Home SET Asylum

Single Ended Triodes (SETs), the ultimate tube lovers dream.

RE: I'm a relative innocent, so

The amplifier is a bit iffy in my opinion as you still need to buy all of the tubes. So you have to add that to the price which in this amp could almost double the price. Now you're getting into a range where you might be better off with a bigger name brand where you can actually resell it and get something. The NET price should be considered not just the buy price.

Also consider the tubes the amplifier uses. Certain tubes are more expensive than others and/or they don't last as long.

An EL84 based amplifier like my OTO are expected to last 8000+ hours. An amp using an 845 output may only last 2000 and the tubes cost 10 times more money so you spend 10 times the money on the tubes and you have to replace them 4 times as often!

300B tubes are also pricey.

I really wouldn't do tube amps on the cheap. I have reviewed a wonderful integrated amplifier for $825 which includes all the tubes. But by the time you add the tubes to your linked amp it could very well be close to the same price.

The amp is called the KingKo KA-101 - I have replaced my Line Magnetic 219IA SET amp and the KingKo KA-101 is doing an admirable job.

It is an El84 based 12 watt push pull amp (a more SET sounding tube type and again long lasting EL84 output tubes). King also provides a 6 month warranty on the tubes. It is also a superb headphone amplifier, has meters for each channel, is full autobias so no volt meters needed to adjust the bias. And you can use it as a dedicate power amp as well if you want to buy a preamp down the line. See the link below. $6500 HKD includes shipping.

The review is not up yet as it is being proof-read.

Now if this is just too expensive and you have a $400 hard limit - you could look at Nobosound tube amps - but make sure it comes with the tubes and they're relatively affordable tubes AND that the customer reviews are positive with reliability and safety. Some of these cheap amps can be dicey.

Just remember it's not a given that just because something is a tube amp it will sound better than SS. I find tubes tend to win at the upper price ranges but not so much in the really budget end ($200-$500). Especially when you set it up with perhaps Tekton and you may be disappointed in the ability to rock and produce solid bass and/or treble.

I just don't think SET is a good idea to do on the cheap. Virtually every major company that makes a good SET - you will see that the cheaper amps are all push pull. SET seems to rely far more on the quality of parts where the output transformer alone costs double the retail price of your linked amp (and maybe my linked amp).

And while I can be a SET zealot as much as anyone - you have to consider real world results and budgets. The King offers all day enjoyable sound and while it is a push pull amp and is inherently weaker in design in that sense it is also EL84 which is still rather good.

Edits: 06/25/17

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