Anyone able to compare Raven (Nighthawk, Osprey) amps to Don Sachs Valhalla?

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bbybaudio

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Looking to upgrade amplification which I thoroughly enjoy, but heard the Raven Nighthawk and Osprey integrateds are excellent. Also considering the Don Sachs Valhalla. Appreciate it if anyone has heard both and can comment.

geerock

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Don sent a Valhalla to Clayton a while back.  Clayton could probably throw some light on how it sounds with all his models.  I know tubes pair very well with Spatials.  Plus Don has made a couple improvements to his Valhalla design since then.  I use Don's all in pre with an LTA Reference 40 and its stunning.  The Raven amps are very nice, but the word on the Valhalla is they are a step above.

bbybaudio

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Thanks geerock. I know that Clayton has ordered a 2nd DS amp so clearly he is impressed with their sound.

geerock

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That sounds like that might be your answer right there, buddy.  You will not go wrong with a Don Sachs piece.  If he had these available when I was switching out all my equipment I'd have one.  Hell, he keeps teasing me every now and then about getting one, so I'll probably be giving in pretty soon.  And considering that the Raven and the Valhalla are the same price, its kind of a no brainer.  You can spend 2 or 3 times as much on a tube integrated still not have a Valhalla.  A giant killer for sure.

jjss49

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i would think that the sachs amp would be > than the raven on the passive spatials... if for no other reason than the more significant output tube complement.  depends on which spatial though... m series need more woofer control from the amp...

in my experience the lta ref 40 zotl is a standard... removing the output trannies definitely have a 'liberating' quality to the sound; otherwise my arc ref 75 is the best 'normal' transformer coupled tube amp imho... would be interesting to compare that to the kootenay one of these days

bbybaudio

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Hi JJSS, my current amp is the Primaluna Dialogue HP produced after the capacitor upgrade. Reviews of the amp and head to head comparisons match it closely with the ARC VSI 75 and the ARC Ref 75 SE, noting the 75SE does a few things better. I guess I am at the point of sonic happiness with my X5s and interested in seeing what the DS or Raven would add. I had Atmasphere M60 monos a while back so get the whole OTL sound.

Whitestix

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I have had Don Sachs amp and preamp since they were first offered and I covet them. I have since upgraded to his new preamp.  I haven't heard the pricey Raven gear, but have a hunch that Clayton has heard Don's Vallahala integrated amp, and it strikes me as veritable bargain for its level of performance.  Or so Don's customers tell him.  I guess to the OP's question, I have no comparative information about the Vahalla vs. the Raven, so my post might be of no value, other than to affirm the excellence of Don's gear. 

Don has been in the audio world for decades and it is informative to see how his gear, which is carefully constructed for each buyer, but not in large quantities, is compared to several other large audio manufacturers as a standard of excellence in tube audio amplification.  There is a reason for this, as geerock and others have noted.  Cheers.