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 Post subject: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 7:15 am 
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Location: Fenton, MI 48430
I am an audiophile. I heard many vintage amplifiers, perhaps 35 different tube amplifiers & receivers. Always had quality speakers so I can clearly hear the music. Present speakers are Revel Performa M22. I repaired many amps so I heard a lot. I built 45 tube amps and others. Rolling the best sounding tubes in the amps, they played to the best of their ability.

So what is the best? Marantz model 8 and believe it or not an Allied 333 receiver. Pioneer SX34 is same. It sounds lousy factory stock, but replacing the audio coupling capacitors with Russian K40y-9 results in a completely different sounding receiver. Of course tube brand make a large difference. The best are Mullard 12AX7 long plate and Siemens 6BM8. Svetlana 6BM8 is a close 2nd best. The Siemens is more up front sounding, but both are same low distortion. All other 6BM8 brands does not 'cut it'. Allied 333 only produces 10 watts, but I never needed more power with 87 dB sensitive speakers.

So, if you want a killer sounding amp (receiver) for inexpensive and have DIY skills, Allied 333 is it. Marantz model 8 is a $2500 used amp and it is incredible with Mullard EL34 tubes. It is a toss up in-between the two amps- no kidding.


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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 3:46 pm 
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https://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php ... at.854930/


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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Dec Fri 08, 2017 5:40 pm
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Location: 44141
Before it all starts I just wanted to say that a small gifted few of us can hear things that most of us will not. I am not in that gifted group. I have a semiconductor engineering friend that explained it to me once but it was over my head. It had something to do with the way a junction was made in the transistor. When I was the Crown rep in the early '70's I had one dealer that could hear these differences. He spotted a sound difference when Crown used a certain manufactures output device. Then there are the masses that can hear these differences because a good salesman told them what they would hear before the demo started. Also, most of us know that our hearing does vary a bit from day to day. Tubes are another situation.

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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 5:14 pm 
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Quote:
Before it all starts
??--My take on this kind of thing is that it never STOPS....I can produce strong technical arguments for S/S audio systems having higher performance, but the person who prefers the sound of tube systems is not going to care---And THAT'S OK.
Here is the universal definition of the BEST ANYTHING:
"The best choice is the one you found to offer the best combination of features and performance, and met your constraints of cost, size, weight, power consumption, etc."

I recently had the "opportunity" to restore a Fisher 400. Having done all of the regular tasks, I found myself screening 12AX7s for both grid emission and microphonics. When it was all over, my assessment of the overall performance was "fragile"---meaning that it sounded fine to me, but I had little confidence that it would be consistent over many hours of use. Compare and Contrast to my Onkyo S/S receiver---now over 20 years old---which has never missed a beat and sounds as good as it did when new.

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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 5:44 pm 
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Quote:
that can hear these differences because a good salesman told them what they would hear before the demo started.

Excellent statement.
Also my hearing has degraded that any thing above 3 Khz is just silence. So a system that has 15 Hz to 25 Khz is just wasted on me. So to answer the question (Which is Best?), for me any thing I can hear is the best.

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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 6:10 pm 
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Tbirdkid wrote:
https://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/allied-333-tube-receiver-sounds-great.854930/

The audiophile does not know good sounding gear. His speakers are likely spewing out trash too. The Allied 333 before the K40Y-9 upgrade sounds quite poor.


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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 6:11 pm 
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Since what people hear is so subjective, the best tube amplifier is the one that sounds best to the individual involved. I happen to like the sound of my HH Scott 340 best which has various brands of 12AX7's and a set of 4, Russian-made, Tung-Sol 7591's installed, and recapped with yellow, poly-caps purchased from Sal's Capacitor Corner. I consider myself as a fairly competent technician and audiophile with 50 years of experience in the field. The 340 was purchased as "untested" at a fairly decent price a few years ago from ebay.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 6:22 pm 
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Location: Fenton, MI 48430
Dave Doughty wrote:
Since what people hear is so subjective, the best tube amplifier is the one that sounds best to the individual involved. I happen to like the sound of my HH Scott 340 best which has various brands of 12AX7's and a set of 4, Russian-made, Tung-Sol 7591's installed, and recapped with yellow, poly-caps purchased from Sal's Capacitor Corner. I consider myself as a fairly competent technician and audiopfile with 50 years of experience in the field.

Dave

I owned rebuilt Scott 340 with paper/oil coupling capacitor upgrades. It is an accurate sounding receiver and a little laid back (mellow).


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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 6:26 pm 
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jimbenedict wrote:
Tbirdkid wrote:
https://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/allied-333-tube-receiver-sounds-great.854930/

The audiophile does not know good sounding gear. His speakers are likely spewing out trash too. The Allied 333 before the K40Y-9 upgrade sounds quite poor.

There are many audiophiles out there---some know what they are talking about----and some others are grossly incompetent.

From Dave Doughty:
Quote:
Since what people hear is so subjective, the best tube amplifier is the one that sounds best to the individual involved.
This is the only answer that's going to produce a significant consensus.

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"Even if you don't understand Ohm's Law, you are still required to obey it."


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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 6:33 pm 
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jimbenedict wrote:
I owned rebuilt Scott 340 with paper/oil coupling capacitor upgrades. It is an accurate sounding receiver and a little laid back (mellow).

Now you've done it!! paper in oil caps were discussed here some time ago and loudly debunked. We asked the standard question and got no answer:
"Provide a link or citation describing a properly executed double-blind test."
Failing that, provide the technical analysis that would support the claims.

My conclusion at the time: The Russian military had a big surplus of these caps, and someone figured out how to market them to gullible audiophiles.

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"Even if you don't understand Ohm's Law, you are still required to obey it."


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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 7:49 pm 
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Ah come on Mark. We all know that oil smooths things out.It allows the electrons to slide off instead of having major collisions.

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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 8:47 pm 
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Location: Sunnyvale CA
pixellany wrote:
Now you've done it!! paper in oil caps were discussed here some time ago and loudly debunked. We asked the standard question and got no answer:
"Provide a link or citation describing a properly executed double-blind test."
Failing that, provide the technical analysis that would support the claims.

My conclusion at the time: The Russian military had a big surplus of these caps, and someone figured out how to market them to gullible audiophiles.


Note that this is a topic of the ROTEL amp thread, too.

BTW, both measurements and double-blind testing can usually tell the difference between USSR surplus PIO and, say, Panasonic or Kemet industrial film caps in coupling applications. Measurements always show many stray resonances appear when army surplus caps (or worse, purpose-marketed "audiophile" caps) are used, and "Golden Ear" audiophiles almost always picked up the fact that they were different. Whether they preferred the stray resonance or not was about 50/50. When it was not blind testing, and they knew which were which, they universally preferred the army surplus capacitors.

Brett


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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 27, 2020 11:04 pm 
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I always use a Hi-End Hifi Audio AC Power Cable Power Cord to enhance my solid-state or tube sound hi-fi equipment.
https://www.amazon.com/WAudio-Hi-End-Au ... B01L2UNMXI
I get the tingles just thinking about it :D
And, in listening and servicing tube equipment over the years, I've never found the"best"one. Too many variables and no real way to standardize the test for all equipment subject to the "test for best". If you think you found the "best" most likely you missed a few.

How about :?: 120 years of cars - which is best?

There's no real answer for any of these type of comparisons no matter how deep you are in the hardware world of stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 5:34 pm 
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I read in one of the audio rags, not online, that these days the very best of the tube and solid state amps have narrowed their differences, maybe to the point that you can choose one or the other to your liking. But with 10,000 different amps out there to audition the best most of us can hope for is to find something satisfying and stick with it.

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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 5:46 pm 
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Well, here is a little :mrgreen:
Quote:
I always use a Hi-End Hifi Audio AC Power Cable Power Cord to enhance my solid-state or tube sound hi-fi equipment.
https://www.amazon.com/WAudio-Hi-End-Au ... B01L2UNMXI
I get the tingles just thinking about it

Lets not forget the oxygen free nucklized irradiated polymerized ion free wavetrapped tuned 6 gauge speaker wires.

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Last edited by pauls.ironhorse on Jan Tue 28, 2020 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 5:49 pm 
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How about some smooth sounding, oil filled resistors?

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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 6:37 pm 
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Much is personal preference, such as the Magnepan MGIIIA speakers I bought in 1984 after listening to many others. I did not care about the brand, just what I heard. Some people dislike the Magnepans, as they sound different when the listener is seated or standing.

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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 7:38 pm 
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Location: Sunnyvale CA
Barry H Bennett wrote:
How about some smooth sounding, oil filled resistors?


That's what the Soviet Army surplus PIO capacitors turn into at some point.

I guarantee you that you cannot parody audiophiles. For every ridiculous quasi-theory you make up about them, I am certain I can find someone with a similar and even more ridiculous theory that people actually believe and pursue (and invest astronomical amounts of money in).

Brett


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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 10:00 pm 
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Maybe the original capacitors were bad and replacing them made it sound better?


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 Post subject: Re: 30 Years of vintage Tube Stereo Amps- Which is Best?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 10:36 pm 
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I once went into a RadioShack, remember those, to buy some audio cables with RCA jacks on both ends. The person behind the counter started telling me that I need to do by the gold tip molded connectors because they were much better frequency response. I asked him what the frequency response plot was for the gold plated connectors versus the ten plated connectors. Of course he had no idea, he just mumbled something about “they are better because they are gold plated ”. His whole attitude was that he was the expert because he worked at RadioShack. He irritated me so bad I finally just laid the cables on the counter and said no sale and goodbye .

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