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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm facing a dilemma of choosing between the two for my lascalas. I'm planning to use The Masterpiece as the preamp, which suppose to work well with either. I mainly listen to symphony orchestra and vocals so the 300B Pinnacle looks really attractive to me. I'm asking  the question because the Masterpiece already uses 300B, do I really need eight additional 300B tubes to maintain the unique 300B sound?  Although the total cost of the Pinnacle with JJ tubes may still be lower than The Best, I speculate the later may give me stronger base and better dynamics in addition to being able to drive other less sensitive speakers. Of course I can always hook a powered sub to the Masterpiece if I really need more base (the lascalas' response gets cut off at 50Hz anyway). Bottom line, I like the sound of 300B but I'm not sure having a system made out of ten of them is a wise investment for my needs. Any thoughts and input is greatly appreciated.
Reply with quote  #2 
I have the La Scalas II and they really shine with 300B OTLs driving them. You cannot have too much...300B and OTL. I used the MP in my system for a while together with the SE 300B DC before I went back to my 300B line stage as it is a better match for my DAC with digital volume control. I also connect from time to time my DAC directly (no opamps in the output)to the OTLs and it sounds clearly less involving without 300Bs.

For the La Scalas I would only recommend the Pinnacles if you want to go with 300Bs as they somehow can demand a lot from the amps if played really loud with certain kind of music-despite their 106dB sensitivity. Using a digital x-over and sub improves the sound a lot. The bass of the La Scalas gets more defined and the amps play more relaxed. It can make an enormous difference. JJ tubes are a good choice (a little stronger bass, a little less air in my experience/system) but Shuguang or PSVane are abosulutely sufficient and 100% reliable.
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks Wolfgang for sharing your first hand experience and the insights of different 300Bs on these amps.  The Masterpiece+Pinnacles setup is going to be significantly cheaper than the Beast if the Shugs and PSVane tubes can reliably hold on the Pinnacles. I can compensate the base with an external sub and save the extra dollars from the JJs. 
Would you mind elaborate on your digital x-over and sub connections? I'm thinking of using a Y splitter and connect my powered sub (which has its own frequency and gain nubs) to the Masterpiece but I'm not sure if the input of sub would match the line level out from the Masterpiece.
Reply with quote  #4 
If the input of your sub is standard it will match the MP. And one of the best features of the MP is that it can drive long cable lengths without audible loss. I cannot imagine that this could become a problem. But there is more to it which you might want to consider.
To simply add an active sub –even with basic controls - to an existing system will do three things: it will create more bass in the lowest octave, it will not take the pressure off the amps for the main speakers below the -3dB point/cut off frequ., it will create uncontrolled dips and peaks in the area where sub and bass of the main speakers acoustically overlap. This can sometimes sound ok if room/sweet spot/ speaker interaction line up by accident but in most cases it won’t as these dips and peaks will interact heavily with the room acoustics in general and at the sweet spot in specific. Muddy, boomy bass or weak or no bass at all at certain frequencies and no clearly audible single bass notes are a sure indicator of this problem. The La Scala bass benefits a lot from controlling the cut off frequency a little higher than 50Hz with a very steep filter (48dB) and adding a good sub. With an active x-over you can get more control over the bass module even without the Volti Audio mods.
The only way to really control this situation is to use an active x-over with which you can chose the cut-off frequency of the main speaker’s bass and the sub and align the phase of the sub with the main bass speakers/module so that there are no uncontrolled cancellations/peaks at the sweet spot. The Behringer Ultradrive DCX2496 is a very good and affordable way to do this. The analog XLR in/outs can be easily changed to RCA.
Since I have built my own DAC I use a MiniSHARC module for this job which is an integrated part of the DAC. No more cables and I2S connections only are the benefits of this setup. I use an R2R DAC for the main speakers and a simpler DAC (with ES9023) for analog connection to the sub, both controlled through the MiniSHARC/DsP software. It’s exactly the same basic principle as with the stand alone Behringer.
Reply with quote  #5 
There is another problem.  I had a 1000 watt B&W sub and it was a complete failure. Subs are usually in very small boxes and are very inefficient. Your speakers at 106db at one watt, home commercial sub will not be able to keep up. Many top out at 100 to 105db with 1000 to 1500 watts.That is terrible. What you need is what I use with my efficient speakers. A good professional sub 18 inch and about 97db/1 watt tops out at around 130db. I would run your speakers full range, and run the sub  with a sharp cutoff at 60 to 80 HZ. Probably 60 with your speakers.  I will again mention that I use my OPPO to do this as it has it's own sub cutoff and sub output. Then I use my Adcom gfa 555 and preamp to drive it. This setup sounds great and does not change the sound of the main speakers. However I also have driven them [I have 2] with a plate sub amp. but make sure it has a 24db. cut off as 12db. will hurt the sound of your speakers.
Reply with quote  #6 
I use for many years a Velodyne DD-15 in combination with Lowther BLHs and the La Scalas. It needs to be set to very low levels in order to match the main speakers. It's a misunderstanding to think that the sub needs to play very loud. Actually, this is #1 mistake when adding a sub. Wrong setup like putting some sub(s) in a corner of the room or where they cannot be seen and sub playing too loud ruins the balance. The La Scalas benefit the most from using an active x-over because of the resonances of the bass module.

I also would recommend to measure the room response of speakers/sub at the sweet spot to make sure that everything is ok. If it happens that the sweet spot is in a dip no amount of power of the sub can fix that...more power will make things worse. Even without measuring a rough calculation also helps to find those spots in a room (room mode calculators). Every room has at least one or more low pressure zones at some bass frequencies where there is zero SPL. Only way to correct this is moving the sweet spot or speakers/ sub for some feet. That's why a sub is a very helpful addition as it can be moved independently from the main speakers and big bass problems can be solved easier.

ed schilling
Reply with quote  #7 
Well, this post is going to start a crap storm. I had 2 pair of La Scala's for many years and used them with anything you can image....Don Garber's Fi X 2A3, Audio Note 300B, low and high power both SS and valve, you name it.......  Bottom line is that the LS are a TERRIBLE load for any amp. Sensitivity and efficiency are 2 different things. 
This is from a review of my favorite speaker and explains it.

What we're interested in are two things: loudspeaker sensitivity and loudspeaker efficiency.

Think you know how to find them? Here's a test: Take a look at the brochure or Web page describing your favorite speaker, and find the number that expresses efficiency. If you're pointing to the number of decibels the speaker can produce when fed 2.83V and measured from 1m away, you've given the wrong answer, and Grady must correct you. That number expresses the loudspeaker's voltage sensitivity. Sensitivity and efficiency are as different from one another as gain and power—an imperfect analogy, I know, but a helpful one, I hope.

Briefly, sensitivity describes how loudly a speaker will play given a certain voltage; efficiency describes how well the loudspeaker converts electrical power into acoustical power. In other words, efficiency is how easy it is or isn't for an amp to develop and maintain that voltage across the speaker, as a load. Sensitivity is measured in decibels relative to a given voltage and measuring distance (typically 2.83V and 1m, respectively), and efficiency can be assessed by looking, not only at sensitivity but also at a speaker's nominal impedance, in ohms. Efficiency can therefore be gleaned from a graph that plots a speaker's impedance, in ohms, vs frequency, in hertz.

The LS always  and I mean always, sounded better with higher power. They sounded good with anything but higher power always sounded more dynamic compared to a 2A3 or 300B. My ST70 was waaaay better with them and clearly not a better amp than either of the others. I have never understood why guys drive KHorns or La Scala's with small amps.
When Mr. K designed the LS he used a Brooks amp (2A3 I think) of low power BUT the xover was a 6db slope and they were an easy load. As the years went by and power amps became powerful he started "adding poles" to the xover for no other reason than to protect the drivers. While the sensitivity stayed about the same the "efficiency" did not. They became a terrible load for low power amps, relatively speaking.

As a real example, when in corners, my little 4 inch driver Horns would play w/o clipping or compression within 5 db of a stacked pair of LS, when used with a 2A3 amp or other amp with less than 3 watts, a 1 watt Decware would drive them no louder than my 4" speaker before clipping was audible. The load caused low power amps to clip before the amps could make any power and the other speaker with a  flat impedance (relatively speaking) would allow the amp to make full power. There is a 10 db difference in sensitivity between the two. 

This is not "theory" I demonstrated this many times. Everything changes when the LS get >20 watts!

I'd get the new Beast.
ed schilling
Reply with quote  #8 pair had the "newest" version of the factory xover, I got them from Klipsch.
Greg Woods
Reply with quote  #9 

I realize I may be too late with this, since you originally posted a month ago, nonetheless...

I recently built the Mini Beast and Grounded Grid, and am over the moon with how great they work with my 70th Anniversary Klipschorns. Previously I had been using a Mcintosh MA2275 tube integrated with 75 wpc. While the Mac could certainly play louder, the only time I miss the extra power is when showing off. I was able to hit over 120db with that combo! But typically listened at less than .75 watts output according to the Mac's blue meters.

The MB, GG combo actually has tauter, deeper bass. I keep playing my Telarc lps over and over, as the low end is so addictive. Pipe organ, tympani, cello and double bass sound so realistic! The cannon shots on the Telarc 1812 have never sounded better! Initially I felt the TS gear wasn't as full bodied as the Mac, but after hooking the Mac back up I realized that the Mac actually sounded muddy and less detailed in comparison. The mids and highs are equally as pure and clear, my TS gear is just so accurate and smooth across the entire frequency range. 

While the MB may only have 4 watts, I rarely listen with the volume above the 1 o'clock position, usually at 11 o'clock actually. With the volume full up it begins to clip just a bit, which is fine because I can't imagine actually listening at that loud of a volume. I am a firm believer of listening to music at a level appropriate to the genre/recording. Jazz, chamber music, etc., at a lower volume that symphonic pieces. While rock and electric blues are easily played back at concert level.

I will admit though, to the desire of building another MB just for those special occasions, if not just for the cachet and visual symmetry of a pair of monoblocks.

Gary Kemp
Reply with quote  #10 

"Initially I felt the TS gear wasn't as full bodied as the Mac, but after hooking the Mac back up I realized that the Mac actually sounded muddy and less detailed in comparison. The mids and highs are equally as pure and clear, my TS gear is just so accurate and smooth across the entire frequency range. "

It's quite the revelation, eh? 
Greg Woods
Reply with quote  #11 
Gary, yes it has been! I've been getting very little sleep because I can't stop listening! A few catchphrases come to mind, ie. "clear as water", "ideal amplifier being a straight wire that just makes things louder", etc..
Reply with quote  #12 

Not a 'crap storm' per se', but a differing opinion.  I have both La Scalas and Lowthers very similar to Wolfgang's, though I believe his Lowthers are the DX4s, where mine are the alnico PM5As.

I have many years of experience with the Larger Klipsch Heritage, and, with regard to using them with very low power such as the single-ended triodes you mentioned, a very large part of the performance equation with them has to do with the specific crossover network your particular La Scala was installed at the factory.

I agree with you that they do not sound good at all with the higher order networks.  The old AL network is one such crossover that presents too great an insertion loss to be satisfactorily used with such tiny amounts of power, particularly original TS SEOTL, which I still own a love -- with the right loudspeaker load, which, as I said, is not only dependent of reflected impedance, but also the kind of dividing network in use.  I have obtained extremely high levels of performance with single-ended 2A3s, 45s, 300Bs, etc., when using very shallow, low order slopes (6dB/octave).  Though I absolutely agree with you that a strong SS amp can sound great -- as it did in my case with the stock AL networks that were in my LS.

At the end of the day, however, ALL of this arguably boils down to personal taste and preference.
ed schilling
Reply with quote  #13 
Erik, yea, I'm aware (at least at the time I owned them, I was "on top of things") of all the different xovers but it's been long enough that I do not remember the specifics. Both had the same at first and the mention of the AL sounds familiar. In one pair I ordered the "newest and best" (at the time) through a Klipsch dealer. A very cool old guy who is long dead. 

Neither pair cared for my 2A3 or 300B to my satisfaction. The ST70 was easily the best  for them and easily the "worst" amplifier of the three. I had lots of other amps as my experience the more power the better they sounded.

Now, had I cared or thought it was worth it I'd have designed a xover especially for them when used with flea power amps and I bet it would have turned out very similar to the very first Mr Klipsch would have to!

In my case I developed "my favorite speaker" about 17 years ago and it simply made them sound broken at anything other than the insane levels they were capable of. I gave all 4 to my brother. 

I'd sure like to hear one pair with The Beasts but as far as low power on them....been there done that......I was not about to start to develope a xover just to use my Fi X 2a3 when I'd just started to roll with my favorite speaker and it was simply better with the amps I had. As far as I was concerned. 

Don't get me wrong, I loved them, Hell I bought 2 pair. I have this "policy"......I listen to the speakers I build for sale. I'm not about to build a speaker for profit and then use that profit or even listen to anything else. I listen to the stuff I promote. 

TS is one such thing............phono stage and Beasts are simply crazy good.

Reply with quote  #14 
You addressed a number of different things above, and in simple terms I get that your preference was not for the Klipsch La Scala.  Simple.

I've used a number of the different factory networks -- all the older Heritage line for both Klipschorns (which I also owned) and LS, of which I have had two pair, and still have the second pair of those.  I also developed several networks of my own, including custom winding my own chokes.

My point is that, whether your opinion or mine, we CAN'T use either as the universal, all-encompassing right or wrong conclusion.  You of course must know that there are a huge number of Klipsch LS owners who would be completely opposed to the idea that they are a terrible load for any amplifier; and simply wouldn't care if you gave all four away for something you liked better.  All that is great, and it's nice you gave your speakers away.

We all have our own preferences and choose our own dance of compromises.  In my view, that's what it comes to.

I use the original SEOTL with my LS, and they are an absolutely stunning combination.  I also used a Dyna 70 that I completely rebuilt which also sounded good, but not even near what I hear and much prefer with the original TS SEOTL -- all 1.5 watts or so of it.  And that's just my cup of tea.

Reply with quote  #15 


Running Khorns (Volti upgrades) with the MP and 300B from Bruce is an absolute dream, you cannot go wrong with this setup.  The only other recommendation would be to upgrade the La Scala's with the Volti upgrades from Greg Roberts.  The tactrix horn makes a huge difference with the heritage line of Klipsch horns.

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