Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4

    Creating listening system

    Currently have a house where I have a dedicated smallish listening room. Current system is a Yamaha preamp (early 1990s), Yamaha M80 power amp (mid 1980s), Pioneer DVD player (serves as cd player) and B&W Signature 7SE speakers, JBL 10" powered sub.

    My next stage is to add a set of ribbon or electrostatic speakers and a tube amp for listening enjoyment. Ive known of ribbons and tube amps for many years now but never was at a point where I could try them. What are some things and brands to look for? Looking for high quality detailed sound, deep and wide sound stage and a very attractive look that turns heads. I listen to all types of music from country, rock, new age, classical, modern jazz, you name it. It will be used in addition to the system I already have so I can choose which one Id like to listen to depending on what im doing or how I feel.

    If I have a tube power amp, should the preamp be a tube as well, or could the one yamaha preamp drive a tube amp by using a selector or Y connectors? What are some suggestions on a good system to put together? Cost is a concern so used or build yourself kits for sure. I dont have a budget since ive never priced ribbons or tube amps before.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    2,710
    When you say ribbons do you actually mean planars? AFAIK no one makes full range ribbon loudspeakers anymore. Larger Magneplanars have ribbon tweeters. The smaller models are strictly planar magnetic. The only full range ribbons that have any kind of reasonable availability are Apogee's. They are not budget priced even though they haven't been made for quite some time.

    Be aware that Magneplanars like lots of power. A tube amp may be insufficient if you like some volume.

    Also, Planars, electrostatics and ribbons are somewhat finicky about placement. If you can't give them several feet from the wall behind them don't bother with them.

    For esl's (electrostatics) there are several manufacturers (Sound Lab, Martin Logan, Inner Sound, King Sound, etc.) that have current production. Check my signature for the Acoustat electrostatics (no longer in production) I use.

    You can freely mix tubes and SS. I use a hybrid preamp, tubed mono blocks for my esl's and SS mono blocks for my sub woofers.

    To get an idea what used prices are like check Audiogon and Stereolist.

    To give more specific information you need to say how large the room is and what your budget is.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  3. #3
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Home Of The Fighting Gamecocks
    Posts
    1,701
    Electrostats are inefficient and require powerful amps and powerful tube amps are not cheap. I would only use a tube preamp with a tube amp or a tube preamp with a solid state amp.

    The most bang for the buck would be DIY high efficiency open baffle speakers driven by a low powered inexpensive single ended tube amp

  4. #4
    RGA
    RGA is offline
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    5,539
    This is not really the case. Panels need powerful amplifier sections but that does NOT mean they need high watt ratings.

    Listen to a high quality well made Audio Note amplifier of 8-10 watts and play it on a Magnepan, Quad, whatever.

    No you won't defeat the math - there is a volume limit which is lower than a 200 watt amp obviously - but it has no trouble running them.

    Soundhounds was running the Magnepan 1.7 with a modest AN SORO and the Quad 2905 with the OTO in a big room.

    I would not say they're ideal - Sound quality wise they're ideal but because you can't POUND them at high levels I would opt for a more powerful tube amp but I doubt it would need a lot more unless you have a very large room. Fortunately - these panel makers claim that their big panels work in small rooms. Most people listen well under 85db at the listening chair. More like 75db.

    The thing that bothers me about these watt power discussions is that no one bothers to TRY. They read some putz on a forum who says you need 500 watts on an MMG and the myth is created.

    Ask Soundhounds why they run the SORO on Magnepan using up valuable tube life and electricity while their big massive Classe and Bryston's sit on a shelf.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    355
    I have heard the Magneplaner 1.7s driven by a 60 watt tube amp, and the sound was great on classical and jazz.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Home Of The Fighting Gamecocks
    Posts
    1,701
    A 60 watt tube amp in my world is a powerful tube amp.

  7. #7
    AR Newbie Registered Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4
    I was thinking on the lines of about 60 watts per channel. I had forgot though that electrostatic and ribbons were less efficient that cone drivers. I dont mind huge speakers though, and since the room will be for listening then I get to place speakers where ever and can move them as needed.

    Martian Logan is a name I recognize as well as the magnepan and Apogee. Its sad how much I have forgotten over the past 12 years. My budget will dictate here im sure although I have not decided on a limit. More looking at the best bang for the buck that will take my listening to a new level.

    The room size is around 10 x 12 but is not a perfect square or rectangle.

  8. #8
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,462
    Quote Originally Posted by williemon View Post
    Martian Logan is a name I recognize as well as the magnepan and Apogee.
    I'll offer my biased (pun intended) response. First of all, I've been a planar fan since I first heard Magneplanar Tympani IIIs driven by Audio Research electronics playing The Planets back in 1974. I had never before heard such transparency, natural timbre and realistic imaging before. That was until two years later when I heard Dayton-Wright full range electrostatics. They added a level of unmatched coherency. I've been a full range electrostatic fan ever since. If you've got at least $10k available, I cannot recommend Sound Lab more highly. They are true full range stats with a unique faceted panel approach that pretty much eliminates the beaming effect found with most stats.

    SoundLab

    I wish to add to Joe's comments and mention another brand worth considering, Quad. The ESL57 is considered a benchmark of midrange neutrality by many. They would work nicely in your modestly sized room and given the numbers produced, they are readily available on the used market. I confess, however, that I prefer a taller line source to provide what I find to be a more naturally sized image. I recently stumbled upon a used pair of Acoustat 1+1s for my vintage system that I prefer. If you follow the link at the bottom of my post to "Systems", you'll find a pic. While the company is no longer in business, they are utterly reliable and can be found quite cheaply. I paid $300 for mine. I will, however, need to replace the grill socks since they are in poor shape, but that is not an expensive task.

    Martin-Logans are indeed quite popular, but all but one (and that requires a subwoofer) are hybrids using dynamic monopole cone woofers. For me, the result is sonically problematic since I highly value coherency. The crossover frequency is around 400-500 hz (depending upon model). Given the fact that the woofer still has considerable output at twice that frequency, you are reproducing the fundamentals of so many instruments - and voice - across two drivers with very different radiation patterns which vastly compromises coherency IMHO.

    Quote Originally Posted by williemon View Post
    More looking at the best bang for the buck that will take my listening to a new level.
    Clearly, the easiest and safest approach to get started would be to buy a pair of Magnepan MMGs for $600 with a 60 day money back guarantee. If you wish to upgrade to one of their larger models, they will take them back in trade for full value. While their first octave response is limited and you may want to supplement them with subs, they still share the virtues that hundreds of thousands of fans have enjoyed.

    Magenepan Offer

    As for tube amps, I'm an old timer and my experience lies with American brands like Audio Research, Conrad Johnson, Manley and VTL that have been around for decades. There are quite a few Chinese sourced models on the market today which can give to a greater bang-for-the-buck quotient but I have zero exposure to them.

  9. #9
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    6,826
    Quote Originally Posted by williemon View Post
    I was thinking on the lines of about 60 watts per channel. I had forgot though that electrostatic and ribbons were less efficient that cone drivers. I dont mind huge speakers though, and since the room will be for listening then I get to place speakers where ever and can move them as needed.

    Martian Logan is a name I recognize as well as the magnepan and Apogee. Its sad how much I have forgotten over the past 12 years. My budget will dictate here im sure although I have not decided on a limit. More looking at the best bang for the buck that will take my listening to a new level.

    The room size is around 10 x 12 but is not a perfect square or rectangle.
    This room is awfully small for big speakers. I would lean more towards good bookshelf/sub sat system that I could optimize better for that size room. It is always better to size the system with the room, and give yourself some head room in the amp section for peaks.

    Paying attention to the room's acoustics is as important to performance as the equipment is. Especially for small room where we sit closer to the speakers than we do in large rooms(with different acoustical profiles). Use these things as markers, and you won't be sorry with the equipment, or the room it sits in.
    Sir Terrence

    Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
    200" SI Black Diamond II screen
    Oppo BDP-103D
    Datastat RS20I audio/video processor 12.4 audio setup
    9 Onkyo M-5099 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-510 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-508 power amp
    6 custom CAL amps for subs
    3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
    2 custom 15" sealed FFEC servo subs
    4 custom 15" H-PAS FFEC servo subs
    THX Style Baffle wall

  10. #10
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,959
    When it comes to planars and tubes or solid state, i think i can help you :-) My first choice is right one top-

    Analysis Audio Omicron Link
    NAT Audio Single Link

    or on a more budget constrained side
    Magnepan MMG
    choose amp in budget below:

    Some brands which i have tried or owned with less than 100 wpc that drove Apogee DIVAs and Grands just fine. All are either SETS, None-SET Tubes or Hybrids

    Acoustic Plan Santor Link
    Kora (Out of business i think)
    NAT Audio (SE 1, SE2SE, Plasma)
    Pathos (Classic One, Logos)
    Einstein The Tube
    KR Audio VA350i
    Sphinx Project 14 MKII
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  11. #11
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    592
    Quote Originally Posted by williemon View Post
    ...I have a dedicated smallish listening room... Looking for high quality detailed sound, deep and wide sound stage...It will be used in addition to the system I already have...
    I have set up a system in an even smaller room with good results, but as mentioned by a previous poster, large (wide) speakers will be hard to achieve what you want, i.e. wide soundstage. Also considering that you want to keep your old system in the room too, it will look very crowded. Another alternative would be Magnepan MC1's mounted on the side walls. You will need a subwoofer because these have very little output below 100Hz. I recommend that these be mounted on the side walls and at least 3 foot from the back wall. The advantage of this setup is that it will be almost invisible in the room and yet look very impressive. I have done the same with the MMGW and the results are phenomenal. You can also build stands for these if you wish.

    I've owned B&W's before and while they are decent speakers, the Magnepans will make the B&W's sound rather boxy. I've also owned Quad electrostatics. The Magnepan speakers will give you most of what you want for a fraction of the cost.

    As for electronics, I will refrain from suggesting anything, but I will tell you this... The MC1's are 4 ohm speakers and you will need an amp rated for these. For the size of your room, I'm guessing that 30 watts is more than sufficient. You might also want to consider a digital amp because they are cost effective and they generally are very transparent sounding.

    Some of the suggestions given by the other posters will provide you with better sound than what I have recommended, but at a much greater cost.

    Anyway, I'm just suggesting another alternative.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Creating listening system-mc1_front_2.jpg  

  12. #12
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Home Of The Fighting Gamecocks
    Posts
    1,701
    Since you like the open sound of dipoles, here are some cone dipole options aka open baffle speakers. These open baffles use high efficiency full range drivers which have the advantage of being able to be driven by low power single ended triode amps. They offer a large detailed sound that will reach deep into the room. The OB on the right costs under $300, required a trip to Home Depot where the MDF was cut and an afternoon to glue it together. The bottom sections called H-frames are modular and can be used with different inverted T tops.


Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •