The all new CA1 and NP1

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s.a.l.

Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #100 on: 7 Jun 2024, 07:15 pm »
Me too. Just got my shipment notification for a CA-1.

Tom Alverson

Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #101 on: 11 Jun 2024, 08:22 pm »
According to his latest video released today, Steve Guttenberg will be reviewing the CA1 very soon!  Can't wait.

He reviews a speaker on this video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTaQOGTG0SY
and at about the 6 minute mark explains he is listening to the speaker connected to the new AVA integrated amp which he will review shortly.



floresjc

Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #102 on: 14 Jun 2024, 09:49 pm »
I received my NP1 Thursday but I just set it up today. I’m using it with my PC with an ADI-2 Pro dac and a pair of the original Songtowers. The NP1 is an upgrade from an Insight Double 240.

I got to listen about 90 minutes fresh out of the box. My first impressions are that this amp is very good. I think Frank really has something special here. I was a little worried about going from 120wpc to about half that but this thing can bring the thunder when the recording calls for it. Clarity abounds across the frequency spectrum. I think initially it’s the defining characteristic of this amp, you can just hear everything.

I’ve played drums more or less my whole life and listening to rock today I tended to focus in on drums and bass. Voices are rendered very smoothly and I love the presence of the high end hi hat and cymbal details. At least only 90 minutes in I think the bass guitar has gotten the biggest upgrade from what I’m used to hearing. It’s not necessarily a more thing, so much as a clarity and restoration of the texture of the instrument.


I had my setup cranked a good bit and the unit didn’t seem to break a sweat. It’ll keep the bass lines rolling with everything layered over the top and still maintain a foot tapping energy and clarity.

While I still have a ways to go with this amp I’d certainly call it end game quality. I’d be very happy to have this piece in my home for the next 20 years. I might even buy a couple more to upgrade my SET 120s. But I also enjoy the slightly different presentation of those systems.

unitygain

Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #103 on: 15 Jun 2024, 11:53 pm »
I had my setup cranked a good bit and the unit didn’t seem to break a sweat. It’ll keep the bass lines rolling with everything layered over the top and still maintain a foot tapping energy and clarity.

While I still have a ways to go with this amp I’d certainly call it end game quality. I’d be very happy to have this piece in my home for the next 20 years. I might even buy a couple more to upgrade my SET 120s. But I also enjoy the slightly different presentation of those systems.

Curious to hear how the presentations differ in your estimation, having never heard the SET120 but having found the SET400 a little hard. The NP1 is a massive step up in refinement when it comes to perceived fidelity to source with my speakers. I really enjoy the NP1; things do seem shifted upwards, expressing midbass texture at the rather slight expense of perceived authority. They can do sub-bass with finesse (hell, everything they do screams natural linearity) but but don’t make a show of it in my system (lacking the kick to the sternum of even something like Frank’s lovely but discontinued Ultravalve, yet blessed with a similar and much less shaded transparency), but this might be a distinction of the relative speed of accurate bass decay (Top to bottom, the NP1 feels supremely agile).

The general sense is one of otherwise rare and complete resolution. Imaging is also noticeably pinpoint, and while kickdrums are a touch reticent (a hint lean and yet welcomingly lean-in inducing due to the scalpel-like precision overall), their impact is otherwise MOST articulate in a setup driving WvL Sons, a speaker about 15x the price of this amp for whatever that’s worth, rather cleanly in a midsized room. I love this amp.
« Last Edit: 16 Jun 2024, 10:31 pm by unitygain »

floresjc

Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #104 on: 16 Jun 2024, 01:45 am »
My SET120 is hooked up to a set of Salk SS6M so it’s not quite an apples to apples comparison but I also have another set control amp hooked up to the song towers in my workout room.

I generally viewed the 120 as a bit warm in the midrange and having a pretty strong bass response. I’ve never had or heard an Ultravalve so I can’t comment how close it might have been, but those characteristics seem to be true relative to the Np1. The NP1 is clearly the clarity king, and I feel like the high end is more prominently rendered in my opinion. I’m a huge fan of Carter Beauford in Dave Matthew’s Band and his linear playing style and intricate cymbal work is much easier to follow on the NP1.

I also share your opinion that sometimes the kick seems a bit lean. I only had ninety minutes with it but on recordings I know have more of a pillowy bottom end it renders that well but other songs if I just find an 8 bar phrase where we’re just keeping time and not trying to feature the kick it’s bit light compared to the 120.

For now I’m chalking it up to the recording/mastering. The NP1 is certainly capable of reproducing bass that shakes my windows, but it’s not artificially boosting the bass where the mastering didn’t call for it. I’m probably going to do some swapsies with my amp and the speakers to see if I find the pairings more or less to my liking.

Edit: the Adi 2 is a no compromise clean details dac/pre. There’s not a touch of warmth in the thing. I also think it would be interesting to hook an NP1 up to my older Fet Valve DAC or maybe a T10 and seeing how that colors the presentation just a bit. I have a feeling that the ultimate sound for me might be the tube pre and the NP1. What I have hitting my ears now is so clean it’s basically raw bits  :P





Opus Flatus

Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #105 on: 17 Jun 2024, 12:30 am »
floresjc, I agree with your observations. I have been listening to my NP1 for a few days now and am amazed at the articulation and clarity this amp presents. I hear every bit of the recording with nuances difficult to discern with other amps I have owned. I also have a SET 120 Control Amp and it is very revealing but doesn't have the pinpoint articulation the NP1 has. Background vocals and every instrument can be heard in the mix, it's quite amazing. I have been immensely enjoying a simple setup of Chord Mojo2 with Poly Streamer (Roon endpoint), Schiit Saga + Preamp,  Philharmonic BMR, and GR Research NX Studio Monitors.

jandrews

Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #106 on: 17 Jun 2024, 03:05 am »
Is anyone using the NP1 with the AVA digital preamplifier ?

avahifi

Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #107 on: 18 Jun 2024, 02:35 pm »
I am using NP1 and our Digital Preamp. Combo works great.

Frank—)

RickAndrew

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 5
Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #108 on: 21 Jun 2024, 03:02 pm »
 This little amp (CA1) is incredible! I am listening quietly to some music right now as I work- music I am very familiar with, and I am hearing things I hadn't heard before. A light cymbal brush here and there, one of those wooden block percussion things being tapped lightly, and soft birds chirping. I had never heard any of this when I played this selection in the past. Fantastic imaging too. Well done AVA! You WILL NOT be getting this thing back under your 30 day return policy, or any policy for that matter.    :thumb: :D

edpetk

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 9
Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #109 on: 22 Jun 2024, 01:25 am »
and I am hearing things I hadn't heard before. A light cymbal brush here and there, one of those wooden block percussion things being tapped lightly, and soft birds chirping.
You should try closing the window.  :lol: I'm just jealous because the Van Alstine SET 120 control amp was runner-up to my Big Amp Purchase and now I have other priorities now (read: speakers)--and anyway I'm happy with my Unico Primo. Glad to hear you're really enjoying your new purchase!

jandrews

Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #110 on: 22 Jun 2024, 07:18 pm »
In 2022 I purchased an RB10 pre and and a SET 120 amp from Frank. 
I think I'm going to sell them (and my Dac) and get the NP1 and the AVA Digital Preamp. At this point I'm essentially only streaming (from an Innuos Pulse_Mini into a Border Patrol Dac).
Looks like the AVA site took down the notification about a hold on new orders for the units.

nigelnaim

Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #111 on: Yesterday at 04:38 pm »

sean619

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 102
Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #112 on: Yesterday at 04:57 pm »
Steve was more enthusiastic about the SET 120...including the headphone amp. Maybe it's safe to say the SET 120 is warmer and the CA1 is more transparent. 

mannishjoy

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 6
Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #113 on: Yesterday at 05:31 pm »
Odd to my ears that he didn't care for ZU DW6 matching. My friend has the CA-1 with Zu DW6 Supremes, and to my ears it's a great match. It's her third and least expensive amp she's had with her Zus and easily the best match in her room, but maybe Steve doesn't have the Supreme model which migh effect matching.

sean619

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 102
Re: The all new CA1 and NP1
« Reply #114 on: Yesterday at 06:40 pm »
I find it bizarre that Steve would use a Zu Audio speaker as a reference. Zu speakers are loved by many for their unique sound...which is partly due to the beaming of the large wideband driver that creates a horn effect...as well as the lack of baffle step correction, which creates a very forward upper midrange/lower treble that some people love and a few people find "shouty."

Sean Casey at Zu seems to mitigate these issues at shows by using vinyl as a source and warm electronics such as First Watt or tube amplification. A well damped room will also help.

Anyway, the fact that the CA1 might not find synergy with a Zu speaker in a lively Brooklyn apartment is IMO not a cause for concern.