Billfort's system

MikeT.

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billfort , I've seen your system pics before and I'm still kind of speechless! Looking at it, the apparent simplicity (well thought out), is stunning as is the pair of speakers I imagine punching into the room but also able to play softly with dynamics as well. I'm still kind of speechless. How long have you been putting this system together?
 

billfort

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Thank you Mike. I got back into audio (after an extended absence) on hearing an SET/high-eff. speaker set-up about 20yrs ago, so I guess I started putting this system together then. The Altecs (in a much rougher form) came along about 15yrs ago and were first used on 300Bs, which isn't too far from what all this stuff is now. As mentioned, aside from digital and some turntable upgrades, it hasn't changed much in a decade.
 

billfort

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I was reading an old article in Vacuum Tube Valley this afternoon that mentions the RCA 245, from around 1930. Words used like antique, vintage and 'primitive'.

So figured I'd plug a pair in, listen to these old classics on the Altecs again (which can almost do justice to 1.5w), see what they can do with some bleeding edge digital.

Well, I'm dumbfounded...this is SO good...

There really is something to be learned from the past.



 

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billfort

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Ok, I'm not breaking out the Zeppelin records, but some Ella, Billie, sliding into some Muddy and Buddy - they are here (or am I there?) - THIS is why I have all this stuff.

An 85yr old tube wrapped in a simple old circuit, simple enough that even I could build the thing...

Man, I love having this stuff in my basement to keep me sane.
 

TubeHiFiNut

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billfort;n60883 said:
Ok, I'm not breaking out the Zeppelin records, but some Ella, Billie, sliding into some Muddy and Buddy - they are here (or am I there?) - THIS is why have all this stuff.

An 85yr old tube wrapped in a simple old circuit, simple enough that even I could build the thing...

Man, I love having this stuff in my basement to keep me sane.

It is nice having options. ;)

It also illustrates that we should not dimiss "antique, vintage, primitive" tubes or circuits. ;)
 

billfort

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Did a little looking and can't find the schematic - not sure what happened to the copy I thought I had saved. Don't even remember where I got the circuit from, think it was from a friend who had built it before. It's a low parts-count, extremely simple design (which might be why it works so well to my ears - less is more?), so I should sit down and sketch it out again.
 

Thermionics

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billfort;n60900 said:
Did a little looking and can't find the schematic - not sure what happened to the copy I thought I had saved. Don't even remember where I got the circuit from, think it was from a friend who had built it before. It's a low parts-count, extremely simple design (which might be why it works so well to my ears - less is more?), so I should sit down and sketch it out again.

Well, if you ever get around to it, I'd love to see the circuit. Thanks!

-D
 

Redboy

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245s are nice, huh?

How 'bout that. :-)

Hey Bill, you should knock together a couple plug-in adaptors to sub in some 46s, and let me know what you think. They'll drop right in.
 

dowto1000

Junior Member
Personal 2016-2017 FINALS tube experiences, Type 45, Type 46, and JJ 2A3-40, on ALTEC VOTT speakers :

Well, I have to agree with Redboy on trying a Type 46 SET. I designed and built a DC Type 46 amp, for a friend in May of 2017, and I think it is better than both Type 45 amps, with the same basic circuit - a good one, that I was running on my VOTT A7-800s, during 2016 and 2017.

The most surprising thing to my ears, was when I dropped JJ 2A3-40s into my DC Type 45 SET in December 2016, and heard it WAY outperform my Type 45 tubes, in the Finals spot. The hilarious thing was that the JJ 2A3-40s were using the biasing of a Type 45, but they way outperformed any 45 I had heard.

The range that was most convincing to me, in favor of the JJ, was on piano, in the middle mid range. The 45s had a shallow broad midrange suck out, and could not play a piano convincingly, on my system, whereas the JJ 2A3-40 stood up and hit the ball out of the ballpark on piano reproduction in the mids, with LINEAR power. The Type 45's weaknesses I hear, I do NOT seem to hear on this four month old Type 46 amp, using the same basic DC SET circuit I usually use for my system

To be honest, I personally feel I wasted two years of my life in 2016-2017, messing around building and using Type 45 DC SETs on my A7-800s VOTTs.

Yes my friends, I hear all the good things 45s do - that everyone talks about, but they can not play a piano linearly in the middle midrange, and as such, I will never use a 45 again. Sold every one of my 45s, 68 of them, on eBay, several months ago

YMMV, but I prefer this 5-2017 Type 46 amp's presentation, in all areas, over both my 45 amps. I agree with Redboy on the Type 46. I do feel, the Type 46 has a very very SLIGHT coloration, a " euphonic" coloration, maybe its from the extra tube element, that a JJ 2A3-40 triode seems to avoid. But my 46 amplifier can play back a piano - to my liking.

My next builds will be two monoblock JJ 2A3-40 DC SETs, starting right after I return from this year's RMAF Denver show in October.

Another 2017 discovery, after building / hearing a dual mono JJ 2A3-40 amp in January 2017, I can not go back to using a stereo amp ( shared L--R supply ) any more on my ALTECS. Hence, the two monaural amp builds, which are coming up !!

I hope my observations serve some of you DIYers well. Have fun, I do.


Dowto1000
 

TubeHiFiNut

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dowto1000;n60941 said:
Personal 2016-2017 FINALS tube experiences, Type 45, Type 46, and JJ 2A3-40, on ALTEC VOTT speakers :

Well, I have to agree with Redboy on trying a Type 46 SET. I designed and built a DC Type 46 amp, for a friend in May of 2017, and I think it is better than both Type 45 amps, with the same basic circuit - a good one, that I was running on my VOTT A7-800s, during 2016 and 2017.

The most surprising thing to my ears, was when I dropped JJ 2A3-40s into my DC Type 45 SET in December 2016, and heard it WAY outperform my Type 45 tubes, in the Finals spot. The hilarious thing was that the JJ 2A3-40s were using the biasing of a Type 45, but they way outperformed any 45 I had heard.

The range that was most convincing to me, in favor of the JJ, was on piano, in the middle mid range. The 45s had a shallow broad midrange suck out, and could not play a piano convincingly, on my system, whereas the JJ 2A3-40 stood up and hit the ball out of the ballpark on piano reproduction in the mids, with LINEAR power. The Type 45's weaknesses I hear, I do NOT seem to hear on this four month old Type 46 amp, using the same basic DC SET circuit I usually use for my system

To be honest, I personally feel I wasted two years of my life in 2016-2017, messing around building and using Type 45 DC SETs on my A7-800s VOTTs.

Yes my friends, I hear all the good things 45s do - that everyone talks about, but they can not play a piano linearly in the middle midrange, and as such, I will never use a 45 again. Sold every one of my 45s, 68 of them, on eBay, several months ago

YMMV, but I prefer this 5-2017 Type 46 amp's presentation, in all areas, over both my 45 amps. I agree with Redboy on the Type 46. I do feel, the Type 46 has a very very SLIGHT coloration, a " euphonic" coloration, maybe its from the extra tube element, that a JJ 2A3-40 triode seems to avoid. But my 46 amplifier can play back a piano - to my liking.

My next builds will be two monoblock JJ 2A3-40 DC SETs, staring right after I return from this year's RMAF Denver show in October.

Another 2017 discovery, after building / hearing a dual mono JJ 2A3-40 amp in January 2017, I can not go back to using a stereo amp ( shared L--R supply ) any more on my ALTECS. Hence, the two monaural amp builds, which are coming up !!

I hope my observations serve some of you DIYers well. Have fun, I do.


Dowto1000

Welcome to The Haven. :)

Great first post! :)
 
Hey Bilfort,
Nice system and room.

I am curious as to how or if you high pass the 604's? I also use a Berhinger 2496 for subs out of the second out of the preamp.
 

billfort

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Hi dog and thanks.

I don't high-pass the 604s - they run full-range off their own set of pre-outs. I tried a lot with these and just prefer a well matched passive crossover on the 604 horn & woofer (I like the Markwart) with nothing active, digital, etc. in the mix ahead of that.

Love what the Behringer, digital EQ & SS can do with a pair of Altec 416s below 100Hz, but I think the 'magic' in my system happened when I got the mix of a good tube amp and passive crossover right on these speakers all-analog and full-range - letting them run independent of what I try for bass doesn't seem to hurt that happy place I found.
 

billfort

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Oh yeah, the less than 100Hz area can be a bitch, and why I like the flexibility of the Behringer, SS and separate cabinets for the 416s - let's me isolate all that and even provide a level of flexibility with the 604s in areas of amp tuning and speaker placement that isn't there so much if trying to squeeze max. bass out of them. I'm also cheating a fair bit in that I have my system in a dedicated below-grade rectangular room that has a good W x H x L ratio, concrete floor and walls on 4 sides, and extensive built-in room treatments (perf-panel bass traps) to deal with things like bass humps. Getting really good bass in this room is the easiest I've ever had it, so the 604s are damn close straight-up and the 416 set-up is lightly applied and doesn't need big swings at EQ.

Simple PLLXO between the pre-amp and amp is very intriguing though, and something I might try someday - maybe even designing it into the driver stage of the main amp for a slow roll-off. The best 'active' crossover I ever had (or probably heard for that matter) was the Dahlquist DQ-LP1 which just uses passive 6db (simple caps) on the main line outs - really did way more good than harm in that Dahlquist DQ-10 based system way back when.

The Harrison FMODs might be a fun experiment too, but I always shied away from them in that I thought amp input impedance had to be factored in to get the crossover point right - can't see how these work around this?
 
I have that Dahlquist but it needs refurbished. Know anyone that could do that? I know Dalquist still performs maintenance, so, maybe just have them do it.

I too have been contemplating a high pass filter baked into the amp circuit. I am not a amp builder and have limited circuit expertise. I have asked about different ways to do this but not getting a confident implementaion here. I am living w Eicho HF-60's which are a pretty simple amp circuit.

Some people love PLLXO's and others are haters. I guess experimentation is the way to determine.

I get what your saying regarding the Harrisons FMODS. I figured if the impedance was eschew... it would just change the xover point and I could dial in the Berhinger accordingly. The jury is still out on my experiment. I have just been casually listening as I have been burning in a coupling cap on my DAC. Things are starting to sound good, so I'm going to break out the microphone and do some measuring. If you want to try the FMODS, I can send you mine.

Speaking of burning in caps... the problem w PLLXO circuit is the line level current will take forever to burn in the cap, so, not sure how long that would take to get the "real" SQ coming through.

One cool thing about the Berhinger is the number of subs you can control with it. Which makes it better than most other processors. Anyway... I plan to try another sub out of phase behind the listening position. I currently am running with two infinite baffle subs in front of the mains w 2-15" woofers in each one. I understand the back sub really works well with smoothing out the lower frequency response and removing nulls. Easy to do with the Berhinger.

The cabintes you have the subs have a folded horn inside... right? Do you plug those up? My friend has a pair of those and they are alot of fun. The combination of those w a vintage el84 amps is awesome. If you lived in an apartment, that is all you would need.
 

MrEd

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Great stuff Bill.
My journey is has many similarities, from 10 years with DQ 10's to the final Altec happiness along with the trials and tribulations of low bass integration.
Thanks
 
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