A second review of the new DVA 225 Monoblock amps

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 1254 times.

I.Greyhound Fan

A second review of the new DVA 225 Monoblock amps
« on: 18 Oct 2020, 08:10 pm »
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.
« Last Edit: 19 Oct 2020, 03:55 pm by I.Greyhound Fan »

aln

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 175
Re: A second review of the new DVA 225 Monoblock amps
« Reply #1 on: 21 Oct 2020, 01:04 am »
When do they go on sale?

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: A second review of the new DVA 225 Monoblock amps
« Reply #2 on: 21 Oct 2020, 02:32 am »
When do they go on sale?

I returned the amps to Frank this morning and I spoke with Mary and asked her that exact question.  She said they are looking at a new supplier for the chassis, so it may be several weeks.  They are awaiting a sample chassis. Your best bet is to call and speak to Frank.

dminches

Re: A second review of the new DVA 225 Monoblock amps
« Reply #3 on: 21 Oct 2020, 11:54 am »
What are the specs on the DVA 225s?  How do they compare to the DVA 850s in this regard?

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: A second review of the new DVA 225 Monoblock amps
« Reply #4 on: 21 Oct 2020, 03:00 pm »
What are the specs on the DVA 225s?  How do they compare to the DVA 850s in this regard?

225wpc at 8 ohms, 385 at 4 ohms.

I have heard the 850's at Franks but I did not review them.  They do sound different.  I believe the 850's are similar to the R series amps and I really like way the 850's sounded in Franks system.   

tcatch

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 1
Re: A second review of the new DVA 225 Monoblock amps
« Reply #5 on: 22 Nov 2020, 07:40 pm »
The comparison I am eager to see is between these new amps and the DVA SET 600’s.  I’ve been close to pulling the trigger on a pair of those for a couple of months, now.  (Though I am also tempted by the similarly-priced Parasound JC5.). Maybe I could save some bucks and be just as happy with the 225’s? 

My speakers, BTW are 4 ohm Alta Audio Rhea’s.  It seems that any of Frank’s amps would be happy driving those, but I wonder if there is one that would be better. And i wonder if the mono amps are essentially bridged versions of stereo amps, which sometimes means they are less than happy with 4-ohm speakers.

My current amp is the only instance (as far as I know) of the short-lived, fully-differential, XLR-only DVA 700.  I believe I have the same prototype unit that I Greyhound Fan reviewed here back in 2017.  I like it very much, but still hope for something better.  I am attracted by the description of the SET amps’ “romantic midrange”.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: A second review of the new DVA 225 Monoblock amps
« Reply #6 on: 23 Nov 2020, 12:22 am »
The comparison I am eager to see is between these new amps and the DVA SET 600’s.  I’ve been close to pulling the trigger on a pair of those for a couple of months, now.  (Though I am also tempted by the similarly-priced Parasound JC5.). Maybe I could save some bucks and be just as happy with the 225’s? 

My speakers, BTW are 4 ohm Alta Audio Rhea’s.  It seems that any of Frank’s amps would be happy driving those, but I wonder if there is one that would be better. And i wonder if the mono amps are essentially bridged versions of stereo amps, which sometimes means they are less than happy with 4-ohm speakers.

My current amp is the only instance (as far as I know) of the short-lived, fully-differential, XLR-only DVA 700.  I believe I have the same prototype unit that I Greyhound Fan reviewed here back in 2017.  I like it very much, but still hope for something better.  I am attracted by the description of the SET amps’ “romantic midrange”.

I would go with the SET amp.  Its midrange is fabulous.  I prefer a richly textured and romantic midrange and the SET will give you that.  The 225's don't have the same midrange.  It is full sounding and textured but not really romantic like the SET amps.

You are correct, that the 225's will be happier with 8 ohm speakers as they are bridged.  Here is a post from one of his engineers-

I work with Frank and was involved with the M225 design, and I built all the prototypes.  As far as I'm concerned, this is the best sounding amp to ever come out of AVA.  It is a new chassis design for AVA with the heat sinks on both sides, rather than on the back.  About 40% more heat sink ares is obtained this way.  One of the design goals was for two of these mono's to sit side by side on a standard 17" shelf - we almost made it - I think the heat sinks need to interleave a little bit in order to fit.

The 16 pound monoblock contains a 9 pound transformer rated at 400 VA.  This basically means that you are never going to get more than about 80% x 400 = 320 watts out of this amp under any circumstances...its just designed that way.  A bigger transformer would cost more, weigh more, would not fit in the chassis, and would give you a lot of power that you would probably never use.  As is true with all bridged amps, the impedance seen by the amp is 1/2 the speaker impedance.  So with 8 ohm speakers, the amp sees 4 ohms.  With 4 ohm speakers, the amp sees 2 ohms.  And with 2 ohm Maggies (in spots) the amp sees 1 ohm.  I have been running my prototype pair with 4 ohm speakers for months now and they seem very happy with that load.  They also seem ok on the bench with a 2 ohm load as long as you don't try and pull more than about 150w out of them.  At this point, the speaker fuses need to be 9 amps and things can get hot very fast as the amp winds up dissipating a larger percentage of the overall power than it does with higher impedance loads.


Dan

tomatchison

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 11
Re: A second review of the new DVA 225 Monoblock amps
« Reply #7 on: 23 Nov 2020, 04:51 am »
Thanks, I.G.F.  That is very helpful.

-Tom  (AKA tcatch  -- I seem to have acquired two logins somehow)