M3 with TubeCube

Posted by: Escaron

M3 with TubeCube - 11/20/16 03:35 PM

I have a pair or M3s sitting around right now not hooked up to anything. I was hoping to put together a budget system to use with a turntable (still looking for a turntable at the moment), but I've heard good things about the TubeCube 7


Would that amp be sufficient to drive the M3s in a small room? IT's only rated for 3.5W and I'm somewhat worried as the website says the M3s need minimum 10w?

The other alternative would be to get the monoprice hybrid tube amp, but my understanding is that it's not a true tube amp because of it's digital pre-amp stage?


I don't know much about tube amps at all, this is my first step into that world. Like I mentioned, just looking to build a budget system for listening vinyl. The turntable that I get will have a phono preamp in it so I don't need my tube amp to be able to receive a phono signal (which I know the TubeCube does not, not sure on the monorpice one).

Looking for some advice from people that have experimented with such a set up before.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 11/20/16 07:01 PM

Tube amps should be outlawed!
Posted by: MatManhasgone

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 11/21/16 07:36 AM

From what I remember from Tube Amps. They should have no problem with driving the M3 speakers. The amp says 3.5w but that is before being over driven. That is what gives the tube it's unique sound. The actual amount of wattage required by the M3 is not really that much.
Posted by: cb919

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 11/22/16 12:18 PM

I am interested in the same setup. I'd like a small & affordable tube setup for my office. Why tube? Just for the cool factor and glowing lights as a piece of office furniture. I also have no experience with tubes, but this is for background music at work, so not worried about critical listening or loud volume levels. I have no advice, I'm interested in what you discover!

This amp is out of my price range but makes a great visual statement.

Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 11/23/16 07:22 PM

I made a gift of a pair of M3Tis and the Monoprice tube hybrid. Sounds great. One of my favorite systems was a pair of M3s and a 5 watt per channel SET tube amp. I used that with a little Velodyne 10" sub. Sound quality was exceptional.

At normal listening levels you rarely use more than 1 watt. You won't get high volume out of the M3s with 3.5 wpc.

A good tube amp, in my opinion, provides a much more realistic, emotional musical experience. Most detractors of tube amps have never listened to one.

The Monoprice is a class A/B amp with a tube preamp section. It is a very nice amp and a terrific value. When they run a 20% discount you can get one for a bit over $100. GRAB ONE and enjoy.

What turntable/cartridge/preamp are you considering?
Posted by: Escaron

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 11/25/16 11:02 AM

Thanks for the replies, since I first made this thread I've had a chance to do a bit more research on mini tube amps and came across the musical paradise MP-301 (link below). It seems like a very well reviewed integrated tube amp (with tubes for pre and power sections). You also get the option of using it as a headphone tube amp and it supports two inputs. It's significantly pricier than the TubeCube, but at the same time it's a big step up in quality and power, you get 6.5W per channel as opposed to 3.5W, not a huge jump but will give more headroom for the speakers.


I'm personally now leaning towards picking up the musical paradise, especially as I'm in Canada so it's harder for us with the terrible USD > CAD FX to get a good deal from any US based re sellers, even the tube cube after FX and customs is not that big of a bargain compared to the MP301.

2x6spds, I had been considering the monoprice hybrid amp, but I'm leaning towards a true tube amp with pre amp and power tube sections. My main set up uses solid state amps, so I figure for my office I might as well do a complete 180 and try a full tube set up with a turntable.

For turntables I've been eyeing the audiotechnica lp120 or a fluance rt81 (small Canadian manufacturer). The AT is very well reviewed, but a bit more than I'd like to spend, the Fluance is right in the sweet spot for price, but has some quality control issues from what I've read. Haven't had a chance to read too much into turntables or cartridges yet as I've been looking mostly at amps so far.

Any recommendations are welcome

PS. Just out of curiosity, how do you integrate a separate powered sub into a system with the M3s and a tube amp? Do you need to buy a separate crossover or how does that all work? Sorry noob question
Posted by: cb919

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 11/25/16 12:11 PM

For hookup, you'd connect the speaker outs from the tube amp to the speaker level in on the sub (not the RCA style connector that is usually used with an HT amp) and then speaker outs from the sub to the M3's. Then set the high pass filter on the sub appropriately to blend with the speakers.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 11/25/16 12:16 PM

Hello Escaron

This is from Pierre Sprey's Mapleshade website:

Get Vastly Cleaner Bass and Seamless Integration for Your Sub

• Contrary to manufacturer hype, subwoofer placement for exact time alignment is crucial. To get clean bass attacks, subwoofers must be precisely within +/- 1" of the same distance from your ear as the midrange driver. Do not use the subwoofer’s phase control; set it to 0. The subwoofer does not have to be centered between the speakers for best sound. On the other hand, corner placement is the worst; it always leads to boom. For perfectionists, do a final fine-tuning of the sub’s time alignment: use one minute of a well-recorded plucked bass solo as a test track and move the sub +/- 2” in ½” increments to see where the bass attack sounds the crispest.

• For achieving seamless integration of the subwoofer sound in both two channel and surround systems, always use the speaker cable input on the sub, never the RCA line level input. That means adding a pair of speaker cables, one end connected to the same amp (or receiver) output posts that are driving the left and right mains and the other end connected to the left and right speaker-level inputs on the sub. The quality of the cables to the sub affects the sound of the main speaker cables, so don’t use bad-sounding zipcord or high end “garden hoses.” Make sure you leave the two main speakers connected directly to the main amp outputs, not to the subwoofer’s output binding posts. If you’re using a processor, set it to “Large Speaker” for the mains (or for all speakers) and turn off the LFE channel.

• Always fire the subwoofer driver left or right, not directly at you or down into the floor. If the subwoofer is off center, then test left-facing versus right-facing to see which sounds better. If your subwoofer is designed to fire down, set it on its side with the driver facing left or right. Be sure to rigidly mount it to the floor or platform as per the second bullet below. You’ll love the increase in bass articulation and clarity.

• By ear, set the crossover at the lowest possible frequency that doesn’t leave a bass “hole in the middle”. To do this, use as a test track one minute of a well-recorded bass solo that covers almost the entire range of the bass. Start with the crossover much too low so that there’s an obvious bass weakness somewhere in the middle or lower octaves of the solo. Nudge the crossover up 5 herz at a time until the bass weakness just barely disappears. Setting the crossover slightly too low sounds far better than setting it too high.

• Any subwoofer mounted on factory rubber or plastic feet, or placed on carpet without spikes, will have. If there is no provision for spikes and you have an uncarpeted floor, to get better punch and definition, glue three wood buttons (the kind used to cover screw holes in cabinets) to the bottom of your sub. With a spikeless sub on a carpeted floor, it is essential to add DIY spikes that penetrate the carpet and lock the sub to the floor or, to reach your sub’s full potential, install our massive threaded carpet piercing footers.


I use his Mapleshade Clearview Double Golden Helix Plus speaker wire in one of my 2.1 channel systems. Weird, thin, stiff, but, I believe they make a difference and much for the better.

AudioTechnica makes cartridges and turntables. It's there core business not an add on product.
Posted by: cb919

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 11/25/16 12:27 PM

Hi 2x6spds,
Thanks for posting those details. This particular part seems unconventional to me:

"...Make sure you leave the two main speakers connected directly to the main amp outputs, not to the subwoofer’s output binding posts. If you’re using a processor, set it to “Large Speaker” for the mains (or for all speakers) and turn off the LFE channel."

By doing this you are sending full range signal to the speakers as well as the sub. Isn't one of the benefits of using a sub to relieve smaller speakers from trying to reproduce all the frequencies (i.e. low frequencies) thereby letting the speaker perform more 'efficiently' for the frequencies it does/can produce?

I've never tried that type of setup before.

Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 11/25/16 12:34 PM

Here's the link:


His advice does not conform to conventional wisdom!
Posted by: JohnK

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 11/26/16 12:40 AM

Dan, you're correct that one possible benefit of using a sub is to relieve the mains from trying to reproduce low frequencies which they can't do cleanly. However, this can't be accomplished in the way discussed here. A sub doesn't have a "high pass filter"; the control on the back(sometimes incorrectly referred to as a "crossover"), is only a low pass filter which rolls off the sub response above the selected frequency, but which can have no effect on the response of the mains. This is the case regardless of whether the mains are connected directly to the amplifier terminals or are connected to the speaker level outputs on the sub(which are simply straight-through connections to the amplifier).

Relieving the mains of the bass burden requires a multi-channel HT receiver or separate processor having bass management circuitry, with the mains set "small" at an appropriate frequency, typically 80Hz. The sub would then be connected to the sub out with coaxial cable.
Posted by: cb919

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 11/28/16 07:41 AM

Thanks for the clarification John. I use the traditional setup with bass management in my HT receiver. However I (mistakenly) thought the low pass filter for the sub also acted as a high pass filter to the speakers. Good to know for future reference.
Posted by: bridgman

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 11/28/16 10:47 AM

Just to add to the confusion, some subs *do* include a crude high-pass filter in the pass-through speaker connections, but it typically does not track with adjustment of the main crossover and does not have the same cutoff slope either.

So not recommended except for very basic systems.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: M3 with TubeCube - 12/01/16 01:04 AM

That's right, John, but I didn't want to add to the confusion. A very few subs have a separate high pass filter on their speaker level outputs, fixed roughly(very roughly)around 100Hz. However, this has nothing to do with the low pass filter control on the back. Again, the frequent usage of the incorrect term "crossover" for the low pass filter leads to a fairly common misunderstanding that it's also a high pass filter to mains connected to the speaker level outputs, creating a crossover.