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Discussion Starter #1
My boss has been getting into really high end tube audio stuff lately. Friday afternoon after work we went down to his favorite audio place, and they were spinning records on this tube audio set-up. While we were walking around they turned on a Who album. I was absolutely floored by the amount of new stuff I heard on Baba O'Reiley.

So now I want to get a decent turntable and tube amps. Any other analog lovers out there that can help me in my search?
 

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I'm not much into the analog stuff... Tubes are NICE and normally very warm sounding... I've always had solid state stuff and do now.

Are you looking for websites for research or brands or what?
 

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Cary Audio

This place is local to me, about 15 miles.  I have read MANY reviews on their tube amps and all have been positive.  VERY positive.

AudioAdvice

This is the place that I shop.  They sell a lot of the stuff that you might be interested in.  They are freaks when it comes to turntables and such...  They have a factory rep in the store about once a month it seems...  If you are looking for a Second opinion to some advice you get at a store local to you, these guys are it.  They seem to be in an Audio/Visual magazine once every 2-3 months...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sure...

I've seen some stuff on the web, but I'd also like to hear from people who own tube stuff and what they think of it.

Tubes are warm, but there is also a lot of information (like harmonics and such) that just isn't there on a CD.  I'm not a pro or anything, but the difference was huge to my ear.

Here's the place I went:

 http://www.theanalogroom.com/

I checked out audiogon.com (edit: oops) and a couple other places too.
 

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I've used the Milbert Tube amps for car audio. They take a while to warm up of course and are very dynamic for 25W per channel. I've owned an MC275 home amp as well. They aren't 'cleaner' or more transparent than SS designs. Most tube amps have higher THD than SS amplifiers. Richard Clark has his 'amplifier challenge', and I've seen a tube amp go up against a Pyramid amp. When they were level matched and played over the same speakers in blind A/B comparisons, neither myself or any of the 200 others could come remotely close to choosing the correct amp. I really think the benefits are:

- Headroom at low power rating
- they look cool when on
- they keep the room warm and well lit

disadvantages are:
- size
- cost (you can get the same headroom from a SS amp for far less money)
- Once you go with tube amps, you will spend far more unnecessary $$$ on wire, power supplies etc. provided you don't move because your previous home had nuclear power and that sounds harsh if you own a tube amp. I really heard that from a customer once.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #6
LOL, nuke sounds harsh eh?

They definately get hot.
 

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From what I understand speaking with a McIntosh engineer, the difference in sound is due to the order of distortion, not the amount. I was told SS amplifiers have odd distortion harmonics and Tubes have even distortion at a higher level. It does make them sound diffierent, but not really better. He and others prefer SS designs because they are more reliable, easy to build and are far more powerful. It's all personal preference, I would spend teh cash on some Martin Logan's or Wilson's. Electrostats do sound different and can give a killer light show, espescially when used with a tube amp.
 

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wilson's... Wow, thats some SERIOUS dough right there!

I am presently running a ROTEL/B&W combo... So far so good. I'll be upgrading my B&W's soon...

Keep the conversation going, I am learning too!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I auditioned a Rotel, B&W Nautilus and a 703 set-up this weekend, with a Rotel CD player. Pretty nice!
 

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Don't really know much about this stuff, but Dave Wilson lives just up the road from my parents. The quality of sound that can be had in the home is absolutely amazing. Of course, so is the price.
A cousin of mine worked for them building speakers up until a few years ago. The amount of time they spend building the systems, along with the cleanliness and quality of the shop show through in the sound they produce.
The list of clientel and the amount spent on home systems is mind blowing.
I'm not THAT into home theater to buy the stuff, but I can understand why one could get addicted to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It is mind boggling how much can be spent.
 

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luvtolean : I auditioned a Rotel, B&W Nautilus and a 703 set-up this weekend, with a Rotel CD player.  Pretty nice!
Rotel's compliment the british speakers very well...

The Nautilus series rocks... Can you say IMAGING?? How was the 7 series compared to the Nautilus? Which 8 series did you demo?
 

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I heard Wilson's at the home of a very wealthy 12Volt exporter. I didn't want to leave. I had goose bumps in places I didn't know you could. I use a set of Nautilus' now before tuning cars. I can pretty much get that caliber of sound in a car, but there are amazing leaps in quality of sound available for home only surpassed by the leaps in $$$$$$$
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It wasn't a real serious demo as we were just kinda going room to room so components and speakers were changing.

In fact, the CD we used for the 805's was different from the one we used for the 703's as that CD player wouldn't play his pirated CD.
 

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A litttle off topic, but check this link out:

http://www.milbert.com/earl/

This is the system that really opened my eyes and proved to me that car audio could have the same abilities as home. I actually auditioned his previous 5 series BMW that was White. Earl lived in PA and now resides in Az. I don't think any guys from our side ever received such mainstream exposure. (Time magazine)

He used a Milbert Tube amp for the B&W front Stage
first Matrix 801's then Nautilus

Zapco 300C2 for the woofers

Sony ES/XES
 

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I've done quite a bit of work with setting up tube systems. Right now, I got Kraco 9' speakers in some hand-rolled and riveted aluminum tubes in the back of my truck that sound pretty good, 'specially when you turn the bass and treble knobs all the way to the right and put the Audiovox equalizer buttons in an 'M' pattern.
 

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Pete : I've done quite a bit of work with setting up tube systems. Right now, I got Kraco 9' speakers in some hand-rolled and riveted aluminum tubes in the back of my truck that sound pretty good, 'specially when you turn the bass and treble knobs all the way to the right and put the Audiovox equalizer buttons in an 'M' pattern.
The 'smiley Face' pattern has always worked well for us. When your system looks happy, it sounds happy!
 

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For the turntable, there is none better than a Technics SL1200 Mark 2. Over 25 years in production and still going strong. I would get an Ortofon needle, or one of the new Shure needles.
 

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Another difference in language. Over here the tube is the the telly. Old amps didn't have 'tubes', they had valves.
Errr.... I think
 
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