I'm looking for advice from audiophiles in this forum on a good tube power amp. I know I can a used MC275 for $2500 but is there anything else below that sounds good?
Thanks in advace guys.
There seem to be a bunch of Chinese tube amps on the market nowadays which are relatively cheap, for example Antique Sound Labs.
That Onyx shown above is by Melody (Austrailia, I believe) and I'm pretty sure they still make stuff that is sensibly priced. I've heard the SP3 and a later Onyx branded Melody tube amp, and didn't notice anything I didn't like. I can't recall the model, but they were at one time sold by AV123. Here's the Melody version of the SP3 brand new, on clearance for $900:
There are a number of small domestic tube amp makers with very reasonable prices. I own a couple Decware amps which sound fantastic and were relatively inexpensive at just under $700, but they are flea-power SETs so have severe limitations. Without knowing more of your goals and implementation I can't recommend them blindly. The only big pp amp they make is $2500, with the rest of their less expensive gear otherwise catering to the micro-watt niche. Their gear sounds good, though.
If you would consider vintage/custom, check this out:
Last edited by ski2xblack; 01-24-2010 at 07:54 PM.
Marantz DV 9600 Oppo BD-83 Marantz AV 8003 Quad current dumping amps X 7 Direct TV HD 20 HD DVR Carter audio workstation RME Fireface 800 Fujitsu 50XHA40 Front left and right Carter dual transmission line studio monitors MK II. Center Carter coaxial transmission line center speaker Rear Carter NFM-1s Center backs Carter dual transmission line studio monitors MK I. My system: - http://mdcarter.smugmug.com/gallery/...27077317_Pufg7
If you dig around you might find a H/K Citation V. http://pages.prodigy.net/jimmcshane/
The Dynaco amps are popular, but have some issues with the power supplies. A new company is selling brand new kits. http://www.dynakitparts.com/store/catalog.aspx?cid=1
I assume the DynaKit have addressed the power supply issues.
I don't know why the SE and SET amps are such a rage. As TLS Guy said, they are distortion monsters, producing a lot of 2nd order distortion. Because it is 2nd order that distortion is less offensive to the ears, but still is distortion. Note that McIntosh, Quad, Harman Kardon, and the rest of the big guys never, never sold SE or SET amps and for good reason.
I don't have a favorable opinion on the Chinese built amps. There may be a good one that someone makes, but that country has a reputation for a total lack of production control and quality in so many products it is a scary proposition in my mind.
I rolled my own tube amp from scratch recently just for the fun of it. It cost me about $1100 in materials and good number of months to acquire and assemble the materials. It took even longer to do the design engineering. This is not a first time project by any stretch of the imagination.
TLS Guy (01-25-2010)
For new amps, you might want to look at the Quicksilver Mid-50 (two monoblocks, MSRP $2000). You should be able to pick up an Anthem Amp1 for well under $1000. There are also choices from PrimaLuna.
There is a host of Chinese made amps but you need to check quality & read reviews. Support may be an issue, or maybe not. Look for a North American distributor.
Also, you need to tell us what speakers you intend to use with it; that would help, as would info on the preamp (especially output impedance).