Author Topic: Tube amp with solid state pre amp  (Read 1617 times)

Offline jessearias

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Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« on: October 05, 2017, 10:08:08 AM »
I know the tube guys are probably rolling over right now,  :shock: but can you use a tube amp with a solid state pre amp.  Pros?  :)  Cons :(?

I am thinking of biting the bullet and upgrading to a tube amp, but would like to use the JC2BP as my pre.
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Offline rollo

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2017, 12:11:20 PM »
Why certainly you can. Low noise of SS preamp will make a good match. I would look for a tubed amp that has a complementing character to the preamp. The Tritons at 91db will need some power. 100W would be my recommendation. Tube Watts can get expensive. Look at Audio Hungary if interested.


charles
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 12:17:12 PM by rollo »
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Offline tmazz

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2017, 09:05:54 PM »
Sure you can do that. Of course l the trick will be to find a tube amp that will get along nicely with your your current pre, but that would apply to any Pre-Power Amp combo regardless of what technologies either of them employ.

I spent many years running a tubed pre (ARC SP-( with solid state and hybrid amps (Moscode 600 & Classe Twenty Five.) I think tat this is the easiest and most economical way to inject some "tube sound" into your system, especially if you have speakers that require high wattage.

I eventually got a tube amp (ARC VT-200, which sounds amazing, but it needs 26 tubes to put out the 200 watts I needed which can get very pricey to run over the long term.) On the other hand the SP-9 has only 2 6dj8s which sets me back about $50 for a full retube.

And in addition to just replacing tubes as the wear out, repairs to a tube power amp can get pricey as well since because of the higher B+ voltages required to operate power output tubes, when a tube amp does fail, it very often does so in a big way.

That said, in spite of the headaches and costs involved with them IMO, there is nothing like a good tube amp. Recent solid state designs are getting closer than they used to be, but I am still a fan of that tube magic. (YMMV)

That said, I still think getting a good synergistic match among the Pre amp, Power amp and the speakers is still more important than what technologies you end up using
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Offline rollo

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2017, 06:55:35 AM »
 Forgot to mention input impedance of Amp. Should be a minimum of 10 times the preamp output impedance. Look for an amp that offers 100K input.


charles
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Offline Brap

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2017, 02:20:05 PM »
I run a Parasound Halo P-5 to a Bob Latino Dynaco ST-70 -- works for me.
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Offline doug s.

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2017, 01:48:30 PM »
keep the amp and get a tubed preamp.  while i can live w/a s/s amp in the main rig, the preamp has to have tubes.  my opinion of course!  ;)

doug s.

Offline rollo

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2017, 10:22:31 AM »
keep the amp and get a tubed preamp.  while i can live w/a s/s amp in the main rig, the preamp has to have tubes.  my opinion of course!  ;)

doug s.

   I am with ya 100%. Improved any system heard with adding a tubed preamp.

charles
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Offline doug s.

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2017, 10:47:01 AM »
keep the amp and get a tubed preamp.  while i can live w/a s/s amp in the main rig, the preamp has to have tubes.  my opinion of course!  ;)

doug s.

   I am with ya 100%. Improved any system heard with adding a tubed preamp.

charles
just to clarify - i don't mean just *any* tubed preamp.  when i was initially exploring tubed preamps, there were some that were such that i preferred s/s.  i preferred an electrocompaniet ec-1a and an arcam delta 110 to an arc sp9 mkll.  and later on, i preferred a linn kremlin over a rogue 99 magnum, and it was a toss-up between the kremlin and a cary slp98.

ymmv,

doug s.

Offline sleepyguy24

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2017, 12:13:44 PM »
Hi Jesse. It can be done but be careful the load your preamp can see. I had a Jolida 502P amp with KT150 tubes and tried it with my Accuphase C200 and I had volume issues. I then tried a Kavent S33 preamp  with the Jolida 502P amp and the sounds were good.

Offline dBe

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2017, 09:00:45 PM »
No recommendations on this... Just my experiences.

I tried all kinds of combinations years ago.  SS preamps with tube amps. Tube preamps with SS amps.  Tubes with tubes.  Paradoxically, not all tube pres played nicely with tube amps.  What I found is that tube amplifiers require not only the proper output/input impedance matching (per Rollo above), but proper drive voltage AND current.  Preamps with inadequate current sound thinner than tubes with higher drive current.  That is one of the attributes of the 6H30 preamp tube and why it sounds so good.  When I took the 6922 tubes and substituted 6H30 tubes it was an epiphany. 

If you are up to a DIY solution for a preamp that will work with about any tube amplifier I can, without hesitation, recommend the Glassware SRPP single tube per channel preamp boards and kits:  http://glass-ware.stores.yahoo.net/srppnoval.html  6922 tubes are a dime a dozen.  The 6H30 is a direct replacement IF the power transformer will handle the heater current that goes hand in hand with high output current.  This SRPP design has been the most satisfying preamp in my systems over the years.  It will drive ANY single ended amp that I know of.

Good sounding amps are easy.  The magic lives in the preamp.

YMMV.......

Offline steve

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2017, 07:06:19 PM »
No recommendations on this... Just my experiences.

I tried all kinds of combinations years ago.  SS preamps with tube amps. Tube preamps with SS amps.  Tubes with tubes.  Paradoxically, not all tube pres played nicely with tube amps.  What I found is that tube amplifiers require not only the proper output/input impedance matching (per Rollo above), but proper drive voltage AND current.  Preamps with inadequate current sound thinner than tubes with higher drive current.  That is one of the attributes of the 6H30 preamp tube and why it sounds so good.  When I took the 6922 tubes and substituted 6H30 tubes it was an epiphany. 

I have to very respectfully disagree dBe. The main difference is due to:

1. the distortion of the 6J30 vs the 6922.
2. the power supply design and coupling capacitors for the tubes being operated. Each type tube requires a different power supply design.

A 6922 will easily drive a KT88, 300bs, smaller, and larger tubes. There will be differences in sonics depending upon which brand, year etc of tubes though. JJ E88cc distortion is consistently 1/9th that of other small signal tubes.

Quote
If you are up to a DIY solution for a preamp that will work with about any tube amplifier I can, without hesitation, recommend the Glassware SRPP single tube per channel preamp boards and kits:  http://glass-ware.stores.yahoo.net/srppnoval.html  6922 tubes are a dime a dozen.  The 6H30 is a direct replacement IF the power transformer will handle the heater current that goes hand in hand with high output current. 

Actually the 6H30 is substantially different than a 6922/6dj8. Besides quite different filament current meaning different filament voltage unless regulated, the Mu, transconductance, plate resistance, and capacitances are quite different. 

Quote
Good sounding amps are easy.  The magic lives in the preamp.

Completely agree. Smaller signals are more easily influenced by materials etc. I also agree I would rather have tube pre and SS amp, but the SS amp would have to be carefully chosen for accuracy/naturalness and high input impedance (Z).

Cheers and all the best.

Steve

« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 07:17:00 PM by steve »
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Offline dBe

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2017, 09:33:27 AM »
No recommendations on this... Just my experiences.

I tried all kinds of combinations years ago.  SS preamps with tube amps. Tube preamps with SS amps.  Tubes with tubes.  Paradoxically, not all tube pres played nicely with tube amps.  What I found is that tube amplifiers require not only the proper output/input impedance matching (per Rollo above), but proper drive voltage AND current.  Preamps with inadequate current sound thinner than tubes with higher drive current.  That is one of the attributes of the 6H30 preamp tube and why it sounds so good.  When I took the 6922 tubes and substituted 6H30 tubes it was an epiphany. 

I have to very respectfully disagree dBe. The main difference is due to:

1. the distortion of the 6J30 vs the 6922.
2. the power supply design and coupling capacitors for the tubes being operated. Each type tube requires a different power supply design.

A 6922 will easily drive a KT88, 300bs, smaller, and larger tubes. There will be differences in sonics depending upon which brand, year etc of tubes though. JJ E88cc distortion is consistently 1/9th that of other small signal tubes.

Quote
If you are up to a DIY solution for a preamp that will work with about any tube amplifier I can, without hesitation, recommend the Glassware SRPP single tube per channel preamp boards and kits:  http://glass-ware.stores.yahoo.net/srppnoval.html  6922 tubes are a dime a dozen.  The 6H30 is a direct replacement IF the power transformer will handle the heater current that goes hand in hand with high output current. 

Actually the 6H30 is substantially different than a 6922/6dj8. Besides quite different filament current meaning different filament voltage unless regulated, the Mu, transconductance, plate resistance, and capacitances are quite different. 

Quote
Good sounding amps are easy.  The magic lives in the preamp.

Completely agree. Smaller signals are more easily influenced by materials etc. I also agree I would rather have tube pre and SS amp, but the SS amp would have to be carefully chosen for accuracy/naturalness and high input impedance (Z).

Cheers and all the best.

Steve
Steve, my reply was an oversimplification at best and misleading at worst, my bad.

I should have noted that when I went to the 6H30 I made more than a few changes to the circuit when I did so.  The preamp, a much modified Cary SLP50B, was the goat.  I changed the filament regulator to a 5A 1084.  There were changes made to the grid and cathode resistors.  Changed the coupling capacitors.  I should have said that the 6922 and 6H30 have the same pinout.  Direct replacement was misleading.

I think when it comes to tube sonics we pick our favored distortion components in that system.  I defer to your expertise in design.  I just prefer the sonics and drive capabilities of the 6H30 over the 6922.  With minor changes in a circuit we can adapt a number of tubes that can all sound good.  Pinout similarities give us lots of opportunities with little effort.  That is one of the reasons I love tubes.  They are a mad semi-scientist's delight.

Offline rollo

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2017, 09:45:49 AM »
  After living with a high quality Integrated Amp these days I now find it hard pressed to go back to separates. Unless actual dual mono is had from DAC to amp separates are it. Bigger sound stage, better overall bass and more dynamic. However not by much. Actually too close for comfort sonically yet miles away price wise.
 So the question is "Is the higher cost cost of separates worth it for the little extra had" If cost is no limit then yes IMHO. If cost is a factor then by all means listen to a quality integrated and frankly be quite surprised.


charles
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Offline tmazz

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2017, 10:06:39 AM »
  After living with a high quality Integrated Amp these days I now find it hard pressed to go back to separates. Unless actual dual mono is had from DAC to amp separates are it. Bigger sound stage, better overall bass and more dynamic. However not by much. Actually too close for comfort sonically yet miles away price wise.
 So the question is "Is the higher cost cost of separates worth it for the little extra had" If cost is no limit then yes IMHO. If cost is a factor then by all means listen to a quality integrated and frankly be quite surprised.


charles

.... if you can live with the relatively low output wattages that are prevalent with most integrated amps on the market today. If your your room is small enough and/or speakers are efficient enough to be happy with something around 50 watts then the current crop of high quality integrated amps could very well provide some good options for you. However if you need 100+ watts the pickings get slim very quickly.

The integrated sounds great with the speakers you have now, but would it have enough giddy-up to push your old Maggies?  Like everything else, you need to find the right tool for the right job.
Remember, it's all about the music........

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Quicksilver Mid Monos
ARC SP-9
VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Sumiko Blue Pt. Special
EE Minmax DAC/Bluesound Node/Denon 2910
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Offline rollo

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Re: Tube amp with solid state pre amp
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2017, 11:01:00 AM »
  I respectfully disagree Tom. Lots of high powered Integrated amps out there. They just cost big money. Boulder, Bryston, Solution and more.  Panel speakers are a different breed which need current. I'm talking most speakers out there.
  For most applications integrated amps are a simple solution. 50W of class "A" power goes a long way. Even 20W with 88db speakers "Fritz" played loud enough without any strain.
 You are correct in saying the "right tool". Amp/speaker match is crucial to great sound.


charles
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