Summits and tubes

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BearcatSandor

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I've started looking into the possibility of a pair of Summits driven by tube amps. The recommended power for the Summits is 100 watts.

If i end up getting a tube amp (SET or not) with a output of only 50 watts or say 15 or 10, and i don't have a big room, nor do i listen to it loud am i going to run into problems? Probems == clipping, burning out my tubes or my speakers.

Given that i'd only be driving the panel of the Summits how much wattage do i need to play them at a reasonable level. "Reasonable" means i can hold a conversation with out raising my voice.

Since the Summits will be handling the bass i don't need to worry about lack of "punch".

However, if i go with a 50 watt deHavilland SET, we're looking at 10k for the amps and 10k for the speakers. Yeesh! In a music surround system that's gonna kill me!

Keep in mind i'm a guy with a 380 wpc Carver, so this is quite the paradigm shift for me.
 

kach22i

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Are you talking about a fantasy combination, or is this something you really might be doing?

Suggestions or things to think about:

1. Talk to someone at M/L if you can.

2. Talk to someone at the amp company if you can.

3. Home audition is a must.

I e-mailed or called the DeHavilland people once, they seemed shy about M/L products if I recall correctly. Someone once told me the same of the Cary people, but that was regarding of some of their 20 year old designs, not the newer stuff.
 

aliveatfive

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The Summits do sound louder (played through the same amp/pre-amp combination) than their earlier incarnations. I'm using an ARC VT 100 III and a BAT VK51SE to drive mine. They subjectively sound much louder than my previous speaker pair, the Ascent is. Roberto, frequent contributor to these posts, uses a 50 wpc tube amp, if I'm not mistaken, to good effect. If you want to try a low-powered tube SET, be sure of return policies first. I once tried a Golden Tube SE(single ended) 40 amp on a pair of Sequel IIs and it could not drive them.
 

kach22i

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aliveatfive said:
If you want to try a low-powered tube SET, be sure of return policies first. I once tried a Golden Tube SE(single ended) 40 amp on a pair of Sequel IIs and it could not drive them.
Good suggestion about the return policy.

Just to note, I have a Golden Tube push-pull 100 watt SE-100, and it drives the Aerius better than the 100 watt S.S. Rotel I had.
 
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BearcatSandor

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kach22i said:
Are you talking about a fantasy combination, or is this something you really might be doing?

Suggestions or things to think about:

1. Talk to someone at M/L if you can.

2. Talk to someone at the amp company if you can.

3. Home audition is a must.

I e-mailed or called the DeHavilland people once, they seemed shy about M/L products if I recall correctly. Someone once told me the same of the Cary people, but that was regarding of some of their 20 year old designs, not the newer stuff.
This is a fantasy but a serious one. I'm in the planning stages right now and i'm looking at all my options. I'll give M/L a call on Monday.
 

Spike

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Many options

For the budget of $10k, you should really take a look (listen) to as many options as you can before plunking down your hard-earned $$$. DeHavilland is an excellent brand, but there are others to consider as well. Owning ML ReQuests, I've asked questions to Victor Khomenko of BAT, Dennis Had of Cary, and Ralph Karsten of Atma-Sphere regarding the ML load presented at the amplifier. Specifically, my question was regarding using their amplifiers to drive the electrostatic panels only and they all came back saying that would be of no problem for the amplifiers due to two reasons:
1) The 1 ohm load is only seen at the extreme high frequency (20kHz) where there is little energy in terms of music.
2) The robustly built (over-engineered) power supply should handle the electrostatic panels from mid-bass (200Hz) up to the highs.

Given that the Summits already have internal bass amplifiers, 50 watts of tube power from these amplifiers are plenty. In addition to the "normal" run-of-the-mill tube amplifier offerings from... Audio Research and Conrad Johnson, the lesser known amplifiers to put on your audition list are:
1) Cary 805C monoblocs
2) Cary V12R
3) Balanced Audio VK75SE
4) Atma-Sphere M60 OTL monoblocs
5) Joule Electra StarGate monoblocs
6) Canary Audio

If you decided that these amplifiers are too rich for your blood, you can always look at the SixPacs monoblocs or the offerings from Antique Sound Lab. The SixPacs are literally cousins of the Cary V12R according to Dennis Had. Just for your reference, I'm currently very happy with the SixPacs monoblocs driving my ML ReQuest panels.

Best of luck on your search. "Trust your ears"
Spike
 
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cb1

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I've got a pair of Summit's. I remember auditioning them at a dealer in Madison WI. The dealer was driving them with a Musical Fidelity amp- I think one of their KW solid state/mini tube hybrid jobies. It sounded like dog doo.

They had a 50 wpc ARC all tube amp in the room. I asked them to hook it up. They did- and what a difference. That was great for me since my main amp is a ARC VT-200. The VT-200 works great driving the Summits. I realize that your looking at SETs with less power, but tube amps work for Summits- even 50 wpc ones... in my experience.

That said- I actually use a Spectral DMA 150 to drive the woofers, because it sounds better!!!
 
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kach22i

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Spike said:
the lesser known amplifiers to put on your audition list are:
1) Cary 805C monoblocs
2) Cary V12R
3) Balanced Audio VK75SE
4) Atma-Sphere M60 OTL monoblocs
5) Joule Electra StarGate monoblocs
6) Canary Audio

If you decided that these amplifiers are too rich for your blood, you can always look at the SixPacs monoblocs or the offerings from Antique Sound Lab.
Lots of single ended and OTL's (transformerless) designs thrown in there. I like to rock-out sometimes, not sure if I would fit some of those amps.
 

Spike

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kach22i said:
Lots of single ended and OTL's (transformerless) designs thrown in there. I like to rock-out sometimes, not sure if I would fit some of those amps.
Then rock away! I was listing the amps which have huge power supplies, and they are capable of at least 50 watts (per channel). The Cary V12R can be "flipped" (literally) into ultra-linear mode for twice the power output. The basic premise is that 50wpc on tap are more than enough for the panels driving from 250hz up to 20kHz, while the bass is handle with the internal solid-state amps.

Spike
 

roberto

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Spike said:
Then rock away! I was listing the amps which have huge power supplies, and they are capable of at least 50 watts (per channel). The Cary V12R can be "flipped" (literally) into ultra-linear mode for twice the power output. The basic premise is that 50wpc on tap are more than enough for the panels driving from 250hz up to 20kHz, while the bass is handle with the internal solid-state amps.

Spike
Hola...believe it or not, I´m using a Margules U-280 class A triode mode with only 30 W/ch. The volume is loud and clean...no effort to drive the stat panels...the sensitivity of the Summit panels are 92 dBs, easy to drive them with low power amps and getting super good sound. We all know that the best sounding amplifiers are limited at their power...with the Summits you are allow to use these amps with no problem!!! Try them and trust your ears, happy listening,
Roberto.
 
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BearcatSandor

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Thanx again for all the responces. I'm excited about hearing these things at my dealer when he finally gets them in.

I've been looking at (and getting drool all ovey my keyboard) over the Audio Art SET amps. Apparently, they wil custom taylor the inpendence of the amp to fit your speakers and they do work with Martins. With the sensitivity of 92 db on the summits, the 20 watt Jota, should work fine. Of course i'm gonna listen to all this stuff before i do something crazy.

cb1 said:
That said- I actually use a Spectral DMA 150 to drive the woofers, because it sounds better!!!
You're using your own amp to drive the Summits?

Can you defeat the crossover?
 

aliveatfive

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Bearcat -

Your post brings to mind another interesting topic: tube rolling in the output stage of amps. I know that many manufacturers say that their amps are desiged around a certain output tube, say a 6550 b or c. I've tried substituting (in my ARC Vt 100 III) new-stock TungSol 6550s for the stock tubes. Anyone with similar experiences care to comment? BTW, I like the TungSols better.
 

Steelhead

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I used to drive my ReQuests full range with a CJ Premier 11a. Bass and dynamics were compromised, and it was a tough load but I never had any tube problems, etc and the amp was rock solid reliable. I still have the 11a and use that on the panels, but biamp with my old Hafler 500 on the bottom. That takes care of the bass and dynamics issue and I still have that lovely tube midrange/upper.

I have also biamped using two Hafler 500's (more as an experiment as they are hanging around) my ReQuests and MUCH prefer the 11a/DH 500 heaven hell setup.

Tubes just sound so much better imho and I have enough non-philes concur that I hope to run tube monoblocks or high power stereo down the road.

Have Fun
 

Spike

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BearcatSandor said:
I've been looking at (and getting drool all ovey my keyboard) over the Audio Art SET amps.
Bearcat, not fair!! Now I'm wiping off drool from my keyboard! Anyways, the high-current Jota should do fine making music through the Summits.

Steelhead said:
I used to drive my ReQuests full range with a CJ Premier 11a. Bass and dynamics were compromised, and it was a tough load but I never had any tube problems, etc and the amp was rock solid reliable. I still have the 11a and use that on the panels, but biamp with my old Hafler 500 on the bottom. That takes care of the bass and dynamics issue and I still have that lovely tube midrange/upper.
Same here. I have the SixPacs monoblocs driving the ReQuest panels, and the solid-state Classe' CA300 handling the bass. Sweet mids & highs from the tubes, no doubt.

Spike
 
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