Leaning towards a tube amp - Need some help with decision-making
May 8, 2004 at 6:36 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

saint.panda

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I just got a Gilmore Lite but I find it too bright. (I generally find everything too bright, the Sony CD3k were to bright for me as well as the Ultrasone 700). And it's not the source because when I use my cdp's headphone out it doesn't sound bright at all (although it lacks dynamics, bass and soundstage compared to the Gilmore Lite)
So I figured that I should give tube amps a try...

Currently I'm leaning towards the Fisher 400 since it can also be used as a receiver and because it's rather cheap (maybe 200$ for the unit and another 100$ for restoration, which is still cheaper than a Singlepower e.g.). Any objections?
smily_headphones1.gif
And has anyone compared it against dedicated tube amps?

Or maybe some darker-sounding solid states? But I am really curious about the sweet midrage tube amps produce, should sound great with jazz and classical music.

Headphones will be a Sennheiser Hd650 or a Beyerdynamic 880 (still haven't decided on that yet).

Thanks
smily_headphones1.gif
 
May 8, 2004 at 7:30 PM Post #2 of 16

oneeyedhobbit

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I don't pretend to know tube amps, so I can't comment. On solid states--the PPA (by severeal head fi members, I'm partial to Doobooloo, if he still builds for others) is a solid choice with a lot of tweakability. I've been comparing mine to my friends (bln's) Gilmore Lite, and the lite is indeed significantly brighter. That is one consideration. Also, I've never heard it but Ray Samuels XP-7 is almost universally praised as one heck of a performer--his HR-2 wasn't too bright at all, but man did I love it (of course, thats a hefty expenditure!).
 
May 8, 2004 at 7:37 PM Post #3 of 16

davidmiya

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Quote:

Originally Posted by saint.panda
I just got a Gilmore Lite but I find it too bright. (I generally find everything too bright, the Sony CD3k were to bright for me as well as the Ultrasone 700).


The CD3K's are bright phones, perhaps even as bright as the Etymotics. Expect to have your earwax cleaned out by these phones. If you really wanna tame down the brightness, Sennheisers will do that...
 
May 8, 2004 at 7:39 PM Post #4 of 16

tom hankins

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Quote:

Originally Posted by saint.panda
I just got a Gilmore Lite but I find it too bright. (I generally find everything too bright, the Sony CD3k were to bright for me as well as the Ultrasone 700). And it's not the source because when I use my cdp's headphone out it doesn't sound bright at all (although it lacks dynamics, bass and soundstage compared to the Gilmore Lite)
So I figured that I should give tube amps a try...

Currently I'm leaning towards the Fisher 400 since it can also be used as a receiver and because it's rather cheap (maybe 200$ for the unit and another 100$ for restoration, which is still cheaper than a Singlepower e.g.). Any objections?
smily_headphones1.gif
And has anyone compared it against dedicated tube amps?

Or maybe some darker-sounding solid states? But I am really curious about the sweet midrage tube amps produce, should sound great with jazz and classical music.

Headphones will be a Sennheiser Hd650 or a Beyerdynamic 880 (still haven't decided on that yet).

Thanks
smily_headphones1.gif



If money is an issue you probably won't find anything that can match the 200.00 you will pay for the fisher, and you can use the k1000, and speakers with it also. Don't think tube amps cannot be bright. They can. purks PPA and the singlepower PPX3 are both very good with the Senns. You might want to PM him about what its got inside of it.
 
May 8, 2004 at 7:47 PM Post #5 of 16

smokey

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Three quick suggestions.

The Fischer you mention might do the trick. If you want to bring it up to specs later, and if you're handy with a soldering iron, you can get freshening kits on the web.

If you want an even cheaper way to go, an older, mid-70s, solid state receiver from Marantz, Sansui, or Pioneer might do the trick. They all have headphone out jacks, AND tone controls. You can dial in the upper register sound all you want.

Finally, if you want to spend some $$. Call Headroom. Their amps, like the Max, have brightness switches, that allow you some felxibility.

Good Luck
 
May 8, 2004 at 7:58 PM Post #6 of 16

saint.panda

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Quote:

Originally Posted by oneeyedhobbit
I don't pretend to know tube amps, so I can't comment. On solid states--the PPA (by severeal head fi members, I'm partial to Doobooloo, if he still builds for others) is a solid choice with a lot of tweakability. I've been comparing mine to my friends (bln's) Gilmore Lite, and the lite is indeed significantly brighter. That is one consideration. Also, I've never heard it but Ray Samuels XP-7 is almost universally praised as one heck of a performer--his HR-2 wasn't too bright at all, but man did I love it (of course, thats a hefty expenditure!).


The Xp-7 sure is tempting but a bit too costy

Quote:

Originally Posted by davidmiya
The CD3K's are bright phones, perhaps even as bright as the Etymotics. Expect to have your earwax cleaned out by these phones. If you really wanna tame down the brightness, Sennheisers will do that...


It has to be the amp because the Gilmore Lite even makes my Sennheiser HD 25-1 sound bright.

Quote:

Originally Posted by tom hankins
If money is an issue you probably won't find anything that can match the 200.00 you will pay for the fisher, and you can use the k1000, and speakers with it also. Don't think tube amps cannot be bright. They can. purks PPA and the singlepower PPX3 are both very good with the Senns. You might want to PM him about what its got inside of it.


Do the Fisher sound bright?


I am still wondering if the fisher really sounds as good as dedicated headphone amps. Since my budget is around 400$, the HD300 and Mg Head and PPX are options,too. Would these be worth the extra 100-200$?
And the amp would have to run with 220v if possible...
 
May 8, 2004 at 8:14 PM Post #7 of 16

Canman

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The Fisher is a great amp and sounds really nice with the Sennheisers. It is a bit rolled off in the treble so it me be just to your liking. The Fisher has huge bass with the HD-600 and also sounds top notch with the AKG K-1000.

Compared to modern power amps I didn't find it to have the same sense of detail and resolution, but for the price I don't think you can do better. If you can spare a little more and don't need a power amp section, the Singlepower PPX3 would be a great choice.

As Tom Hankins said, just because its a tube doesn't mean it won't sound bright.

One word of caution: beware of how much it might cost to retube a Fisher (~17 tubes!), especially since the power supply tubes are out of production.
 
May 8, 2004 at 8:16 PM Post #8 of 16

gpalmer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by saint.panda
I just got a Gilmore Lite but I find it too bright.


The Gilmore Lite is too bright till it burns in, I had to let mine run for a month or more 24X7 before it got to it's final sound and the bass really developed.
 
May 8, 2004 at 8:23 PM Post #9 of 16

saint.panda

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gpalmer
The Gilmore Lite is too bright till it burns in, I had to let mine run for a month or more 24X7 before it got to it's final sound and the bass really developed.


I bought this Gilmore Lite from TimSchirmer so it should be sufficiently burned-in already. And as you say the bass is extremely good. I've never heard bass this tight before.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Canman
One word of caution: beware of how much it might cost to retube a Fisher (~17 tubes!), especially since the power supply tubes are out of production.


That might be a striking argument. I also forgot that shipping from the US to Germany for such a beast might be a little expensive as well.
 
May 8, 2004 at 8:54 PM Post #10 of 16

gpalmer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by saint.panda
I bought this Gilmore Lite from TimSchirmer so it should be sufficiently burned-in already. And as you say the bass is extremely good. I've never heard bass this tight before.


Yup, you're right, he had his for quite a while.
 
May 8, 2004 at 9:32 PM Post #11 of 16

chadbang

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I'm interested in Saint.Panda's original inquiry. How does a Fisher 400 stand-up as a piece of tube equipment in comparison to contemporary high-priced equipment? I want to drive my Spica TD-50 speakers with tubes and I've been told the Quicksilver amps (the cheapest - FT88-- around $1,000 used), the Cary CAD300SEI (forgettaboutit!), or a Berning EA230 are good matches. These all seem way too expensive for me to even consider. Will a Fisher 400 at least deliver part of the goods? Or are they way outclassed by stuff like Quicksilver?
 
May 8, 2004 at 9:48 PM Post #12 of 16

go_vtec

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Quote:

One word of caution: beware of how much it might cost to retube a Fisher (~17 tubes!), especially since the power supply tubes are out of production.


Ouch! That will cost significant $$$ unless you can find good used ones for cheap (not an easy task IMHO). I have to agree with others. Not all tube amp have recessed treble. You may be surprised if hear how dynamic some all tube amps can be. For HD650, I think Antique Sound Lab's DT/OTL can be had for around $359 brand new. It is dedicated headphone amp (can't drive speakers) but it only uses three tubes (can be considered a blessing or curse
wink.gif
). It sounded awesome with HD650!
 
May 9, 2004 at 4:50 PM Post #13 of 16

adhoc

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Quote:

Originally Posted by go_vtec
Ouch! That will cost significant $$$ unless you can find good used ones for cheap (not an easy task IMHO). I have to agree with others. Not all tube amp have recessed treble. You may be surprised if hear how dynamic some all tube amps can be. For HD650, I think Antique Sound Lab's DT/OTL can be had for around $359 brand new. It is dedicated headphone amp (can't drive speakers) but it only uses three tubes (can be considered a blessing or curse
wink.gif
). It sounded awesome with HD650!



wow, a 78db s/n ratio?
eek.gif
 
May 10, 2004 at 8:05 PM Post #14 of 16

alexs2

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You could also take a look at the Earmax Pro,which if you're based in Germany,should be available at a decent price.
Excellent sound and dynamics,and will drive the Seenheisers well,if you buy the "Pro" version.
 
May 10, 2004 at 8:13 PM Post #15 of 16

saint.panda

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Quote:

Originally Posted by alexs2
You could also take a look at the Earmax Pro,which if you're based in Germany,should be available at a decent price.
Excellent sound and dynamics,and will drive the Seenheisers well,if you buy the "Pro" version.



I checked on the Earmax (http://tubeampdoctor.shop-in-worms.n...ebf5ccde21df68
The earmax pro is just out of my budget but the normal earmax for 360€ looks more interesting, I will do some research on that. Thanks for the heads up.
 

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