Author Topic: Golden Tube SE 100  (Read 2962 times)

Offline StephenWVU

  • Audio Geek!
  • ***
  • Posts: 357
Golden Tube SE 100
« on: July 12, 2012, 04:57:37 PM »
Soon off to Argentina but at least I will have something back in the states to look forward to having!  So far my impressions are that it is a very, very nice sounding amplifier.  I have auditioned it with Saint-SaŽns The Carnival of the Animals, some Patricia Kaas, Bill Withers, and some Juan Luis Guerra.  It is much warmer than my solid state which is an integrated Pioneer Elite VSX91TXH.  When I come back I will need to replace some tubes but it is sounding pretty great so far.  I will add photos and more info a bit later!  :)
Speakers: Nearfield Acoustics Pipedreams Reference 18
Amplifier:
Mark Levinson ML3 (subs)
Phison A2.120SE (towers)
Preamplifier/DAC/Phono: Phison PD2SE
Server: Pi & NUC
Turntable: VPI HR-X, VdH Colibri XGW

Offline StephenWVU

  • Audio Geek!
  • ***
  • Posts: 357
Re: Golden Tube SE 100
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2012, 04:58:14 PM »
Oh, and I apparently fail at italics.
Speakers: Nearfield Acoustics Pipedreams Reference 18
Amplifier:
Mark Levinson ML3 (subs)
Phison A2.120SE (towers)
Preamplifier/DAC/Phono: Phison PD2SE
Server: Pi & NUC
Turntable: VPI HR-X, VdH Colibri XGW

Offline BrianT

  • F'n Brit Asshole!!!
  • *******
  • Posts: 280
Re: Golden Tube SE 100
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2012, 06:43:41 PM »
Soon off to Argentina but at least I will have something back in the states to look forward to having!  So far my impressions are that it is a very, very nice sounding amplifier.  I have auditioned it with Saint-SaŽns The Carnival of the Animals, some Patricia Kaas, Bill Withers, and some Juan Luis Guerra.  It is much warmer than my solid state which is an integrated Pioneer Elite VSX91TXH.  When I come back I will need to replace some tubes but it is sounding pretty great so far.  I will add photos and more info a bit later!  :)

Stephen.

Welcome to the world of tubes. I'm so glad your happy with the new amp.
Good luck in Argentina.

Your buddy Brian
Devialet D400 - Audioprana SP/DIF-AES/EBU cable
VPI Classic TurnTable (blk)
c/w Transfiguration Phoenix Cartridge
Raysonic 168 CDP
Mac Mini Music Server c/w Audioquest Diamond USB cable
B&W 803D3 (black) Auditorium 23 Cables

SunnyDaze

  • Guest
Re: Golden Tube SE 100
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2012, 08:39:02 PM »
Congrats! I can see a smile on your face all the way over here from the solid state camp.

You should post some pictures of that bad boy once you get it all set up. They are some great looking amps!

Offline StephenWVU

  • Audio Geek!
  • ***
  • Posts: 357
Re: Golden Tube SE 100
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2012, 12:01:02 AM »
Well, I have been listening to several recordings through my CD collection and through Spotify on both my Pioneer Elite VSX 91 TXH being used as an integrated amp and using it as a preamp with my Golden Tube Audio SE 100 tube amplifier.  In the course of this I have realized I will probably never listen to my receiver without an external amp (probably tube) connected and that the Spotify recordings are junk compared to the CDs I own. 

I have listened to CDs and Spotify recordings from the following composers on both amp setups (after giving my tube amp about 30 minutes to warm up) :  Gershwin( Andrť Previn Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra , Mesa Music Consort, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Nicholas Gunn, Keiko Matsui, Debussy (Katie Mahan), Saint-SaŽns The Carnival of the Animals (Enrique BŠtiz), and a few more...  As I stated, the CDs kick Spotify's butt.  Spotify sounded muted compared to the quality of the CDs.  When I compared the solid state Pioneer Elite amp to the Golden Tube Audio amp it was night and day.  I heard things that I had never heard in almost every song.  The points which impressed me most were in the mids and highs.  This is because I have my CRM-2 speakers and a Sunfire EQ TS 12 hooked up.  The sub has its own amplifier and the cutoff on the Sunfire speakers is 95 Hz so I don't feel I should really comment on the lows.  The percussion instruments sounded absolutely amazing to me.  I could hear the cymbals frequency changes perfectly, I could pick out every note of a chord played on the piano, I could hear the vibrations on the stair drums.  To put it lightly, I was impressed.  While having all this detail, significantly more than the solid state, it still managed to keep a very warm and smooth sound.  I really am not one to describe the sound of things in terms that are commonly known because I just don't have the audiophile vocabulary but I could understand why someone would learn it.  I wish I had the ability to explain how nice every single aspect of this amplifier sounds.  I will be excited to get some new tubes when I get back and get this into the shop to show off a bit!

Some pictures!  I had a desk chair in the ideal spot for these but moved it so you can see the system.  Not the best layout but for very temporary living conditions it works.  My subwoofer I am using is behind the recliner.  As mentioned, the speakers that are connected are the CRM-2 speakers and I have the Golden Tube Amp hooked up to the Pioneer Elite VSX 91 TXH  which is being used as a preamp.  The laptop is connected through HDMI and the speaker wire being used is AudioQuest Hyperlitz F16. 






Speakers: Nearfield Acoustics Pipedreams Reference 18
Amplifier:
Mark Levinson ML3 (subs)
Phison A2.120SE (towers)
Preamplifier/DAC/Phono: Phison PD2SE
Server: Pi & NUC
Turntable: VPI HR-X, VdH Colibri XGW

Offline OldiesButGoodies

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2492
  • Be nice, it is free!
Re: Golden Tube SE 100
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2012, 08:54:29 AM »
Thanks for the great description of the differences in sound between the receiver and the tube amp. 

Are you using Spotify unlimited or premium?  The streaming rate is much higher in premium vs unlimited.  Spotify uses ogg vorbis q3 and q5 for unlimited (96 and 160kbps),  but has a toggle in the preference pane for q9 in premium (320kbs).  Much better sound with premium toggled for high bandwidth (enough to squeeze another $5/month from my stingy wallet).

But CD format should sound better all things being equal.   I read recently about the beginnings of the CD format and some of the crazy stuff recording companies did that made them sound horrible (like use analog masters optimized for vinyl to make the first CDs,  or throwing the analog gold masters into the trash because they thought CD recordings would never get any better and would become the masters at 44.1Khz 16bits).  Took them a decade to realize the oops.  I think Robert Harley wrote that piece. 

Pepe

Spkr: Harbeth 30.1 on Sound Anchor 4 post stands
Pre: Rogue 99 Super Magnum
Power:  CI Audio D-200 MkII monoblocks
Phono: VPI Aries 1,  Van de Hul Frog
CD: Oppo 203
Cass: Tascam 122MkII
R2R: Revox B77
Sub:

Offline StephenWVU

  • Audio Geek!
  • ***
  • Posts: 357
Re: Golden Tube SE 100
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2012, 09:24:43 AM »
Glad you enjoyed the review. I currently have Spotify unlimited. Maybe when I get back I will use my free 30 data or whatever it is. It just shocked me to see the difference in quality. Absolutely worth the $5 pit it goes up to the quality of my CDs.
Speakers: Nearfield Acoustics Pipedreams Reference 18
Amplifier:
Mark Levinson ML3 (subs)
Phison A2.120SE (towers)
Preamplifier/DAC/Phono: Phison PD2SE
Server: Pi & NUC
Turntable: VPI HR-X, VdH Colibri XGW

Offline F1nut

  • Ball Buster
  • *****
  • Posts: 541
Re: Golden Tube SE 100
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2012, 02:48:56 AM »
StephenWVU,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. If I may....please consider replacing your Pioneer with a real pre amp, preferably tubed, after you return. You will be equally impressed.
  'Political Correctness'.........defined

"A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."
 

Offline StephenWVU

  • Audio Geek!
  • ***
  • Posts: 357
Re: Golden Tube SE 100
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2012, 04:16:33 PM »
I fully intend on getting a Sunfire Tube Pre Amp once I have the cash. =)
Speakers: Nearfield Acoustics Pipedreams Reference 18
Amplifier:
Mark Levinson ML3 (subs)
Phison A2.120SE (towers)
Preamplifier/DAC/Phono: Phison PD2SE
Server: Pi & NUC
Turntable: VPI HR-X, VdH Colibri XGW