Cornwall IV – tube (amp) choice

I recently bought the Cornwall IVs and even while running with my old and small Rotel amp they make me pretty happy. But having listened to them plugged to a tube amp in the shop this will be the next investment. And with no proper shop around where I can compare different models and different tube types I´m depending on other people´s experiences. I know that once I have any amp here tube rolling will be the next thing to try but for now I´d like to know if someone can tell me something about different tube types or amps that work well with the Cornwall IVs (or similar sounding speakers).

Of course I´m looking for the warmth that the current amp does not provide. Also it seems that the highs are a bit too pronounced, so I´m willing to trade some of those in if it means gaining more low-mids and lows. Having said that, I´m not looking for boom, just a little more cozyness.

Some tube amps I came across:

lab12 integr4 (KT150)
Primaluna evo 300 (EL34 – I´m a bit afraid of the evo 400, 8 power tubes are a bit intimidating when it comes to rolling or exchanging broken tubes)
Willsenton R800i (300B / 805)

My desired price range is up to $3.000 but well, the primaluna are already above that limit.
As you can see I´m not afraid of chinese brands. I´m living in Europe and dependend on what´s available here.


I like what Willsenton and Line Magnetic have to offer, I have the Line Magnetic 216i . It’s a great little integrated amp. I bought mine from a dealer of LM Audio and he has given me really good service for the Chinese brand. LM Audio backs their products sold in the US, don't know about other countries.

Keep in mind that you should have around 200-300 hours on the CWs before you can accurately asses their true tonal balance.

Enjoy !!!  Great speakers.   Check out Quicksilver ‘s EL84 based integrated amp.  20 watts ..  …

What about a Rogue Cronus Magnum Integrated?  100wpc of tube power and only 4 KT120 output tubes.  The amp responds well to tube rolling.  A plus it is built in the good old USA, Pennsylvania to be exact.  I owned one for a couple of years, loved it.

I remember reading somewhere that the Cornwall IV speakers needed 300-400 hours to break in.  These are supposed to be the best sounding Cornwall's of the entire series.  Experimenting with placement may yield smoother or less sibilant highs.

Reason I mentioned Quicksilver and the same reason I would also say Rogue  is that they are a great value for the money.  You’ll pay more than the Chinese amps but it’s worth it.  Both companies have integrated amps right around your budget or less.  

If PL is really in your final choices and you want to get the most for your money, consider the following. I've heard the combination  many times-very nice.

I've owned mine for 6 years. Until I'm ready to REALLY open my wallet, it's perfect.

Being TMR is the seller, you could negotiate with them on price. They have been listed for UNDER $3k. Great buy if you can get it for $3K.




Quicksilver horn mono’s @ $1500 a pair, driving a pair of Cornwall IV’s, it seems that the match would be a great one.


Will Vincent (autospec) has some nicely restored/modded Dynaco ST70 tube amps available here on Agon for $1600. A better value than any Primaluna!

Hey don't forget tubes are impossible to find right now, I believe an American company is looking into possibly getting into making them, but still a gamble. I believe all tubes come from Russia or Ukraine? Used tubea at crazy prices is all you can find right now. 


Not a fan of tube amps myself but that is beside the point.

Dennis Had (Cary Audio) makes and sells some nice single-end 6L6-type amps under the Inspire name. Considering the high sensitivity of the Cornwall's the 6wpc of the Inspire amp would be a good match!

@jasonbourne52  you are so right no need for a high power tube amp to run an efficient speaker. That part of the speaker choice helps pay for a really great amp. Tube rolling is less money with less tubes as well.  Can you buy Canary amps where you are at? 

Tubes: Oh Yeah!

Power: enough, but not too much, with future considerations:

efficiency of 102db/1w/1m: ’not much’ power needed.

I drove my similar speakers (horns, 15" woofers) with 30 wpc tube amps for many years (they came with Fisher 80az mono blocks). Then 35 wpc, now 45 wpc, more than enough, never near full volume and I play fairly loudly, like live in a small club.

I only moved up in power for feature reasons, 30wpc is no compromise for those Cornwall IV's. I had and sold McIntosh SS 300wpc, the tube amps/15" woofers make lots of wonderful sounding bass, don’t worry about that.

That let’s you use a variety of tubes, so combine tube type research, optional tube uses (some have switches for this), easy Bias.

Personally, I have used EL37’s (originals, too pricey now), EL34’s, 6LC.... 5881, 7591, 6550, KT66, KT88, (never tried low power or higher power 120’s).

With my similar speakers, I preferred the KT66 in the Fisher 80az 30wpc tube mono blocks; and now prefer the KT88’s in my Cayin A88T 45wpc integrated tube amp

Consider weight/size/heat/placement options (as well as cost) when considering size of tube amps, line of sight for remote controls, ...

Your speakers can be either Bi-Wired or Bi-Amped. You might think about that now, more significant than tube rolling. That would be a very good reason to have a separate tube preamp with remote control features, and mono-blocks near the speakers.

Think Long, Go Deep.

I have the Willsenton R800i with all replaced all stock tubes and it sounds sublime with my Cornwall IV's. I am actually in the process of selling it to fund a Luxman 590AXII.


If I had to do this all over, I wouldn’t have gotten my Primaluna. I think I would get Quicksilver. That’s a dead honest opinion. I got the PL just so I could tube roll more than other hear as many tubes as possible before I get my final tube amp.

That said, the PL is so damn well made, reliable and easy to use. It’s dummy proof. You can do a lot of things wrong and it will save your skin.

Yes I have 8 tubes in my Evo 400 but they’ll last forever (hyperbole).

After some time, you will notice that the other stuff sounds marginally better. But you get that by running the tubes a bit hotter.

What PL achieves in sound quality while driving tubes softer is quite remarkable. PL gets a little more hate than the rest for being a European brand made in China. But I need to say, I have been so thoroughly impressed with quality in ALL areas of the ownership experience.

I was going to trade up until I got my Tannoys. It’s a match made in I feel like I’m stuck with PL. First world problems.

I have an Ayon Scorpio XS driving two Klipsch Hersesy III's and the sound is amazing!

EL84 based amps like the Black Ice F11 should not be dismissed unless you lean toward the leadfoot on volume.  104dB sensitivity means that 18W is like 300W with 91dB speakers.  

Have you seen Steve Guttenberg's YouTube video?  He's a Cornwall guy and talks about amps and other things.


I would look into Decware. They carry a lifetime warranty and are hand built not assembly line manufactured. point to point build no circuit boards and can be customized


Thanks for all the replies, it´s all very inspiring and is giving me lots to consider and think about. Which is a fun part of this whole audio thing. I take from what I read that basically there´s no wrong decision, so that´s a good starting point.

@darkscience There´s plenty of manufacturers outside russia.

@jasonbourne52 Sure, wpc is a factor, but if a powerful and affordable amp sounds better, there´s no problem for me.

@ezraslc What are you hoping to improve with the Luxman amp?

@retiredfarmer I haven´t found a distributor, so I guess not.

@sandthemall The idiot-proofness of the Primaluna and the lab12 is a definite plus.

@elliottbnewcombjr Think Long, Go Deep. – I sure will!

@danager Guttenberg´s enthusiasm sure was a one thing that made me want to have a listen to the CIVs.

Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to respond!

Bought this integrated tube amp to power ALTEC Lansing A7-8 VOT speakers. Similar in size and sensitivity to the Cornwalls. Could not be happier. Only 10 WPC but it easily fills a 25'X25' with a 10' peaked ceiling. 85-90db at 1/3 power. Pure Japanese goodness.

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I bought the Enleum 23R in December to drive my Cornwall IVs.  It's a fantastic match in my system including the Aurender W20SE, Holo May KTE, Rega P10 and Luxman EQ-500.  I also use a REL S5 subwoofer.  Steve Guttenberg just today did a review of the 23R driving the Cornwall IV.  Here's a link to that review:


He's right about the 23R being a world class headphone amp as well.  It drives my Susvara, Abyss 1266TC, Focal Utopia and ZMF Verite like no other headphone amp I've ever owned and I've owned a bunch.

I have a "high output" Dennis Had Firebottle that has 4 tubes and 12 to 17WPC. He does still make these sometimes and might make one for you if you email him (Ebay mail).

That little Luxman is a wonderful 10 wpc tube amp, punches above it’s weight class. I have it in my office. Lowest power amp I ever owned, and it did well playing my Wharfedale Diamond 225’s which are the least efficient speakers I ever had, 87db. Now driving my restored AR-2ax’s very nicely. In that 10 x 12 room, at the moderate level I listen to there.

I hooked it up downstairs to the big horns/15" woofer, at least 102db efficiency like the Cornwalls. Sounded great, but in that space, to get to live levels, and have some reserve for peaks, I felt I was pushing it too much, I’m not used to volume knob being nearly full on.

I run the Cornwall IV with the Jadis Orchestra Black tube amp. 
sounds so good. 
the Cornwallis are very sensitive to toe in angle also and makes a massive change in sound as well. 


Thanks again for further recommendations. Luxman, Jadis, Enleum – they all seem great.

After reading and watching quite a few reviews of different amps I´m still wondering why tube types are not given priority over specific amps. Like for example: These speakers really go well with EL34s, because sound characteristic xy.
Isn´t the tube type in general shaping the sound more than the amp built around it? (considering high-quality brands only) And wouldn´t it make most sense to decide on a tube (or combination of tubes) first and then try to find a specific amp? I´m wondering.
Fact is I either mailorder blindly (deafly?) an amp with nice specs, reviews and recommendations or go for one of the few I can test in-store.

@gratefuldentist Oh yes, they like to be toed in. I have to move them to the wall during the day when the kids are around and listen to them like that sometimes. They still sound very good likethat, but toeing them back in makes a massive difference. I put the speakers on boards with tiny transport wheels underneath so moving them is no problem.

pick tube type first, then find an amp.

that’s kinda what I was saying when I listed all the tube types I have heard, said research tube alternates, generalities of sound, keep easy bias in mind.

In addition to needing 16 ohm taps, KT88 is how I selected my Cayin which I knew could use either 6550’s or KT88’s. 6 moons review sold me!

I guessed the KT88 would be a slightly more powerful KT66. Some amps offer EL34 or it’s substitutes, or a switch for a different tube type.

Next we have your ears/preferences, for a first time tube experience, a trip or two to a showroom is wise, however, you would want to hear the same input/preamp/speakers, that’s not easy.

Live near me in NJ, come on by!

In any case, what brand KT88? what in front of it, 12ax/12au or 6sn7/6sl7. Cayin my first amp with 6sn7/6sl7, and I was quite surprised at the change in sound two different makers. 

Luckily I bought my tubes from Brent Jesse, he let me finish burning them in 60 hrs first, then exchange for full credit, tried a different brand at half the price, sounded twice as good! 

That little Luxman is such a great amp!!!!    I have heard it with Cornwall IV and Forte III.     I was with a buddy who is not into audio and he was blown away that 10 watts could sound that good.   It is a huge value for the money 

I have a Jolida that uses EL34 tubes and think it’d match up real well with CWIVs but I’ve been holding out for a set of LaScalas. 

You bought ultra efficient speakers, now take advantage of them by using an SET amp. These multiple output tube amps suck the magic right out of the music with complexity in the circuit. Listen to Decware amps and make the proper decision. 

Have someone build you an Elekit TU-8600 (with Lundahl transformers). Best money you'll ever spend.