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Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp

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Posted on March 13, 2017 at 19:03:03
jaydacus
Audiophile

Posts: 578
Joined: October 15, 2009
So $612 for the amp and add $100 for better tubes. I used NOS for the input positions and Mullard reissues for the outputs. The China tubes it comes with were adequate, but shite compared to the new ones.

My personal take on the SS .vs tube debate is this. There may be better SS amps out there that sound as good as or better than this tube amp, but they would be much more expensive.

If this is not the case please suggest some SS alternatives...........

 

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IF yer pleased.., posted on March 13, 2017 at 19:30:27
bare
Audiophile

Posts: 562
Joined: April 14, 2009
with your purchase? enjoy it..... and let sleeping dogs lie.

 

completely dependent on the speakers used otherwise it's just...., posted on March 13, 2017 at 20:31:13
viridian
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Posts: 3903
Location: Portland, Oregon
Joined: May 26, 2005
Contributor
  Since:
February 1, 2012
....idle speculation. But there's no shortage of that on audio bulletin boards.

 

RE: Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp, posted on March 14, 2017 at 09:45:15
mcgjohn@yahoo.com
Industry Professional

Posts: 433
Location: Midwest
Joined: February 5, 2008
Put some better coupling caps in the amp, and it will take another sonic jump. The stock Chinese caps work, but are not great.

 

Well, Ok, posted on March 14, 2017 at 10:08:34
airtime
Audiophile

Posts: 8718
Location: Arizona
Joined: February 4, 2003
I'd put my restored Marantz 250M up against that. It was a little over, around $850 to purchase and have fully restored.

As a tube guy I use this amp often and it IS as good as my tube gear. Actually at times I prefer using it.

SS is a funny thing and mainly a taste. Until you start getting into the upper realm of pricing. Then the line between tubes and SS no longer exist.

 

RE: Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp, posted on March 14, 2017 at 14:09:15
triamp
Audiophile

Posts: 460
Location: USA
Joined: August 6, 2008
The Audioromy M-828A is also a very good sounding amp with typical 2-way speakers. The Ohms' Law interaction with speaker impedance, plus the slight harmonic 'sweetening' of tubes plus the less raucous sound when the amp is pushed vs. solid state make these modern Chinese tube amps a real bargain.

 

RE: Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp, posted on March 15, 2017 at 03:54:24
jaydacus
Audiophile

Posts: 578
Joined: October 15, 2009
I actually have the Silk version of this amp. I saw one on Audiogon that had cap upgrades so I asked them if mine had those upgrades too and this is what they said.

"Every unit has bears Silk brand has the upgrades to the capacitors, coupling, bypass and feedback. Also I worked with the factory to correct a board layout problem to eliminate a well known hum problem."

Probably explains why it sounded so stellar with just the tube upgrades.

RE the Marantz 250M. I saw the post on that and I thought to my self...really the SS .vs tube issue was solved back in the 70s when modern SS amps can't even get it right? I will withhold judgement since I have not heard that model in person, but the ones being demoed on You Tube sound just as transistory as anything else I have ever owned from the 70's. I also prefer integrated amps. Trying to find an acceptable preamp can be a real challenge and could not be accomplished without turning to tube technology when I was looking.

 

Forte 4a nt., posted on March 15, 2017 at 09:21:11
Justlisten2
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Location: SE PA
Joined: March 8, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
January 28, 2003
nt

 

RE: Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp, posted on March 15, 2017 at 09:48:09
A.Wayne
Audiophile

Posts: 2329
Location: Front row center
Joined: November 30, 2011
Ok ....

1. Audire Forte
2. Aragon 4004 mk2
3. PS Audio 200CX
4. Threshold T50
5. Threshold 150

To name a few

 

RE: Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp, posted on March 15, 2017 at 10:42:40
jaydacus
Audiophile

Posts: 578
Joined: October 15, 2009
I am not disputing that some or all of these sound better than my tube amp, but they are 2-3 times the price, some are vintage and may not be available, and none are integrated which means I still have to buy a preamp to equal what I got for $750

 

RE: Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp, posted on March 26, 2017 at 23:32:25
RGA
Reviewer

Posts: 10146
Location: Hong Kong
Joined: August 8, 2001
And how many people in this thread have actually specifically auditioned the Yaqin MC-13S? And did they compare it to whatever amp they tout as being better.

I took your post to mean new items not comparing used items correct? I mean it says a lot about the "sound quality" of SS amplifiers when people are posting second hand amps that are now $700 that used to be $3000+. If they are so desirable and of such supreme sound quality why is the value practically worthless. Back in 2003 I bought a nice EL84 amplifier that I can sell today for at least 20% more than I paid. My alternate at the time were several BIG name SS amps for the same price. You can buy a second hand one of any of those brands for 1/5 the original price.

I have not heard your amp - but EL34 runs a wide gambit from the very good to the very bad. There are a number of SS amps that I might like better than the very bad examples of EL34 based tube amplifiers. There isn't a SS that I have heard that beat a good EL34 based tube amp.

Solid State amps that have the best chance IMO/IME of beating a good Push Pull tube amp will be Single Ended class A amplifiers such as the Sugden A21a (which is a SET (Single Ended Topology). But it's $3,500US I believe and stiffer competition from tube amps today for that price and lower are abound.

And don't forget about taste - when we say better it's better to us. For instance some people prefer a tube amp to be a little darker and thicker and perhaps more the Stereotypical tube type of sound. While others want a leaner and seemingly more neutral kind of tube amplifier. As one dealer in HK notes - do you want it more beautiful or more truthful and I auditioned two integrated tube amplifiers from the same manufacturer for about the same price and you can hear exactly this point. Both amplifiers have been selling for over 20 years - but there is a pretty good chance that if you like one you probably won't much like the other one.

A company called Spark makes an awful lot of tube amps for other brands. Usually they are quite good. I think they make the amps for Yaqin so if this is the case (can't remember) then this should be quite a good amplifier at quite a nice price.

I am currently reviewing an $800ish tube amp that actually excites me - it's been a long time where I have been truly excited about products at the affordable end of the price spectrum. Sometimes stuff isn't taken seriously enough unless it meets a certain price threshold. Which is kind of a shame as this industry is often about "showing off wealth" than purely about quality.

 

RE: Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp, posted on March 27, 2017 at 13:26:06
mrdavis842
Audiophile

Posts: 251
Joined: February 22, 2013
"...but the ones being demoed on You Tube sound just as transistory as anything else I have ever owned from the 70's."

So for SS amp comparison you are relying on what you hear on YouTube which is recorded music playing in an unfamiliar room with who knows what equipment and playing through some speakers then rerecorded by some electronics and streamed through the Internet to your computer, through your electronics and out the speakers that you are actually hearing the music through. Sounds perfectly legit to me.

 

RE: Forte 4a nt., posted on March 28, 2017 at 18:39:57
triamp
Audiophile

Posts: 460
Location: USA
Joined: August 6, 2008
Yeah, the Forte 4a, especially with the "Soderburg mods" is a really good amplifier. I have TWO of them! But, they have very low output (source) impedance so you don't get that slight frequency-response-shaping that tube amps exhibit when driving speakers, which can often be quite nice sounding. Not accurate, but nonetheless nice sounding. I A/B'd one of my modded Forte 4a amps on a pair of SEAS EXCEL 5.5" sealed two-way speakers I have against my Audioromy FU-29 tube amp, and while the Forte had tighter control of the low end, the euphonics of the tube amp just make for a more pleasant listening experience. It's hard to describe, but easy to hear. There's something about certain tube amps with certain speakers that is just, well, NICE.

 

RE: Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp, posted on March 28, 2017 at 20:13:47
jaydacus
Audiophile

Posts: 578
Joined: October 15, 2009
So yes I was talking about something one could buy online right now in SS that would compare to this well built Chi Fi tube amp for around the same price.

Tubes do not automatically make for a good sounding amp. I've actually owned a few stinkers and read about many others. I have haven't heard great things about Music Angel for instance.

Had a great sounding KT88 amp, but I was disappointed that it didn't really sound like a tube amp. Switching to KT120 tubes gave it a little more of a "fuzzy" sound, but I am really more drawn to the EL34 with its midrange bloom with good to great highs and lows depending on the type of EL34 being used.

I know about Spark. My first "real" tube amp was the Cayin TA-30. I can't say for sure, but I don't think Yaqin is a Spark product given how committed they are to using point to point wiring which the Yaqins do not. Interesting side note. I had a tube tech tell me that PCB amps have the potential to sound better than point to point amps because the PCB is easier to design for signal isolation. I have heard great and terrible examples of both architectures.

Just out of curiosity, which amp are you reviewing?

My next amps will probably be the new RC Yaqin which also uses a new circuit design on the input stage.

 

RE: Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp, posted on March 30, 2017 at 02:37:16
RGA
Reviewer

Posts: 10146
Location: Hong Kong
Joined: August 8, 2001
The amp I am reviewing is from an engineer/dealer/repair fellow who has been selling gear for 15 years (ATC/Line Magnetic/Rogue Audio/Melody Valve Audio) etc.

He has spent a few years to come up with his basically ONE amplifier which is a bigger version of those Headphone amplifiers you see from several makers like the Line Magnetic 218mini and Audio Space headphone amps and Antique Sound Labs MG Head (that I own).

But his blows all of those away IMO and for the same price. But unlike all those amps it is also a 12 watt integrated amplifier (EL84) and valve rectified (unlike all of those) and autobias and will work both in North America and Canada and Asia at the flip of a switch. He has thought it through exceptionally well. He's even managed to put two meters on the thing.

The EL84 is such a beautiful sounding tube it just always lacks power so 12 watts is positively beastly for it.

He's basically a two man operation with him and his co designer and built in China.

So obviously there is no name brand appeal and basically he sells this and a CD player under his own name.

It's called the KingKo KA101. His name is King Ip. I hope he succeeds - this is a brutal industry get into and develop any kind of foothold against the big boys. But finding something that is inexpensive and sounds really very good is difficult.

PS I agree with you that in general I have found EL34 push pull amps have sounded better than KT88 or 120 etc. The exception was again a Hong Kong company called Sound Master that was using Grey bottle KT88s and driving Avalon speakers - that was hugely impressive - but they only sell to the Hong Kong market but the place is always packed. Pricey tubes though I believe.

Anyway here is King's website - he's just started up and just began the English website and I believe sells via an e-bay account. That's the other thing about these start ups - you can be a great engineer with a great product - but you have to know a lot about marketing and making sure you actually make profit on stuff you do sell.

Anyway - hopefully something to keep an eye out down the road. I think the valve Rectification is what makes it a trump card in the field. But still early days - has not broken in yet.

 

RE: Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp, posted on April 2, 2017 at 05:53:07
Kingshead
Audiophile

Posts: 258
Location: Florida
Joined: September 14, 2016
Contributor
  Since:
September 19, 2016
Understand you're looking for new vs, but tubes are by definition old tech, something the SS guys of old were in competition with. Today, not so much in the real world, it's only in the esoteric world of the high end that these comparisons are made.

So, if we want to find value priced SS gear that was designed with this competition in mind we must look to the past.

With that in mind, again not exactly what you're looking for as this is a "power amp", but I would put my two Belles Model I amps up against just about any amp out there when talking sound quality.

 

None, posted on April 2, 2017 at 07:55:02
Dynobot
Audiophile

Posts: 402
Joined: December 10, 2016
Of course you knew you were going to catch a bunch of flack for posting this right?

I have the same 13S and found it beat out amps [tubed or ss] costing many times more. The only people you will find bashing it are those who have never heard it.

Here is an excerpt of my smallish review of the Yaqin 13S.
I want to start off saying, its not supposed to happen like this.....a five hundred dollar Integrated beating out a multi-thousand dollar Integrated with stellar professional reviews. But, the Yaqin MS-13S did just that, yep blew the door off the Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum. From top to bottom and everywhere in between including the all important sound stage and 3D dynamics. I can't think of a single area where the Rogue bested the Yaqin. First and foremost the MS-13S shines brightly in its ability to throw a 3D soundstage. Not since my old Hafler have I heard such a room filling, whole and complete sonic experience. The Yaqin does not try to be a solid state amp, it does not try to wow you with numbers of watts or straddle the fence in terms of identity. This amp is a true TUBE amp and excels in dynamics, clarity, soundstage, real power at the speaker end [don't let the specs fool you], its lush and at the same time able to produce the detail its given from upstream components...in this case a top notch Audiogd Ref 7 Dac. Strings feel round and whole, not just notes that sound like strings they feel like strings. What makes this amp a keeper for me is the soundstage and its ability to produce everything in it with realism. Its a tube amp that is comfortable being a tube amp and excels at it.
Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

Listening to my Yaqin MS-13S right now, posted on April 2, 2017 at 13:47:23
Dynobot
Audiophile

Posts: 402
Joined: December 10, 2016
Whats not to LOVE!!!

Clarity, control, tube lushness and plenty of power to get your toes tapping.

This is a Tube Int. that makes no apologies for being a tubed amp. It does not try to cross the line between solid state and tube, its PURE tube sound....like it used to be, like it ought to be!


Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

Do any of these come with a remote control for volume?, posted on April 3, 2017 at 09:05:16
jperry
Audiophile

Posts: 244
Location: Phx, AZ
Joined: September 11, 2004
Contributor
  Since:
November 9, 2014
I looked at the website and was unable to determine this. Thanks.

 

RE: Do any of these come with a remote control for volume? NOPE......nt, posted on April 3, 2017 at 21:20:40
Dynobot
Audiophile

Posts: 402
Joined: December 10, 2016
.
Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

RE: Do any of these come with a remote control for volume?, posted on April 6, 2017 at 20:25:16
jaydacus
Audiophile

Posts: 578
Joined: October 15, 2009
There is a newer RC version....

 

RE: Do any of these come with a remote control for volume?, posted on April 7, 2017 at 05:15:41
jperry
Audiophile

Posts: 244
Location: Phx, AZ
Joined: September 11, 2004
Contributor
  Since:
November 9, 2014
Thanks for posting this!

 

RE: Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp, posted on April 10, 2017 at 00:03:01
pixelphoto
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Contributor
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July 27, 2016
jaydacus, what tubes did you replace the stock ones with?

 

RE: Name a SS Amplifier for $750 or Less That Sounds as Good as This Tube Amp, posted on April 10, 2017 at 05:12:27
jaydacus
Audiophile

Posts: 578
Joined: October 15, 2009
Mullard reissues for the EL34s and cheap vintage tubes for the 12au7 and 12ax7s.

 

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