Jump to content
The Klipsch Audio Community
Sign in to follow this  
joessportster

ampsandsound Improvement on an already Awesome tube amp

Recommended Posts


My History:

I am 49 years old and have been an audio enthusiast since I was 10 years old, when I was old enough
and joined the military for my first real job, my first purchase was a Sansui stereo, I loved that thing
till it died, Once i Hit Germany my eyes were opened to a whole new level of audio. I left Germany with onkyo m504, and P-308
running infinity sm150 much to my neighbors chagrin.........fast forward to 2004 and an audition of a friends tubes and
Klipsch K-Horns. and audio took a turn for me...........I immediately went home from that audition and sold every piece of
gear I owned and proceeded to build several Horn SET High efficiency bi and tri amp systems.

That journey led me through dozens of amps from the likes of Joule Electra Grand Marquis, Joule Electra Stargates, Welborne
Labs drd45, Laurel, and Moon Dog 2A3, Coincident Frankenstein, Deja Vu 45 PP monos. Transcendent SEOTL, Sun Audio 2A3 Mono's,
Korneff 45, Canary Ca-339

and speakers like Edgar Titan, Oris orphean, Klipsch K-Horns, coincident victory, Horn shoppe Horns, avantgarde duo,
Klipsch Lascala, Belle, Cornwall, Hersey, Zu Audio Definition Pro, Talon Khorus, Talon parigrin,Pro-ac, SAS
and the list goes on and on and on.................

As often happens life changes and I was forced to move to Headphones and so began my hunt for a headphone setup
that rivaled some of my previous systems


I auditioned the initial version of ampsandsound SE84 and was so impressed with it that I bought it


Below is my initial Review of the SE-84:


("First i want to say you wont find better customer service, Justin actually cares about his product and his customers.
He just wants to build quality products that keep his customers happy

The amp is built like a tank, when you open the considerable packing and finally do get to handle the amp it is immediately
obvious how well built this amp is, Very solid.

Aesthetics are nice as well, No gold this and silver that to increase the price, Just very nice attention to detail
and quality craftsmanship, with quality components for a handsome, solid small
foot print amp, that would look great on your desk or in your rack

I don't typically get into the review process, I don't know the terms used. I know what sounds good with over 25 years in the hobby,
I just never got into all the hype, and lingo. I love music !!!!!!!

Sound: If your a fan of single ended amps (and I am) then you will like what this amp has to offer,
It gives you all the good attributes without the syrupy warmness. The SE-84 still leans a bit warm as tubes should but its not
over done. Detail retrieval is as good as it gets IMHO, I am loving my music collection all over again.
The balance between lows mids and highs Is very good with no one thing sticking out above the rest. I often see reviews where
one singles out treble etc... as bright, or harsh and so on, Upon listening to this amp my first
thoughts were WOW this thing is musical, toes tapping, air guitar strumming, head bobbing.............Looking like a 48 year old fool,

I don't care I was in the zone. With more time I began to notice the finer points. I Heard new details in old favorites,
the cymbals just seemed to shimmer through decay (no sizzle), note would hang in the air longer, voices were more life like with
wonderful breadth, Bass was deep and defined with decent impact.

This amp has found a permanent home in my headphone rig, and with a quality build I feel I could pass it down to my son.

Hopefully a long time from now")

since that purchase I have listened nearly every day. My affection for the amp grew

to the point I honestly felt like it would be my end game amp for my headphone setup. I received an email

from Justin describing his idea of how he planned to improve on the amps performance. I responded I would be

more than happy to audition the amp but that I truly felt he had already reached the pinnacle of

sound quality with the initial offering. I told Justin I found it hard to believe he could actually improve

upon the amps sound and therefore doubted I would be interested in switching amps. He responded "Just give it

a listen, and if you like it or not I want your impressions"

Initial Impressions ampsandsound se84 special edition:

First there is an obvious improvement in extension both top and bottom, Running test tones

reveals I can clearly hear 5hz improvement for a solid 15hz audible and I can feel a 10 hz rumble

on the other end of the scale with tones I gained 1Khz I now have audible extension up to 16khz

What does this mean for the overall performance of the ampsandsound se84 special edition:

First it means Improved separation and air

which tends to make the presentation feel cleaner, it improves on the sense of separation by adding more air

around the individual instruments making it easier to pinpoint where the individual instruments reside within the stage


The added extension also adds to the detail retrieval, things that were previously obscured are now evident


The added bass tends to add weight to the overall presentation, impact was improved as well.

The ampsandsound se84 special edition as its early version is still DEAD SILENT with HiFiMan HE500 hooked up, no music playing and volume at max
I hear nothing except a black silent background, experimenting with cheap earbuds and IEM have proven it is still VERY quiet

Build Impressions:

The ampsandsound se84 special edition feels very solid built, with first class construction, and top quality components.

It is obvious this is a build of passion not just profit. as one could certainly skimp to save a few bucks

on the build while still charging the same price for less quality


I asked Justin to Hi-Lite some of the details of the ampsandsound se84 special edition, and below is a quote from him.


("Tube sockets are from Belton... the really high quality sockets... should never come lose. Molded in place instead of ceramic.
Coupling caps are sprague orange drops Polypropylene which are know to be super reliable and sound great.
Resistors are 1%.

Power transformer is Hammond and conservatively spec'd.
Choke is large at 1.75H and sourced from Chicago magnetics.
Outputs have received the largest upgrade. 5K with 40% Ultra Linear tap to 8 ohms,
Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 90 kHz, Maximum DC Bias Current: 90 mA, Primary DC Resistance: 370 ohms, Primary Inductance: 40 H.

I don't have the freq response in front of me but was something like 12hz-37kz @ -1db")

I don't personally know of any other tube amp that boasts 3 watts per channel into speakers and or headphones with this
build quality and sound quality for anywhere near this price

If you use Headphones especially the Audeze, HifiMan Ortho Dynamics, Sennheiser HdXXX, Grado you owe it to yourself to give
the ampsandsound se84 special edition a listen.

After approx. 40 hours listening on the ampsandsound se84 special edition it has only gotten better, Looks like I am buying another amp.

post-14548-0-33780000-1402347696_thumb.j

http://ampsandsound.com/products/amps/se-84/

Edited by joessportster
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe,

Could I get you to write a review of my VAC 90(e) which I intend to sell? I figure with you doing the marketing I can double the price! :o:ph34r:

Glad you like your new amp. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Send her / them over and I will happily give them an audition.....................we will first have to engage / Bribe Amy in a small amount of deception. :ph34r:

Get her to delete your thread about noise + :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First hand report:

Justin is The Man, not only saw his sale amps last sat, Heard them first hand, don't meet many in life like this guy.

Design is as close to flawless in the 40+ years iv been into tubes.

Like Dean, quality sometimes is not cheap, however in my lifetime iv never heard of anyone losing money on these either.

Their name in the trade speaks for its self. :emotion-21:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Send her / them over and I will happily give them an audition.....................we will first have to engage / Bribe Amy in a small amount of deception. :ph34r:

Get her to delete your thread about noise + :D

He could just change it say Bose noise

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Send her / them over and I will happily give them an audition.....................we will first have to engage / Bribe Amy in a small amount of deception. :ph34r:

Get her to delete your thread about noise + :D

He could just change it say Bose noise

You all misunderstand the nature of the hum. It supplements the other instruments in any recording.

On a happier note, the other VAC amp, just back from VAC, sounds great with new tubes.

I guess the PA90 will be making the trip next

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are a glutton for punishment earl, (other 1 going to vac)

just buy a big ben or a stereo 15, with the money vac will charge to refurb the 90 and shipping 2 ways you will actually save enough to buy another pair of speakers, and end up with a no hassle better sounding amp :D

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are a glutton for punishment earl, (other 1 going to vac)

just buy a big ben or a stereo 15, with the money vac will charge to refurb the 90 and shipping 2 ways you will actually save enough to buy another pair of speakers, and end up with a no hassle better sounding amp :D

I paid close to 3k for that amp and it is going to work, damn it!

The real expense now is shipping (probably $500 to $600 round trip)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are a glutton for punishment earl, (other 1 going to vac)

just buy a big ben or a stereo 15, with the money vac will charge to refurb the 90 and shipping 2 ways you will actually save enough to buy another pair of speakers, and end up with a no hassle better sounding amp :D

I paid close to 3k for that amp and it is going to work, damn it!

The real expense now is shipping (probably $500 to $600 round trip)

Im thinkin Earl is just about ready (or Needing) a wee bit of the Duggans........just say the word et, and ill ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are a glutton for punishment earl, (other 1 going to vac)

just buy a big ben or a stereo 15, with the money vac will charge to refurb the 90 and shipping 2 ways you will actually save enough to buy another pair of speakers, and end up with a no hassle better sounding amp :D

I paid close to 3k for that amp and it is going to work, damn it!

The real expense now is shipping (probably $500 to $600 round trip)

Like I said Glutton for PUNISHMENT............................. :D

I will make a bet you spend more on the Refurb than you do on shipping........................................come on BET ME :ph34r:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are a glutton for punishment earl, (other 1 going to vac)

just buy a big ben or a stereo 15, with the money vac will charge to refurb the 90 and shipping 2 ways you will actually save enough to buy another pair of speakers, and end up with a no hassle better sounding amp :D

I paid close to 3k for that amp and it is going to work, damn it!

The real expense now is shipping (probably $500 to $600 round trip)

Im thinkin Earl is just about ready (or Needing) a wee bit of the Duggans........just say the word et, and ill ship.

He can not have mine :P

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are a glutton for punishment earl, (other 1 going to vac)

just buy a big ben or a stereo 15, with the money vac will charge to refurb the 90 and shipping 2 ways you will actually save enough to buy another pair of speakers, and end up with a no hassle better sounding amp :D

I paid close to 3k for that amp and it is going to work, damn it!

The real expense now is shipping (probably $500 to $600 round trip)

Like I said Glutton for PUNISHMENT............................. :D

I will make a bet you spend more on the Refurb than you do on shipping........................................come on BET ME :ph34r:

The mono blocks have been upgraded (2 years ago) at a cost of about $1,500. They did not put a grounding mod in, which is what they would do now. It is relatively inexpensive, but like I said, shipping...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good Luck my friend, I am a skeptic when it comes to those types of estimates, It is 2 easy once they have the amps to come up with added expenses

Remember the run away tube protection circuit offer ??

I am glad you are finally happy with the upgraded 80, now you will need to post your impressions of the tubes as compared to the B&K SS amp

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Send her / them over and I will happily give them an audition.....................we will first have to engage / Bribe Amy in a small amount of deception. :ph34r:

Get her to delete your thread about noise + :D

He could just change it say Bose noise

You all misunderstand the nature of the hum. It supplements the other instruments in any recording.

On a happier note, the other VAC amp, just back from VAC, sounds great with new tubes.

I guess the PA90 will be making the trip next

I knew he'd be back spending $$$ on audio. Why should he be different from any of us?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Super kind words. The SE-84 Special Ed was sent to Joe for a compare and contrast... I had thought it was coming home :-) but really glad he loves.

Getting feedback on what someone wants/ knowing what it does right or wrong is super helpful. The SE 84 came together super easily after I was able to source an alternate power transformer. I only wish they all did :-).

I had built my dedicated headphone amp, hoping to put on sale… but it stayed a paper weight for the better part of 3+ months while I pulled all my freaking hair out trying to understand why basic building principals were not working. After a crisscrossing road show to different techs, an accidental test yielded the answer... I now have a much deeper respect for R&D.... so not glamorous! The work paid off and I have a few new things to offer...

Re: noise/hum. It’s rare that amp which are properly built suffer from this, but it happens to the worst and best of us... myself included... That said, I’m glad Joe loves the new amp. The SE-84 special Ed goes a bit deeper 1hz where the stock SE-84 will go 1-2khz higher... (so beyond my hearing... think humming birds).

I guess the real question is weather the kenzie headphone is on par... It’s a completely different approach but seams to be working... Now I need someone who has some killer phones to give it a whorl.

Edited by justinsweber
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still here Justin, and I don't need three watts.

Beyerdynamic t5p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Dean / Justin

My headphones are now ortho's and supposed to be hard to drive, not sure I agree with that theory as the Schiit Valhalla at 500mw drove the hell outta them. They seem to be the new rage in headphones (more buzz around orthos than most others) I personally agree , they offer superb range and sonics.

Deans T5p is considered a high end phone with a huge following as well, I would certainly be interested in hearing Deans impressions on the kenzie headphone

I also want to hear it as it is more akin to my favorite style of amp on open air speakers, (direct heated Triode, SET)

Thank you Justin for the opportunity to audition the amp / amps. that is most kind.............................I Have always been a buy one sell one guy IE... if I buy a new amp, I have to sell one to help pay for the new one............I am coming up with ways to keep from doing this now, I still LOVE the original SE84

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will also have some nice walnut laquer LaScalas in the house by the end of the day today, and with the way the orders are rolling in right now, I'll have quite a few different networks to test with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some scalas comming your way... good stuff... Now lets tear into them! Little of this, little of that :-)

Happy to send to you after Joe. (I have 2 black cornscalas to pack tonight. At some point this weekend Ill going to clean up all the solder joints and redress the amp... at which point Ill be sendig it off to its 1st destination.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some scalas comming your way... good stuff... Now lets tear into them! Little of this, little of that :-)

Happy to send to you after Joe. (I have 2 black cornscalas to pack tonight. At some point this weekend Ill going to clean up all the solder joints and redress the amp... at which point Ill be sendig it off to its 1st destination.

And the fun begins :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...