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Thread: New valve amp and speakers

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 3,332
    I'm Lawrence.

    Default New valve amp and speakers

    I spotted these on eBay the other day, I think the distributor is having a clear out. They arrived today and I'm very pleased.

    The amp is a Mistral EL34 integrated and the speakers are Mistral Bow IIIs. The amp is very nicely finished for a mid range Chinese valve amp, and pretty weighty. The speakers are 2 way with a 5.25 inch woofer but with a larger passive radiator on the back, an interesting idea and rarely used these days, though it is making a bit of a comeback now (Kef and Audio Physic to name two). The cabinets are a lovely burr finish and are shaped rather like Avalon Acoustic speakers to reduce diffraction (I think). The sloping baffle also helps with driver integration.

    Initial thoughts were the speakers are a bit too lightweight and bright (coming from TDL Studio 2 transmission lines maybe not a surprise!) but I've changed the signal valves in the amp to NOS and they're sounding well balanced and quite warm now. I also switched the cables from the tweeter inputs to the bass inputs, I'm not sure how much of the improvement is due to that.



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  2. #2
    Join Date: May 2018

    Location: Woking

    Posts: 276
    I'm Chris.

    Default

    Hi Lawrence.

    I tried these speakers too but ultimately they didn't sound "big" enough in my room. I tried them in a smaller listening area and they were much more at home. They do benefit from being placed about 20cm from the rear wall to add some low end however that did narrow the soundstage somewhat.

    As ever it's a trade off!

    Stunning looking things which is why I was initially drawn to them.

    Good luck, I'm sure you'll get them to sound pretty nice after some experimenting with valves/placement etc.

    Cheers

    Chris
    - Linn Sondek LP12 - Ittok III, Denon 304, Mose Power Supply - Ming Da MC 368-B - JJ KT88's, RCA 12au7's - Musical Paradise MP-D1 mkII - WE396a
    - Mark Travis Phono Stage - Gold Lion 12ax7's, Tung-Sol 6X4 - AD Audio SUT - Pioneer N-30K
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    - Audio Technica LP5 - AT440mlb - Musical Paradise MP 303 Class D - Jolida Glass FX III - Raytheon 5755 Yellow Print - Beresford Bushmaster II
    - EAR834p Clone - Ei 12ax7's, Sylvania 12au7 in V3 - Cocktail Audio/Novafidelity X12 - 15" Paper Drivers in Tannoy Cabs (lows) - Custom crossover into Tannoy HPD Monitors (highs) - REL T3

  3. #3
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 3,332
    I'm Lawrence.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Opti-cal View Post
    Hi Lawrence.

    I tried these speakers too but ultimately they didn't sound "big" enough in my room. I tried them in a smaller listening area and they were much more at home. They do benefit from being placed about 20cm from the rear wall to add some low end however that did narrow the soundstage somewhat.

    As ever it's a trade off!

    Stunning looking things which is why I was initially drawn to them.

    Good luck, I'm sure you'll get them to sound pretty nice after some experimenting with valves/placement etc.

    Cheers

    Chris
    Good point thanks I was sitting them on the TDLs (which were where they were as that's the distance that worked for them but then they've got a bit more bass ). Have pushed the "stands" in a bit and even more warmth than before but, as you say, some loss in other areas. Probably better overall though

    Overall they are excellent little speakers and the tonal balance reminds me rather of the LS3/5As I heard at Ascot (which is a compliment as that was one of my favourite rooms, and part of the reason I thought I'd look for some bookshelf speakers). Probably a bit more bottom end and a little less mid bass bump with the slightly larger driver and the ABR but the overall effect is similar. Nicer cabinets and a fraction of the price!

    Another reason I've fancied a change is I listen mostly late in the evening once the kids are asleep and the neighbours have young children too so volume levels are lower and smaller speakers can offer better balance and intelligibility then.

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    Last edited by Lawrence001; 07-11-2019 at 23:29.

  4. #4
    Join Date: May 2013

    Location: Rotherham

    Posts: 436
    I'm steve.

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    Get some decent bi wire cables like Audioquest FLX SliP 14/4 or at the very least ditch the terminal links and replace them with proper wire links.


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  5. #5
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 3,332
    I'm Lawrence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-z View Post
    Get some decent bi wire cables like Audioquest FLX SliP 14/4 or at the very least ditch the terminal links and replace them with proper wire links.


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    Yeah thought of that I'm a bit lazy when it comes to stripping wire though

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  6. #6
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 3,332
    I'm Lawrence.

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    Have replaced my NOS RCA 12AX7s as they were sounding a bit syrupy. EI Elites now sounding much cleaner.

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  7. #7
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 3,332
    I'm Lawrence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-z View Post
    Get some decent bi wire cables like Audioquest FLX SliP 14/4 or at the very least ditch the terminal links and replace them with proper wire links.
    Thought the treble was a little rough on some well recorded choral music so dug out some old jumpers I had, all sounding nice again

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  8. #8
    Join Date: May 2013

    Location: Rotherham

    Posts: 436
    I'm steve.

    Default New valve amp and speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Lawrence001 View Post
    Thought the treble was a little rough on some well recorded choral music so dug out some old jumpers I had, all sounding nice again

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    Treble will be even better if you bi wire, it reduces IM distortion in the line to the tweeter by a noticeable amount. Itís all proven in this very in depth article.

    https://www.qacoustics.co.uk/blog/20...tion-benefits/

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  9. #9
    Join Date: Dec 2017

    Location: Lincolnshire

    Posts: 172
    I'm Martin.

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    hmmm not sure it's proven... just my humble opinion....

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 3,332
    I'm Lawrence.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by steve-z View Post
    Treble will be even better if you bi wire, it reduces IM distortion in the line to the tweeter by a noticeable amount. Itís all proven in this very in depth article.

    https://www.qacoustics.co.uk/blog/20...tion-benefits/

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    I haven't biwired since the manager in Camden Superfi persuaded me it will change my life in about 2001. Funnily enough he was trying to make me part with more money when I was buying some speakers. Still, I'll try it again soon when I get the chance.

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