Aries Cerat Genus SET 25 watts integrated amplifier - on order

#1
Hello guys

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Aries Cerat Genus SET Integrated
I ordered the Aries Cerat Genus a while ago, and it is on the builders track as we speak. I will get some teasers from Aries Cerat as it progresses and will share them here for those interested.

I used to own SETs a few years ago, some Audio Note Conquest Silver Monoblocks, which were 18 watts per side with 4 x 300B tubes. I used them with tube friendly speakers, but in the end the bass was not very controlled and I moved back to solid state amplifiers. However, that SET magic and the beautiful midrange is addictive. Stavros builds his SETs differently, they have huge oversized power supplies and big output transformers. So the benefits of SETS without the common weaknesses.

The amplifier is quite big, especially for an integrated, and measures 53cm deep, 52cm wide, 28 cm high. It weights in at some 67 kilos. It will be a great match for my Kassandra I am sure.

I am most excited about it as you can possibly tell! More to follow....

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morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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#2
it will be awesome with your Zingalis! We just used it at a show to wow people as it drove the tiny Boenicke Audio W5se speakers! True it was a small room but that speaker, which has a low 83db sensitivity, really came to life with this amp + Kassandra (your exact combo).
 
#3
I am glad your show went well. Can I ask, how many AC products have you guys sold since you started?

I am really trying to sell at least one item in our first year.

Yes, I hope the Genus works in my system. It should do, my Zingli's are only 1dB less efficiet than your speakers.
I have 150 watts Class A SS but probably don't need that, or am using it. If I get bass control with Stav's Genus, I know the rest will work. My Audio Note Conquest Monoblocks had great mids and good treble, but weak bass control. It was flabby and loose and they got saturation in the transformers, I could hear it.
 

morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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#4
Well, like I said, it drove a tiny, low sensitivity speaker to levels undreamed of. You can stop comparing to Audio Note Conquest...there simply isn’t one. I tried this same speaker with my JJ-322, which is also 300B parallel SET of around 20 watts and it couldn’t get much out of these little speakers.

Another guy had them on his Devialet 220 pro and it failed wake them up to the degree Genus/Kassandra did.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#5
Hi Morricab,

Have you heard the AC Ianus? Would love to get some listening notes from those who have. May have an opportunity to audition them, but it might have to be Concero 65s...so any listening notes on those would be great as well.

However, given my penchant for large speakers...and not so much with the Wilson X1s...but the big Rockports, etc...i do wonder if Ianus is the primary AC amp to consider. That said, even the X1 has been known to be extremely great to drive with fantastic, high current, low-watt amps...it can also be said that the X1s will gladly absorb however much power one practically throws at it...and thriving on high quality power, it certainly would be fun to see what the Ianus could do with it.
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
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#6
Hi Morricab,

Have you heard the AC Ianus? Would love to get some listening notes from those who have. May have an opportunity to audition them, but it might have to be Concero 65s...so any listening notes on those would be great as well.

However, given my penchant for large speakers...and not so much with the Wilson X1s...but the big Rockports, etc...i do wonder if Ianus is the primary AC amp to consider. That said, even the X1 has been known to be extremely great to drive with fantastic, high current, low-watt amps...it can also be said that the X1s will gladly absorb however much power one practically throws at it...and thriving on high quality power, it certainly would be fun to see what the Ianus could do with it.
Hi Ll21,
I have not heard the Ianus but hope to get that chance sometime in the not too distant future. I have, however, heard the Conceros numerous times and can say that his would definitely be enough amp for your X1s unless you have them in a Cathedral and sit 10 meters away and like it loud. You speakers are an honest 95db with a very easy load as well...unlike most other Wilsons (the old Watt/Puppy was low impedance in critical areas that made it much tougher to drive). Of course the Ianus is rated somewhat higher in power and perhaps deliver more current on demand but I can tell you that the Conceros are not at all lacking in these traits...you might be amazed. Of course the Ianus is a totally different and new concept from Aries Cerat and will likely have some of its own unique character, although Aries Cerat gear is generally very low in coloration to begin with.

Give the Impera + Conceros a try.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#7
Thanks Morricab! Would you recommend the Conceros for the Rockport Arrakis? I like long-term optionality, and that is why Gryphon has been with me for so long...it freed me up to think about most any speaker I would like...and is a tremendous sound to my ear.
 
#8
Thanks Morricab! Would you recommend the Conceros for the Rockport Arrakis? I like long-term optionality, and that is why Gryphon has been with me for so long...it freed me up to think about most any speaker I would like...and is a tremendous sound to my ear.
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Interesting speakers the Arrakis. I wonder what the impedance curve is? I would say the efficiency is good for the 65 watt Concero Monoblocks. I have heard various systems with big speakers powered by Kondo 211 amplifiers which are rated at 50w, and they played loud and dynamic. Aside from bass control, the all important first watt is (for me) what the best tube amplification can bring to the table. Solid state can be very good, but somehow misses the addictive elements of what the best SET amplifiers can sound like. In fact, so much so IMO, if I had the budgets, I would find the best speaker to fit the best SET, not the the other way round.

Hope this helps.
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
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#9
Thanks Morricab! Would you recommend the Conceros for the Rockport Arrakis? I like long-term optionality, and that is why Gryphon has been with me for so long...it freed me up to think about most any speaker I would like...and is a tremendous sound to my ear.
Well, I haven't heard the Ianus so which is preferrable for such a speaker is not totally known to me. The Ianus has a higher power output and given the massiveness of the power supplies in the amps it will have a lot of drive. Sonically, I wouldn't expect anything less than the best from Stavros. It also depends a lot on a number of factors such as: A) How loud you like to listen, B) the size of your room and C) how close you want to sit to the speakers. The room size impacts the drop off with distance in SPL. A smaller room will see very little drop off with distance due to reflections...theoretical drop off for point and line source don't really apply. A large room will more closely approximate the theoretical.

How close you sit also impacts the SPL level drop as you might expect. Those two interact to give an expected drop. For example, in my old room with my large line source speakers I experienced only 1db drop from the front of the speaker to the listening position 3.5 meters away. Some of that was line source vs. point source behavior but a lot had to do with the room and my distance from the speakers.

The first point is obvious but what is maybe not so obvious is that for every 3db louder you need double the power and then thermal compression sets in and you need more power than theoretical. That is why it is often better to start with higher sensitivity. If you don't listen really loud then the power needed is significantly less. I see Rockport recommends 50 watts minimum but they don't state in what size room or at what distance...both of which will affect how much power you need. I remember that Apogee used to say for their speaker, Diva, that 100 watts would give 118db at 3 meters (with a pair of course)...somewhat more helpful but still not the whole story.

Arrakis is a 92db speaker. A pair will give you 95db at 1 meter with 1 watt at 4 ohms.
98db = 2 watts
101db = 4 watts
104 db = 8 watts
107 db = 16 watts
110 db = 32 watts
113 db = 64 watts
116 db = 128 watts
119 db = 256 watts
123 db = 512 watts

Now this assumes no thermal compression at 123db...probably unrealistic except for top pro driver systems. To figure out what the real volume level at your listening position would be we would need to measure the drop from 1 meter in front of the speakers to your listening position in the right room. We might lose a couple db or maybe 4 or 5 db. Let's say with 64 watts instead of 113db you can get 108 or 109 db. Is that enough? Going to 120 watts will get you to 112 or so. 250 watts would get you to 114 or 115, assuming compression hasn't kicked in and then the increase will be significantly less.

Your Wilsons start at a significant 3db higher and so the whole calculation shifts by one doubling of power (again assuming no thermal compression).
 
#10
Some new photos of the Genus from the Russian audio review: Aries_Cerat_Genus_01.jpg
The Russian audio review used some quite punishing speakers with lowish efficiency. The Genus has no problem driving these.

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This is the front 1/3rd of the amplifier showing the huge output transformers (top left) and 3 huge capacitor storage for the power supply (bottom left) . The mains toroid is top right.

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User manual and remote control

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The Siemens E280F first stage tubes with bias adjust. The LED meter to the right of the tubes is also used to bias the 813 power tubes.

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The Genus uses relays as opposed to a resistor potentiometer. The faceplate is 10mm thick smoked glass with the lettering etched on to the front face. Build quality is exceptional.

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The Genus is the 'baby' of the SET range from Aries Cerat, but is still 67 kilos and pretty huge.

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Here you can see the headphone socket bottom next to the speaker taps. The headphone output has both high and low impedance and can drive any headphone.

The review is here:
http://www.salonav.com/arch/2018/11/integralnyj-usilitel-aries-cerat-genus.htm
 
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LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#12
Congrats to AC and the whole team!
 
#13
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#14
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The Genus has Landed. A few words before I do a full review. I want to burn it in for 4 weeks and get used to the shockingly different presentation of this SET monster, though the 'baby' of the Aries Cerat stable, still pretty huge regardless. Serious iron indeed.

My Plinius SA-103 was a very good SS power amp, I ran it with a passive straight out of my Kassandra's 10v line out. I was a nice system, but I did notice it came 'on song' at higher levels of volume, and at medium and lower levels it sounded a bit flat and cold, synthetic.

Before I went SS on the power amp, I had an Audio Note (UK) M3 pre-amplifier and the Conquest SET 300B mono blocks with 4 x 300Bs and 'silver' OPTs. My Zingali's sounded a bit uncontrolled on those amp, nice mids but the bass was loose and tailed off below 60hz, the treble was also very soft and recessed. The OPTs used to get saturated real quick at decent listing levels as well, even though my Zingali's are 95dB and 6 ohms. So many of the SETs I have heard tended to be 'coloured' and an attempt to cheat the sound and try to avoid various weaknesses in the FR and dynamic envelope on anything less than insanely efficient speakers.

Anyway, I have had home demo's of other SETs and other SS amplifiers along the way. Then after selling my Audio Note DAC 5 and getting the Kassandra Ref II things really began to get exciting. A few long conversations with some Audio Note owners who have since moved to Aries Cerat gear, and I ordered the Genus.

The whole idea of the Genus was to give some of the Aries Cerat Outrageous dynamics and control of an over sized SETs but in a more manageable 60 kilo chassis. The Diana Forte SET power amplifier is the next one up and weighs in at 110 kilos. So the baby Genus is designed to retain as much of the higher models sonics as possible in a single and lighter chassis.

Before I powered up the amp I took of the top plate and it is packed with huge components. It has dual torroids stacked on the right side as opposed to a single unit. Left side are 3 huge capacitor banks, really huge. I have never seen anything this big in a domestic amplifier before. Then the 2 x OPTs are behind those, weighing 12 kilos each.

The preamplifier driver board is below the top plate right side, with 2 x E280Fs sticking up and bias adjust knobs. The LED readout is at the back of the top plate right side. The big 813 power tubes sit inside removable cages. In this case I prefer the cages on, it is part of the design look and is very nice IMO.

Bias adjust for the 813s is on the back plate and uses the same top LED readout as the E280Fs. I biased them a few times on the first day, and it is settled now, hasn't moved. Tweaking the bias changes the sound / timbre. It is also possible to roll the E280Fs which make a big difference as they are the driver tubes. I have RCA 813 1943 on the power tubes, the NOS tubes that come with the amplifier. They are a high voltage big bottle, more than twice the voltage of the 300B, more like a GM70 or 211.

The speaker binding posts are some really high quality units with nice rubber grips. And a 4 gang of RCA inputs and one pair XLRs. I believe you can ask this to be configured to suit on order.

Unusually we have a true headphone output for low or high setting. I am particularly interested in that, as I love my LCD4s.
Also unusually, there is a balance control on the remote! Cool, that is very useful for headphone use.

Another nice feature is a way to zero each input level, so you can equalise the sources, and even set one pair to then use the Genus in Power amp mode.

Sound
Bear in mind I will do a longer review, more in-depth later, but some words stand out.

1. Immediacy
It really kicks and takes me by surprise, live jazz for example, I nearly fell off my chair, no kidding. This is great stuff.

2. Soundstage
Wow, super 3D, both width and crucially depth as well, pin point placement. Stuff moving around in a 3D space beyond my back walls. There is a weird track by Chemical Brothers called 'The Private Phychedelic Reel' where the intro swirls around like a washing machine, amazing.

3. Treble
Finally more detail than I could imagine but with no harshness, edges, coldness or synthetics. No hiding behind a woolly capacitor here, we have real transparency and an open window. This is another level altogether. I imagine having no coupling capacitors in the signal path is like removing a film layer. You can only get away with that is the rest of the amp is up to the task, and I can tell you this one is, very much so.

4. Bass
Well here is the wobbly bit for most SETs I have tried to date. I think I would sum up what I have heard so far as a bass like a 'back up plan', a separate element that tries to keep up, but sadly is left flapping around in the background. Add to that the dreaded OPT core saturation and tube overload. I am very happy to report the bass on the Genus can go super low and has the control needed to keep up with the lightning fast mids of a good SET. It kicks and it has balls.

5. Midrange
I expected this to be great, and am not disappointed, it is really magical. I am trying to channel flick but keep letting stuff play through. Female vocals, strings, the usual suspects are all fantastic hear, it just lets me chill out and stop analysing the electronics. Which is how I want my audio system to sound.

Stavros, well done, a masterpiece of an amp you have here
For 15K Euros it is worth every penny. In fact it has wiped the floor with other amplifiers already costing over 100K and I won't say which ones. I'll let you work that one out.

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#15
A bit more information
Detail, detail, detail. Wow, I have never heard a SET do this much transparency yet seemingly no price to pay for it (no harshness). Other SETs I have tried have been curtailed in the upper treble.

Another nice feature is now I am getting accustomed to the signature of the Genus, I am tweaking the tube bias to suit my system. The smaller E2890F tubes are the driver tubes, and have a big impact on the sound. I have tried these n bias settings from 225 to 245 and I have settled on 245 as the perfect balance of detail, body and weight and maximum dynamics. If i had a duller speaker setup, dropping the bias to 230 for example would probably work best.

Loving this amplifier, it is a superb achievement from Stavros, getting this sound out of an integrated one box, with 2 gain stages. On power it is fine, my speakers are 95dB and playing loud is at 30, normal at 18-20, late evening 8-10. It can play much louder than I need with no apparent compression or clipping I can here.

The 813 is a new tube to me, circa 1943 onwards and designed by RCA for the US Military in comms duties. It can run at 1100v bias and has a 125 watts heat dissipation. It is far more alive and dynamic (and transparent) than my Audio Note monoblocks even though they had 4 x 300B tubes.
 

Golum

Well-Known Member
Jun 7, 2018
659
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110
Lausanne, CH
#16
Pure wet dream...
 
#17
More Genus info
Having some great fun with this amplifier. The amount of information I am getting out of it is a eye opener (ear opener). Who said tubes were coloured, SETs were tubby bass and rolled off treble? Nope, not here, this thing is an open window, I wish I could get my UK buddies to hear it, sink their out of date ideas about tube amps.

I think once you get to a certain level, it is about every part of the system working together as a whole. For example, I like the Seimens E280Fs in the Kassandra set to 245 bias. I found that to be my ideal soon after it landed last year. It also suited my LCD4 headphones perfectly.

Now with the Genus driving my speakers I have tweaked the E280Fs in the Genus down from 245 to 230, and right there, a perfect balance with my Zingali's. Bear in mind I am sat super close to the speakers, maybe 4 feet away.

So this bias adjust on the fly, it is a great feature as it can make the separate elements to a system slot into place perfectly. Ok, I can play with power cords, different interconnects and different USB cables as well. I have an Audioquest NRG10 coming next week for the power cord on the Genus, see how that sounds.
 
#19
On power and interconnects, I am waiting till the Genus is fully run in, which I imagine will be 6 weeks at least. I find fitting a new component into a system is best done in stages, or you can loose track of what if affecting what. Right now I am using Kondo Interconnects between the Kassandra and Genus, and have an AudioQuest NRG10 power cord coming in next week for the Genus.

Tweak items besides ICs and power cords may also be tubes, bias settings, tube rings, experimenting with feet and damping under the DAC and amp, and possibly some more DIY speaker cable experiments. I have some idea for the feet, some 75mm aluminium casting with cement filling and damping materials (to be decided).

More info to follow. PM me anyone of you need more in-depth details about any AC products.
 

RSR

New Member
Jan 1, 2020
3
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#20
Would be interested to hear opinions and experiences of cables and interconnects that work well with the Genus, from those who have experimented.

Cheers!
 

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