I bought an Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 CD player last year to try out tube rolling. It is a good player for the money. Also, I will be trying out my parents' old Marantz Model 7 tube pre-amp and Model 8B tube power amp in my main stereo system soon. These components are at my parents' house now, but I hope to get them set-up soon. My parents stopped using them years ago, and my brother used them for several years, but he replaced them with a home-theater set-up last year. Now I will give them a try.
Keith, I think the ticket for a turntable for that tube gear is either the Music Hall MMF-5 or MMF-7 turntables. I have both (one for the tube gear and one in my multichannel system) and they are hard to fault. The carts that they come with sound very sweet and detailed and will make that amp sing!
I have a Audio Research tube amp, the VT100. I love it!
Wide open soundstage, plush, liquid, natural midrange, great bass, great build quality and good after dealer support.
I am saving now for the LS25 Mark 2 preamp.
Tubes are extra effort but I think you get better sound. I like Pass Labs solid state also and I have been tempted to switch at times (very expensive), but I think the ARC midrange is better and that's a big factor for me.
What vintage and modern equipment do you have?
P.S. add tube rings to dampen microphonics - it works!
I'm curious as to who will be the first persion in the world to put together a 5.1 home theater system using all tubes for all five preamp and amp channels! Class A/B will be OK, Class A would probably be asking too much.
Related to this, I believe but am not sure that Krell may have a pure CLass A high power solid state 5.1 home theater system available. Krell even has a DVD player with Class A (solid state) audio outputs so that, if you buy all Krell, you can build a HT system that is Class A audio "everywhere". Krell even has a Class A powered sub-woofer. Unfortunately all this Krell stuff is solid state instead of tubes, but a least pure Class A is a step in the right direction.
Dean, I appreciate your thoughts about the Music Hall turntables. I have been leaning towards the MMF-5 for several months. It's a well-regarded table, and is priced right ($450-500). I have no doubts that the MMF-7 is an excellent table (also well-regarded), but I probably won't spend that much for playback of vinyl. My LP collection only numbers 100-125, though it is bound to grow once I upgrade my turntable. Still, I probably won't go for the MMF-7.
Keith, The best deal I have found on the Music Hall turntables are at DECIBEL.com. The MMF-5 is $425 and the MMF-7 is $849. The service was excellent and they were on my doorstep within 4 days. They charge actual shipping costs and double-box everything. Highly recomended!
They both sound great but the 7 is a little smoother and has a very cool black high-gloss piano-type finish.
Yes, you will buy more LP's when you hear them on one of these---I did!
Last year I decided to get into tubes. Now I have an EAR864 preamp, the phono section is excellent and the linestage is sweet also. I am rolling NOS Mullards, Tele's, and Radioteque at the moment. My front end consists of a Rega P3 with Incognito wiring, Espressimo "Heavyweight" and VTA adjuster. I have a Koetsu Black Cart. mounted on it, it may be a bit overkill for the P3 but man, vinyl has never sounded sooooo good. I also use a SS amp, an Aragon 8008BB. Love that vinyl!
Dean, thanks for the tip about decibel.com. I had not heard of them before. Did you have any problem setting up your Music Hall tables (cartridge)? Another member here who owns the MMF-5 bought it from a brick-and-mortar store since they were experts at setting up the table. He suggested I go through a brick-and-mortar store for the benefit of having an expert set up the table. I'm not saying that they will set it up at home, but they will get the cartridge set up correctly in the store, so I guess you can then just plug and play.
Keith, there are many threads regarding TT setup at www.audioasylum.com look in the vinyl section and perform a search on Turntable setup. You don't need a lot of expensive equipment to set up your table and it's really not difficult once you understand what is required. A shure VTF gauge is $20 and you can purchase the HI-Fi Test LP for $30(a must if you want to get bias dialed in properly, IMO)
A protractor comes with the Test Record so will have everything you need to tweak till your heart's content.
Actually, The cart is pre-installed at the factory on all Music Halls. You don't need any special tools to set the anti-skate or tracking weight as the table is calibrated by putting the counter-weight on the rear of the arm and adjusting it back and forth unit the arm "floats". Then turn the counterweight ring until it reads "0". Then turn it to 1.7. Done. I didn't trust this reading at first so I checked with my gauge. To my surprise it was dead-on at 1.7 grams. Then hang the anti-skate string on the second slot. Next, put the belt and platter on.
Done. Thats it. The whole process takes about 15 minutes.
The manual is OK. It tells you everything you need to know.
The Table will sound a little stiff and bright for about 10-15 hrs of play then WOW! I let it play in the background for a couple of nights and then I started to really listen. Very nice! You'll love it.
Decibel was featured in the movie "High Fidelity".