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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Low powered, classy Class A alternatives... or the quest for a "Very low noise amp for Horn System"














It's all in the post title, pals...

A low watts, no-feedback (read=near to zero) high building and sonic quality TRUE, pure Class A solid-state power-amp is as rare as a four-leaf clover.

Names like (U.S.) Bedini 10 and 25W or Hiraga Le Classe A 20 or 30W from France, or Marantz/Esotec MA-24 30W or Pioneer M-22 25W or original Mark Levinson 25W are among the VERY few names which come to my mind, but we're in the vintage/pre-owned realm.

So... what's available on the present market?

... not an easy task, folks...

OMTEC CA25V2 25W monoblocks... nice...

VALVET A 3.5 50W monoblocks... great...

SATRI AMP-5513 stereo 35W... superb...

... and...

?

The deep, deeeeep pockets music lover could go for a full combo using the above for multiamping, instead of having to browse and search for eons and surfing the Web for minty, unmodified original Hiraga's... virtually disappeared everywhere: I spent about three years to find my own five Le Classe A!

Worth saying that, if browsing for "Hiraga" on eBay, a bunch of artisans, usually from Latvia or other Baltic republics, are feeding the market with nicely built, reasonably priced amps, so-called "Hiraga" design/concept...

Mixed reports says they sounds nice to great... only beware a Class A power amp is a strange beast: Jean Hiraga-san carefully and tirelessly fiddle around this VERY circuit and project for years, and the choice of properly sized and quality caps is paramount... if he used in the 30W 1.456.000 microfarads capacity, there is a reason: my ears tell me every day;-)

The much cheaper 20W "only" sports a 456.000 microfarads capacity and it sounds vastly less dynamic and pronto than its bigger bro.

DIY-er around goes for smaller, cheaper below-specs, chinese/no-name caps and the sound is below-par, of course... a top-quality BHC Group's Evox/Rifa PEH 169-HV622VM, Finland-made, 25V 220.000 microfarads large Coke-sized cap is worth EUR 200+ (plus V.A.T.) each!

... a 330.000 microfarads... well, it's more;-)!!!

So, if going DIY - a much rewarding practice, as the (Hiraga) circuit is really gonzo-proof, if respecting transistors offset, proper cabling and cooling, etc. - should be headed as the building of "the" last amp on Earth;-) - no compromise and best quality components.

Ears will appreciate.



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