New to tube amps!
Dec 24, 2008 at 7:27 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

.coco

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So I am really new to tube amps. I read the sticky about them here, and I kind of understand how the work. However, I am now stuck in the "where now?" position.

I am looking for something that I do not really have to mess with. I would be very happy with something that would work and sound good right out of the box. No matter how fun selecting the *right* tube might be, as a beginner, I would like to start from something solid.

Last, price is a factor to me. I see some amps that are $100, some that are $400, then some that are $3000+? Ideally, I would like to keep it in the $350ish range, is that realistic? Also, at this price, could I get something where I could see a decent gain over the Creek OBH-11 amp that I am using right now? If so, how much? What are some realistic differences I could expect to hear?

Thanks
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Dec 24, 2008 at 8:59 AM Post #2 of 6

Uncle Erik

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I'm not too up on the lower priced tube amps - the only one I've listened to recently was the Eddie Current Lunchbox. I think it sounds pretty good, but keep in mind that there are a number of them on the market and you should read up on as many as possible before buying. Also, take a look at the amps in the For Sale Forum. You might be able to find a good deal that comes with extra tubes, cables, etc.

The good news is that most tube amps don't need any work or fussing. Tubes eventually burn out, but replacing them is about as difficult as changing a light bulb. Most headphone amps don't need to be biased and they rarely need to be opened up for service. They're not any harder to live with than a solid state amp.

I think you brought up tube rolling, too. Some people like to swap tubes from different manufacturers and equivalent tube types. You don't have to do this. You can just install one set of tubes and enjoy them. There are differences between brands, models, etc. of tubes, but I don't bother with it. I look at it as being like ordering the same meal at a restaurant. If you go in every week and order the same thing, the meal will never be exactly the same every week. It'll always be a little different, but if you like the restaurant, you don't care. I feel that way about tubes. One might give me a slightly different sound, but if I like the amp, the variation isn't a big deal.
 
Dec 24, 2008 at 2:06 PM Post #3 of 6

Spareribs

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Quote:

Originally Posted by .coco /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Ideally, I would like to keep it in the $350ish range, is that realistic? Also, at this price, could I get something where I could see a decent gain over the Creek OBH-11 amp that I am using right now? If so, how much? What are some realistic differences I could expect to hear?

Thanks
o2smile.gif



In my opinion, budget tube amps in the $300 range are great. I recently heard the EF-1 $300 tube amp which can be found at head-direct.com and it was wonderful. Theres reviews of it on this board. Darkvoice makes good amps as well. Even the cheap Little Dot amps are fine.

BUT you have to like the tube sound. It's like this: I love beef so even a budget burger at Wendy's will be great for me. So with tubes, if you like the sound, even a budget amp will be enjoyable.

Will you hear a difference? Hard to say. But for me, it's a huge difference between solid state and tubes in most cases. Good luck brotha.
 
Dec 24, 2008 at 10:44 PM Post #5 of 6

928GTS

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Sometimes going out on a limb and buying little discussed headamps works out in your favour. I purchased a Hi-Fi RT-6P13P about 2 years ago from a dealer in Hong Kong off of eBay and its been a wonderful sounding amp for those two years and tube rolling has continued to improve its sound. I recently picked up a Darkvoice Figaro for a second amplifier as well as a base for experimenting with tube rolling and it so far has proved itself to be a stellar amp as well with a different but very pleasing character compared to my Hi-Fi.

I've noticed a lot of people locking new people into the whole "choose between a Little Dot or Darkvoice because that is all that is worth buying end of story do not question me" mentality and I find it to be quite a shame because there are a lot of good little mentioned headamps out there that receive little publicity just because nobody is willing to take a chance and try them.

I remember back when the Little Dot II came out and people were quite suspicious buying a cheaply priced Chinese made headamp and then they were suspicious still when the resistors would go into meltdown and the tubes would arc but nowadays people recommend Little Dot with little hesitation due to their continuing development and improvement of their line.

What I'm basically saying is that don't discount a headamp just because nobody has heard of it, all of our defacto choices that we offer new Head-Fi users had to start from square one as well and that meant that one adventurous person putting their money down, taking the jump and hoping the product they paid for was worth it.

Besides,variety is the spice of life.
 

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