SET amp owners thread

Just requesting all SET amp owners to mention their amps and speakers.
 
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the sound of Tao

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Jul 18, 2014
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I love the feedback on valve rolling but everything is virtually always context related and still quite system specific... every system and listener is adding a range of complex variables.

Descriptors of shifts in character are often invaluable and also guides as to what is preferred can still be helpful (especially if a listener’s system and sonic as well as musical preferences are outlined).

Generalisation on what is best as a tube are perhaps the least indicative of assessments unless confirmed by many listeners in a reasonable range of systems I would figure.

Also reliability is a critical issue with valve selection as well. I had some diamond Teles and they developed noise within a short period. Expensive sadness.

I like to hear about listeners experiences and preferences but it’s wise to take absolute determinations of any component or parts with a grain of salt. Everyone has a personal favourite flavour, but either way it’s just not a universal thang. Subtle heads up. Wash your hands after opening every packet these days... apparently cardboard is a rather good friend of Covid (or so I was told by a rather reliable student today).
 
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morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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JJ is not as good, it has much less control and complexity resolution than KR. It has a sweet midrange that's all so some people like it
The JJs have a much more linear "East European" sound than other inexpensive 300Bs. IMO, they are less colored than most. If ExLibris has the funds, then by all means get KR or Elrog but if not I think the JJ (or perhaps the Gold Grid EH tubes) is a reaonable price conscious alternative.
 
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bonzo75

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There are clear characteristics that repeat. You are not, for example, going to get more control from JJ over KR in any system
 
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Exlibris

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Oct 7, 2015
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I agree that takatsuki is disappointing. As usual hyped up because of the high price and people preferring a pushed up soundstage with a beefed up midrange..

The Elrog 300b is very good. Very similar to KR in terms of neutrality, but even more see through in terms of concert hall ambience. It is slightly more mid hall
Regarding hall location:
I've always liked a very upfront and immediate presentation. Maybe even more that first row -- on the stage. I suspect that's why I gravitate to tubes that push the midrange forward. I like the immediacy. Among other things I feel that it closes the gap between me and the soundfield or me and the speaker plane. I don't like an "over there" sort of sound. I don't, however, like aggressive / "in your face" sound.
 

bonzo75

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Well I don't like that, I like soundstage to be what's on the recording, and in most cases in classical it is over there, while on audiophile recordings like stockfisch or Diana Krall it is upfront and cuddly
 

Rob181

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Oct 1, 2014
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Well I don't like that, I like soundstage to be what's on the recording, and in most cases in classical it is over there, while on audiophile recordings like stockfisch or Diana Krall it is upfront and cuddly
Well I wouldn't call close miked recordings upfront & cuddly - they represent what you hear if you go to a small jazz club or listen to guy/girl guitar session. Classical - on the other hand - should be about mid row 8 or there abouts to get an appreciation of all the instruments coherently - but that's just my ears.
 
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Exlibris

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Well I wouldn't call close miked recordings upfront & cuddly - they represent what you hear if you go to a small jazz club or listen to guy/girl guitar session. Classical - on the other hand - should be about mid row 8 or there abouts to get an appreciation of all the instruments coherently - but that's just my ears.
I should have specified that I was talking about guy/girl guitar session. In that case, and the recording allows, if I'm 3m from the speaker plane I want the guy/girl/guitar 3m away from me -- ideally even closer. I don't want them to be small and 1m or 2m behind the speaker plane. I don't want them hovering in a "crystal ball" of a soundfield; I want them right there in my living room in front of me and I want to feel that we are both breathing the same air -- no vacuum-like gulf between me and them. I hate recordings or systems where I feel I'm watching proceedings going on in some other dimension (usually a miniaturized version of our own), "over there." That to me is boring and unengaging.
 
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Jun 4, 2019
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I should have specified that I was talking about guy/girl guitar session. In that case, and the recording allows, if I'm 3m from the speaker plane I want the guy/girl/guitar 3m away from me -- ideally even closer. I don't want them to be small and 1m or 2m behind the speaker plane. I don't want them hovering in a "crystal ball" of a soundfield; I want them right there in my living room in front of me and I want to feel that we are both breathing the same air -- no vacuum-like gulf between me and them. I hate recordings or systems where I feel I'm watching proceedings going on in some other dimension (usually a miniaturized version of our own), "over there." That to me is boring and unengaging.
If your system is high resolution, don’t forget to wear a mask :) I have a forward preference myself for the same reasons. If you want to hear jazz from row M, you don’t really like jazz. Different amps for different venues? This is a primary preference which determines how you build your system.
 
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bonzo75

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If your system is high resolution, don’t forget to wear a mask :) I have a forward preference myself for the same reasons. If you want to hear jazz from row M, you don’t really like jazz. Different amps for different venues? This is a primary preference which determines how you build your system.
The preference should be that the recording stage should show through. There shouldn't be a constant stage imposed by your gear
 
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The preference should be that the recording stage should show through. There shouldn't be a constant stage imposed by your gear
Agreed, if everything is done right, including the recordings. But a good deal of equipment is voiced for a preference. Classic tube sound is mid forward, or rather treble/bass stepped back, or at least treble recessed, which gives the impression of immediacy as the reflection/ambient cues are diminished. My VAC amp is somewhat classic in this regard. As such it is a situational role player, but a pleasant one. My LTA Ultralinear is ruler flat, fast, resolved. It presents as somewhat recessed as it was voiced for high efficiency speakers. I'm looking for one amp that combines the best virtues of both, along with the grunt of my old Pass amp. Three amps in one. Shouldn't be too hard to come up with, right?

My Lampi GG1 was rather forward, the GG2 iteration somewhat less forward as the HF extension was better. The Pacific I'd say is a little forward. All tube set dependent. I found it curious that you preferred your GG1 when Classical/Symphonic is your preference. But yours was set up differently - caps and tubes, engine?

I don't listen to classical much, but when I do, it's center row L, in the hall, not at home.
 
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Nice to see another Daedalus owner.
Ketcham is on here, he like the PX-25 Allnic M311. I’m in the search too but I’d like to stay around 20wpc. Maybe an 845 SET will be in my future.
Hello Advanced101 - yes, good to see another Daed Haed here. I'm pretty happy with the Apollo11's - neutral, resolved, and musical. I think I've heard of the Orpheus, but never seen one in the wild. They are all easy to drive which makes the amp pairing challenging simply because there are so many options. I'm aware of Ketcham's M311, but haven't opened that door yet. Have you heard this one or the M2500? I find the 18w Ultralinear to do well driving them, but not sure I want to go any lower in power because of my large room. Do you have an 845 in mind? Sorry, I haven't read back through the whole thread.
 

advanced101

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May 3, 2017
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Hello Advanced101 - yes, good to see another Daed Haed here. I'm pretty happy with the Apollo11's - neutral, resolved, and musical. I think I've heard of the Orpheus, but never seen one in the wild. They are all easy to drive which makes the amp pairing challenging simply because there are so many options. I'm aware of Ketcham's M311, but haven't opened that door yet. Have you heard this one or the M2500? I find the 18w Ultralinear to do well driving them, but not sure I want to go any lower in power because of my large room. Do you have an 845 in mind? Sorry, I haven't read back through the whole thread.
I have not heard any of the Allnic amps. At one point I had an LM-219ia driving the orpheus very well. Thought the lowest of bass was lacking compared to the EAR 509s. But then I added the BOWs to take care of the lowest of bass and now looking to get back into SET. The Line Magnetic 503pa monoblocks are an option, or I may get something custom made. I like the 845 amps I have heard. I find they are a good middle ground. They would also be flexible should I move to Horns.
 
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I have not heard any of the Allnic amps. At one point I had an LM-219ia driving the orpheus very well. Thought the lowest of bass was lacking compared to the EAR 509s. But then I added the BOWs to take care of the lowest of bass and now looking to get back into SET. The Line Magnetic 503pa monoblocks are an option, or I may get something custom made. I like the 845 amps I have heard. I find they are a good middle ground. They would also be flexible should I move to Horns.
Having the BOW's (for some reason I don't like the way that sounds :)) opens the door even further for you. I seriously considered the LM 503PA a couple years ago. It looks good on paper. Try to find one for a listen. Cleveland maybe? Like usual, I'll harvest some ideas here, directly or indirectly, then make another executive decision. Travelling the world to listen to all of the options doesn't fit my agenda.
If you ever decide to move those BOW's, let me know.
 

cjfrbw

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Apr 20, 2010
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"If your system is high resolution, don’t forget to wear a mask "

The sound stage was so real, I thought I could bump elbows with the performers.
 
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"If your system is high resolution, don’t forget to wear a mask "

The sound stage was so real, I thought I could bump elbows with the performers.
Equipment contributing to that "being there" environment. I had an amp that filled the room with smoke once. It would have been more convincing if the ballast resistors were formed from tobacco or hemp. The younger people here may not know what I reefer to.
 

Joao@altheamusica

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Sep 20, 2010
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There are clear characteristics that repeat. You are not, for example, going to get more control from JJ over KR in any system
Please explain this in technical view from a designer of amplifiers...
Sure, you are correct but I'd like to read some explanations why this is - that helps the people a lot (which are not technicians) to understand
 

bonzo75

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Please explain this in technical view from a designer of amplifiers...
Sure, you are correct but I'd like to read some explanations why this is - that helps the people a lot (which are not technicians) to understand
Hi I do not know technically. But if you listen, and play something complex, you will not get as much control over each instrument with JJ (or TJ, electroharmonix, and full) as KR or Elrog. When I say control, it is mist each instrument holding its own line steadily from star to finish, plus the separation between the instruments will be greater
 
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Hi I do not know technically. But if you listen, and play something complex, you will not get as much control over each instrument with JJ (or TJ, electroharmonix, and full) as KR or Elrog. When I say control, it is mist each instrument holding its own line steadily from star to finish, plus the separation between the instruments will be greater
I hear the same thing you are explaining and there seems to be consistency in this from type to type. My thoughts are, this is because of the KR thick walled glass, tight, stiff base, and stiff mechanical structures. Tubes are mechanical resonators too. Each and every structure has its own sympathetic resonance which colors or muddies the output. Controlling these resonances by increasing weight or stiffness quiets the noise or moves them to a different, less sensitive audio band. I have never measured this, but theory aids in interpreting the situation along with empirical finger whack testing.
 
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213Cobra

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Please explain this in technical view from a designer of amplifiers...
Sure, you are correct but I'd like to read some explanations why this is - that helps the people a lot (which are not technicians) to understand
It isn't so much an amplifier design issue as the fact that the tube is the active device and will assert its sonic characteristics. I've listened to many 300B tubes in many different amplifiers, and the tube characteristics stay with the tube as you move them between amps. The TJ (or Sophia version) perforated plate asserts its lush, sticky midrange and fat bass euphonics regardless what amp it is placed in. The basic Chinese solid plate 300B retains its harder, drier signature from amp to amp to amp. The Takatsuki keeps its midrange-forward, sanded-details, rounded top, dynamically limited signature circuit to circuit to circuit. And the KR maintains its transparency, bass discipline, dynamism, wideband objectivity wherever you place it. These signatures may be tamped or become by degrees less contrasted in some circuits than others, but they don't vanish. The tube is the active device and most SET amps don't involve any or very much real innovation anyway. The vast majority are clones of vintage circuits or are inspired by them, benefiting from modern materials components and more precise execution. So it's not surprising that a given 300B's sonics will persist moving from circuit to circuit.

Phil
 
Jun 4, 2019
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Please explain this in technical view from a designer of amplifiers...
Sure, you are correct but I'd like to read some explanations why this is - that helps the people a lot (which are not technicians) to understand
You have some feedback from us now. Can you comment on these thoughts? Can you add your own thoughts and observations?
Thanks.
 

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