Forum Replies Created
Yeah, I got that.
“Used”: There is a pair of VT150 (not SE) for $5k. I’m guessing an SE version would be around $7k.
“Used” REF150SE probably around $7-8.5k
The Ref150SE was $15k.
The VT150SE was $16k for a pair.
Yeah, and one less transformer.
I incorrectly stated that the Ref150SE has 6550s in the regulation. It does not. Their Ref6 preamps do.
I’ve been trying/using an Audio Research Reference 150SE stereo amplifier that uses eight (four per channel) of the (relatively new designed) KT-150 power tubes (150W pc) and the input tubes are four 6H30s. The tubes are new and matched from Audio Research. It has tubes (two 6550s) in the power supply regulation. Power supply energy storage: 1040 joules for two channels.
The SL A3PX speakers sound excellent when driven by it.
Surprisingly or not, it is not “better” (whatever that means) than the two Audio Research VT-150SE mono amplifiers I’ve been using for the past twenty-five years on SoundLab speakers.
The VT-150SEs also are rated at 150W pc but uses eight (four per channel/amplifier) of the 6550 power tubes and four (two per amplifier) 6922 input tubes. It also use tubes (two 6550s) in the power supply regulation. Power supply energy storage: 420 joules for each channel/amplifier.
When comparing the VT-150SEs on SoundLab A3PX ELS, the Reference 150SE tonal balance is slightly leaner (taut) upper bass and slightly more forward upper mid-range, using the 8 ohm taps on the amplifiers. Speakers are set flat (0) with treble at 1-2 o’clock.
It has only been a few days of comparison listening and switching so I’ll continue…
- This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by WillB.
A very thorough review. It is always useful to read a SoundLab owner’s impressions and experience. Thanks for the review.
I’m interested in your opinion in the bass focus panels when you get them. I too am waiting for my 90-degree A1 panels to get the bass focus upgrade.
I am glad that the factory is “swamped” (because their success is ours too, as users of their excellent products) and it is great to hear all the support (sales) that’s being given to Dr. West and his excellent staff. Luckily, I was able to acquire a used pair of A3PX 45-degree speakers before I surrendered my A1’s with their original 1994 panels so I’m content to wait as long as required.
I am surprised there is so little activity here. Where is everyone? Perhaps listening to their Sound Labs and living their lives.
- This reply was modified 10 months ago by WillB.
I wrote the following observations on this subject on the Linn Forum (HiFiWigwam):
Posted July 10 (edited)
I usually drive my SoundLAB speakers (full range electrostatic) with two mono Audio Research VT-150 (vacuum tube) amplifiers but lately I also been trying a single stereo Linn KLOUT and I find it does an excellent job overall. The perspective and focus of that lens peering into the window of the music is quite different between the two of them but equally as enlightening. Each amplifier has its own presentation of the overall soundstage: but both are very pleasing to the listener via these ELS speakers (musically balanced and no crossovers with stellar phase and transient response).
Applause to the KLOUT design team at Linn…..thirty years ago…
Follow-up to my original post:
Over the years I’ve owned Quad ELS (way back when…the metal grill black and gold versions, sometimes using four, two per side, at once); Acoustat 3 (transformerless ELS with their direct drive 6BH5 tube amps); the later Acoustat 4s (ELS, transformer coupled, just upgraded/refurbished transformers by Roy Esposito); Sound Lab A1s ELS (I had these for well over twenty years, Toroid 1 version, panels just shipped to back to the factory for service); and recently, I picked up a pair of Sound Lab ELS A3PX Toroid 2.
The audible presentation I hear with the Sound Lab ELS that sets it apart from the others is when listening to source material with “real” stereo information captured…. (soundstage L-R, depth F-B etc…. vs. multi-mic pan pot location placing and artificial acoustics ie. electronic reverbs…. sadly (or not) the latter is what 99% or all recordings consist of…and of course there is no real “space” or “depth” even present on these recordings)… is the Sound Lab’s ability to present (recreate) the instruments in the acoustic space, ie. the room’s acoustic qualities and the musicians playing their instruments in that room.
The recordings I use for this subjective analysis are recording I’ve made with a completely transformerless analog(ue) recording chain, capturing the information with a pair of (90-degree angled figure-eight) microphones and storing this information on audio tape running at 30 inches per second (Ampex ATR-100 direct into the recording amplifier electronics ie. no ATR I/O modules present). Absolute polarity is maintained throughout this recording system.
Phonograph records (33 1/3 LPs on TELDEC vinyl) have been made from these same audio tape recordings so I have the LPs as a source for cartridge, arm, TT, RIAA phono preamplifier analysis. We all know about the phono cartridge’s inherent lack of separation always being an issue.
I’ve made analog to digital versions of these same stereo tape recordings at various bit/sample rates. I’ve also made Red Book CDs at 44.1k 16 bit (direct from the master tapes w/o sample rate conversion) for standard CD player/DAC analysis.
The music is performed by professional classical musicians from a large city symphony performing in ensembles, in acoustic spaces (small chapels etc.) complementary to the music.
The Sound Lab A1’s …. (2350 square inches of radiating area with (my older pair are the version with) 90 degree full spectrum horizontal dispersion) and the A3PX’s (1800 square inches of radiating area with 45 degree full spectrum horizontal dispersion) …coherent phase (full range ie. crossoverless vs. multiple drivers with an attempt to fix the phase relationships/crossover points/crossover slopes etc.)… and LF to ultrasonic frequency response…essential to accurately presenting to the listener the sound of the instruments in the original room.
The Sound Lab speakers with the Audio Research VT-150SE amplifiers (1994, mono, 130 watts +, I use the 8 ohm taps w/ the SLs) combination presents the musicians and their instruments in the room with a life-sized perspective. The Linn Klout (1992, 160 watts into 4 ohms) perspective is about 35% “smaller”.
The subtilties of articulation in areas such as the bow against the viola’s strings; the finger’s of the harpist plucking the strings; the rich natural overtone structures of the violin, cello or the flute radiating into the room…these are the some of the most significant areas of differences between the two amplifiers. The ARC amplifiers (in this setting) exceed the Linn amplifier and contributes subjectively to a great sense of the “air” (in the room), the space between the instruments and the overall “size” of the soundscape. Remember, I was in the room making the recordings. I was there.
The LF of the ARC amplifiers is powerful and deep (room acoustics) whereas the Klout is powerful and somewhat leaner in comparison. The impedance of the speakers (specification stated at 8 ohms) varies with frequency and the taps to the transformers on the ARC amplifiers vs. the Linn are a variable here. The impedance of SL ELS goes up in the LF (around 16 ohms?) and down in the HF (4 ohms?).
By no means am I stating any judgements here. I have presented my method of listening and I’ve tried to report what I hear…subjectively…with these amplifiers driving the Sound Lab ELS speakers.
And now, for something completely different…Four Klouts on Keltiks. Who cares about pan pots and artificial reverb units? Still astonishing to listen to popular studio recordings (and live) at realistic levels.