User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers

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AVnerdguy

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #20 on: 21 Dec 2011, 11:11 pm »
I think the cymbals are the best I've heard. Hard to say if it's the new amp or the new 3.7s BUT they sound just like when I'm jammin with the guys in the basement. Sharp attack with great decay and sound so smooth - no brash/harsh sound. You can hear the strike and can tell where they hit it depending on how they hit it.

Brushes on a snare are outstanding as well. I can hear a pick on the strings and the reeds rattle on a sax on quiter recordings. Subtle, not emphasized but just there.

tonyptony

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #21 on: 22 Dec 2011, 12:09 am »
I think the cymbals are the best I've heard. Hard to say if it's the new amp or the new 3.7s BUT they sound just like when I'm jammin with the guys in the basement. Sharp attack with great decay and sound so smooth - no brash/harsh sound. You can hear the strike and can tell where they hit it depending on how they hit it.

Brushes on a snare are outstanding as well. I can hear a pick on the strings and the reeds rattle on a sax on quiter recordings. Subtle, not emphasized but just there.

Cymbals are interesting. Their fundamentals go up only to about 1 KHz, but the upper harmonics can go up to about 15 KHz or so. When I hear them in concert they don't seem to have as pure a decay quality as something like a triangle. Where the triangle remains very pure during its decay, the cymbal sound tends to get homogeneous. Maybe it's because the fundamental range is so wide to begin with.

Wayner

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Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #22 on: 22 Dec 2011, 12:18 am »
Cymbals are a strange instrument. They actually start to create canceling wave forms by themselves. When 2 or more are hit in a short period of time, they begin to have some in-phase/out-of-phase stuff going on. It's that acoustical "pressure ridge" ting going on. I hear it all the time in recording music, and most of the time with live music. The problem is the instrument itself, as it moves in an odd and diffusing manor when stuck with a drum stick.

Wayner

jtwrace


pelliott321

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Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #24 on: 22 Dec 2011, 03:06 pm »
Tonyptony/AVA:
First off let me say unequivocally, that I like very much what I heard with the 400R in my system.  The bass is big and fast and the mids are beautiful, warm and evolving.  What I am missing is the "Air". I clearly said this in my first post here.
I have used various amps.
The main purpose of getting the 400R is to replace a pair of dbSystems 150w mono-blocks I bought used in 1995.
These were known as dark, laid back amps.  The high freq, low level detail I was talking about is clearly audible with the dbsystems amps but not the 400R.   This is true with the very cheap class D audio cds 254.
I have also have a TAD-60 50watt KT88 Chinese amp and even had and ultravalve for awhile which did not have enough umph but clearly produced the high end I was use to with my maggy's 
I have another day of break-in (even though Frank poo-poos the idea, I just do this will all equipment I get in) and I will evaluate again, I will run graphs. 
I can work with the ribbons xover, very easy to pump it up, if I choose to keep the 400R, I have 30days to work it out
What I was hoping for for constructive help, not implying that I am crazy or stupid or wrong.  I hear what I hear.  In my 40 years with this hobby I have admired Franks work, even used some of his ST-70 stuff, But I am a realist, I do not blindly follow with my tongue dragging on the ground the great god AVA.   
   

jtwrace

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #25 on: 22 Dec 2011, 03:10 pm »
Tonyptony/AVA:
First off let me say unequivocally, that I like very much what I heard with the 400R in my system.  The bass is big and fast and the mids are beautiful, warm and evolving.  What I am missing is the "Air". I clearly said this in my first post here.
I have used various amps.
The main purpose of getting the 400R is to replace a pair of dbSystems 150w mono-blocks I bought used in 1995.
These were known as dark, laid back amps.  The high freq, low level detail I was talking about is clearly audible with the dbsystems amps but not the 400R.   This is true with the very cheap class D audio cds 254.
I have also have a TAD-60 50watt KT88 Chinese amp and even had and ultravalve for awhile which did not have enough umph but clearly produced the high end I was use to with my maggy's 
I have another day of break-in (even though Frank poo-poos the idea, I just do this will all equipment I get in) and I will evaluate again, I will run graphs. 
I can work with the ribbons xover, very easy to pump it up, if I choose to keep the 400R, I have 30days to work it out
What I was hoping for for constructive help, not implying that I am crazy or stupid or wrong.  I hear what I hear.  In my 40 years with this hobby I have admired Franks work, even used some of his ST-70 stuff, But I am a realist, I do not blindly follow with my tongue dragging on the ground the great god AVA.   
 

Good for you!  I very much look forward to your results.

Wayner

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Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #26 on: 22 Dec 2011, 04:39 pm »
Good for you!  I very much look forward to your results.

What does that mean? Any piece of equipment is only a link in the chain. I hate to over use this word, but it is synergy. In my studio I have 4 different amps (not all AVA, most SS), 2 preamps and the combinations of sounds I can get are amazing. No amp sounds alike, but neither does any preamp. It's all up-stream and down-stream stuff, that makes the complete system "bloom" and produce air. Sometimes, it could be the power conditioner, who knows. Experimenting is always in order with any new piece. I've even had to change speaker spacing and toe-in with different amps. Remember that Frank's new amps have tremendous speed and high slew rates.

Wayner

pelliott321

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Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #27 on: 22 Dec 2011, 05:47 pm »
I give up
Is any one reading what I am saying here, are you blind, deaf, or just dumb.
The only thing I am changing is the amp. I am just reporting what I am hearing, which is what this thread is for.

tonyptony

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #28 on: 22 Dec 2011, 06:52 pm »
Guys, before things start getting out of control let me try to address both pelliott's and Wayner's points. I do agree that introducing a new component - in this case an amp - into an otherwise set system can and very well may introduce a change to the overall musical experience. I said this before but I'm still finding it hard to understand given Frank's care in design - is it possible there's something about the way the "R" series output could possibly interact with Maggies to explain this? I know AVnerdguy has 3.7's, but the older Magnepans like the IIIa's I think may present a different sort of load characteristic compared to the newer ones. Be nice if Jim Winey could step in and comment on this.

Having said that, in my case I've been through three previous versions of the FetValve design. While I cannot make the same sort of statement regarding a loss or reduction in high end as made by pelliott, I'm convinced now there is something different about it. I've spent hours listening to pieces of music where pure, uncomplicated high frequency sounds would previously project themselves upward into the same sort of physical space that we now get in front to back form with the "R". With the "R", the frequencies are still pure and present (in my case), but they sometimes seem "held down" - like the upper space they used to project into is no longer there.

Am I being fooled? Maybe. It's possible the improvement in the size, depth, and clarity of the soundstage is putting things into a more balanced perspective. I don't know. I still love the way this thing sounds, but there was a certain bell-like quality to the EXR5 and the Ultra which has changed somewhat starting with the Double+ and through the "R".

BTW, my hearing is still as good as it was back then. Just had it checked in late spring.

Wayner

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Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #29 on: 22 Dec 2011, 07:01 pm »
Every time I have had my amps (or even preamps) upgraded, I've had to reposition my speakers. Don't ask me why or give you a detailed explanation, I cannot. I do believe as the upgrades present even faster components and better execution of these components, affects the sound stage.

That said, I do not believe it is possible to simply interchange an amp, without something downstream being affected, and it is almost always the speakers. Perhaps they need to be farther in, or farther apart, toed in more, or less. But I think you will find that doing this will bring back the so called "air" that you think you have lost. And sometimes, it's a very small amount of movement that changes the sound field and it's content.

That is my point.

Wayner

avahifi

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #30 on: 22 Dec 2011, 08:07 pm »
I find the comments herein regarding the very high frequency performance of the new Fet Valve 400R and 600R amps to be very interesting and not at all annoying.

I have no problems at all with you all reporting it as you hear it.

The main speakers I use here for component evaluations are Salk HT3s.  They are  large and robust three way design with ribbon tweeters.  I also use a set of B&W 801s of a completely different design basis just to make sure I am not designing amplifiers for a specific amplifier.

I should note that many of the guys working for me have expressed dislike for the Salks.  They commented that they were just too bright edgy.

Over the years, as we have significantly improved the high frequency linearity of our amplifiers, their dislike has significantly reduced.  Now the Salks are appreciated by all here.  We still get the high frequency detail, air, and transparency as before, but the last trace of grain and brightness has been removed.  Note that the frequency response of the amp has not been compromised, they still are ruler flat past 200KHZ (-3dB at about 350KHz) and square wave performance is perfect, no leading edge overshoot at all.

Of course no amplifier is perfect for every speakers.  We try and design so the speaker load will not interact with the amp at all and have the clean power available to drive anything.  The amps also have a  very high input impedance so they are easy loads for a preamp to drive.

Of course this may sometimes cause an unanticipated interaction with interconnect cable or speaker wires of non-standard electrical values.  Sometimes we suggest going  back to a low cost simple coax shielded cable to see if some exotic interconnect cable or speaker wire is modifying the results unknowingly. This is always worth trying if your results are not what you expected.

We would ask that if the high frequency performance is not what you expected, please search your entire system for a possible culpert. Most new owners simpy love the amps and report back exactly what we had hoped for. Any help you can give us to identify negative interactions will help us advise all clients how to get best results with these new and unique designs.

Thanks again for your comments.

Frank Van Alstine

trebejo

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #31 on: 22 Dec 2011, 08:20 pm »
Last night I plugged in the 600R that had just arrived. When I listened to it, my jaw kinda dropped. I will have to do a more detailed review but an immediate improvement in detail is obvious wrt dialogue and song lyrics. I was halfway through watching a movie that had a really difficult dialogue track when the new amp arrived and the rest of the movie was completely intelligible--now that was just plain serendipity. Then I put in one of my latest addictions, Shakira's Greatest Hits and I could finally understand more or less all her lyrics (as long as they're in Spanish ;) ), without even making much of an effort to concentrate; I also noticed a rumbling quality to the bass in that album that is just nice. The 10,000 Maniacs "thump" seems to have gone away somewhere (Mars, hopefully), and this morning when I put on American Beauty, dammit Frank, I could hear details of Jerry's duets with Grisman on "Ripple" that I always suspected were there but could never confirm as directly as now; in general, the percussion is much sharper including that thing where they do a quick repeated tapping on the whatever (maybe the cymbals).

It's not just detail, though. The imaging and soundstaging has gotten ridiculously good. It resembles a headphone effect, with the whatever jingling right next to my ear.

I haven't had a chance to hear some classical music yet, but I'll get out the Brandenburgs and read the score along just for a chuckle. And my ultimate percussion test, Santana's Moonflower...

My AVA journey began as a "permanent replacement" of my Stax headphone habits, with the Fet Valve Ultra 550, through a pair of 550s in monoblock, to a Double 550+, and now the 600R. I was always very happy with whichever one I had (and rather surprised that there was a match for the clarity of the Stax), and continually gobsmacked when the new kid in town improved on what was already there. This 600R is no exception.

Of course no new arrival goes without the popping of the hood. Things inside look quite tidy, and you could build a springboard for your pool with the pcb boards; so servicing these puppies should be simultaneously easy and unnecessary...

Frank, I don't know what digit beyond the decimal point of distortion you were working on in this latest iteration, but no matter how far along it is, the improvement is still lovely and audible. Congratulations on a fine achievement.  :thumb:

tonyptony

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #32 on: 22 Dec 2011, 08:32 pm »
We would ask that if the high frequency performance is not what you expected, please search your entire system for a possible culpert.

Frank, rest assured that in my case it's not "not what I expected", but more "hmm, this is different, I wonder why?". I will admit to not having taken Wayners advice to try and reposition my speakers ("But they've always sounded good where they were!" :)). There may be something to that.

BTW, I am vey familiar with the HT3s. Two of my audio friends have them. I agree the high end can be interesting if not driven properly, but when it is it's quite something.

Happy holidays to all.

dlparker

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Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #33 on: 22 Dec 2011, 09:05 pm »
I find the comments herein regarding the very high frequency performance of the new Fet Valve 400R and 600R amps to be very interesting and not at all annoying.

I have no problems at all with you all reporting it as you hear it.

The main speakers I use here for component evaluations are Salk HT3s.  They are  large and robust three way design with ribbon tweeters.  I also use a set of B&W 801s of a completely different design basis just to make sure I am not designing amplifiers for a specific amplifier.

I should note that many of the guys working for me have expressed dislike for the Salks.  They commented that they were just too bright edgy.

...

Thanks again for your comments.

Frank Van Alstine

This brings up an interesting point, and one I'm very interested in - "whose ears"?!?

If I remember correctly, Frank hit 74 recently, and I hit 65 in July.  In addition I have tinnitus which starts somewhere between 9&10 kHz.

Although it's not specifically pertinent to the 'strictly' AVA nature of this thread or forum in general, I'd like know what others have experienced in this regard in relation to the current subject of high end response and individual 'ear response' (is there such a thing?) curves.

Wayner

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Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #34 on: 22 Dec 2011, 09:09 pm »
I should make it clear that I listen in near field conditions and I hear everything. That also means that I notice everything, too. I'm only expressing my interests here, as I have been down this road a time or two, and while some amps do have little impact, others may be different. Just mark your original locations so you can move them back to where you had them. I will also admit that my obsessive disorder kicks in when it comes to speaker placement, as mine are probably within 1/32" of mirror condition to each other.

Again, I have no explanation for this, but I suspect component speed increase.

Have fun.

Wayner  8)

BTW, Frank is not the only one that listens to new prototypes, there is an entire crew, Dean, Dr. Dean, Larry, Mary, Nate and others.


dlparker

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Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #35 on: 22 Dec 2011, 09:27 pm »
Thanks Wayner.  I'm definitely having fun.  And generally extremely happy with my my most definitely suspect hearing and the huge improvement in my musical listening experience since I first entered the AVA world in July of '10, after more or less 40 years of interest in Frank's stuff.

I should make it clear that I listen in near field conditions and I hear everything. That also means that I notice everything, too. I'm only expressing my interests here, as I have been down this road a time or two, and while some amps do have little impact, others may be different. Just mark your original locations so you can move them back to where you had them. I will also admit that my obsessive disorder kicks in when it comes to speaker placement, as mine are probably within 1/32" of mirror condition to each other.

Again, I have no explanation for this, but I suspect component speed increase.

Have fun.

Wayner  8)

BTW, Frank is not the only one that listens to new prototypes, there is an entire crew, Dean, Dr. Dean, Larry, Mary, Nate and others.

jtwrace

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #36 on: 22 Dec 2011, 09:28 pm »
What does that mean? Any piece of equipment is only a link in the chain.
Wayner
Of course but the man gave an opionion on how it sounds in his system.  Whether he likes the sound or not is secondary to how he's been blasted.  Maybe it (the amp) will come around for him and maybe not.  He hears what he hears and that's all there is to it.  We all hear differently subjectively. 

The AVA amps might not be for everyone and if one doesn't agree with the AVA sound it should be acceptable for them to return the amp with the fantastic return policy that AVA has in place.  That's what it's for.   

Wayner

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Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #37 on: 22 Dec 2011, 09:38 pm »
Who blasted him? Me thinks your looking for some street action. Keep diggin'

W

jtwrace

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #38 on: 22 Dec 2011, 09:50 pm »
Me thinks your looking for some street action. Keep diggin'

W
What's that?

avahifi

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #39 on: 22 Dec 2011, 10:17 pm »
Peace here please!

Frank