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Has anyone heard an all valve rig e.g. Axis, S&P?

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Roman View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 February 2018 at 3:53am
I am putting together a vintage style rig. Looking at valve amps as an option.
How do Valve a tron and Sound and Pressure sound compared to their solid state counterparts?
We had a dance here using a valve amp on 4 scoops. I didn't hear enough of a difference to be convinced valve amps are necessary.

Some people seem to be religious about the valve sound.

Have you been to a Valve a torn or Sounds and Pressure dance? How was the sound? Valve amps are not the only factor though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote odc04r Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2018 at 10:16am
A well designed valve amp run within its limits shouldn't sound a lot different to a solid state. There are differences such as reduced output damping and a reliance on output transformers that you can't get away from easily unless you are building some quite exotic OTL design. When you start to crank them up and clip them, things change a bit.

Tbh building a valve amplifier for >100W output per channel the costs in transformers and parts start to become quite high, and its not a linear relationship. Even worse if you want to amplify bass frequencies.

Unless you want quite a modest system, or are planning to use some very high efficiency drivers, I wouldn't be looking at all valve amplification. I'd build a valve pre-amp instead and run a more conventional system behind it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sheggy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2018 at 8:52am
Building up and running an all valve rig is expensive and takes a huge commitment. Paul Axis build his own equipment and can deal with the constant maintenance valve gear can need (especially if it's mobile).

My take on it is this:
valves sound smooth and loud on MT but this is less noticeable on the low end.
You need to decide if it's the valve sound you want or the cachet of running a vintage system.
The sound is so good from well designed and operated valve sounds, like Axis and Jah Observer, that people stop dead in their tracks.
An all valve system better suits a small mobile system.
Run scoops off heavyweight solid-state amps.
Run mid bass, mid and tops off valve, if you can.
Use valve pre-amps, and inductors in the signal path to get the valve sound.
Be prepared to spend money and make compromises if you want to go down this route.
Best of luck with this, it's not for weakhearts!
S
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote valve head777 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2018 at 12:13pm
I am no weak heart!!!! Lifting my 600w double decker x12 6550's
beast keeps me fit......
Unless you have big money to spend, dedication and can actually find
a builder, it's not a recommended route.
The Soundsystem who made valve sound part of their mystery is Jah Shaka. He used valves on bass for an effect, using distortion that valves can generate.
I have operated a valve system (Tradition hi-fi) in a meeting with Valve-a-Tron. All I can say is the 500 Watt bass though his double 18's was SUBLIME.
Sounds back in the day, kept the valves on bass, but used transistors for mid/tops duty.
It all depends on what you want to sound like. In imho, a valve pre isn't noticeable enough to make a difference, but if you are after the growling bass a big valve amp is the only way.


Edited by valve head777 - 17 February 2018 at 12:20pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote valve head777 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2018 at 12:17pm
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Sheggy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sheggy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2018 at 12:32pm
Nice.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote valve head777 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2018 at 12:52pm
Originally posted by Sheggy Sheggy wrote:

Nice.


Yeah, the outcome of the brilliant deal I did with Del from Leicester.
Original Mr Eddy amp.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote valve head777 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2018 at 3:57pm
Another thing about valves.....
Their rated power output is based on a low THD. At this power level distortion is low, but driving them harder increases power output at the expense of distortion. This is why it is said, watt for watt, valve amps are louder but like I say, more distortion. On mid/tops, this is not desirable but on bass can invoke a sense of urgency/vibes. This is were the notioin of using your Soundsystem as an instrument in its own right comes in. When reggae is played this way, it's no longer about ultimate fidelity but more about vibes.
The times where a dance had a crowd focused on the music and it's meaning are sadly gone, so being able to vibe it like this goes over the top of people's heads now. With modern equipment, vibing this way may lead to equipment  distruction as well. A roaring, growling b-line has been replaced by pummeling the body.
Pure distortion was never the game, using all the subtle changes to emphasise the bass line and charge up an atmosphere was.
Shaka was the ruler in this.

This is only my opinion, and other valve useres have other reasons to use this kit. But I come from a showbusiness angle where building emotion is the aim. Reggae used to be rebel music.....
Good luck on your journey Big smile


Edited by valve head777 - 17 February 2018 at 4:08pm
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odc04r View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote odc04r Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2018 at 9:21pm
I'd say a valves power output rating is more linked to what the plate can take in terms of DC voltage/current before it melts. But this doesn't usually have much relation to audio, especially if you are designing a push-pull amplifier where a valve is only on ~50% of the time. Like the classic burst/RMS PSU ratings it is hard to put a finger on it exactly.

If you want power then that means push-pull pentode design and as you say if you design for maximum current (and by extent max power) then you are going to increase the % THD distortion. Can't be avoided. Most valves die in this configuration when their screens melt as a result of chasing maximum output. For a longer and happier life it is a lot better to run them more conservatively.

Nice photos though! I think they show the problems inherent in large valve amplification rather neatly. The tubes and associated wiring is dead simple (relatively). But the input and output iron for serious powers and bass frequencies. Heavy and £$. Hard to get hold of new I'd wager too, not much of a market for it. And older magnetics can deteriorate so buying second hand can be hit and miss.

It really all does add up to it being a very keen enthusiasts game only.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote valve head777 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2018 at 9:45pm
Mmmm, does a TX core really change its magnetic properties?
Generally, it's the output tx that dictates the sound before saturation occurs I believe. Overdriving valves does wear out the screen and output impedance is also crucial to this. The thing I like is the wave shape becoming a sort of saw tooth. I do know a builder who winds his tx's so they reproduce a square wave up to 40khz. His hifi amps do sound good.
Unfortunately he's been brainwashed by the alt-right, but that's another story!! Maybe succumbed to too much RF radiation from his pirate radio transmitter heh heh.....
Yes, the physical weight is horrible, but when people see the blue pulse in time with the b-line, they're sort of memorized! And they do seem to love it when the bass begins to fry.


Edited by valve head777 - 17 February 2018 at 9:53pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote valve head777 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2018 at 9:50pm
I guess with valves, it's about selling the 'sizzle' not the steak...


Edited by valve head777 - 17 February 2018 at 9:50pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote colint Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2018 at 10:23pm
Many many years ago I heard Admiral kens sound (Kenny Edwards), I'd gone to his club the bouncing ball in Peckham to try and sell him some HH V800's that he had shown some interest in, he fired the JBL loaded club system up, it was run of a single valve amp, superb awesome sound with very warm bass, couldn't sell him the amps simply because he didn't need them and it wouldn't have improved the sound.
it's still one of the nicest most Hifi systems I've ever heard and apparently only half of what he used on the road. I love the valve sound if just for the warmth. 


Edited by colint - 17 February 2018 at 10:39pm
Never criticise another man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. Once you have, call him what you like, you're a mile away and you've got his shoes!
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