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jwc

Why is this PASS design so cheap?

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"Item location: GUANGZHOU, China"

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Guest wdecho

Chinese copy of Aleph 3. Google Firstwatt Aleph 3 for more info. A gamble buying but who knows, might work long time and sound good. I do know to build a copy using decent good parts in USA would cost almost twice the selling price. 

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those builds look really clean.

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^^^

Agree, clean build but like so many things in life - "ya gets whatcha' pay for"-  and little more. 

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4 hours ago, richieb said:

Agree, clean build but like so many things in life - "ya gets whatcha' pay for"-  and little more. 

And sometimes you find an awesome item on the cheap. IE: Felco cable cutters C7 are $48.00.

These Chinese copies are $12.00. I use these cutters all the time at work and use both variants. The Chinese ones are excellent.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Cable-Cutter-7-1-2-Felco-C7/331347534134?epid=1500504206&hash=item4d25da2136:g:eWgAAOSwyGZaCeoX:sc:ShippingMethodExpress!35133!US!-1

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/8-Steel-Wire-Cutter-Cable-Rope-High-Leverage-Cut-10mm-NEW/231417836369?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

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5 hours ago, jwc said:

The price is low enough to just try it without need to agonize over it.  The eBay ad also mentions returns, and eBay merchant ratings are valuable commodities to protect by the sellers if they're rated high.

 

I believe that those NP amps aren't currently being produced by NP, and are available only as kits as William mentioned above, so I don't see any "moral issues" with trying one out.  It may be a real jewel.  I know that I'm not giving up my First Watt F3 (built by NP himself) anytime soon, and I've owned it for like 6 years now. It's a really spectacular amplifier for the TADs.

 

Now if that Chinese company would make a First Watt F1J. knockoff...that would get my attention.

 

Chris

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Totally agree with Chris on all points. Wow. A total no brainer!

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Im lost on which FirstWatt is best.  I wish there was a pro/con list.

 

I also cant tell by knock offs what version they are.

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55 minutes ago, jwc said:

Im lost on which FirstWatt is best.  I wish there was a pro/con list.

 

I also cant tell by knock offs what version they are.

 

--- like any amp by any maker "best" will be in the eye of the beholder.First Watt was Pass's "kitchen table" project to experiment with different circuits, power transistors etc. that he literally made by himself away from the products produced by Pass Labs. It was his way to experiment outside the Pass Labs box. Until the F6 or F7 he did the building himself with occasional help from his nephews. Now all First Watt are assembled by Pass Labs. So, you have FW series from F1 thru F7, J2, M2 and SIT 1 and 2. Each series would be limited to 50 or 100 pieces. Each will have its own little flavor, nuance taken from differing circuits, power transistors, single ended, zero feedback, push pull ----. As Chris A said I too am fortunate to own an F3 and really enjoy the amp although it has recently been eclipsed by the new Pass Lab XA25.

I would recommend the audio site 6moons for reviews on each amp in the FW line. Check audio reviews and go from there. What I can say is the editor there was a staunch tube head, and exotic tubes, until he discovered FW and Pass Labs. He no longer considers tubes as his reference. Sorry to ramble ---

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5 hours ago, richieb said:

I would recommend the audio site 6moons for reviews on each amp in the FW line.

Actually, I personally find Srajan Ebaen's writing to be among the least useful sort of "purple prose audiophilia" that I've ever read.  Perhaps I'm alone in my opinion but I've never seen such anthropomorphism used by any audiophile writer.  I'm not sure why NP chose him to review his First Watt amplifiers and other hardware.  (Srajan must posses some sort of secret handshake. 🖖)

 

I'd much rather recommend diyAudio in the Pass Labs section...and search by amplifier model keywords in that forum.  NP himself gives much better reviews of his own gear there (as well as on his First Watt website). His diyAudio forum name is "Nelson Pass".  And you'll typically find much more comprehensible comments on the sound of the amplifiers by real people that build stuff, and that have a little understanding of the physics of amplification and electron devices.

 

YMMV.

 

Chris

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5 hours ago, richieb said:

I too am fortunate to own an F3 and really enjoy the amp although it has recently been eclipsed by the new Pass Lab XA25

Just one word of observation at this point:

 

I see a consistent correlation of user preference between output power of First Watt (and Pass Lab) amplifiers and those that use passive crossovers in their loudspeakers when talking about First Watt amplifiers.  The F3 is rated as a 15 w/channel unit, while the XA25 is 25 w/channel.  Even the other First Watt amplifiers seem to be preferred by those using passives according to the amplifier's output power.  I think that NP also sees this but still consistently puts out lower power amplifier models, as well as responding to customer demand for higher power output (ref. the F5 amplifier that got rave reviews over the F3, but NP has apparently been quoted as preferring the F3 over the F5). 

 

Note that NP started First Watt not to compete with Pass Labs, but to offer low power alternative amplifiers with simplified topologies to explore that end of the amplifier design domain.  If you're not dumping power into passive crossovers in order to equalize midrange and tweeter drivers/horns down to woofer "sensitivities", then I think that your opinions of the various First Watt amplifiers might differ a little bit...

 

YMMV.

 

Chris

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Guest wdecho
8 hours ago, jwc said:

Im lost on which FirstWatt is best.  I wish there was a pro/con list.

 

I also cant tell by knock offs what version they are.

No best for everyone and all speakers, sorry. That being said there are no culls in FW or Passlabs. These amplifiers are built to a different standard than most consumer goods with much detail involved matching and testing components. Take for instance the XA25 Richieb bought. There is a thread on diyaudio called F4 Beast Builders where diy'ers are trying to come up with a design that will mimic the XA25. Very hard to find matched pairs of output transistors for diy'ers. One has to buy the transistors in bulk, Passlabs buys them in thousands, then have a way to test and match 2 to use in the output circuit. There is a lot of hands on labor intensive steps that goes into the building of a FW or Passlabs amplifier. I use to wonder myself why they were so expensive until I learned more of what is involved in building an amplifier that rarely has a warranty return ( I do not believe there has ever been one in a Firstwatt amplifier) and will still be supported for as long as PassLabs and Firstwatt exist  for a nominal fee long after the warranty period. These amplifiers are built for those that desire the best in new designs and circuits and build quality. Not mass consumer products built on an assembly line to last for a few years. There is a new amplifier that will be released in a few months called the SIT-3 which is a push pull amplifier using one of those unobtainable SIT Passlabs transistor that incorporates something totally new in its design that has never been tried to my knowledge. One of the purist circuits with very few parts for a push pull amplifier. It is not designed to compete with the single ended 300B tube sound but rather incorporated in another arrangement called depletion, enhancement mode "DEF" depletion enhancement follower. It seems to never end from the mind of Nelson Pass at least not even in his 60's. Simplified schematic. 

583471d1480715077-def-amp-def-jpg

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JWC, I understand the confusion. 

 

The aleph predates the First Watt series. While it is considered a good amplifier, it does not enjoy the same status as the First Watt series. As mentioned above, DIYaudio has its own section for the Nelson Pass designs, but be prepared to spend days sorting through the posts. There is also a website for First Watt that will have some comparison charts regarding the specifications. 

 

All the First Watt offerings have "factory versions" but they were made in small numbers. The older ones can sometimes be found on the used market. Personally, I would be quite wary of purchasing someone else's DIY version. These items have become quite popular for the DIYer, but let me warn you that the parts can be difficult or expensive to obtain. This problem is magnified by counterfeiting and misinformation.

 

In general, all the productions are low power, however most high efficiency horn designs need less power than we typically realize. 

 

Good luck with it,

-Tom

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Guest wdecho

I also would be wary of diy clones of FW designs. It may be a fantastic deal, depending of the builder and part selections, or a complete mess. Renohifi has great deals on used FW, Passlabs, amplifiers with warranty. Sometime you will find one for around $1000. You will not go wrong purchasing from them.  I will bet you one thing, a Chinese clone will be no where near the quality of a true FW amplifier.  Would I purchase a Chinese clone if I were not a diy'er, maybe without a lot of expectations on sound or longevity. They are trying to cash in on the Nelson Pass brand as cheap as they can bring it to market for. And if you do have a problem with the amplifier you will find exactly how expensive it is to send it back to China for warranty. 

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$500 bucks (including shipping)is cheap?  How so.

 

You guys been hanging out at Stereopiles-of-money?

 

For that kind of money you could build one of Maynard's designs, with nice parts and not be rewarding the thieves who stole Nelson's Pass work for their own financial gain.

 

And it would be tubes, which always sound better.

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So in Amp Camp.....what design are u getting?

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DIY kits built from modules. The costs break down into: chassis, transformer and modules (power supply, bias/output , protection circuit). Many roads to nirvana.

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