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Sad news that Greg Lake has died.
@connieflyer, haven't heard Sukiyaki for so long, used to play a trumpet solo for it back in the 70's, man I'm feeling old. I think the version many remember is by A Taste of Honey in the 80's.
Still loving my 2x 6BL7/2x 6SN7 combo as powers. In wanting to make sure I wasn't getting carried away, I tried pretty much every other power tube at my disposal, but nothing (for me and this system) comes close. I remember craving the glassy midrange smoothness of the Chatham 6AS7G in a power tube with more bass oomph like the Mullard 6080, and this does it. It does it better than the Chatham. Listening back to the Chathams now, they sound constricted and flat in comparison - and they were once my most prized power tube. I'm going to hang on to them though. I find it hard to get rid of tubes. With this power setup, the sound with my 1944 KR VT-231s is very transparent, silky, and firm in the bass as you'd expect with Ken Rads. It's really classy - and it's very rare I'm truly impressed with my own setup (you might well ask why I do it). It just sounds so together.
Also now running a cheap tube/SS hybrid phono preamp - the Yaqin MS-23B. A lot of people seem to rave about them, and some people seem to think they're useless trash. And for sure it doesn't offer the depth and dimension that my Graham Slee unit does, but in this system with speakers tending towards bright - or rather 'unforgiving' - it's working out very nicely. Everyone says that the treble response will improve if I roll the cheap Chinese 12AX7s out, but quite frankly I like it as it is. Finally I have a phono stage which will flatter my old jazz vinyl before sending the signal off to very analytical speakers. Feels like a happy arrangement.
I also sorted out my long-term ground loop problem - it wasn't a ground loop. Simply, the Elise going straight into my Quad 909, was resulting in waayyyy too much gain. Hum, clicks, odd pings, and bonging sounds which the Elise makes were being rendered audible. I stuck a Fostex volume pot between the Elise and 909, and all audible noise is gone. I can also use far more of the volume pot range of the Elise. I think it's freed the system up a bit. Might be pure placebo effect, but something about it feels more effortless and less strained - I think the Elise enjoys working a little harder. Before, I was rarely getting beyond 8 o'clock on the volume dial.
Happy days here. Just listening to music and not fretting about system inadequacies. I know it won't last for ever, but that's partly life, and partly the curse of the compulsive tinkerer.
Hearing music that's 'together' and sounds 'right' is a big compliment to any sound system.
I'm delighted you're enjoying your present set-ups.
Thanks Howie. Yes, it's nice to be at this point.The setup in the Elise seems to work really nicely with my HE400 too - tried it briefly last night. Woop.
Glad you've found a setup that brings you joy @richdytch...perhaps your "tinkering" might one day stretch to hitting the wallet also and diving headlong into the NEW ELISE next year - which by the way, for any here who haven't been following the "Impressions" thread, is now in my clammy hands and continuing to test my belief more each day...it is that good lol!!
I shall be carting it over to the Milton Keynes meet in April, if anyone's interested...CHEERS!!...
Hi Hypnos, well I'm only a couple of hours' drive from Milton Keynes, so that is very tempting. But to be honest I've been trying to avoid thinking about the Elise_II since I've spent far too much on audio kit this year. However it does give me an added incentive to try harder at work and max out on the bonus
The Elise is still the single biggest upgrade I've ever made to my signal chain going into the speakers. I'm not entirely sure how long I've had it either - probably 8 or 9 months, but it still does things that amaze me, on a daily basis. Big respect for the Feliks crew. I keep eyeing up their 2A3 amps, etc, but fortunately my PMCs, while amazing, are too inefficient to be powered by them. Hence 140W of solid state grunt behind them. Fortunate, because it means I won't spend the cash on new power amp AND speakers.
I remember Lukacs answering that their 2A3 amp does not sound better than the Elise - just the ability to drive. speakers
Hi Morty. Yes, I was referring to them as speaker amps. I'm like you in being mainly a speaker listener
What's wrong with using the Elise as a preamp? My speakers are powered by a glorious 110W Sony 1980's integrated amp (TA-AX530).
It has a slider switch on the back middle left to connect an equalizer, and this is where my Elise is connected.
I always turn the Elise volume control to max and adjust the volume with the amp volume control. Treble/bass sliders are useful as well. Another feature I appreciate (discovered shall we say by accident) is protective circuitry that shuts off the amp if a tube or speaker shorts out. My Outlaw RR2150 receiver (4 1/2 stars on Amazon) did not have this protective circuit and blew up when a speaker unexpectedly shorted after four years of use. In desperation I fished out the Sony amp from my garage (a present from somebody who did not want it) and was really pleasantly surprised...
In the middle of the front panel on top are red LEDs that light up a watt meter (not seen on picture). Just checked - loud speaker volume is 1/2 - 1W; cranking it up above 5-7W is way too loud for my listening room. 400hp under the hood! Or for UT 298kW....
All ss amps sound the same, right........LOL
Hi Mordy... nothing wrong with using the Elise as a preamp whatsoever - it's a VERY fine preamp!
That's a great slab of 80s Sony you have there and the DC/short protection is a bonus. I hear that my Quad has some sort of protection, but I'm not sure what. I'd rather not have to find out by accident!
Tried your 6BL7/6SN7 combination of power tubes. I used a GE BL and the Russian Tung Sol reissue SN tubes - don't have Ken-Rads, so I used my favorite drivers, the EL3N. It is indeed a very nice combination with very good sound.
But....compared to my GEC 6AS7 it is lacking in a few areas: The mid bass is recessed, the instrument separation is more fuzzy, and the BL/SN combo is lacking the clarity, sweetness and energy of the GEC tubes.
Unfortunately the GEC 6AS7/A1834 command astronomical prices today, but in my system they are the best sounding power tubes.
Hi Mordy. I had actually been wondering how much better the GECs would be. I just know I could never justify spending those kinds of sums on tubes... I think I'd rather get a better amp. Although I know that I'd have to spend a lot to get something nicer than the Elise.
I have noticed that the quality of the BL/SN setup does vary greatly with the tubes used. I received two pairs of 6BL7s and one pair is notably better than the other. They are 1966 GE NOS. The 6SN7s used also have a similarly dramatic effect on the sound... I actually settled on the stock Tung Sol reissues, as the various others I had seemed to sound very thin in this combination. I also gave up using EL3N as drivers with this setup - they seemed a bit woolly. Much more successful are my KR 1944 VT231 (if I'm after clarity and transparency) or their 1950 6SN7 if I fancy warmth and lushness.
I have some 20 6BL7 which i bought in the eBay bargain stores - most of them cost $2-3 each or less. As you mention, they vary in sound, and there is a great confusion about brands. I have GE tubes labeled Tung Sol as an example.
Was looking for the GEC tubes a long time and finally bought a pair that cost me $220 incl shipping. To get a better price you have to look for labels like Osram, MWT, MOV, Marconi, Haltron etc and also be wary of fakes.
Don't have any Ken-Rads yet.
In the past I tried different power tube combinations of four or six tubes, but have reverted to a two-tube set-up. With tubes such as the Tung Sol 7236,5998 and Bendix 6080WB (and the bargain RCA 6080) there is no need for multiple power tubes IMHO.
I am really perfectly satisfied with my Elise and don't find a need to upgrade (except for the upcoming Elise MKII LOL)......