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

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 84793 times.

murf

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 123
  • Friends don't let friends apex early
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #140 on: 9 Feb 2012, 08:50 pm »
Hello Audio Experts!
  Well, happy days are here again; I got my FetValve 400R upgrade delivered!

  I upgraded from a 350 '+' FV, the best sounding AVA hybrid before the 400R/600R (I didn't have the double die, but that was just more power?) Doing a direct comparison with the 350'+' amp is difficult.  It's been a few weeks since I sent it in, and I had different tubes in the '+' than in the 400R. 
  That said, I think the 400R is such an advance that the improved sonics are obvious, even with the time delay.  When I got the 350+ upgrade, I thought it had tighter control, especially in the bass.  The 400R brings the rest of the frequency spectrum up to this same high standard.  I'm finding the mids & treble to be more open & airy, more 'present' in the room, & more detailed also. 
  But the biggest difference to me is in the grip this amp has on the individual notes.  Going through a few of my favorite disks, I noticed how the notes were shaped & formed.  This amp catches the notes at initiation, holds them tight to the peak, and then keeps the correct form until the notes decay as they should.  The amp is not a slacker: no approximation, no 'area' shots, no 'good enough'.  The amp doesn't let go until the note is done, period.  This 'corralling' of the musical energy gives the notes better impact since there is no leakage to diminish or spread the sound to where it shouldn't be.
  Listening to HOT TUNA's "Hot Tuna", you can hear Jorma & Jack just bending & torturing the strings.  The harmonica of Will Scarlett just floats.  But whether the music is fast or difficult, the amp never gives in, never loses control for a moment.  I then listened to a bunch of string quartets, & the subtle detailing came through fully.  You could almost see how the bow was moving.  Next up was "Time Out", 'nough said.  The clean details, the amazing feel of the instruments, the mastery of the musicians was all there in extra portions. 
 One thing I haven't mastered when listening to music is the 'space' factor.  I know my room & speaker placement aren't ideal, so I can't really hear when the guitarist takes two steps in that direction....  With the 400R the increased detail & realism improves my ability to place the instruments.  I think this is because the music is so well shaped that the sounds seem to only come from the instruments.  With less energy escaping from the notes, more energy seems to originate from the instrument, thus placing it better on the soundstage. 
  Back to the big picture, the resulting music is magnificent.  That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.  My wife got home the other night (voice scholarship, still sings semi-pro) & we listened to some music.  I try to keep her in the dark about my audio spending, but she knew I had the amp upgraded because she sent it from her office. So, she said,
"That Van Alstine thing is pretty good, isn't it?"   
"What do you think?"
"I think yes".
"Can you explain how?"
"Go to hell, bud".
Elizabeth doesn't know an amp from a dac, but she has great ears!

Murf   8)  :thumb:

PS: Frank sent me a cool AVA flashlight...made in China!
« Last Edit: 10 Feb 2012, 02:39 pm by murf »

trebejo

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #141 on: 12 Feb 2012, 11:52 pm »
Nice review Murf! You give a good impression of a pretty ineffable yet thoroughly noticeable musical effect.

It's hard to improve on the "+" amps (I'll never forget the first impression made by the realistic reproduction of an acoustic guitar's overtones with that amp). Nonetheless the "R" amps manage to do so...

murf

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 123
  • Friends don't let friends apex early
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #142 on: 16 Feb 2012, 06:10 pm »
This is from Frank's intro blurb:

"Presenting the new AVA Fet Valve R series amplifiers...and finally (and an audio engineering first we believe) active analog regulated power supplies for each power mos-fet output circuit, ten high speed analog high current regulated power supplies in all...."

Ten regulated power supplies?  Do others do this?  :scratch:
I think it was an auto industry ad that said, "Power is nothing without control...."  2x for the amplifier industry!

Murf

avahifi

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #143 on: 16 Feb 2012, 09:48 pm »
Just for you guys who have not noticed this thread so far:

There are sixteen separate new user reviews of our Fet Valve 600R and 400R hybrid power amps reported already in this thread.

There are lots and lots more shorter comments too.

When you have time, ready and enjoy.

Regards,

Frank Van Alstine

Mr Peabody

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 511
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #144 on: 27 Mar 2012, 03:54 am »
Frank, how is the 400r only 30 lbs?  I'm just curious what is in other 200 watt amps that make them so heavy?

Can a 400r be upgraded to a 600r down the road, if so, what cost would it be?

avahifi

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #145 on: 27 Mar 2012, 01:05 pm »
First of all, a 400R can be upgraded to a 600R for the difference in price between the two units.

Weight?  Simply efficient mechanical design, thanks to Wayner.  No waste parts, no effort to make it heavier than needed to impress the real heavy sounds better bunch.  An excellent shielded toroid power transformer design.  Toroids, by the way are about 30 percent lighter than a comparable standard iron core transformer.  The amp is solid, rigid, and mechanically stable.

A better question might be why are so many powerful amplifiers so heavy that you need a fork lift truck to move them?

Regards,

Frank Van Alstine

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #146 on: 27 Mar 2012, 08:53 pm »

A better question might be why are so many powerful amplifiers so heavy that you need a fork lift truck to move them?

Regards,

Frank Van Alstine


Like my 60lb Parasound!  At least it has handles on the back.

Bigload

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #147 on: 31 Mar 2012, 04:32 pm »
My new 400R with black faceplate (to match my other AVA gear) showed up yesterday! :D

I have spent most of the morning listening and I could not be more thrilled with what I have here.  I am using it to replace a very capable AVA Double 260 Insight Plus.  The rest of the system is an AVA Star hybrid preamp and Salk HT2TL's. For sources I am using a Wadia 170i iPod dock (Apple Lossless) with the AVA Vision EC DAC, an Oppo BDP95 using its own internal 2 channel DAC and a VPI Classic 1 turntable with a Benz Micro Glider cartridge.  I do not use anything fancy on cables... just Blue Jeans Cable interconnects and speaker cables.     

Regardless of which source I use, the results are the same.  I have swapped the amps around all morning and I cannot find anything to fault the FetValve on.  It simply does the job in a way that far exceeds anything I have certainly ever owned.  Additional detail is revealed to an unbelievable level.  Soundstage has expanded.  Imaging is distinct and repeatable.  The clarity and subsequent decay of piano key strikes, guitar strings and cymbals are just particularly amazing.  The bass now being produced by the Salks is beyond belief.  It comes through as a very high end musical sub being played... but it is just the 400R and the Salks.  I cannot believe stereo speakers are capable of this, but they obviously are. 

I really did not know what to expect here.  I knew my current system was a great performer.  So, my expectations were skeptical.  But I am sold.  The 400R honestly did bring the system to new level and I just cannot believe it could be much better.... at least anywhere near my current investment and maybe I will even be bold enough to say at any level of investment. 

The media I have been listening to this morning included....
CD-  Jennifer Warnes.... The Hunter
CD-  Steely Dan.... Gaucho
LP-   Diana Krall....Love Scenes
LP-   Pat Metheny...What's It All About
LP-   Patricia Barber....Cafe Blue
iPod- Philippe Saisse...Next Voyage
iPod- Pat Metheny....Life Talking

Thanks again Frank.  Very, very nice job!
« Last Edit: 31 Mar 2012, 06:26 pm by Bigload »

Ray Bronk

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1599
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #148 on: 1 Jun 2012, 06:40 am »
Just for you guys who have not noticed this thread so far:

There are sixteen separate new user reviews of our Fet Valve 600R and 400R hybrid power amps reported already in this thread.

There are lots and lots more shorter comments too.

When you have time, ready and enjoy.

Regards,

Frank Van Alstine

Hi Frank,

on your FET Valve preamp, what is served by having a high/low gain switch? Is that just a matter of switching out a gain stage?

Since I understand you have the filter switch as both high and low together, could the high/low gain switch be subed out for one of the filters, thus separating both filter switches?

Ray

avahifi

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #149 on: 1 Jun 2012, 01:47 pm »
The low gain switch is to make the volume control rotation more useful in systems with very efficient speakers or high gain amplifiers.  It simply attenuates the input signal to about one third of normal.

To separate the high and low filters it would be necessary to design a different switch board and faceplate just for that option - - - way too expensive to offer as an option.

However, we certainly can tailor the the filter frequencies within reason.  Or we could make it a low only or high only filter as desired.  However, this would take the unit to a "special order" status and would not carry our 30 day satisfaction guarantee.

Regards,

Frank

tonyptony

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #150 on: 1 Jun 2012, 11:06 pm »
Frank, any hint as to when we might see the upcoming review?

Tone Depth

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 506
  • Music Lover
    • SRLPE Wheel Works
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #151 on: 9 Dec 2016, 10:29 pm »
Bringing this thread back to the amplifier topic:

I purchased a FET Valve 600R during the 2016 Fall Sale, and have been listening to it off and on for the past two weeks. It replaced an Insight+ Double 440H. I immediately noticed a much clearer sound, through my somewhat modest vintage speakers. Next step will be to update my speakers.

WGH

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #152 on: 26 Feb 2017, 09:31 pm »
The Tucson Audiophile Group had a gathering yesterday and Tone Depth brought over his FET Valve 600R to compare to my Synergy 450. The electronics were all AVA, the front end includes a FET Valve DAC and the FET Valve Preamp (previous model, not the CF) with new tubes. Note: if you haven't replaced your tubes in 2 or 3 years - do it! The lower noise floor and restored clarity is worth the $35, just call Frank. Digital was via my home made CAPS server that includes a Paul Pang USB card, three linear power supplies and a data only JMaxwell USB cable.

Speakers used are my custom mesquite veneered Salk HT2-TL's.

Comparing the two amps was hard, all AVA amps sound very similar. A year ago we compared the Synergy 450 to the AVA Ultravalve Vacuum Tube Amp (35 watts per channel) on a pair of Nola KO speakers and at low volumes there was no appreciable difference. Of course, when bumping up the volume just a little, the tighter, deeper bass and unlimited headroom became obvious.

Once again the sound of the two AVA amps was very, very close. The Synergy 450 was more tube like with a tiny lower midrange bump which made it sound warmer while the 600R was more balanced with a greater clarity in the upper midrange and treble. Overall the 600R was a hair clearer and smoother in it's presentation. Bass is the same and the both amps have excellent center image density with depth, almost everyone asks if my center channel speaker is on (it's not) because the center image is so solid. 

Musically we went through everything from Bach: Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould to Yello's excellent new album Toy.

Here is an accurate representation of what the room looked like when I turned up the volume on a Toy cut to see what 600 watts sounded like:



Those HT2-TL's can really rock!

Wayne

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #153 on: 26 Feb 2017, 10:42 pm »
I am shocked that you find both the Synergy and 600R amps to sound similar.  I have heard them side by side at Franks and they sound completely different.  The Synergy being darker and warmer while the 600R was much more transparent, detailed, resolute, with a wider sound stage and punchier bass.  Both excellent amps but definitely different flavors with the R series competing way above its price point.

WGH

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #154 on: 26 Feb 2017, 11:04 pm »
Perhaps my buddies will chime in. Did Frank use his ABX Comparator Switchbox?

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #155 on: 27 Feb 2017, 12:13 am »
Perhaps my buddies will chime in. Did Frank use his ABX Comparator Switchbox?

I can't remember.  But I also got to take them home for a review and heard them in my system.  I don't doubt what you heard but what I heard was 2 completely different sounds.  I heard them both with his latest FET Valve preamp and Salk HTR3 speakers at Franks and with my Magnepan 1.6's at my place.

mresseguie

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3300
  • D Sachs amp/pre + Daedalus Audio Speakers = HEAVEN
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #156 on: 27 Feb 2017, 12:43 am »
I'd like to chime in for a moment. Last year adcoll and I drove to the Kirkland, WA area to attend Gregfisk's G2G. We brought my Gustard X20u Gustard and my Synergy 400R. One of the participants brought his Synergy 450. We spent a good 45 minutes going back and forth comparing the two amps, but we had a difficult time declaring any appreciable difference in their sounds. It is important to point out the Greg's system has GR Research OB subs that play in the <80Hz range, so his speakers were only reproducing music above that level.

This isn't quite the same situation that WGH and I.Greyhound Fan describe, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Michael

alexscotti

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 16
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #157 on: 27 Feb 2017, 01:02 am »
That was my Synergy 450.  The amps sounded way more alike than different to me, at least in that setup.

WGH

Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #158 on: 27 Feb 2017, 01:24 am »
I have heard them side by side at Franks and they sound completely different.  The Synergy being darker and warmer while the 600R was much more transparent, detailed, resolute, with a wider sound stage and punchier bass.

I'm not surprised. The Salk HT3's with a 84 dB sensitivity and the B&W 801 at 87dB/W/m are probably a better match with the 600R.    

Tone Depth

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 506
  • Music Lover
    • SRLPE Wheel Works
Re: User reviews of our new Fet Valve 600R & 400R amplifiers
« Reply #159 on: 1 Mar 2017, 12:01 am »
We started out this comparison by briefly listening with the solid state Synergy 450, which served to reset my ears to Wayne’s system. Then we switched amplifiers to listen with the hybrid FET Valve 600R, and I immediately noticed an increased clarity to the music, similar to how the music sounds with the amplifier placed in my system. It was also easier to understand the lyrics being sung, and to hear each note produced by each instrument. The clarity was most evident in the upper registers, and somewhat less apparent in the bass. I agree that the 600R has unique audible characteristics throughout the range of audible frequencies reproduced by the speakers, as compared with the 450. Near the end of the playlist comprising this demo, Wayne turned up the volume to an average sound level indicated to be about 85 dB, per my Smartphone app, and I heard what seemed to be more distortion in the music. I’m guessing that I might have been hearing speaker distortion, rather than amplifier distortion at the higher sound levels. Then we replaced the Synergy 450 in the system, repeated the playlist, and I heard the slight higher frequency distortion I had initially heard. I remarked that it would have been interesting having an ABX Comparator available to be able to easily switch between amplifiers at possibly matched sound levels to compare the sound quality in that manner. I didn’t immediately notice differences in the mid-range between the two amplifiers. I was most impressed by how the solid state and the hybrid technologies both produce great sounding music, and consider both amplifiers to be excellent.