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    Holy FREAKING #@%& !!!!!! Nothing blew up and I'm in floored!

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    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Holy FREAKING #@%& !!!!!! Nothing blew up and I'm in floored!

    Post by Laminarman on Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:58 pm

    Sorry for the title folks, but I just got done setting up and playing my new build, Bob's VTA 70 amp and I can't believe how awesome this is.  Words can not begin to express what I think of this already, and if folks here say it will "break in" and get better, I might just be done shopping for stereo amps for a while.  I am utterly speechless.

    Let me tell you what I'm running:

    Sunfire Cinema Grand amp
    Rotel RSP pre-amp/processor
    Marantz CD player (middle of the road)
    Tannoy 637 speakers
    Blue Jeans home made cables

    I made a post about speakers a while ago and my Tannoys being "bright" or harsh on the top end. I plugged in the amp, nothing exploded, I plugged in the output tubes, nothing got fried, I set all the bias values, then switched the cables out of my Cinema Grand into the 70.  At first I thought something was very wrong, because I was SURE I unplugged my subwoofer (I listened to the Tannoys first without and with the subwoofer), but something was wrong.  The little VTA 70 had MORE bass??? No way, I got up and made sure the sub was unplugged.  Yup.  After flipping through some very familiar music, I can tell you that YES, you can hear a difference with tubes (sorry for my exhuberance this is my first tube amp.)  I am stunned by the warmth and how my Tannoys are suddenly better.  But, it gets even better.  I had it in pentode mode.  I flipped to triode mode, and it got a bit quieter, and my somewhat bright Tannoys now are totally different speakers.  My symphonic music is better, Dean Martin's Christmas disc suddenly has a real upright bass player where I can visualize the slap of the bass player on the strings.  

    I have yet to build out my entire system.  I can only imagine what will happen when I try tube amps, perhaps a turntable (my eye on a VPI Traveler at Audio Classics) and new speakers.  

    So I have three messages.  

    First to Bob: THANK YOU.  A great, easy to follow product that exceeded my expectations.

    Second: to anyone who is on the fence, just find a way to buy one of these and build it.  The satisfaction is incredible.  

    And finally, thanks to all of those who helped along the way and who kept posting the truth about these amps, thanks to you guys I'm going to go broke quickly.  Do I even dare ask what "tube rolling is?"

    If you'll excuse me, I have about 3,500 CD's that need to be listened to again.

    sKiZo

    Posts : 1287
    Join date : 2013-04-01
    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: Holy FREAKING #@%& !!!!!! Nothing blew up and I'm in floored!

    Post by sKiZo on Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:13 am

    Tube watts ARE bigger than SS watts ...  Cool 

    Good to hear you got it going. I also was very pleasantly surprised to get it right the first time without letting out any of the magic smoke.

    I plugged in the amp, nothing exploded, I plugged in the output tubes, nothing got fried, I set all the bias values, then switched the cables out of my Cinema Grand into the 70.

    Hopefully you're just talking input cables ... be sure not to fire up the amp without speakers connected. Tubes really really don't like that.

    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Re: Holy FREAKING #@%& !!!!!! Nothing blew up and I'm in floored!

    Post by Laminarman on Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:32 am

    sKiZo wrote:Tube watts ARE bigger than SS watts ...  Cool 

    Good to hear you got it going. I also was very pleasantly surprised to get it right the first time without letting out any of the magic smoke.

    I plugged in the amp, nothing exploded, I plugged in the output tubes, nothing got fried, I set all the bias values, then switched the cables out of my Cinema Grand into the 70.

    Hopefully you're just talking input cables ... be sure not to fire up the amp without speakers connected. Tubes really really don't like that.

    Nope, did it with speakers attached. I was too giddy to be clear. Still listening. It's awesome. Is this seriously going to change after playing a while? It's got about 6 hours under its belt now. I'm really enjoying it.

    The kicker is this: my 10 year old daughter, who doesn't care about anything I really care about, walked into the living room and asked if I got new speakers because my stereo sounded better. When I told her Daddy built it, she asked who I had help me. I should be happy she noticed it.

    Maintarget

    Posts : 208
    Join date : 2013-02-10

    Re: Holy FREAKING #@%& !!!!!! Nothing blew up and I'm in floored!

    Post by Maintarget on Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:49 am

    I built an VTA ST-120 and have about 180 hours on it now (I have been timing my listening sessions) the sound is pretty amazing right from the initial start up but will notably improve in the first 200 hours of operation.
    As for tube rolling I have swapped out drivers with a few different combinations and have been able to tune the sound for my speakers and ears (Klipsch Heresy's) 
    Bob advised me to wait until I have at least 200 hours on the amp and I agree it's like trying to hit a moving target.
    Congratulations and welcome to the club!
    Let's see some picture of the build!

    http://s1325.photobucket.com/user/RoscoeAJones/media/photo_zpsfa051e3e.jpg.html?sort=3&o=2

    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Re: Holy FREAKING #@%& !!!!!! Nothing blew up and I'm in floored!

    Post by Laminarman on Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:40 am

    Thanks Maintarget. I'm not sure photos are going to show anything other than a bit more wiring than others have posted. I had trouble being as neat as others! I don't plan on changing tubes for a long time, but man, was this project fun. So you have noticed a change in the sound? I'm curious because it's pretty darn nice right now.

    nerpissad

    Posts : 58
    Join date : 2012-09-16
    Age : 43
    Location : amsterdam

    Re: Holy FREAKING #@%& !!!!!! Nothing blew up and I'm in floored!

    Post by nerpissad on Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:44 am

    I can totally relate to the joy you felt when you fired up the amp for the first time and it didn't explode Wink
    photos of other people's wiring jobs can be a little confrontational for people who are not as experienced.  if it makes you feel better, just look at my build for an amateurish wiring job Very Happy
    it doesn't matter if you're, like me, not the most experienced builder yourself. I have come across a few issues since I finished my build and all of them could be solved by 'simply' resoldering certain parts.
    slowly but surely you'll get acquainted with all of the different areas inside your amp.
    enjoy your new amp!

    sKiZo

    Posts : 1287
    Join date : 2013-04-01
    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: Holy FREAKING #@%& !!!!!! Nothing blew up and I'm in floored!

    Post by sKiZo on Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:03 pm

    Ha! At least yours looks like a Dynaco ...  Razz 



    One of the biggest things you can do to cut down on later issues is "back buttering" all the mechanical connections. The VTA boards are especially nice for that as they've got solder pads on both sides. This allows for a much stronger joint with far greater surface area.

    Solder makes a difference too. I'm a big fan of Cardas Quad and a decent soldering station. Expensive, but hey, I'm worth it!  Cool

    Maintarget

    Posts : 208
    Join date : 2013-02-10

    Re: Holy FREAKING #@%& !!!!!! Nothing blew up and I'm in floored!

    Post by Maintarget on Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:46 pm

    @nerpassad Sharing is what this forum is all about no matter the skill level of the contributor, I'm a complete novice to this great hobby with little practical experience I'm certainly not being confrontational to you or anyone else and have never seen anyone else on this forum that has been in the year I have been a member.
    I enjoy learning and improving my skills by seeing the signatures of each build through the builders wiring, parts placement techniques and advise.
    At some point we all had that same euphoric feeling when we completed our first kit and it actually worked no matter what our skill level.

    nerpissad

    Posts : 58
    Join date : 2012-09-16
    Age : 43
    Location : amsterdam

    Re: Holy FREAKING #@%& !!!!!! Nothing blew up and I'm in floored!

    Post by nerpissad on Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:32 am

    Maintarget wrote:@nerpassad Sharing is what this forum is all about no matter the skill level of the contributor, I'm a complete novice to this great hobby with little practical experience I'm certainly not being confrontational to you or anyone else and have never seen anyone else on this forum that has been in the year I have been a member.
    I enjoy learning and improving my skills by seeing the signatures of each build through the builders wiring, parts placement techniques and advise.
    At some point we all had that same euphoric feeling when we completed our first kit and it actually worked no matter what our skill level.

    hi maintarget,
    I believe there is some misinterpretation going on. in no way was I accusing anyone of being confrontational on this forum. all I said was that it can be confrontational to see other, more experienced, builders' projects.
    if I look at Skizo's beautiful custom ST-120 for example, I'm confronted with my lack of expertise Wink

    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Holy FREAKING #@%& !!!!!! Nothing blew up and I'm in floored!

    Post by deepee99 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:28 pm

    Well, Laminarman, congratulations and welcome to bottleworld! As someone elsewhere mentioned, crappy wine comes in plastic; good wine comes in glass. Same with electrons.
    I'd just take Bob's and others' advice and kick back, keep an eye on the bias, and enjoy the thing for awhile. Those tubes will really start to show their stuff after a couple hundred hours and your capacitors will improve with time as well. Your only real enemy now is the power grid you're connected to, so please do connect a manual-reset Ground Fault Interruptor -- not for safety's sake but to protect your tube investment from sudden on-off power events. Life is cheap; a black-plate TungSol 6550 is not.
    Next logical step would be to get one of Roy Mottram's tube pre-amps. That's as big a step level improvement as going from SS to tubes for your mains, IMHO.
    I've been very happy with my VIP Traveler in the year I've had it, the build is solid but their documentation and quality control suck. If you get one go around the thing and cinch everything down; the RCA output plugs on mine arrived loose and they're a pig to get to. If I had to do it again I'd talk to Dave at Vinyl Nirvana and get one of his rebuilt Thorens, or Keven at KAB Electro-Accoustics about one of his Technics, and have them match you up with a decent affordable cartridge.
    Great to hear you succeeded on the first try. Not sure everyone here, including moi, can make that claim.




    Laminarman

    Posts : 110
    Join date : 2009-12-30

    Re: Holy FREAKING #@%& !!!!!! Nothing blew up and I'm in floored!

    Post by Laminarman on Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:33 pm

    deepee99 wrote:Well, Laminarman, congratulations and welcome to bottleworld! As someone elsewhere mentioned, crappy wine comes in plastic; good wine comes in glass. Same with electrons.
    I'd just take Bob's and others' advice and kick back, keep an eye on the bias, and enjoy the thing for awhile. Those tubes will really start to show their stuff after a couple hundred hours and your capacitors will improve with time as well. Your only real enemy now is the power grid you're connected to, so please do connect a manual-reset Ground Fault Interruptor -- not for safety's sake but to protect your tube investment from sudden on-off power events. Life is cheap; a black-plate TungSol 6550 is not.
    Next logical step would be to get one of Roy Mottram's tube pre-amps. That's as big a step level improvement as going from SS to tubes for your mains, IMHO.
    I've been very happy with my VIP Traveler in the year I've had it, the build is solid but their documentation and quality control suck. If you get one go around the thing and cinch everything down; the RCA output plugs on mine arrived loose and they're a pig to get to. If I had to do it again I'd talk to Dave at Vinyl Nirvana and get one of his rebuilt Thorens, or Keven at KAB Electro-Accoustics about one of his Technics, and have them match you up with a decent affordable cartridge.
    Great to hear you succeeded on the first try. Not sure everyone here, including moi, can make that claim.




    Thank you for the kind words, I sure appreciate it. Got it on the GFI and thanks for reminding me. What happens after a couple hundred hours? Smoother sound? If I got the VIP Traveler I'd have Ryan at Audio Classics open it and go over it and tune it before I took it home. Thanks again.

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