_one-s_head*
Why a custom amp builder?
Bigger savings due to no customs, imports, dealer markup etc. Valve amps can be done factory perfect unlike SS, it's a simpler build with point to point wiring etc. and there are tons of proven designs from hifi history to pick from.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
Vladimir said:
drummerman said:
Vladimir said:
drummerman said:
Vladimir said:
If I am going to buy a valve amp in the future it's going to be a custom order from an individual amp builder, not a commercially produced unit. Main problem for me is finding suitable speakers, I'm extremely picky. That may also have to be a unique build, likely a bin and horn system. 
Why?
Please be more specific.  *scratch_one-s_head*
Why a custom amp builder?
Bigger savings due to no customs, imports, dealer markup etc. Valve amps can be done factory perfect unlike SS, it's a simpler build with point to point wiring etc.  and there are tons of proven designs from hifi history to pick from.
Perhaps you have more choice of small outlets building the things in your country. Most seem to reside in Shenzhen these days.
 

Vladimir

New member
Dec 26, 2013
220
4
0
drummerman said:
Vladimir said:
drummerman said:
Vladimir said:
drummerman said:
Vladimir said:
If I am going to buy a valve amp in the future it's going to be a custom order from an individual amp builder, not a commercially produced unit. Main problem for me is finding suitable speakers, I'm extremely picky. That may also have to be a unique build, likely a bin and horn system.
Why?
Please be more specific. *scratch_one-s_head*
Why a custom amp builder?
Bigger savings due to no customs, imports, dealer markup etc. Valve amps can be done factory perfect unlike SS, it's a simpler build with point to point wiring etc. and there are tons of proven designs from hifi history to pick from.
Perhaps you have more choice of small outlets building the things in your country. Most seem to reside in Shenzhen these days.
Indeed I do. I know several gents who are very good at it. Prices of commercial units are ginormous.
 

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