Better Than Class A amp?

Scott W

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Apr 20, 2010
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www.suprahifi.com
I personally like the look of the Anat III(male) better then the Sonja 1.3(female) myself :D
 

cjf

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Nov 19, 2012
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To the OP,

Would you be willing to provide a guesstimate in percentage of how much better you feel the Mola Mola amps sound compared to the Merrill Audio and Atsah offerings you had tested previously? I expect to hear that the Mola Mola is twice as good considering that its twice the price of its other NC1200 brethren.

If the Mola Mola is indeed head and shoulders above then I have a feeling Hypex kept many a tuning secret to themselves about the prepackaged NC1200 and the one used inside the Mola disguised to look like all the others :)
 

dallasjustice

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Apr 12, 2011
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To the OP,

Would you be willing to provide a guesstimate in percentage of how much better you feel the Mola Mola amps sound compared to the Merrill Audio and Atsah offerings you had tested previously? I expect to hear that the Mola Mola is twice as good considering that its twice the price of its other NC1200 brethren.

If the Mola Mola is indeed head and shoulders above then I have a feeling Hypex kept many a tuning secret to themselves about the prepackaged NC1200 and the one used inside the Mola disguised to look like all the others :)
I bought the Mola Mola Kaluga.
 

dallasjustice

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Apr 12, 2011
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I can't give you a percentage. I can just say I like it better.

It is not twice the price of the Veritas. It is twice the price of the Atsah.

To the OP,

Would you be willing to provide a guesstimate in percentage of how much better you feel the Mola Mola amps sound compared to the Merrill Audio and Atsah offerings you had tested previously? I expect to hear that the Mola Mola is twice as good considering that its twice the price of its other NC1200 brethren.

If the Mola Mola is indeed head and shoulders above then I have a feeling Hypex kept many a tuning secret to themselves about the prepackaged NC1200 and the one used inside the Mola disguised to look like all the others :)
 

TBone

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Nov 15, 2012
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what piques my interest with the Theta is that its designed by the same guy that brought us one of the very best class-a amps ever (DR-3) and founder of Classé audio, David Reich.
When people come to my place (initially), the very first thing they ALL notice/comment about are the two mono DR3's. Wouldn't matter if I had a naked starlet revolving on my turntable, those DR3 remain the topic of discussion. Alas, they are only as good as a their "Source" ... but ... no matter ... inevitably my system gets judged based on these inefficient, iconic monsters ... which so-happen reproduce the frequency extremes like ...

tb1

PS: When people come to my place (again), they then notice the starlet ...
 
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GuidoCorona

Well-Known Member
Apr 23, 2010
327
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173
Summerville (SC)
cjf, prices are as follows:

ATSAH -- $9K.
Merrill Veritas -- $12K
Mola-Mola Kaluga -- $18K.

There is no attempt to disguise the amplification module inside Kaluga... Bruno Putzeys -- NCore and Kaluga designer -- always made it clear that the Kaluga amplification module is an enhanced device, derived from NCore NC1200, not an NC1200 stock module.

G.
 

dallasjustice

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I have had them running 24/7 since I put the Kaluga amps in. As Guido predicted, the sound has changed. I wouldn't say it's a huge change but it's noteworthy since I would say it's an improvement; not that I hoped for such. The HF sound is tipping more and more in the direction of a very sweet and natural tube amp. The difference being that the mola mola doesn't give up any spatial or other musical detail in the process. These are the best amps I have ever owned. It's plain to hear they ARE better than class A or A/B. At least, the A or A/B amps I have had in my system. That's tall cotton.
 

GuidoCorona

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Apr 23, 2010
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Summerville (SC)
Hi Michael, I am not faintly surprised about your findings... How many hours do you have on Kaluga?
 

GuidoCorona

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Apr 23, 2010
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Hi Michael, you are probably 40% into the break-in process... Continue to keep us posted about Kaluga's evolution.... I suspect it will continue to get better and better for a spell.
 

flyer

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Dec 16, 2012
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Hi Michael, you are probably 40% into the break-in process... Continue to keep us posted about Kaluga's evolution.... I suspect it will continue to get better and better for a spell.
HI all,

Following the excitement displayed about some of you on the Kaluga, I took the chance of hearing a pair myself in my system. They are a demo-pair so well played in. System they were slotted into is Totaldac D1Server -> totaldac Monodac -> Mola Mola Kaluga -> Rockport Avior.

I normally have a pair of Lamm 1.2 Reference monoblocks as amplification so in fact I directly compared the Kaluga to the Lamm.

The result was one of rapid disillusionment I must admit; The kaluga is effectively quite sweet in voicing (not too much I found), has a good grip on bass and is extremely quiet. But, I lost a whole lot of music(ality) on the way; recording hall ambiance, timbres of voices and instruments, decay of notes, spatiality which all were several notches behind on what the Lamm has on offer.
I listened to parts of the following CD's; Voices (Da Pacem, Arvo Pärt, DSD edition), Cello (Bach sonata by Pieter Wispelwey) and Symphony (Mahler's second) in that order. After that I stopped listening because I already forced myself listening to the symphony...

Too bad I can't share the enthusiasm created for these units.
 

GuidoCorona

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Apr 23, 2010
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Summerville (SC)
Hi Flyer, undeniably, not every amp is to everyone's taste. On the other hand, how many hours of playing time did you give Kaluga before critical listening?

Even for a totally broken in NC1200 amp, it takes 2 to three days of grinding gravel -- processing assorted music and noisy rubbish -- for the amps to come back into their own after some travel time, or semiextended offline state.... 24 hours is bare minimum for NCore amps just inserted into a system.

Unfortunately, the fact that the units were deemed to be demos, does not necessirily imply that they were well broken in.... NC1200 breakin requires 1K hours.

G.
 

flyer

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Dec 16, 2012
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The amps were switched on for a total of 90 minutes or so of which the last 15 minutes I listened to them.

I agree and experienced the fact that (pre)amps get better after they kind of settled in but in this case, it would have had to become a wholly different amplifier. The settling in normally brings along things like a bit more sweetness, more linearity, faster response, tighter and/or lower bass etc. but what I heard was, in my opinion, so far off the/my mark that I wouldn't even go further.

I effectively assume they are played in when I received them, at least so I was told. They certainly don't look brand new. On the other hand, whether they had a 1000 hours or so on the counter... I can't really tell.

Tastes do differ, I agree wholly on that with you!
 

hifial

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Apr 8, 2013
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flyer, I am surprised, though I do not own the Kaluga I do own the Veritas and would expect them to have similar performance. I have found the Veritas to be of a very high standard. And not just in my system but in many others that are of very high quality.

Please do not misunderstand me, I do not mean to discount what you heard. Just trying to see if there is a reason other other then the amps performance.

Perhaps it might be one of the following that might be hindering the full potential of the Kaluga Amps.

1)They need to be run for some time if they were turned off for any length of time. Several hours if plugged in but turned off. If unplugged 6-8 hours if a short period and as much as a day or two if for a long period of time being unplugged.

2) Like many amps the power cable you use can have an effect on how well they perform. Can you try a different cable?

3) Some amps do not like to be plugged into a power conditioner and the NC1200 for the most part does not like it at all.

Just some suggestions if you are up to trying to make sure.
 

hifial

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Apr 8, 2013
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Guido beat me too it.

flyer, they can sound like a totally different amp after several days. Again I can only attest to the Veritas. And I agree that it might be just different tastes but what you describe sounds beyond that. It sounds like it is broken.
 

dallasjustice

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Apr 12, 2011
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What were you hoping the Kaluga could do that your Lamm can't do?

HI all,

Following the excitement displayed about some of you on the Kaluga, I took the chance of hearing a pair myself in my system. They are a demo-pair so well played in. System they were slotted into is Totaldac D1Server -> totaldac Monodac -> Mola Mola Kaluga -> Rockport Avior.

I normally have a pair of Lamm 1.2 Reference monoblocks as amplification so in fact I directly compared the Kaluga to the Lamm.

The result was one of rapid disillusionment I must admit; The kaluga is effectively quite sweet in voicing (not too much I found), has a good grip on bass and is extremely quiet. But, I lost a whole lot of music(ality) on the way; recording hall ambiance, timbres of voices and instruments, decay of notes, spatiality which all were several notches behind on what the Lamm has on offer.
I listened to parts of the following CD's; Voices (Da Pacem, Arvo Pärt, DSD edition), Cello (Bach sonata by Pieter Wispelwey) and Symphony (Mahler's second) in that order. After that I stopped listening because I already forced myself listening to the symphony...

Too bad I can't share the enthusiasm created for these units.
 

GuidoCorona

Well-Known Member
Apr 23, 2010
327
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173
Summerville (SC)
Hi Flyer, I have of course no idea if with more patience, in the end you would have enjoied Kaluga or not.... However, my experience with class D amplifiers -- I have fully broken in five pairs in my system -- is that their character is completely absent immediately after transportation or significant offtime.... And that without thorough break-in, they are less than enchanting.... Limited harmonic development, a little frgid, intermodulation anomalies here and there, unconvincing staging/imaging.

Unfortunately, Kaluga and its syblings are not instant gratifiers... It does take significant patience to uncover their magic. By the way, are you running balanced or single ended?

G.
 

flyer

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Dec 16, 2012
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Okay, as I still have them here, I will plug them in for 24 hours or so and then listen again and see if its change of character surprises me positively... it doesn't cost anything to do this extra test :)

I run balanced all the way. Power cables used are Transparent MM which are plugged in a conditioner (Gigawatt PC4) which in my experience does not limit dynamics, on the contrary but I will test the Kalugas plugged to the conditioner and unplugged and see if that makes a difference in my case.
 

hifial

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Apr 8, 2013
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Okay, as I still have them here, I will plug them in for 24 hours or so and then listen again and see if its change of character surprises me positively... it doesn't cost anything to do this extra test :)

I run balanced all the way. Power cables used are Transparent MM which are plugged in a conditioner (Gigawatt PC4) which in my experience does not limit dynamics, on the contrary but I will test the Kalugas plugged to the conditioner and unplugged and see if that makes a difference in my case.
flyer, if you can please indulge me. PLEASE try the AMPS plugged straight into the wall FIRST for those 24 hours, then if you like plug them into the PC later on.
Also if you can play music through them during those 24 hours (or place a load through them) that would be better then not.

It is not whether a power conditioner might limits dynamics, just that the tech in the NC1200 dose not benefit from the added conditioning except in rare cases. In most cases it robs the NC1200 of its attributes.
 

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