adding tubes to the path...

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zaphod

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not being able to afford the 13,000 for the all tube PLII processor, being in love with my meitner amps and bryston pre/pro i don't really want to replace my SS amplification.

but i do love tubes in the path to the ML - and lots of people agree.

i stumbled across a neat product today from Musical Fidelity. It is a tube buffer that is designed to be inserted into the musical chain at line levels.

it seems like an easy way to insert a tube stage just before my CLS amplifiers.

anyone hear of these? or hear one of them?
 

kach22i

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Guess it depends on interconnects used/cost, future wishes for a digital processor which could have tubes in it somehow.

Maybe someone can hot rod the internal board of the M/L speaker to incorperate an off board tube.

Does converting the signal for the stat require anything a tube can do?

That box looks like a fancy band-aid, I'd be cautious.
 

SugarMedia

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I love MF and highly recommend their products!

The X-10v3 is a revamp of an item that M.F. made several years ago that had great popularity. It was introduced with the intention of using it between a CD player and pre amp as a buffer stage. The idea was to give a more tube like "sound" to less expensive players.

Not sure if you know much about the tubes they are using in them, so here's some infor I've complied from my research.

"Musical Fidelity's latest discovery, the 6112, is an ultra high performance twin triode that we call the mu-Vista. Originally, it was used by the US military for crucial low noise guidance and other missile functions. It is incredibly rugged and immune from microphony and other extraneous effects. Also, and we hope this attribute is never needed; it's immune from electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) which occurs when a nuclear bomb explodes! As you would expect, the mu-Vista is super tough, super quiet, ultra reliable, incredibly linear and absolutely predictable.

Musical Fidelity has not had a single Tri-Vistor 5703 tube fail anywhere in the world in any of their Tri-Vista products. Tests show that the mu-Vista has similar levels of reliability, and why not? The tubes have been purchased direct from the US military and are genuine milspec, mil usage parts."
 

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kach22i

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Assuming a short run of interconnects coming out of the unit, and using the ones you already have going into the unit. What might you expect to spend on quality IC's of .5 M to 1.0 M long?

$300?

$600?

$1,200?

Could a set of homemade $120 IC's do the trick?

What does the box cost?

Looking for a realistic end game cost here, not trying to be the spoiler.
 

zaphod

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kach22i said:
Assuming a short run of interconnects coming out of the unit, and using the ones you already have going into the unit. What might you expect to spend on quality IC's of .5 M to 1.0 M long?

Could a set of homemade $120 IC's do the trick?

What does the box cost?

Looking for a realistic end game cost here, not trying to be the spoiler.

the box is about $399 at music direct, not a lot of money.

but i'm confused, are you saying that the same "tube sound and feel" could be acheived through IC?

i must be confused, i know how hard you've been working toward total tube amplification - i know you like those glowing glass balls of nothing.


on a side note, i've been using isolation transformers in my signal path for quite a number of years and they really improve the sound. The X-10 advertises isolation of the two sides and perhaps that is where the real gain is achieved.
 

kach22i

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The $400 tube box hooks up to the preamp with IC's, right? The CD player hooks up to the tube box with IC's, right?

So you just doubled your connectors and your IC's, right?

To come out ahead of your IC jungle they have to be of at least moderate quality to hear the improvement the tube box promises to make, right?

I think for $400 it's an interesting experiment, just thinking that if you have an old set of not being used Audio Quest laying around (or other decent quality connector) you will not have to spend another $400 (and up) on additional IC's which will be required.

I just know you will get this tube box in the mail, go to hook it up and say WTF, I forgot that I'll need an extra set of IC's. :D

That said, I doubt many of us don't have a few decent IC's laying around collected over the years. :)
 
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zaphod

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kach22i said:
I just know you will get this tube box in the mail, go to hook it up and say WTF, I forgot that I'll need an extra set of IC's. :D

That said, I doubt many of us don't have a few decent IC's laying around collected over the years. :)
if my wife's MPV hadn't blown the head gaskets on saturday, a unit would already be in the mail to me ... but 1700 bucks for the engine repairs (if neither of the heads are cracked). damn - it's cheaper to replace the engine for around 1400.

as for the IC's, well ... i have some "around" and i've also been itching to start building my own from canare star quad...
 

socialxray

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I have read about it as well and I have been intrigued myself, and Musical Fidelity is a name that audiophiles seem to trust. Since more than a few audiophiles swear by exotic and uber expensive cables, interconnects, floating racks, marble slabs under (and on top of) components, felt tip pens, "digital" cleaning solutions, and everything else you can imagine; why not a black box with a tube in it? It is not the most absurd thing I have heard.

Someone please try it and give a review!
 

Spike

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Keep things simple

I'm pretty sure I'm going to get lots of flames for this... While having tubes in the signal chain results in pleasing sound, one needs to be careful and take the entire chain into consideration. I'm not a big fan of adding more equipments into the chain, resulting in signal degradation. Adding a tube stage just for the sake of altering the sound characteristic of a system may not be a good thing. If I understand it correctly, this tube stage will go between your Bryston pre-pro and the amplifiers. That means the Bryston already converts signals into analogue using its analogue stage. Now, you want to take this signal through more buffering stages just for the sake of having this signal running through tubes. In this implementation, the tube stage is behaving more like an additional tone control device with more distortion, nothing more.
I my opinion, if you're looking to add tubes into the signal chain (for music listenning), look for a good tube preamp with a home-theater bypass. If you want the correct multichannel tube implementation for music AND home-theater, better start saving $$$ for the all tube processor!
 

socialxray

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Duck Spike!!! Here come the flames!!! :eek:

Just joking!

I agree that the "Keep It Simple Stupid" methodology is the best. You get more for your money, a lot less hassle and usually better sound. But, people have been adding gizmos to the audio chain since the separation of the amp, pre-amp, source, and speaker. Even now Mark Levinson (yes the Mark Levinson) is going gaga over the Burwen Bobcat which is another black box (well in this case silver) that sweetens digital audio by adding proprietary equalization and reverb that supposedly cannot be replicated any other way.

My point is in this day of digital and solid state dominance, especially in the Home Theater relm, a device like this MAY make a difference.

Zaphod, have you scored one yet?
 

zaphod

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socialxray said:
My point is in this day of digital and solid state dominance, especially in the Home Theater relm, a device like this MAY make a difference.

Zaphod, have you scored one yet?
not yet. i got a reply back from the canadian distributor, and now have a call into the local MF dealer.

i'm hoping to score a demo box to see how it fits in with the system...
 

Willy

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I have one and it is impressive for the dollars.

I was looking for a way to improve the signal from an IMac being used as a music server into an Elan system. Used the Prodigys to test the performance before I purchased. Using the Imac through an M-Audio firewire audiophile sound card and then into EAD preamp the buffer made an impressive improvement to the sound. Smoothed out response significantly, improved bass and reduced harshness in upper ranges. Sound quality was comparable to playing CD over Integra DPS 6.1 DVD player into EAD preamp but not as good as EAD 8000Pro DVD player.

Have been tempted to put between EAD player and preamp to try on main system but have not got there as don't have extra analog cables around.

One way or another was a definite improvement in the source I have used it on.

Final note, needs significant break-in. Made purchase decision based on a demo from the store, took a few weeks before the new one sounded as good.
 

Jeff Zaret

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One thing to consider is the more "things" in the signal path the more opportunity there is to alter the signal.

Just my 2 cents worth

jeff
 

jjcarr

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zaphod said:
not being able to afford the 13,000 for the all tube PLII processor, being in love with my meitner amps and bryston pre/pro i don't really want to replace my SS amplification.

but i do love tubes in the path to the ML - and lots of people agree.
What about a tube DAC or tube CD player? I'm guessing the critical listening only happend on CD, not movies.
 
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rynopr

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I've been thinking about adding one with my 5 year old sony dvd changer that has the EAD dac to it. You can pick one up for about $300.
 

aliveatfive

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Stereophile has reviewed this product. Review was probably what you would have expected to hear. Appararently it can cure digital nasties in cheaper cd players, etc. I don't know if it's the cure for what ails your system. I have all tube amplification driving my Ascent is and I agree with you about the virtues of tubes in the chain.

A possibility? Frank Van Alstine produces tube preamp kits for very little money. (You can check out his website.) I built one during the winter (although I do not use it with my Logans) and I'm very pleased with it. You can probably get away for about $600 if you follow this route.
 

Kruppy

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Hey, Whatever happend to this one?

Zaphod,

Resurecting and old one....

Were you able to try out a MF tube buffer? I've seen a number of them up for sale and started to wonder what ever became of your desire to try one out.
 

MarkNewbie

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Spike said:
I my opinion, if you're looking to add tubes into the signal chain (for music listenning), look for a good tube preamp with a home-theater bypass. If you want the correct multichannel tube implementation for music AND home-theater, better start saving $$$ for the all tube processor!
I am purely a two channel guy. Look at my system and what Spike said pretty much sums up what I was trying to and have achieved. Plus, tube rolling can be fun! I read about this gizmo everytime MF's catalog is delivered and my take is that if you don't want to invest in a better CD player that this will make your less than perfect CD player sound better. Sounds like a good purchase if you have no intention of upgrading the CD player. Wonder what it could/would do for a better player? It should improve what ever you have, right?
 

aliveatfive

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Here"s my guess: a better cd (or sacd) player would probably have most of the digital problems resolved by more sophisticated circuitry. I would also imagine that the tube buffer stage probably diminishes top end response a bit so that some of the digital "nasties" are not heard. Depending on the quality of the player (not necessarily price-wise) you would probably get diminishing returns.
 

DTB300

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aliveatfive said:
Here"s my guess: a better cd (or sacd) player would probably have most of the digital problems resolved by more sophisticated circuitry.
This is the best way to handle this issue. Mods to an existing player are also an option.

I would also imagine that the tube buffer stage probably diminishes top end response a bit so that some of the digital "nasties" are not heard. Depending on the quality of the player (not necessarily price-wise) you would probably get diminishing returns.
One also has to consider excellent CD/SACD recording(s) too. While some older Redbook (and some new) would probably benefit from this device in taming digitis. But when a good recording is put on, I would not want the device to remove or mask the well done high end.

So I see it as a Catch-22 type thing - good and bad.

Dan
 
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