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J. PUPSTER

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Remember when CDs first came out, many folks felt their sound was cold, harsh and lifeless compared to LPs. And then we really got a bad taste of that when they started mastering them to brick wall levels. Everything gets colored slightly all through the chain right to your speakers and even how your room acoustics absorb or reflect sound. I remember when I first got my Oppo 205 how thin the low end sounded on SACDs compared to my old Denon DVD 3910 (had to make adjustments to cross over and Sub to prop it up.) I believe the DACs in the Oppo are just handling the sound that much differently. I read many a post over at the AVS forum with similar issues.
 

Clint Eastwood

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Tubes are neat because they glow! I found the glow of tubes and an LP spinning in a turntable quite mesmerizing back in the day. Now I am mesmerized by the duration bar progressing on the TV screen. :cool:
Yes things are quite different now....I used to love the "glow" of my receiver in a dark room while smoking a joint....now it's a bright room with a chilled bottle of Ensure :whistle:
 

ar surround

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Yes things are quite different now....I used to love the "glow" of my receiver in a dark room while smoking a joint....now it's a bright room with a chilled bottle of Ensure :whistle:
Ensure? Count your blessings Clinty...I can't drink even that stuff because the ingredient malodextrin makes me bloated like a record with way too much bass! Show us your gear!!!!
 

DaveLaPorte53

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The truth is of course that valves do not of themselves inherently sound bad any more than transistors of themselves inherently sound good. However, there were, and continue to be, good and bad sounding amplifiers built with both technologies. Lots of vintage valve amps were terrible things, badly designed and poorly built with cheap components. But there were a legion of ghastly sounding and shoddily made solid state amps as well. Neither technology holds any magic. Successful achievement of fidelity is wholly a matter of proper engineering. You can build fantastic sounding, high performance amplifiers with either technology if you design and engineer them properly. Although of course there are fewer people around with the knowledge and capabilities to do so in the thermionic domain these days.
Yah what he said
 

Soundfield

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And on the subject of properly engineered valve amplifiers...

There's little prospect of a return to the concert hall for the foreseeable future - and sadly, this is the first year that I haven't been to The Proms since 1976!! Forced into staying a home for entertainment, I therefore have an excuse to upgrade the Hi-Fi system! I wanted the best sounding, and best made, valve amp available and the small German brand Octave is very highly regarded in the field these days with innovative new circuit topologies (not just rehashed 1950's stuff). After a lot of research I decided on their most powerful V80SE integrated amp which has had rave reviews worldwide and I've just taken delivery of one now. This shows the weighty beast having just been lugged out of its packing crate but before discarding, as everybody does, the ugly valve cage fitted for health and safety reasons-

Octave 1.JPG


This stuff is hand made in Germany (not China!)-

OCTAVE Production

and was therefore a little on the pricey side (!), but I got an excellent trade in deal for some of my existing equipment. It has loads of features that are fairly unusual these days, particularly on a valve amp, such as recorder in / out, processor loop, pre-amp and power-amp sections operable separately -

Octave 2.JPG


all very useful if, like me, you want to connect things like a digital recorder and of course an SMv2. It also has a remote control milled out of a solid lump of aluminium that weighs 1/4 Kg!

But the main attraction was that the power amp is wholly designed around the new generation of high power valves that have gone into production recently. The following shows the unit as I'm installing KT120 beam tetrodes for initial commissioning. These massive valves, as the name suggests, produce 120W from a push-pull pair-

Octave 3.JPG


I'll also be trying it with the even larger KT150's (which are even scarier!). The great thing is that you can actually use practically any power valve in it because (unlike most valve amps) you can set the optimum operating conditions using a simple LED display on the front panel; just set everything to green when you change valves-

Octave 4.JPG

I got it on sale or return - but even after only a few hours of running in, it won't be going back, it really sounds superb. Valve amps are often praised for being open and natural sounding although honestly often tend to be a bit 'flabby' in the bass - but I'm genuinely shocked at how deep and controlled this thing is - and the amount of power on tap is effectively limitless.

Octave 5.JPG


It is probably the best amplifier, be it valve or solid state that I've ever owned - and that's a lot!
 

Sonik Wiz

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And on the subject of properly engineered valve amplifiers...

There's little prospect of a return to the concert hall for the foreseeable future - and sadly, this is the first year that I haven't been to The Proms since 1976!! Forced into staying a home for entertainment, I therefore have an excuse to upgrade the Hi-Fi system! I wanted the best sounding, and best made, valve amp available and the small German brand Octave is very highly regarded in the field these days with innovative new circuit topologies (not just rehashed 1950's stuff). After a lot of research I decided on their most powerful V80SE integrated amp which has had rave reviews worldwide and I've just taken delivery of one now. This shows the weighty beast having just been lugged out of its packing crate but before discarding, as everybody does, the ugly valve cage fitted for health and safety reasons-

View attachment 54648

This stuff is hand made in Germany (not China!)-

OCTAVE Production

and was therefore a little on the pricey side (!), but I got an excellent trade in deal for some of my existing equipment. It has loads of features that are fairly unusual these days, particularly on a valve amp, such as recorder in / out, processor loop, pre-amp and power-amp sections operable separately -

View attachment 54653

all very useful if, like me, you want to connect things like a digital recorder and of course an SMv2. It also has a remote control milled out of a solid lump of aluminium that weighs 1/4 Kg!

But the main attraction was that the power amp is wholly designed around the new generation of high power valves that have gone into production recently. The following shows the unit as I'm installing KT120 beam tetrodes for initial commissioning. These massive valves, as the name suggests, produce 120W from a push-pull pair-

View attachment 54650

I'll also be trying it with the even larger KT150's (which are even scarier!). The great thing is that you can actually use practically any power valve in it because (unlike most valve amps) you can set the optimum operating conditions using a simple LED display on the front panel; just set everything to green when you change valves-

View attachment 54651
I got it on sale or return - but even after only a few hours of running in, it won't be going back, it really sounds superb. Valve amps are often praised for being open and natural sounding although honestly often tend to be a bit 'flabby' in the bass - but I'm genuinely shocked at how deep and controlled this thing is - and the amount of power on tap is effectively limitless.

View attachment 54652

It is probably the best amplifier, be it valve or solid state that I've ever owned - and that's a lot!
Awesome looking unit! And I kinda like the cage on top, gives it a slight Darth Vader look. 120 WPC is amazing for a tube amp as I think the general perception is tube amps usually are good for about 40 watts.
Hmmm, German amp, Russian tubes, and in a British household. Quite diverse!
Edit: Are you still using the Copland with this?
 
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J. PUPSTER

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Awesome looking unit! And I kinda like the cage on top, gives it a slight Darth Vader look. 120 WPC is amazing for a tube amp as I think the general perception is tube amps usually are good for about 40 watts.
Hmmm, German amp, Russian tubes, and in a British household. Quite diverse!
Edit: Are you still using the Copland with this?
Looks like you can switch it down to 30W in Ecomode (Is that for smaller speakers use?)
 

Soundfield

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Looks like you can switch it down to 30W in Ecomode (Is that for smaller speakers use?)
No, actually "Ecomode" is a sort of auto standby. If it detects that there's been no audio signal for 10 minutes then it shuts down the power amp section but leaves the pre-amp section alive (reducing power consumption to 30W).
 

ar surround

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No, actually "Ecomode" is a sort of auto standby. If it detects that there's been no audio signal for 10 minutes then it shuts down the power amp section but leaves the pre-amp section alive (reducing power consumption to 30W).
Too bad as you could probably use that monster valve amp to heat the room in winter. Congratulations on your acquisition.
 

Soundfield

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OK, so I think it’s time to try the KT150 valves now. They came in a big box from Octave and were the set they used in the factory for the amp’s three day burn in test:

kt150_1.JPG


Set the bias to green and away we go…

kt150_2.JPG


Actually I don’t expect there to be any real change in sound from the KT120. There shouldn’t be really – any well designed amp with the bias set correctly should only be using the linear portion of the valve’s transfer curve. They do provide another 30W per channel of power, and whilst that is not very significant in dB terms, it might improve the dynamic headroom even further (sorry neighbours!). They certainly look the part…

kt150_3.JPG
 

Sonik Wiz

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OK, so I think it’s time to try the KT150 valves now. They came in a big box from Octave and were the set they used in the factory for the amp’s three day burn in test:

View attachment 54693

Set the bias to green and away we go…

View attachment 54694

Actually I don’t expect there to be any real change in sound from the KT120. There shouldn’t be really – any well designed amp with the bias set correctly should only be using the linear portion of the valve’s transfer curve. They do provide another 30W per channel of power, and whilst that is not very significant in dB terms, it might improve the dynamic headroom even further (sorry neighbours!). They certainly look the part…

View attachment 54695
So... can you tell a difference between the tube types? Any complaints from the neighbors? No? Then you aren't playing it loud enough.

As a general info, for those that like DIY with tubes or solid state here's an interesting website:


I haven't ordered anything from there , yet, but it's fun to browse.
 
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