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  1. #1

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    Default Tube preamp with solid state power amp?

    Just curious if anyone is running a tube preamp with a solid state power amp. Iím aware of the advantages and disadvantages of tube and SS amps. It seems that the tube pre with the SS power amp may be the ideal setup, smooth tube sound with solid state punch?
    O

  2. #2

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    yep, many on here have that set up
    Dodd - Battery Preamp
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    Where is the remote? Where is the $%#$% remote!

    "I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us have...very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad..."

  3. #3

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    Tons of us are running that combo. I am one of them.

  4. #4

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    +1 Audible Illusions M-3(tube pre),, Belles 350a(ss power)
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

  5. #5

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    Modwright SWL9.0SE with a Earthquake Cinenova Grande, and a Jolia JD-100 as source. Works like magic.

  6. #6

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    Do you guys find the tube pre takes some of the harshness out of the SS amp? I'd like to mellow out my system a little but not sure I want the flat sound of a full tube setup, this my be the answer.
    O

  7. #7
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    Yup...

    ...and that Yammie Pre may be the issue. Rotels are pretty smooth.
    More later,
    Tour...
    Vox Copuli
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    Rebuilding Maggie 2-ch & Amazing 2-ch... Building 2-ch "wall"... Figuring out the HT

  8. #8

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    Me too........
    HT
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  9. #9

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    I've been thinking about replacing the Yamaha with a tube preamp. Can you guys recommend a good 5.1 HT tube preamp / processor, is there such a thing?
    O

  10. #10

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    I think fosgate makes a surround tube pre. other than that you're SOL, as far as I know.

    You can always switch it around and go SS pre w/ tube amps. I think someone here was doing that with some jolida's for a 5.1
    Gallo Ref 3.1 : Bryston 4b SST : Musical fidelity CD Pre : VPI HW-19
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  11. #11
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    I don't think you have to go tube to smooth out your system. Give a Rotel Pre-Pro a listen... or B&K.

    I remember the Stereophile interview with Fosgate... quite a character.
    More later,
    Tour...
    Vox Copuli
    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. - Old English Proverb

    "It's easy to get lost in price vs performance vs ego vs illusion." - doro
    "There is a certain entertainment value in ripping the occaisonal (sic) buttmunch..." - TroyD
    "Death doesn't come with a Uhaul." - Dennis Gardner

    Rebuilding Maggie 2-ch & Amazing 2-ch... Building 2-ch "wall"... Figuring out the HT

  12. #12

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    The SS/tube combo theory ain't set in stone. Just depends on what you're looking for.

    I had a full SS setup with an Odyssey Stratos amp and MF pre. Went with a tube int. amp and never looked back. My 60 watt tube amp has as much power and slam as the badass 150 wpc Odyssey did (actually better IMO), so I'm not sure what the SS amp advantage thing is all about. Like everything else in the hifi world, I suppose it depends on the synergy of the components you buy and your personal tastes.
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50Ē LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  13. #13

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    Get a decent SS power amp that can drive low impedence loads, and get a tube preamp. I guarantee you'll never look back. The tubes won't sound flat,,, just smoother and mellow. About twelve years ago, this is what knocked me on my a$$ ... It was absolutely the "Holy Grail" that I was searching for. I'm running a modded Hafler DH500 power amp, and a McIntosh C20 tube peramp. I've been in heaven ever since!!
    Rich

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  14. #14

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    Not sure why you would do 5.1 tubes, many here use a tube-pre with a HT pass. Of course we are doing 2 channel music. Unless you want to do multi channel high rez with tubes this is a very cost effective way to use a receiver and a pre together with the same amp. My ears tell me the pre is the place to put the tubes. There are definetly tube amps that can provide the slam you may be looking for but for now my rigs are tube pre/ss amp.

    RT1

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    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by reeltrouble1
    There are definetly tube amps that can provide the slam you may be looking for.......................
    But at what cost for 5-7 channels? I got decent 5-7 channel sound with good speakers and SS amps, but got great 2 channel sound with the tube preamp and my choice of tube or SS amp.

    Unless you got a ****load of Google stock to unload, multi channel tube sound will have to be less than quality just to get that many channels powered. I guess a 7 channel setup with ASL Hurricanes or Cary V12s all around would even heat the whole house for around what, $15-$25k? That would have some slam!!

  16. #16

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    Dennis,

    I was thinking two channel. I really cant imagine hearing a benefit for doing tubes on surround.

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
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    Pioneer Elite 50"
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    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
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    RABBIT HOLE RIG
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    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
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    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  17. #17

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    Thumbs up Everybodies doing it, doing it, doing it

    Ok, maybe not everybody but as you've found a lot of us are. I'm another tube pre and SS amps guy. However, I never found my SS amps to be harsh though even with a SS pre on them. :)
    polkaudio speakers: SDA-SRS-2.3 (modified) SDA-2B SDA-CRS+ RT3000p CS400i LF-14 Monitor 7B

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by reeltrouble1
    Dennis,

    I was thinking two channel. I really cant imagine hearing a benefit for doing tubes on surround.

    RT1
    I agree RT1, I was responding to outlanders request "Can you guys recommend a good 5.1 HT tube preamp / processor, is there such a thing?"

    5.1 is about good processing, channel balance and bass slam. Smooth tube sound just isn't a good mark of a nice multi channel setup.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Gardner
    Smooth tube sound just isn't a good mark of a nice multi channel setup.
    You haven't found the right multi channel amp yet ;)

    Another tube pre/sand ass here. Only for music, though...
    I smell ass, burning ass, glowing cherry red spanked ass.

    RT1

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by amulford
    You haven't found the right multi channel amp yet ;)

    Another tube pre/sand ass here. Only for music, though...
    No, I can't afford it..............I would mount tubes on my wifes tah-tahs if I thought it would make them better. ;)

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Gardner
    No, I can't afford it..............I would mount tubes on my wifes tah-tahs if I thought it would make them better. ;)

    Funny, I mounted my tube on my wife's... on second thought, I'm just gonna stop that right there.
    Gallo Ref 3.1 : Bryston 4b SST : Musical fidelity CD Pre : VPI HW-19
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  22. #22

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    I run a SS amp..Parasound HCA-3500, and a tube pre..Cary 2002, with a tube CDP..Jolida..

    It sounds sooo much better than just SS...IMO

    The Cary has a theater pass through for HT..
    I haven`t used it yet, but I`m sure it will sound pretty damn good when I do

  23. #23

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    I've got gear to do both, but right now I'm 100% SS. I'm using NAD gear which is on the "laid back" end of the spectrum so harshness is not an issue for me.
    "Just because youíre offended doesnít mean youíre right." - Ricky Gervais

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  24. #24

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    I ended up tying my Adcom amp and pre amp into my HT set with a A-B speaker selector switch and moving my turntable over to my HT room. So in 2ch I use the Adcomís for the front mains and for HT the Yamaha/Rotel power all five speakers. This provides a nice improvement for 2ch listening and thatís where I spend most of my time. I also like the idea that the Adcom pre has a real nice phono section. Thanks for all the info guys, I can see a nice 2ch tube pre and a Rotel pre-pro in the future.
    O

  25. #25

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    With my above comment being made, who manufactures a nice 2ch tube preamp that I can pick up on Audiogone for a somewhat reasonable price?
    O

  26. #26

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    I would recommend a used Counterpoint 3.1 or 3000. For years I ran a Counterpoint 3000 with my Threshold or Perreaux amp.

    More recently, I had Mike Elliott of AltaVistaAudio.com modify my Counterpoint and picked up a SA-100 amp (hybrid tube/ss amp) and had him modify that. He's the original designer for Counterpoint. I run the Polk LSi15's and it is the finest sounding system I've ever owned.

    The phono sections are very good in the Counterpoint preamps. Also, the tube compliment is easy to deal with -- 3 6DJ8's in the 3.1 and 3 6DJ8's/one 6CA4 in the 3000. I would suggest trying some old Amperex tubes with the preamps.....they really make them sing!

    Another good choice would be the Melos SHA-GOLD. It doesn't have a phono section, has a remote, and only uses two 6DJ8's. It also sounds fabulous -- as good as the unmodified Counterpoint, but not as good as the modified one.

    I've seen 3.1's going for $350, 3000's going for $500-800, and SHA-Gold's going for $500-600 on Audiogon. Ebay also sees these preamps. I've also had experience with the Counterpoint 5.1 and it sounds even better than the 3.1 or 3000 in stock form, so if you see one of these at a good price, jump on it.

    Just my two cents......
    Last edited by scottyf; 01-10-2006 at 01:10 PM.

  27. #27

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    So the consensus is that tubes would not sound as good as solid state in a home theater system?
    I have allways wondered about this.
    Skynut
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    Thanks for looking

  28. #28

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    Thanks Scotty, I'll check into these.

    Has anyone heard of a Golden Tube SEP-1? They have one at a local shop for $350.
    O

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    A friend of mine had it and really liked it. I never got a chance to hear it though. He is one of those types who is always turning over his stereo every 6 months.

    See if you can audition it. It might be just the ticket!

  30. #30

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    Skynut, tubes sound great in HT applications.....if you can afford it. More tube amps means more tubes to replace, and that get's expensive!

    If you want to do it from the HT tube preamp side, there are fewer products available and no vintage, mass produced classics out there to get at a reasonable price. I don't follow it carefully, but the only one I know of is the Fosgate HT tube preamp and it costs thousands. It's just a matter of when each product peaked.

    I personally use my tube-base two channel stereo for my movie watching. I am very pleased with it. The only thing I feel I give up is a large sweet spot to watch in (no center channel to anchor dialogue). If you are in the sweet spot, you give up nothing and gain a lot, especially when a musical score comes on. My current setup is so good that I've quit going to the movies as much so that I can rent DVD's I haven't seen and watch them at home.

    I've yet to have a person over to watch movies who hasn't commented on how enjoyable my stereo made the experience.

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