Is Nelson Pass saying very limited future improvement in Amps/Pre Amps?

Folsom

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#21
It seems to me to be a sort of acknowledgement that there has been no advancement in the devices themselves. They are just as non-linear as they have been over the last 90+ years since the first triode, which is still the most linear amplification device, was invented. Without a truly linear amplification devices, all amplifiers are trying to patch over that inherent non-linearity and many of the ways devised actually degrade the sound more than the core (low order) distortion...it is why the renaissance of triodes and SET in particular could even dream of making a comeback. Nelsons SE(Transistor) amps and simpistic designs is an admission that simpler is better than the sophisticated ways of making amps "linear".
Except he literally says he designs for some negative phase, because that's what audiophiles want.
 

853guy

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#22

morricab

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#24
Interestingly, Jack dumped the WAVAC not for SITs but for the Pass XA30.8. For the life of me I can't figure out why. I have heard the 30.8 on a pair of Odeon 32s and it got trounced by a KR VA350i by consensus of all three of us at the session.

I tried a similar concept a couple years ago with the NAT Symbiosis SE and it sounded kind of like what Jack described for the SIT but a good SET was clearly superior.
 

morricab

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#25
Not sure if that is only possible with SET or also with PP. However, tune all you like you cannot remove distortion inherent in nonlinear devices and no matter how "similar" a FET is to a triode, so far they are still less linear. This means a simple transistor amp will have a more complex distortion inherently by physics.
 

Folsom

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#26
Linearity of voltage is not the end all of everything. Again, even Pass likes negative phase.

Distortion is vanishingly low for voltage.

There is an argument made to be somewhere, but not with these. And hence the point Pass thinks the diminishing returns is a factor; and so that he likes to change subtle flavors.
 

morricab

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#27
Linearity of voltage is not the end all of everything. Again, even Pass likes negative phase.

Distortion is vanishingly low for voltage.

There is an argument made to be somewhere, but not with these. And hence the point Pass thinks the diminishing returns is a factor; and so that he likes to change subtle flavors.
Well, he may have reached the point where he thinks it is all subtle flavors but I go to shows, visit friends, swap stuff in and out of my system, do shootouts etc. and in many cases it is far more fundamental the changes heard swapping electronics...it can really be the difference between enjoyment and total boredom or annoyance. It might not be heard or felt immediately, although it often is, but it will definitely affect long term listening pleasure.
 

morricab

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#28
Actually, I don't see where in the interview he says explicitly that most people prefer the negative phase 2nd harmonic or that he himself does. You might infer this but I don't see it stated.
 

KeithR

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May 7, 2010
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#30
Interestingly, Jack dumped the WAVAC not for SITs but for the Pass XA30.8. For the life of me I can't figure out why. I have heard the 30.8 on a pair of Odeon 32s and it got trounced by a KR VA350i by consensus of all three of us at the session.

I tried a similar concept a couple years ago with the NAT Symbiosis SE and it sounded kind of like what Jack described for the SIT but a good SET was clearly superior.
Because he likes it better on his Devores. Not sure why your Odeons matter.
 

GMKF

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#33
I think there is still a lot of uncharted teritory with Class D or even Class H-G components...
Digtial Signal Processing to get rid of all the nastys....
But with "normal amp" concepts there is no possibility to make huge leap anymore. Only small adjustments that can represent a great improvment (It just will take years of work...)
 

cjfrbw

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#34
I used Wavac SET amps in the past. I still have them them and use one in Santa Cruz, delightful sounding amps.

In the main system, I replaced them to good effect with vintage VFET (SIT) amps fronted with directly heated triode drivers. It works a pip, and after warm up, I would bet any blindfolded listener would peg the result as ultra clean sounding tubes. More power, better dynamics, detail and space with a small sacrifice in that golden, lit up sound from the Wavacs.

I bought a First Watt M2 a couple of years ago out of curiosity and as a back up, 25watts class A going up to 40 watts at 4 ohms. I got a deal on it as a demo, but it arrived in a sealed box with all the papers and warranties, so I think it was actually new.

I only used the M2 once in a while to test and play with, but mostly it has sat idle. I thought the VFET amps sounded better, and although M2 had some alluring traits, I thought it sounded a little wonky and odd. I almost sold it, but kept it out of general laziness, like a bunch of other stuff I have that I have been too unmotivated to sell.

I thought one of my VFET amps may have had a problem recently. It didn’t, it was just a loose speaker cable, but I put the First Watt M2 in the system for a bit. I decided to give it a full court press audition at last, and left it on for a week. At times, I would listen to it playing just the midrange ribbons with the crossover (covering 350 Hz to 7000 Hz), at others, listening full range without a crossover using the Analysis Epsilon bass panels as full range speakers.

As a result, I have seriously upgraded my opinion of the First Watt M2. I gather it was never given the hours of run in it needed, and all of my brief turn ons never allowed it to break in. i do remember that I thought vocals had a see around the corners quality with M2. That quality was probably most epitomized years ago when I heard vocals on Steve Williams’ big Wilsons speakers with Lamm M3 amplifiers. The Lamms were warmer, but I was surprised the little M2 was able to catch that quality.

All the wonkiness disappeared after a couple of days. It is a smooth, detailed, and spacious amplifier. I can’t say it is worse than the VFET any more. The VFETs dominate in spatial location albeit with a lovely envelope of sweet sounding tonal decay. However, the M2 is fuller and where the VFET will decay sweetly, the M2 will punch. It seems that the VFET and M2 are different but equal on detail retrieval.

I lack the vocabulary to describe the M2. It is just different sounding than either tubed or transistor amps I have heard to the point of just saying it is unique to my experience. I sure wouldn’t call it very solid state sounding, but not tube, either.

One quality it has that I really like I can only describe as high contrast gloss. Where typical SS amps glare, gray, or smash the sound image up against an invisible 2 dimensional plane, the M2 remains three dimensional, but creates a bright contrast that is not at all glaring, it contains definition and information. This makes things like massed strings and brass sound very alive and life like. High frequencies and decays are brilliant and colorful.

Strange, I thought about selling the M2, but now I am going to keep it. So much for listening to stuff that hasn’t been broken in properly.