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Discovering pure Class A - It's true, not all Watts are created equal

karlsushi

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Possibly I am missing something here, but your Aleph 3 has serious amounts of power for an SE design - have you considered having it overhauled/recapped (possibly tweaked a bit with some fancy components? spot of foo internal wiring?) - this is the path I would take, followed by auditioning some more sensitive speakers
I am probably confusing matters due to having two systems, so apologies for that.

The Aleph 3 is actually in my second system currently driving some little stand-mounts in a smaller room. The premise of the new amp decision is that I tried it out in the main system (bigger room with floor standers) and was surprised at what the Aleph 3 was capable of compared with the amp I currently use in there (a Nord NC500DM mkII). I now have an itch to replace the Nord as I just loved the sound of the Aleph 3 when temporarily in that main system.

The fundamental decision is about getting that Aleph 3 sound in a room that is bigger and with less sensitive speakers.

Upgrading speakers first seems a bit counter-intuitive as they'll be on the end of the Nord initially as I can't afford both amp and speakers just yet. Plus, I love my A7's. They really are excellent speakers and if I can get an amp to suit them in the style of the Aleph 3, then that is a win win in the short-term, thus my interest in a slightly more powerful Pass Labs Class A.

Hope that explains the position, even if not logic!
 

karlsushi

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karlsushi

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ha ... seems an awful lot of wammers live in the melton mowbray area !! :) must be the fresh air
Being new to the Wam, this has been quite the revelation. I thought I was the only one!

Still never attended a bake-off, so a Melton Mowbray one seems like it should be on the cards...maybe when I get the new amp I should invite people over with their various amps for a battle of the Class A's (although I suppose it could attract some police attention if it's advertised with that description!).
 
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hearhere

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Why is the wattage relevant here, why worth mentioning? Call it inverse snobbery but I find the Class D wattage “bragging rights” manufacturers use both crude and meaningless and you appear to be following the playbook. I’m sure the XD’s sound as amazing as they look, but I’ve found absolutely no correlation between watts and sound quality, particularly across amplifier classes.
I'm glad you agree that the use of a 1000 watt amp seems crazy! My previos AG speakers (Unos and Duos with twin 10" bass drivers rather than twin 12") were more than happy with a relatibely modest 150 watt Class AB amp. Why they feel the neeed to install so much more I cannot understand. I'm sure the drivers themselves are as near as dammit the same sensitivity as the earlier 10" ones. Since the mid and top horn loaded drivers require literally a handful of watts, this excess seems totally unnecessary. It seems that almost all Class D amps that are now installed in subwoohers are similarly / seemingly over-powered.
 

TheFlash

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I'm glad you agree that the use of a 1000 watt amp seems crazy! My previos AG speakers (Unos and Duos with twin 10" bass drivers rather than twin 12") were more than happy with a relatibely modest 150 watt Class AB amp. Why they feel the neeed to install so much more I cannot understand. I'm sure the drivers themselves are as near as dammit the same sensitivity as the earlier 10" ones. Since the mid and top horn loaded drivers require literally a handful of watts, this excess seems totally unnecessary. It seems that almost all Class D amps that are now installed in subwoohers are similarly / seemingly over-powered.
I think we may be speaking at cross-porpoises… I don’t think 1000w is crazy if they’re Class D watts, I think it’s close to meaningless. I certainly wouldn’t consider 150 class AB watts to be modest “by comparison” because you’re comparing apples and Wednesdays… current makes more difference than watts (sweeping generalisation flag hoisted) and I’m confident that watt for watt Class D designs are typically lower current then Class AB whuch are typically lower current than Class A.
Now if your speaker amps were 1000 watts of Class A, that would be crazy!!

Peace and love
 
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karlsushi

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Think I may have found the one to go for. Contacted Joe Henry with my single-ended vs power quandary and he alerted me to the Pass Labs Aleph 5.

Single-ended, pure Class A, designed by Mr Pass and double the power of the Aleph 3 at 60W RMS into 8 Ohms: https://www.passlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/a5man.pdf

Joe says he can build one up for me, so I think that's going to be the way to go. Should keep my A7's happy for the time-being until I start researching some more sensitive speakers when I've saved up a bit more in the future

Thanks for bearing with me everyone. All the advice has been much appreciated :)
 

MotherSky

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Think I may have found the one to go for. Contacted Joe Henry with my single-ended vs power quandary and he alerted me to the Pass Labs Aleph 5.

Single-ended, pure Class A, designed by Mr Pass and double the power of the Aleph 3 at 60W RMS into 8 Ohms: https://www.passlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/a5man.pdf

Joe says he can build one up for me, so I think that's going to be the way to go. Should keep my A7's happy for the time-being until I start researching some more sensitive speakers when I've saved up a bit more in the future

Thanks for bearing with me everyone. All the advice has been much appreciated :)
That sounds like a fantastic option given your requirements - I think you should reward us all with some class A pron when it arrives.... I hope you have a well ventilated spot to put it :)
 
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hearhere

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Think I may have found the one to go for. Contacted Joe Henry with my single-ended vs power quandary and he alerted me to the Pass Labs Aleph 5.

I hope the price is keen because DIY versions have low used value compard with originals, but originals will now be very old as I believe they were built last century.

But as long as it sounds good, that's really all that matters and you have no intention to upgrade with expectation of a good resale price. Incidentally, had you ever considered a Sugden A21? They're also Class A and have been in continuous production for ages but are modified from time to time, but only 25-30 watts. Plenty around on the used market but how one knows the year of manufacture I have no idea. No clones or DIY ones so all (I presume) originals from the Sugden factory. I'm not familiar with that model but it's always been highly regarded and of course it's British built.
 

MotherSky

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Some people have the romantic notion that Class A is superior until they realise the majority of solid state "Class A" amps are in fact heavily biased Class AB.

If you can't fry an egg on it, it's not Class A.
I've actually thrown away my frying pan since acquiring mine..... bit of a strange assertion, though - Sugden, Pass, Krell all immediately spring to mind, - possibly some enthusiastic marketing of certain Japanese amps might be what you're referring to? loads of class A valve designs knocking about as well
 
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TheFlash

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I think @Warszawa makes a valid point, and we're not just talking the Technics "Class AA" (or whatever they were badged) amps of the '80's. I've had Sugden A21 and IA-4 and both were pure Class A solid state; I've also enjoyed Mactone MH-300B which was a fabulous tube amp in typical Class A.

I've also demoed the Sugden ANV-50 which is not pure Class A in any accepted sense, it just has something running in Class A "at its heart" which allows Class A to be mentioned in the spiel...

My Audia Flight FLS10 claims to be Class A, weighs a ton/tonne, gets hot as hell and sounds Class A gorgeous, but someone did once point out that if this was genuinely 200w a side of pure Class A then it would literally take up half the room... I obviously sold it immediately on principle. Or didn't.

The point is though that "Class A" is indeed not always Class A. Read the small print, use your ears, decide.
 

TheFlash

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Think I may have found the one to go for. Contacted Joe Henry with my single-ended vs power quandary and he alerted me to the Pass Labs Aleph 5.

Single-ended, pure Class A, designed by Mr Pass and double the power of the Aleph 3 at 60W RMS into 8 Ohms: https://www.passlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/a5man.pdf

Joe says he can build one up for me, so I think that's going to be the way to go. Should keep my A7's happy for the time-being until I start researching some more sensitive speakers when I've saved up a bit more in the future

Thanks for bearing with me everyone. All the advice has been much appreciated :)
And this is where I landed when I was close to buying a Joe Henry creation: I’d read reviews and the sorts of music, the adjectives people used to describe the sound vs the cheaper F5’s led me to conclude that A5 was the way to go. For unrelated reasons I never did scratch that itch.
Perhaps, given that Melton Mowbray is the centre of my universe too, I might blag a coffee and an earful one day… 🙏🤞
 

karlsushi

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Perhaps, given that Melton Mowbray is the centre of my universe too, I might blag a coffee and an earful one day…
You would be more than welcome @TheFlash

Deposit has been paid and Joe is starting the build as we speak. Even though it may be finished sooner, I need to wait until the end of March to be able to stump up the remaining cash, so it is looking like April when it will be getting run in (assuming WW3 hasn't broken out by then of course - and even if it has, looking at the casework, I expect the A5 to still be sitting fully intact!).
 

TheFlash

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You would be more than welcome @TheFlash

Deposit has been paid and Joe is starting the build as we speak. Even though it may be finished sooner, I need to wait until the end of March to be able to stump up the remaining cash, so it is looking like April when it will be getting run in (assuming WW3 hasn't broken out by then of course - and even if it has, looking at the casework, I expect the A5 to still be sitting fully intact!).
Nice one. I am almost as excited as you are!
 

hearhere

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I've actually thrown away my frying pan since acquiring mine..... bit of a strange assertion, though - Sugden, Pass, Krell all immediately spring to mind, - possibly some enthusiastic marketing of certain Japanese amps might be what you're referring to? loads of class A valve designs knocking about as well
Of the admittedly few Class A amps I've tried, all got inexcusably hot apart from the Japanrese one. The Accuphase A36 was the best sounding and the least hot. Even this wonderful amp lacked a little of the "bite" that I like from an amp, so it was reluctantly sold.
 

hifinutt

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If anyone wants some nice Joe Henry f5 clones ( 25 watt class a monoblocks) a pair has just turned up on pink fish media at 700 quid . Worth every penny imho
 

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