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Thread: Possible Amp Upgrade?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Apr 2017

    Location: Manningtree, Essex

    Posts: 251
    I'm Tony.

    Default Possible Amp Upgrade?

    Having tried a few changes recently, I have settled on a mainly digital setup for the foreseeable future. I am more than happy with the Allo Boss DAC as a replacement for the iQuadio and have decided that I prefer the sounds I am getting out of my old Mordaunt Short MS400 now that they have been recapped. I've decided to keep the AVI NuNeutrons for the future as they are very capable but I don't think they quite have the synergy with the current setup.

    Which bring me to the amplification. I do love the very musical presentation of my old Audio Analogue Puccini SE (non remote), and it does have a very capable MM/MC phono stage built in, but I can't help wondering what I might get out of the setup if I tried something a bit more up to date into the proceeding.

    The leaning of the Puccini would suggest something in the entry-level valve arena? Having said that, I am also tempted by some of the hybrid offerings.

    On my list (and budget) for looking at in the New Year are the following, and I would be very interested in owners (or former owners) opinions as to what (if any) benefits I might gain with the BOSS front end, and limited power-handling but ever so open midrange of the MS400s.

    • Icon Audio Stereo 25 (or possibly 40)
    • Croft Micro 25 Phono Integrated


    Any others of this ilk?

    Tony
    A mainly digital setup with a musical amplifier and endearing 1970's speakers. A CD player that hardly ever gets used and a turntable that is good enough to remind my how enjoyable my old vinyl is. Some cables and things.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Lincolnshire, Home by the Sea

    Posts: 3,898
    I'm Shaun.

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    Back in 2012/2013 I owned an Icon Audio Stereo 20 PP with EL84 valves which I really liked apart from its 18 Watts output which wasn't really suitable. The amplifier was truly better after I had re-valved it with Gold Lion's which I thought were a huge improvement over the stock valves.
    Serious Ozric Tentacles fan especially on vinyl. Love complex rhythms and timings. Also love all things electronic and worship the man that is Brian Eno.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Apr 2017

    Location: Manningtree, Essex

    Posts: 251
    I'm Tony.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haselsh1 View Post
    Back in 2012/2013 I owned an Icon Audio Stereo 20 PP with EL84 valves which I really liked apart from its 18 Watts output which wasn't really suitable. The amplifier was truly better after I had re-valved it with Gold Lion's which I thought were a huge improvement over the stock valves.
    Followed your lead on this one and very glad I did! thanks


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    A mainly digital setup with a musical amplifier and endearing 1970's speakers. A CD player that hardly ever gets used and a turntable that is good enough to remind my how enjoyable my old vinyl is. Some cables and things.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Apr 2016

    Location: Bishops Stortford

    Posts: 528
    I'm Chris.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haselsh1 View Post
    Back in 2012/2013 I owned an Icon Audio Stereo 20 PP with EL84 valves which I really liked apart from its 18 Watts output which wasn't really suitable. The amplifier was truly better after I had re-valved it with Gold Lion's which I thought were a huge improvement over the stock valves.
    Was that because the valves were new replacing worn ones or were they really better?
    SW1X Universal Music Server UMS I Signature with Power Supply Unit PSU I Signature
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  5. #5
    Join Date: Jul 2017

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 44
    I'm Thiha.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mightymonoped View Post
    Having tried a few changes recently, I have settled on a mainly digital setup for the foreseeable future. I am more than happy with the Allo Boss DAC as a replacement for the iQuadio and have decided that I prefer the sounds I am getting out of my old Mordaunt Short MS400 now that they have been recapped. I've decided to keep the AVI NuNeutrons for the future as they are very capable but I don't think they quite have the synergy with the current setup.

    Which bring me to the amplification. I do love the very musical presentation of my old Audio Analogue Puccini SE (non remote), and it does have a very capable MM/MC phono stage built in, but I can't help wondering what I might get out of the setup if I tried something a bit more up to date into the proceeding.

    The leaning of the Puccini would suggest something in the entry-level valve arena? Having said that, I am also tempted by some of the hybrid offerings.

    On my list (and budget) for looking at in the New Year are the following, and I would be very interested in owners (or former owners) opinions as to what (if any) benefits I might gain with the BOSS front end, and limited power-handling but ever so open midrange of the MS400s.

    • Icon Audio Stereo 25 (or possibly 40)
    • Croft Micro 25 Phono Integrated


    Any others of this ilk?

    Tony
    I demo'ed quite a few entry level valve amps and liked the Icon Audio ST40 mkII, but ended up buying a little known Dutch brand called Mystere (ex-Prima Luna guys) which was slightly better sounding in the area of dynamics. Swapped the original Electro Harmonix EL34 tubes for Svetlana Winged C (nice and smooth), Groove Tubes (more slam and speed) and JJ Premium KT77 (best of both worlds).

    Also had a Unison Reserch S6 which was very good and excellent on a £ for performance ratio.

    I'm now on hybrids - which to my ears are the best of all worlds, but I did have to go through a bit of a journey to find ones that I really liked. Owned Unison Research Unico and Copland CSA29 but not particularly memorable. My current LSA Statement integrated is the bees knees although you can also achieve a similar result with separates (e.g. valve pre and SS power)

    Good luck with the search!
    Last edited by vintage60; 04-02-2018 at 20:12. Reason: typo

  6. #6
    Join Date: Apr 2017

    Location: Manningtree, Essex

    Posts: 251
    I'm Tony.

    Default Possible Amp Upgrade?

    Happy to say Iím in musical heaven at the moment. I ended up getting an Icon Audio Stereo 20PP and I canít believe how good it sounds with these speakers. Much synergy! I havenít been able to tear my self away from listening every evening. I think the MS400 must have been made with EL84s in mind as they have just opened up. No signs of confusion or loss of control on anything I have thrown at them so far. Soundstaging is great and so much depth. Vocals as expected are very natural (my daughter commented on how it sounds like the artist is singing in the room with you). *this is with stock EL84s and Genalex ecc83/2 drivers. Currently enjoying exactly the sort of improvement I was hoping for.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    A mainly digital setup with a musical amplifier and endearing 1970's speakers. A CD player that hardly ever gets used and a turntable that is good enough to remind my how enjoyable my old vinyl is. Some cables and things.

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