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John Chi-town

First Watt / Nelson Pass Amps

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Does anyone own have owned or auditioned any of the Nelson Pass / First Watt offerings?  I have owned/own many of his Adcom designs, but I am intrigued by his First Watt offerings which is a smaller side business to his "general public" offerings.

 

http://www.firstwatt.com/

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Best regards,

John

 

 

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I've built 2 of his 6 watt class A monoblock ACA amps.  Unbelievably simple and sound great.  They do need a good power supply to shine however.

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47 minutes ago, John Chi-town said:

Does anyone own have owned or auditioned any of the Nelson Pass / First Watt offerings?  I have owned/own many of his Adcom designs, but I am intrigued by his First Watt offerings which is a smaller side business to his "general public" offerings.

 

http://www.firstwatt.com/

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Best regards,

John

 

 

You have a PM

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See:

 

I've owned an F3 for about 5 years now--and it's powered my TAD TD-4002 drivers mounted on my K-402s on top of my Jubilees.  @mikebse2a3 is the author of the linked thread above, and I believe that he stated that he has two F3s, and has used them to bi-amp his Jubes. 

 

Let's just say that I'm not giving up my F3 anytime soon...

 

Chris

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I enjoy my F3 - a lot. Class A, single ended, 15 watts, JFET output devices. It's Class A so yes it runs pretty damn hot. But it's worth the heat in its performance and in reality is no hotter than holding your hand over several tubes glowing. Back to back A/B against a couple big name Class D's brings me to still favor the much less powerful F3. For me its just hard to beat any good SS Class A for refined, transparent sound.  

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1 hour ago, CECAA850 said:

I've built 2 of his 6 watt class A monoblock ACA amps.  Unbelievably simple and sound great.  They do need a good power supply to shine however.

 

Yes, the ACA amps sound to price ratio is over the top. The pair I have are built by Justin Weber with huge toroidal power supplies, one for each mono. And according to Justin this is the secret sauce for these amps as the standard computer power supplies leave a lot to be desired. Do they sound as good as Nelson's FW F3? No, but they ain't too far behind. And for the $$$, a no brainier. 

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Forum member William @wdecho has owned a number of pass designs and is knows a lot about the various builds

 

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I have owned or built 3 First Watt amps 

F5

The F5 was then updated to an -

F6

M2 

 

All great performing amps and each has subtle differences that only owners of high sensitivity speakers can distinguish 

But I have kept and use the M2 

You will find M2 builds and impressions on this thread 

 

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On 1/2/2018 at 4:01 PM, wdecho said:

I've built a dozen or more of the Firstwatt clones, Zen variations. The F3 is a single ended class amplifier that does use power j-fets in the last stage. I have one I built plus I have built the Zen 8 and Zen 9 which are earlier versions of the F3. The Firstwatt push pull amplifiers have a different sound much as does a single ended tube amp vs a push pull tube amp. I enjoy both sounds. There is no doubt class A is the most linear of all the classifications of amplification and it shows for those that can hear the difference. The Firstwatt amplifiers mimic class A tube amplifiers in many ways with more power in a single ended version. Also SS which most lean towards these days. When you purchase a Firstwatt amplifier chances are it will last a lifetime. Very few if any have failed in service. Pricy when new but one can find deals at Reno Hifi on used ones with a warranty. My favorites are only for diy'ers, the BA-1 SE and the BA-2 PP. Much more like the Passlabs offerings without the overkill or price. The F4 is pretty much the same as the BA-2 but only the output stage. One needs a decent preamplifier with enough gain to drive it. With our speakers most any preamplifier will work. You will not go wrong purchasing any one of the Firstwatt offerings but all do sound different in subtle ways. 

 

Thanks to all for the feedback.  I am good with working on cars, boats, cycles, and or anything that flies.  But my soldering skills are horrendous, as would be my ability working from a schematic, etc.

 

I would shy from a build unless someone might be interested in doing so for me, payable in US dollars of course.

 

His 30 Watt Class A amp is going for about $6,500.00 new.  Still researching used prices.  A little North of where I would like to be on an Amp, but I am sure worth every penny.  The  monster weighs almost 100 pounds!

 

Best regards,

 

John

 

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Think I am starting to lean towards this Pass Labs offering.  

 

Although a constant 400 Watt draw could get a little pricey with the electric company.

 

Best regards,

John

 

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19 minutes ago, John Chi-town said:

Think I am starting to lean towards this Pass Labs offering.  

 

Although a constant 400 Watt draw could get a little pricey with the electric company.

 

Best regards,

John

 

xa30.8_1920px.jpg

 

Class A design I believe? And yes the constant current draw, hence heat output, is an A design drawback. I owned a pair of Forte ( NP and Thresholds offspring) Model 7's, all Class A with a constant draw of 750 watts each! With long play times my power bill went up over 10%! The Model 7 is extremely rare and superb sounding but it was more than I cared to maintain. I really hated to part with them though. If you can find a Forte Model 4, jump on it. Single chassis, Class A and really nice sounding. A used bargain.

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I've often wonder about Nelsons B4 active crossover... there isn't a lot of info about it other than what it is.

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On 1/2/2018 at 3:50 PM, Chris A said:

Let's just say that I'm not giving up my F3 anytime soon...

 

Chris

 

Me neither Chris..😃

 

I will say by design the F3 benefits from higher than average drive level due to it’s input sensitivity so I would caution anyone wanting to use a passive pre-amp that your source would need to have a better than average output drive capability.

 

miketn

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25 minutes ago, mikebse2a3 said:

 

Me neither Chris..😃

 

I will say by design the F3 benefits from higher than average drive level due to it’s input sensitivity so I would caution anyone wanting to use a passive pre-amp that your source would need to have a better than average output drive capability.

 

miketn

 

Agree. Even Nelson's own B1 buffered/passive doesn't really get it done. Although still very good, just not enough "drive". I'm still amazed how good the F3 sounds with my now long in the tooth Yamaha pre. Most would tell me to start changing internals, caps, etc. Why? Still quiet as a graveyard, detailed, silent controls. I think that conclusion is made too often and as in this case, not warranted.

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13 hours ago, richieb said:

 

Class A design I believe? And yes the constant current draw, hence heat output, is an A design drawback. I owned a pair of Forte ( NP and Thresholds offspring) Model 7's, all Class A with a constant draw of 750 watts each! With long play times my power bill went up over 10%! The Model 7 is extremely rare and superb sounding but it was more than I cared to maintain. I really hated to part with them though. If you can find a Forte Model 4, jump on it. Single chassis, Class A and really nice sounding. A used bargain.

 

Yes 100% Class A

 

John

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1 hour ago, richieb said:

 

Agree. Even Nelson's own B1 buffered/passive doesn't really get it done. Although still very good, just not enough "drive". I'm still amazed how good the F3 sounds with my now long in the tooth Yamaha pre. Most would tell me to start changing internals, caps, etc. Why? Still quiet as a graveyard, detailed, silent controls. I think that conclusion is made too often and as in this case, not warranted.

 

 

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2 hours ago, mikebse2a3 said:

 

Me neither Chris..😃

 

I will say by design the F3 benefits from higher than average drive level due to it’s input sensitivity so I would caution anyone wanting to use a passive pre-amp that your source would need to have a better than average output drive capability.

 

miketn

My GFP -750, a Pass design has both passive and active stages.  Currently use in passive mode.  So my current pre would work.

 

Best regards,

 

John

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Hi

I have used a number of Pass amps and have a J2, very fast, clean, warm yet detailed, a great amp for highly efficient speakers!

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