SuperBAF Cheap Tube Amp Guide ~$1200 or less

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by purr1n, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. phaeton

    phaeton Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2017
    Likes Received:
    28
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Rome, the one in Italy :-)
    well, for future reference, should it be needed again, maybe could be useful to explicit the math and the conditions.

    if the amplifier is in a voltage-saturation condition (almost always true for SS above 8 ohms) and the output resistance is negligible, then the math is really very simple: P(Z1) = P(Z0) * (Z0/Z1) , where P(Zn) = power at load Zn

    so for example if the amplifier is giving 2.9W @ 8ohm, the power at 50ohm is 2.9 * (8/50) = 0.464W

    this simple formula can be applied to almost all SS amps, aparts few cases: amps that have max power above Z0 ohms and amps that have trans/auto-former at the output.

    in case of VT amps, things are more complex, and that's why I wrote "potentially at least" in my previous post ;)
     
    mawk and Elnrik like this.
  2. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,260
    Dislikes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Los Alamos, NM
    Home Page:
    Lenroot77 likes this.
  3. Rockin_Zombie

    Rockin_Zombie Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2017
    Likes Received:
    129
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Toronto
  4. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,260
    Dislikes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Los Alamos, NM
    Home Page:
    In two days the Cayin HA-1a Mk2 will be $629 from AliExpress.
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Cay...usic-Headphone-Amplifier-AMP/32791178682.html
    UpdateL: AliExpress only has the 220v version :-(

    I'm temped, but I will probably pass since there is an acknowledged design flaw that can cause the amp to be easily damaged when being shipped.

    The Mk1 has speaker output too, but they dropped that on the mk2. $300. Tempting.

    My alternative choice is the Mainline. Lots of fun to build, and that's worth something too. Still, $629 is a great price.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
    Rockin_Zombie likes this.
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    61,799
    Dislikes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    I wouldn't mind ordering from AliExpress, but the design flaw / shipping damage thing concerns me.
     
  6. Rockin_Zombie

    Rockin_Zombie Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2017
    Likes Received:
    129
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Toronto
    Awesome! I will probably take the risk, my credit card company is pretty good with chargeback if it goes down to that.
     
  7. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,260
    Dislikes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Los Alamos, NM
    Home Page:
    It appears the one for sale on AliExpress is 220v, so be advised.
     
  8. Rockin_Zombie

    Rockin_Zombie Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2017
    Likes Received:
    129
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Toronto
    Yup just contacted the seller, let's see.

    Edit : nope only 220v available.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  9. 0x646877

    0x646877 Rando

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2017
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Location:
    Middle
    I own the MP 301 MK3 and ever since I have owned it I have run into background noise issues. I have contacted them and switched the wing-c tubes as they recommended to reduce background noise which did help. I have also used the ground cheater plug they say to use if you have background noise. I have not tried a power conditioner yet. I also found this thread talking about modding the mp301 to help with it. https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=45210

    I am currently not using the 301 right now been testing out a Project Sunshine III. Which has not had any issues with background noise like the 301. I would consider something else before the MP 301 MK3. The problem I have with it seems to be rather common.
     
  10. bobboxbody

    bobboxbody Almost "Made"

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    361
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Chicago
    I have a minor amount of hum on my MP301mk3 but only with headphones. My speakers have a sensitivity of 91db and they have no audible noise with my head right next to them. I'm running NOS Phillips/JAN 6SJ7WGT driver tubes and Preferred Series KT88's - Supposedly 6L6 driver tubes will eliminate the headphone noise, but I don't even really notice it with music playing and I prefer the extra power from the KT88's since most of my listening is on speakers anyway. I really like the amp for desk top nearfield speaker use.
     
  11. 0x646877

    0x646877 Rando

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2017
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Location:
    Middle

    I am using Gold Lion KT66. I also use it as a speaker amp which sadly I can still hear the hum. Maybe ill give the KT88 a shot. Thanks for the reply.
     
  12. MattRG

    MattRG Facebook Friend

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Likes Received:
    246
    Dislikes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Taylorsville, Georgia - USA
    A couple of other units that I have no personal experience with but thought I would mention here, the Woo Audio WA 2 which is very much a known product at this point but can still be purchased new for less than $1200, and the La Figaro 339 which seems to be available from a couple of places for around $750. The La Figaro, in particular, seems to have a pretty good enthusiast following having been designed by an ex Darkvoice employee. Anyone have personal experience with either of these units?
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    61,799
    Dislikes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    Only heard them in passing. So take with a grain of salt. No gonna pull a Psalm on you guys.

    The WA2 is gooey. It's kind of the amp that very early on in the HD800's history that worked OK with the HD800, at least it softened the HD800 glare and brightness. But in doing so, it also smears over the HD800's resolution, attack, and dynamics. Romantic, soft, maybe limp are the words. Output Z is very high, even higher than the Fur Elise amp. There is a reason the WA2 isn't listed in here or in the HD800 amps thread. A lot of people like this Lebenesque kind of sound though, so I wouldn't necessarily discourage readers going down this route. Most longtime members, I would discourage them from this. It's nice for a bit, but after 10 minutes (or 10 months), you want to throw it out the window.

    La Figaro 339 I actually kind of like. I think it's hard to really mess up a 6AS7 type implementation. It wasn't anything mind blowing, but for an OTL and what is it, the price is certainly right. We should probably get a La Figaro 339 in for the loaner program. I am kind of curious how it compares to the Elise.

    On the Cayin, I think I will pass. I'm not fond of the 12A_7 tubes. I'll try to listen to one locally and make a final determination.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
    MattRG, Garns, Grahad2 and 1 other person like this.
  14. MattRG

    MattRG Facebook Friend

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Likes Received:
    246
    Dislikes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Taylorsville, Georgia - USA
    @Marvey thanks for the input. Out of those three (the Woo, the 339 and the Cayin) it is certainly the latter two that interest me the most. The Cayin is beautiful and the rated power output is fantastic but if the sonic capability and sound quality isn't there then it would certainly not be worth the money. Interestingly the 220v is $699 US while the 120v version from musicteck.com costs $999. At $699 I think it could be a bargain. At $999 I'm not so interested.

    Someone over on Head-fi asked the Cayin sponsor if it was feasible to purchase the 220v unit and use a step-up transformer and this was the rep's response: "Adding a step up transformer will definitely affect the audio performance of the HA-1Amk2, espeically in area such as dynamic and soundstage, I wouldn't recommend that unless you are going for something like a re-generation type step up power conditioning device"

    I realize this sort of question might belong in the advice thread (and if it needs to be moved, please do so) but what would the step-up transformer be doing to the power coming in to the unit that would negatively effect the dynamics and soundstage? Is that really an issue or is the Cayin rep blowing smoke to protect the US distribution partner's price?
     
    msommers, Dino and a44100Hz like this.
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    61,799
    Dislikes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    At EC labs, we use a step-up to test 220/240V configured amps for international customers. I think it is 500W unit or maybe 1000W unit. I can't say the EC tube amps used this way sound worse.
     
    Dino, LauSing2 and MattRG like this.
  16. MattRG

    MattRG Facebook Friend

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Likes Received:
    246
    Dislikes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Taylorsville, Georgia - USA
    So I did some reading on this subject. Step-up / step-down transformers convert voltage only but leave the frequency intact. My step-up transformer is converting my 110v 60hz to 220v but the 60hz remains unchanged. For something with moving parts (like say a turntable) that was made in a 220v country it will need both 220v power and 50hz frequency or the turntable will move too quickly (expecting 50hz but getting 60hz). Ditto cooling fans or other moving parts. But for an amplifier with no moving parts there should be no practical difference. It should sound the same on native 220v power or 110v power that has been through a step-up transformer.

    I know my Night Blues Mini sounds fantastic and I am using a step-up on it but it is nice to put that audio nervosa to bed whenever possible.
     
  17. k1arg

    k1arg Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    133
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    London, UK
    Sometimes transformers physically hum more or less depending on whether they are fed 50Hz or 60Hz.
     
    MattRG likes this.
  18. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,183
    Dislikes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    113
    50Hz trannies should have no problem taking 60Hz. The opposite sometimes causes issues.
     
    cskippy, MattRG and k1arg like this.
  19. SineDave

    SineDave Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Likes Received:
    759
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Home Page:
    We audiophiles love our trannies, we just want them to be a little less picky about their input preferences.
     
    Robert777 likes this.
  20. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2016
    Likes Received:
    5,159
    Dislikes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    London, UK
    That can be due to eating a DC offset, too- sometimes fixing that works wonders with the hum.
     
    MattRG likes this.

Share This Page