SonicFlare Review Vista i34

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 4913 times.

bacobits1

SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« on: 8 Jun 2009, 11:31 pm »
I should start a new topic, not inserting it in the Israel review comments.

Boris, the review is up.

http://www.sonicflare.com/archives/vista-audio-i34-integrated-amp-review.php

Bravo!!!!
A well written honest review. Nicly done!
Representative of what this amp does.

I also understand now why Boris does not recommend changing from the JJ E34L tubes.

Now go out and buy one! :thumb:
 

Den


Zero

Re: SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« Reply #1 on: 28 Jul 2009, 04:23 am »
I only just now caught this post!  Thanks for posting a link to my review Den!  I only wish I would have adopted my new reviewing format sooner, as I really feel the i34 deserves a slightly better read/presentation than what I gave it. I'm becoming more and more convinced that the Serbian's are guarding a few hi-fi secrets...  Vista Audio...Karan Acoustics...NAT Audio...   they all make fantastic stuff!

As an interesting aside: one of the sections that was cut from the review before it was published highlighted comparisons against a number of contemporary affordable integrated amps, from the Rogue Cronus, Jolida JD-302, and the Prima Luna Pro Logue 1, to more expensive integrated amplifiers such as the McIntosh MA7000, Karan Acoustic KA I-180, and Boulder 865. Throughout it all, I was impressed by how well the i34 played ahead of its competition, and moreover, how it wasn't outright humiliated by the high dollar stuff. What I find funny is how Boris humbly advertises his i34 to be built merely for those looking to step into tubes for the first time. I really think he needs to change his mantra, as there is nothing 'entry level' about the i34, aside from its price.

bacobits1

Re: SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« Reply #2 on: 28 Jul 2009, 01:34 pm »
Boris says it's in the Iron. Many people may not take either the i84 or the i34 seriously because of their prices. More exposure, reviews, do help.
But, it is that good.
 
I noticed you had a version that did not need biasing on tube changes, did I read that correctly?
Mine does and is not a problem once done. In fact I would rather bias to my liking. The robust JJ E34L's can take quite a bit over what normal EL34's can bias at. Lower bias of course they will last longer.

So where was the i34 at in the "contemporary affordable integrated amps" line up? Any glaring differences?
You should have squeezed that part in.

I have added Sonic Flare to my usual web based zines now.

Do a review on the new Phono Pre from Vista audio Boris just came out with.

D


Zero

Re: SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« Reply #3 on: 28 Jul 2009, 03:45 pm »
If I could find a way to sneak the new phono pre into my abode, I'd have done it long ago!  :lol: Unfortunately, I do not run an analogue set-up. I know, I know! Some audiophile I am! Unfortunately, this means that the only thing I can do is sit on the sidelines and watch others play.

As for auto-biasing... I could have sworn that the circuit is a standard feature on the i34. However, upon reading the manual on the Vista Audio website, it looks like I may be dead wrong. Odd. I'm almost positive Boris confirmed the auto-biasing thing with me, but.. *shrugs*, there it is in black and white. Yo Boris, whats the situation on that?

As for the i34's advantages over the casual array of integrated amplifiers I mentioned.... to my ears, it all boils down to the i34's balance of virtues.  Thus far, practically every truly affordable (sub $1500) tube amp I've stumbled across has a glaring compromise or two in its presentation. Even if the amplifier does a number of things well, you can always count on a 'but', the most common of which being grainy treble, a lack of bass control on the usual array of dynamic loudspeakers, some discontinuity between the frequency bands, a slightly overdone rich/warm/whatever adjective you want to use/ character that forces itself into the sound, and so on and so forth. What I love so much about the i34 is that, relative to its low price point and topology, it does nothing glaringly wrong. It's everything a good tube amp should be: linear/balanced, resolute, and has just the right amount of harmonic texture woven into the presentation to help breathe life into the music. While I'm positive that there is someone else out there that offers a similar type of product that showcases many of the same talents as the i34, I sure don't know about it, especially at/under the $1000 price point.

The funny thing is that when Boris first approached me with an offer to review his smaller i84 integrated (almost two years ago), I initially tried to pass it off onto someone else on the Affordable Audio staff. I was so frustrated with affordable tube amps at the time that I simply didn't want to 'go there'. Suffice to say, it didn't take me long to learn how to dine on crow. Every once in awhile... that's a good thing.   :lol: :green:

ecramer

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3114
  • In time whats deserved always get served.
Re: SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« Reply #4 on: 28 Jul 2009, 10:27 pm »
Hey,  I actually have both the phono pre and the el34 amp here They make a really outstanding combo Will post some more later in the week after i get a little more listing time on the combo. I had the amp set up in the living room which does not usually have a system set up in. a 13 x21 room driving my tanzinites. I was most impressed. Nice review i must agree with it from what i am hearing.

ED

Audiovista

Re: SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« Reply #5 on: 29 Jul 2009, 01:03 am »
Sean keeps beating me up for an upgraded version of the i34 (keep doing it man  :thumb:).... I'll just have to find time to sit down and see what would be best path to take.

I keep hearing that the low price is the biggest obstacle to increasing sales.... it classifies the amp into the "entry level" category and people do not take it seriously.... well, it was supposed to be an affordable entry into tube amplification, for experienced audiophiles who want to see what the tubes can do....

To answer the question about biasing - no, it is not automatic (I may have it in the future, but it comes with some loss of output power and higher distortion and I will have to deal with it). But every amplifier comes properly biased and adjustments need to be made only when replacing the tubes (which is not very often). Also, the amp is very tolerant to wide variations in bias currents - transformers handle it with no problems and (surprising even for me) there is no output hum that could normally be expected. So that solves a need for frequent rebiasing as tubes age...



Mariusz

Re: SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« Reply #6 on: 29 Jul 2009, 01:29 am »
I believe we listen to this amp last Saturday's Rave.
It is indeed very nice amp. Speakers we listen to were both SD designs and it was more then plenty for both of them.

Congrats on very nice review Boris.  :thumb:

Mariusz

Audiovista

Re: SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« Reply #7 on: 29 Jul 2009, 11:07 pm »
Thanks Mariusz!

Do you remember the speakers that were hooked up to the i34? I hear Brines FT-1600MKII work well with both i84 and i34...and my Tektons too.

Zero

Re: SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« Reply #8 on: 30 Jul 2009, 02:18 am »
Well...crap....  it looks like I got the auto-biasing bit wrong.  :oops:   And this folks, is why I don't get paid!  :green: :lol:

I blame you Boris. You know what you can do to make it all right though? Build that damned i34 Signature. Remember to check out the iron and wood options during your trip to Serbia!


lonewolfny42

Re: SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« Reply #9 on: 30 Jul 2009, 03:25 am »
Do you remember the speakers that were hooked up to the i34? I hear Brines FT-1600MKII work well with both i84 and i34...and my Tektons too.
Boris....It was at last Saturday's Rave at Hogg's(Jim's) in CT.
Speakers were the Opera Callas monitors and the Carolina Audio JTM92's.
The i34 worked well with both pairs... :beer:

Audiovista

Re: SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« Reply #10 on: 30 Jul 2009, 11:26 am »
I blame you Boris. You know what you can do to make it all right though? Build that damned i34 Signature. Remember to check out the iron and wood options during your trip to Serbia!

I am looking into a very interesting wood.... plum tree!!! Nobody ever pays attention to that (for several reasons - it's soft, it's hard to get it straight...), but when done right it just looks so organic and beautiful! And, plum is something like a national simbol in Serbia - plum brandy (or slivovitz) is a Serbian signature drink  :beer:

Mariusz

Re: SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« Reply #11 on: 30 Jul 2009, 03:42 pm »
Thanks Mariusz!

Do you remember the speakers that were hooked up to the i34? I hear Brines FT-1600MKII work well with both i84 and i34...and my Tektons too.

I've heard it with Carolina Audio JTM92's and my monitors (FE2006F modified drivers SD).
It might be worth mentioning that usually at the Raves, speakers are pushed really hard.
Neither my speakers or Carolinas were designed for extreme SPL. Use of the sub is strongly recommended as well. Your amp was very well balanced and I could definitely live with it and enjoy it for years of musical pleasure.
If you can have it finished in nice wood, that would be the icing on the cake.

Mariusz

gobet@shaw.ca

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 14
Re: SonicFlare Review Vista i34
« Reply #12 on: 6 Oct 2009, 03:37 pm »
Hi all, i am not familiar with the i34 however i am the owner of a early version of the i84 ( 10w/ch) which was a trade-in here in Canada at Audio Limits. I am using the amp to drive a pair of vintage Tannoy Oxfords ( 94 db), sourced by a Shanling T-80 cdp ( tweaked) and to my ears the sound is very satisfying, so much so that the i84 along with my vintage Eico HF81 have a permanent home. Anyone else using this early version of the i84?