First AVA product Omega Star 250EX

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amb3cog

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First AVA product Omega Star 250EX
« on: 7 Mar 2018, 05:31 am »
So as a big fan of Frank Van Alstine, and his no nonsense approach. I've been wanting to get my hands on one of his pieces of HiFi for quite some time now, and I finally did. Am Omega Star 250EX amplifier.

And even though I just cobbled some stuff together to try it out. I'm already impressed with it. I grabbed an old Toshiba SA-620 receiver, and used that as the preamp. Plugged in my Starting Point Systems DAC 3 with my laptop. And wired up some old Pinnacle PN8+ speakers,  in case I had an issue. Well let me just say that I'm not sure they've ever sounded better overall then on this amp.

I've used them on my handmade 6L6 based SET/SEP (switchable) amp, and the tweeters definitely sounded better. But not the overall synergy of the speakers at all. This does the tweeters justice, while keeping the bass in line properly. So while this doesn't have the air that that amp does. It's overall sound is incredibly good. It really controls the woofers better then anything else I've heard on these.

These speakers are kinda funny how they respond to different amps, and overall I think they like this amp the best yet. Especially on rock (that's what this system will be for mainly), but even on old Etta James from the 60's it's very impressive indeed. Very musical. Very soulful. It conveys a great midrange for what I'm working with. All while having control of the bass. And the treble seems pretty good for SS too. Not perfect, but neither is the setup I have it on right now. And to be fair I have very sensitive ears. So others may like what it's doing more than I do.

I'm just using junk old cables for now too. It's eventually going to be used with Cerwin Vega VS-150's, and a Grant Fidelity Tube DAC 11. Not sure about the pre yet though. I'm looking into a Sony TA-2000 (I think anyway), and an AVA Super PAS 3 (again I think that's it). So we'll see. I may just use the DAC as the pre. I'm also thinking of trying a Little Bear linestage too. We'll see.

Either way. I think I made a good choice in buying this already. And I will definitely be looking for more AVA gear to buy in the future. It's quite obvious that a lot of care went into building this amp. It's still going strong, and sounding great after all these years. So they must be don't something right.

Thank you very much to Frank, and his crew for all the hard work you guys have put in over the years. I was already a fan, but now even more so. Great job guys. And if I decide to have it updated, or tuned up. I know where I'm sending it for sure.

ohenry

Re: First AVA product Omega Star 250EX
« Reply #1 on: 7 Mar 2018, 06:01 am »
Yep, Frank makes some really nice equipment and the prices are modest.  I have an Ultravalve and it's one of my favorites.  It isn't just another starter amp for sure.

Enjoy your AVA amp... through the decades.  :D

amb3cog

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Re: First AVA product Omega Star 250EX
« Reply #2 on: 7 Mar 2018, 06:29 am »
Yea my friend. I certainly plan to. Thank you. 

This thing is going to kick some butt with those CV speakers I think. And it's so much more then just power like the receivers I've owned. I hate to say tube like, because it's not. It's true SS, but it's the closest SS I've owned to that tube sound I love. Let's be clear. It's not that. But man is it musical, and soulful.

Unfortunately my ears don't really tolerate SS, so I'm going to get a tube preamp, and hope that does it. If not. I don't know what to do really. Because this gives a truly warm sound and I love it. I'll probably still keep it, and just deal with only listening loud for a few songs at a time. Because I don't know what could be better without spending way more money.

The care they put into the sound is very obvious. I would definitely recommend AVA to anyone looking for good HiFi without spending a fortune. I'm very impressed. I wish I got to hear this back in the day when I didn't have issues with my hearing. On the other hand. My issues would probably be worse, because I just want to crank this thing up to 11! It sounds like music should sound IMHO.

dlparker

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Re: First AVA product Omega Star 250EX
« Reply #3 on: 7 Mar 2018, 06:42 am »

... I don't know what could be better without spending way more money...


And that pretty much sums it up. Count on quality for sure, but I don't think there's a better 'bang for the buck' example out there than AVA products.

amb3cog

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Re: First AVA product Omega Star 250EX
« Reply #4 on: 7 Mar 2018, 07:45 am »
Yea well that's my thing. I don't have a lot of dough. So I always do bang for buck with everything. Even if it means I have to spend more then I want too, to get it. But I'm not willing to go that extra grand to get a 2% difference. I'll go most money for most performance, until there's a big jump to that next step.

And that's what interested me in AVA. It's definitely not cheap when it's new. Not like Chinese crap cheap anyway, and it's definitely not McIntosh either. Instead it's as close to McIntosh as you can get for like a quarter of the price. Now that's my style for sure. But I really didn't want to get my hopes up. So I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised how good this is.

I'm a tube guy who's hoping to put together a rock and roll/metal system that will pound the bass, and have decently extended treble that that type of music demands without just sounding like every other receiver I've heard for SQ, and that can do the midrange the right way too.

I'm looking for decent clarity, somewhat decent treble, although I'm fine with early roll off, and pounding bass of course. I want great dynamics, separation, and a smooth delivery. I realize that's a lot to ask on my budget, and it wouldn't surprise me if this experiment didn't work. But if seems to have in this case.

Which just goes to show that everything I've read about AVA is true. This amp punches way above it's price point for sure. Just like everyone says they do. I'm very impressed. In fact I hooked it up just to check it and had other stuff to do around the house. That's gone by the wayside now, and I'm trying to re-listen to all sorts of heavy songs I haven't listened to in a while, because my tube amps just don't do that type of music justice like this amp does.

I'm certainly not saying this amp is the end all, be all amplifier for every type of music. But it certainly seems to do everything pretty well, and rock and roll very well. So as I can only imagine what AVA tube amps sound like. And now I really want to try one.

I've been a shopping around looking at better tube amps than I have, and didn't really much consider AVA for that. This has changed my thinking on that. I'm now thinking I need to save up for an AVA tube amp. I don't know what there is out there by them right now. But I certainly going to find out. Because if an old SS by them sounds this good. I can only imagine what their tube units sound like.

And I have a line on an old Super PAS 3 preamp from them that I was on the fence about. I'm no longer on that fence. I'm going to try to get it for this system for sure. I can't imagine it sounding bad.

I also have to say how funny I find it when I see people saying stuff like all amps are the same. Or that speakers are 90% of the sound. That is such BS it's not even funny. I've had these Pinnacle speakers on many different amps/receivers and they sound night and day different on them. Like totally different speakers even. The tweeters on these especially respond completely different depending on the amplification they are on. And these are just an old kick around pair of speakers I paid $60 for. They're the speakers I use when I'm worried about using my good ones.

Anyone who says that obviously has zero experience with different HiFi gear, and needs to pull up their skirt because their ignorance is showing! Lol

dB Cooper

Re: First AVA product Omega Star 250EX
« Reply #5 on: 7 Mar 2018, 03:35 pm »
amb3cog, saw you mention that you don't have a lot of dough (me neither) but desire a tube preamp. If you're looking for suggestions, the 'Transcendent Audio Grounded Grid Preamp' is like $499 in kit form and seems to have a good 'rep'. It's available assembled for $899 but that seems a big upcharge (especially for an item that is described as 'super easy to build') and if spending the extra $, I'd buy the Van Alstine RB at the same price, which itself is a terrific bargain for a tube pre.

avahifi

Re: First AVA product Omega Star 250EX
« Reply #6 on: 7 Mar 2018, 03:48 pm »
The OmegaStar 250EX is a 150W/Ch amplifier we built into a gutted Hafler DH-200, 220, 280 series chassis between 2004 and 2007.  It certainly is a great sounding and very durable amplifier.  The "EX" stands for Exicon power mosfet output transistors which replaced the obsolete Hitachi power mosfet transistors.  All internal audio circuits are AVA designs, no Hafler parts left inside except the power transformer and big power supply capacitors.

Like almost all AVA products, we can still service this amplifier in the rare event of a failure with it.

We are glad you are enjoying it.  Note that our new Transcendence 10 RB vacuum tube preamp ($899) would be a great match for it.

https://avahifi.com/collections/preamplifiers/products/transcendence-10-rb-preamplifier

FRank

amb3cog

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Re: First AVA product Omega Star 250EX
« Reply #7 on: 7 Mar 2018, 04:13 pm »
Thank you very much for the suggestions my friend. I really appreciate that. I'm fairly new to this so I actually didn't know about either of those options, and I'm a researching fanatic. So believe me when I say I really appreciate it, because I really do. I will for sure look into both of them. Again. Thank you very much.

I was up all night listening to different music, and really enjoying my new purchase. I finally went to lay down, and was checking out some YouTube videos when one had AC/DC Satellite Blues on it. And I was like hmmm. No one else is home, and it's late enough in the morning for the neighbors to get over it. Let's see what this thing can really do.

Woweee does this thing crank! Holy F'ing Shite! My neighbors are hating me right now! Lol

Right up until clipping it's crystal clear. Even on these basically average speakers. In fact. They're not so average on this amp at all, and I think a I could live with them on this unit, if I had to. If this does what it just did on these. What's it going to do on the Cerwin Vega's which are 10db louder, and are supposedly less then 4 Ohms (these are 6ohm)?!?!?!

This thing is a beast! I'm loving it. Just wish I lived somewhere I could really open it up more often. I just love loud, clear music. I have a feeling this is going to get me into trouble! Lol

amb3cog

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Re: First AVA product Omega Star 250EX
« Reply #8 on: 7 Mar 2018, 04:27 pm »
The OmegaStar 250EX is a 150W/Ch amplifier we built into a gutted Hafler DH-200, 220, 280 series chassis between 2004 and 2007.  It certainly is a great sounding and very durable amplifier.  The "EX" stands for Exicon power mosfet output transistors which replaced the obsolete Hitachi power mosfet transistors.  All internal audio circuits are AVA designs, no Hafler parts left inside except the power transformer and big power supply capacitors.

Like almost all AVA products, we can still service this amplifier in the rare event of a failure with it.

We are glad you are enjoying it.  Note that our new Transcendence 10 RB vacuum tube preamp ($899) would be a great match for it.

https://avahifi.com/collections/preamplifiers/products/transcendence-10-rb-preamplifier

FRank

Thank you very much. That's a really nice preamp. I was actually wanting to get one with two outputs if I could too. And I honestly didn't think I could get something that nice, and new, for that price. I'm not big on buying new due to my budget, but I may have to rethink that policy. And I really appreciate the info on my amp. I was actually wondering if it was MOSFET. I knew it was originally, and assumed you used them, but wasn't positive.

Thank you again.
Andy B.

avahifi

Re: First AVA product Omega Star 250EX
« Reply #9 on: 7 Mar 2018, 04:58 pm »
All new Audio by Van Alstine preamplifiers have two sets of audio outputs, as does the T10 RB recommended above.

All have excellent built in headphone amplifiers too.

Frank

amb3cog

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Re: First AVA product Omega Star 250EX
« Reply #10 on: 9 Apr 2018, 11:36 pm »
So I've been using this amp nonstop since I've gotten it. I really enjoy it. I did get the Cerwin Vega VS-150's, and like them a lot. They have too much bass for my smaller room though. So I'm going to have to do something about that. And I got the GF Tubedac-11, but like my Starting Point Systems DAC 3 more. So it's just being used as a preamp right now. Which leads me to a search for a tube preamp now. I'm going to start another thread for that though.

I just wanted to thank everyone for their help, and advice. And let you guys all know that I'm loving this amp. I'm listening to The Allman Brothers Idlewild South right now as I type actually. It sounds great. This setup is finally starting to gel together (it's been together a month), and it's very musical. Very warm. Love it. But I need some more tubes in the signal chain. First a tube preamp, then a tube DAC. I'm thinking Scott Nixon might have exactly what I want

So thanks again guys. Much appreciated.