Ooh, look what just appeared on my shelf...

Gromit

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Ever had an itch that just won't go away? I borrowed a friend'sPuresound A30 a few weeks ago and wasn't 100% convinced it was what I wanted - it came upon the back of my somewhatfalse start with the Icon MC34 - but itstill didn't quite 'do it' for me.

Anyway...perhaps theA30 deserveda second chance so decided to take Peter at N'worthy's offer up of a home loan of their spare A30. Only this time he suggested I also have alittle play with their Icon valve phono stage.

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First thoughts? I think finally I may be getting somewhere. Much, much drier than the MC34, probably drier and more incisive than the Exposures but with plenty of punch to go with it. Quite groovy too - obviously helped by the A30's well-controlled bottom end.

Mrs Gromit's working until late this evening so I've a few hours on my tod now with a few mugs of tea, a packet of chocolate hob-nobs and plenty of choons. Reckon it could be fun.

Will report back later folks.
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Anthony

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nice one

intrigued what you think of it tonally. to me the A30is remarkably natural and clear and doesn't impart the typical valve euphony into things, but depends what floats your boat.

have fun
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Papa Lazarou

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Anthony wrote:

nice oneintrigued what you think of it tonally. to me the A30is remarkably natural and clear and doesn't impart the typical valve euphony into things, but depends what floats your boat.

have fun
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I agree 100%.

There aren't many valve amps that have these qualities at the price. No rose-tinted bloom from the A30 and thats just how i like it. A terrific piece of kit!

 

Gromit

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Well the A30 and I (and assorted accompaniments) have had a most enjoyable couple of hours' music-making.

The amp definitely benefitted from a good 30 mins of use to warm up properly - the dryness I mentioned subsided somewhat to leave a pleasantly neutral tonal presentation. Perhaps the slightest softening of bass punch compared to the Exposure (no surprise to be fair) but the A30 has bags of 'cut' to electric guitar and side/snare drum.

Definitely quitea 'transistory-sounding' valve amp in terms of attack and speed. At no time did I feel the amp was trying to keep up with musical articulation, it gets on with the job and actually dominates (in a good way) the proceedings in a similar fashion to the Exposure. I'd go so far as to say that the A30 does in fact sound quite similar tonally to the Exp - it's reasonably lean, but this makes musical and instrumental strands much easier to follow. Little or no bloom at all which is extremely refreshing. Bass is firm and easy to follow; rhythmic push and pull across the beat is well reproduced. It sounds 'locked-on', for want of a better expression, rather than smearing the time/rhythm relationship. Playing some Bob Florence Big Band lp's it proved it could swing pretty damn well too. Plenty of energy:)

Another pleasant surprise has been the Icon valve phono stage - I'm just running the DL110 into it at the moment but tomorrow will hopefully fit the 103R to check out the prowess of its MC stage. From memory I'd say in my system the Icon works better than the 834P I tried a few months ago - that stage I found was a little too 'bloomy' for my taste. Very sweet but way too 'safe'. I prefer a little more grit'n'grist tbh.

All in all, I'm finding this a very positive experience. Which is nice.
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Lefty

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Nice!!

Interesting comments - perhaps it was unfair of me to dismiss valve amps altogether from only hearing one example (Prima Luna). Especially interested to hear that this beastie can do bass drive.

I'll be following this thread with interest
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Lefty

 
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Great amp. Had it on demo for a good period of time. I've been meaning to write a review but i get too upset:(. God i miss it. The only reason its not residing in my rack is my wife just plain hated the looks:X. Miserable cow:p

 

PAG

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Duvet wrote:

Great amp. Had it on demo for a good period of time. I've been meaning to write a review but i get too upset:(. God i miss it. The only reason its not residing in my rack is my wife just plain hated the looks
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. Miserable cow:p
Really? I think it looks nice, `specially at night.
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Agree, it has fab bass drive no question.... but personally couldn`t live with the lack of sweetness and colour. Thats what makes the world go round, be boring if we all liked the same kit
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Anthony

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Lefty wrote:

Nice!!Interesting comments - perhaps it was unfair of me to dismiss valve amps altogether from only hearing one example (Prima Luna). Especially interested to hear that this beastie can do bass drive.

I'll be following this thread with interest
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Lefty
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you just stick to finding your AVI integrated and be done with it. bloody kit swappers
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:lmao:

 

Lefty

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Haha - :green:

Thanks mate - I needed that! (where's a wet fish around the face icon when you need one!)

Lefty

 

Gromit

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PAG wrote:

Agree, it has fab bass drive no question.... but personally couldn`t live with the lack of sweetness and colour. Thats what makes the world go round, be boring if we all liked the same kit
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Amen to that - I know what you mean re colour; I'm definitely in the 'hit them between the eyes and make them sit up' kind of music lover. LOL
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Lefty - if you get the chance to hear an A30 do so, it's a rather nice piece of kit. It is totally, and utterly different to the Icon MC34 I had. That was gorgeous in a late-night, smoochy, sumptuous fashion - I've still yet to hear vocals and small-scale stringssound as good in my listening room.

Couple of tracks whichhave stood out for me today in a 'blimey that's pretty bloody good' fashion (vinyl btw):

Al Jarreau: 'Since I fell For You' (James/Sanborn: Double Vision album). This swings in a gentle 6/8 compound time, starting off quite tame whilst Al weaves a bit of vocal magic. It builds and builds towards the point where it begins to reallygroove and the song takes on a different character- Jarreau bursts forth with some scat near the end which is justa delight. Sure, the quality of recording is superb but it's the way the song builds and builds - there's a heightening tension which I've not heard many systems really reproduce. The Icon made me want to go and put the kettle on whereas the A30 kept me focused. That's good.

Dire Straits (1st album): Six Blade Knife. Repetitive bass line, lots of metronomic rhythm with the off-beat snare-drum played with brushes. Can tend to sound 'slow' but there's lots going on here - just a shame MK starts to sing
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A30 keeps things moving, there's that 'keeping the listener's attention' thing again. I like that. More evidence that you stillcan't beat a really good old analogue recording.

I've a couple of hours to go before Mrs Gromit gets home....must dash.
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(a couple of gratuitous night-time valve amp shots to follow of course)
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Hawk

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Nice one Gromit. I had a Icon PS1 for a while (also bought from Peter) and thought it was a great phono stage.

Is the A30 going to be a keeper?

 

Anthony

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PAG wrote:

Agree, it has fab bass drive no question.... but personally couldn`t live with the lack of sweetness and colour. Thats what makes the world go round, be boring if we all liked the same kit
smile.png
must say thati find differentlywith regards 'colour' (or interpret it differently).I'm finding that my A30doesn't seem to impart too much of it's own character on the tone and texture of the sounds coming through it, or so it seems. itappearsvery honest to the source.

some other valve amps I'veheard add what is probably a fair amount of distortion and that can be a very enticing and seductive sound , but is distortion colour added to the originalinstrument/vocal colour. the A30 I'm sure also does this, but maybe to a lesser extent that your 'average' valve amp. what you describe as sweetness is maybe also a consequence of valve induced distortion. don't really know though
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not saying my interpretation is correct, just what I've found to date. and as you say, it's totally dependent on personal preferences. there is no right and wrong sound:)

 

Gromit

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Hawk wrote:

Nice one Gromit. I had a Icon PS1 for a while (also bought from Peter) and thought it was a great phono stage.

Is the A30 going to be a keeper?
I'm still not there 100% yet Hawk - so very many of the A30's characteristics have made me sit up and re-evaluate what I hope to gain from my system it has almost got to be worth a long-term punt. Peter's enthusiasm for me to also borrow the PS1 was not misplaced. My trust in him and Tony has grown considerably over the 6 months or so I've been frequenting N'worthy. This will do much to cement that.

Selling the Exposure amps on will be a massive wrench for me -there's beenFarlowe-era gearin our home since 1990 (I think!) soapart fromwhat it hasgiven me in terms of musical enjoyment (and we've had some cracking times) there's a large degree of sentimentality attached.Still, the A30 has gone a long way in the few hours I've been listening to it to make me reach for different horizons. The fact that I'm even thinking that way is testament to how f'king good the A30 is. It's a belter.

 

Injector

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Duvet wrote:

Great amp. Had it on demo for a good period of time. I've been meaning to write a review but i get too upset:(. God i miss it. The only reason its not residing in my rack is my wife just plain hated the looks:X. Miserable cow:p
It does look like a piece of old shit though, as do most valve amps IMO.
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