Written on: 11/09/2011 by Lehnacker (1 review written)
After weighing the pros and cons of ordering a Chinese made tube amp via ebay for a few months, I decided to take the risk and order a Yaqin MC-10L Mk3. Without question it is the best audio purchase I have made. My $4K solid state amp has sat unused ever since.
I purchased through ebay from a Hong Kong group called Primeamp. It took 3 weeks to arrive from Hong Kong because I asked for a special 240V version. Be careful to order exactly the right voltage for your area. If you have a 240V supply, don't expect a 220V amp and tubes to last very long.
While the amp is beautifully made with quality parts there is effectively no manufacturer post purchase support. However, the net has a huge amount of info on this amp and what do to if things go wrong, just Google it and see.
While the amp sounds good out of the box with the Chinese tubes supplied, amazing things happen if you invest in quality replacements. After trialling many, many tube options my recommendation is to try the following: Power tubes - 'Winged =C=' EL34 - these provide real bass weight and definition; Phase inverter tubes (front position V2 & V3) - Russian 6n1p ('Nevz' or 'Orel' work best) are relatively cheap - get ones made in 1970's or 80's; Voltage amplifier tubes (front position V1 & V4) - Here's where the fun really starts as these tubes define the sound produced by the amp - Amperex 6922's or 7308's from the 1960's produce jaw dropping 3D soundstaging. Unfortunately a complete set of unused tubes will set you back around $250 on ebay. Trust me; it's worth every penny given the results. Pair an MC-10L Mk3 with a set of quality tubes and the musicality and 3D soundstaging produced is simply stunning.
The power output of the paired EL34's is a modest 40ish watts per channel. In real life with relatively efficient speakers this is plenty. In fact, from the listeners' perspective, the output seems very close to the 75 watts per channel I get from my solid state amp. With my 89db speakers I'm yet to turn the volume higher than the 9 o'clock position. Above 10 o'clock I would certainly have the cops paying me a visit.