Please help: Entry-level tube amp, $400-500 USD
Aug 2, 2010 at 1:45 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

3602

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Hi guys,
Got a beyerdynamic DT880-32. Here. Yes, thirty-two ohms, as I know it this is pretty much the bottom limit for tubes. You can go higher but never lower (impedance matching), eh? Should've bought the 250 version back then...
So, Schiit Valhalla (not out yet but I can wait), Woo 3, HiFiMan EF-5, Little Dots. I can go Dark Voice (La Figaro) 733 but that would be the very top limit of my budget.
Source device is a turntable. Realistic LAB-500 with a Grado Prestige Black1 cart. The receiver (rebadged Marantz or Sanyo, search 'Lloyds H430' at Audiokarma) has a phono stage and tape outputs (the tape monitors are inputs...hmm), so this would work as a phono pre-amp. (see Home rig in my sig)
Listen to classic, some jazz, some country on this turntable. Have my iPod for everything else.
Thanks guys.
 
 
 
Aug 2, 2010 at 6:23 PM Post #2 of 6

maverickronin

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At 32 ohms you're probably better off going with a hybrid design.  The EF-5 or maybe a Millet Mini Max fit your budget.
 
Aug 2, 2010 at 7:01 PM Post #3 of 6

Uncle Erik

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At 32 Ohms, you're going to need an amp with output transformers. The least expensive one I know of is the DNA Sonett, for $1,200. You can also DIY a transformer-coupled amp for maybe $800-$1,000 on the low end.

I don't know much about the hybrids, but one of them might be a good choice if they have sufficiently low output impedance. I wouldn't trust the figures from the cheap OTL manufacturers, they rarely tell you the actual output impedance of their amps. And solid state really is a good option. It might not light up like tubes, but you can get a really good design for a reasonable price.

The difference lies in the power supply. To do a tube power supply right costs a few hundred more than doing a solid state supply right, since solid state only runs off low power instead of a few hundred volts. Further, solid state does low impedance without needing output transformers. Tubes have high output impedance unless you use a transformer to step it down or use a more exotic tube, like the 6C33C in the Zana Deux that naturally has low output impedance. There's nothing cheaper than Zana if you want to use a 6C33C, unless you build your own.
 
Aug 2, 2010 at 7:51 PM Post #4 of 6

kboe

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The Musical Paradise MP-301 is a terrific amp for the price at $200.00.  It is TC and all tube.  It has a tremendously sweet sound with deep, DEEP bass.
 
Aug 2, 2010 at 8:56 PM Post #5 of 6

violinvirtuoso

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Is there some reason you can't just use a impedance adaptor (like a P to S Adaptor, except adding more impedance)?
 
Aug 2, 2010 at 10:32 PM Post #6 of 6

3602

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Woo 6 is TC tube, said to do 8 ~ 600 ohm. $620, seems good. Will read some reviews (and hopefully audition, but 20-day return, not bad).
Good, then. Hybrids.
TTVJ Millett is (currently) the only one that I know of... also the EF1 maybe? But Head-Direct doesn't seem to be selling it anymore...?
 
Violinvirtuoso: I do have exactly that, but I have not used it with the DT880 yet. Besides, the impedance ripple of the Dale resistors will not match exactly the impedance ripple of the DT880 themselves, thus altering its sonic signature in an audible or not audible form.
 

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