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RE: Second guessing my used tube amp purchase...

You have not tried it yet. Tube amps don't hard clip which is oneof the reasons that "perceptually" tube amps are often said to equal SS amps at three times the power. i have not heard Raven so I don't know how much above their watt rating they can hit. Many good tube amps can give you 50% to double their output into peaks.

Now I agree with the others in general that if you are going to go with tubes or SET amps you should be designing the entire system to go that route. So a higher efficiency speaker with the low power amp. Indeed some speakers are tailored for a tube or SET amps damping factor level and power so as to play to the strengths.

But your Raven is close to the same power as my Line Magnetic 219IA which is a 24 watt SET amplifier that has two massive transformers each weighing more than an entire 160 watt per channel Bryston.

And when you compare the two - same speakers and same room you wonder what the hell happened to the bass in the Bryston. All the watts but none of the sound.

It happened back in 2004 when I was going to buy one and then the dealer puts on the Audio Note OTO a 10 watt SEP (4.2 watts undistorted) and again it was a lights out drubbing. So there I was going to spend on Bryston separates and the integrated at 1/16th the power blew it away. Yjhe interesting thing is resolution - with the OTO/Speaker combo I could play it at a relatively modest level and get into the music - it was all there. With the SS thin tin can nature I had to keep turning UP the dial to try and get back the missing gestalt of the presentation - up and up and up until the speakers compressed badly. Meh.

I am constantly surprised by what tubes deliver when on paper they shouldn't deliver it and also amazed that SS with hugely impressive figures often sound totally banal.

You don't need to be tied to those speakers - HE speakers usually sound a LOT better dollar for dollar than LE speakers.

I'd look for a good single driver or 2 way speaker - Speakers like the Tekton Lore, Zu Audio line, Audio Note AZ or AX Series or preferably the AN K if budget is $2k (I reviewed the AX Two for dagogo), Omega loudspeakers, certain Tannoy, JBL.

If you want a BIG powerful speaker that is fairly easy to drive and has eviction notice bass - try the Cerwin Vega CLS215. But big. Good review - CV is under new ownership - soundstage did a review of them some time back.

But definitely see what happens with what you got. If you love the sound and your only complaint is volume level - then just get an easier to drive speaker. The great thing with HE speakers is that you can run any amplifier.

As a reviewer I can run a 5 watt amp or a 10,000 watt amp. I can choose amplifiers based on sound quality and not watts ability. And in 25 years of listening i have yet to hear a single 100+ watt amplifier that I can say I would want to live with. I'd rather buy based on sound not be forced by bad speaker design to "have to" buy a giant boat anchor to power them.

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  Michael Percy Audio  

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