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Ryan14's picture
Last seen: 10 years 8 months ago
Joined: Mar 26 2013 - 5:03pm
Tube Amplifier choices, opinions needed

Hi Everyone,

Posted this in the entry level but didnt get much attention.

I've been collecting vinyl for a few years now and bave been using an old Impro PE 3048 turntable into an old Kenwood reciever with cerwin-vega D-3 speakers. Now that I have a decent budget I'm looking to spend $1500-2000 on some new speakers and a tube integrated amp or tube power/pre amp setup. Unless you guys can suggest some steady state amps that would sound better than a tube amp in this price range. Background info: I listen to pretty much just rock & roll, psych, and blues, and my appt is about 1200 sq ft with tall ceilings in the living room (where my setup will be). I've been doing some research and I've come up with a couple amp ideas.

1. Dynaco ST70 Power amp with a NAD PP 3i pre-amp or Dynaco PAT 5 pre-amp

2. Dynaco SCA 35 integrated amp

Am I on the right track or are there other tube amps out there that would be a better bang for my buck?

I havent put much research into speakers yet so I'm open to aything that you guys think would benefit this setup.


shp's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: Nov 18 2007 - 4:57pm
From one tube owner...

Hi Ryan

It seems you're considering some real audio classics for vinyl.  The SCA-35 appears to have a phono section, so option 2 would work.  But the NAD does not have a volume control as far as I can tell from their website.  So you would still need an actual pre-amp, such as the PAT 5, with option 1.

The challenge will be finding all this Dynaco equipment.  Audiogon has a few ST-70's for sale between $500-$1000.  And when it comes time to replace the tubes, you'd spend another $200-300 (roughly).  This might quickly take you out of your planned budget.

It might be better to get a basic NAD integrated with the PP 3i phono stage.  Sterephile reviewed the NAD C 316BEE here,

So the integrated would be $349 and the PP 3i phono stage is $199 (approximately...I'm getting the prices from Stereophile reviews, which might be out of date).

So far, that's $550, leaving room in the budget for $1k-$1,500 speakers, or to get a larger integrated or even a few more records.  

If you're not sure about NAD, Rega makes great products and has an integrated amp with built-in MM phono stage (

Other brands to consider include Creek, Arcam, Marantz, Rotel, Cambridge.  They would all be better than the Kenwood; easier to find than the Dynaco; and cheaper to maintain.

One last thing of course is if you're going to buy used, you can just park on a site like Audiogon and wait for some good tube stuff to come up in your price range.  Right now a Rogue Audio tube integrated it listed for $1,500.  You'd still need that NAD phono stage, but you'd get in for under $2k.

Or there's a VTL amp/pre-amp combination on sale for

Just some ideas.

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