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tom1040
04-11-2008, 01:37 PM
If I were to change out one component on my system, would I be better off changing the pre-amp or the amp to a tube device? ( or both )

Current system:

Pre Yamaha CX-1000 or Onkyo P-388F
Amp Yamaha MX-1000 and Onkyo M-508 ( bi-amped )

with Onkyo DX-788F cdp
and JBL S2600 speakers

Thanks for your insights and responses.

Tom

Audiobeer
04-11-2008, 09:10 PM
That's just to hard to answer for someone. I'm a big fan of powerful "no holds barred" amps and a "sweet" tube preamp. I have been putting various pieces in and out of my rack my whole life. Trying many things over the years. Someone will tell me this is a good setup, and I'll listen to it in my setup and wonder "what the hell that persone was thinking". I have honestly equipped my self over the years by bouncing ideals and questions of other folks just as you are doing now. If the same answers come up, I then start auditioning the common denominaters that others have recommended. I've often then moved on to something else. Sometimes coming back years later to what I had. 2 Things I have always come back to are Mcintosh Solid State and JBL speakers. Preamps........well the one after next is an Adcom GFP-750 I want to try out. So if any body out there has one, the going price is $650 - $750 depending on condition, I'm your buyer.

oznob
04-11-2008, 11:11 PM
Beer hit the nail on the head on this one!:bash: I to have been in search of the "perfect" system! The one thing that I have found to be a no brainer, for ME at least, is big JBL speakers with horns. I always come back to them. I like SS amps with a lot of head-room and peak power. That said, I have heard some sweet sounding amps that are only putting out 20 watts or so max. My limited experience with Yamaha amps is they tend to be a bit on the bright side. Never had an Onkyo. I currently am running the S3100's bi-amped. I have a Denon 4802R A/V receiver as a pre-amp and running the top end. The bottom end is hooked to a B&K Reference 4420 amp. I like the Denon as it has a good amp section and many ways to adjust the sound level and balance via its built in white noise generator. Has been real handy getting these things dialed in! The B&K does a very good job driving the woofers. I have had good luck with B&K equipment in the past and wouldn't hesitate recommending their amps. I won't go into my experience with tubes. It was a long time ago and involved too much beer, cherry 6550's, a small fire and a blown D130! I will say when it comes to guitar amps, tubes all the way! I am a big believer in having a quality modern source, IE higher end CD/DVD player with a good DAC. If you are into to vinyl, don't skimp on your table and/or cartridge. IMHO, if your source is crap, no amp or speaker will fix that.

Good luck and have FUN!:D

Jakob
04-12-2008, 05:46 AM
Well, we think alike when it comes to speakers, that's for sure. Regarding amps I don't think I'll ever go back to SS-preamps. Maybe, maybe if some one drops of a Nelson Pass at my place! I'm using an ARC LS-7 at the moment and it blows me away! Finally sounds sound natural, soundstage opens up and bass becomes deep AND tight. It's like going from playback to live.

I'm also using an ARC VT60SE poweramp but use it for mids and highs only. I listen at high levels and don't feel the low-wattage amp has the control over my 15"'s that a high powered SS amp. However, at moderate listening levels it sounds great driving the 15"s too!

Only You can decide what You like. Buy a used tubed preamp with good reputation. Try it out and if You don't like it, just sell it! I would try out a preamp first 'cause they often cost less than the poweramps.

Good luck and welcome to a whole new world ;o)

Audiobeer
04-12-2008, 08:32 AM
I really should qualify my possible leaning towards SS Vs Tubes for the amp. My statement was based on used equipment in the price range the poster had mentioned based on the equipment he had. It's not hard to find good tube preamp or amp on the market, but it is in the price range of under $500. I have to say it's almost impossible. At one time the tube market crashed with the advent of transistors....I wish I knew then what I know now. :D

P.S. Thanks to a fellow board member for coming through on the Adcom.

Ducatista47
04-12-2008, 01:09 PM
The bad part about this passion/hobby is that improving any piece in the reproduction chain reveals weak links in the gear elsewhere. A great preamp combined with a power amp that is not great but does no harm is an upwards move. A so-so preamp with a newly acquired great power amp might produce no audible improvement at all. Next improvement would be the front end and sources, then the power amp.

FWIW, integrated amps point the way. Hybrid tube/solid state amps are tube preamp/ss power, with one exception. There are reasons for that, cost not least among them. (But wouldn't you know it, the one exception is probably the best amp over three watts in the world. At several thousand dollars to replace the two tubes, it is in no way typical of what is available.)

My passion is keeping the signal path as lean as possible. A piece not there at all can't do anything wrong. Keep signal processing to a minimum, as you can't improve the source - the CD or vinyl - but you can make it worse. Truthfully, improving the listening room acoustics usually yields more results than audio hardware upgrades once your system is in the "not bad" category.

Hopefully the audio trip is as much fun as the destination, because the journey has no end except death or the poorhouse. If anyone here is at a point where satisfaction is permanent, please let me know how you got there!

Clark

Audiobeer
04-12-2008, 04:07 PM
Snip
My passion is keeping the signal path as lean as possible. A piece not there at all can't do anything wrong. Keep signal processing to a minimum, as you can't improve the source - the CD or vinyl - but you can make it worse. Truthfully, improving the listening room acoustics usually yields more results than audio hardware upgrades once your system is in the "not bad" category.

Hopefully the audio trip is as much fun as the destination, because the journey has no end except death or the poorhouse. If anyone here is at a point where satisfaction is permanent, please let me know how you got there!

Clark

Well said Clark. The room makes all the difference!

Gary L
04-12-2008, 07:57 PM
I think the Yamaha MX 1000 and CX 1000 are exceptional pieces if you can keep the lights on. I had that entire system including the TX 950 tuner and 2 pairs of NS 1000M speakers. Every time I turned it on I had to wonder which bulb I would blow out.

Awesome sound, a bit on the bright side and a bit lacking in the low end but every bit the rival of many nice systems. A sub would have brought it all into focus yet I have this undying love of big horns.

As for a tube set up, I have always leaned away from such because I am not the tech type and don't need to add problematic equipment that requires technical tweeking on a fairly constant schedule.

I also like the idea of flipping a unit on and being ready to run at a moments notice. Most tube systems don't begin sounding their best until fully heated.

I believe what was stated above that room acoustics play the largest part in great sound once you have found a suitable power source and speakers that are music to your ears.

You can put a fabulous system in a rather harsh room and still have harsh sound. You can also place a fairly nice system in an exceptional room and have very nice music.

Perfection is merely a state of mind where sound is concerned and even if you think you have found it, others would disagree and feel a need to change.

As has been said many, many times here, if it sounds great to you then the battle has been won because you are the one that needs to hear what you think you are looking for.

Gary

Ian Mackenzie
04-12-2008, 08:22 PM
The bad part about this passion/hobby is that improving any piece in the reproduction chain reveals weak links in the gear elsewhere. A great preamp combined with a power amp that is not great but does no harm is an upwards move. A so-so preamp with a newly acquired great power amp might produce no audible improvement at all. Next improvement would be the front end and sources, then the power amp.

FWIW, integrated amps point the way. Hybrid tube/solid state amps are tube preamp/ss power, with one exception. There are reasons for that, cost not least among them. (But wouldn't you know it, the one exception is probably the best amp over three watts in the world. At several thousand dollars to replace the two tubes, it is in no way typical of what is available.)

My passion is keeping the signal path as lean as possible. A piece not there at all can't do anything wrong. Keep signal processing to a minimum, as you can't improve the source - the CD or vinyl - but you can make it worse. Truthfully, improving the listening room acoustics usually yields more results than audio hardware upgrades once your system is in the "not bad" category.

Hopefully the audio trip is as much fun as the destination, because the journey has no end except death or the poorhouse. If anyone here is at a point where satisfaction is permanent, please let me know how you got there!

Clark

Well put Clark,

On integrated amps I a review of 6 amps under $1500 bucks recently.

All except the Cambridge Azur and a Vincent Hyprid scored soso.

Tom,

I am sure the Onkyo does okay.

It depends on your budget and new or used but the improvement (never cheap in the end as Clark points out) will be in tonality and resolving power.

If you would like to upgrade I would tend to investigate a pre amp upgrade first. For SS a SH Bryston or Adcom 750 or an old Threshold if you can find one. The thing is you want low noise and high linearity. Valve pre's can offer both and low noise but is not always cheap.

If you can find one of these SH or afford new it can pass as nice Valve preamp and hi end Cd player and its a sexy bit of kit.

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/droplet/cdp5_2.html

These are also getting rave reviews.

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/primaluna/primaluna.html

Ian

tom1040
04-13-2008, 07:47 AM
I did a quick a/b test with the Yamaha & Onkyo. I like the Onkyo better. I think I will sell the Yamaha ( and perhaps the CX-1000 ), along with my 2 pair of Infinity Kappa 8.1 and 1 pair of Infinity RS8Kappa speakers. Hell, I most likely will sell my 2 Onkyo M-504 amps as well. I have a bedroom system consisting of a Sansui G-8000 w/Onkyo Interga cdp and JBL 630T speakers and a sub and a HT system in the TV room so I think I am good to go now. I gotta say that the S2600 speakers are keepers!

Tax season is almost over!:applaud:

Mr. Widget
04-13-2008, 10:40 AM
I did a quick a/b test with the Yamaha & Onkyo.While my personal experience would agree with your findings, you should usually do more than a quick A/B comparison. Your mood, source material, etc. may favor one over the other where as in a longer comparison you may come to the opposite conclusion.


I gotta say that the S2600 speakers are keepers!Congratulations, that is great. :)

How do they compare to your Infinities? What do you like about them more?


Widget

tom1040
04-14-2008, 05:48 AM
The Infinities are really good speakers. However, they need alot of current to operate the way that was intended. So, instead of paying the price to get the necessary power, I decided to keep the JBL's and sell the rest.

tom1040
07-07-2008, 09:23 AM
Has anyone on this forum had any experience with the Onkyo P-388F pre-amp? I am curious because it was a totl unit when introduced in the 1990's.

Titanium Dome
07-13-2008, 12:45 PM
If I were to change out one component on my system, would I be better off changing the pre-amp or the amp to a tube device? ( or both )

Current system:

Pre Yamaha CX-1000 or Onkyo P-388F
Amp Yamaha MX-1000 and Onkyo M-508 ( bi-amped )

with Onkyo DX-788F cdp
and JBL S2600 speakers

Thanks for your insights and responses.

Tom

Well, I'm a bit late to the party, but I'm going to cut to the chase. The best sound I've ever gotten out of my JBL S/2600 speakers is from a digital receiver, the Panasonic SA XR10. Not a big Bryston, not a Hafler, not a Fosgate, not a Citation, not a Jolida, not a Dared, not a Dynaco, and not a Soundcraftsmen, but a simple, consumer Panasonic digital 5.1 receiver with a measly 100W/ch.

bottleneck
07-16-2008, 03:20 PM
Hi Tom

If you're handy with a soldering iron, I Reccomend this site -

http://www.diyhifisupply.com/




If I were to change out one component on my system, would I be better off changing the pre-amp or the amp to a tube device? ( or both )

Current system:

Pre Yamaha CX-1000 or Onkyo P-388F
Amp Yamaha MX-1000 and Onkyo M-508 ( bi-amped )

with Onkyo DX-788F cdp
and JBL S2600 speakers

Thanks for your insights and responses.

Tom

tom1040
08-06-2008, 02:18 PM
I am not, but what would this site do for me if I was?

robertbartsch
10-27-2008, 12:43 PM
I used to listen to quality tube equipment before the advent of solid state electronics.

Honestly, I don't understand the fuss over tube equipment in this day and age.

jcrobso
11-04-2008, 10:01 AM
I know there are many people that the love tubes, I have an Ampeg tube bass amp. In the 1960's I did most of my listing to tube amps, today however for reproduction I use solid state amps.
I know what the tube lovers say about the amps. they have warm sound. Guitar players love them for their "FAT" sound. Tube amps have a small amount of 2nd harmonic distortion that is very difficult to completely remove and it is this residual distortion that gives tube amps their sound. I'm not trying to put anyone down, this is just the way it is. John

tom1040
06-02-2009, 09:25 AM
Old post update. I am buying a McIntosh MC 402 amp an C46 pre-amp. I will post results.

tom1040
06-04-2009, 10:04 AM
Major difference. I love it. I am 47 years old. I really do believe that, outside of a new cdp down the road, that I will never need to change anything again. Thanks for everybodys ideas & suggestions on this forum.:applaud: