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  1. #1

    Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Hello,
    I am posting this on behalf of a friend who is interested in a tube amp (preferably low wattage SETs) for his brand new Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD speakers.

    If you have heard or own these speakers, please chime in with your fav amp combo with these speakers.

    Currently top of his list is the Luxman MQ-300 which I suggested, has anyone heard this combo?

    His preamp is Pass Labs Xp-32 I think.

  2. #2
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    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Viva too.
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  3. #3

    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Dennis Had 300b-v

    Absolutely wonderful.
    Avantgarde,Air Tight,AMG,Studer,DeHaviland,Shindo,Kubala Sosna

  4. #4
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    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Quote Originally Posted by essrand View Post
    Hello,
    I am posting this on behalf of a friend who is interested in a tube amp (preferably low wattage SETs) for his brand new Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD speakers.

    If you have heard or own these speakers, please chime in with your fav amp combo with these speakers.

    Currently top of his list is the Luxman MQ-300 which I suggested, has anyone heard this combo?

    His preamp is Pass Labs Xp-32 I think.
    Have you asked your friend why he is particularly interested in tube SETs? I use Avantgarde Duo XDs and moved away from tubes to SS 3 years ago and no regrets for doing so. I now listen to far more music and the sound is at least as good as from my SETs. He should keep an open mind regarding amplifier type and (this is hugely important) he should arrange home trials of a dozen or so amps of various technologies before deciding which sounds best with his Mezzos. In my own case I borrowed several amps but bought used examples of other likely candidates, so lost little if anything on resale. I doubt he will settle on SETs. If he does, perhaps those with 845 or 211 output tubes will offer excellent sound. Very low power ones (PX-25, 45, 2A3, etc) may sound great (perhaps even sublime) with relatively light music, but may be out of their depth with big orchestral stuff.
    Sources - NAD M50.2 (streamer, CD player, CD ripper, hard drive music store)
    Amplification - NAD M33, NAD M12, Consonance Cyber 845 monoblocs
    Speakers - Avantgarde Duo XD, Avantgarde Duo (2006) - both aesthetically modified, Martin Logan Expression 13A (now sold)

  5. #5
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    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    The strength with SET is how it blends bass and Mids, the jump and speed factor is from that position so if your SET is not doing bass its a waste to me , this was also confirmed when i had the opportunity to hear AG horns with SET and PP toobs and with SS . With Toobs the SET magic was lost and no better than PP Toobs , actually less so due to power output ..


    Regards

  6. #6
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    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Assuming a proper system-to-room setup, I still recommend Vivas from a fairly large amount of personal experience. Are they the best - in terms of being the most technically accurate - I doubt it.

    Where they seem to excel is in a much higher ME factor. In this case, ME = Musical Engagement
    Small Green Computer; gigaFoil 4 Ethernet w/ Keces PS-3; Sonore ultraRendu; MBP (3) - stripped down for music only; Shunyata Alpha & Sigma USBs; AudioQuest Diamond USB 5M: ISO REGEN w/short Curious USB links; Berkeley Alpha USB; AQ Diamond AES - 3M; AQ Diamond Ethernet - 1.5M; Schiit Yggdrasil - fully updated; PecanPi USB dac; Ayre Codex dac - updated; Pass Labs INT-60 integrated amp; Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE-2 preamp, Quicksilver Mono 120 amps w/Tung-Sol KT150s; Wyred 4 Sound STP-750E Mk II amp w/Kimber TCX wiring & WBT binding posts; Quicksilver Mid Mono amps w/Gold Lion KT77s, Joseph Audio Perspective 2 Graphenes; Fyne Audio 703s; Symposium Svelte Plus & Ultra Platforms; REL S-812 subwoofers; Duelund DCA12GA speaker cables; AV Room Service EVPs, Stein Music Harmonizers, Duelund DCA16GA & 20GA ICs; Shunyata Denali 6000S/V2; Tripp Lite PCs; Wyred 4 Sound power cords; AudioDharma cable cooker; dedicated custom room; various GIK & ASC room treatments; etc.

    www.getbettersound.com

  7. #7

    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Love the oomph of an 845 SET. The best of both worlds. Magical midrange and bass control.

  8. #8
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    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Using the high-level inputs on the XD series AGs I found the sub-bass took on the character of the main amp very well. You could easily hear the diff in bass character going from a 300B to PP tubes, to SS etc. It was uncanny really. I never tried the XLR inputs for the subs that runs off the preamp output, in which case you prob would hear a discontinuity. After 8 mos. and experimenting with several amps, I found the LTA ZOTL10 to be the best match with Uno Finos and tie for 2nd between the Valvet e2 and KR Audio VT20. The most disappointing match was a 300B amp with 16 ohm taps. the sound was thick, veiled, slow, colored...did I mention rolled off?
    "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

  9. #9

    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    +1 on the VIVA. Classico 300B Integrated sounds great on my Mezzo's in a fairly large room and I haven't even tried rolling tubes.

    The amp section alone can be run with the Pass, but, while not apples to oranges, I found the VIVA's pre- section preferable to using my EMM DAC's built-in Pre.
    Parker
    EMM/Ayre/Aqua/Aurender/MBL/Luxman/Absolare/VIVA/AGD/Classe/YG/AG/Fleetwood/Revel/B&W/Audience/Puritan Audio Labs/Shunyata/AQ/Sablon/FTA/Sony ES/Pioneer Elite/Parasound/Gallo/JL Audio/ASC/Stillpoints/GIK/Vicoustic/Symposium/Acoustic Revive/A/V Room Service [and, sadly, only one pair of ears...]

  10. #10

    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    For me, it would be Viva or Wavac.

  11. #11

    Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    I used Audio Tekneís IT 2 integrated amp with my Duoís. Absolutely no tube sound, very clear opened live sound.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. #12

    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Smith View Post
    Assuming a proper system-to-room setup, I still recommend Vivas from a fairly large amount of personal experience. Are they the best - in terms of being the most technically accurate - I doubt it.

    Where they seem to excel is in a much higher ME factor. In this case, ME = Musical Engagement
    Hi Jim,
    What are your thoughts on Audiopax vs. Viva sound?

  13. #13

    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    I own 2014 Duo Mezzo's non HD. I own Audiopax 88 Mk2s, Nagra VPAs, and am currently running AudioNote UK Shinris.

    I've also demo'd in my system, Luxman KT 88 limited edition (not bad, but kind of thick sounding compared to the Audiopax 88s), Dartzeel integrated (SS) (very good) and the Audio Research GS150 (surprisingly quiet and very good sounding), First Watt J2 (Meh midrange, thin sounding, but pretty good bass and highs)

    The Nagra's are 60 watt PP 845s, and very good, with amazing bass. They sound however, very slightly tip up on the Duo's. They were really designed for 87 db Wilsons so are kind of overkill with the 107db Duo's. On the other hand, I much preferred their sound over the 8 wat Shinris on a friends 96 DB ANE speakers.

    The Audiopax 88 are dead quiet, very good sounding but don't go as deep as the Nagra's. They were one of the favorite combos with Avantgarde back in the early 2000s and are still a very good match especially at their current used prices.

    The Shinri's are a very rare and expensive almost top of the AN UK line 8 watt SE 300B Monoblock from Audio Note UK.

    I thought i needed more power based on my experience with the 30 Watt Audiopax amps but was simply stunned when i tried them with the Duo's. All the deep bass I could ever want, very extended and silky highs and the most amazing mid range. I routinely listen to 100 plus DB rock and orchestral music and the 8 watt Shinri's have never run out of gas.

    I ended up buying them and will be selling my AudioPax and Nagra VPAs (unless I get a second system with lower efficiency speakers).

    So while the conventional wisdom is that 8 watt 300B are compressed bandwidth and syrupy, if you can get your hands on the Shinris they are a better match with the 107 DB Duo's than their own 96 DB Speakers. The Shinris are very expensive but still cheaper than the Viva Auroras, and they only weigh about 35 lbs each compared to 100lb Viva
    Avantgarde Duo Mezzo,
    Nagra VPA 845 mono blocks, Audio Note UK Shinri 300B mono blocks, AudioPax KT88 monoblocks
    Conrad Johnson GAT, Zesto Tessera
    Esoteric K-01X, Esoteric N-01,

    Clearaudio Innovation TT,
    Graham Phantom 2 Supreme Arm/Ortofon Anna, Bobs Sky 2 SUT
    Clearaudio Universal Arm/Benz LPS
    Minus K isolation platform

    Galibier TT,
    Graham Phantom Elite Arm/Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement,

    Kubala Elation Cabling, Shunyata Trident 3, Typhon QR
    Zoethecus stands,

  14. #14

    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Duplicate post
    Last edited by mallen123; April 30, 2021 at 01:55 AM. Reason: duplicate post
    Avantgarde Duo Mezzo,
    Nagra VPA 845 mono blocks, Audio Note UK Shinri 300B mono blocks, AudioPax KT88 monoblocks
    Conrad Johnson GAT, Zesto Tessera
    Esoteric K-01X, Esoteric N-01,

    Clearaudio Innovation TT,
    Graham Phantom 2 Supreme Arm/Ortofon Anna, Bobs Sky 2 SUT
    Clearaudio Universal Arm/Benz LPS
    Minus K isolation platform

    Galibier TT,
    Graham Phantom Elite Arm/Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement,

    Kubala Elation Cabling, Shunyata Trident 3, Typhon QR
    Zoethecus stands,

  15. #15

    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Boogieman View Post
    Hi Jim,
    What are your thoughts on Audiopax vs. Viva sound?
    I havnt heard the Vivas but have a friend with Trio's who loves his 20 watt Auroras, He preferred them over my Audiopax 88s that he borrowed. But they are $50k amps new and maybe $15k for older used ones.

    I think the AudioPax MKII at $5k used are pretty hard to beat for Avantgardes but Viva Auroras or AN UK Shinris are better if price is no object.
    Avantgarde Duo Mezzo,
    Nagra VPA 845 mono blocks, Audio Note UK Shinri 300B mono blocks, AudioPax KT88 monoblocks
    Conrad Johnson GAT, Zesto Tessera
    Esoteric K-01X, Esoteric N-01,

    Clearaudio Innovation TT,
    Graham Phantom 2 Supreme Arm/Ortofon Anna, Bobs Sky 2 SUT
    Clearaudio Universal Arm/Benz LPS
    Minus K isolation platform

    Galibier TT,
    Graham Phantom Elite Arm/Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement,

    Kubala Elation Cabling, Shunyata Trident 3, Typhon QR
    Zoethecus stands,

  16. #16
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    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Quote Originally Posted by mallen123 View Post
    So while the conventional wisdom is that 8 watt 300B are compressed bandwidth and syrupy, if you can get your hands on the Shinris they are a better match with the 107 DB Duo's than their own 96 DB Speakers. The Shinris are very expensive but still cheaper than the Viva Auroras, and they only weigh about 35 lbs each compared to 100lb Viva
    I had the low-gain (low noise) Audio Note Conqueror which is their stereo 300b on the Uno Finos and wasn't moved at all, albeit it was less slow and flabby sounding than the Allnic 300b I had on hand. The AN rep recommended the Empress, a parallel 2A3 mono which put out 8 WPC. It piqued my curiosity the more we discussed it, the 2A3 tube is supposedly 'faster' and more extended on top.
    "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

  17. #17
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    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Boogieman View Post
    Hi Jim,
    What are your thoughts on Audiopax vs. Viva sound?
    Viva on an absolute basis. However, at their price points, the Audiopax can be wonderful indeed.
    Small Green Computer; gigaFoil 4 Ethernet w/ Keces PS-3; Sonore ultraRendu; MBP (3) - stripped down for music only; Shunyata Alpha & Sigma USBs; AudioQuest Diamond USB 5M: ISO REGEN w/short Curious USB links; Berkeley Alpha USB; AQ Diamond AES - 3M; AQ Diamond Ethernet - 1.5M; Schiit Yggdrasil - fully updated; PecanPi USB dac; Ayre Codex dac - updated; Pass Labs INT-60 integrated amp; Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE-2 preamp, Quicksilver Mono 120 amps w/Tung-Sol KT150s; Wyred 4 Sound STP-750E Mk II amp w/Kimber TCX wiring & WBT binding posts; Quicksilver Mid Mono amps w/Gold Lion KT77s, Joseph Audio Perspective 2 Graphenes; Fyne Audio 703s; Symposium Svelte Plus & Ultra Platforms; REL S-812 subwoofers; Duelund DCA12GA speaker cables; AV Room Service EVPs, Stein Music Harmonizers, Duelund DCA16GA & 20GA ICs; Shunyata Denali 6000S/V2; Tripp Lite PCs; Wyred 4 Sound power cords; AudioDharma cable cooker; dedicated custom room; various GIK & ASC room treatments; etc.

    www.getbettersound.com

  18. #18

    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Quote Originally Posted by puroagave View Post
    I had the low-gain (low noise) Audio Note Conqueror which is their stereo 300b on the Uno Finos and wasn't moved at all, albeit it was less slow and flabby sounding than the Allnic 300b I had on hand. The AN rep recommended the Empress, a parallel 2A3 mono which put out 8 WPC. It piqued my curiosity the more we discussed it, the 2A3 tube is supposedly 'faster' and more extended on top.
    Shinris are Mono blocks and completely different designs both from a circuit design and quality of parts than the much lower priced Conqueror. The Shinri Monos retail for $36000 and you'd be hard pressed to find them anywhere used.

    Shinri's lack for nothing on top especially with a higher end 300B tube like the AN 4300E, Elrogs
    or the Tatsukis.
    Avantgarde Duo Mezzo,
    Nagra VPA 845 mono blocks, Audio Note UK Shinri 300B mono blocks, AudioPax KT88 monoblocks
    Conrad Johnson GAT, Zesto Tessera
    Esoteric K-01X, Esoteric N-01,

    Clearaudio Innovation TT,
    Graham Phantom 2 Supreme Arm/Ortofon Anna, Bobs Sky 2 SUT
    Clearaudio Universal Arm/Benz LPS
    Minus K isolation platform

    Galibier TT,
    Graham Phantom Elite Arm/Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement,

    Kubala Elation Cabling, Shunyata Trident 3, Typhon QR
    Zoethecus stands,

  19. #19
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    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    I am using SET Ayon Crossfire - first with Duo Omega G2 and then Duo Mezzo XD - for 11 years.
    Now after the upgrade with Mundorf capacitors model III which I have for 7 years is even better and remains the main amp for my setup with Trios LE 26 and REL Special Carbon subs.
    As a second amp I have a new Polish brand - Circle Labs A100.
    Imho Ayon is a perfect match with AG speakers.
    Audiopax is not represented in Poland though.
    Crossfire III exists also as a power amp.
    Aurender W20->Lampizator Pacific SE/Audio Aero La Fontaine->Ayon Crossfire III-> Avantgarde Acoustic Trio LE 26
    Analog : Fat Bob S with SME 5, Shelter Harmony, Tom Evans Groove+ SRX mk2,
    cabling: Acrolink, Vovox,Siltech, Transparent, Apricity and FTA Callisto usb, Fadel Art

    HT : Sony HW 50 ES, Oppo 93 EU, Darbee DVP-5000 ,Yamaha Aventage RX-A 3010 , B&W 9.1, screen 120 inches matt white

  20. #20

    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Marslo View Post
    I am using SET Ayon Crossfire - first with Duo Omega G2 and then Duo Mezzo XD - for 11 years.
    Now after the upgrade with Mundorf capacitors model III which I have for 7 years is even better and remains the main amp for my setup with Trios LE 26 and REL Special Carbon subs.
    As a second amp I have a new Polish brand - Circle Labs A100.
    Imho Ayon is a perfect match with AG speakers.
    Audiopax is not represented in Poland though.
    Crossfire III exists also as a power amp.
    Marslo -
    Very nice upgrade both speakers and amps!. Wish i had the room for Trios.

    Is your Crossfire the stereo version or the mono blocks? I don't think I've ever seen the Crossfire monos for sale used, which is a generally a good sign.
    Avantgarde Duo Mezzo,
    Nagra VPA 845 mono blocks, Audio Note UK Shinri 300B mono blocks, AudioPax KT88 monoblocks
    Conrad Johnson GAT, Zesto Tessera
    Esoteric K-01X, Esoteric N-01,

    Clearaudio Innovation TT,
    Graham Phantom 2 Supreme Arm/Ortofon Anna, Bobs Sky 2 SUT
    Clearaudio Universal Arm/Benz LPS
    Minus K isolation platform

    Galibier TT,
    Graham Phantom Elite Arm/Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement,

    Kubala Elation Cabling, Shunyata Trident 3, Typhon QR
    Zoethecus stands,

  21. #21
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    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Quote Originally Posted by mallen123 View Post
    Marslo -
    Very nice upgrade both speakers and amps!. Wish i had the room for Trios.

    Is your Crossfire the stereo version or the mono blocks? I don't think I've ever seen the Crossfire monos for sale used, which is a generally a good sign.
    My Crossfire III is integrated. There is also Evo version of both integrated and monoblocks.
    I want to keep 3 sources and integrated amp is the best solution in my living room.
    I tried many different SS amp designs , PP tube and even OTL, power amps and monos and I liked Crossfire III . Also because of the fact that my system is tuned carefuly with this amp .
    As far as I know Caelin Gabriel uses Crossfire Evo monos in his system.

    Amplifiers Ė Ayon Audio
    Aurender W20->Lampizator Pacific SE/Audio Aero La Fontaine->Ayon Crossfire III-> Avantgarde Acoustic Trio LE 26
    Analog : Fat Bob S with SME 5, Shelter Harmony, Tom Evans Groove+ SRX mk2,
    cabling: Acrolink, Vovox,Siltech, Transparent, Apricity and FTA Callisto usb, Fadel Art

    HT : Sony HW 50 ES, Oppo 93 EU, Darbee DVP-5000 ,Yamaha Aventage RX-A 3010 , B&W 9.1, screen 120 inches matt white

  22. #22

    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Hear Here View Post
    Have you asked your friend why he is particularly interested in tube SETs? I use Avantgarde Duo XDs and moved away from tubes to SS 3 years ago and no regrets for doing so. I now listen to far more music and the sound is at least as good as from my SETs. He should keep an open mind regarding amplifier type and (this is hugely important) he should arrange home trials of a dozen or so amps of various technologies before deciding which sounds best with his Mezzos. In my own case I borrowed several amps but bought used examples of other likely candidates, so lost little if anything on resale. I doubt he will settle on SETs. If he does, perhaps those with 845 or 211 output tubes will offer excellent sound. Very low power ones (PX-25, 45, 2A3, etc) may sound great (perhaps even sublime) with relatively light music, but may be out of their depth with big orchestral stuff.
    This is my friend's reply:

    "Iím presently using a First Watt F3 amp and find the sound thin and the highs a bit too hot and over the top. My pre is the erstwhile top of line Pass XP-30 not 32 but thatís a v. minor difference there. Iíve tried my 20 yr old Audio Note parallel 300B P4 upgraded (then) SET monos outputting 17w but find the noise level (hum) too high to live with at 107 db. The sound is a bit bloated too.
    Iíve tried my DIY SET 2A3 monos (based on the Baby Ongaku Gordon Rankinís design (but unfortunately with a non silver Magnaquest output transformers). They sound better but the same hum problem exists.
    The Musical Engagement factor ME as Jim Smith says is more important to me than technical accuracy and my tastes are primarily Classical Music, voice and some easy Jazz."

  23. #23
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    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Quote Originally Posted by essrand View Post
    This is my friend's reply:

    "Iím presently using a First Watt F3 amp and find the sound thin and the highs a bit too hot and over the top. My pre is the erstwhile top of line Pass XP-30 not 32 but thatís a v. minor difference there. Iíve tried my 20 yr old Audio Note parallel 300B P4 upgraded (then) SET monos outputting 17w but find the noise level (hum) too high to live with at 107 db. The sound is a bit bloated too.
    Iíve tried my DIY SET 2A3 monos (based on the Baby Ongaku Gordon Rankinís design (but unfortunately with a non silver Magnaquest output transformers). They sound better but the same hum problem exists.
    The Musical Engagement factor ME as Jim Smith says is more important to me than technical accuracy and my tastes are primarily Classical Music, voice and some easy Jazz."
    I've never had very costly amps in my system but of the dozen or so solid state ones in the £3-8K range I've bought or home demo'd recently, I found the best sound and highest ME factor from the relatively inexpensive NAD M33. This is an all-in-one so it's a bit of a bargain in my book. I'm sure I could better it, but probably I'd need to spend £10+ on the amp alone and goodness knows what on the DAC, streamer, DSP (which I prefer not to use), etc. With my Duo XDs, there were other amps I liked but for one reason or another, I settled for the NAD. Peter
    Sources - NAD M50.2 (streamer, CD player, CD ripper, hard drive music store)
    Amplification - NAD M33, NAD M12, Consonance Cyber 845 monoblocs
    Speakers - Avantgarde Duo XD, Avantgarde Duo (2006) - both aesthetically modified, Martin Logan Expression 13A (now sold)

  24. #24

    Re: Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

    Quote Originally Posted by essrand View Post
    This is my friend's reply:

    "Iím presently using a First Watt F3 amp and find the sound thin and the highs a bit too hot and over the top. My pre is the erstwhile top of line Pass XP-30 not 32 but thatís a v. minor difference there. Iíve tried my 20 yr old Audio Note parallel 300B P4 upgraded (then) SET monos outputting 17w but find the noise level (hum) too high to live with at 107 db. The sound is a bit bloated too.
    Iíve tried my DIY SET 2A3 monos (based on the Baby Ongaku Gordon Rankinís design (but unfortunately with a non silver Magnaquest output transformers). They sound better but the same hum problem exists.
    The Musical Engagement factor ME as Jim Smith says is more important to me than technical accuracy and my tastes are primarily Classical Music, voice and some easy Jazz."
    A minor correction here. The amp he currently owns is First Watt SIT3 no the F3.

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Tube amplifier for Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD

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