Well....I was looking at a valve amp (again, after 40 years), and was faced with reconditioning 60's stuff or modernism.
Luckily I ventured on this little amp new on ebay for 134 pounds! It needs a pre amp if you have a record deck, i had a NAD phono preamp, but have managed to get a single valve preamp. The Bellari VP130 on ebay the next day for 150 pounds. My cartridge is an Ortophon 2M blue moving magnet and the deck is a Pro-Ject 1.
Now the record collection sounds better than the CD's again! I was listening to Ry Cooder's Bop til you drop (the first digitally mastered mass market LP back in 1979) and the Jethro Tull living in the past albun, Nick Lowe's Rose of England, to mention just a few! The speakers are the Wharfedale PP-S1 panel units with passive bass box. I am very impressed with how good the system sounds for the money! My previous gear from the 1970's (and still have it) was the Quad 33 / 303 with Michell focus 1 and SME 111S arm with a moving coil cartridge, feeding KEF 104 AB monitors.
You will need efficient speakers to get volume, with these panel units this is not a problem (they can still be found for less than 70 pounds). The amp is not connected to the ipod dock, due to the lack of an ipod! But a CD component unit is used to play MP3's and CD's.
It is a reasonable sized room 5m x 3.5m, and the volume levels are fine with this setup, the nuances of vinyl are a joy to hear again, apart from the occasional click and pop from dust and small scratches! Overall I can only say that for the money there is nothing on the amp market that can offer the valve experience (and to my ears a good one)at this price level for a new unit.
It is a shame how long we put up with solid state circuitry, only to find the glow in the dark stuff can be had again at reasonable prices. Enjoy a change, if you have not heard valves before!
P.S. I see a lot of live bands, guitarists prefer valves too!
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