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marlin

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I am a man of limited means and am wanting to begin my quest into tube amplification. I have about $2k to spend. My question is should I go for power amplification or a pre-amp first? Which will I notice the most bang for my meager buck? I want to do both but alas it is not to be just yet.

I have Aeon I's and am going to power the stat panel with a tube power amp if that is the way I end up going. The bass will be powered by a SS Carver amp.
 

Tube60

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I am a man of limited means and am wanting to begin my quest into tube amplification. My question is should I go for power amplification or a pre-amp first? Which will I notice the most bang for my meager buck? I want to do both but alas it is not to be just yet.
The bass will be powered by a SS Carver amp.
Are you going for new, used, or vintage?
In general, a tube preamp will get you the most bang for the buck. $2k I'm not sure what you'd get, quality wise, for a new one. Used opens the door quite a bit. Vintage, particularly unrestored, opens up a whole lot of possibilities; in the process of restoration, you'll have almost endless possibilites for upgrades, and best of all, you can play with different components to get the sound quality you're after. I've gone that route, and I've been extremely happy with where I'm at! So if you're good with a soldering iron and can read a schematic, go for it!:rocker:
 

amey01

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I am a man of limited means and am wanting to begin my quest into tube amplification. I have about $2k to spend. My question is should I go for power amplification or a pre-amp first? Which will I notice the most bang for my meager buck? I want to do both but alas it is not to be just yet.

I have Aeon I's and am going to power the stat panel with a tube power amp if that is the way I end up going. The bass will be powered by a SS Carver amp.
It really depends on what you like best at the moment - ie. Don't replace the component you like best. All things being equal, I'd go for the preamp as I believe a valve preamp combined with SS power tends to give a "best of both worlds" sound - a touch of that valve magic with less of the negatives.
 

Jeff Zaret

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marlin,
I agree here. I would go for a tube preamp. I would look at the used market for a good quality tube preamp. I believe you can find some very good values in the $2k range and you can always change/upgrade later too.

I know because I started out small and with limited means and it grew over time. I built a good 2-channel system first and then built a HT around it. My system may not be talked about or drooled over because of it's simplicity but it works for me. Everyone who has heard my just shakes their head in amazement and almost disbelief of what they are actually hearing.:eek:

The most important thing is no matter what anyone of us tells you, the final judge is you. When you are satisfied then you are done and can enjoy the music. Do not obsess over small stuff because it will always be there. The object is to enjoy your system. :D


Jeff:musicnote:
 

MiTT

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Yep,

I agree with Jeff on this, as I'm sure many others (twich, Joey, DTB300) will. I believe that a tube pre-amp with a solid state amp is perhaps the best combination with our Martin Logans period, but beyond that, I think you will notice more of an influence from a tubed pre-amp than you would from a tubed amp, especially in your price range.

Look out on Audiogon and you'll find plenty to choose from in your price range that will give you the goods. I'm a Balanced Audio Technology guy, but Audio Research, Cary and Conrad Johnson are some of the brands you should look into. There are also some very good deals on Sonic Frontiers pre-amps out there to be had lately too. They are out of business now as far as creating and selling new gear, but all Sonic Frontiers gear can still be serviced through Anthem. I started my tube days on an old SFL-1, then got into an SFL-2 and eventually a BAT VK-30SE before getting my current VK-31SE. It was a progression; but to this day I'll never forget the sonic nirvana that befell me when I brought home that SFL-1 after paying a meager $900.00 for it.:p
 

marlin

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Thanks guys.
I think between the members of this club there is a wealth of knowledge that would be hard to find elsewhere.
I have been searching Audiogon and I think you are correct. I will probably buy used. Must have a phono stage included for the future. I am going back to vinyl eventually on my son's encouragement. He is a dyed in the wool vintage guy. It does my heart good to think where he is at with his audio at age 18.
 

twich54

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Thanks guys.
I think between the members of this club there is a wealth of knowledge that would be hard to find elsewhere.
I have been searching Audiogon and I think you are correct. I will probably buy used. Must have a phono stage included for the future. I am going back to vinyl eventually on my son's encouragement. He is a dyed in the wool vintage guy. It does my heart good to think where he is at with his audio at age 18.
Marlin, Glad to hear your son is into vinyl ! Yes , check out the "Gon" for there have been some decent looking used ARC pre-amps (SP-9 mkII, SP-16) recently that would easily fit your $$ range with some cash left over to buy some records !!
 

risabet

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Definitely preamp first. Then tube amp. Forget that SS stuff, a friend and excellent tech referred to SS devices as transp*ssters. Though I don't agree with that sentiment I will not go back to SS in the foreseeable future.

New I would check out the Prima Luna Prologue Three @ $1395.00 + $159.00 for phono board.
 
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