Favorite EL84/6BQ5 amplifier?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Tamla Junkie, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Tamla Junkie

    Tamla Junkie Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    What is the all around best sounding EL84/6BQ5 commercially manufactured amplifier you've heard?

    I like my homebrew 6BQ5 amps a lot, but a nice pair of Eico HF-30s make a stunningly close second.

    In particular, those of you driving Quads with EL84 amps: what makes them sing the best in your opinion?
     
  2. rhing

    rhing New Member

    The original Dynakit Stereo 35 6BQ5/EL84 amp modified with Dave Gillespie's Enhanced Fixed Bias (EFB) circuit is my favorite choice, especially for driving a pair of Quad EL57's. The pairing is quite magical, and the original Dynaco ultralinear output transformers have the damping factor for the Quads.

    My second choice is Roger Modjeski's Music Reference RM-10 MkII. Driving my Klipsch Forte 2 floorstanders, it was very slightly better than the Dynakit Stereo 35. Since I already had the vintage Dynakit amp, I felt no need to purchase the RM-10, but it is a very well designed amplifier and probably one of the best on the market in terms of tone and headroom. Roger designs electrostatic speakers since he started his audio engineering career with Harold Beveridge, so I am confident his amp can handle Quads.

    I've never heard an Eico 6BQ5/EL84 amp, but I would imagine those to be very nice amps. I've restored a Magnavox 6BQ5/EL84 paraphrase push-pull console amp, and those amps are great with high efficiency speakers. However, I don't think the output transformers are built to handle the loads of Quad electrostatics.
     
  3. harby

    harby Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Peavey Classic 30 112 amp, with four EL84s and three 12AX7s. Sounds good driving its single 12" speaker, but better driving quads - a half-stack of four Celestion Greenback 12"s. All around, can go from Vox to Marshall, and even a bit tweedy.

    Sings when driven through a Keeley Super Fat mod transparent overdrive pedal.
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

  5. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    Have used the Leak stereo 20 and Leak TL 12,+ for over 20 years. They seem able to drive anything .
     
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  6. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    Leben CS 300 integrated....fantastic piece of gear.

    Also like the Manley Stingray integrated as well.
     
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  7. JimSmiley

    JimSmiley Team Blue Note

    Second on the Leben CS 300
     
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  8. action pact

    action pact ^^ Sandy Warner, "The Exotica Girl"

    I'm loving my '59 Fisher X-100...

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Mortsnets

    Mortsnets Active Member

    I love both my DIYTube ST-35 and Don Allen EL84 Cakepan SEP but the latter is only about 4-5 watts per channel.
     
  10. Tamla Junkie

    Tamla Junkie Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    I recently had the opportunity to hear a Heathkit UA-1. You don't tend to expect much from a Heath, but I'll be damned if it wasn't a nice little amplifier. I think it's fairly hard to build a downright bad sounding EL84 amp however.
     
  11. Done A Ton

    Done A Ton Forum Member

    Location:
    Rural Kansas
    All I've got is EL84 emulation. :mad:
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. dividebytube

    dividebytube Forum Resident

    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Ditto on the Heath UA-2. A few years ago this was my main amplifier - and with efficient speakers it was a great little amp. Two needed for stereo.
     
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  13. stereoguy

    stereoguy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn
    EICO HF-81, 1959
    Fantastic sounding amp ,but light on the bottom end .
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
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  14. Tamla Junkie

    Tamla Junkie Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    action pact, could you tell me what in particular you like and don't like about the Fisher X-100? I have an opportunity to audition one locally and want to know what to expect going in...
     
  15. bhazen

    bhazen Re: Member

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    Marshall 1974x. 18 watts of mono glory for my Strat. :)
     
  16. bhazen

    bhazen Re: Member

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    An ID:-series amp ...? How do you like it?
     
  17. Lonson

    Lonson The Unbooted Character, square and going nowhere

    Location:
    Chardon, Ohio
    My Decware "C" Zen amp modded by Eddie Vaughn, my Decware Taboo Mk IV amp.
     
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  18. Done A Ton

    Done A Ton Forum Member

    Location:
    Rural Kansas
    It's an ID:15-TVP. Bought it new on ebay for $150 about a year ago. Life has conspired against me playing with it too much, and I don't have six different tube amps to compare tones against, but it makes some groovy sounds. I've spent too much time messing around with amp controls that I should have spent practicing the guitar, and I'm sure I will in the future as well. The effects aren't the greatest, but they are fun.

    For my stagnant skill level and lack of commitment/lack of time to practice, I'm glad I didn't invest more in an amp. It's perfect for my circumstances. If I played more I would get a small tube amp.
     
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  19. action pact

    action pact ^^ Sandy Warner, "The Exotica Girl"

    Sure!

    LIKES:
    • Like most good tube amps, it has wonderfully holographic imaging.
    • Small footprint - not big and heavy like a Fisher receiver. Easier to service too (less complicated).
    • Versatile mono/stereo switching... can select either L or R channel... handy for mono records with one badly worn groove wall.
    • Two turntable inputs (50k ohm and 100k ohm)... phono stage is excellent too.
    • Plenty of line-level inputs.
    • Compared to the Fisher 400 I used to own, it is sweet and energetic, whereas the 400 was lusher but also darker. Both are great, but I preferred the more lively, open X-100 and eventually sold the 400.

    DISLIKES
    Nothing in particular.... However, with a 12-14 watt tube amp, you're somewhat limited in your speaker choices.

    In a larger room, you're gonna need something very efficient, like Klipsch horns. In my small room (8 x 12), I can get away with less-efficient bookshelf speakers. It sounded pretty good with KEF LS50's (but the KEFs were better with more solid state power), and I'm now really liking the little Fisher with a pair of Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary speakers.

    Mine is the earliest version with the tube rectifier. I believe later versions of the X-100 had SS rectification.

    If you have any specific things you'd like to know more about, please let me know.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Lonson

    Lonson The Unbooted Character, square and going nowhere

    Location:
    Chardon, Ohio
    12 to 14 watts! My "C" amp is about 2 watts per channel, and my Taboo Mk IV is about 3. . . ;)
     
  21. action pact

    action pact ^^ Sandy Warner, "The Exotica Girl"

    What speakers are you using?
     
  22. brent bomersbach

    brent bomersbach Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Midwestern US
    My RCA stereo amp/preamp out of a Living Stereo phono console. Tubes are 6BQ5(2), a 6eU7, and 5Y3GT. It's in the bedroom and drives my AR 19(?) 2-ways nicely. I like it better than my only other 6BQ5 Dynaco ST35.
    The amp has of course been removed from the console and has been gone thru by a tech. It's a CD only system and the Rotel is connected to the amp via the L/R phono inputs. Wattage is unknown and I won't even guess. When I first got it back from the tech I hooked it up in my den a few weeks and it drove my Altec Model 4's fine.
     
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  23. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
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  24. Lonson

    Lonson The Unbooted Character, square and going nowhere

    Location:
    Chardon, Ohio
    I'm using Audeze and Oppo headphones with the Taboo Mk IV in my main system, and a set of PeachTree Audio bookshelf speakers with the C amp. Those are very inefficient, and the system doesn't get loud, but it's just a little bedroom system for background music.

    In my main system for speaker listening I use an EL34 or KT66, 6CA7 etc. amp, the Decware Torii Mk III (25 watts per channel) and Decware/Turning Point Audio HR-1 speakers.
     
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  25. Tamla Junkie

    Tamla Junkie Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    Thanks action pact! I'm really looking forward to listening to one in person.

    99.9% of my listening is to material, on vinyl, recorded from the mid-1950s to 1973 or so, and about 80% of that is Motown and soul. I think that the Fisher X-100 might be an ideal candidate for a new integrated amplifier.

    My speakers are Quad ESLs (the original '57 versions) so 14 watts is pretty much ideal. They don't get very loud, but beyond the 15 watt mark the Quads can, and will, arc. The Quads don't give deep bass, and the upper end is rolled off, but in my case that is actually a plus. I can't hear beyond 15 or 16 kHz anyway, and there is nothing but noise on a Motown record past 10 kHz or so. I care more about the mid-range, and I've heard that the X-100 has a warm and lush, but still controlled midrange. It isn't terribly "syrupy" like most SETs.

    How is the on-board phono preamp? I've heard a lot of Fisher phono preamp bashing which is part of the reason I've shied away from Fisher gear in the past. I suppose I could always run my current phono pre into one of the aux inputs if I really hated the on-board preamp, but that does sort of defeat the purpose of buying an integrated amp in the first place.

    I really appreciate your thoughtful response to my post. It has definitely given me new things to listen for in particular with this amp.
     
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