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Cheapest Way Into Tube Gear = Mono Integrated Tube Amps...

$300. could still get you a nice pair of vintage tube amps on epay. You have to know which items sound good, or at least have good potential. Do not only think within the usual brand name box. There are literally tons of bargains if you know what to look to get.

Integrated amps, with phono stages and variable switchable Phono EQ are tough to source; especially if you expect two at a time. The Fisher 51, 510 and similar are standout models that still only get $150. each. They made 6V6 and 6BQ5 integrated models. Speaking of Fisher, their console 1959-1961 stereo preamp/binaural tuner/stereo amps are still sleepers. The amps need the preamp/tuner to get the voltages right; so sellers cannot fool the buyers if they sound distorted. It is not hard to decipher; just some research pays off. Buy the EL84 stereo amps without tubes for $200. The preamp tuner can be had for under $150. even with tubes. Not dual mono; but good sounders for much better than entry level sound.

Pilot and Sherwood int. monos are not quite at $300. each; if you buy them as is. If you need restored examples, you will pay; but it is silly to buy them as restored singles. If you have to buy one at "full price" then buy the match later in sad or original shape. Even a novice can copy from the good one; right ? Then again, why buy the name brands at a premium ?

Console amps and preamps are the way to go. Every brand made hifi consoles or hifi record player "boxes" that can be had for $100. to $150. While you can't expect the highest highs or lowest lows from the cheaper models, remembering even the Fishers & Pilots et al suffer from this fact, "off-brands" abound. Admiral, Allied, Capehart, Columbia, Espey, Farnsworth, GE, Hoffman, Knight, Lafayette, Madison Fielding, Magnavox, Midwest, Motorola, RCA, Sears, Silvertone, Sparton, Truetone, Victor of Japan, V-M Voice of Music, Webcor, Westinghouse, Zenith and oh so many more are out there. Frequency response wise, some of these mentioned brands had models that are seriously high fidelity worthy.

Perhaps the cheapest way in to the tube amp world is a pair of monos or a stereo amp with SE 6V6 or 6BQ5 tubes. Even the many stereo PP 6V6 amps and 6BQ5 amps can still be had for under $200. if needing some resto. I recently spotted some working stereo tube amps on epay for $150. Go get 'em...


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