This is my second review of the new DVA Monoblock amps. My initial review was pairing the amps in 2 of my home systems which can be found at the top of this AVA page. Last night I was able to bring the amps over to a friends house to compare them to his Pass XA100.5 Mono blocks which are 100wpc Class A and sell for over $16,000 a pair.
Besides the amp my friends system consists of the following gear-
Atma-Sphere MP-3 preamp with the latest teflon caps. $6,000
Lampizator 7 Lite DAC with upgraded tubes $6,000
The latest Revel Ultima Studio 2 speakers over $16,000pr
Over $2K in cables
Puritan Audio power conditioner
There were probably at least $2K worth of room treatments on the walls and ceiling.
I know this system's sound very well and it is a true high end system and sounds fabulous.
Last night we spent about an hour listening to the system before inserting the AVA amps. There were 4 people present. Music source was HQplayer via Roon. The sound was fabulous as usual. Then we inserted the AVA amps and listened for 3 hours and for the first 15 minutes they sounded flat and then all of a sudden they just blossomed. I suspect that the amps were cold (it was 39 degrees last night) from the drive over to my friends because in my original review the amps did not need warm up.
First off, we noted that the 225's had a little more detail and a little more resolution. The attack was crisper. This did not surprise me since Pass amps have a rounded sound. Bass had more punch than the Pass amps. The sound did not have that forwardness that I noted in my initial review. It was mid row. Texture was very good but not as good as the Pass. Cymbals sounded very natural and at least if not better than the Pass amps. Where the Pass mono's had the 225's beat was that the overall sound had better tone and texture with a wider soundstage and more space between instruments. Don't get me wrong, the 225's did not sound closed in. It's just that the Pass amps were better in this regard. The Pass amps also had better decay on piano. Vocals with the Pass were better but not by much. Vocals sounded a bit more natural and had more texture. Air and transparency was better with the Pass but again, it was not night and day. The Pass amps also had fuller midrange but again it was not night and day. The Pass amps did somewhat sugar coat poor recordings when compared to the 225's. Overall the 4 of us were very impressed that the 225's were not at all embarrassed by XA100.5's considering the great cost difference. My friends system draws you into the music and the 225's did not diminish that feeling. We all felt that the 225's punch way above its price point and could compete with much more expensive amps. In some aspects it sounded better than the XA100.5's but in the end we all preferred the $16,000pr XA100.5's. One of my friends in attendance who own's a AVA 400R amps stated he would like to own a pair of the 225's. In the end the 225's did not disappoint. AVA has another winning amplifier.
For those wanting to know if the 225's produce a lot of heat, after 3 hours of listening at loud volumes, the amps were just warm to the touch.
Music: We listened to a lot of Rock like Massive Attack, Pineapple Thief new album, Elbow, Roger Waters, Fleetwood Mac to name a few but we also listened to some Jazz, piano and vocal music.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.