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Author Topic: Noob question - Paramount Upgrades  (Read 3487 times)

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Offline Reap

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Noob question - Paramount Upgrades
« on: January 30, 2014, 02:17:01 AM »
I'm new to tube amps and just built a pair of Paramount 300B's. I love them and can't imagine a better sound coming out. But I see some upgrades listed on Magnequest for them. Prices start out kinda healthy and run to the expensive. What I am wondering is what exactly these upgrades do and how they would sound different to my ears. For what it's worth my speakers are Klipsch KG5.5's. Each cabinet has two 10" woofers and a horn. I have upgraded to custom crossovers and to titanium domes. The speakers play pretty doggone low. 33Hz test tones are fairly loud.

Thanks for your help.

Offline Brillo

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Re: Noob question - Paramount Upgrades
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2014, 06:34:36 AM »
I have virtually an identical system, and just completed install of Paramount nickel upgrade this past weekend.  I have about 10 hours of break-in thus far, so it's a bit early to describe changes in full, but immediate impression is that the micro dynamics are much improved, leading to better imaging and fine details across the full range of frequencies.  This isn't a knock-your-socks-off, holy crap-type upgrade, but very worthwhile nonetheless (in my opinion).

I love my KG5.5s and they've been in my system for 20 years, but I realize they're the weak link. The iron upgrade sets the stage for a speaker update at some point in the future and/or a switch to 2a3 configuration from 300b. Swapping out my modded Extended Foreplay III with a BeePre would have a much bigger impact I'm sure, but that's just not in the budget at the moment.

Chris
Chris

Offline Reap

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Re: Noob question - Paramount Upgrades
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014, 07:10:38 AM »
Brillo, have you made any upgrades to your 5.5's? I got my titanium domes and crossovers here: http://www.critesspeakers.com/crossovers.html

The imaging and detail in the upper end is much improved just from that. I am wondering now, does the Magnequest nickle upgrade improve it more?

Offline Brillo

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Re: Noob question - Paramount Upgrades
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 08:46:12 AM »
Yes, have Crites crossovers and tweeter upgrade.   Cabinet damping and better driver gasketing also implemented, with slight improvement to bass clarity, not much else.
Chris

Offline Brillo

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Re: Noob question - Paramount Upgrades
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014, 08:56:53 AM »
Also worth noting: the transformers are hand made in the USA by great people. That has some weight in my book.
Chris

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Noob question - Paramount Upgrades
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 09:15:59 AM »
I should point out that the stock transformers are made in the US by great people as well. And the basic magnetic design is pretty similar. The big difference is in the materials used. I agree with the impressions, the MQs give a slight sense of greater bandwidth and resolution. By comparison the stock transformers show a little bit more emphasis on the punchy midrange. IME the differences are pretty subtle, with the MQs getting the nod for more refined recordings.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline Reap

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Re: Noob question - Paramount Upgrades
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2014, 09:33:42 AM »
It may be best to leave well enough alone then. Hardly any high level hearing in my right ear and very reduced in my left. As as I prefer rock anyway I need the mid punch. Thanks guys.

Offline Brillo

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Re: Noob question - Paramount Upgrades
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2014, 01:30:52 PM »
I should point out that the stock transformers are made in the US by great people as well....

Good point Doc.  Was just trying to give a subtle nod to Mike LaFevre in case he's reading this string.  Definitely not a knock on the stock parts, which, of course, are selected with careful consideration to quality and upholding Bottlehead standards.

Chris
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 01:34:51 PM by Brillo »
Chris

Offline johnsonad

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Re: Noob question - Paramount Upgrades
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2014, 01:41:36 PM »
I use Mike's iron all over and love it when used correctly and for the right reason. If you are looking for night and day difference then look elsewhere. You will get a larger change in sound rolling tubes  and PF caps vs. swapping iron.  Now if you were running 300B's full range and wanted to improve the low bass you may want to consider a full 2004 OPT. If running 2A3  you get full bandwidth with the stock BH or MQ iron. I am a big fan of the stock BH iron but my tastes lean toward M3/4/6 vs. Nickel. 
Aaron Johnson

Offline Paul Joppa

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Re: Noob question - Paramount Upgrades
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2014, 03:41:04 PM »
These ARE fairly subtle differences. Just wanted to note that the stock units are built on M6, with a few more turns of wire to push the distortion character closer to nickel. M3 and M4 are intrinsically closer to nickel (in price as well - one of the places where you get what you pays for!). Mike's transformers are also hand-stacked, which is critical with nickel.
Paul Joppa