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Cantilope

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About Cantilope

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  • Birthday 10/02/1976

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  1. I like to think the Aleph J is like the Ford F-150 of amps, does everything well and if you only had one class A... that'd be a good one and you'll be very pleased. The others are more of a different flavor and are striving for more of a tubeish sound. The Aleph J is a good old well designed voltage source class A amp. I also like the option of balanced inputs with that build, and I used my Aleph Js ( I built a pair) on my Jubilees and they sounded fantastic. I like the Aleph J better than my McIntosh MC2205 if that helps. These designs are all in a class all of their own. Joe
  2. Rich, I don't know what the BA-2 will put out. If I recall you can adjust the bias higher and higher and with more heatsink the more wattage you get. I also used the burning amp gain stage, which I recall is similar to the gain stage that is in the VFET. I believe that is why Wdecho suggested I try it, as I liked the VFET so much. I think the BA puts out more power than the VFET, but I am not so good at remembering the numbers (Wdecho was better at that than I, and I never could have done it without him). I remember cranking my bias pretty high, way more than 250mv, hell its called the burning amp for a reason and I am a fearless amp builder... As far as side by side, I have never compared them head to head, but I suspect they are both very similar. Something to note, is the gain stage on the BA has the ability to adjust the second harmonic, which adds the tube sound or takes it away. Although I have the tools and Wdecho gave me a tutorial, I haven't yet adjusted this. What you really should do, is build the BA! They are both world class amps and the BA is a cake walk compared to the VFET. My order of preference: SIT-2 (not DIY) VFET BA M2 (had both DIY and NP no I could not tell the difference) AlephJ (which doesn't deserve to be on the bottom of any list) Joe
  3. I too built a VFET and it is my most favorite that I have built to date. I have never posted pictures on this site, but here are a few. A couple of things to note on my build is that I went dual mono, meaning two separate internal power supplies, two transformers and 4 rectifiers, although it does share one on/off switch it's mono from there. This thing is a beast and weighs in at 42#. You can see how it compares to the single power supply of the Burning Amp build. Joe
  4. My Rosewood Belles are factory. That tag should say BK-RL, looks like BK-WO from what I see, so those are re-veneered. They are not MINT, at least what I understand that to mean. Beautiful none the less... might try that trick yourself. Find a beat up pair and have them professionally veneered. They’ll mean even more to you once they are done.
  5. Awesome Scott, nice to see you with these. Those are really nice.
  6. Cantilope

    Why I DIY

    I think that you ought to try a build. You'll never go back...
  7. Cantilope

    Why I DIY

    Since I don't do A/B testing, I really try and not give my opinions. I feel they are tainted... However, with that, I'd say the M2 has more tube characteristics, where as the BA-3 is just a really clean SS amp. The M2 I believe is self-biasing where as the BA-3 is not. I was able to dial the bias a bit higher because I use a large case and large heatsinks on the BA-3 (twice the voltage as the amount in the build guide). The BA-3 also has a POT that allows you to dial in the amount of distortion with a turn. I have not messed with this feature yet. There is a video on Youtube by 6L6 that shows the results of this pot, and that you can introduce as much disortion as you like. Basically going from a sterile clean amp to something that has just a bit of the right kind of distortion. This is a very cool feature. The M2 is much simpler build and set up and is a great "beginner"amp, but I suspect that the adjustability of the BA-3 makes it so I can tailor the sound to my needs, and that over time might give it the edge. The M2 is not as quiet as the BA-3 when there is no signal. As far as the F7 that I removed, not one of my favorites, probably won't be used again, not as good as some of the others I have. I hope this helps...
  8. I was working on an amp not too long ago. A DIY M2 First Watt Clone. I pulled the working board loose from the heat sinks to replace the input wires. When I put the board back I missed tightening one of the mosfets down by just a half a turn and let out the magic smoke. Now I check 5 times, to make sure I seat those mosfets. Mistakes are great learning oppertunites. Joe
  9. I am really happy with it. I feel like I have a bit of fine tuning... but it is close.
  10. Cantilope

    Why I DIY

    So here we are, a BA-2. Looks like it took me about 4 hours to change that out. (sorry the ba-2 boards have no flashy LEDs...) I need to bias these up as it is the first time. I'll throw it on the LaScalas tomorrow and give it a listen. I need a reeb.
  11. Cantilope

    Why I DIY

    Making some changes to my amplification today and I wanted to share with you my process. For many years I purchased amplifiers infrequently over the years as they were rather expensive. Mainly I stuck to used gear as many of us do. One of these used amplifiers the First Watt M2 was so good that I decided I needed multiples of them to run bi-amp on my Jubilees. Talk about getting expensive, multiples! On this site I met William who convinced me that I should learn to build my own. So what you are seeing here is about 2 years of his tutelage and a skill I am rather new at. I watched a few military soldering training videos I found on Youtube and bought a an iron. Hopefully you can see the value in the education and ability to simply change a board and get a totally new personality. Maybe you'll like maybe not, but much like a car model as a kid it was a blast to build and test. So here we go... In this photo you can see my case. This is a universal case, with a universal Power Supply form DIY Audio, and a transformer sized for many First Watt applications. I have just got done removing the F7 boards I have been running as of late. Took about 5 minutes. In this Photo you can see my options. I have a F1, F3, Aleph J, M2, BA-2, or the F7s I just removed. I'll be choosing the BA-2 as I have not heard those yet, but hopefully you can see how really easy it is to change these boards and why for a just a few hundred bucks you can really explore what you like in SS amplification. Almost as easy as tube rolling... I'll post up one more once I have her up and running with the BA-2 boards (red ones) installed. Joe
  12. I am glad this has been useful and that you were able to use it. Did you find any errors or omissions? I can update them if you did. Joe
  13. So I have belles, La scalas and CWs, I guess I am reading that I need 3 pairs of these drivers, and another set for the KLFs? Four pair of these... are they really worth it? I still run the stock K-77s as well, maybe it's time for some changes. I spent $750 on one TAD and feel it was totally worth it. Push me over the edge... Joe
  14. Dave, I use the Oppo as a pre/pro (on the right). It does my input switching and volume control, plus it processes all my SACD, MP4, DVD, and Blu-ray content from the network. The oppo's 8 outputs are divided with the R,L,C and LFE going into the Xilica and the surround feeding directly into the Crown d75As. I use the Oppo level adjustments and delay for the four rear channels. The Xilica outs go into the 6 Channel amp which are coupled directly to the drivers of the jubes and the MEH. The 6 channel amp is built into the pull out drawer. You can read about my 6 channel AMP here: As far as what is seen in the photo, you are correct that is a SSE Tube amp (on the left) that I built that I use for a conversation piece. The stack in the corner is my stable of First Watt Clones, I swap amps around from time to time and store them here. None of these are in service as of now. I moved the working stack into my mechanical room, out of site. You can see that below. The furman power switches allow me to turn on 2 channel or HT separately. Not a bad stack for 14 channels...
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