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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:34 am
Posts: 1
Location: Olympia, WA, US
I remember when the first review of this amp came out in Affordable Audio, I was intrigued as this was a large format Class D amp reported to be capable of driving Apogee Scintillia speakers. We are talking about an impedance curve that dips below 1 ohm, and known to kill lesser solid state amps in short order. Then it was reported to be quite good sounding, with many attributes associated with tube amps, yet a midrange that is pure and unfettered with colorations. Which in many cases are two descriptors that do not line up.

So last week one came up for sale that was local to me, for slightly less than 1/2 of MSRP. I have always wanted to hear one, so I decided to buy it, as it was unlikely I would get to encounter one in someone elses home. I picked it up, and the amp is in like new shape, I felt pleased with the purchase. But there was real effort involved in "picking up", as this thing weighs 65 or 70 pounds, and the majority of the weight is located right behind the face plate. The dual toroidial transformers are H E A V Y!

When I got it home I had a dilemma. I have a couple of passive pre amps, but the input stage on this amp is reported to respond better to active pre amps than passive, and I do not have an active on hand. However, my Musical Fidelity Nu Vista integrated has a pre out, and I do believe its after the Nuvista pre amp stage, but I am not 100% sure about that. But I wired it up this way, and the resulting sound was a bit dark and distant. I left the amp powered up all night, in the morning it opened up some, but the top end was still diminished. Ran it that way all day, and not much change. I had a person coming over to buy an extra turntable of mine, so I returned the system to the original arrangement so I could get things sounding proper. I was like meh, I dunno about this. I then reinstalled it this weekend, and let it stay on for 4 days or so. Yesterday I noticed the top end had opened up significantly, and this was not sounding like a typical Class D amp from the 2010/2011 era of when it was built. I listened extensively to it last night, and was quite excited about what I heard.

First of all, this amp has the most natural vocals I have heard from my system. These sound as close to real as I have encountered. Secondly instruments and performers are tightly focused, this amp does an excellent job of separating performers, yet blending them together in when performing together. The top end low level detail has improved remarkably since being first powered on, and is now not a liability. I think it could be a touch better, however I wonder how much the Nuvista pre amp stage is limiting things in this area. Finally the bass response and dynamic swing in the bottom end is freaking awesome on the H2O amp. Once again, this is the best I have heard on the JBL 4365 in this house.

So now the plans are to acquire a pre amp and see what happens from here. I happen to have an Edge Si-M1 pre amp coming. Once again rolling the dice on this one. The Edge amps were well regarded, however there is scant info on the pre amps, especially this one. The price was very attractive, and I can make a gamble on this and yet turn it if its not what I need. If I get a favorable pairing, then I get a remarkable amplification system for pretty short green. What I do know is that this amp has a bunch of potential, and it makes sense to invest in a good pre for it. So if the Edge does not work out, I think I am going to spend some serious money for a pre. Not sure if I want to go tube, and perhaps something like an Allnic, or go solid state and do one from Pass, Ayre, or something along those lines.

All I can say is this has been a fun project, and it looks like there will be a positive outcome in the end.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:30 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:40 pm
Posts: 1
Location: Fountain Valley, CA, US
Yes, great amps. Now you just need Scintillas. I currently have H2O running on mine and it's superb.


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