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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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Anyone use a tube amplifier or integrated tube amp ?

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  • #76
    Thanks for Tube Amp Info

    Many thanks Alan, appreciated. The explanation certainly fits the observations.
    Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.

    Comment


    • #77
      Originally posted by A.S. View Post
      Almost all tube amps are built around their output transformers, one per channel usually the size of five or more cigarette packets, covered with a metal shroud. The entire performance of the amplifier is critically dependent upon the transformer's capabilities. Every note, every transient has to work its way through that lump of steel and copper, and as with all transformers, the signal passing through will be slightly (or greatly depending upon the design) corrupted by the magneto-electrical forces inside the transformer. So chasing some dream tubes to replace the ones already fitted to a tube amp is skirting around the issue: the real performance limitation is the output transformer which cannot be exchanged. I congratulate anyone smart enough to understand and wrestle with the many technical factors in the design of tube amps. But at best, they can only reach a very sophisticated point of compromise - getting rid of the transformer is the answer.
      It is in the Transformer... Thanks Alan Shaw. Another 'nail in the coffin' post.

      Happy Good Friday!

      Comment


      • #78
        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
        Almost all tube amps are built around their output transformers, one per channel usually the size of five or more cigarette packets, covered with a metal shroud. The entire performance of the amplifier is critically dependent upon the transformer's capabilities. Every note, every transient has to work its way through that lump of steel and copper, and as with all transformers, the signal passing through will be slightly (or greatly depending upon the design) corrupted by the magneto-electrical forces inside the transformer. So chasing some dream tubes to replace the ones already fitted to a tube amp is skirting around the issue: the real performance limitation is the output transformer which cannot be exchanged.

        I congratulate anyone smart enough to understand and wrestle with the many technical factors in the design of tube amps. But at best, they can only reach a very sophisticated point of compromise - getting rid of the transformer is the answer.
        Hi Alan
        I have tried many amplifiers over the years valve & the best solid state, I have built 4 Valve Single Ended Triode mono block amplifiers & 2 valve transformer output preamplifiers to learn about the different directly heated triodes (45,2A3,300B & GM-70).
        As you say the transformers are the governing factor to the quality of the sound produced by valve amplifiers.
        How ever I would have to say when you have a valve amplifier that uses excellent built & designed transformers for the output or even interstage driver transformers then this is a different matter for the sonic results entirely.
        I am not saying that you need to use valve amplifiers to get excellent sound quality with Harbeth loudspeakers because you do not, I have had excellent sound with the LFD, Pass Labs & Lamm solid state amplifiers, I like both amplification devices when well designed.
        Thanks Jason.
        Thanks Jason.

        www.parmentersound.com

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        • #79
          Like I expressed in the past on the HUG, I experimented many amplifiers with my SHL5. Both of solid state or tubes amplifiers have their strenght and weakness.

          To state about Alan's earlier post, for me it's clear the solid state are the "brunette" one and tubes are the "blonde" one.

          Enjoy your sound!

          Sebastien

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          • #80
            A few months ago I bought a Prima Luna Prologue 2 valve amplifier to use with my SHL5's, it's my first valve amp in 45 years of listening to hi fi and I love it. I recently changed the stock KT88 valves for Svetlana winged C EL34 valves and in my humble opinion the sound quality is now ever better.

            Geoff.

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            • #81
              SET/Harbeth

              Originally posted by Jason View Post
              Hi Alan
              I have tried many amplifiers over the years valve & the best solid state, I have built 4 Valve Single Ended Triode mono block amplifiers & 2 valve transformer output preamplifiers to learn about the different directly heated triodes (45,2A3,300B & GM-70)...
              Hi Jason,

              Could you provide me some listening feed-back with the use of SET (Single Ended Triode) amplifier and Harbeth speakers? The 2A3, 300B, 211 and 845 are among the best designed I heard in an amplifier, transistor or tube mingled. I guess that the will fit better with an high efficiency speaker but I'd like to learn about their synergy with Harbeth.

              Thanks,

              Sébastien

              Comment


              • #82
                Single Ended Triode tube amp / Harbeth

                Hello Sébastien

                I had a 10W/channel SET running my P3ES2s once. It was a cheap one that I bought to find out what SET amps sound like. To my tastes, the resulting tone was beautiful and superior to my current ordinary class AB transistor amp but it did run out of steam during the loud parts of big stuff (Mahler, Russian symphonies etc.). I read a write-up about it once that summed it up rather well... paraphrasing... "much like a 1930s Austin 7... disarmingly charming and perfectly gutless!"

                Whether the losing steam effect was down to the fact it was cheap, a SET or of only 10W a side, I'm afraid I couldn't tell you with certainty.

                I still miss that little amp and wish I'd never sold it.

                Ben
                Last edited by BAS-H; 03-08-2012, 09:03 AM. Reason: "to my tastes" added because this is my opinion rather than fact
                Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.

                Comment


                • #83
                  Compact 7ES-3 with tubes vs solidstate

                  A few years back, in my pre-Harbeth days, I owned a pair of speakers that had the tendency to sound harsh in my room. Tried lost of amps, most solidstate, but the audible diferences were minor. Then bought a Unison tube amp, immediately loved the sound! I guess it was a bit rolled off in the highs, but in my system it presented just enough details in a very smooth way. It made me happy for a while but then sold all my gear when I sold the house. A year later, in a new home, I started again with a more modest system. A pair of Compact 7-ES3's hooked up to a Rega Mira3 amp and a Rega source. The Harbeths made me listen to more music than ever before, so natural, relaxing and engaging at the same time. Even with this simple solidstate Rega. Alan is right, amps don't matter that much. I could live forever with this combo.

                  But still, I kept asking myself if it would be possible that the tube-revelation in my former systeem could repeat itself with the Harbeths. Last week I suddenly got offered a pair of 70 watt Primaluna tubed mono's, in mint condition for a great bargain. Just couldn't resist the experiment. Once installed in my system it seemed silly to connect them to the pre-out of the solid state Rega but after first listen I easily forgot about the akward match. I never expected such a gain in musicality, everthing has more air and music flows more naturally. Big difference, it sounds so 'easy' and musicians have (a lot) more presence. Listening to Brandford Marsalis 'Renaissance' is simply breathtaking. It always was, now just even more so.

                  I was very happy with the Mira3 on my Harbeths but this tube experiment is here to stay and the next step is to find a good pre-amp to go along with it. Then, perhaps, peace at last. And definitly more music from the Marsalis family!

                  {Moderator's comment: 'more musical' but have you considered that the same effect can eb achieved quite easily with a rising HF output? Did you check the frequency response before concluding some marvellous technical breakthrough which is extremely unlikely. A-B test perhaps? We are very nervous about these night-and-day experiences.]

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    The scary resistance of the plain facts

                    Originally posted by markus sauer View Post
                    I still disagree with your stance. In an ideal world, you should send those callers to their dealers and ask them to listen for themselves. It is not for you to tell them how to spend their money. Taking responsibility for one's actions is a core quality of adult humans in my book. They should not need anybody else to validate their decisions.

                    In a perverse way, you keep those callers in just the same position they were in before they called you - not trusting their own judgement and relying on someone else's instead.

                    In the non-ideal world, I suppose I should be grateful for anyone who gives non-snake-oil advice. But you do that frequently on the forum; you could even insert a "template post/standard disclaimer" outlining your position after each post of the kind you want to eradicate. Easy to do when posts are reviewed before publication anyway.
                    I have to disagree with a lot of the backwards logic going on this thread. If anything, Harbeth's official stance and advice on amplifiers is empowering their [potential?] customer base.

                    It's more disturbing to see so many people 'resist' the cold hard facts. The psychology of it all is quite scary...

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      This escape from audio nervosa

                      I'd have to agree that Harbeth's official stance on amplifiers is empowering. Having owned a pair of P3ESR's since April, I've used them with two amplifiers, a Rogue Cronus Magnum and a Rega Brio R. The P3ESRs sound fantastic with both amplifiers, to the extent that I don't feel any need to be too concerned with amplifier choice and Harbeth speakers. For now, the Rega will be used with other speakers in my living room, and the Rogue will drive the P3ESRs in my small listening room. But, when the time comes to buy a larger pair of Harbeths for my living room, it's comforting to know I can just swap amplifiers between rooms and not be further concerned with it.

                      I really appreciate this forum as a peaceful respite from an online world of audiophile nervosa.

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