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

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 84795 times.

rockadanny

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #120 on: 20 Jan 2012, 01:50 pm »
Quote
I'm jealous, I wish I lived closer so I could test drive some of that gear.
+1  :thumb:

slippers-on

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 22
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #121 on: 20 Jan 2012, 02:40 pm »
I just spoke with Frank and on Saturday I will picking up a 400R, FET Valve Preamp and FET Valve DAC to review.  I'm looking forward to it and will post my review on Tuesday.

Looking forward to it!

murf

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 123
  • Friends don't let friends apex early
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #122 on: 20 Jan 2012, 02:49 pm »
Well, good for you....everything gets a glowing review from TAS.   :roll:

Well, TAS did name the 600R (& the FetValve Pre?) "Greatest Bargain" or something similar at the latest RMAF, which isn't a judgement given to everything.  It is an honor which might induce some discriminating readers to send their amps in for the big upgrade!   8)

Mr Peabody

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 511
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #123 on: 21 Jan 2012, 03:42 pm »
Back with a bit more observations, now I know why pro reviewers keep gear for months before writing the review, that, and the fact, they can. :)

What I've found and it's no indication this is others experience, the FET Valve seems to be more honest in the high end.  When I commented in an earlier post that I thought the very high end may not be as pronounced as lower high end turns out in my opinion to be recording dependent.  As a very recent example, and keep in mind I am not just a Jazz/Classical listener, on ZZ Top Deguello the first track, I Want To Thank You, the cymbal crashes are what I'd call faint but on I'm A Fool For Your Stockings, the cymbal crashes are right in there with the rest of the mix.  In the latter case, and when cymbals are given proper context, cymbal crashes have a proper place but never brash, very smooth delivery without masking or washing it out.  I've played several albums since hooking up the 400r which helped me make this determination.  In most instances, you can tell the instruments in the high frequency range vary as the rest of the recording.

Merely, my take on things and keep in mind systems vary as well peoples taste.

murf

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 123
  • Friends don't let friends apex early
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #124 on: 21 Jan 2012, 05:10 pm »
RE, My P's observations:
  The better my equipment gets, the more I notice how bad some recordings are.  This seems especially so on R&R CDs which were first put out as vinyl.  Very often it is the top end which is compromised.  So recently I was wondering if I should try to flavor my speakers to have more top treble. 
  But then yesterday I put on "Blues Breakers" with Mayall, Clapton, McVie, Almond, et al., & it had so much treble!  I don't think I'll mess with the speakers for a while....

Murf

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #125 on: 21 Jan 2012, 05:10 pm »
Mr. P, your observations mirrored mine.  I found the cymbal crashes to be very natural and life like.  My son who played in band felt the same way.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #126 on: 22 Jan 2012, 03:59 am »
Well I picked up the 400R, DAC and Preamp today.  I have all three hooked up and running and all I am going to say right now is that the music just sounds right! :D

Reviews of each piece in my current system and as a whole will be posted on Tuesday.

avahifi

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #127 on: 25 Jan 2012, 11:15 pm »
I added Larry's recent review of all three new Fet Valve units, DAC, preamp, and 400R amp here.

Frank

   

I had the opportunity to do an in home review of AVA's new 400R power amp, FET Valve Preamp and FET Valve DAC.  I am a current owner of AVA's Ultra II Preamp and Ultra II DAC which are hybrid designs as are his new designs.  I also use a Parasound A21 power amp and Magnepan QR 1.6 speakers.  I live in the same town and Mr. Van Alstine and was afforded the opportunity to review his new gear.

First off, the new gear has a new updated look.  Gone are the black face plates and rectangular red power buttons as well as the 2 prong wired power cord's.  The new gear comes with a high quality thick aluminum face plate with a push button on off switch and a blue LED power light.  The old power cord has been replaced by an IEC socket and cord. The new gear has a more up to date look without being flashy.

At first I was going to review all 3 components together but I decided to try each piece individually in my system and then as a whole.

I first placed the FET Valve (FV) DAC in my system and the first thing that my budding audiophile 20yr old son and I noticed was how much smoother and liquid the new DAC sounded.  The sound stage was wider and there was more transparency and space between instruments.  In addition, bass was much deeper and better controlled. On Boxer Rebellion's "The Cold Still" the bass on the first song "No Harm" was thunderus.  Bass also had great thump to it.  I did not think that my 1.6's were able to produce such thunderus bass and thump.  My only criticism about the DAC when paired with my older AVA preamp is that it seemed slightly less crisp and snappy if you will for lack of a better term.  With my older DAC you could readily make out the pluck of the fingers coming of the strings, with piano you are able to hear the plinck of the keys and drums seemed a bit more snap. I am not saying that you could not hear it with the new DAC but it just was not as prominent.  It just seemed to have a little more sparkle and detail. However the new DAC was more listenable with no fatigue or sibilance, something that I can't say about my Ultra II DAC.

Next I paired the new FV Preamp with my older DAC.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the new preamp was a marked improvement over the Ultra II preamp.  Bass was deeper and better controlled.  The sound was more detailed and smoother.  The music was more musical, vocals were more natural and there was greater depth and transparency to the music.  I could not find any fault with the new Preamp.  Everything just sounded better.

I next paired the new DAC and new Preamp with my A21 amp and I was astounded by the sound.  Any hint of digital edginess and fatigue was gone while the music sounded very natural.  The DAC's slight lack of detail was improved.  There was even more musicality.  The attack was fabulous. Cymbal crash was excellent.  If you closed your eyes you would think that the Cymbals were right in front of you.  Bass was even deeper still, and the combination really brought out the best in my Parasound A21.  Truthfully, I did not think that the A21 could sound so good.  The A21 always seemed to have a little graininess but the DAC-Preamp combo removed any grain that I could hear.

Finally I hooked all 3 pieces together and got down to some prolonged critical listening.  The first thing that I noticed was that the music evoked and emotional response.  There was shear joy and pleasure listening to this combination of gear.  The depth of the music increased along with transparency and sound stage which is hard to do in my experience except with very expensive gear. I have found that when you add depth the music becomes less transpent. Not so here.  The combo was extremely musical, fast with clean, non fatiguing, very detailed treble.  Bass was fast, deep, powerful and controlled.  Instruments and vocals had great separation, I was able to pick out each instrument in space.  The sound had a holographic sense to it.  The midrange was to die for and was not too foward or recessed.  It seemed just right.  The overall tone of the combo was neutral to just a hint of warmth.  My son and I can be overly critical about music and we tried to find fault with this combination and we both kept on saying that the music just sounds right and that we would not change a thing about the sound.  Even my wife who has a good earand will sit and listen to music a couple of hours at a time with me, commented on how good the sound was.

Sadly, the time had come for me to return the gear to Mr. Van Alstine, but before I did, I decided to try the 400R amp in combination with my Ultra II preamp and DAC (Previously I had the opportunity to reivew its more powerful brother the 600R).  I was not disappointed.  The amp still maintained its attributes, effortless power, speed and bass.  The sound is very detailed with well rounded from the high to the low frequencies.  The sound stage was huge and very transparent.  I could not detect any difference between the 2 amps.


Music used-

Eva Cassidy
The Best Audiphile Voices XRCD
Patricia Barber
Boxer Rebellion
John Lee Hooker
The Hot Spot Sound Track
The XX
Various Classical CD's
George Winston
Traffic
Fleetwood Mac
Blue Coast Collection-the E.S.E. Sessions 24K Gold Audiphile Reference CD
Tim Gorman-Piano Variations
Garett Brennan
Buddy Guy and Junior Wells
several other CD's and XRCD's.

Other gear that I am familiar with-

Bryston, Plinnius, Mac, Conrad Johnson, Belles, Luxman, Theta, Cambridge Audio, Ayre, Anthem, NAD

Mr Peabody

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 511
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #128 on: 27 Jan 2012, 04:19 am »
Making me anxious to get my hands on my FET Preamp.  Can you elaborate on the preamp's connections and controls, what's the remote like?

avahifi

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #129 on: 27 Jan 2012, 11:00 pm »
Mr. Peabody,  your preamp will be finished and shipped late next week.

Here are the controls and functions it has:

The back panel has six sets of line inputs, plus tape in, tape out, and two sets of audio outputs.  The back panel also has the main system fuse, an IEC power input jack, and a "ground lift" switch to connect or disconnect the third wire AC ground. This is useful to eliminate ground loop hum in some system configurations.  Input 1 jacks are used for the RIAA phono inputs if this option is incuded.

The front panel contains the rotary selector switch, the precision volume and balance controls, the push button  power switch, and the pretty soft blue LED on indicator.  If also has four push button switches; Input/Tape, Stereo/Mono, Low Gain, and Filter functions.  It also has a headphone jack, driven by a unique unity gain high current buffer, complete with its own regulated power supply.

Inside the Fet Valve preamp reside the double sided full ground plane shielded main mother board, the shielded toroid power transformer, and the remote control receiver board (if so optioned).  The remote control option includes a custom made motor driven precision volume control and a small sender.  It provide volume up or down and a mute function. The mother board includes 5 regulated power supplies for the main tube/hybrid audio circuits, the hybrid audio circuits themselves, and provisions for adding three more optional circuit sets; RIAA phono, tape buffers, and inverters, along with their additional regulated power supplies if so optioned.  The preamp uses two 6CG7 dual triode vacuum tubes.  6SN7 tubes can be used with appropriate socket adaptors and with the cover off.  Several other dual triodes with the same pinout as the 6CG7 may be played with.  Some of these will substantially change the gain of the preamp, either up or down.

The preamp also contains time delay turn on and instant turn off circuits to eliminate any possible significant on or off transients, protecting your speakers and amplifier.

The preamp also has the provision for optional balanced line out circuits with XLR fittings.  In addition, one set of balanced line in circuits can optionally be accommodated.  These offer no musical advantage, but will allow interfacing the preamp into a system where balanced line connections are necessary.

The actual hybrid tube audio circuits are a combination of John Broskie's Aikido tube circuits with our own power mos-fet follower design.  There is no global feedback in this design.

We think you will enjoy it

Frank Van Alstine

Mr Peabody

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 511
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #130 on: 28 Jan 2012, 05:41 am »
Thanks Frank.  Curious at to what the filter button does.  The headphone stage is a nice touch.

Mr Peabody

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 511
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #131 on: 31 Jan 2012, 04:24 am »
Any one use the AVA phono stage?  If so, what do you think?

festuss

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 105
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #132 on: 31 Jan 2012, 10:42 am »
Phono stages are terrific, silky smooth. noise free, bargain for the high quality sound it allows.  Like everything AVA.  Super reliable also.  So good I bought 2 in the Ultra Hybrid pre amps. One a bit newer, with a few ckt updates, all good.

Mr Peabody

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 511
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #133 on: 4 Feb 2012, 08:44 pm »
Yes, the FET Valve is one musically satisfying amp.  It does seem to do everything right.  One of my friends couldn't believe just swapping out the amp could make such a difference in a system. 

I through on some harder Rock last night and it helped me to realize even more how accurate the amp is, and it doesn't add to the recording, my first impression paying atttention to the double kick bass drum I was a bit disappointed in the impact but as the bass guitar came in playing deep with a nice presence I realized the kick drum is actually pretty high in the frequency and wouldn't have impact like I was expecting.  This would be recording dependent but held true in what I was listening to.

Wayner

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #134 on: 4 Feb 2012, 09:02 pm »
I have the Insight+ phono board in both of my preamps. Very, very good.

Wayner

Ray Bronk

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1599
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #135 on: 4 Feb 2012, 09:46 pm »
Mr. Peabody,  your preamp will be finished and shipped late next week.

Here are the controls and functions it has:

The back panel has six sets of line inputs, plus tape in, tape out, and two sets of audio outputs.  The back panel also has the main system fuse, an IEC power input jack, and a "ground lift" switch to connect or disconnect the third wire AC ground. This is useful to eliminate ground loop hum in some system configurations.  Input 1 jacks are used for the RIAA phono inputs if this option is incuded.

The front panel contains the rotary selector switch, the precision volume and balance controls, the push button  power switch, and the pretty soft blue LED on indicator.  If also has four push button switches; Input/Tape, Stereo/Mono, Low Gain, and Filter functions.  It also has a headphone jack, driven by a unique unity gain high current buffer, complete with its own regulated power supply.

Inside the Fet Valve preamp reside the double sided full ground plane shielded main mother board, the shielded toroid power transformer, and the remote control receiver board (if so optioned).  The remote control option includes a custom made motor driven precision volume control and a small sender.  It provide volume up or down and a mute function. The mother board includes 5 regulated power supplies for the main tube/hybrid audio circuits, the hybrid audio circuits themselves, and provisions for adding three more optional circuit sets; RIAA phono, tape buffers, and inverters, along with their additional regulated power supplies if so optioned.  The preamp uses two 6CG7 dual triode vacuum tubes.  6SN7 tubes can be used with appropriate socket adaptors and with the cover off.  Several other dual triodes with the same pinout as the 6CG7 may be played with.  Some of these will substantially change the gain of the preamp, either up or down.

The preamp also contains time delay turn on and instant turn off circuits to eliminate any possible significant on or off transients, protecting your speakers and amplifier.

The preamp also has the provision for optional balanced line out circuits with XLR fittings.  In addition, one set of balanced line in circuits can optionally be accommodated.  These offer no musical advantage, but will allow interfacing the preamp into a system where balanced line connections are necessary.

The actual hybrid tube audio circuits are a combination of John Broskie's Aikido tube circuits with our own power mos-fet follower design.  There is no global feedback in this design.

We think you will enjoy it

Frank Van Alstine

hi Frank,

two things:
What do you use for this "precission" volume control?
And tell me more about the filtering switch? Is that for high and low and what freqs and slope do you cut off at?

Ray Bronk

Tone Depth

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 506
  • Music Lover
    • SRLPE Wheel Works
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #136 on: 4 Feb 2012, 11:32 pm »
Remote control announcement:  http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=13537.0

hi Frank,

two things:
What do you use for this "precission" volume control?
And tell me more about the filtering switch? Is that for high and low and what freqs and slope do you cut off at?

Ray Bronk

Lefty052347

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 135
  • AVA Associate
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #137 on: 7 Feb 2012, 01:13 am »
Ray:

The switch ativates a high and low filter.  The filters are 6db per octave.  They are down 3db at 22khz and 22hz.

Regards,
Dean

trebejo

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #138 on: 7 Feb 2012, 04:06 am »
The switch ativates a high and low filter.  The filters are 6db per octave.  They are down 3db at 22khz and 22hz.

So the low filter is to cut off turntable rumble, and the high filter is to cut off digital extracurricular data?

Wayner

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #139 on: 7 Feb 2012, 12:55 pm »
There is only one switch, so it does both at the same time.