SuperBAF Cheap Tube Amp Guide ~$1200 or less

Discussion in 'Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Marvey, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Friend

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    The ZMF Sonnare will fit the pricing range ($899 or $999). But I think Zach is still prototyping it. It reminds me of a mini Super 7 with a signature wood face on the front. You know, you can have your ZMF headphones match your ZMF amp. I think @gbeast listened to the prototype...
     

  2. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Say what? I hadn't heard about that at all.
     
  3. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    It sounded great with the HD800 and I preferred its tonality to the MZ2. It gave the 800 some oomph but it wasn't finished yet.
     
  4. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Friend

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    900x900px-LL-ca32a142_DSC_2881.jpg

    The only pic I know of..... HF of course, Portland meet thread
     
  5. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Friend

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    Whatever is "wrong" (that damn subjectivity thing rears its ugly head again) with the timbre of the Vali,it really works for my ears. In terms of listening pleasure/dollar, it is at the very top of my purchases in this hobby. It probably isn't very good with modern "meant for phones" low impedance dynamics or most iems, but it and my hd600s make a combo that I've actually driven faster just to get home and hear. (Insert "philistine," "tin-ear," etc comment here). Revelatory for me.
     
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  6. sashafuckinggrey

    sashafuckinggrey Acquaintance

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    So which of these amps would be most suited for hd 800 but at the same time for playnars like audeze lcd2?
     
  7. lukeap69

    lukeap69 Pinoy Panther - Friend

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    My Glenn OTL is almost $1.5k including tubes and as far as I know has a unique configuration. The only amp I have on the list is the Schiit Lyr 2 and i found the Glenn OTL amp is better in everyway for my Senns headphones. I like the Lyr 2 for PM-2 & TH-X00 though.
     
  8. fraggler

    fraggler The Cable Guy - Friend

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    Forgot about that amp. Supposed to head over to Zach's in the next couple weeks. Will see if I can get a listen. Not sure if I will bring my Valhalla2 since I have to take a train to the burbs.
     
  9. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Friend

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    It would be nice to get some more real impressions, then maybe it would be worthy of its own tread...

    You might want to check with Zach. He might have a Valhala2,
     
  10. cskippy

    cskippy Friend

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    I can get a used super 7 for $1300. Is it worth it given the cost of replacing tubes and wanting to use both HD650 and HE-6 with it? I'm tired of circling around spending money here and there when I could have added it up and just gotten an end game amp. Any other amps that I should have my eye on? I'm looking at tube amps for the sound stage depth and slight lushness.

    I could use an amp with loop out to a speaker amp for HE-6 if necessary.
     
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  11. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    @cskippy Do you know if it's Mk1 or Mk2? Either way, yes, very much worth it. If you are a smart tube shopper, getting some good tubes is not insanely expensive and still well worth it.

    I can't say how well the HE-6 runs from it.

    @MisterRogers helped me install a Belleson voltage regulator for the driver tube as well as walk me through how to swap out some caps, pot, and wiring for further improved sound. It's really good stock and still worth it but with a few component swaps is incredible. Note that if it's Mk2 and stock, it's not a particularly euphonic amp. Very neutral.
     
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  12. cskippy

    cskippy Friend

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    It's a MK2 with Jantzen silver caps and electraprint transformers.
     
  13. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Friend

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    Where? ;):cool:;):cool:;)
     
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  14. lithium

    lithium Rando

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    Thanks for your efforts @Hands for this excellent guide...Someone should sell me their T3, sounds like a great choice. Has anyone tried the headphone amp from Icon audio in the UK?
     
  15. Bulldog

    Bulldog Rando

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    I own the Icon Audio Hp 8 jensen cap version, but have made the move to the stax 2170. Though i still keep it around i can tell you a few couple of things. The jensen cap version gives the amp a more warmer smoother sound, The stock caps i hear hold the amp from reaching it best so i hear.

    My icon audio seems to suffer from transformer hum, while there it's not loud enough to be heard during music. This problem for me seems to be common for some people but not all people have been said to hear there icon audio humming. I think it was mention by icon audio that some hum was normal i think.

    The 12ax7 that come with the hp8 for me was the jj gold pin, which i came to disliked finding it muddy and fatiguing, had it replaced with the lion b759 & have stayed with the ehx 6sn7 which has worked out for me.

    My memory how the icon audio hp 8 sounding is a bit vague now only remembering how murky the jj were & trying to put me to sleep compared to when i moved back to the lions. The lions have a lush sound to them with great resolution with some air on top, the bass felt more controlled compared to the jj which i found woolly or tubby. The ehx i notice from time to time have this edgy brightness to it but i find its ok with how warm the amp is .

    I have pretty much moved on to the stax 2170 though i am planing to go back to the icon audio hp 8 for a while. However i just don't have the time nowdays.
     
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  16. lithium

    lithium Rando

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    Thanks for your input. I have definitely heard about the transformer hum issue before and it always good to hear some tube rolling experience. Now for that T3 I need.....:pirate07:
     
  17. cskippy

    cskippy Friend

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    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
  18. Rozenberg

    Rozenberg Acquaintance

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    Goddammit would totally buy if it were in Europe.
    I'm looking to replace my Crimson to something cheaper but with same performance. Been eyeiny the EC amps but really hard to find here.
     
  19. jelt2359

    jelt2359 Friend

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    I picked up a used GOTL and it is definitely a 'punch above it's class' amp. Get the GOTL, get a pair of 6528's ($50), a Hexfred rectifier ($30 from Glenn?) and finally an RCA or Sylvania 6sn7 or Tung-Sol 6F8G ($30-$50), and you're talking $1110-$1130. Because it's using the 6528, it has the lowest output impedance possible with this configuration and should drive most phones fine.
     
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  20. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Most definitely. The builds look solid. The only reason the Glenn stuff would never be put on this list is because they are custom builds. Looks like there is a lot of latitude for customization: boutique caps, coils, power transformers, and that the amps are designed for the audiophile who likes to experiment with or listen to the differences of different tubes. The combinations are almost infinite. Therefore, any kind of comparison with other amps on this list or even against other Glenn amps is impossible.

    You can argue the TIII is like this, but the options are much more limited, and we assume a documented known set of "max" upgrades: Cinemag OPTs and active load kits.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
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