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Your Opinion on Tube Amp Reliability???



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 27th 04, 09:09 PM
Spongebob
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Default Your Opinion on Tube Amp Reliability???

I am considering going to a tube amp, after 25 years of solid state
amps. (Specifically, it is a conrad-johnson, but my question is general.)
I have read comments through the years about the problems tube amps
have ("always in the shop", etc.). Is this a reality? I live in a town
with no tube amp dealers, and would need to send it back to the manufacturer
if it fails. Are my knees quaking for no good reason?

By the way, I don't consider the need to bias the tubes a problem. I would
be grateful for any feedback.
--Leslie

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  #2  
Old May 27th 04, 09:32 PM
DTS Audio
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Default Your Opinion on Tube Amp Reliability???

I repair high end audio, and I do as much or more solid state than
tube, and most of my customers are tube equipment sellers. Tubes do
require more care and feeding than solid state though. As long as you
keep an eye on bias and periodically replace the output tubes in
particular, ther's no reason a tube amp won't be as reliable.
Conrad-Johnson are particularly good.

On Thu, 27 May 2004 20:09:20 GMT, "Spongebob" >
wrote:

>I am considering going to a tube amp, after 25 years of solid state
>amps. (Specifically, it is a conrad-johnson, but my question is general.)
>I have read comments through the years about the problems tube amps
>have ("always in the shop", etc.). Is this a reality? I live in a town
>with no tube amp dealers, and would need to send it back to the manufacturer
>if it fails. Are my knees quaking for no good reason?
>
>By the way, I don't consider the need to bias the tubes a problem. I would
>be grateful for any feedback.
>--Leslie


Dan Santoni
DTS Audio
Hamilton, ON
Canada

  #3  
Old May 27th 04, 09:42 PM
Philip Meech
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Default Your Opinion on Tube Amp Reliability???

I am probably going to get into trouble for saying this , but the higher
end tube amps sound the same as
solid state. We are going to need more information about what you intend
to drive in what size room.
Could you live with an integrated amp or do you want to go bananas with
dual mono amplifiers.
As far as sending amps back to the manufacturer is concerned, I think
that is a good idea if you do need repairs
but it is a rare occurence. What dealers do you have nearby or within 90
miles? Would you be buying a new Conrad Johnson
or a used one?

Spongebob wrote:

> I am considering going to a tube amp, after 25 years of solid state
> amps. (Specifically, it is a conrad-johnson, but my question is general.)
> I have read comments through the years about the problems tube amps
> have ("always in the shop", etc.). Is this a reality? I live in a town
> with no tube amp dealers, and would need to send it back to the manufacturer
> if it fails. Are my knees quaking for no good reason?
>
> By the way, I don't consider the need to bias the tubes a problem. I would
> be grateful for any feedback.
> --Leslie
>


  #4  
Old May 27th 04, 09:43 PM
Bruce J. Richman
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Default Your Opinion on Tube Amp Reliability???

spongebob wrote:


>I am considering going to a tube amp, after 25 years of solid state
>amps. (Specifically, it is a conrad-johnson, but my question is general.)
>I have read comments through the years about the problems tube amps
>have ("always in the shop", etc.). Is this a reality? I live in a town
>with no tube amp dealers, and would need to send it back to the manufacturer
>if it fails. Are my knees quaking for no good reason?
>
>By the way, I don't consider the need to bias the tubes a problem. I would
>be grateful for any feedback.
>--Leslie
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>


Tube amplifiers have both their proponents and detractors. Comments about lack
of reliability and/or high repair needs from the latter group are, AFAIK, not
supported by any empirical evidence indicating those claims are valid.

I can only speak from personal experience, of course. Starting with the first
amplifier I ever owned, an integrated H.H. Scott amplifier that I built, up to
the present time, I've owned various tubed products, including a DAC with a
tubed output stage. None of these products has presented any unusual service
needs. Tube replacement is necessary at some point of extended usage, but that
is simply a maintenance issue. For the record, I'm currently using a Conrad
Johnson preamplifier and amplifier, both tubed, and have had no problems with
either one of them.



Bruce J. Richman

  #5  
Old May 27th 04, 10:44 PM
Spongebob
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Default Your Opinion on Tube Amp Reliability???

"Philip Meech" wrote:
> I am probably going to get into trouble for saying this , but the higher
> end tube amps sound the same as solid state. We are going to need more

information about what you intend
> to drive in what size room.


My room in 20 x 14, with an 8' ceiling.

> Could you live with an integrated amp or do you want to go bananas with
> dual mono amplifiers.


I think an integrated amp will do me fine. I don't ever "turn it up". I
have Spendor SP 1/2
speakers on Sound Anchor stands. Kimber 8TC cable, various interconnects.

> As far as sending amps back to the manufacturer is concerned, I think
> that is a good idea if you do need repairs
> but it is a rare occurence. What dealers do you have nearby or within 90
> miles? Would you be buying a new Conrad Johnson
> or a used one?


I have no dealer within 200 miles, so I will be buying over the Internet.
--Leslie

  #6  
Old May 27th 04, 11:40 PM
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Default Your Opinion on Tube Amp Reliability???

Bruce J. Richman > wrote:

> Tube amplifiers have both their proponents and detractors. Comments about lack
> of reliability and/or high repair needs from the latter group are, AFAIK, not
> supported by any empirical evidence indicating those claims are valid.


Lack of reliability or the converse is relative. Given equal design
attention to reliability, tube amplifiers are simply not as reliable as
solid state amplifiers, especially as regards power amplifiers. The natural
manufacturing variances in tubes themselves, the the increased heat produced by
them, (meaning increased stresses on associated components) and the higher
voltages dictate the empirical facts of the matter.

  #7  
Old May 28th 04, 12:06 AM
Philip Meech
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Default Your Opinion on Tube Amp Reliability???

There are some integrateds in all price ranges by C-J, Audio Research,
VTL, Manley, VAC if you have the bucks. Next level is varios amps made
in China and then upgraded with the latest high end parts. I emailed you
a website in Western NY that specializes in those around 1-1.5K for 50wpc.
There are some issues surrounding the depth of soundstage in your room
versus the proper amount of power, but other members are more qualified
than I to discuss the right amount. There are integrated amps that go up
to 85wpc. If you need more, then a preamp/amp setup is required like
Bruce has.

Spongebob wrote:

> "Philip Meech" wrote:
>
>>I am probably going to get into trouble for saying this , but the higher
>>end tube amps sound the same as solid state. We are going to need more

>
> information about what you intend
>
>>to drive in what size room.

>
>
> My room in 20 x 14, with an 8' ceiling.
>
>
>>Could you live with an integrated amp or do you want to go bananas with
>>dual mono amplifiers.

>
>
> I think an integrated amp will do me fine. I don't ever "turn it up". I
> have Spendor SP 1/2
> speakers on Sound Anchor stands. Kimber 8TC cable, various interconnects.
>
>
>>As far as sending amps back to the manufacturer is concerned, I think
>>that is a good idea if you do need repairs
>>but it is a rare occurence. What dealers do you have nearby or within 90
>>miles? Would you be buying a new Conrad Johnson
>>or a used one?

>
>
> I have no dealer within 200 miles, so I will be buying over the Internet.
> --Leslie
>


  #8  
Old May 28th 04, 03:19 AM
Jack W. Hart
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Posts: n/a
Default Your Opinion on Tube Amp Reliability???

Spongebob wrote:

>I am considering going to a tube amp, after 25 years of solid state
>amps. (Specifically, it is a conrad-johnson, but my question is general.)
>I have read comments through the years about the problems tube amps
>have ("always in the shop", etc.). Is this a reality? I live in a town
>with no tube amp dealers, and would need to send it back to the manufacturer
>if it fails. Are my knees quaking for no good reason?
>
>By the way, I don't consider the need to bias the tubes a problem. I would
>be grateful for any feedback.
>--Leslie
>

Leslie:

You sound like me about 9 years ago. Although you didn't provide any
indication of your budget, I STRONGLY recommend the Balanced Audio
Technology tube amps; not only are they excellent sounding and extremely
well made, the company stands behind its products. Owning their tube
amps is not that much different from solid state as they are
self-biasing and the tube complement typically lasts 4 - 5 years. Check
them out at http://www.balanced.com/.

Happy listening!

Jack
  #9  
Old May 28th 04, 03:25 AM
Bruce J. Richman
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Posts: n/a
Default Your Opinion on Tube Amp Reliability???

Phillip Meech wrote:


>There are some integrateds in all price ranges by C-J, Audio Research,
>VTL, Manley, VAC if you have the bucks. Next level is varios amps made
>in China and then upgraded with the latest high end parts. I emailed you
>a website in Western NY that specializes in those around 1-1.5K for 50wpc.
>There are some issues surrounding the depth of soundstage in your room
>versus the proper amount of power, but other members are more qualified
>than I to discuss the right amount. There are integrated amps that go up
>to 85wpc. If you need more, then a preamp/amp setup is required like
>Bruce has.
>


Just for the record, my preamp/amplifier combination has approximately 70-75
watts/channel. The C-J Premier 11A is rated at 70 watts/channel into 4 or 8
ohms with its supplied 6550 output tubes. However, I'm using Ei KT-90 Type 3s
which, according to several tube experts, produce slightly more power in most
amplifiers suitable for their use. Before switching to KT-90s, I checked with
C-J and was assured this was an appropriate "tweak".





>Spongebob wrote:
>
>> "Philip Meech" wrote:
>>
>>>I am probably going to get into trouble for saying this , but the higher
>>>end tube amps sound the same as solid state. We are going to need more

>>
>> information about what you intend
>>
>>>to drive in what size room.

>>
>>
>> My room in 20 x 14, with an 8' ceiling.
>>
>>
>>>Could you live with an integrated amp or do you want to go bananas with
>>>dual mono amplifiers.

>>
>>
>> I think an integrated amp will do me fine. I don't ever "turn it up". I
>> have Spendor SP 1/2
>> speakers on Sound Anchor stands. Kimber 8TC cable, various interconnects.
>>
>>
>>>As far as sending amps back to the manufacturer is concerned, I think
>>>that is a good idea if you do need repairs
>>>but it is a rare occurence. What dealers do you have nearby or within 90
>>>miles? Would you be buying a new Conrad Johnson
>>>or a used one?

>>
>>
>> I have no dealer within 200 miles, so I will be buying over the Internet.
>> --Leslie
>>

>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>



Bruce J. Richman

  #10  
Old May 28th 04, 03:28 AM
Bromo
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Posts: n/a
Default Your Opinion on Tube Amp Reliability???

On 5/27/04 6:40 PM, in article [email protected]_s02,
" > wrote:

> Bruce J. Richman > wrote:
>
>> Tube amplifiers have both their proponents and detractors. Comments about
>> lack
>> of reliability and/or high repair needs from the latter group are, AFAIK, not
>> supported by any empirical evidence indicating those claims are valid.

>
> Lack of reliability or the converse is relative. Given equal design
> attention to reliability, tube amplifiers are simply not as reliable as
> solid state amplifiers, especially as regards power amplifiers. The natural
> manufacturing variances in tubes themselves, the the increased heat produced
> by
> them, (meaning increased stresses on associated components) and the higher
> voltages dictate the empirical facts of the matter.


A tube will generally have fewer hours on them between replacement than
semiconductors - though the repair is fairly straightforward and simple for
an end user to do. A semiconductor failure is generally catastrophic in
that it will blow up and the amplifier will have to be sent in for repair.
 




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