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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:16 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:29 pm
Posts: 670
Location: toronto, ON, CA
given your system and preferences, id spend that money on better speakers and getting the system to run balanced. so a preamp, and interconnects. i dont recall if your dac has balanced outs but if so and it was designed to run that way thats a double bonus.


your speakers are beneath the rest of your stuff. (unless you have a thing for them, thats another story)

youre not getting the best from your amp. a balanced tube pre can be more expensive and harder to find used.

The classe 5 mentioned can be had for 5 hundred or so and youll get much of that back from the sale of your pre. there are other good choices, any will be better than the sum of the parts because it will combine with your amp running as it should.

speakers: not sure what you like in your sound or what your room is like. if you need standmounts for 2k there are many options. frankly some old ads classics still sound great and through prices are on the move they are still cheap for what they are. very rich and natural sounding. also some old castles (but not others) make beautiful music for not much money. same with the usuals - kef, tannoy, mirage, magnepans, celestion etc. for example loads of options here and more info needed to narrow it down. but the speakers you have are beneath the quality of the rest of your gear, and id take the opportunity to go shopping.

cables: kimber pbj sounds good and i have some but id more up in cables, your stuff deserves it. there are loads of good used cables around for cents on the dollar. look at harmonic technology pro silway, wireworld equinox, some by atlas, and others.

finally, small tweak with big payouts. - room treatments pay big dividends, and also equipment freshening- renewing old caps, or small and prudent part upgrades and freshening, crossover caps for instance with old speakers, (output caps in your dac, pre, resistor and hookup wire, fast diodes etc) with equipment of this vintage these things well done can make huge differences.

get the system sorted out first- the pre, cables, and speakers, and then take it all to a good tech and have him breath on it a bit. then a bit of work on the room and placement, and youll be amazed.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:20 pm
Posts: 286
Location: Delta, BC, CA
Take a look around for a B.A.T.,,,,, there are a few around and they are very good tube preamps.... if not, go for the Modwright, I am a big fan of all Dan's work...


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:57 am
Posts: 43
Location: Dartmouth, NS, CA
Thanks to everyone for their time to help me on my quest . I now have a lot more options to consider . phowell1 i had the amp and preamp completely overhauled at Classe 2 years ago when I purchased the amp and pre ,and have room treatment already in a modest 16 x 12 room .
I have tried many cables and wires over the last year and find the Kimber works for me .Again thanks to everyone for your suggestions and experience .
Skoal
Rik


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 10:05 am
Posts: 262
Location: Peachland, BC, CA
I love my Dehaviland tube pre.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:10 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 1:40 pm
Posts: 152
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Canadiansnowland wrote:
Yes, I think the SF line series are great pres and work well with the Classe power amps. I borrowed a line two for a while because I was thinking about going that direction. Just my observations ( so shoot me if you like) 1) I think they are overpriced for what you are getting 2) they might just be the most "solid state" sounding tube preamps I have heard. So I guess it depends what you are after.


Feature wise, I actually think the SF Line series is under priced. I have trouble finding a tube preamp that can match its input/output configuration, runs fully balanced, and has a great headphone amp. Every time I look at a replacement it is in the 4k range. If you have anything promising here, would be great to hear about it.

As for their "tubiness", tube rolling helps a lot. The stock setup is pretty dry. I also think if you are not running balanced into your amp, you are missing a lot of what they are capable of.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:25 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 4:18 pm
Posts: 2472
Location: GTA, ON, CA
As a former owner of a Sonic Frontiers Line 3SE I would not recommend its use with the Classe 10. The SF Line series, IMHO and IME are "soul suckers" and will rob your amp of any engagement and musicality. Others have characterized the SF Line series as sterile and I would tend to agree. Tube rolling, and expensive upgrades, do not help. It is however, a very flexible full featured line stage, but it circuity is very complex and due to their age, could present with a costly repair bill.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:19 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 373
Location: winnipeg, MB, CA
mdl_tor wrote:
Canadiansnowland wrote:
Yes, I think the SF line series are great pres and work well with the Classe power amps. I borrowed a line two for a while because I was thinking about going that direction. Just my observations ( so shoot me if you like) 1) I think they are overpriced for what you are getting 2) they might just be the most "solid state" sounding tube preamps I have heard. So I guess it depends what you are after.


Feature wise, I actually think the SF Line series is under priced. I have trouble finding a tube preamp that can match its input/output configuration, runs fully balanced, and has a great headphone amp. Every time I look at a replacement it is in the 4k range. If you have anything promising here, would be great to hear about it.

As for their "tubiness", tube rolling helps a lot. The stock setup is pretty dry. I also think if you are not running balanced into your amp, you are missing a lot of what they are capable of.


No, I don't have anything in mind as a replacement based on features and configuration. I'm just not sure it is suited for the O.P. I had mentioned a few tube preamps that interest me, but it doesn't mean they would be suitable for someone that already has a SF line and enjoys it. Back when a factory 2 s.e. Was selling for below $1,500 I thought it was good value; now not so much, but that is just me. Either way, still very nice preamps.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 1:40 pm
Posts: 152
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Canadiansnowland wrote:
No, I don't have anything in mind as a replacement based on features and configuration. I'm just not sure it is suited for the O.P. I had mentioned a few tube preamps that interest me, but it doesn't mean they would be suitable for someone that already has a SF line and enjoys it. Back when a factory 2 s.e. Was selling for below $1,500 I thought it was good value; now not so much, but that is just me. Either way, still very nice preamps.


Thanks, and pretty much agree on all points. The only "drop in" replacement I know of is the Aesthetix Calypso, and it is not cheap. I have a rebuilt Citation I that I love, but feature wise it is very old school (make that "old old school").


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:47 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:29 pm
Posts: 670
Location: toronto, ON, CA
good for you rick,. i see youre a new poster and wasnt sure of your depth of experience, but your post shows you are not new at this.

ok. well the bat preamp is a neat idea. at that point it would be better than the rest of your stuff but this isnt a bad thing. i havent heard one but many i trust say they are superb.

another option is a transendent sound grounded grid preamp. it can be built by you (plans and help are everywhere) i think the kit is still 500 or something like it. This preamp is NOT suitable in stock form as from what i gatther it is lean and fast sounding as designed or factory built, and somewhat thin. the thing is, this is due to a series of design choices and that can be changed.

i saw a forum and test of several expensive preamps (including an ultimate grounded grid design, the wytech opal.

the builders of the transcendent commented they wanted more body, weight, image outline, saturation, general tubiness. so they asked a friend and electrical engineer who suggested several parts and value changes. they worked on it till they got the sound they wanted. if i can find the link ill send it.

i did list the changes in a note because i plan on building it. ill send them if you are interested.

the sound they ended with was the weighty, saturated, palpable tuby sound you seem to want.(which i love too) the amp still sounded fast as per its design, just a little bit less so. it wasnt perfect, but they rated the preamp near the top of their rankings in the end, and the cost was way way lower than any other in the test.

let me know if you wnat the notes. (i might need to find them)

either way. if the bat has the sound you want, or some other, id get that, and then also still look at your speakers (unless you are completely attached.)

if you can find a pre at a price that leaves you 4 hundred bucks or so, there are still some truly exceptional speakers you can get at that price.

floorstanders ive had or seen for less

mirage m7si (one fo my faves)
mirage m5, m5si
castle chester (very very good, but not for everyone. i have some now)
vandersteen 1b, 2c (ive heard the 2s in some extremely convincing intallations.

(both the mirage and vandies give a deep rich, and lush presentation with big scale and image. the image is diffuse compared to others but also huge. and if you dont mind they are just excellent for the money in all respects. they also may give you the hint of warmth you seek in your pre- they may fill the gap in at the end. if so youll save piles of money.

theres more.

magnepan mg1c so good for the money. not for everyone though.
maggy smga, mmg
tannoys of various designs, all very very good.

stands

celestion dl10mk2 so ugly it hurts, but really good sound, and about 100 bucks.
various dittons, often in nice wood trim much better looking and excellent sounding.
mirage 750, ugly and incredible sounding, also about 300
mission 770 a classic, i have a love hate relationship with them but in the right places incredible. around 250.
kef 203 small monitor, love these, othe kefs too but theyre old and to freshen them such taht you get the best from them you need to really understand how they went together. i cant help you there and it will cost you.
tannoys of various eras and designs. almost all very very good.


there are many many more, i cant think of right now.

i think all mentioned when properly set up, with good matching equipment and with a bit of freshening where necessary (crossover caps, etc) will give you much better sound than youll get from what you have. Despite advances in some technologies, the prices of these were way higher in relative terms and in most cases outright as well. that quality cant be had for less)

combine that with your desired preamp and i think youll be off to the races.


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