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INTRODUCTION TO TUBE AMPS Karma


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So, our resident tuba amp rebuilder, James aka Old Texas Dog, needed a project, for a Karma. I donated this Conn organ amp, he worked his magic. VIOLA!  Great looking, great sounding 12V6 push pull am

Wow!   This is one absolutely amazing forum!   I can't say enough.    Thanks.....thanks.....thanks!

Wait? "77" wins? Rigged!

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Thank you to both of you. Since I never heard or possessed a tube amp, I am very interested in the next rabbit hole. lol

 

If 56 hasn't been taken, put me in. ~^

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2 hours ago, Walrus Gumboot said:

More tube amp karma please...I can feel myself getting pulled in to the world of tube amps at some point in the future.

I think the last one was 5 years ago or so.:D/

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@Walrus Gumboot be careful - you know not the slippery slope to doom that you are dancing on the edge of.  There is no return from the bottomless pit of Tube Amplification.  Noone has yet survived to escape back to the relative sanity of solid state equipment!

 

WIth merely a tube buffer to my name, my wallet has put out a contract on me due to the abuse this has lead to.  An actual amlifier is infinitely worse.  :-s

 

You, sir, have been warned.  Now go enjoy your pending new addiction!   :)  :b--

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13 minutes ago, Brian_at_HHH said:

@Walrus Gumboot be careful - you know not the slippery slope to doom that you are dancing on the edge of.  There is no return from the bottomless pit of Tube Amplification.  Noone has yet survived to escape back to the relative sanity of solid state equipment!

 

WIth merely a tube buffer to my name, my wallet has put out a contract on me due to the abuse this has lead to.  An actual amlifier is infinitely worse.  :-s

 

You, sir, have been warned.  Now go enjoy your pending new addiction!   :)  :b--

I hear this all the time from a buddy with multiple tube amps, which leaves me scared and intrigued all the more!

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1 minute ago, EAHBuckeye said:

I hear this all the time from a buddy with multiple tube amps, which leaves me scared and intrigued all the more!

 

(1) He's right!

(2) You're also doomed.  Once you get that itch of curiosity, you're done for!  

 

Can you say "Tube Rolling?"   

 

I thought I could escape it.  Nope, there IS no escape...

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9 minutes ago, Brian_at_HHH said:

 

(1) He's right!

(2) You're also doomed.  Once you get that itch of curiosity, you're done for!  

 

Can you say "Tube Rolling?"   

 

I thought I could escape it.  Nope, there IS no escape...

That said, I've been impressed with the tube pre/SS amp combo thus far. I have yet to hear a tube/tube combo. 

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Just now, EAHBuckeye said:

That said, I've been impressed with the tube pre/SS amp combo thus far. I have yet to hear a tube/tube combo. 

 

One big factor are the tubes being used.  I was very skeptical about that until one of the other folks here with the same tube buffer as I have coerced me into trying specific tubes in it.  Compared to most on this group, I have a relative tin ear, but the difference was actually quite shocking, and instantly noticable.  That's the reason so many of us warn about the pitfalls of tube rolling - switching around different tubes for different sounds.  The gear can be cheap by comparison to a good collection of tubes.  


Going back to the origin of this thread, it sounds like KVE777 and OTD have found one of those magical combinations for the amp in question.  When it's right, the results are incredible.

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42 minutes ago, Brian_at_HHH said:

(2) You're also doomed.  Once you get that itch of curiosity, you're done for!  

 

 

as addictive as meth.

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5 hours ago, oldtexasdog said:

I have never had or heard the Bose901 but I looked up their specs and at 90dB they should play well together I would think. Is there any 901 gru’s out there?

I'm hardly a guru. The 90dB number seems more than a bit on the optimistic side. I could not find that in any documentation that I have. No efficiency rating that I could find. My personal opinion is that they are the least efficient speakers I've ever owned. In my experience ,901s need gobs of power. They demand it. m1.5t is a good match. Before they changed the spec fairly late in life they were power rated at "unlimited in non-commercial applications". The brochure indicates the amp can provide as little as 10w.... i think that's a joke?

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1 hour ago, jeffs said:

I'm hardly a guru. The 90dB number seems more than a bit on the optimistic side. I could not find that in any documentation that I have. No efficiency rating that I could find. My personal opinion is that they are the least efficient speakers I've ever owned. In my experience ,901s need gobs of power. They demand it. m1.5t is a good match. Before they changed the spec fairly late in life they were power rated at "unlimited in non-commercial applications". The brochure indicates the amp can provide as little as 10w.... i think that's a joke?


In our NHT/blown drivers saga, Tim @PhilDent and I learned that forcing speakers/drivers to produce frequencies that are not native to them requires A LOT of power (see the thread below).  The speakers CAN be tamed with appropriate EQ, but the cost in efficiency is severe. In our case, a little pair of NHT 2.5i speakers were really pushing a pair of Silver 9t amps - as in needles bouncing 3/4 of max to produce modest listening levels.  With new drivers and no Yamaha room correction, the needles barely hit 1/4...

 

 

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If they are that hard to drive then I would not think it to be a good marriage😦

These small 20 watt tube amps like a efficient speaker. I think Travis found Heresy’s worked real well with them.

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I've been procrastinating about joining this karma out of fear. I've been afraid to venture down this bunny hole considering my past experiences.  A few years back I bought my first Carver amp and at last count, I now have 11 amps.  I'm afraid the tubes will be equally vexing and cause me to seek them out beyond reasonable explanation and elicit financial irresponsibility.  That being said, I'd love to do a SS/Tube shootout.

 

If it hasn't been taken, count me in with 34.

 

Very cool karma

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32 minutes ago, PhilDent said:

I've been procrastinating about joining this karma out of fear. I've been afraid to venture down this bunny hole considering my past experiences.  A few years back I bought my first Carver amp and at last count, I now have 11 amps.  I'm afraid the tubes will be equally vexing and cause me to seek them out beyond reasonable explanation and elicit financial irresponsibility.  That being said, I'd love to do a SS/Tube shootout.

 

If it hasn't been taken, count me in with 34.

 

Very cool karma

We have captured another! What a tangled web we weave!  BEWARE!

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In spite of seeding the fears of an out of control, OCCD-like feeding frenzy, I do need to acknowledge that the sound that emanates from decent Tube Amp can be absolutely magical.

 

They one caveat, as has been noted, is that relatively efficient speakers are better suited.  Good sounding ones are, of course, recommended.  

 

It is, however, possible to get a combination of tubes, amp, speakers, and source/preamp together that sound like you just came off second-best to Olga in a mud-wrestling contest, where, in the solid state world, odds are the worst case would just sound Meh!  In short, it's a much more of an interactive journey, when playing with glowing bottles, instead of lumps of silicon. 

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I recently stumbled back into hi fidelity.  I had a brief stint in my teens by building a few sets of speakers and working with my neighbor on an amplifier or two.  For some reason, I just got out of it.  This last December, my wife and I were at a second hand mid-century furniture store that we frequent.  All the furniture there is too small for me but I like looking around.  We parted ways and a few minutes in, my wife came to me and asked if I'd seen the speakers in the corner.  Long story short, we both thought they looked cool and that they would fit into  our decor.  Unfortunately, I only had an old, high-mileage Sherwood receiver at home.  It did a fine job and made sound.  We both enjoyed some music and Holiday cheer.  Since then, I've been researching Class A, Class AB, Class D, Tube Amps, Class H, used, new, kits and professional & commercial equipment to a near manic state at times.  I think everyone here has been "there" at some point.  Side bar:  My wife just asked what I'm doing.  I replied, I'm trying to win an amplifier.  She replied, you're a sick man and asked if I could try to win a car instead.

 

I've ended up with a media streamer and some 2nd & 3rd-hand Sunfire equipment. We both think the system sounds terrific.  We've both found our system makes listening to music enjoyable.  Go figure. During reading & watching reviews about tube amplifiers, I've read terms such as: holographic, detailed, fluid, transparent, etc., etc.  I've never had the chance to hear a tube amp so all the descriptions seem to be, well, transparent and hollow since I don't have anything to compare against.  I think a tube amplifier probably holds some nostalgic psycho-audio characteristics. They look cool and it offers the ability to tweek buy rolling tubes.   I'd just like to satisfy my curiosity with tubes.  Who knows, tubes may not be my cup of tea and this amp ends up on my nephew's bookshelf.

 

I'll take #33.

 

Post Script: Just read this submission aloud to my wife.  Edited version of my plea for this amp: Please give me this thing so I can pack all the other stuff in boxes and move on with my life.

Edited by andyheckl
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