The sheer disappointment of not enough watts

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Funky54, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Funky54

    Funky54 Coat Hangers do not sound good Thread Starter

    wow... lowest ebb. I can’t even capitalize the wow.

    In my journey in audio I gravitate toward low efficiency big drivers driven with massive watts. I get the seduction of little tube amps and efficient speakers. It can be a seductive sound. But the big manly drivers driven with a truck load of watts have a sound to. It’s not just a light floating haunting sound. It’s a air moving, skirt blowing raw energy.

    My Alon speakers with updated drivers drink watts. They are the kinda speakers that reveal when the big watts come out to play. The base tightened and became forward in the sound stage when I went from 200wpc to 843 wpc. The next change was to 100wpc Tube. Great sound (stupid unreliable amp).

    So my big amp is doing its duty as a paper weight leaving my Alons back to a tube pre and SS 200wpc Power. A nice sound but just temporary. I finally loaded my new hidden rack with all my theater gear. That means my 200 wpc Outlaw amp went to theater.

    That left me with no amp for two channel. I stole my bedroom el34 single ended 9wpc amp and hooked it up to my thirsty Alons. Sure the top end is floating and airy... but what is missing is the entire bottom end.

    The magic is gone... nothing wrong with the Little amp. Sounds great with little efficient speakers but it left the Alon’s sounding like a thoroughbred Horse that’s been neutered and has lost its will to run again.
  2. needlestein

    needlestein Forum Resident

    New England
    You match your amp to your speakers, not the other way around. You can have that earth-shaking, skirt blowing raw energy with tube amps of low wattage--you just need efficient speakers, which come in all sizes.

    My 22 wpc tube amp will rattle the windows and set off car alarms across the street with my speakers and sound clean while doing it.
  3. Neta

    Neta Forum Resident

    wpc doesnt really tell you much about how an amp will handle a load
    Gavinyl likes this.
  4. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo No music, no Life

    Couldn't agree more. :edthumbs:
  5. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Essex UK
    If your tube amp really was 100wpc then no wonder it was unreliable.Must have run very hot.
    Obviously low sensitivity speakers need beefy amps.Tubes will not be a good match.But i agree that there is something about powerful amps and big speakers that move me (as well as moving the air).
    Am i generalising too much to state the obvious that powerful amps are good for rock and pop.Whilst tubes are good for acoustic and classical?
    Dennis0675 likes this.
  6. Neta

    Neta Forum Resident

    yes, you are generalizing too much
    Blank Frank and Synthfreek like this.
  7. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Hong Kong
    Since classical is more dufficult to reproduce than rock and pip (compressed) yes a generalization.
  8. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Hong Kong
    If tou want pretty big power on the cheap look at the ATI OEM amps from Monolith. The same as ATI without balanced connections and far less expensive. High watts and power can be had cheap. Can't be said for tube amps.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  9. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 I’m here to help

    Sounds like a great reason to have two systems.

    But really what you are talking about is a speaker issue. You can get over 100db clean and stay there with a tube amp. My feeling is that I can get what I’m after without turning up a tube amp over 80db. I need to push a SS amp much harder to get that same level of satisfaction.
  10. 56GoldTop

    56GoldTop Unapologetic Music Ho

    Are we talking about wattage or damping? High watts with low damping will not "body slam" woofers regardless of whether the amp is tube or SS.
    timind likes this.
  11. Funky54

    Funky54 Coat Hangers do not sound good Thread Starter

    I run three systems. My heart always follow the big heavy stuff. Too many years around Wilson Audio, Sonos Fabre, Maggie’s.... I think most missed my point. I know the amp doesn’t match the speakers. That was the point. I’m temporarily using my Little amp from my Master Bedroom System to run my big Alons. The ATI Monolith is about the same amp as my theater amp. Outlaw 755. I like all three of my systems. (Two Tube, one SS)

    There are many reliable well over 100 watt tube amps. VTL compact 100’s, 160’s 180’s, 225’s, 300’s 700’s Rogue Magnum Atlas, Manley, Antique Sound Labs, Audio Research, … The one I chose turned out to not be reliable. I will (later) buy a different well over 100 watt per channel.. probably monoblocks amp(s).
    Dennis0675 likes this.
  12. needlestein

    needlestein Forum Resident

    New England
    There must have been quite a McIntosh salesman in New Orleans in the 1980s because all the bars near campus had these huge McIntosh tube systems. TJ Quills, The Boot, Bruno's maybe some others. Maybe these bars were all owned by the same guy who had an affinity for McIntosh. They ran to some JBL! concert speakers that were suspended from the ceiling and blasted the hell out of the neighborhood. The stacks of McIntosh preamps and amps were behind glass behind the bar. They all had the same setup or just about. They were driven by CD juke boxes. I think it's these systems that spoiled me for tubes. So loud, but so clear and clean--so much fun. The bars would be packed full of hundreds of students shoulder to shoulder jumping up and down. I still remember thinking how unbelievably clean it was and I wanted McIntosh ever since--but I still haven't gotten any.

    I can't say I was familiar with the entire amplification chain. I didn't know anything back then. But in the late 1980s, these were already old systems that had been set up in the 1960s--probably still running today. Haven't been back in years and years to see. There were two high end audio dealers in the immediate areas--couple hundred feet away--that might still be around.

    Beefy? These things could roll a car over.
  13. quicksrt

    quicksrt Forum Resident

    City of Angels
    I've heard high end low wattage systems sound spectacular with music of wind quintets and flutes a touch of strings etc. and absolutely choke when trying to deliver satisfactory performance with The Stones Sticky Fingers album at a decent volume. AC/ DC forget it. I'll take my 100 watts x 6 chains over that over-priced light weight stuff anytime.
    JNTEX likes this.
  14. Burt

    Burt Forum Resident

    Kirkwood, MO
    Tube audio amplifiers much over 100 watts start needing either transmitting tubes or a lot of pairs of conventional audio output tubes and the weight and build cost starts getting big. The most powerful tube power amplifiers sold primarily for high fidelity use were probably the McIntosh MC3500s, at about 350 watts. I think VTL/Manley and ARC might have made some in that range too.

    Altec made the 260A/260B which gives a ballpark idea of the size and weight of these units: pop/8299543VW8335/Altec/Altec-260A.pdf
  15. Sax-son

    Sax-son Forum Resident

    Three Rivers, CA
    That's absolutely right! You don't really need much over 35 wpc to get a great sound. The speakers are everything. All those ungodly high watt amps just make you deaf.
  16. Joey_Corleone

    Joey_Corleone Forum Resident

    Rockford, MI
    This is why I have purchased the biggest, heaviest, beastly, badass amps I could afford. Have never regretted that.
    JNTEX, Rolltide and SandAndGlass like this.
  17. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident

    Las Vegas
    It depends on what u are running I run my big Def Tech towers with the "small" Parasound Halo amp and it knocks my socks off.. Great amp with more efficient speakers Wattage isn't so much the amount, but the quality of that wattage ;)
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  18. bluemooze

    bluemooze Forum Resident

    Frenchtown NJ USA
  19. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Oregon, USA
    You have this speakers? Acarian Alón IV loudspeaker
    Interesting that the speaker maker said that single wire is not good and only biwire or triwire is recommended. Did you do biwire or biamp before?
    enfield likes this.
  20. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    Or just go active and have amps tailor made for each driver. Reduce the distortion and let the music sing.

    For passives, amps with high current and a high damping factor were my preferred pick.
  21. F1nut

    F1nut Forum Resident

    The Mars Hotel
    To borrow the words of a departed friend. There's nothing like a man's amp and large radiating surfaces.
  22. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Air movement = Pleasure
    Funky54, SandAndGlass and timind like this.
  23. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    Tantric audio...?
    Diamond Dog likes this.
  24. Otlset

    Otlset The tree demon abides

    That's the sound I love also. And I do get it, in my case generated by 10 tube watts/channel driving super efficient Avantgarde Duo horn speakers. It's seductive, with slam too.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  25. Merrick

    Merrick The return of the Thin White Duke

    Are these the ones that Monoprice sells?
    Funky54 likes this.

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