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  1. #1

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    Apr 2013

    Default Good tube amp needed for Polk Audio SDA 1B's

    My Home Theater Adventure

    Phase 1

    I'm no audiophile, but I do take the time to do my homework and since time and $$ is in short supply these days I'm appealing to the experts here at CAM.

    I just acquired a flawless set of Polk Audio SDA 1B's and I'd really like to break in the the alternative universe of Tube heaven from an entry level. So, if someone is so inclined to steer me in the right direction or has an offer that could help me on the path of tube education, I'd really appreciate it.

    I'm not sure it is even possible but I'd like to keep the price around $500 and be able to actually wake these SDA 1B's up.

    Note: I currently have Yamaha HTR-6180 driving the SDA 1B's. Sound quality is ok I guess and when using the 2 Channel stereo it starts to choke at about half throttle. Distortion seems to start creeping in. Of cource, friends seem to not hear it but their ears are trained to cheap crap. The dynamics are just not there. Years ago I would often stop by a friends audio store after hours just to site and listen to some vinyl through a Luxman tube amp while sipping on martini's. Thinking back to that warm fuzzy feeling I would get from that combination (minus the martini's) I can safely say I'm not there yet but still long for the day to go back in time.

    Phase 2

    I'm picking up a killer deal on a a set of RTA 11T's too so I'll eventually need an amp for them as well. Budget $500

    Phase 3

    Still looking for a crazy deal on a center channel that matches well with the Polks and a mono block tube to drive it. I suspect it would probably end up being a custom built oddity though as I have yet to hear highs as silky as the SDA 1B's in my price range.

    Phase 4

    What ever amp is suggested for the RTA 11T's I'd like to duplicate it because I have a set of custom made speakers for rears that were practically given to me. The specs and sound is very Polk-ish and were build to be driven by a tube amp from what I've been told.

    Phase 5

    The final part of this equation will eventually be a Martin Logan Depth as the sub.

    Phase 6

    Something to pull it all the audio together. No need for video processing.

  2. #2

    Member Sales Rating: (13)

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    The Mars Hotel


    I'm appealing to the experts here at CAM.
    CAM??? This is Club Polk.

    I'm not sure it is even possible but I'd like to keep the price around $500 and be able to actually wake these SDA 1B's up.
    I can't think of a good tube amp for $500.00 that will wake up your 1B's. A few suggestions, forget the RTA 11T's and the amp to drive them, take that money and put it towards a tube amp for the SDA's.

    If you want to drive a center channel with a tube amp, it better be a match to the tube amp you drive the SDA's with otherwise the sound will be off.

    Using an AVR as a pre amp for 2 channel is seriously going to hamper the sound quality.

    All that said and IMO, you're better off using your SDA's and tube gear in a separate dedicted 2 channel rig.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  3. #3

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    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    WDSM, IA


    To add something to what F1nut said, another place you may want to focus is upgrading the SDAs. Crossovers, tweeters, dynamat the baskets, better gaskets and rings will all make a difference in how good those 1Bs sound.

    The crossover upgrades have even garnered praise from the man himself, Matthew Polk so hard to go wrong there.

    That being said, $500 is going to be a hard search when it comes to quality tube gear. But you could get lucky.

    Also something to note is that SDAs tend to suffer more than benefit from the addition of a center channel...There are exceptions, but they are more the exception than the rule.
    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
    I may have an addiction... RTA-15TL, SDA 2, LSi25, LSi15, LSi9, LSi7, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LS/FX, RT/FX, DSW MP2000...and that's just the Polks...

  4. #4

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    Apr 2013


    Sorry about the CAM comment. I double posted at CAM too.

    Having a Center and using SDA1B's in a HT is a matter of limited space for the time being. Once a week is my time to listen to the SDA's by themself in two channel only (as sadly lacking as their supply is). It's a matter of compromise. Eventually the Yamaha will be moved to another application or dumped entirely for something dedicated to Audio processing only that can serve as a compromise between HT and listening to the SDA's by themself.

    How about we put price aside and focus on three good used choices for the SDA1B's both in tube options and solid state.

    Any thoughts on a Bel Canto? or other Ice Power alternatives? Maybe "Wired4sound 7 CH (7 x 500w) (MC7x500) - Multi-Channel Amp"
    Last edited by ZaPHoN; 04-23-2013 at 11:19 PM.

  5. #5

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    Apr 2013


    I was thinking of a good used McIntosh MC207 too.

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