I'm learning myself, its complicated and I belive is made more mestrious by the audiophile valve freaks than it realy need be, no diferent to cable and the followers of same?
I have gone for the Gold Lion, £36 ago, you can pay £100s for a matched pair, the advantages are a bit vague and may be more applicable to the out of reach amps one can only dream of.
I have gon down this route becaus of circustances, I bought the amp new in Jauary, all was well for a while, then things went pear shaped, sound stage colapsed, song muddied up, whats going on? Tracked it down to the number 4 valve, dead, heaters were on, the red glow you see when a valve is powered, but the workings were out. This was easily checked on the Icon amp, via the biasing meater, zero reading.
Valves should last for 4000/5000 hours, they tell me. Icon garantee their valves for 12 months as a consumable, you pay a percentage of the use, however, 6 weeks is a bit short and unlucky. Icon confirmed my diagnosis, my dealer has honoured my garentee. There is a replacement on its way, it appears maching is advisable but not critical with an amp that can be biased.
I need a spare valve? . . . discussed with Hazel, she has become a real hifi nut, "you get a full matched set of 4" she said. We discussed the pros and cons, I took some advise from a friend on line. One remembers the old days, back in the 70's and 80's, valves were much admired, rembering the Gold Lion KT88 as a stadard that all were match against.
So, my romantic memory took over, I looked at a few forum threads on line dedicated to the Gold Lion KT88's, much praise was heaped on the re-issued vintage valve. For better or for worse, I place the order, if nothing else, they were my spare set. The replacement Icon valve has not yet arived, the Gold Lions arrived mid morning . . . Nothing for it, in with both feet, change them over, retain the three good Icon valves. Switch on, initial bias, run for an hour, re bias.
They have been powerd up for 4 hours. Snatched an hour of music, not bad at all considering they are so new, the rest of the time I have had radio 4 on, catching up with the weeks Archers episodes, now listening to a facinating play, 'the silence at a songs end' the writing of Nicholas Heiney, have a listen to it on Wednesdays radio 4, 2.15pm iPlayer.
It is still early, but one is aware of the improved sound quality, much crisper mid range, treble is sweet and base is more detailed, black sound is blacker . . . yes, even this early, I recon the 'valve roll' is worth every penny, I will leve things running untill the Horlicks hour when we will be able to enjoy some music, looking forward to it . . .
Rega P5/PB700 (upgraded main bearing, white drive belt), Sumiko Celebration Pearwood Signature cartridge, Carver MCt, Croft Integrated Valve hybrid amp, PMC LB1's on Foundation Designer Stands, Rega Apollo CDp. Cables: speaker, Linn K20, Interconnect, Foundation Audio Special.
So £36 each, is that from a UK dealer or from ebay? How many watts per channel do you get? Do they get very hot?
Yep BigH, 'Hot Rox UK' based in Nottigham, 40 watts per channel, 40 watts is certainly enought to drive my 87db efficient PMC LB1's to a very good volume at '12 o'clock' for my room size, normal istening 9 to 10 o'clock.
Heaters in valves, they are supposed to get a bit more than warm mate!!! If you are worried about little fingers, most valve amps come with an appropiate cover, . . . keeps the centeral heating bills down too
Been listening to some music for the past 2 hours, the sound is improving as I listen, extra image depth and ambience has become noticable, with more inner detail coming through. The sweetness I mentioned earlier is beginning to pervade the whole of the sound without the trecaly sound so often associated with valves, I will give the sweetness a description of 'musical flow'. Ambiance? . . . may be better described as an 'airy detailed presentation', most satifiying, more to come I think . . . ?
. . . More to come did I say, I'm listening to Karen Carpenter, not know for dynamic presentation? . . . well there are some leading edges there, particularly from the drum kit in 'Solitair' that are very sharp and dynamic!
THanks, no not worried about little fingers but heat could be a problem at times. Yes 40W should be enough. There is a dealer not to far from me that does have Croft amps so I may give them a demo with some Harbeth speakers or would that be too sweet?
Yee Haaa !!!!! Rowdy........
Following manufacturer's advice, I replaced the Electro Harmonix 300b's in my SET monoblocks with Shuguang Black Treasures for a nice but subtle upgrade to the sound.
You been looking at my signature BigH? The WHFsite wont alow me to chang my sig., but I have posted that I now have moved on to an 'Icon Stereo 40 MKIII'. Nothing wrong with the Croft and it does not get so hot as the full valve Icon, it dont use KT88 either. Who is your dealer, not Radlett Audio by any chance? If so, he does Icon as well.
So why is it called 'rolling'?
HiFi / A/V / Bedroom
I have no idea BenLaw, I was told thats what it is called???
Dont realy matter, the Gold Lion KT88's are working for me. All the points I have highlighted have combined in the Horlicks hour in to a relaxing sound that can be listend to as 'a performance' at low volume level, a requirement of Horlicks hour.
Good luck - I'm sure Clint would approve!
Yes I did get it from your signature. Yes it would be Radlett, they have a limited range of gear. I will have a look at Icon but my budget is about £1,000 tops for an amp.
BigH, Radlett Audio is my dealer too, Dave is a good friend, we go back to the mid 70's, he supplied my first propper hifi system. Google the 'Icon' web site, they have a couple of amps Stero 20 and 25 that are in budget. Dave has one of them on dem I believe?
Personaly, at your price point, I'd stick with the Croft, its a hybrid with a valve preamp stage and mosfet power output, briliant piece of kit. As I say, I have moved on, I have my Croft sitting here doing nothing, MM phone and line inputs, I was going to put it on fleBay?
Maybe because that's what they're doing to your wallet?
Sonos ZP90>Missing Link "Digit">Dacmagic>Chord Cadenza>Leema Tucana I>Van Damme UP LC-OFC>ATC SCM40s
Here you go, as I was typing the thread they arived, amazing service, I did not order them untill 4pm yesterday. They are now installed and the initial biasing has been done, amp is warming up, its going to be fun over the next few days as they burn in.
. . . to me, a work of visual and hifi art, part of my nostalgia and history, Gold Lion KT88, premium quality, hand tested:
So they are geting burnt in now, still a very sweet sound, base has been the last element to show any change; extending, tight, controlled.
Its Horlicks time now, just after 1am, so the volume is low. As always, the mind goes over, I switched the amp from 'ultralinier' to 'triode mode', music choice is critical, prefering accustic music and jazz, curently listening to Eva Cassidy, the spaciousness of sound is superb, no need for high volume, the sound just oozes presence. Base is not so extended, but then, that goes with music selection.
Just another option that valves can offer and its an either/or . . .
What, you mean like expensive speaker cable, interconects and kettle leads . . . perhaps cable changing should be called 'Cable Knotting' . . . ?
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