Heavyweight amplifier showdown- Boulder 2160 v Wavac HE 833 mkII

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
6,416
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E. England
Forget about: osteopath...osteopathS (plural), physio pain clinic, and Scotland's leading orthopaedic surgeons on standby (if Brexit hasn't made them leave yet LOL).
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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London
Gavin, I heard the 2160 two years ago - Just before I started blogging http://zero-distortion.org/yg-hailey/ - here it was really good, one of the best SS amps I heard. And with some tuning surely could be turned in to the best.

Then, Gian and I heard it with the big TADs at the Italian distro's place http://zero-distortion.org/the-italian-over-the-top-road-trip/. It also had the Atlas going through the boulder phono on a Basis TT. Maybe too clean a sound, and some mismatch between the speakers and the amps, not sure. Luckily for us in the next room was the Tenor 75 OTL
 
Jul 2, 2015
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Red letter day today

My 2060 has returned ☄

Necessarily a short post as listening is all i want to do

Left her warming up while the dogs got a wiggle, then launched right in.
And straight away, I'm amazed

Began with the album 'this is all yours' by Alt-j

(which in itself tells a story to anyone tempted to write it off as all macro dynamics and slam.
Alt-j are acoustic, intimate, delicate, dreamlike)

And it seems like in the short time i was out someone came round and altered the dimensions of my living room.
It has become a cathedral, soft walled and without sharp edges, with all the breathiness and decay of a truly exceptional, massive, performance space

Breathtaking


More soon
Plus i can now get the ball rolling with my shootout
Hopefully your patience will be rewarded
 
Jul 2, 2015
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Jul 2, 2015
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I still have a pair of Ampex 805 tubes in my tube closet that I bought but never installed in the first Chinese 805 SET that convinced me I wanted to go to SET from PP tube. I suppose I should try to sell them rather than let them moulder, but I have so much stuff to sell that it gives me a headache to think about it so I just procrastinate. Coupla Wavacs, too.
I've just replaced the Amperex 12au7a's in the Wavac, with another set of the same. I find them quite delicious

May i ask what Wavac items you have surplus to requirements?
I might be in the market for another phonostage.... lcr-x2 perhaps.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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The Wavacs are known for their bass, because of their design. Can be as high as +7dB into 2 Ohms...
Max, I find your post puzzling. In the Michael Fremer review and related Stereophile test the Wavacs ran into serious distortion trouble at the lowest frequencies.
 

GMKF

VIP/Donor
Aug 15, 2017
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Max, I find your post puzzling. In the Michael Fremer review and related Stereophile test the Wavacs ran into serious distortion trouble at the lowest frequencies.
Harmonic distortion can/may add to the "audible presence" of a frequency band. The thing I was talking about was the frequency-response into 2 ohms/4ohms that the amplifier produces.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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Max, I find your post puzzling. In the Michael Fremer review and related Stereophile test the Wavacs ran into serious distortion trouble at the lowest frequencies.
think 'fat bass'. non-linearity's in bass performance can be perceived as bigger bass, the tougher the load, the greater the 'fatness'. like a Garrard 301 tt, it plays to particular musical types.
 
Jul 24, 2017
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I heard the Stern + Heisenberg pairing a few weeks' back fronted by a Lampi Golden Gate and driving Magico S3 Mk2's. They take a while to warm up but once they do, there is a lot of magic going on. Incredibly low noise floor, vast soundstage in all directions, great separation in instruments / vocals, very realistic timbre (esp for SS design), and effortless drive. Female vocals were particularly stunning.
In fact the combo is so good, it quickly revealed the limitations of the speakers and the S3's were clearly choking the whole system.
I should get to hear the CH L1 + M1 monos next month on my own speakers which should be interesting.
 
Jul 2, 2015
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I want to spend a fortnight getting used to the sound of my 2060 again first.
Since i will be paying somewhere in the region of a thousand pounds to audition the Wavacs i intend to make the most of my time with them
(They belong to a private individual)

I understand the 2160 is ready to go, but i may only have limited time with it, so again, i want to immerse myself in the 2060 first so i have a baseline to work from

When i began this thread i thought i would have the 2160 while my 2060 was serviced. For logistical reasons it didn't work out like that
 
Likes: bonzo75

Jlaz

New Member
Aug 22, 2015
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I believe that listening to the 2060 one would never think that you are hearing a SS design, but for the feeling of limitless-ness that Mike refers to. There are no restrictions, no bump stops to bounce off. This and the vast expanse of silence from which music springs would be the only giveaways that would cause you to conclude you weren't hearing valves.

I suspect you will redefine what you mean by a solid state listening experience. There are no negative giveaways, if you exclude the propensity to trip my house breakers maybe once every five times i power it up, the lights dimming as the soft start ramps up, and the visit to the oesteopath after moving it. Grain is completely absent, music flows with no restriction or slightest hint that electricity is involved, and with such exquisite delicacy that you will be struck by the incongruity of something so massive creating something so delicate

Ok let me have another go at that

When the 2060 is in play, i will never be driven to lunge for the volume knob because certain tracks sound a bit edgy when played loud. I will not find myself turning things down after a couple of hours at war volume because fatigue is setting in. I have never had another amp that i could say that for.

I predict your number one impression will be of effortless musicality, no matter your programme choice.
With dance music it is a force of nature, with acoustic music or solo performers it is intimate

Please forgive my mangled prose at this time of day
I just want to echo these thoughts regarding the 2060. While I admit that my vitus front end may imbue a certain tube-like sound (maybe?) the 2060 is just effortless and lacks all grain, it’s extremely detailed, yet relaxed, it reveals everything but simply plays what is on the disk. I remember when I decided I was going to get a boulder, my then dealer offered to let me hear the 2060 and I declined. Instead I was happy with the Boulder 1060 and either a 1010 or ARC ref 40. The 1060 was excellent, detailed, and there was some need to reduce the volume after an hour or two. It was detailed, nuanced, but not as relaxed.

For several reasons I did not end up with the 1060 or either the 1010 or arc ref 40. Several years later I had a chance to upgrade my boulder 865 and listened to the 2060 and the 2160. Ok, both are great. The 2160 is better, but to my ears, not night and day better. It was a bit faster but the 2060 was so similar. And the deal I was offfered made the 2060 a no brainer.

i made this upgrade 6 months ago. This amp is the final stop... or a keeper for the long haul. Maybe a 3060 — which is just a world beyond anything I have heard. I remover thinking the 2060 is just not a solid state amplifier. The idea of tubes versus solid state goes away and you hear music. I remember reading about this and it didn’t make sense, but I get it now. I hope that makes sense!
 
Jul 2, 2015
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I just want to echo these thoughts regarding the 2060. While I admit that my vitus front end may imbue a certain tube-like sound (maybe?) the 2060 is just effortless and lacks all grain, it’s extremely detailed, yet relaxed, it reveals everything but simply plays what is on the disk. I remember when I decided I was going to get a boulder, my then dealer offered to let me hear the 2060 and I declined. Instead I was happy with the Boulder 1060 and either a 1010 or ARC ref 40. The 1060 was excellent, detailed, and there was some need to reduce the volume after an hour or two. It was detailed, nuanced, but not as relaxed.

For several reasons I did not end up with the 1060 or either the 1010 or arc ref 40. Several years later I had a chance to upgrade my boulder 865 and listened to the 2060 and the 2160. Ok, both are great. The 2160 is better, but to my ears, not night and day better. It was a bit faster but the 2060 was so similar. And the deal I was offfered made the 2060 a no brainer.

i made this upgrade 6 months ago. This amp is the final stop... or a keeper for the long haul. Maybe a 3060 — which is just a world beyond anything I have heard. I remover thinking the 2060 is just not a solid state amplifier. The idea of tubes versus solid state goes away and you hear music. I remember reading about this and it didn’t make sense, but I get it now. I hope that makes sense!



Can i ask,
Have you heard / experienced a 3060?
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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London

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
6,416
67
48
E. England
Gavin, at these levels, it's deffo not just hearing, it's experiencing, like live music.

FWIW, I'm thinking of moving to 1.46W, maybe 2W, possibly stretching to 3.5W LOL!
 
Jul 2, 2015
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Well, my 'logic', or to be more precise 'man maths', goes along the lines of;
If 2160 isn't so much of an upgrade from 2060
And since 2160 is possibly ~ 60% the cost of 3060
Why not just settle in for the long haul, and save the extra 40% ?
 
Jul 2, 2015
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I must confess to being a little distracted at the mo. Had an attempted break-in here two weeks ago, police currently investigating so i can't give the full (blooded) account i am just dying to....hopefully once charges are brought and convictions gained i can regale you all with the tale....
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
6,416
67
48
E. England
Gavin, that's really too bad.

In this day and age where most consumer items weigh nothing and can be picked up w one hand e.g. mobiles, laptops etc, it would have been true justice had one of yr "guests" got a prolapsed disc trying to pinch yr Boulder.
 
Jul 2, 2015
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Innit :D
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
6,416
67
48
E. England
Gavin, my gear is 20' above ground level, accessed by tight spiral stairs.
It killed us getting stuff up there, esp the 120kg Stacore pallets NO LOL!

I salute (with a brick) any enterprising soul attempting to take it all back down.
 

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