Tube amp and SS amps in 5.1 system - any advice?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andrew R S, Jun 19, 2002.

  1. Andrew R S

    Andrew R S Auditioning

    Jun 19, 2002
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    I'm trying to put together a 5.1 system using various pieces of equipment that I've managed to acquire in my 20+ years of being an AV packrat. Yes, it is an attempt to be cheap, but also an attempt to continue using equipment that I am accustomed to, have spent a fair amount of money on, and genuinely love the sound.

    I currently have:
    2 Carver m-400 "cube" amps (200w/ch) and
    1 Marantz tube amp (vintage 1970, 200w/ch, not sure of the nomenclature - the tag fell off years ago....)

    I plan on using the Outlaw 950 pre/pro (or Rotel 1066 if Outlaw keeps dragging me along). I have an Outlaw ICBM for bass management.

    Speakers are Cambridge Soundworks Ensemble (original).

    The idea is to use the Marantz (tube) for the R&L fronts, the Carvers for FC, RR, RL, and sub (dual in the Ensemble system).

    My question - can I mix the tube and Carver amps?
    Will there be any audible difference in response time?
    What pitfalls should I be aware of?
    Should I just try to find another Carver m-400? (they seem to be regularly at auction on EBay).

    I really loved the warm sounds of the twin Carvers (from my late 70s experiment with Quad...), and adore the mellowness of the Marantz (leftover after a re-modeling project from a business' auditorium...)

    Thanks for any / all input
  2. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

    Feb 15, 2001
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    A 1970s 200wpc Marantz tube amp may be worth quite a bit, so it might make sense to see if you can dig up more information on what model it is, and see if you can sell it and make some money there [​IMG]
    If you also plan to use this system for 2-channel listening, I think you're on the right track. Matching speakers across the front 3 is most important, next would be matching amps, but I would think that comes in at a much lower priority. Also, you have ample power in the tube amp, so it won't sag under the load of your speakers or anything like that, so you shouldn't have 'speed' problems either.
  3. Alex F.

    Alex F. Second Unit

    Aug 29, 1999
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    If memory serves, Marantz's old commercial amps were basically the same as their consumer models (the cosmetics were very basic for the former). Their most powerful tube amps were rated from 30 to 35 watts per channel.

    Possibly the 200 watts you referred to is the power consumption listed adjacent to the AC line on the back panel.

    See the website for information about vintage Marantz products. You might find your specific model there. The photos and the information about what tubes are used by each model should prove helpful.

    By the way, 30 or so watts may still be adequate to drive your loudspeakers. Of course, you'll need to actually try the speaker-poweramp-preamp combination to be certain you can achieve satisfactory sonic performance and sufficient output levels in your room.

    Happy listening!

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