Better Than Class A amp?

GuidoCorona

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Apr 23, 2010
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Flyer, I recommend you have a signal going into the amps during this 24 hours mini break-in... Interstation Hash from an FM radio tuner at moderate volume is ideal. G.
 

flyer

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Flyer, I recommend you have a signal going into the amps during this 24 hours mini break-in... Interstation Hash from an FM radio tuner at moderate volume is ideal. G.
Hello Guido and all,

I went quiet for a few days as I wanted to comply with the recommendations you and others made, being not to evaluate the product before it has been on and working for a considerate amount of time.

I have done that now and the units have been on for 36 hours or so (though only part of that is playing music).
My conclusion is: I am happy I reported my findings on this forum because I would have returned the units with a quite different opinion (as stated above). In other words,

- I agree the (very) long warm-up is mandatory and paying off in sonic improvement, more than I could have imagined
- the Kaluga did eventually ascend a different sonic league (compared to when it was 'cold')
- they do come close to the Lamm 1.2R and even improve on the bass above all but maybe my system is not optimal for including the Kaluga (see below)

Another finding; when plugged into the wall, it plays very good but when plugged into my Gigawatt PC4, it plays even better showing above all a very noticeable amount of extra depth in the music bringing it substantially closer to the holographic or 3D soundstaging I am looking for, and without loosing dynamics. The latter is even on the contrary, as the perception of the ambiance has increased the perceived micro-dynamics of it has increased as well.

So eventually soundstaging is close to what the Lamm 1.2R has to offer, the dynamics is as good and the bass grip even better.
The timbre of voices and instruments is still behind though, again not much, and not comparable to my first test but not fully up to par with the Lamm (which costs at least double the money!)

Last two remarks on the Mola Mola Kaluga; there is a slight projection of sound, if you are sitting quite close like myself (3 meter) from the loudspeaker, this may be at times disturbing, at least with my installation because my Aviors are very revelatory. Last remark is that an amplifier that takes so long to warm up is not very practical to say the least.

Other than that, very glad to have done the second test, very surprised of the outcome but I did hand the units back. If I would have had a preamp in my system, the outcome could have been even more positive, especially if that preamp would have added a small tube(-like) voicing to the timbres... little chance they would have left.
 

GuidoCorona

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Apr 23, 2010
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Thank you Flyer, the improvement that you reported is what I expected for the short 36 hours settling down that you allowed. If you had the patience to continue break-in until the devices stabilized, feeding music or white noise 24/7, I expect the further audible enhancement would have been massive instead, including the complete reabsorption of any artifacts, such as forwardness, treble intermodulation, etc...

G.
 

dallasjustice

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Apr 12, 2011
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Total package

Maybe the Dartzeel had more sweetness. Maybe the Krell 900e had more liquidity and maybe the Soulution 710 had more x-ray transparency. The Kaluga isn't the "best" at anything much like an iphone doesn't have the best camera, highest resolution screen or most processor power. IMO, the Kaluga has a combination of amp characteristics that are rare if not impossible to find in one amp. In any of these categories it's up there and very competitive. When I factor in the absolute black noise floor, never heard before dynamics and absolute control in a low heat, light weight and beautiful package, its a compelling proposition.
 

audio.bill

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May 27, 2013
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Maybe the Dartzeel had more sweetness. Maybe the Krell 900e had more liquidity and maybe the Soulution 710 had more x-ray transparency. The Kaluga isn't the "best" at anything much like an iphone doesn't have the best camera, highest resolution screen or most processor power. IMO, the Kaluga has a combination of amp characteristics that are rare if not impossible to find in one amp. In any of these categories it's up there and very competitive. When I factor in the absolute black noise floor, never heard before dynamics and absolute control in a low heat, light weight and beautiful package, its a compelling proposition.
That sounds like a very reasonable and well considered impression of these amplifiers. They all offer different perspectives and have various strengths when compared against each other. And that's why it's great that we have so many good choices in equipment these days, because we all have different priorities and expectations for our individual systems to achieve.
 

flyer

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The Kaluga isn't the "best" at anything
Moreover, what is 'best' for you may ('will' is a better word:D) be different for someone else. My final conclusion remains that these amps are a wonderful combination indeed.

Anyone tried the preamp of Mola Mola and found out what it brings to the table in combination with the monoblocks?
 

GuidoCorona

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Apr 23, 2010
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Has anyone compared Mola-Mola Kaluga and Merrill Veritas in their own system?

Guido
 

dallasjustice

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Why distortion matters?

I have tried very hard to reduce all kinds of distortion in my system. The gear I use is part of the equation and the room is the rest. I make use of modern technology where it makes sense. I've learned that the lower my overall system's distortion gets, the more dynamic and hence realistic it becomes. Don't kid yourself; any system that seeks realism MUST be VERY dynamic because real music is very dynamic. I believe overall system distortion is THE thing that tells our brain when to turn it down.

Unfortunately, most amps struggle with dynamic music. How many times have you only heard the soft jazz trio at the highend dealer or at the audio show? Big and dynamic music is the ultimate system test. There's no doubt the Mola Mola are key to delivering ultimate dynamics and realism.

Michael.
 
I'm new to this forum and this thread. I'm a audio DIYer of a little over 45 years. Bought up on tubes then SS then back to tubes (and some more SS) now Class D.

I just built two Class D amps based on the Sure Electronics modules. First one the 100W module and now the 500W module. I liked the Sound of the 100W but it appeared to run out of gas and get harsh when cranked, not that I play my classical music loud. The 500W module has no limits to its dynamics or power. And it scales perfectly with no sign of strain or displaying any short comings.

In both amp I built robust linear PSs. This is the secret to great sounding Class D amps. If you run them on SMPSs then the amp will never sound it's best. The 500W amp, I named "ROBUSTO", I based the PS on two 300W toroids which combined can deliver 16A continuos. The bridge rec is rated 35A and has a substantial heat sink. 40,000uf of Nippon Cem caps provide smoothing and storage. The amp runs for 30 seconds when turned off. Lol. The amp is housed in a pro 19" rack mount steel enclosure which has bitumised heavy Al attratch for dampening. Looks smart. RCAs are gold plated and speaker binding posts solid brass and gold plated.

Soundstage is ridiculous, imaging is etched in marble. Bass is huge and articulate and treble sweet, clean and clear and extends forever. Reverb, Echo and decay go on for ever. I understand distortion is something like 0.01% or better. I would recommend the 500W which I calculate will deliver about 200Wpc into 8ohms continuous. The PS is capable of delivery over 800W.

http://retro-thermionic.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/robusto-500w-class-d-power-amp.html
 
Sure Electronics 500W "ROBUSTO" Class D

I posted this reply but it didn't seem to appear. Ill try again:

I built a 100W and 500W Sure Electronics Class D amp using the Sure modules. I liked the sound of the 100W module but found when I cranked the volume just a little sound quality suffered. Liking the sound of my first Class D amp I went for the 500W module which cost about AU$106 landed. This module is heavier and far better built than the 100W module.

I called the 100W amp "Mirage" and the 500W amp "ROBUSTO". In both amps I built robust PSs and all linear. This IS the secret to get the very best from Class D amps. You cannot achieve the same sound quality, spirit, flow and passion of music with SMPSs. As I said I was happy with the sound of the 100W amp (and so were others who heard it) but I felt when pushed it got harsh. ROBUSTO exceeds all musical qualities of Mirage. It is in a whole new Class (pun intended) of its own.

I have built dozens of tube and SS amps. My current 300B SE cost over AU$3K in parts alone. My three systems are 90% DIY. ROBUSTO outperforms everything I have ever built. The PS is made up of two 300VA toroids which can deliver a constant 16A! The rec. bridge is rated 35A and sits on a substantial heatsink. There is 4 X10,000uf of Nippon Cem 63V electrolytic caps. The smoothing and storage caps are snubbed with 10uf , 0.1uf and 0.01uf snubbing caps. The first audio path return cap in the PS is a poly. The caps or linked by 4mm of pure silver wire. Solid core copper wire connects the amp module to gold plated heavy RCAs. Solid brass gold plated speaker binding post are connected by oxygen free heavy copper wire.

I'm telling you all this because I want you to know this is a substantial build. The PS is capable of over 800W continuous. The amp plays for 30 seconds once turned off. The enclosure is a 19" rack steel rack mount the lid of which is lined with bitumanised heavy Al foil. It weighs over 10kg (22lb).The amp has its own RFI\EMI power filter internally and I run it always with a DC blocker.

The sound is pristine, clean, clear and full of emotion. Bass is extended and articulate and with the output impedance being parts of an ohm, iron fist control of the woofer. Play the amp as loud as you like it has no limits and scales perfectly. Never a sign of strain, compression or stress. Treble (a triangle in a dense orchestral piece at full tilt is heard perfectly clear) is extended and bright and siblence is perfect no "sh" just "ss".

I could write a book about the sound stage. The imaging is etched in marble and soundstage is 3D! Voices are natural and all acoustic instruments sound textured and complex. Best amp I have ever built. In real world terms I would say this amp will do 200W RMS into 8ohms both channels driven with much less than 1% THD. At a few watts (impossible to play this amp quietly it begs you to go louder and it just gets better) I understand THD is 0.01% or less. I'm thoroughly impressed. Anyone want to buy a good 300B SE?

Assembled_I.jpg Finished_I.jpg Finished_II.jpg Assembled_II.jpg
 
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DonH50

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Jun 23, 2010
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Nice looking build!

YOu hit upon a key point. Class D amplifiers are generally much more sensitive to power supply noise than conventional amplifiers. Good candidates for regulated output rails, easier said than done...
 

KeithR

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May 7, 2010
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Unfortunately, most amps struggle with dynamic music. How many times have you only heard the soft jazz trio at the highend dealer or at the audio show? Big and dynamic music is the ultimate system test. There's no doubt the Mola Mola are key to delivering ultimate dynamics and realism.
I agree, Michael- although I went with high efficiency speakers to make this easier to implement. Next time I'm in Dallas, would love to stop by and hear the fruits of your hard work- saw Albert's big rig my last trip over Christmas. Quite good.
 
I mentioned there was a secret to getting the best from your Class D builds. The first secret or tip is in two parts; 1- only ever use a linear PS, 2 - throw a huge amount of capitance at the PS. 10,000uf will work but will not give the best results. 30,000 is better and 40,000uf is better again. And snub the storage caps with 10uf, 0,1uf and 0.01uf polies.

The second second tip is needed because Class D gets untidy very quickly when the wick is turned up. Even for moderate to quiet listening I would suggest at least a 100W module. These will only produce about 30W into 8ohms. For volumemetric, big listening nothing under a 500W module.

So big robust, over filtered snubbed PS and a module far in excess of what you think you need. Just my two cents worth.
 

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