SuperBAF Cheap Tube Amp Guide ~$1200 or less

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

  1. TomNC

    TomNC Acquaintance

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    I listened to Mainline at a mini meet a week ago. It could not keep up with ZD/ZDS/DNA Stratus/Liquid Gold and a $2100 level made-in-China tube (6as7g/6080) amp. But all the other amps are also more expensive than the Mainline. The attendants at the meet as a group thought the Mainline was far from TOTL amp status.
     
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  2. Sherm

    Sherm Rando

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    Thanks for the input, @TomNC! I was most attracted to the Mainline due to the DIY aspect, but price was also a consideration. I guess I'll have to keep saving until I can afford one of the higher end tube amps.
     
  3. FallingObjects

    FallingObjects Pay It Forward

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  4. murray

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    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
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  5. Clear Water

    Clear Water Friend

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  6. murray

    murray Friend

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    You're right. Old habits die hard. FTFY.
     
  7. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 Friend

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    Anyone have a listen to the Decware CSP3? Its around $1300 so a bit more than the limit but it looks pretty nice and Decware seems to be well liked. Don't hear much about them around here though.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. TheIceman93

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  9. MattRG

    MattRG Almost "Made"

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    I watched a video the other day of Tyll at a meet-up and he was talking to Zach from ZMF about the Eikon and Atticus. Guess which amp he had those units plugged in to? Yep, the Decware shown above. Evidently Decware isn't too far geographically from ZMF and Zach is a fan of theirs and said they made good stuff.

    And in other news I bought a lightly used Lyr 2 from an online source today for $275. For that kind of money I figured it was worth it to get a taste of tubes on the cheap. I think it should be here next week and I am extremely interested to hear how it sounds.
     
  10. FallingObjects

    FallingObjects Pay It Forward

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    What are people's opinions on the WA6/WA6SE here? I've read through scattered references on SBAF, and it seems to be mostly okay (though maybe not the best for the price)? Asking because I see one for sale at $650 CAD that I could obtain, which would net $450 if I sold my Vali 2 off as well.

    I'm reluctant to do so though, because Vali 2 comes recommended as a good match for the Elears, and the WA6 requires more tubes (and matched tubes, and generally more expensive tubes) than the Vali 2 does.
     
  11. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    But how did the mainline stack up as a $1200 amp?
     
  12. svperstar

    svperstar Rando

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    I have been on the fence about buying the WA6SE for my LCD-2 for months now, the fact that nobody ever talks about it is one of the big reasons I haven't bought it.
     
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  13. atomicbob

    atomicbob Friend

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    Years ago I acquired the WA3+. I had been vacillating between the WA3+ and WA6. In retrospect I really wish I would have gone for the WA6. It is much more versatile than the WA3+ and has much lower residual noise. A fellow enthusiast brings his Yggdrasil + WA6 (with 6FD7 fat bottle tubes) to local meets to which I enjoy listening.
     
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  14. dubiousmike

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    To each their own I suppose as to impressions of the mainline. I confess I am a bit curious as to the source and phones used in the above-reference meet, as well as who built the mainline in question, whether it was properly biased (meter required, but the trim pots are readily accessible), what tubes were used and what, if any, of the popular modifications (e.g. teflon caps?) were made in the build.

    As a hd800 listener (with yggy as source), I far prefer my mainline to the hotter trebles of an OG ZD (haven't heard the SE), and it is fairly well documented by those who have owned both that stratus and mainline are incredibly different flavors - the former lush and euphonic (in a good way), and the latter almost solid state but with a hint of tube warmth and sweet refined trebles. Pick your poison. I know there are a few here who have expressed they found the mainline uninspiring under meet conditions. Others have expressed just the opposite, and most of us who actually own it seem to hold it in high regard. I was a part of the original preorder, and years later, I am still thrilled to power mine up each evening. YMMV of course, but to my ears, it is a beautiful and beautifully designed amp with no real competition at its price point.
     
  15. TheIceman93

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  16. svperstar

    svperstar Rando

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    How much power would that put into 50 ohm?
     
  17. phaeton

    phaeton Rando

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    specs say 2.9W @ 8ohm (UL/pentode) so potentially at least 0.46W @ 50ohm
     
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  18. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Friend

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    Oh I smell another Head-Fi cult brewing over that amp. How long before the christmas trees show up on that....
     
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  19. spwath

    spwath Friend

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    easy math.
    but I'll do it for you.
    specs say:

    UL 2.9W +2.(W
    Pentode 2.9W + 2.9W
    Triode 1.6W + 1.6W (8 ohm)


    16 ohm, 1.45w Pentode, 0.8w triode
    32 ohm, 0.725w pentode, 0.4w triode
    64 ohm, 0.3625w pentode, 0.2w triode
    so somewhere in between the 32 and 64.
    doesn't look like that much...
     
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  20. SineDave

    SineDave Facebook Friend

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    I am a WA6 owner. It's a good amp, but tube rolling is a huge part of getting its full capability. With the right rectifier (Mullard GZ72 or Sophia), it's extremely euphonic, has good bass (with good driver tubes - I use GE 6DF7). Where it suffers for me is in detail retrieval and imaging. I'm not saying it's bad at either - but it falls short of optimal. The soundstage on the WA6 feels like it's about 60% the size/spaciousness it could be, while detail wise I find that it has plenty of warm tube character but doesn't really do well with micro-detail. I'd rank it about 20% short of the Ragnarok I owned briefly in terms of resolution, but superior for me in terms of long term enjoyment and fatigue. All of the above is from when I compare it to my speaker setup which is about as resolving as a system can get.

    I'm currently looking to move on from my WA6. It's been a great amp at work for the past 3.5 years, but i'm ready for something different. I upgraded to the WA6 from a Vali1 and it was a big improvement for me.
     
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