integrated tube amplifier

Vista Audio i34 Integrated Tube Amplifier

Vista Audio i34 Integrated Tube Amplifier

Specifications: 

  • Power: 35Wpc Bandwidth: 15Hz-35kHz
  • Inputs: CD, Tuner, Aux.
  • Outputs: 4 and 8 ohm
  • Input sensitivity: 0.6Vrms
  • Tubes: 2xECC832, 4x E34L Toroidal transformers
  • Gold plated terminals Stainless steel chassis
  • Price: $980

When I was a kid I remember going down to main street with my grandfather to the appliance store. Inside was a vacuum tube testing machine, there he would plug in a couple of tubes from the console television in an attempt to be handy and save my parents a few dollars. To his credit and my thrill he pulled up a chair to the machine and had me stand on the cushion. From that point I was able to assist him in picking the proper socket for each tube. Had this occurred today I can imagine the horror of tube fanatics as we handled each tube without gloves. The most exciting part was watching the tubes glow after pushing the “test” button.

Some thirty years later with the help of the Vista Audio i34 integrated amplifier I have rediscovered my fascination for vacuum tubes. I’ve always been a solid state audio fan, but over the years I would occasionally wonder about a piece of tube gear in an advertisement. But it never went past a fleeting wishful moment…..until now. The Vista Audio i34 has definitely opened my eyes. read more…

Almarro A205A MKII Single-Ended Pentode Integrated Tube Amplifier

Almarro A205A MKII Single-Ended Pentode Integrated Tube Amplifier

Specifications:

  • Class of operation: A
  • Tube complement: 2x6BQ5/EL84, 1x12AX7
  • Connections: 2 RCA inputs, 8/16-ohm outputs, headphone output
  • Frequency response: Output power: 5wpc Power consumption:
  • Dimensions: 11.4″ W x 5.2″ H x 9.6″ D Weight: 16 lb
  • Available finishes: Flat black,
  • Price $960

Almarro audio products are the work of designer and founder Yoshihiro Muramatsu. The company is located in the small town of Iida-shi in the Nagano prefecture of Japan where there are twelve workers under Muramatsu-San’s guidance. Two of those workers are his sons and his wife. Even though it is a relatively small company it is making a big splash in the high-end audio field with their reasonably priced, yet well designed, product line of tube gear and speakers.

Almarro is a small company with a fascinating story. Muramatsu’s father had a woodworking shop that the company now takes full advantage of with its use of Ash and Cherry wood found in the Almarro product line. Before he started Almarro Muramatsu-San used to build traditional farmhouses and in fact still lives in one of them. Almarro’s sister company, Network Supply Corporation, designs and builds electronic communication devices. This contact gives them access to suppliers of electronic parts and a wide range of special vendor catalogs for use with the Almarro products. As Muramatsu-San has been known to say he prefers using these industrial parts in his products because they have good quality control. His thought is to use parts that are readily available, will last long, do the job both reliably and safely while maintaining an affordable price. read more…

Manley Stingray Integrated Tube Amplifier

Manley Stingray Integrated Tube Amplifier

Features And Specifications:

  • 4 x Stereo Line RCA Inputs TRIODE -UL Switching RECORDING OUT SUBWOOFER OUT TAPE LOOP (Insert) with Bypass switch
  • Passive Noble Volume and Balance Controls
  • All-Vacuum Tube Lo-feedback Stereo Integrated Design Output Tubes: 8 x EL84 Ships with Russian NOS EL84M (aka 6Pi14Pi-EB) (We are out of Ei 6BQ5)
  • Driver Tubes: 2 x 6414 Ships with GE or RAYTHEON JAN NOS USA or 6414W
  • Input Tubes: 2 x 12AT7EH Ships with: 12AT7EH large plate Electro-Harmonix Russian
  • Maximum Output Power UL mode: 40 Watts x 2 channels
  • 1.5% THD @ 1kHz
  • Maximum Output Power TRIODE mode: 20 Watts x 2 channels
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz -40 kHz, -1dB Gain: 37 dB at max Volume
  • Input Sensitivity: 185 mV in = 50 watts out into 5 ohms Input Sensitivity Triode: 66mV in = 1W into 8 ohms Input Sensitivity UL: 53mV in = 1W into 8 ohms
  • S/N Ratio: typically 87 dB A-WGT, 20Hz-20KHz
  • Input Impedance: 50 Kohm nominal
  • Optimum Speaker Load: 5 ohms
  • Actual Output Impedance at 20Hz: 2.8 ohms at 100Hz: 2.6 ohms at 1KHz: 2 ohms
  • Damping Factor: 5
  • Power Consumption Idle: 200W
  • Maximum Power Consumption at Full Power: 370W MAINS Fuses:
  • 100~120VAC operation: MDL 3 AMP / 250 Volt SLO-BLO
  • 220~240VAC operation: MDL 1.5 AMP / 250 Volt SLO-BLO
  • B+ FUSES (2): MDA 1/4 AMP, 250 Volt SLO-BLO, Ceramic. (Located internally)
  • Power Supply: is factory set for 100V, 120V or 220-240VAC operation for original destination country’s mains voltage.
  • Operating Mains Voltage: changeable with power transformer re-wiring on PCB and fuse value change. Mains Voltage Frequency: 50~ 60Hz
  • Power Cord: Detachable IEC standard.
  • Appropriate power cord supplied for destination country
  • Dimensions: W= 19″, D=14″, H=5 ½” Shipping Weight: 30lbs.
  • Price: $2250

Here I go again putting on my diving gear so I can take a playful romp with my friends in the ocean. In the October I wrote about the Manley Labs Shrimp tube preamplifier ($1880) and what an amazing journey it is to browse through their online website. I was so taken by the Shrimp that EveAnna Manley, the President of Manley Labs, offered me up another one of her friendly sea creature products for review. This time instead of the Shrimp it was the Stingray. The Stingray is a tube integrated line level tube amplifier (phono stage not included), priced at only $2250. As of late I have been reviewing quite a lot of integrated amplifiers. I find that they are a great alternative for those who do not want to pay the bigger money for separates. Couple this with taking up less space in our audio cabinets, the need to buy less interconnects, power cords and the ability to use smaller power conditioners and you wind up saving a good deal of your hard earned money.

On your amazing journey through their vast website it is in the Manley audiophile hifi gear page that you will find the Stingray and other home audio equipment. Once there you will notice that Manley Labs just loves tubes, which is quite evident by the amount of tube gear they are offering to the public. The great thing about a manufacturer that has so many tube pieces is that they understand how to design and to build them. Tube equipment is their bread and butter, not just an afterthought to fill in the product line so they can say that they have a little bit of something for everyone. Their confidence in the finished product is evident when Manley Labs stands behind the Shrimp with a 90-day limited warranty that is extended to a full five years (The warranty is to the original purchaser and must be accompanied with proof of the date of purchase.) and all you need to do is to fill out the warranty card and send it in before 30 days expire. Five years, you’ve got to love it in an era where one to three years is quite common.

read more…

Arena X-3 Integrated SET Tube Amplifier

Arena X-3 Integrated SET Tube Amplifier

The Arena tube amplifier looks like something Darth Vader would keep in his apartment onboard the Death Star. The front faceplate is made of One of the great misnomers in audio is that power trumps all. Those who have delved into the SET amplifier world are more than happy to prove otherwise. They will argue that it’s all about matching impedance efficiency, electronic matching and speaker cabinet design. Over the summer I had my experience with low wattage high fidelity amplification. The general result, I’m fascinated to say the least. read more…

Holy Jolida, Batman! (Jolida SJ502A review)

Holy Jolida, Batman! (Jolida SJ502A review)

Specifications: Jolida SJ502A

  • Maximum Power Output:85 wpc at 8 ohms, 1KHz Rated Output:60 wpc at 8 ohms, 25Hz to 60KHz Frequency Response:(at 1 watt into 8 ohms) 8Hz to
  • 130KHz + 1dB
  • Bandwidth:15Hz to 80KHz + 3dB; 0dB 60 W 1KHz
  • Distortion THD:Less than 1% at 20 V output, 28Hz to 15KHz
  • Circuit Type:Ultra Linear, Class AB
  • Input Impedance:100Kohms
  • Input Sensitivity:600mV at 1KHz for 60 watt output-
  • Output Impedance:4 ohms and 8 ohms Negative Feedback: Less than 5 dB Noise and Hum:85dB below rated output
  • Tube Complement:2 matched pairs (4) of 6550/KT88 power output; 2 pcs. 12AX7A/ECC83 pre-amplifier; 2 pcs. 12AT7/ECC81 power drivers.
  • Power Requirements:110V-120 VAC 60Hz 180 watts-standby, 450 watts maximum (220 VAC 50Hz option). Dimensions:17 inches (43cm) wide by 1 5 inches (38cm) deep by 7.5 inches (19 cm)
  • high.Weight:39 pounds (18 Kg)
  • Price $1100 new, average used $650-$700

I just had to do it. You know what I mean – try some tube gear. I wanted to know what the fuss was all about. Was it hype or was it for real? There was only one way to find out. Besides, I thought those tubes looked cool anyway, so I took the plunge. read more…

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