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At the risk of exposing my abysmal ignorance on all things SET, I pose a basic question which may be rhetorical. I have always used tube or hybrid push-pull amps (100-200 watts,8 ohms) and am "warming" (no pun) to the idea of pursuing a SET amp. My speakers are 88 dB,8 ohms nominal impedance, ported with a ribbon tweeter. My listening tastes run from classical (primarily) to bluegrass, folk and some jazz.
Is this a fool's errand or is it worth pursuing? Thanks!!
I concur with the "Get more efficient drivers or look at a nice Pentode build". They are out there. I can't think of a practical SET solution unless you have $$ and are willing to work with HV. Even then I doubt you will let the magic out with those speakers.
You might find doing the following test useful to estimate how much power you really need for your room, your speakers and how loud you like to listen.
My listening room is quite small.....10' x 10'.
So a 5wpc DIY RH84 amplifier, will drive a pair of 87/88 db Canadian-made bookshelf speakers (Image brand from API) to serious volume levels.
Most speakers give the minimum wattage recommended. If that is about 20watts you are within the realm of SE 845 or 211, but those tubes are quite expensive. Alternative a se pentode amp with kt120 or kt150 tubes can be made for around a 1000 bucks if you are a DIY'er.
Thanks to all for the sage advice. It will require higher efficiency speakers and an investment at this point that I can't incur.
The system sounds magnificent. If you're anywhere near NJ you could stop by and hear for yourself.
Of course these are unique SETs that I built myself, so not commercially available.
Change your speakers into the 98-105 db/watt area.
You have NO idea what you've been missing.
+1 on more efficient speakers with low powered tube amps. I'm driving Klipsch Heresy III's with 6L6GA's in a single ended pentode amp that is triode strapped. Probably 5 watts or so. Sounds quite good. The amp and pre are Dennis Had's, the retired founder of Cary Audio, Inspire pieces that he builds and sells on ebay. Worth checking out.
What is the minimum impedance and roughly how big is your room?
If the impedance does not dip below 4 ohms and the room is not too large a SET amp will probably be fine.
BUT - it also depends on the SET amp - you can buy 5 watts to 50 watt SET amps and probably more if you have deep pockets.
Still - while I love SET amps and feel they are the best sounding design - you really should not try to force a square peg down a round hole. So I would try your best to audition a complete SET based system - if it really impressed then it's time to go down that route and get new speakers that are designed for SET amps. It's kind of that tough love - do it right or don't bother advice no one likes to hear. But it will be better for your ears in the long run.
at 88 dB for your current speaker, the first reaction is possibly - but if your room is also large, you may not have enough juice to get the speakers going-
Having said this, I have tried a SET driving ProAc Response 3s - and while not quite the same as having 100 watts/channel - it was quite enjoyable and shone a different light on the speaker -
- I do have a rather small listening room....
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