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Thread: Tubes and horns?

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    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Tubes and horns?

    Not sure if this is the right forum - but here goes ...
    I have those 3 way speakers - They started life as L200 cabinets and I loaded them -
    first with Giskard's 3133 equiv crossover design,
    a 2234 woofer, the 2105 slot supertweeter, and the 2445J mid driver on the walnut smith horn.

    I'm not sure how to figure what the efficiency of this combination would be,
    or if I could drive it to any reasonable level with a lower power tube design ...



    Kindly ignore the the other speakers - I'll be selling off the Maggies and the Dahlquist ...

    Ideas, thoughts, comments?
    2ch - Oppo981, JoLida502, JBL L200+, KEF 105.4
    HT7- XDA-2, BDP93, 4b NRB, B&K 5ch amp, Vandy 3A, 2Ce, VCC1, TF600 & JBL 4641

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    Unless you bi-amp....

    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    Not sure if this is the right forum - but here goes ...
    I have those 3 way speakers - They started life as L200 cabinets and I loaded them -
    first with Giskard's 3133 equiv crossover design,
    a 2234 woofer, the 2105 slot supertweeter, and the 2445J mid driver on the walnut smith horn.

    I'm not sure how to figure what the efficiency of this combination would be,
    or if I could drive it to any reasonable level with a lower power tube design ...



    Kindly ignore the the other speakers - I'll be selling off the Maggies and the Dahlquist ...

    Ideas, thoughts, comments?

    You will lose tight bass, but gain sweeter mids and highs. I like the Dynaco products for price($400-500). Macs are nice, but you would pay over $1,500 for a comparable amp. You also need a good tube tech for the service.

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    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how to figure what the efficiency of this combination would be,
    or if I could drive it to any reasonable level with a lower power tube design ...
    Hello Heather

    Going passive or active the woofer is what determines what your system sensitivity is. Figure about 96dB using a 2234. So with 10 watts you could hit 106dB at 1 meter. In a room it works out to about a 3dB drop for doubling the distance so at 4 meters you would be at 100dB max.

    Rob
    "I could be arguing in my spare time"

  4. #4
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robh3606 View Post
    Hello Heather

    Going passive or active the woofer is what determines what your system sensitivity is. Figure about 96dB using a 2234. So with 10 watts you could hit 106dB at 1 meter. In a room it works out to about a 3dB drop for doubling the distance so at 4 meters you would be at 100dB max.

    Rob
    Thanks Robh!
    I figured it must pretty efficient compared to the other speakers I've been playing with,
    it plays much louder than they do, but I wasn't sure what kind of numbers that translated to ...

    Sounds like 6 or 7 watts would get it to reasonable loud - but not "stupid loud" ...
    anything above that would be luxury league!

    I'll keep an eye out, see what i can find!

    Posted afterwards -
    That system is currently run off a (SS) Carver receiver - way more power than it needs at ~125 or so w/ch
    For sources we've got a Harman CD changer, MP3s coming from my computer via wifi and Airtunes,
    and (hopefully) Emma's old AR-XB turntable that I'm looking into right now ...
    2ch - Oppo981, JoLida502, JBL L200+, KEF 105.4
    HT7- XDA-2, BDP93, 4b NRB, B&K 5ch amp, Vandy 3A, 2Ce, VCC1, TF600 & JBL 4641

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    Senior Member doucanoe's Avatar
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    If you haven't ventured down this road in the past, I think you may be shocked to hear what a 8-15 watt tube amp will do with your speakers. Even more so if you have the opportunity to audition something like 3-8 watt SET. Although much is going to be dependent on what you like to listen to and listening level habits, a low power tube amp won't not run out of gas as fast as you may think. I became a believer when I first heard a 2A3 SET driving a pair of (Approx. 3 watt/ch 93-95 dB) Tannoy Ardens I used to own.

    I don't know what you are running now for amplification but even in the case of high powered SS amps, your probably not even asking any more than 5-6 watts from them for what I would consider moderately high listening levels. There may be something to be said for having a lot of reserve power at the ready for large transients and what-not but I have found that to be not much of a factor, personally.

    Like all things audio, giving it a go and being able to determine for yourself whether or not it works for you is all part of the fun and learning. Maybe find yourself a loaner from a audio shop or audio acquaintance in the area and see for yourself.

    RC
    Ignorant Member

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    Best of both worlds?

    Hi Heather,

    Isn't nice to have problems such as your own?
    Something to consider might be driving the low end with a SS amp such as a Crown DC150 which can be gotten for a song and a tube amp for your mids/highs. I've been rotating Crowns through my Metregon swapping out from my McIntosh 40's with excellent results. I'm not bi-amping, just have a Conrad Johnson tube pre-amp with a Crown power amp, nothing was lost by taking out the Mac's but low end was greatly improved at low volume.

    Just my 2 cents.
    Enjoy the journey,
    Gary

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    A friend of mine is using 2x5 tube watts for his JBL 2441 horns, 2x10 tube watts for his 18sound 12" mids (going from 70 hz) and 3,5 kW for his 8x15" BR subs. It is a bit bass heavy but very fun. Friday night empty beercans where falling over and things where falling from the shelves.

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doucanoe View Post
    If you haven't ventured down this road in the past, I think you may be shocked to hear what a 8-15 watt tube amp will do with your speakers. Even more so if you have the opportunity to audition something like 3-8 watt SET. Although much is going to be dependent on what you like to listen to and listening level habits, a low power tube amp won't not run out of gas as fast as you may think. I became a believer when I first heard a 2A3 SET driving a pair of (Approx. 3 watt/ch 93-95 dB) Tannoy Ardens I used to own.
    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    Sounds like 6 or 7 watts would get it to reasonable loud - but not "stupid loud" ...
    anything above that would be luxury league!

    I'll keep an eye out, see what i can find!
    I don't doubt that 6-7 watts will be loud enough for most listening... and if you find a good tube amp you may really love the sound. Keep in mind that a 6 or 7 watt tube amp will not control the bottom end of your speakers like a solid state amp will... some find this type of sound to be a "fuller" or "warmer" sound that they prefer, but to me many tube amps have a flabby bloated sound that I am not fond of on large JBL woofers.

    As always if you can try before you buy, you'll be far ahead.


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  9. #9
    Obviously... not a golfer grumpy's Avatar
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    Sorry if this is a repeat, but if going -solely- with a tube amp, I'd look at 30+ watts
    perhaps a 6L6GC/5881 or 6550 based amp. These tetrodes seem to grab the bass
    drivers reasonably well while compromises in the useful frequency extremes can
    be balanced. Personally, I'd avoid old PA amps for this purpose, although I'm sure
    there are exceptions.

    If bi-amping, many of the compromises can be divided and topologies toyed with.

    Either way, a suitable selection exists without spending (what i'd call) crazy money.
    It's uh... uh... it's down there somewhere, let me take another look...

  10. #10
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Been doing reading on the tube tech - seems to be a lot of good words on the Miniwatt 3 or 4 tubes amps -
    but ... it IS a chinese design and I'd rather not go there for tech. There are other options ...
    the Dynaco ST70 seems to be popular and fairly available ... lots of mods available as well.
    Dynaco ST-35 is also popular, but lower powered and somewhat rarer.

    As always, any info is appreciated ...
    2ch - Oppo981, JoLida502, JBL L200+, KEF 105.4
    HT7- XDA-2, BDP93, 4b NRB, B&K 5ch amp, Vandy 3A, 2Ce, VCC1, TF600 & JBL 4641

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    Senior Member jerry_rig's Avatar
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    Heather, If you plan to run full range with a tube power amp, then I agree that a good push-pull unit having at least 30 wpc would be best. Check out Audiogon and look for a Mac or Cary or ...

    That said, I have been using an 80 wpc tube amp and find that it just can not control the bass all that well (but the highs are heaven!). So I bi-amp and run SS for the bass. The best of both worlds.

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    Unabashed Speakerholic cosmos's Avatar
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    Heather, I agree with the suggestion of going with an active crossover and a SS amp on the woofers and tube amp on the mods and highs. There are many good amplifier choices.. I'd check out Manley, Decware, Rogue Audio and others. If you are just using the tube amp for the mids and highs, any amp you look at (1 watt per channel and above) will be enough power. Decware makes some very nice low watt SET amps.

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    There are tube amps that will control bottom end, but you need a stack of power, the same as you do with solid state.

    Allan.

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry_rig View Post
    Heather, If you plan to run full range with a tube power amp, then I agree that a good push-pull unit having at least 30 wpc would be best. Check out Audiogon and look for a Mac or Cary or ...

    That said, I have been using an 80 wpc tube amp and find that it just can not control the bass all that well (but the highs are heaven!). So I bi-amp and run SS for the bass. The best of both worlds.
    I haven't used all that many tube amps, but I have had both the MC30 and the MC240... 30 watt mono block and 40 watt stereo amp from McIntosh. Both amps are push pull designs with massive iron. Both amps were re-tubed and serviced and both had very nice mids and pretty good highs, but I was not happy with the bass on either amp.

    That said, I have read numerous accounts of satisfied users of these amps.


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    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    I have very little experience with single-ended tube amps, and that little bit was with a 45 watt 845 tube design, very expensive and used only for treble when I was there. So I really can't say much about that kind of amp.

    I listened to all the Dynaco tube amps stock back in the day. The ST70 was good, and the ST35 is better, but I think not big enough for full range. But any Dynaco amp should be reworked these days, I think, because so much has been done developing worthwhile mods, and also doing away with obvious inadequacies in the original designs.

    I use the Audio Research SP8 preamp and the VT60. These were both pretty sanely priced when I got them, but I think both have kind of caught on since then and the prices have gone up. I used the VT60 for my Altec 604's and 515b/288G/511E/EVT350, both natural matches, and at times with my 4333's full range and thought it was satisfactory. My idea in using tube electronics is that it is easier, I think, to find sound that is inoffensive in the treble with them than with solid state, that is, I'm not looking for the last word in transparency or palpable realism at this point, so my agenda may be different from yours. Audio research is a more 'modern' sound, and I think more balanced than some of the other things that have been mentioned. The VT60 is a push-pull 6550 amp. I use the current production tubes supplied by Audio Research without problems, but I have tried GE 6550s and NOS original Tung Sols and both are better. This amp is driving my TAD horns until I get around to having my MC30's tweeked. Even though I hear what people rave about with those amps, and I think they are worth the money when you get to that, I really don't have any problem with the vt60's on treble.

    If used full range I would suggest you avoid choosing tube equipment whose sterling qualites are all in one range of frequencies, like the mids or highs. I have a zero negative feedback tube preamp which basically abandons tight bass for exquisite mids. I'm using it now, and I'm biamping with very good solid state control of the woofers, so no further problems are added at that point, but I frequently switch in the SP8 for a few months so I can enjoy all the music. I just don't think you can write off reasonably controlled bass. What I like about the Audio Research tube electronics is that it has the balance to be used full range.

    Since you know electronics modifying a Dynaco might be a reasonable route for you. Almost all the new stuff is pretty expensive. If you are thinking new, you might consider Quicksilver which are somewhat more reasonable. I have not used them, but I believe our favorite speaker designer had them in his system at one time. Along the same vein (i.e., since you know electronics) you might consider the Pass Labs First Watt program and forget tubes.

    Regards,

    David

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