Warm, tube like sound from a/v Receiver/ Speaker combination for $1500, possible?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by IvanD, Mar 6, 2003.

  1. IvanD

    IvanD Auditioning

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    I have the Onkyo SR600 Receiver matched with Paradims, Mains are Monitor 7's. Great for movies, but I would like a warmer, richer, more open sound for music which is 75% of my listening. Should I change or is this as good as it gets at this price range? I could change speakers or Receiver or both. If you relate to the kind of sound I am looking for I would like to hear suggestions/experience. Thanks.
     
  2. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    Denon or B&K with Mirage or B&W has been real good for our systems.
    I had the monitor 3's and 7's, and the complete studio line short of the 80's.
    We never could get the paradigms to mellow out for a good long classical or jazz sitting.
    The Studio line was a huge improvement over the monitors for us.
    This is not meant as a knock on the paradigm line.
    After having most of the v2 line, They just did not fit our taste.
    Or maybe a Parasound amp with your current AVR will help?

    Jerry
     
  3. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    B&K gear with Vienna Acoustics speakers was as close to tubes I could get without the hassle of tubes and when I say close I mean pretty darn close. But the cost is substantially over 1.5K in what I have auditioned. Maybe a used PT3 ($300) stereo preamp with a ST1400 ($300) with Vienna Acoustics Haydn bookshelfs ($500) and a Sony ES SACD player would get you really close to the warm dimensional sound of tubes.

    best of luck.
     
  4. JeremyFr

    JeremyFr Supporting Actor

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    if you're wanting tube sound and using analog for your music i.e. you're using a standard cd player with analog out to your reciever you could get a tube sound enhancer/pre-amp for pretty cheap from Behringer.

    I know many people have used these in studios to cheaply and effectively add the distinct sound of tubes to there recording its configured for 8 channels but I could definately see it making for a nice sound, and with the 8 channels could even be hooked up between an SACD/DVD-A player and the receiver.

    Looking into it its been discontinued but it was called the Magician T1950 heres a link to it
    http://www.behringer.com/02_products...T1950&lang=eng

    If you're looking for something that is only 2 channel they have the Tube Ultrafex 1954 as seen here

    http://www.behringer.com/02_products...T1954&lang=eng

    Which basically does the same thing but only 2 channel it retails for around $159 so it might be worth a try or you can try to find the magician though I'm not sure what the pricetag would be on it. Hope this helps.
     
  5. Alex Prosak

    Alex Prosak Supporting Actor

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    B&K gear is certainly much warmer but it would be out of your stated price range. I've always found Onkyo to be on the bright side. As far as affordable AV receivers go, I think Marantz has the warmest sound. I suggest replacing the Onkyo with a Marantz and seeing how the Paradigms sound with that. If that still isn't quite what you're looking for, then replace the speakers.
     
  6. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Sometimes the easiest cheapest way to get warm sound is to use your tone controls. Up a notch in the bass, down a notch in the treble.

    Also note that chasing tube sound has driven people crazy and to the poor house. Guy buys $10,000 speakers. After taking down the wood crates they came in and settin them up in his house, he ain't happy. Too bright. So he ends up getting a 3 watt single ended triode tube amp. All that nice even-order harmonic distortion gives him what he wants. Go figure.

    There is a word for that: euphonics. Basically means not true to the original source but sounds good cause we like the warmth.



    Artie
     
  7. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Just to back up Jeremy's post..

    I have the Behringer Tube Ultra-Q which is a 2 channel
    4 band constant Q Parametric equalizer with 2 Sovtek 12AX7
    Triodes in the signal path. The EQ and the Tubes can be
    fully defeated, I use the tubes but I don't use the EQ
    section and it most definatly adds even order distorsion [​IMG]

    And IMHO it sounds fantastic.. My Onkyo Has never sounded
    so "warm" and Onkyo's Receivers were warm to begin with
    (when compared to Denon, Pioneer, Yamaha Etc.)

    But be aware..... You may like it so much you may end up
    buying tube amps..

    I just ordered a pair of Antique Sound Labs Wave AV-20 DT
    20 watt Pure Class A Monoblocks and I can not wait for them
    to get here! [​IMG]
     
  8. IvanD

    IvanD Auditioning

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    Which of the latest Marantz x300 range sounds the warmest? I listened to the 5300 and 6300 with Energy speakers and did not find them particularly warm but could be the speakers. Also I think maybe the latest Matantz Receivers may not have the same warmth as older models. Anyone have any experience with this. I believe Denon has bought Matantz is that true?
    And which Speakers (mains) give you the best midrange/warmth in the $400 - $600 price range.
    Thanks for all the responses.
     
  9. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

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    If you have the space for a 2 channel system a Jolida integrated paired with some soft dome bookshelf speakers like Quad or Dali could be had for your price range.
     
  10. Ian Lascell

    Ian Lascell Agent

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    This may be obvious so I'm sorry if it is.

    If you listen to CDs, be sure you have a player with decent D/A converter and ignore the digital out and use an analog connection with some "warm" interconnects. A knowledgeable dealer will be able to recommend a warm sounding interconnect.

    My personal experience was I replaced a HK 8380 CD changer with a NAD 541i and changed from a digital interconnect to MITerminator interconnects, using my players internal DACs instead of my pre/pro. Now this is not very expensive stuff, but it made a huge difference in my enjoyment of CDs by eliminating the digital coldness from the setup.

    If you don't already listen to SACDs or DVDAs, these are much warmer sounding recordings than their CD counterparts in general.

    These are all cheaper ways to introduce more warmth to your system. But the amp/speaker combination is the single biggest factor in my opinion. It also happens to be the most expensive to replace so maybe it isn't necessarily the place to start.
     
  11. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    I would suggest going to a 2 ch configuration for your budget and believe it or not a 2 channel system done right sounds quite convincing even in HT.
     
  12. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    My 2 cents worth...

    In my listening experience, nothing provides tube sound except for tubes. I have heard warmer sounding setups, but they ain't tubes. Changing solid state amp brands, speakers or interconnects won't sound like tubes. You can get a warmer sound (and it may be enough to please you) but it won't be tubes...

    If you really desire tube sound, you're going to have to buy some. Whether it's a tubed eq, tubed output CD player, a tubed CD player interface box (Musical Fidelity used to make one but I can't remember it's name at this moment), or some kind of 2 channel tubed amp that can be bypassed for HT.
     
  13. Ian Lascell

    Ian Lascell Agent

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    Hey Brett,
    I don't know how copper or anything else makes something sound warmer. Maybe you do, but I don't. But I have pretty good ears and I can hear it. And so can other people.

    You may be one of those people who claims that there is no difference between interconnects and speaker wire. If that is the case, then good for you. You must be happy with whatever your setup is. For those of us who can hear differences, please excuse us while we try to tweak our systems to sound the way we like them. I was simply trying to offer another option that may or may not help in this case.

    I found your approach to voicing your opinion to be quite condescending toward me. Maybe you are not aware that you came off that way.

    Back to the original topic, I think Chuck is right. While I was offering ideas to introduce warmth into the signal flow, warmth definitely does not equal tube sound. Tubes just have that sound that I haven't heard using anything else. I've never heard a tubed output CD player, so I'm not sure how prominent its effect would be compared to amplification.
     
  14. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    I would agree with Yogi if 75% of your listening is 2 channel music and you have this limited of a budget then scrap the home theater stuff and just focus on a 2 channel rig. Just be sure to have a DVD player with a built-in decoder or one that can do simulated surround out of 2 channels.

    And if you are wanting the tube sound then go for tubes, as Chuck states above. There are several brands of 2 channel tube integrated amps that sell under a $1000.

    Antique Sound Labs and Jolida being two options. Also Anthem.
    My suggestion for this price range, unless you find something really great used, would be the limited edition Baby Amplifier by Sophia Electric selling for $799 right now. www.sophiaelectric.com
    This integrated only puts out 8 watts but with a sensitive enough speaker this should be plenty of power for music or HT.
    Some high sensitivity, easy to drive speakers would be:
    Loth-X Ion-BS1 www.lothx.com

    used Soliloquy SM-2A3 look here for a good deal on a used pair http://www.triodeandco.com/deals_01.html

    Moth Audio Cicada www.mothaudio.com

    All of these combinations would be some very fun systems on the cheap that I think you would find much more enjoyable than the Onkyo and company.
     
  15. IvanD

    IvanD Auditioning

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    Thanks for all the ideas. Never heard of most of the brand names put forward here. I think I have to find out who sells tube amps in Vancouver so I can at least have a listen to some, and keep researching on the Internet. My system 0f 10 years ago consisted of Audio Research Pre/Amp and Tannoy floor standing speakers. I just don't have that kind of budget anymore. Ah well life's a compromise, I am just looking for the best one.[​IMG]
     
  16. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Ian. I started using some Kimber PBJ interconnects, and found them to sound very harsh. I tried StraightWire Chorus II interconnects on a recommendation, and there is a heck of a difference. Why do they sound smoother? I have no idea. But they do.

    I also agree that a standalone CD player of good quality will up the sound quality of your music tremendously. DVD players as CD players sound awful, unless you spend considerable dough.
     
  17. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Ivan...Brett's approach merits serious consideration for a number of reasons.
    Cost in US dollars is somewhere in the vicinity of $150 however if purchased at a store such as 'Guitar Center' (they're a chain) it is easily negotiated lower. Don't like the unit, you can easily return it for your money back during the grace period.
    Behringer is a reputable company with a proven track record. It's made in an ISO 9000 certified factory
    For those who thinks it makes a difference, it's an analog unit.
    The participation of the tubes can be 'dialed in' to give the listener the amount of tube sound they want. This is in direct contrast to the various amps/preamp tube devices where one searches for the 'right' tube sound.
    You can keep your existing equipment as it inserts between your preamp and amp.
    It's got parametric equalizers which may prove beneficial in dealing with a room/system issue. Don't want to use them, you don't have to.
    Of course it doesn't have the appeal of high prices and low power and you won't find it reviewed in audiophile magazines.
     
  18. IvanD

    IvanD Auditioning

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    Brett or Chu how does the Behringer Tube Ultra-Q connect up to my system? I'll try going to analogue from my Pnasonic DVD player, worth a try. Is Behringer or similar sold in Canada, I'm in Vancouver?
     
  19. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Ivan, if you head over to Behringer's website, you can download the manual which ought to address any questions you've got concerning how to hook it up. According to Musician's Friend, there doesn't appear to be any chains in Canada. There's some in Washington state...Seattle I think is the closest to Vancouver. Might want to look in your phone book and see if you can find a large professional music store. Likely they'll carry it. While mail order is always an option, you don't have the flexibility of negotiating price and if you decide it's not for you, then returning is a hassle.
     

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