Good cheap tube amp recommendations

Discussion in 'Amps, Pre-Pros & Receivers' started by CNguyen777, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. CNguyen777 Audiophyte

    CNguyen777
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    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.
  2. 6L6X4 Audioholic

    6L6X4
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  3. ski2xblack Audioholic General

    ski2xblack
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    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:
    http://www.melodyhifi.com/SP7.html

    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:
    http://www.jwnamplifiers.vpweb.com/default.html
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  4. TLS Guy Audioholic Overlord

    TLS Guy
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    If you think a SET tube amp sounds good you need to visit an audiologist!
  5. Loren42 Audioholic

    Loren42
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    The advantage of the McIntosh is that it will go up in value.

    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.

    [​IMG]
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  6. ski2xblack Audioholic General

    ski2xblack
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    Cute, doc. I guess I need a referral. (In my own defense, the links I posted were to pp amps.)
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  7. Johnny2Bad Audioholic

    Johnny2Bad
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    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).

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