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Viking

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After having tested and auditioned tube amps I`m going for a full on assault in my search for a tube or tube amp(s) for my Summits. The field is now down to the all new Supratek Malbecs, Rogue Zeus, VAC Phi 300 or Wolcott 140s or 280M monos. Does anyone in here have any experiences with any of these amps or any oter, dynamic tube amps with real tight and deep bass? Now I`m using my "good `ol" Pass Labs X350.5 :)
 

twich54

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Viking said:
After having tested and auditioned tube amps I`m going for a full on assault in my search for a tube or tube amp(s) for my Summits. The field is now down to the all new Supratek Malbecs, Rogue Zeus, VAC Phi 300 or Wolcott 140s or 280M monos. Does anyone in here have any experiences with any of these amps or any oter, dynamic tube amps with real tight and deep bass? Now I`m using my "good `ol" Pass Labs X350.5 :)
I doubt very much if you will find tube amplification that will give you anywears near the "tight and deep" bass your looking for. If that is important I think you would be far better off with a Class "A" SS amp that can provide you with the qualities of the tubes in the mid and upper registers yet also give you the bottom end control.

Now that I've typed this I realized your speakers are Summitt's........daaaaaaaaa.........., sorry, not enough coffee this moring, yes I know the "tightness and control" will come from their own inboard amplification. So Tube away !!!!!!
 
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jhorowitz128

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Viking said:
After having tested and auditioned tube amps I`m going for a full on assault in my search for a tube or tube amp(s) for my Summits. The field is now down to the all new Supratek Malbecs, Rogue Zeus, VAC Phi 300 or Wolcott 140s or 280M monos. Does anyone in here have any experiences with any of these amps or any oter, dynamic tube amps with real tight and deep bass? Now I`m using my "good `ol" Pass Labs X350.5 :)
Coupla points here:

1. As "twitch54" stated, the Summits have their own amps to drive the woofers, but the tone of your post makes it seem that you may not be aware of this.

2. More generally, it's almost become an Urban Legend that good tube amps cannot deliver as deep and tight bass as SS amps. Having stated that opinion, it may be instructive to read the following review of the Rogue M-150 Monoblocks. The M-150's circuitry is derived from the Zeus'. Some say they are also more "refined" than the Zeus.

I'm referring you to this review because the Pass Labs X 250.5 was used as the reviewer's reference amp. Toward the end of the review, a comparison is made between the 2 amps. The differences noted do NOT have anything to do with the M-150's lack of bass. As a matter of fact, read the last sentence of the next-to-last paragraph.
http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/rogue2/m150.html

Full disclosure: My Aerius i's are being driven by the Rogue M-150's. You will have no trouble driving the Summits with these, especially since the Summits are more sensitive than the Aerius. Also, you'll spend $3500 less.

In any event, Rogue is a great product and it's world-class service cannot be beat.

Hope this helps,
Jeff
 

Viking

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Thanks for the answers here:
1. Of course do I know the Summits have bulit in amplification for the woofers, to imply otherwise is beyond me. But nevertheless, these amps derive their signal from the panels inputs and therefore the supplied signal must be of good quality in the bass :) I`ve not auditioned the Zeus at home, I will, but the peole having tried different tubes for the MLs say that Wolcotts and the new Vac Phi 300 are spectacular on the panels. The Malbec from Supratek is also made specifically for electrostats. Both Wolcott and Supretak have some nice features like adjustable output impedance etc. My vote as of now goes to Wolcott. But I hope to read some more experiences before making the leap.
 

twich54

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Viking said:
Thanks for the answers here:
1. Of course do I know the Summits have bulit in amplification for the woofers, to imply otherwise is beyond me. But nevertheless, these amps derive their signal from the panels inputs and therefore the supplied signal must be of good quality in the bass
Signal, yes, but the damping / control function is of the inboard SS amp and that is where SS has it's greatest advantage over tubes relative to the lower freq.
 

Spike

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Viking said:
After having tested and auditioned tube amps I`m going for a full on assault in my search for a tube or tube amp(s) for my Summits.
Which qualities did you find with the tube amplifiers that lead you on the search given that you already have the highly regarded Pass Labs.

The field is now down to the all new Supratek Malbecs, Rogue Zeus, VAC Phi 300 or Wolcott 140s or 280M monos.
This is an interesting list of amplifiers that you've narrowed down to. I'm not familiar with the Supratek Malbecs, but I have heard the parallell triode Merlot and must say that I was very impressed with them. At the time I was looking for more power to drive the panels of my ReQuests and the Merlot was a bit low on the power. Mick did offer a Merlot-based custom made, push-pull triode amplifier based on the 6C33 tubes but I did not have room for 4-piece system. If I'm not mistaken, the rest of the amplifiers are all push-pull, ultra-linear design. May I ask the rationale for this list? There are other worthy amplifiers you should consider on this list: Cary 805C Anniversary, VAC 70/70 Renaissance, Canary Audio, Cary V12R, BAT vk75SE... to name a few. Given the Summits with the internal bass amplifiers, you don't need a whole lot of power, but you do need clean, high-quality power for the panels. I found that around 50-70 watts per channel being the sweet spot, balancing the simple circuitry in order to stay close to the original signal, and having enough power for the panels.
Does anyone in here have any experiences with any of these amps or any oter, dynamic tube amps with real tight and deep bass? Now I`m using my "good `ol" Pass Labs X350.5 :)
I my case, I favor triode design for the full-midrange performance, and I found that the Cary V12R (AES SixPacs) work well in my system. Others have good success with Cary 805C and VAC Renaissance as well.

Good Luck
 

kach22i

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I am of the opinion that "looks" matter, it's part of the reason why I like Martin Logans so much, and I admit it.

For coolness factor, gotta go with the Supratek...............the other amps listed are all handsome, I'm talking about cool factor.

http://www.supratek.biz/poweramp.htm

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Twitch45 said:
Now that I've typed this I realized your speakers are Summitt's........daaaaaaaaa.........., sorry, not enough coffee this moring, yes I know the "tightness and control" will come from their own inboard amplification. So Tube away !!!!!!

I was wondering where you were going with this. It's summer, don't be afraid to try some iced coffee.
 
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edwinr

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Despite the on-board amplifiers, the Summits still need very high quality, full bandwidth amplification. This often, but not always, goes hand in hand with a generous power output. The tightness and control in the bass, which is a feature of the Summit, can only manifest itself if the low frequency signal from the out-board power amp is also tight and controlled.
 
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Viking

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Spike said:
Which qualities did you find with the tube amplifiers that lead you on the search given that you already have the highly regarded Pass Labs.


This is an interesting list of amplifiers that you've narrowed down to. I'm not familiar with the Supratek Malbecs, but I have heard the parallell triode Merlot and must say that I was very impressed with them. At the time I was looking for more power to drive the panels of my ReQuests and the Merlot was a bit low on the power. Mick did offer a Merlot-based custom made, push-pull triode amplifier based on the 6C33 tubes but I did not have room for 4-piece system. If I'm not mistaken, the rest of the amplifiers are all push-pull, ultra-linear design. May I ask the rationale for this list? There are other worthy amplifiers you should consider on this list: Cary 805C Anniversary, VAC 70/70 Renaissance, Canary Audio, Cary V12R, BAT vk75SE... to name a few. Given the Summits with the internal bass amplifiers, you don't need a whole lot of power, but you do need clean, high-quality power for the panels. I found that around 50-70 watts per channel being the sweet spot, balancing the simple circuitry in order to stay close to the original signal, and having enough power for the panels.

I my case, I favor triode design for the full-midrange performance, and I found that the Cary V12R (AES SixPacs) work well in my system. Others have good success with Cary 805C and VAC Renaissance as well.

Good Luck
My reasons for my list is first that these are cheaper in Norway than the US, relatively speaking :) Supratek, Wolcott and VAC I can import myself and get it a lot cheaper than the other brands that go through a distributor. The main things I like about the Supratek and Wolcotts is the damping circuitry which makes them ideal for electrostats. I`m in no doubt these other brands also offer great sound and enough power, but neither is so specialized towards driving panels. The other thing is that I`ve been told to have lots of power from the tube amps, I`ve been told a Wolcott 140s with 2x140 watts isn`t enough to drive the panels properly and that I need the 280Ms. I must say I`m alittle bewildered here :)
When talking about what I heard in the tubes that I`m not getting from the Pass X350.5 it`s the richness of the mids, the natural flow and the beautifil voices :) The highs seems a little dry on the Pass and I miss some warmth in the lower mids to make things sound more live or real. The Pass is great on all "hifi" parameters, but in my opinion tubes sound more lifelike.
 

Spike

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Viking said:
The main things I like about the Supratek and Wolcotts is the damping circuitry which makes them ideal for electrostats. I`m in no doubt these other brands also offer great sound and enough power, but neither is so specialized towards driving panels.
There's nothing magical about driving the electro-static panels. One needs to make sure that the amplifier(s) have a really beefy power-supply section to deal with the wide impedance swing ranging from 30+ ohms tapering to 1 ohm. A good indication of a beefy power-supply is the existence of a choke unit to keep the input voltage rock-solid regardless of the load. Supratek, Cary/AES, BAT for example all have chokes in their designs.
The other thing is that I`ve been told to have lots of power from the tube amps, I`ve been told a Wolcott 140s with 2x140 watts isn`t enough to drive the panels properly and that I need the 280Ms. I must say I`m alittle bewildered here :)
Having lots of output wattage is just one indication of getting a big power-supply in a tube amplifier. However, high-power comes at a cost of having a complex circuitry involving lots of components to degrade the signal :( Looking for the right circuitry involving the minimum number of components to drive the 'stat panels is the key here.
When talking about what I heard in the tubes that I`m not getting from the Pass X350.5 it`s the richness of the mids, the natural flow and the beautifil voices :) The highs seems a little dry on the Pass and I miss some warmth in the lower mids to make things sound more live or real. The Pass is great on all "hifi" parameters, but in my opinion tubes sound more lifelike.
SupraTek will fit the bill here, but you'll need to inform Mick that you'd need between 30-40wpc from his amplifier(s) to drive the (not-so-efficient) Summits electro-static panels. He'll think of ways to hit the target sweet spot for you. Good luck.
 

Viking

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I`ve talked to Mick Maloney and his new Supratek Malbek KT88s are made to drive electrostatic panels, he`s using them to drive MLs himself :) They are 100watts pr. block and incorporate 4xKT88 a side.
 

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edwinr said:
Despite the on-board amplifiers, the Summits still need very high quality, full bandwidth amplification. This often, but not always, goes hand in hand with a generous power output. The tightness and control in the bass, which is a feature of the Summit, can only manifest intself if the low frequency signal from the out-board power amp is also tight and controlled.
edwinr, is this from the owners manual?
 

Spike

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Viking said:
I`ve talked to Mick Maloney and his new Supratek Malbek KT88s are made to drive electrostatic panels, he`s using them to drive MLs himself :) They are 100watts pr. block and incorporate 4xKT88 a side.
If it's warmth, midrange richness and smooth vocals you're after, make sure you have options to try EL34s in triode mode.

Good luck
Spike
 

Anthony A.

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it just may be that you need a really good tubr preamp in your system to give you that tube magic. i think you are using a meridian ss right now? in any case, the pass coupled with a very good tube amp with some rare nos tubes may do the trick. imo, nothing beats solid ss amp performance, and pass labs is one of the top!!!
 

Viking

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No more Meridian here, I`m running the APL hifi NWO-2 cd with built in preamp using 6H30 DR tubes. So, there are going to be tubes or hybrid amps (Moscode) in my system :)
 

twich54

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edwinr said:
Despite the on-board amplifiers, the Summits still need very high quality, full bandwidth amplification. This often, but not always, goes hand in hand with a generous power output. The tightness and control in the bass, which is a feature of the Summit, can only manifest intself if the low frequency signal from the out-board power amp is also tight and controlled.
That being said the best Tube amp will never rival the best SS amp with respect to damping / control capabilities for the bottom end. I believe hands down our love for tubes (outside of the visual) is the "warmth" that they impart over the mid-freq that represent they primariy sprectrum that we listen in.
 

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twich54 said:
That being said the best Tube amp will never rival the best SS amp with respect to damping / control capabilities for the bottom end. I believe hands down our love for tubes (outside of the visual) is the "warmth" that they impart over the mid-freq that represent they primariy sprectrum that we listen in.
I agree with Twich...the mids are great.....When I was auditioning Tube Amps as a possible solution in my new amp search, the midrange from most of the tube amps was excellent on my CLS panels. But, for my tastes, room, equipment, etc., I just could not find a Tube Amp that could control my panels on the low end, and give me the smooth and accurate high end the way my current amp does. Again, this was for the sound in my room with my equipment.

With my Tube Pre and SS Amp, I have a combination that works for me, but may not work for anyone else - hence auditioning is a must.

Dan
 

Viking

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Has anyone here heard Wolcott or Moscode on stats? They are suppose to deliver SS control in the bass with all the treats of tubes intact.
 
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