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[WTD] Valve amp for Tannoys

Discussion in 'classifieds' started by jonnypsvinyl, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. s1h1

    s1h1 performing within expectations

  2. jonnypsvinyl

    jonnypsvinyl pfm Member

    I think the Radford needs to be a 25, ideally. And not in Warwick.

    I'd go for the Art - its ideal, apart from the fact its in Nottingham. I've asked the seller if he'll consider postage.

    I'm also finding myself transfixed by a Ayon 62B SE behemoth at the Emporium. Thats bad, on many levels. Must resist...
  3. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Also very good. Bizarrely, gawd knows why but after commenting on the Art Audio amp the thought came into my head that one doesn't often see Trilogy valve power amps these days... then this post appeared!

    Alchemist's metalwork supplier had a pair of the EL34 version with Martin Logan ESLs and very nice it sounded!
  4. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Very good VFM @£800 I reckon.. you'd pay at least double for the similarly speced STA25.
    I recall superb results with one of these driving Townshend Glastonbury's.
  5. Ducatiist

    Ducatiist pfm Member

    They are just voltage selectors. They can be used on several different a/c voltages.
    I've seen some Mullard 5-20's transformers with little jumper links on the top of them, but Matamp did a better job and used proper voltage selectors (which seems much safer).
    They're nice amps, but like most of the audio stuff I have for sale, its a pretty half-hearted attempt at selling anything...I usually decide I need to sell, then set it up and think "Why am I getting rid of this" - just done this with a Spectral DMC-12 pre-amp which very nearly sold last week...I think I might be keeping that now!!! Stupid hobby:(:(:(
    lawrence001 and s1h1 like this.
  6. effinity

    effinity pfm Member

    go on! :cool:
  7. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

    Between my previous 15in Monitor Golds and current 12in HPDs (in half a dozen different cabinets) I would say that anything 'normal' single ended really doesn't cut it with the Monitor Series - not enough control over the cones, you need something with a bit of damping factor which means push-pull. 300bs? No chance. It'll sound pleasant enought but floppy bass, probably missing the bottom half octave.

    For HPDs the Radford STA15 (which is about 25w, not 15w) is fine but you'd do better with an STA25 (35w). Tony's suggestion of an ST20 is good (it will work) but it's only 12w, and gives a better result with Golds than HPDs which have heavier (cardboard reinforced) cones and need more power and more control. The Mullard/Matamp suggestion is spot on.

    I would say go for an EL34 or KT88 amp, push-pull, and forget about single ended. I'm currently using a Leben CS1000P (with KT90s - preferred over KT120s which always sound a bit 'thick' and unsubtle to my ears). I previously had a Leben CS660p and that was pretty good too. Anything push-pull from EAR is good, the Art Audio amps, something like a Puresound A30 or a pre-owned Prima Luna is well within budget, Quad II monoblocks ancient or modern. There really are tons of extremely practical options.
  8. Mike P

    Mike P pfm Member

    I find my ST20 just as pleasing as my STA25 into 15" HPD's. I haven't been able to choose between them.
    psd122 likes this.
  9. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    When I compared STA25 and ST20 I found the Radford to be the better amp in my system and to my ears...
    Darmok and montesquieu like this.
  10. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

    An STA25 sells for roughly double what an ST20 or paid of Quad IIs does. That differential has been pretty consistent these last 10-15 years and I think it accurately reflects the relative performance. Though TBH I would suggest even an STA25 is pushing it into 15in HPDs. You really need a good KT88-type amp to drive and control them to their full potential.
  11. Mike P

    Mike P pfm Member

    I've no doubt that into a less easy load the ST25 would clearly better an ST20 but into 15" Tannoys I find them to be about on level pegging. The ability of the STA25 to work well with a much wider range if speakers probably accounts for much of the differential in market value.

    If pushed to choose, I'd probably to go with the Radford but the Leak runs it very close and in some respects I find it better.

    I've had several powerful SS amps on the end of my HPD's too and don't feel my valve amps lack in drive or control.

    lawrence001 likes this.
  12. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Into my Spendor BC2 speakers the STA25 was simply better in every way to my ears. I wouldn't go as far as to say the Radford wiped the floor with the Leak but the difference was pretty obvious. Good as the Leak is, the Radford was quite obviously even more transparent, even better soundstaging, more authority etc
    Darmok and montesquieu like this.
  13. Down in Devon

    Down in Devon Member

    I've had a number of the Art Audio Amps when I had Tannoys (Gold and Reds not HPDs)
    Agree with most here that PP and EL34 or KT88 type would be best...Personally still regret selling my PP KT88 Concerto...
    That Quintet is nice but old and may need work...
    I would suggest giving Tom Willis a call, he occasionally has amps traded in and that way you would know exactly what you are getting.
    montesquieu likes this.
  14. tonerei

    tonerei pfm Member

    I find KT120's in my Jadis work really well with ESL63's and I am hoping it will be similar with the legacy Cheviots. I am surprised at your view that they sound a bit 'thick' and unsubtle. I get the opposite. Control, authority, taut bass(plenty of it) and maybe the plenty of it is where the problem might manifest it self on 12 inch or 15 inch Tannoy drivers.

    Have to give a plug for the art audio amp also. Friend has one with tons of EL34 tubes not sure of the model but it always sounded fantastic with ESL63's.

    Have no experience whatsoever with Radfords or Leaks but rightly or wrongly feel they would be very soft sounding?
  15. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    FWIW I heard the legendary Marchbanks STA 15 here through my Tannoys fairly recently (pre-covid) and liked it a lot. I don’t consider it to be in a different class to the Leak at all, once you get to properly big and efficient speakers different rules tend to apply. Absolutely no agenda here, if I felt the Radford was better I’d absolutely go buy one. It is a shame time was fairly tight as I’d have liked to hear it through the 149s as a few more Watts may help up there. It was kitted out with vintage Mullard EL34s too (I think it was a full Mullard valve-set), so great valves. It struck me as very high-gain like the Leak, so hard to use my Verdier pre (we tried the Verdier, an Audio Synthesis Passion and the original Radford pre (crazy loud on CD and noisy, so likely in need of a service), and something else not mine that I can’t remember). Nice amp, but not convinced I’d pay more than a properly serviced Leak for one. The ones I’d love to hear next are Quad IIs!

    Bottom line is you really do not need brute force to drive Monitor Golds to any level any sensible person would want to be in a typical UK room with. I’ve not liked 300B or smaller SETs with my Tannoys at all, they just don’t have the bass grip I like, but anything from a pair of EL84s up with nice transformers (e.g. Leak) grips them superbly and has a great agile open sound but with real weight and kick. Any nice EL84, KT66 or EL34 amp would be great IMO. I can’t speak for HPDs.

    PS Haters are *really* gonna hate, but the 303 made absolutely no disgrace of itself! That thing suits Tannoys very well.
    lawrence001 and Mike P like this.
  16. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

    It's a subtle thing really. For me the KT90 is a really musical tube, like an EL34 on steroids. The KT120 seems to me to be like a KT88, only 'more of'. Having owned quite a few of both amps, I'm more of an EL34 fan than a KT88 fan, except for the fact that some speakers really need the extra power. A giant EL34 suits me really well. I suspect what you are hearing with the 63 is the fact that the driver has transparency to spare, you certainly don't need the power. Maybe try some KT90s in the Jadis sometime.
  17. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

    I totally agree but I thought the OP was talking about 15in HPDs? With those heavy cardboard stiffeners on the cone, it's really not the same thing at all as a Monitor Gold.


  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I agree with that based on my findings so far. I have a feeling that taking power out of the equation I may actually prefer EL84s to EL34s too, but I’d like more time to really get to the bottom of that one. It is certainly far easier/cheaper to get nice EL84s now the supply of ‘Winged C’ Svetlanas looks to have dried up at any sane price. The Russian 6p14p-EV etc EL84 types are really good and still affordable. There is a lot to be said for going EL84 and stockpiling a lifetime’s worth of valves! I’m about there (allowing for not catching covid 19, so maybe hopelessly overstocked!).

    As stated I have no real experience of HPDs. I heard Andy831’s GRF Memories many times driven by a variety of amps from under-powered SETs to beefy SETs to push pull and with those I’d say they need a really good grippy 10 Watts or so, I’m sure a Stereo 20 would be fine unless you wanted crazy loud. They are K Series, so kind of a HPD, but with a ceramic magnet. Same cone struts IIRC.
  19. tonerei

    tonerei pfm Member

    :D You want me to turn into a tube roller like you? I get your points and when I get over the shock of buying the Tannoys I might indulge in a bit tube rolling. From listening to some of the experiences on various threads here EL34's appear to have some reliability issues. Is there any rock solid option to go with? From what you are suggesting maybe the KT90's might be the best option for me to compare with the KT120's.

    I also attribute a lot of what I am getting to the wonderful diy dac build(it is a dual mono burr brown pcm1794 chip based on DDDac) I got involved in. That coupled with a fanless pc and minimal Unix operating system which runs in ram is giving me holographic soundstage that is very rich sounding in terms of detail. I bloody hope the Tannoys offer a quality alternative to the 63's!
  20. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

    Very different presentation between Tannoys and ESLs.

    I wouldn't put EL34s in an amp designed for KT120s, though KT90s will be fine at or close to the same bias level. I run KT90s at 60mV in the Leben, the KT120s at 65mV.

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