40+ watts SET, cost is not a problem


Hope everyone is well here. I am visiting after a long time. I have a query on behalf of a close buddy of mine. He is using a pair of TAD CR1x loudspeakers. Gorgeous speakers for sure. The source is an EMT 927 TT & JPA66 preamp. For the amplification things are getting tricky. He has tried the TAD M700s reference power amp and while it sounds very controlled, it doesn't have the openness and dimensionality of tone that a good tube/SET amp provides. We are considering trying a good SET for this system. Given that TAD needs some power blossom well and expand on effortlessly, at least 40 watts of SET power would be needed. The quick choices are Kondo Kagura & Wavac HE833 Mk2. But I need more suggestions on these and other comparative products.

1. Has anyone heard the Kondo and Wavac gears to suggest a comparison? I am just a bit worried on the amount of Silver used in Kondo. I have normally found that silver takes away something from the flow and harmonics. Tell me more about it.

2. What other options can be considered in this realm? No SS please. Looking for SET options primarily.


Room size is moderate 17 x 13 feet. Music preferred are classic rock, jazz, pop and some classical



@charles1dad If you or anyone else is interested here is some writing on the Ankoru but Andy Grove the designer, interesting stuff.



Thank you! I will read it. I have  held Andy Grove in high regard for some time now.



As usual a very descriptive and informative article by Andy Grove. In addition to audio/electrical engineering talent, he is a very adept writer.. Appreciate his distinctions between the 845 and 211 DHT tubes and why he decided upon the former in the Ankoru amplifier.


Most audiophiles who have heard tube amps have listened to "Golden Age" push-pull circuits that date from the Fifties, with a few modern tweaks like regulated supplies or a current source or two sprinkled through the design. A smaller number have heard low-power SETs in the 2 to 20-watt range.

Looking back, the "Golden Age" circuits were optimized for power above all else; there were no 100-watt transistor amps back then, so it had to be tubes, and high-voltage transmitter types were never sold as consumer products. So the tubes used then were 6L6, EL34, KT88, 6550 and other similar types. If you optimize for power, you can squeeze 60 watts out of a pair of 6550’s, or more if you’re really willing to hammer on them.

This requires Class AB operation with a relatively small Class A region (to increase efficiency) and using 20 dB or more of feedback to both linearize the pentodes and smooth out the crossover region. This is the real reason a Golden Age amp, or a modern copy, sounds quite different than a zero-feedback SET. The SET relies on the inherent linearity of the triode power tube, while the Golden Age amp relies on feedback to do the heavy lifting.

For most of the history of audio, high power and the highest quality sonics have been in opposition to each other, although the marketers always want to sell the most expensive amp ... which these days means an amp with banks of power pentodes sizzling away in the chassis.

Rest assured, any amp with arrays of devices operating in Class AB will NOT be the most linear amplifier, since every device will have a slightly different AB transition point. Perfect matches are impossible to maintain, even if they come out of the factory that way. Tubes drift as they age.

There’s a rule of thumb that if linearity is important, minimize the number of output devices. One device is obviously the lowest number, but SET output transformers have serious design challenges once the power gets much beyond 20 watts. A useful compromise are two devices running in push-pull, but biased into Class A, like SET amplifiers.

Unfortunately, our 60 to 100 watt Class AB amplifier now shrinks to 15 to 20 watts if re-biased and re-designed to run in Class A. Yes, you can build really big PP amps using transmitter tubes, but these are notoriously hard to drive, and safety considerations become very serious with B+ voltages of 1000 volts or more ... audiophile construction technique is NOT appropriate at these voltages.

To be blunt, if your speakers need more than 20 to 30 watts to fill the room with full dynamic sound, your choices for amplifiers narrow quite a bit. If tube amps are a must, there are Class AB PP pentode amps with 4, 6, or 8 output tubes. This is expensive and no fun to keep in balance. There’s good old Class AB transistor, using either bipolar or MOSFET output transistors. Or modern Class D amps, preferably with the latest ultrafast GANfet output devices.