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In Reply to: RE: Serious Stereo SE 2A3 : RMAF video ... posted by deathtube 667 on January 26, 2017 at 15:28:05
Sorry to burst anyone's bubble but I did hear a couple of pair from different years and although they are good I really didn't see them as anything I haven't owned or built myself. I'm sure Jeff will challenge this because he thinks the world of Dennis Fraker and his accomplishments but I didn't hear what he hears.
I have no doubt you have better sounding amplifiers. A DIY amp after a few refinements gets tuned to your tastes.
I use a PP design that sounds like single ended- go figure. I use the best parts & tubes. I am sure my amps sounds as good if not better than the SE 2A3 due to it satisfies my tastes.
I never implied mine are better. I am more or less saying that for what he charges for his builds the price doesn't justify the sound. At least to me. I heard a couple of his amps. But I think maybe with the associated equipment maybe I don't get the same results. I think a lot of people when they spend numerous amounts on something they have to in their own mind(s) justify the expense to themselves so therefore they are made to believe it is superior. I always go in with an open mind and to spend $14K or so on a pair of amps that will never give you anything more than a 2A3 tube can give is way over the top for me.
I guess possibly Dennis and Jeff hear something different than I do or don't.
Some people have money to burn and know nothing about DIY. So, there are buyers of his amps. Just not for you.
It's just amazing that there are those that think those amps are the end all and be all. And remember he is a DIY guy as well. Unless he is a licensed business. His amps are way over priced anyway for what they are.
What is better for less money from an amplifier manufacture is the question.
Yup, awesome sounding amps for sure. I own a pair but paid "only" about $4,800 for mine used. I had an older pair( newer ones do sound "better) and the newer models I now have. I purchased both used for under 5K. His price for a new pair are way out of my range but for a 75% discount , I'm in heaven. Cant miss, and yes for me after owning over 40 different SETs over the years they rank up there , but I must agree, there is a limit as to what I can justify as "cost". With 2 still in college my limit for ANY amp is about 5K.
You paid 4800 for a used pair of 2A3 mono blocks that we are listening to in the video? How much are they new?
"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken
To me, even 5K for an amp is over the top for me but if it does what you want it to do then it does. But again, how does one justify spending the initial amount so you can get a deal of $5K used and realistically how many are out there? You don't see them come up too often for sale used. So either there aren't that many or they are that good. I personally can't see even spending what you did.
I saw the posting Dennis made to me and although he says a lot there are still very little parts to justify $14K or so for a pair of new amps.
It's not a question of better. Can one be happy with say a $3K amp as compared to a $14K amp? I would say so! I never saw what it takes to build one but come on! $14K? There is really nothing in parts to an SET amp. In my opinion how do you justify the expense and then Jeff just made a post that the newer versions are way better. What could have been done to it to make it better? Think about it. An SET is an input tube and an output tube with a way to couple the two together(either direct, interstage, or cap), a power transformer(even custom made can't be all that much), and an output transformer, a chassis, and some extra hardware. Now what is the expense here? I would bet on a high end the total cost of parts is $1K or less.
I'm sorry Dennis and Jeff. I just don't see it! Maybe you can clarify!
Just a few words of caution here-- I appreciate what you're
saying-- all of us must be practical after all.
You are, however, making too many assumptions here:
(1) That a few simple parts will get you a good S.E. amp.
I'm afraid NOT!
Every S.E. I ever bought lacked "fun-factor"-- while having an emotional
"connection to music", they lacked DRIVE, PACE, RHYTHM and ultimate wide-band dynamics.
They just DID NOT WORK for me.... that is for me.... I understand that
S.E. operation DOES connect one to music better than Push/Pull.
I think that is a given that we all know and love.
But, that's not enough for me. I wanted POWER, GLORY, DYNAMICS.
I also wanted that wide-band (musical wide-band area) that a good Push/Pull has that S.E. amps did NOT have.. the S.E.'s truncated ultimate highs, and made a totally fake-- kind of bass-- euphonic, but not really following the musical groove at all....
That's OK if you like jazz, or human voices, but what if you like a
good marching band, as I do, and what if you like fast-paced fun-music
such as a good Polka Band? What if you're hooked on the internal dynamics of a good Concert-Grand piano, being played fast, hard, and dynamic by a
young, "hot" genius?
That is High-Power, Push/Pull territory-- normally.
But, I wanted a LOW POWER S.E. to do ALL THAT.
Getting the requisite speakers to handle that was Job One, so I built those... for myself at first.
I had to have very low signal losses, so I knew I had to get rid of
all signal impediments-- so Line-Stages got the boot real quick.
I tried all sorts of passive preamps-- they all lacked dynamics, so I
built one that is VERY dynamic. How? Stopped signal losses at every turn.
Cables and interconnects. Another severe problem area. I fixed that with Siltech, Kimber, and Mil-Spec conductors, carefully applied.
Amplifiers? I had to have all of those well-preserved signal sources reproduced accurately with all dynamics intact. Dynamics? Well, first, power supplies had to respond very quickly to signal demand and they had
to have the ability to provide heavy momentary currents into a load-- if that wasn't done fast enough, and couldn't re-charge fast enough, the music wouldn't flow as it should.
Special chokes were engineered, power transformers were way over-specced.
Power losses were addressed with heavy-gauge Siltech silver, and leads
to everything were made short. Parts were placed where they worked best,
and interfered least. No wire was allowed to be near any other wire, or
allowed to come close to anything..... All sorts of skew-angles were developed, along with 3-dimensional hand-wiring, which necessitated a deep chassis. Photos will show these advanced construction methods as
s "Rat's Nest"-- they're not-- they are what is necessary.
All of these parts can't be ty-wrapped, they can't be bolted down, they
can't touch, or be near ANYTHING else, and wiring can't be neatly bundled
together, or your amp will DIE sonically.
Parts count is large because all capacitors are either Oil-Filled, or super-quality Tin, or Silver, or Silver/Gold/Oil types or are Dynamicaps.
Since there are no coupling caps, all of these caps are used at power supply usage points and for cathode bypassing. The number of these not-so-cheap caps is typically, 32 to 40 units per amp. This changes over time as some caps are no longer manufactured, and others take their place. Some really good capacitors may require only 3 or 4 smaller bypasses, another may require up to 7 or 8. Trying to build a S.E. amp that can compete with the best (and much simpler to build) Push/Pulls just doesn't happen unless you accomplish a smooth, wideband result at every cathode, and at every tube's plate supply.
Of course, you have to mount your iron transformers. You can just bolt them onto something like everybody else, and suffer the loss of at least half of your music, or you can spend some money and mount all iron on stepped brass tripods. This has to be heavy hardware, or your transformers can shake loose if your amps are shipped. It's all brass, and there's a LOT of it! All of this has to come from the few suppliers who still sell it-- or, if you're in a large city, you will find SOME of it locally....
There's lots more to tell you-- but at least you now know that a good S.E. Is not going to come cheap!
I appreciate all your information and one day when I get the sheckles to spare I will bring home a pair of your amps for keeps to give them a more serious going over. I am not at all saying that a few good parts will make an amp/preamp/speaker sound good. What I did say is how can one justify an expense that great on something with so few parts as compared to other amps out there with far more parts. Forget the sound! What in your amps justifies the cost? In an SET there is so few parts as compared to others out there. Just the way the amp is made. Then when you get it the way you want it you can do better? Maybe I would spend $2K-$3K tops and that is a stretch.
I just went over my cost sheets, using the latest wholesale prices.
My price for a pair, delivered in USA with cryoed, shielded power cords, all tubes, and INSIDE USA shipping, paid by me is $18,750.00/PR.
I made less than $1500.00 on the last pair. I really don't wish to work that cheap-- there's a lot of time involved in building these.
New prices are going to be higher, that's just the world we all have to live with. I've been doing this for requests since 1989-- I can't afford
much advertising. I won't cheapen this amplifier, so its costs are not
going to come down unless parts prices, fabricator costs, procurement costs, and more, come down. They're built this way for those who really want their performance. The developed World is now a Socialist Boot Camp. While cheap producers, using cheap labor, and military suppliers can currently provide cheap parts, they don't have the know-how we do in audio, and while enthusiasts can and do use these parts, I DON'T WANT THEM-- I want THE best, and I know where to find it..
We NEED those world's best parts, and we NEED expensive American know-how, fabrication and expensive labor. ULTRA expensive Government costs and over-stretched interferences in business in the USA are becoming a direct threat against trying to produce things here-- anything.
I would get this technology while you can, or get smart and go Push/Pull. It's MUCH cheaper and less complex to build push/pull -- if you really intend to build S.E. RIGHT.! Things are not what they seem-- they ARE what they ARE.
If you're going to limit your expenses to even less than $8500.00 or so, then I strongly recommend Push/Pull amplifiers of more power.
Ordinary S.E. amplifiers can't compete with them. I only build this
way-- so S.E. WILL compete because people request that.
A set of DF's amps should be priced in the $45k or greater price range.
Not only material cost but all the R&D since 1989 refining the circuit should be considered.
I do agree with R and D being considered in the cost. But at what cost does it ever stop. Audio research is known for just that issue. As you pay for a product from them at the register they are already sending you a card in the mail for the latest upgrade. Or the latest R and D. If you have a good product at what point does it stop or does the cost not justify the benefits. I am sorry to say but I don't agree that point where R and D never stops and it has to be paid for for the entire life of the product.
Each time period one can say an improvement was made. But what it really. I really don't think the human ear can pick up what is being said about something.
I am certain DF's products are real good. But to justify that expense? Never in my lifetime.
I had a chance to buy an older pair of his amps at $3K and I turned it down because I never thought his amps are any better than what I own. But again! Maybe it's the associated equipment that makes it what it is, which I don't own.
I forget the builder(Bruce Berman I think) but he designed a 76 preamp to match with his horn system and in his house with his other equipment it sounded great. I built the same exact version the same exact way right down to the screws and it didn't do it for me with my equipment. I then put it into a friends system and he bought it from me. It too, sounded great with his equipment.
Point is! I do believe that along with DF's great amps it just might be the preamp(if one is used) and his speakers, room, and any associated things that make it all come together. I am not too sold on the wires issue but I am sure they do play a certain part in the sound. But to spend that kind of money on an unknown in one's system. Not in my lifetime unless maybe they can be demoed at the place I listen, which I am doubting they can be.
Not much to say about that. It is what it is! All I can say is good luck. I did hear two pair and I was not all that thrilled for what has to be spent to get them although in general they are good. But not at that cost. I am quite satisfied with my much less expensive but really good sounding equipment. I am in a position to buy them, thank you! But again! Why? Nothing! And I mean nothing! Is there to justify $18,500. Even if it was built by another who would get paid. I'm sorry! I am a businessman in the labor trade so I do know costs as well as anyone. Even Trump!I know American(which I prefer when I can) as compared to outside the U.S. and even all American parts and labor doesn't warrant those numbers. God bless anyone who wants to spend that and can.
I would love to see your cost sheet to build a set of them. The labor doesn't matter. Unless you are getting ripped off(which I doubt) the total cost parts only on a high end for each amp might be $1K. So two of them is double that. Labor another grand each and that's a huge amount of labor. So about $13K profit at selling them for $18,500? Not in my lifetime!
> Nothing! And I mean nothing! Is there to justify $18,500.
> I would love to see your cost sheet to build a set of them.
> The labor doesn't matter. Unless you are getting ripped off
> (which I doubt) the total cost parts only on a high end for
> each amp might be $1K. So two of them is double that. Labor
> another grand each and that's a huge amount of labor.
> So about $13K profit at selling them for $18,500? Not in my lifetime!
Boutique business have nothing to do with reasonable price/features/quality ratio. It's all about selling fetishes (usually a hackwork made by amateur tweakers) for a hefty profit.
BTW, SET amp is damn primitive technology backdated to 193x. From the point of view of electronic engineering, all that staff with silver wires is a laughingstock.
Still Mr. Guru,
That kind of profit? There are those that don't make that money in a years labor before taxes.
Why are you picking on Dennis?
Just because he charges more then you think does not make it wrong, There are lots of hidden small stuff that adds up real quick, not saying its justified but its the truth.
Dennis may have an Asian market, these guys would turn there noise up if it was 7k/pair and would not be expensive enough, this I have heard from a few other smaller manufactures... this is FACT. on top of it all the Asia is where the money is
If you guys calm down and listen to what Jeff and Dennis have been telling you..you too could build a similar design/reap the bennies.
plus its not necessarily the cost of the parts that make the cost of the piece, its Years of experimentation .....let me repeat YEARS OF EXPERIMENTATION.
With all that said I could never afford to buy but if you are a good reader/listener you can pick up VERY important information that Jeff/Dennis have been so kindly given.
> Why are you picking on Dennis?
I'm picking on bullocks and nonsense.
> If you guys calm down and listen to what Jeff and Dennis have
> been telling you..you too could build a similar design/reap the bennies.
If humanity would follow these two we would have electronics on the level of 193x.
Someone have tweaked 90 year old tech and now advertise themselves as prophets and only the source of truth in audio. Pitiful peacockery.
BTW, Jeff is already banned on DIYAudio.com.
Too many people get tired of junk science.
Wow.... you know what they "say"
You can't reason with STUPID so why are we even having this conversation LOL No offence, but keep it up and you will certainly not be taken serious
DENNIS IS SERIOUS
Now if you want to get ahead of the game you could ask SERIOUS questions instead of your typical JUNK science repetitive ....Let me also say there is nothing JUNK about DENNIS AMPS for the NON DIY guys his amps have a place.
you or I can build listen UP and reap the bennies ask SERIOUS questions be happy stop all the negativity.
I find it amusing that after drinking the Serious Stereo kool-aid, the acolytes start using upper case more frequently to show their allegiance. It's like wearing team colors. They then begin to use terms like junk science to indicate they know nothing of the realities of actual science. They then move to the "You wouldn't understand because it's new and secret" approach. Etc.
If a product is really the best of it's type by such a large margin, it will require no defense because it will be recognized as such by many and not just by a few secret society members.
> DENNIS IS SERIOUS
> Now if you want to get ahead of the game you could ask
> SERIOUS questions instead of your typical JUNK science repetitive
Serious question - no problem! Look at the one of the posts above.
$1000 powder coated top plate - is that joke or one extra "0" left after $100?
I'm ordering machinery parts regularly, including expensive with precision down to microns. Nowhere on planet Earth primitive top plate could be priced at $1000, unless made of silver, platinum or gold. CNC plasma cut is one of the cheapest way to process sheet metal, it cost close to nothing.
I have 2 powder coating facilities nearby, they'll sand blast and powder coat mid-szie parts like rim wheels for 25 - 30 Euro / pc. For 2 chassis boxes complete + 2 top plates it will be 80 - 100 Euro for custom color from Dupont.
$1800 for brass nuts / bolts / washers / standoffs?
These are standard mechanical parts, sold literally by weight. $20 - $30 per amp may be.
And finally, you can send a piece of wisdom (attached) to any university having courses of electronics and ask, how serious it is. You'll be surprised !
Never implied his builds are junk so I don't know where that came from. No one ever said his stuff isn't serious. All I said was to justify the expense.
This is-- without reservation-- the STUPIDEST POST I have ever read!
"A Man Without Imagination Is A Prisoner-- Trapped In His Own Mind".
I guess you don't read your own posts.
On March 12, 2013 You posted
"Music applies literally thousands of signals [to the grid of a SET output tube biased at 60ma plate current] contained within the 120 ma. envelope, but [the plate current] can reach peak currents of hundreds of amperes."
Can you explain what in the world you were talking about?
There is one explanation, one real thing that you might have been thinking of, that makes you look a little less like a crazy person. (But still wrong)
I will give you a chance to tell me what it is before I tell everyone.
When I do, it will show how little you understand about audio electronics.
I forgot about this post of yours.
"The MORE microphonic a tube is, the MORE sensitive to music's changes it is."
Have Fun and Enjoy the Music
"Still Working the Problem"
not so many times, but the few I did see where quite spectacular...:)
Recall if you will the a-a/2 or a-a/4 loading for Class A operation discussion...:)
Friend, I would not hurt thee for the world...but thou art standing where I am about to shoot.
"the a-a/2 or a-a/4 loading for Class A operation discussion"
Yes, I remember it well.
Have Fun and Enjoy the Music
"Still Working the Problem"
I suppose I could top them all and tell you, 'SE makes more sense to me', or 'I am building a Dennis amp, with higher transfer efficiency'...:)
Friend, I would not hurt thee for the world...but thou art standing where I am about to shoot.
I really didn't want this to get where it got but I guess without me thinking it did. I do appreciate you responding though. You are a wealth of knowledge that I do trust, as with others.
The only thing I didn't understand is that there aren't that many Serious Stereo products out there and how can one justify the expense he is asking for what he manufactures when I do know a bit about the cost of things. whether is be foreign or domestic. As for the real and not real of audio, that I can't answer. I am no where near the league of you guys out there. That is why I rely on yours, and others thoughts.
And! All I can say is that I did hear two pair of his 2A3 amps from different years and although they sounded good, I didn't feel they were any better than what I've owned in the past and heard. For far less $$$$$. And if you and others noticed I never said his products weren't any good. I just questioned the cost.
> All I can say is that I did hear two pair of his 2A3 amps from
> different years and although they sounded good, I didn't feel they
> were any better than what I've owned in the past and heard. For far
> less $$$$$. And if you and others noticed I never said his products
> weren't any good. I just questioned the cost.
People time to time think that if they buy comparable thing for 5x price, they will get 5x value (of some kind). This is certainly true with gold and diamonds. When it comes to simple tech like audio electronics, anything above certain price point is anything but someone else PROFIT. Nothing bad, just the free market.
BTW, if you wish to acquire custom product for reasonable price, you can go to diyaudio.com, one can find there many reputable builders from USA and Canada.
Since you are in a SET league, arrange a visit to someone owning 4P1L based SET amp with filament bias. Quite possible this is something that may suit your sonic preferences.
Web site for your 4P1L reference, it's owner living in Europe / UK however.
Obviously this forum is not a market for expensive products. To some, Serious Stereo amp is rip off and to some a bargain of a century . Accept it. I may have opinion that all of you guys are overpaid and do not deserve the status you have. You can't be THAT much better than a Chinese sweat shop engineer.
My big beef is with restaurants. I mean , how much I have to spend on dinner to get something better than average person would have little problem cooking with a help of youtube? $100 does not cut it.
People are multiplying, institutions are going Criminal/Gangster, (what else if you don't PRODUCE anything of consumable value)? and
a good sandwich is going synthetic, and is becoming poisonous.
Of course, the price is climbing as well-- WAIT! That's actually wrong--
the REAL price is declining, but in numbers, it is accelerating.
The money/numbers is Going South as politicians and those who vote for them are soaking the average working guy for the crumbs that are left as the system becomes Socialist and non/producing.... and attracts more and more freebies collectors of the few working men's production crumbs that are still left.
Of course, the MONEY NUMBER on everything is going up, but the actual
PRICE is going down-- way down as the money declines in value faster than the prices can be increased..
This means that producers-- of everything basic are pushing REAL quality
and costs down, but are pushing PERCEIVED quality up-- to make up sales
volume in order to have to cut quality as little as possible..
Food is going to become simple: raise your own in co-operation with
people who will help raise it, and with people who have the land to get it done.
If you're in a city, think of ways to have food growing in or ON--
your house, yard and garden (if any).
Audio? We're at the end of a Golden Age-- pick up what's THE best of this age before it's gone, and count yourself a lucky guy!
What are the Power, Bandwidth and Distortion specifications for your current amplifiers offered for sale?
UN-screw your screwed-up Electrical Engineering mind. LOL.
One can not judge an amp by LOOKING at a spec sheet, or measurements.
It is LISTENING to an amp that matters, it, and reliability, is the only thing that matters.
Get a chance to audition them, and smell de roses.
It can matter if you are a 'real' manufacturer.
That is even more funny. The proof of the pudding, is in the eating, not the Measurements and Federal Documentation.
We all don't ever listen to the Documentation.
As I say, you have a big problem judging Hi Fi, and telling what is good and bad. It is a result of your training, it often leads you astray - consistently. You can't help yourself. Typical E.E.
Let me see...spec sheet says, "single runs of wire used exclusively, none are ever paralleled"
What shall we say about how the amp sounds?
Friend, I would not hurt thee for the world...but thou art standing where I am about to shoot.
Sorry I mentioned costs-- perhaps you haven't priced Dynamicaps. Mundorf Silver/Gold/Oil, and others lately? Your $1000.00 might buy 1/4 of them--at best!
If you're using anything cheaper, then you're losing a lot of music.
Powder-coaters like money also-- that $1K will just about cover the chassis finishing-- inside and out-- with nothing left over (for a PAIR of amps). Plasma-cut, precision chassis and bottom isolation platform with PEM nuts installed?? I can get that done for about $850.00 YET.
NOT next year-- that will go up 30%.
All that necessary brass? I hope you're not using common steel nuts, bolts, washers and forgetting about Tripod transformer mounts! THAT will KILL your amp! Add another $1800.00. Shall I go on?
WHAT are you building amps out of-- BEER CANS?
Please give quality a break! I don't know about you, but I have to pay for the things I buy.
There is no free lunch. Pretending that there is one does harm to all of
us. Reality works so much better-- and has another benefit-- you are being honest-- another necessary thing to pursue in real amp-building for sure!
I wish all the best to you, and if you can really make some of those
Pipe Dreams come true, then you're in luck! Maybe you can score a brand-new Ferrari Motorcar for around $15,000.00. According to your last post, that should be a lead-pipe cinch!
I am not going into your total cost but I will pick out one thing that is confusing. If I am not mistaken you mentioned getting a chassis powder coated almost $1K. maybe you should look elsewhere or maybe send your to the person I use here in New York. The company is called "Colorlife". You can look them up if you like. The most, and I do mean the most, I ever paid for a chassis was $75-$100 each chassis. And some of the work I had done was very fancy using non-stock colors. even then he might charge up to $50 additional. Brass screws? Even using 20 of them. What can that possibly cost? Maybe $50. Or maybe you just like bragging rights for how much you spend on something.
Really Dennis! How may amps at that cost do you sell a year? You could do a lot better if you want to.
I don't see you counted that in your calculations....lol
.Thou shall not stand where I type for I carry a bottle of Certified Audiophile Air and a Pure Silver Whip.
..You just put out so much great information on SE amp building, if anyone follows your suggestion, and build. They would know what you're saying .
I've tried to follow some of your ideas, in my builds and they have definitely lead to better DIY amps for me.!
Just keep at it, it will improve as you go along...
Throw a bone to those hard-fought boys in the boutique wire business.
Some are selling Window-Wash, but some others really showed me the
I was taking apart the drivers in my JBL Paragon (JBL stereo speaker system, using 6 of their best 3 drivers-- see JBL Heritage website).
Inside the driver was a short piece of hookup wire-- multistrand silver
with carbon overcoat-- about 14ga. I took this out and replaced it with
a piece of Siltech multistrand silver of the same size. About 2 1/2 inches per leg.
Shouldn't make any difference, right? Well, that thing came alive!
Of course, I called Siltech in Holland and asked their engineers what
gives? Metallurgy. Period. They found out years ago that silver has tiny
voids in between the molecules. Gold, a poorer conductor, fills-in these voids, making a really conductive wire that is also neutral. Teflon jacketing of each conductor in two different layers and formulas, completed the picture.
It took other wire makers over 20 years to catch-on to this so that today, we have several great wire sources. George Cardas forms his own
copper and silver wire in his own plant in California. KimberKable has
silver wire today that rivals Siltech's LS-38 of yesteryear. SilverSonic has a nice silver hookup wire that I used in the newer amps..
If you're blueprinting a driver in an Altec or JBL, or TAD, etc. configuration, study the wiring and replace it. In fitting new voice-coils, clean-out all the crevices and be sure to have several new diaphragms on hand, and then try each until you find one that fits in all dimensions, and does not drag in any direction. Doing that, with new wire of the highest quality will transform your speaker drivers. So much so that you'll be thirsting after much better amp performance, and will go to work on your source components and system wiring.
Then. the musical fun really begins.....
One the original post they were around $3K each. I guess the lastest amp is now $7K each.
I have no idea how manufactured higher end amps sound. I owly build my own and after 20 years of playing around I build one hell of an amp now or at least to my ears. They cost over a $1K though.
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