Proud new Tube Papa, My impressions..

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Brett DiMichele, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    It's been a fairly long wait...

    I ordered my Antique Sound Labs Wave AV-20DT (Dual Tube's)
    over a month ago from Kevin at Upscale Audio and it was a
    wonderful transaction fully. He kept me up to date with
    details at all times and while it took longer than expected
    they arrived in tact (Considering they had to make thier
    way from China to Canada to California to Pennsylvania).

    Initial Impressions..

    I don't have the tubes biased correctly because my multi
    meter doesn't read high enough... I need to go out and buy
    a new one tomorrow..

    I haven't let the tubes burn in like most people do but
    already the sound is impressive. I notice more decay on
    instruments than I did on my solid state amps, a well known
    guitar piece sounds completely new to me as the strings can
    still be heard vibrating longer than I ever could before..

    I get a little hum with the volume at 20 and no source but
    part of this is that I just quickly threw them where ever
    I had the space(I need a new rack!).

    They put out 20 watts and this drives my speakers nicely as
    I expected but even into clipping they STILL sound good!

    Are they on par with multi thousand dollar tube gear? surely
    not.. But for $500.00 for a pair of 20 watt Monoblocks running
    dual 6L6's on the output stage and a single 12AX7 on the
    input they sound extemely pleasing!
     
  2. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

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    thanks for the quick review, brett. i am considering purchasing the asl wave av-20dt's as well for a 2 channel bedroom system as i have no experience with tubes and really prefer the solid state i own for my main system. for the price of admission, the asl's are very attractive in my opinion. i look forward to future postings on the asl's.

    kevin t
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    take a stab at contrasting those with the behringer?
     
  4. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Sounds pretty sweet! Keep us up to date when you place them where you want them and after you're done with burn-in.
     
  5. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Chu,

    Well it's hard to compare the Tube Ultra-Q to the ASL's for
    the sheer reason that the Behringer uses the 12AX7 as a
    pure linestage device where as the ASL's have the 6L6 Tubes
    coupled to the speakers on the output side and they are
    actively riding the impedance swings of the drivers.

    The ASl's definatly add a more noticeable "Tubey" ness to
    the music moreso than the Behringer but that's not to say
    that the Ultra-Q doesn't add tubey qualities either.

    When I get my Parasound Halo P3 PreAmp next month I look
    forward to using the Tube Ultra-Q in a pure ballanced
    connection to the P3 and then out to the ASL's (unballanced).

    I feel that all 3 units will work well together and being
    able to use the parametric eq function of the Behringer can
    always come in handy for taming peaks.

    The ASL is well constructed for a Chinese piece of audio
    equipment. It lacks the high end frills found on something
    like the Cary Rocket 88's which have all sort of very nifty
    features. With the ASL's you have to manualy bias the output
    tubes but it's simple, they provide you with the output taps
    to connect the multimeter to and then you just simply turn
    each respective tube's Pot till you hit the 330Mv range and
    you're good to go (you can be +/- 5% variance) and I am sure
    you can overbias the tubes if you want (shorter tube life).

    The only thing the ASL's won't do is drive a 4 ohm load (or
    atleast ASL doesn't say you can... As beefy as the amps are
    would it really hurt?)

    I plan on doing some mods to them.. These are keepers even
    if I do upgrade to something very high end in the distand
    future.. (something like Cary...) [​IMG]
     
  6. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    I had a friend's Wave-8's driving my Offrandes which are a 4ohm load and 89dB senstivity rating. The Wave-8's drove them to 90+ dB peaks without clipping. The Offrandes are considered easy to drive speakers because the impedance load basically stays at 4 ohms throughout the entire range, so maybe other 4 ohm loads will be different. But the Offrandes did blow a fuse (Thnakfully this went before a channel) in my SS Harman/Kardon 2.1 5-ch amp that was suppossed to be able to put 180 watts into 4 ohms. Cheap **** amp!
     
  7. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Scott,

    I am glad to hear the Wave8 handled 4ohm I see no reason
    why the AV20's would not do the same. They are a more
    robust design with heavier components (and better components
    throughout)

    Now if I could just get the dang things biased right..

    *shrugs* I don't think my Multimeter is going to do what
    I need it to do.. A trip to Rat Shack may be in order!

    Ohh and I was already looking at new tubes.. PE has some
    nice ElectroHarmonix 6L6's under thier EH line cheap like
    $20.00 each and the EH Line 12AX7 is only 9 bucks! [​IMG]
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    *groan* and tube stabilizers, socks...sheesh. go on, trade that vette in and get one with a carb..that's what you're looking for, you know it [​IMG]
     
  9. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Sounds nice Brett... your description is somewhat similar to what I noticed with my Zen amp. Keep up those improvements!
     
  10. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Mike,

    Yep I would imagine the Zen and Wave's both impart similar
    charecteristics on the music.

    They are starting to get burnt in and the sound is even
    better than out of the box. Dare I say Tubes are one of the
    few things I believe "burn in" takes place with.

    I think the Waves could be even better if all the caps are
    replaced with the best paper/oil caps out there and a better
    set of output tubes and a better input tube.

    The factory installed output tubes are of unknown manufacture
    they just have ASL's logo on them (I assume they are chinese?)
    and the output tube (suposed to be a 12AX7 but says ECC38)
    is a JNJ.

    But all in all for the money it's got good components inside.
    It has Illusion Oil Filled Caps on the critical locations
    and regular caps elsewhere.

    I will scan in the schematic and post it here for you to
    scope out.
     
  11. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    For anyone curious as to what the Wave AV-20DT's look like
    here is a picture from Divergent Technologies web site.
    Divergent Tech is the main distributor for ASL they are
    based in Canada. Upscale Audio (Kevin Deal) carries ASL as
    does Adire Audio in the U.S.

    [​IMG]
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    MODEL WAVE AV-20 DT
    OUTPUT POWER 20w
    Frequency Response at 1W 20Hz--25000Hz + 1dB
    Frequency Response at full power 24Hz--25000Hz + 1dB
    Distortion at 1W
     
  12. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    It's not a mod, and lord knows people swap this brand of cap for that one, with nary hard data to be found, but have you perhaps considered making some sort of enclosure for those tubes? Something that might dress it up a bit. Wood, Corian, etc.?
     
  13. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Chu,

    Heh yeah buddy! I sure have thought about it..

    They come with Tube Cages (which I don't particularly like)
    I do plan on adding some real wood along the sides and I
    have some nice billet aluminum "rack" handles that match
    the finish of the face plate to the T and I am going to
    add those to the top lip of the face plate to protect the
    tubes from being bumped (or protect hands from being burnt).

    Also.. And I know some may think this is cheesy.. I am
    replacing the red power LED's with Blue one's [​IMG]
     
  14. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    i've done that with instruments...replaced led's and all...but you know Brett, if you think this out a bit, maybe look at some of those tube links i gave you a while back, some elegant ideas might come to you that you can adopt and really give it an 'art deco' look or something. Being that you've got an interest in cars and all, thoughts of chrome (black chrome), anodizing, powder coating all come to mind. Of course you'd need to find some way to get the metal work done, but maybe you've got a friend with some access to aluminum stock. Personally, I was thinking of something that both would be contained in and to make it a bit wider.
     
  15. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Chu,

    Nah I do not want to combine the Mono's into one chasis that
    defeats the purpose of having Monoblocks [​IMG]

    I do want to keep the chasis's seperate but I am certain
    that I can spruce the existing cabinents up some with use
    of wood.

    It's something I have to think about.. I allready have an
    idea that would look sharp I may have to model it in 3D
    first just to make sure I like the look.
     
  16. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I'll just call you Gepetto [​IMG]
     
  17. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    It's been a wonderful week plus full of adventures in tube
    audio. The tubes are officialy burnt in and the sound of the
    amps is amazing to put it mildly. The Midrange is now more
    natural than ever no loss in punch but a definate gain in
    liquidity as they audiophiles say.. The Trebbel is also
    more smooth but with no loss in detail, there is no upper
    roll off on these amps but everything is just much more
    pleasing for sure.

    Later down the road I will upgrade to better tubes and see
    what if any difference those may make but for now it's pure
    tube heaven!

    (The best purchase I have made to date..)
     

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