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Author Topic: What amp do you run with your horns?  (Read 25830 times)
jimndre
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« on: February 11, 2011, 08:46:40 PM »

I think it would be interesting to see what amps people have used.  Just today I hooked up an old Cambridge Audio Amp that I had from the early 90's.  It sounds great.  What are you running?
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Capt. Z
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2011, 09:25:46 PM »

Started the Horns of with a Bottlehead SEX amp, until I heard a Transcendent amp. Now I mainly use a Transcendent T16 tube amp for a lovely tube sound, but sometime I also use the Acurus A80 SS amp for great detail and clarity.

Fact is, the Horns will sound good with about any amp.Of course the better the amp, the better the sound.

The Horns are easy to drive and about any amp can easily drive them.
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sonic
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2011, 08:28:45 AM »

Of course the better the amp, the better the sound.
Not only that's a vague statement, it can easily plant misconception to some readers.  What needs to be clarified is the definition of the word "better".  Seems to me that the quoted sentence above is mixed with objective and subjective reference to the word "better".  So, let me ask you this, what defines better amp, something that measures better?  Also, what defines better sound, something that the listener prefers?
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Capt. Z
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2011, 09:34:09 AM »

Better Sonic  Grin Grin Grin

Of course the better stands for higher quality. Cleaner sound, better detail, ... you name it.
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sonic
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2011, 12:48:54 PM »

Of course the better stands for higher quality.  Cleaner sound, better detail, ... you name it.
Those are all subjective descriptions which don't help those who are looking to learn about the aspects that define better amp.
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SOM
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2011, 12:59:55 PM »

Almarro A205A MkII

Got it the same time I got the Horns....it was a good Christmas! My only tube amp so far, and I'm pretty darn happy with it.
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Randy in Caintuck
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2011, 09:51:40 PM »

Howdy,

I have heard The Horns sing their hearts out with the following amplifiers :

1 - A pair of the original Decware SV83M monoblocks

2 - Art Audio Carissa 845

3 - Vaughn Audio Carina

4 - Custom Type 10 amplifier from GreenValve Audio (VT-25 thoriated filament power tubes and mercury vapor rectifier)

http://www.randallrash.com/web_images/Type10_med.jpg

5 - Jim Dowdy's (the "DowdyLama") GM 70

Quite a spread price-wise from $1700.00 to $30,000.00 .....  Grin

I have owned the Decware and Vaughn Audio amps, currently own the GreenValve Audio amp, and can heartily recommend any of the five.

Of course, there are less expensive amps that work very well with The Horns, but these five are something special to my ears.

Bring your BIG checkbook if you are interested in the GM70, but it's worth every penny if your pockets are deep enough and your listening room has a top notch air conditioner .....  Wink

It also appeals to my warped sense of irony to pair an 800.00 pair of loudspeakers with a 30,000.00 amplifier, but the fact is that "good is good" ..... and this combo is mind warping when everything is set up right.

Regards,

Randy
« Last Edit: February 12, 2011, 10:01:58 PM by Randy in Caintuck » Logged

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jimndre
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2011, 02:35:56 PM »

Thanks for all of your input so far.  It's really interesting to see that these speakers work well with amps in all price ranges.  I have a Decware Taboo on order as well as a Trends Audio TA-10.2P, and an APPJ 6F3.  I have used a Sophia Electric Baby, Manley Mahi, Monarchy SM70 Pro (pair bridged mono), Quicksilver Horn Monos, and my old Cambridge Audio stereo amp from the 90's (model unknown).  So far my best synergies have been with the Sophia Baby and the Cambridge.  For me highest price has not indicated the best sound.  Thanks again for all of your comments.  Keep em comin'. 
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steve f
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2011, 10:47:55 AM »

I've tried the Horns with a lot of different amps. (Results should be in old forum) The only amps that don't work well are some very highly damped solid state amps and some SET amps that have real high output impedance. My best amps have been as small as 1-2 up to 250 wpc.

The Fostex driver Ed chose has a real low QTS, a necessity for horn loading. Couple that with a super tightly controlled solid state amp and you lose bass.  There is a lot of dynamic slam though.  You could add a good sub to that setup. 

SET amps are altogether different.  Some are too loose in the bass region and rolled off on both ends of the spectrum.  Those with reasonable impedance and bandwidth are quite good.

My favorite amps are very neutral sounding.  I prefer push-pull to SET and OTL to transformer coupled.  I like modern solid state amps but with the caveat that some just won't work at all.  I am not at all surprised that some of the smaller ss units work well.
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jimndre
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2011, 09:59:53 PM »


Howdy,

I have heard The Horns sing their hearts out with the following amplifiers :

1 - A pair of the original Decware SV83M monoblocks

2 - Art Audio Carissa 845

3 - Vaughn Audio Carina

4 - Custom Type 10 amplifier from GreenValve Audio (VT-25 thoriated filament power tubes and mercury vapor rectifier)

http://www.randallrash.com/web_images/Type10_med.jpg

5 - Jim Dowdy's (the "DowdyLama") GM 70

Quite a spread price-wise from $1700.00 to $30,000.00 .....  Grin

I have owned the Decware and Vaughn Audio amps, currently own the GreenValve Audio amp, and can heartily recommend any of the five.

Of course, there are less expensive amps that work very well with The Horns, but these five are something special to my ears.

Bring your BIG checkbook if you are interested in the GM70, but it's worth every penny if your pockets are deep enough and your listening room has a top notch air conditioner .....  Wink

It also appeals to my warped sense of irony to pair an 800.00 pair of loudspeakers with a 30,000.00 amplifier, but the fact is that "good is good" ..... and this combo is mind warping when everything is set up right.

Regards,

Randy

Hey Randy,

Did the Decware monos get loud enough?  I originally ordered the SE84ZSM mono's, but then decided to get the taboo because the SE84ZSM only produce 2wpc.  Also, the lower price was a better option for me right now.  Thanks in advance for the info,

Jim
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steve f
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2011, 11:18:24 AM »

Jim,

I had good volume levels, loud enough to make conversation difficult, with two tiny amps.  Both the Decware SE84C and Transcendent Sound SE-OTL are strong performers with the Horns. Your Decware Taboo, at three times the power of these amps should provide 3-4 Db more volume. I don't think I've ever auditioned the Taboo.  Please post your impressions.

Steve
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Randy in Caintuck
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2011, 11:18:58 AM »


Howdy Jim,

Indeed ..... the original Decware mono blocks used all 3 SV83 (or EL84) tubes per channel and put out 5 watts per side.

It sounded like a lot more and was a great match for The Horns.

With the SV83Ms, The Horns just "evaporated" into the sound stage which was huge ..... wide and deep with a wonderful illusion that nothing was coming from the speaker cabinets.  Just instruments and vocalists in the room with you .....  Cool

I decided to get rid of the mono blocks and start using a single Decware Select because I was afraid that I would have a hard time finding matching power, driver and rectifier tubes in the future that would meet my standards.  I have kicked myself many times since then for selling those amps.  The Select (while being a fine amplifier in its own right) never quite pulled off the magic show with The Horns that the mono amps did, and there are now a lot of very decent current production tubes that would have worked just fine .....  Cry

Live and learn .....

Best wishes,

Randy
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Rega Saturn-R transport
Camelot Uther DAC with Anagram upgrade
La Dolce Audio UA1.5 pentode amplifier
Decware SE84UFO, the Spud, Flea Watt amplifiers
Caintuck Audio Betsy open baffle speakers
Caintuck Audio Alpha open baffle subs
jimndre
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2011, 10:11:13 PM »

The new Decware Monos only have one output tube per channel.  So rms is 2.3 watts.  However, Decware claims that they play louder than  the older versions.  Quote from Decware's website:

"The new SE84ZMS monoblocks evolved to use a single tube per channel because in the end this was the most transparent.  Even though it's prĂ©cis had 4 watts from paralleled output tubes, the new amplifiers actually get louder and are more dynamic from the benefits of a choke regulated high impedance pure polypropylene film and foil power supply and tube voltage regulation of the input stage."

Given the info above, I still could not make the leap into the price point for the monos.
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jimndre
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2011, 10:27:11 PM »

Jim,

I had good volume levels, loud enough to make conversation difficult, with two tiny amps.  Both the Decware SE84C and Transcendent Sound SE-OTL are strong performers with the Horns. Your Decware Taboo, at three times the power of these amps should provide 3-4 Db more volume. I don't think I've ever auditioned the Taboo.  Please post your impressions.

Steve

Hey Steve,

I'll post impressions when I can.  It will probably be 4 weeks or more till I get them.
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Henry
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2011, 11:30:49 PM »

Honestly, I think it's pretty hard to go wrong with the Horns and a tube amp... even a modest tube amp.

I still have a pair of ASL Wave 8's that started my tube obsession.  Those little monoblocks have such a fun jump factor about them; very fast and punchy little devils that make people smile.  They can be a little unrefined at times, but in a good way like an old blues wailer.   Wink

I second the Carina; EL84 tubes are wonderful little beasts and Eddie Vaughn rules.

I have a homemade pp 45 amp having that magical midrange that works well with the Horns.  Being push-pull, it can rock pretty well.

Another good little inexpensive amp is the Spud 6cl6 kit that Jerry provides over at the Hawthorne site.  Very clean and pristine sounding, and fun to tweak.

I'm awaiting a 300b kit from Gabe Velez.  Curiously, Randy didn't mention that one in his line up which makes me a little nervous.  Undecided I hope it'll work well with the Horns.   Grin

My favorite solid state amp (that I own) is the Audiosector LM3875 Amplifier Kit.  Mine has all the Patek model options and trades some of the imaging tricks for wonderful bass and dynamics.
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