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Malthus101
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No Matter How Much I try... I'm Still Confused!

Well... such a confusing and murky world this hifi stuff! (especially if one does not understand electronics much, like myself)

Maybe I'll just throw out the main confusions I have and you guys can try to set me straight - thanks!

So, building my "dream" hifi components set up. This would be for a large, open space room, with high ceilings.

Music will be classical, rock and techno mostly, but also folk, pop, jazz etc.

I need phono, CD, and maybe radio/tuner.

Speakers - Klipsch Heritage Forte IV

Turntable - Zavfino ZV8-X

CD Player - Esoteric K-07Xs

So far so good I think. But things get confusing when amps, phono stages, MM/MC (?) factors come in.

I think I don't want an integrated amp, and would like a separate power-amp and pre-amp.

So... the Klipsch speakers are "up to" 100 watts? Or they NEED 100 watts? 100 watts seems loud to me!

But, I was looking at Triode valve/tube amps. They have a model called the TRX-P300M. These are two separate tube amps, one for each speaker presumably. But each one is "only" 15 watts.

Now, I remember from school band days, that a 15 watt tube/valve guitar amp could be just as loud as a 100 watt transistor amp. So maybe it's this here? And a 15 watt tube power-amp is more than enough to power the 100 watt speakers.

So let's assume this combination is good.

Now I need a pre-amp, to connect the CD player, the turntable to, and control the volume etc, and to connect to the 2 x mono power-amps.

Would I be better buying one made by Triode, or better buying one made by Esoteric perhaps? Which matters more (if at all) - should I also buy a valve pre-amp, or can it be transistor? Can an integrated amp be used as a pre-amp into a power amp?

If I buy a high end pre-amp, will it have a phono connection for the turntable, or do I need to also add in a phono stage, separately?

I've watched many YouTube videos and none of them seem to really explain these concepts!

Maybe someone can put me out of my misery.... thanks.

:)

hoytis
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Those speakers are extremely

Those speakers are extremely efficient at 99dB. No, they don't NEED 100w...it's what they can handle continually. You could easily power them with the 15w tube amps you're looking at, and both amp and speakers are rated 8 ohms. You're good there. If you do go that route, you can buy almost any preamp you want for that system since the input impedance for those amps are so high. Check out some reviews, do some searches of what preamps people are enjoying with low watt tube amps.

Personally, I would stick with a solid state preamp since you already have the "tube" sound in the mono blocks. Whatever you choose will have a CD (or AUX) input for your CD player. It will also most likely have a Phono input for your turntable. This phono input will be MM (for moving magnet). Depending on the preamp, it might also offer a switch on the phono input to choose MC (moving coil). So if your turntable has an MC cartridge on it, you need to consider this. If for some reason the preamp doesn't have a Phono input THEN you need to look at buying an external phono stage.

And, yes, an integrated amp can be used as a preamp - as long as it has a "preamp out" option on the back. This is actually not a bad choice either, as you'll then have a backup amp if a tube goes out or something goes wrong with the mono blocks, or if you just want to experience a different sound.

geoffkait
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The short answer is tube amps

The short answer is tube amps and solid state amps rated at the same power level will play equally loud, but the older tube amps had more “dynamic headroom” than solid state amps so theoretically they could play louder on peaks, without distortion. I don’t know if that’s still true, that tube amps have 3dB or whatever more dynamic headroom.

But the real issue is the sensitivity of the speakers not their power rating. High efficiency speakers can be easily driven by low power amps. That’s why you sometimes see horn speakers 102dB driven by 5 watt “mini amps.” But speakers with low sensitivity e.g., 87 dB require higher power amps. If your speakers are over 95 dB sensitivity you should be OK with 15 watt amp. But as they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Malthus101
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Malthus101

OK thanks guys, that helps a LOT! And yes, the cartridge I'm looking at is MC, so good to know I must factor that in. Question - if 15 watts is considered low for a tube amp, why would Triode, who make high end equipment for hifi specialist buyers, make them so low in wattage? Why wouldn't all their gear be say, 50 watts minimum?

Also, because they are dual-mono, so 15 watts per channel, would that be the "same" as a single tube amp rated at 30 watts?

Anyway thanks for your help, I shall have fun exploring further now.

Malthus101
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Malthus101

Just as an update, I think the Esoteric C-03Xs would be a great pre-map. It can also have an additional MM and/or MC card fitted too during the assembly process if required.

If anyone knows about these Japanese pre-amps maybe you could advise me if this would work? I see no reason why it wouldn't. Nice high quality parts and build.

Thanks!

hoytis
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watts

I think the goal for a lot of audiophiles is to have the cleanest audio path possible with the fewest parts in the way. The number of watts is just a bi-product of this choice. Look at a SET (Single Ended Triode) design, coveted by many...one device, single tube, cleanest signal, Class A...by design they're only 2-3 watts. Pair that amp with high-efficient speakers and you're golden. At least some think so. Regarding watts per channel, the mono block would be sending 15 watts to a single speaker...stereo amp rated 30 watts would send 30 watts down each channel to both speakers...not the same.

I wouldn't get hung up on number of watts anyway. More watts doesn't necessarily mean a huge jump in volume....doubling watts, say 25 watts to 50, doesn't mean it will be twice as loud. It's not a linear relationship. Doubling watts only gets you another 3dB in acoustic power...not much. If the speakers are really efficient (like yours) you can have fun with low watt amps.

geoffkait
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Repeat, power of amps should

Repeat, power of amps should be matched to efficiency of speakers. That’s why people use mini watt tube amps circa 3-5 watts with hi efficiency horn speakers with excellent results. You can same loudness with mini watt tube amps and high efficiency horn speakers as with low efficiency speakers and high power amps. I’m generalizing, since there are a few low efficiency speakers like Rogers that cannot take much power.

Malthus101
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OK, interesting stuff. I have

OK, interesting stuff. I have a lot to learn about audio and electronics...

Malthus101
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Malthus101

Question - could the mono tube amps be put on top of the speakers? I know hifi is all about eliminating vibrations etc but... how would speaker vibrations affect the electrical signal of the tube power amps?

Thanks.

Kal Rubinson
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It might be OK for solid

It might be OK for solid state amps but tubes are susceptible to microphonics. Better not.

Malthus101
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Ah OK, thanks.

Ah OK, thanks.

johnah5
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Esoteric

Hi late to the conversation but I also have Forte IV speakers and running a First Watt F7 amp which would lean toward the tube sound vs more clinical sound. I just added the Esoteric N-05dx and have been blown away. Sound stage increased two feet and got holographic. Yes I bought the unit and it is amazing. I only stream so if you have to stay on the dark side and go vinyal I think there is a unit with phono amp. I could not be happier with the Esoteric which is preamp/DAC/Streamer.
jh

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