Anyone hear the MA-3?

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
3,450
217
498
#1
How good is it really, beyond the marketing hype? Is it just an evolutionary improvement over MA-2, or is it revolutionary?
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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#2
If you are talking about the amp I think you are talking about, you would have to be glutton for punishment trying to care and feed for that many tubes. Yikes!
 

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
3,450
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#3
If you are talking about the amp I think you are talking about, you would have to be glutton for punishment trying to care and feed for that many tubes. Yikes!
As they say, if you are worried about the cost of gas, don't buy the car. Cooling the room, and the noise generated by that, is another story.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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#4
Caesar-Never mind the cost of the amp and the costs of the tubes, I would be more concerned with the reliability because there are 14 gazillion tubes that you have to worry about going south on you and I'm getting to the point of losing patience with tube amps for a number of reasons.
 
May 30, 2010
16,762
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Portugal
#5
Caesar-Never mind the cost of the amp and the costs of the tubes, I would be more concerned with the reliability because there are 14 gazillion tubes that you have to worry about going south on you and I'm getting to the point of losing patience with tube amps for a number of reasons.
Not with the Atmasphere's! The 6AS7 tubes they use are intrinsically reliable, last for long and when they occasionally break go in open circuit - you risk not noticing it! I have owned Ma50's and Ma2's and never had to replace a single component, even after some severe abuse took some several output tubes. I just had to replace them and it played again.

BTW, most tube problems are caused by poor tube quality or abuse - e.g. operating the amplifier with a not adequate speaker having low sensitivity or low impedance points. Most modern loudspeakers are designed to be used with solid state and are not tube friendly.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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#6
My speakers are 92dB efficient. I don't know what the impedance curve looks like though. I only buy output tubes from Upscale Audio. As far as tube quality, we are all at the mercy of the Chinese and Russians unless you are chasing NOS and good luck matching those.

If you are an Atma-Sphere fan and can afford the freight, sounds like you can't go wrong according to what you said. You might want to wait until he gets a few MKIs and MKIIs under his belt on this model before you jump in. Check out their website and you will see that they claimed a 90% reduction of full power distortion via one of their updates for the 3 series amp.
 

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
3,450
217
498
#7
Not with the Atmasphere's! The 6AS7 tubes they use are intrinsically reliable, last for long and when they occasionally break go in open circuit - you risk not noticing it! I have owned Ma50's and Ma2's and never had to replace a single component, even after some severe abuse took some several output tubes. I just had to replace them and it played again.

BTW, most tube problems are caused by poor tube quality or abuse - e.g. operating the amplifier with a not adequate speaker having low sensitivity or low impedance points.
My understanding that one of the main virtues of Atma-sphere amps is that they keep playing music without anyone noticing even if you remove or break a tube or several of the tubes.
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
6,171
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Boston, MA
#9
@caesar

Ralph Karsten explained it well on a'gon with an example: speakers that are designed to sound right in the treble region by being built for tubes (i.e. by expecting some high-frequency tube rolloff) they will sound harsh when mated with some solid state. Look up that (Wilson) thread, it's really interesting. Take this and extrapolate what people may mean when claiming that X is being built to mate with Y.
 

kkfan

Active Member
Jan 4, 2016
17
0
31
#10
So, after 6 years since this thread began, has anyone heard the MA-3? There are no reviews and no prices that I could find online.
Does anyone know how much a pair costs?
 

LetsMakeaDeal

Well-Known Member
Jul 16, 2011
19
27
353
#11
easy to find out

So, after 6 years since this thread began, has anyone heard the MA-3? There are no reviews and no prices that I could find online.
Does anyone know how much a pair costs?
Just email Ralph and ask. He is the most helpful guy in the industry....I am sure they are north of 100K in any event.
 

Brian Walsh

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2011
322
11
95
ttsetup.com
#12
So, after 6 years since this thread began, has anyone heard the MA-3? There are no reviews and no prices that I could find online.
Does anyone know how much a pair costs?
Very few exist, and I doubt that anyone has heard them. They go for roughly $147k/pair.

A pair were on static display at THE Show at the St. Tropez in Las Vegas in I believe January 2004. A sight to behold.

They are unique in that they have built in power conditioning and are capable of full output power even when the voltage out of the wall sags to as little as 100 volts. They also have built in tube testing. The 42 output tubes (6AS7G) in each are configured in 3 banks of 14 tubes each, which can be switched on or off depending upon listening conditions. Like all Atma-Sphere OTL amplifiers, there is a single stage of gain, no global feedback, and full Class A operation, all triode. The MA-3s put out 500 watts into virtually any load, yet they are pretty darn efficient, so heat output would be less than what you might guess.
 
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kkfan

Active Member
Jan 4, 2016
17
0
31
#13
Very few exist, and I doubt that anyone has heard them. They go for roughly $147k/pair.

A pair were on static display at THE Show at the St. Tropez in Las Vegas in I believe January 2004. A sight to behold.

They are unique in that they have built in power conditioning and are capable of full output power even when the voltage out of the wall sags to as little as 100 volts. They also have built in tube testing. The 42 output tubes (6AS7G) in each are configured in 3 banks of 14 tubes each, which can be switched on or off depending upon listening conditions. Like all Atma-Sphere OTL amplifiers, there is a single stage of gain, no global feedback, and full Class A operation, all triode. The MA-3s put out 500 watts into virtually any load, yet they are pretty darn efficient, so heat output would be less than what you might guess.


Thanks, Brian!

Sounds like a great product, especially considering a pure class A output of 500W into any load! That's like solid-state control with all the tube goodness.

If only there were reviews to understand how they sound...
 

ferrox

Well-Known Member
Jun 16, 2016
255
40
113
Jakarta, Indonesia
www.primes.asia
#14
I am using MA-1 mk3.3 long chassis and I heard the MA-2 before. They're simply amazing. But for the MA-3, I am also curious about how good it excels at its younger brothers.

So, after 6 years since this thread began, has anyone heard the MA-3? There are no reviews and no prices that I could find online.
Does anyone know how much a pair costs?
 

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