“Rock out at ear-splitting volumes? Look elsewhere…Enjoy intimate small-group jazz, pop, folk, or chamber music? Give these a listen right away.”
“After a brek in period for the tubes and amp, I will say this is a very good sounding amp. Will it beat a Cary or a Jadis? NO! But it is very good for the money. “ Read
“I’d say I have “liquid mids” and “microdynamics” just galore in here! “ Read
“Warm and lush character with current tubes. Extremely easy to listen to with its involving character. Smooth treble, vocals and midband which cannot be comapred to w/my SS or PP tube amps, regardless of tubes used. ” Read
After getting my hands wet in Tube world with McIntosh, and falling in love with tubes, I had to buy tube amp for my office at home. I started to search around and found this great amp. For $700 without output tubes or for $920 with JJ 300B tubes, I got it going. The question also was which speakers should I use with the amp. They have to be small enough to fit on the table, have to be sensitive enough to work with the amp, have to be of high quality to not compromise sound from the amp. I chose Paradigm Atom Monitor v.6.
I got it in and set everything up, the sound right out of the box was great (I removed the stock tubes right away – see review of Ruby 12au7 on this site and you will understand why). Clarity, musicality, sound stage all was there. Paradigm’s 90db sensitivity was more than enough to fill my room (15×11)
Time for tube rolling…
Tried many different tubes (see this site for my reviews), in general: 12au7 US gray plates are shit (RCA clear tops are exception); Black plates are nice and warm, 5751 work fantastically as V1, 5963 work fantastically as V2, 12bh7 as V2 are a killer!!!
The amp is a bit too bright for my taste (I’m very sensitive to high frequencies and paradigms have titanium tweeters), so clear tops are a bit bright with some songs, but superbly detailed otherwise. Mixing them up with warmer sounding tubes like RCA Black Plates would do the trick and bring the best of both worlds.
Bass extension is an issue here. The amp doesn’t have enough power to produce a powerful kick, but I pair all my set ups with a sub-woofer – floor standing speakers just can’t produce the depth and ease of bass sub-woofer can produce. In this case to remedy bass issue, I pared Dared with a small 4” subwoofer from computer speaker set up. That made all the difference. Now the sound was complete. So if you decide to buy the map, spend $50 on a desktop subwoofer – you will not regret it.
Overall impression, fantastic amp for small rooms – sound clarity and stage is as good as McIntosh with the right tubes.
Next is 300B rolling (talking about expensive)…