SAS B11a

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gjm

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SAS B11a
« on: 4 Mar 2013, 03:47 am »
It seems like a lot longer, but a little under a year ago I posted here in a SAS B10 vs dH thread (saying 'vs' sounds confrontational, but this was one of the best examples of comparative discussion I've seen in hifi) to say I had bought a B11a.

I'm not going to offer an in-depth review here, but I am very, very pleased. When we were in the UK, it worked flawlessly. Since we have moved to NZ, I now have some hum through the speakers, but whether this is mains-borne or something else I've not yet investigated.

Irrespective, I am now in the awkward position of knowing that my speakers are the weak link in my system.

The B11a was compared to a Coincident Line Stage (custom built at significant cost), an Audio Analogue Bellini, a Modwright LS36.5, and (back-to-back) a Shindo Aurieges. I'd not swap the B11a for any of the others.

Shindo kit is something I have always loved listening to. Still do. But the B11a really did show the Aurieges how it's done; even the local retailer commented, in a voice loaded with astonishment, "good grief, that's fast!" The B11a wasn't just fast though, it was detailed and clear. The Aurieges really did sound lovely in isolation, but I certainly prefer the B11a.

I cannot comment on comparisons with the dH, for example, but I'm unconcerned that other preamps can add (desirable or otherwise) colour or atmosphere to reproduction. I use DIY tube power amps, and can get all the colour I'll ever need from them!  :wink:
« Last Edit: 8 Mar 2013, 08:42 am by gjm »

bunky

Re: SAS B11a
« Reply #1 on: 9 Mar 2013, 03:42 am »
I had the SAS 11A in my system for about a week during a tour over at Audio Nervosa and I owned a SAS 10A for a few years and I am with out a doubt totally convinced that Steve Sammet of SAS Audiolabs is one of the best and brightest circuit designers out there. i have spent many hours discussing all things audio with Steve and he is not only very smart he is also a very nice guy.

gjm

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Re: SAS B11a
« Reply #2 on: 24 Feb 2014, 02:24 am »
A year on, and I'm still a happy listener.

The hum I traced to my 2A3 mono power amps. My amps are rudimentary, and have long been the subject of procrastination - they are way overdue for a rebuild, but there's always something else to do, first.

A little judicious rewiring moved live mains and higher voltages further away from the wires carrying much smaller signals. The result - whack the volume on the B11a to max, and your ear needs to be within 3-4" of my ~90db speakers before you can hear a hiss. Not bad.  8)

A house move means a question mark has been raised over the financial viability of keeping the B11a... I have an offer of a Transcendent Grounded-Grid pre, but while that is good (and very considerably less investment than the B11a) it will not perform anywhere nearly as well as the B11a. The price is nice, and I can mod the Transcendent to significantly raise the game, but the telling tale was from a friend in the UK.

He had a modified GG pre-amp. He changed it for a Puresound L300. I prefer the B11a to the Puresound.

Do I need the extra 'good' from the B11a? The jury may need to sit on that decision for a considerable length of time!

char1

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Re: SAS B11a
« Reply #3 on: 20 Apr 2014, 09:29 pm »
I just saw this post and you know I have to chime in here. After three years of preamp auditions I just pulled the trigger on the SAS 11A preamp. It was an unknown product to me but Marty Dewulf over at BFS (and who knows whats going on there these days, by that I mean it seems that Marty has slipped into retirement - forgive me Marty if I am wrong) Anyway he always said wonderful things about the preamp! So having no mind of my own I bought the preamp from Stevie at SAS audio. The reason I bought the preamp is that I did not want to do the crazy audiophile thing of always upgrading. Buying the SAS preamp was the best thing I could have done. It's wonderful! Clear, fast musical and very truthful to the source. And more importantly it works well with both tube and solid state amps (i.e. pass 30.5 & Audio-space 300b mono-blocks). The 10A is very good but the 11A is just very, very musical and dynamic. Hey call Stevie and ask him to make you one of his preamps.

Hey good listening

Charlie


PS I have no connection to Steve at SAS audio


jackman

Re: SAS B11a
« Reply #4 on: 21 Apr 2014, 02:00 pm »
I agree regarding the 11A, it's the best preamp I have ever heard in my system. Kicking myself for not picking up a used one last year when I saw one for sale. My SAS 10A is no slouch and it sounds even better since Steve reduces the gain to 7db. It is dead quiet and my system sounds very good IMO.

SAS tube amps are also equally amazing but I'm not sure Steve is even making them anymore. If Steve was as good at marketing as he is designing and manufacturing electronics, I'm confident he could easily double his prices. He's a genius in my book.

Anyone with a 10A who uses SS amps should give Steve a call and ask about the mod to lower gain on the 10A.  My system is now dead silent and I'm enjoying it more than ever.  No remote and the dual volume knobs take a little getting used to but it's well worth it. SAS is the beat value I have found in audio. Period.

Cheers

Jack

gjm

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Re: SAS B11a
« Reply #5 on: 14 Feb 2019, 05:50 am »
Holy thread resurrection, Batman!

Briefly - I've managed to avoid the necessity of selling the B11a. Still here, still got it... Still suffering the hum issues if I'm not careful with cable routing.

Problems? Well... I may need to replace one of the control knobs. It doesn't select source as accurately as it did, but whether that is a loosened grub screw requiring tightening or the shaft socket on the selector has worn, i don't know. Such a terribly serious issue I've spent whole milliseconds worrying about it.

I have tried some other pre-amps alongside this one, but really, genuinely, cannot see any reason to change.


ajzepp

Re: SAS B11a
« Reply #6 on: 14 Feb 2019, 06:14 am »
Is Steve still in business? When I try to go to the website it gives me an error message. Any idea?

mresseguie

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Re: SAS B11a
« Reply #7 on: 14 Feb 2019, 06:19 am »
 :thumb:

Mores the pity that Steve no longer sells the 11A!

Enjoy!


gjm

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Re: SAS B11a
« Reply #8 on: 14 Feb 2019, 07:11 am »
I know Steve had some family problems he was looking after and was having a hiatus from producing more kit, but didn't know he'd actually stopped completely... A great loss if he has.
I'll give him a call and catch up.

mresseguie

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Re: SAS B11a
« Reply #9 on: 14 Feb 2019, 10:18 am »
Steve is selling his V interconnects. I’ve got one pair of the RCAs, and will buy another pair so I can properly compare them to my TWL RCA ICs.


opnly bafld

Re: SAS B11a
« Reply #10 on: 14 Feb 2019, 02:14 pm »
Steve is still active and will mod/repair his own equipment and other brands.  :thumb:

gjm

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Re: SAS B11a
« Reply #11 on: 14 Feb 2019, 09:08 pm »
Steve is selling his V interconnects. I’ve got one pair of the RCAs, and will buy another pair so I can properly compare them to my TWL RCA ICs.

He does seem to be one of the guys who gets a lot of repeat business! Once you know him and what he does...  :wink:

Steve is still active and will mod/repair his own equipment and other brands.  :thumb:

That's great to hear.