need advice re buying new fleawatt SE amp

rogerfederer

Junior Member
i am hoping to find a nice playmate for my 604s and reached out to Oliver Sayes, sells as sonic_oli on usaudiomart. Here is what he has on offer:

417a driver and 46 output tube built in 2 chassis with much improved power supply.
1546700721727.png
45 amp similar to early Korneff 45 (using same output transformer) but with improved power supply
1546700776209.png
45 amp similar to Yamamoto 45 with 717a pentode driver with reclaimed chassis
1546700825529.png
not sure i'm taken w the reclaimed wood chassis but the picture may not do it justice. the 2 chassis amp would require major reorg of my rack or new rack (but might be worth it). would love advice from the havenites!
 

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
I absolutely love my 310a/2A3 SE amp. :)

Drives the modified Belles (FrankenKlipsch) beautifully.

Any of the three amps should sound very good. My question is if the 45 and 46 based amps will have enough drive to meet your listening requirements?
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
current plan is to use helper woofers with the 604s, which will have their own amp. so this amp would only be for the 604s and would not have to dig deep. i tried the 604s with a darling clementine amp (0.75 wpc) -- in a smaller cabinet -- and got a lot of sound!

i would use with a TVC or LDR preamp, so no extra gain from the preamp.
 
Last edited:

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
current plan is to use helper woofer with the 604s, which will have their own amp. so this amp would only be for the 604s and would not have to dig deep. i tried the 604s with a darling clementine amp (0.75 wpc) -- in a smaller cabinet -- and got a lot of sound!

i would use with a TVC or LDR preamp, so no extra gain from the preamp.
Similar pricing on the amps?
 

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
I'd probably go the Korneff 45 or the Yamamoto 45. :)

Would definitely look at some 2A3 amps. ;)

And, if I may be so bold, if you come across an Almarro A205a (SEP EL84), grab it - 4 watts/channel and I believe you will love it on your 604s. :)

@Ernie has one. @billfort got to hear it on his 604s.

I have used mine to drive the FrankenKlipsch, stock Belles and LaScalas, Lowther PM2a/Medallions, University 6201 in JE Labs OBs and probably a few others. :)
 

Salectric

Senior Member
I don’t know anything about the specific amps but my SE amp is also a 417a IT coupled to a 46, and that combination is capable of very high sound quality. The 46 also sounds like it has much more power than the rated 1 1/4 watts.
 
Many things to consider.
I may be reading into too much, but you are looking at used it apears.
What cabinets are your 604 in?
What is your price range ?
What are your priorities in your order ,
ie: tone, dynamics, detail, tuby warm, etc ?
For me and my Altec addition I want dynamics and tone first, detail is next.
I do agree with the 2a3 recommendation and also if you place dynamics up on priorities look into dc not cap or transformer couple for se amps.
 

billfort

Administrator
Staff member
Interesting array of amps! I love the design and build quality of the 2 chassis design but have never heard the 46. The Korneff is an established design with a good reputation and I've heard one of these sounding real good, but in a totally un-realistic system and room (huge everything – modded A5s, horn sub, lecture hall where you could get back about 60' from the giant black boxes). Not getting the goofey old wood of the Yamamoto knock-off but have heard the Yamamoto 45 on several occasions and love/hated it – varied from incredibly good on the right speakers (think it was Lowthers) to real bad on others (Zu which I can't stand and Cain-and-Cains – just not enough power). If I had a store-bought 45 it would be a Yamamoto – can sound incredible and a beautiful piece of Japanese SET audio jewelry.

Some random thoughts beyond this;

For context – I use Altec 604-8Gs running full range in 9cuft vented boxes with 'helper' bass off a second set of pre-outs, 2x Altec 416A on an HK SS amp, digital crossover/EQ. My primary full-range amp on the 604s is a 2A3 SET (417A,cap coupled) but since this helper bass arrangement makes for lighter lifting on the main amp, I spend a LOT of time with this amp in 45 mode which I can switch to under-chassis. I LOVE 45s and these Altecs, but I happily live with 2A3s in this system.

First point; for me, as much as I love 45s, they do not cut-it on the Altecs (which are supposed to be around 100db/w/m sensitive) without the 'helper' bass stuff, and they are in a fairly small room. It's 'loud' enough, I usually listen at much less than 95db, but it's not about numbers on a sound meter – these speakers just don't show what they are capable of with 1.5w. Some types of music can sound absolutely sublime on the them with a 45, and it's massively seductive, to the point that you are often overlooking what they aren't doing. But kick up the dynamics & scale – areas that these speakers truly excel at on the right amp – and the 45 doesn't deliver, it's just VERY nice about it. :)

Use the right 45 tubes, coupling caps, speaker positioning, active pre-amp (have yet to hear a passive that I like in the areas of drive and dynamics), throw in 2x 15 woofer 'helpers' on big SS and tweak on the active x-over settings...and yeah, the 45 gets closer to Nirvana (damn I love the 45!) but, but,

Its still not there for all music, and I'm not talking about the difference between little girl with guitar and Dark Side Of the Moon only, you notice it a lot – you are right on the edge with 45/2A3 (1.5w/3w) and the 2A3 just gives you more presence, snap, body and tone, that sense of ease and scale around big dynamic swings that 1.5w just doesn't do on these speakers. It's easier to forget about all the stuff in the room and get lost with the 2A3, the 45 often has you thinking damn, this is great, but, but, what about that big bubble of goodness that this recording usually puts in the room, where's the big space & dynamics? What happened to the 'Altec' in the Altecs?

All VERY personal but 2A3 is a better place for me on these 100db sensitive speakers, just makes all the right compromises (and there are a lot of compromises in this SET/Hi-Eff thing). 45 is pretty damn special and for some types of music, it's the best I have, but it's no daily driver. (I have an old Lotus under a blanket that I can't live with 99% of the time either :) ). Listen to Muddy Waters' Folk Singer or a small venue acoustic Jazz recording and the 45 is the shit, spin some Stevie-Ray, big female vocals Jazz in a larger club (say Carmen McRae) or even Neil Young in a place like Massey Hall – back to 2A3...fast!

I also like David's suggestion of the Almarro EL84 amp – that thing (thanks for the time with it Ernie!) surprised the hell out of me – got real close to the 2A3 and I could happily live with it, especially over a 45. Really makes me wonder what is possible in that vein (say no level pot, no or less negative feedback, tube rectified...I'll stop now).

My audio re-birth a couple decades ago was all about 'Less is More' but I started with speakers that spoke to me and built around them, and 'Less is More' with Altec 604s for me, starts around 3w. There are LOTS of options out there from 3w up.
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
mred,
those amps are new builds
the cabinets are JBL 4648 cabinets, each with one 2225H woofer (i do have some altec 612C cabinets i could go back to, but will need a bass assist of some kind).
using a big SS amp for the woofers and a miniDSP as the crossover; altecs are full range, not even in the path with the miniDSP
budget: maybe up to $2K?
i am a detail guy, maybe dynamics after that. i do like the horn sound.

billfort,
thanks for weighing in. i do have a nice el84 amp built by prelius, and a lance cochrane 6L6 amp. maybe it makes sense to get a 45 amp and try it out. seems like these oliver sayes amps have decent resale, based on some recent google searches.
maybe i should spend a little time with the tom mcnally darling clementine amp i have (0.75 wpc) and see how much i find missing; that might give a clue re the 45 v 2A3 question...
there are a few amps on usaudiomart that are 2A3/45:
Antique Sound Lab Tulip 2A3 / 45 DHT SE Amplifier + extra tubes
2A3 45 SE Stereo Tube Amp Singled Ended hand built Amplifier 6SL7 5U4 Jensen
there is a local bottlehead stereomour, that i could get from an AKer (would be nice to not have another fragile item molested by UPS, FedEx, etc). i don't need the integrated amp part and kinda dislike the standard bottlehead pots and switches.
i like passive preamps and plan to use a TVC or a LDR in this rig.

thanks for all the input! anyone else?
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
some input from mr. sayes: "With passive preamp I wouldn't recommend the Korneff style Amp, it really needs a preamp with some gain or it can sound a little flat."
 

Salectric

Senior Member
Billfort,

Great post! I can identify with your findings about comparability issues with your 45 amp and your 100db Altecs. As I mentioned, I have a 46 SE amp which has even less power than your 45. The 46 amps sound very nice on my high efficiency speakers (99db) but eventually I always return to one of my more powerful push-pull amps. If I only listened to “girl and a guitar” music, the 46 would be perfect, but on more complex music especially orchestral I need more power despite the 99 dB sensitivity.
 
My thoughts and experience some what parallel Billfort.
I run my A5 with a passive xo and have Wright Sound 3.5 monos wich are cap couple 2A3 set. I have a pair of 1 watt 6c45p spud amps with silver opt that are super detailed and quite impressive, but run out of steam. They were built to run only the Lowther Oris 150 s in my old horn set up.
I also have modded Dynaco st70 play them clean loud but lacks the 2a3 magic.
The 2a3 s always end back up in the system,.
I use a ppsl sub with 2 15s driven by a 250 watt chip amp with mini dsp eq.
I have a pair of 416a to try in a SLOB style sub soon.
Integration on the sub is the most difficult thing with Altecs. Need real good drivers and xo.
 
Interesting array of amps! I love the design and build quality of the 2 chassis design but have never heard the 46. The Korneff is an established design with a good reputation and I've heard one of these sounding real good, but in a totally un-realistic system and room (huge everything – modded A5s, horn sub, lecture hall where you could get back about 60' from the giant black boxes). Not getting the goofey old wood of the Yamamoto knock-off but have heard the Yamamoto 45 on several occasions and love/hated it – varied from incredibly good on the right speakers (think it was Lowthers) to real bad on others (Zu which I can't stand and Cain-and-Cains – just not enough power). If I had a store-bought 45 it would be a Yamamoto – can sound incredible and a beautiful piece of Japanese SET audio jewelry.

Some random thoughts beyond this;

For context – I use Altec 604-8Gs running full range in 9cuft vented boxes with 'helper' bass off a second set of pre-outs, 2x Altec 416A on an HK SS amp, digital crossover/EQ. My primary full-range amp on the 604s is a 2A3 SET (417A,cap coupled) but since this helper bass arrangement makes for lighter lifting on the main amp, I spend a LOT of time with this amp in 45 mode which I can switch to under-chassis. I LOVE 45s and these Altecs, but I happily live with 2A3s in this system.

First point; for me, as much as I love 45s, they do not cut-it on the Altecs (which are supposed to be around 100db/w/m sensitive) without the 'helper' bass stuff, and they are in a fairly small room. It's 'loud' enough, I usually listen at much less than 95db, but it's not about numbers on a sound meter – these speakers just don't show what they are capable of with 1.5w. Some types of music can sound absolutely sublime on the them with a 45, and it's massively seductive, to the point that you are often overlooking what they aren't doing. But kick up the dynamics & scale – areas that these speakers truly excel at on the right amp – and the 45 doesn't deliver, it's just VERY nice about it. :)

Use the right 45 tubes, coupling caps, speaker positioning, active pre-amp (have yet to hear a passive that I like in the areas of drive and dynamics), throw in 2x 15 woofer 'helpers' on big SS and tweak on the active x-over settings...and yeah, the 45 gets closer to Nirvana (damn I love the 45!) but, but,

Its still not there for all music, and I'm not talking about the difference between little girl with guitar and Dark Side Of the Moon only, you notice it a lot – you are right on the edge with 45/2A3 (1.5w/3w) and the 2A3 just gives you more presence, snap, body and tone, that sense of ease and scale around big dynamic swings that 1.5w just doesn't do on these speakers. It's easier to forget about all the stuff in the room and get lost with the 2A3, the 45 often has you thinking damn, this is great, but, but, what about that big bubble of goodness that this recording usually puts in the room, where's the big space & dynamics? What happened to the 'Altec' in the Altecs?

All VERY personal but 2A3 is a better place for me on these 100db sensitive speakers, just makes all the right compromises (and there are a lot of compromises in this SET/Hi-Eff thing). 45 is pretty damn special and for some types of music, it's the best I have, but it's no daily driver. (I have an old Lotus under a blanket that I can't live with 99% of the time either :) ). Listen to Muddy Waters' Folk Singer or a small venue acoustic Jazz recording and the 45 is the shit, spin some Stevie-Ray, big female vocals Jazz in a larger club (say Carmen McRae) or even Neil Young in a place like Massey Hall – back to 2A3...fast!

I also like David's suggestion of the Almarro EL84 amp – that thing (thanks for the time with it Ernie!) surprised the hell out of me – got real close to the 2A3 and I could happily live with it, especially over a 45. Really makes me wonder what is possible in that vein (say no level pot, no or less negative feedback, tube rectified...I'll stop now).

My audio re-birth a couple decades ago was all about 'Less is More' but I started with speakers that spoke to me and built around them, and 'Less is More' with Altec 604s for me, starts around 3w. There are LOTS of options out there from 3w up.
Interesting array of amps! I love the design and build quality of the 2 chassis design but have never heard the 46. The Korneff is an established design with a good reputation and I've heard one of these sounding real good, but in a totally un-realistic system and room (huge everything – modded A5s, horn sub, lecture hall where you could get back about 60' from the giant black boxes). Not getting the goofey old wood of the Yamamoto knock-off but have heard the Yamamoto 45 on several occasions and love/hated it – varied from incredibly good on the right speakers (think it was Lowthers) to real bad on others (Zu which I can't stand and Cain-and-Cains – just not enough power). If I had a store-bought 45 it would be a Yamamoto – can sound incredible and a beautiful piece of Japanese SET audio jewelry.

Some random thoughts beyond this;

For context – I use Altec 604-8Gs running full range in 9cuft vented boxes with 'helper' bass off a second set of pre-outs, 2x Altec 416A on an HK SS amp, digital crossover/EQ. My primary full-range amp on the 604s is a 2A3 SET (417A,cap coupled) but since this helper bass arrangement makes for lighter lifting on the main amp, I spend a LOT of time with this amp in 45 mode which I can switch to under-chassis. I LOVE 45s and these Altecs, but I happily live with 2A3s in this system.

First point; for me, as much as I love 45s, they do not cut-it on the Altecs (which are supposed to be around 100db/w/m sensitive) without the 'helper' bass stuff, and they are in a fairly small room. It's 'loud' enough, I usually listen at much less than 95db, but it's not about numbers on a sound meter – these speakers just don't show what they are capable of with 1.5w. Some types of music can sound absolutely sublime on the them with a 45, and it's massively seductive, to the point that you are often overlooking what they aren't doing. But kick up the dynamics & scale – areas that these speakers truly excel at on the right amp – and the 45 doesn't deliver, it's just VERY nice about it. :)

Use the right 45 tubes, coupling caps, speaker positioning, active pre-amp (have yet to hear a passive that I like in the areas of drive and dynamics), throw in 2x 15 woofer 'helpers' on big SS and tweak on the active x-over settings...and yeah, the 45 gets closer to Nirvana (damn I love the 45!) but, but,

Its still not there for all music, and I'm not talking about the difference between little girl with guitar and Dark Side Of the Moon only, you notice it a lot – you are right on the edge with 45/2A3 (1.5w/3w) and the 2A3 just gives you more presence, snap, body and tone, that sense of ease and scale around big dynamic swings that 1.5w just doesn't do on these speakers. It's easier to forget about all the stuff in the room and get lost with the 2A3, the 45 often has you thinking damn, this is great, but, but, what about that big bubble of goodness that this recording usually puts in the room, where's the big space & dynamics? What happened to the 'Altec' in the Altecs?

All VERY personal but 2A3 is a better place for me on these 100db sensitive speakers, just makes all the right compromises (and there are a lot of compromises in this SET/Hi-Eff thing). 45 is pretty damn special and for some types of music, it's the best I have, but it's no daily driver. (I have an old Lotus under a blanket that I can't live with 99% of the time either :) ). Listen to Muddy Waters' Folk Singer or a small venue acoustic Jazz recording and the 45 is the shit, spin some Stevie-Ray, big female vocals Jazz in a larger club (say Carmen McRae) or even Neil Young in a place like Massey Hall – back to 2A3...fast!

I also like David's suggestion of the Almarro EL84 amp – that thing (thanks for the time with it Ernie!) surprised the hell out of me – got real close to the 2A3 and I could happily live with it, especially over a 45. Really makes me wonder what is possible in that vein (say no level pot, no or less negative feedback, tube rectified...I'll stop now).

My audio re-birth a couple decades ago was all about 'Less is More' but I started with speakers that spoke to me and built around them, and 'Less is More' with Altec 604s for me, starts around 3w. There are LOTS of options out there from 3w up.
Great post Bill,
The only pair of 604's I ever heard were being driven by a Yamamoto A-11 (2A3),
VERY NICE.......

Mike
 
My guess; recommending against a TVC, but not necessarily ruling out a buffered passive.
I have a Sowter TVC and it has really wonderfull sound, but gives up the dynamics and a little bit of the sound stage I get with my preamp.
 

Salectric

Senior Member
I have a Sowter TVC and it has really wonderfull sound, but gives up the dynamics and a little bit of the sound stage I get with my preamp.
That’s interesting. I use an AVC from Dave Slagle with all of my amps and it has great dynamics and LF weight. I don’t feel it lacks anything in those areas compared to my active linestage.

The active does sound a tad bigger and it has a bit more refinement in the highs.
 
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