New to Tube Amps
Hi folks. Joe here. Glad to be jumping in here with ya'll. I'm more of a stereophile than an audiophile, still have my gear from 1980-82 so I've wondered all these years...have I been missing out on something? I imagine so. My receivers from Pioneer, Sony and Kenwood work just fine today, so 40 years and still going strong. Love that vintage gear, sound, and look. But Raven integrated (and another competitor) have caught my eye and I'll pull the trigger very soon on a forever setup with 4 ohm speakers. Original speakers still in play from that era as well! Decisions must be made soon and I hope to enjoy the tube sound by the middle of March!
Welcome to the group! I also have quite a bit of "vintage" audio gear from years past and have truly enjoyed it all. Once I began getting introduced to the audiophile world, my eyes and my ears especially were opened to a whole new world of musicality. This was especially true with my first experience listening to Raven tube amps.
Previously, my background was in commercial recording studios where the sound was rather sterile. I had many different solid-state amps and always felt like "an amp is just an amp". I'll never forget the first time I sat down and listened to a tube amp... the music seemed to just jump out of the speakers. The sound stage was enveloping with incredible instrument separation and the vocals were lifelike and perfectly placed up front and center of everything.
Needless to say... I was ruined! From that day on I'v been a tube guy.
Good luck on your journey. You've started in a really great place as Raven makes some of the finest tube amps in the world.
Operations - Raven Team
Hi Joe. I'm also new to tube amps. I took the plunge and received the Nighthawk MKIII.1 in mid January. Looked for several months and after talking to Bryant Wilson and James Connell I felt confident in my decision to test the Nighthawk. They answered all my uneducated questions about the amp without making me feel I was, shall I put it, wasting their time. I have since talked and emailed James on several occasions. They seem to be very accessible even after the sale. As Raven Dave says you become part of the "Raven Family". I sure feel that is true.
I have paired the Nighthawk with Klipsch Heresy IV speakers, Bluesound Node 2i streamer, Schiit Bifrost2 dac, Pro-Ject X1 turntable with Sumiko Moonstone cartridge, Cambridge Alva Duo phono preamp, DH Labs Silver Sonic D-750 digital coaxial cable and a pair of Raven Soniquil RCA interconnects. I'm very pleased with what I've been hearing as the tubes and amp break in. The Nighthawk has brought me many hours of pleasure during this Pandemic. The best stereo system I've ever owned. Thank You Raven Audio!
Oh, bye the way, this is my first post in the community. Hi, Everyone... If you decide on a Raven product and it doesn't work out , they do have a 45 day return window. Mine is NOT going back.. That's confidence...
Roger, thanks for the shot of confidence on the Raven products, I jumped in with a Blachawk, CeLest. speakers and the cables after discussion with James and Bryant. Very certain I've made the right decision and anticipating the delivery soon. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Joey, when you jump-You Jump! Congrats on going for the Blackhawk with Celest and cables. Hope you have many years of enjoyment. I have this little thought in the back of my mind that sometime this year I may upgrade to the Blackhawk but with my Klipsch Heresy IV speakers I may not reap a significant improvement? We will see...
So, folks I can say with 100 % certainty that I've made a very good decision with Raven Audio, the Blackhawk 3.1 and the Ce'Lest towers with Sonoquil cables. Everything arrived after some delay with the Texas freeze-out, no issues with anything packaged whatsoever. As a "QA/QC/Test" guy the build quality and amplification is outstanding. I did not want to jump back in too soon after putting it in play without a few weeks of listening. For me, hands down this is the best sounding gear that I have ever heard.
Still cannot believe how good this sounds, with no EQ or balance, treble, mid, or bass adjustments. In short, I am stunned by the 3D effect wall of sound that presents vertically, horizontally and with depth, and it fills an 18 x 31 x 8 sized room with 1/4 volume setting...with ease. I am a tube amp convert, a Raven convert and with those speakers and some very good vinyl using a Schiit Mani phono stage there is a level of detail that is shocking. Really good stuff!
Streaming off an iPad with no DAC sounds very good (Amazon, SiriusXM) and have listened to the Raven Concert Series on You Tube as well. Yes, I'm old school so there's a learning curve and if anyone would like to recommend a great DAC please chime in!
Thanks Raven team for such a great result! So glad I jumped in with ya`ll.
Glad to hear that the Blackhawk is working out. With the Bluesound Node 2i the dac chip is a Wolfson which sounds good on its own. I'm using it just as a streamer into a Schiit Bifrost 2 which I enjoy much more. There are some good R2R dacs I've read about. No first hand experience. Budget? Presently working with Dave Thompson on different tube combinations which should take my Nighthawk to a new level with Klipsch speakers. Loving the results so far. Dave would have more first hand experience with your setup.
Thanks for the leads on the DACs, Rodger. Not sure what to do with streaming, was looking at RME ADI-2 but struggling with justification. That said I'm a fan of Schiit products. Recently added a BIC America Acoustech (H100II) to the Blackhawk. This is a 500 w, 12" sub that, well, I'll just call it a Thunder Box. Very clean, though and not boomy at all; works very well with the Raven, and looks like a part of the family. Still working out the placement in the room.
I believe I'll be reaching out to Dave to enhance further but I am very satisfied with my initial setup.