What are some of the top 845 Amplifiers you have heard?

Pallen

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The only 845 based amps I've owned are the Art Audio Carissa, a very nice UK-built stereo amp,

View attachment 70543

I am very interested to hear a bit more about what you thought of the sound of the Art Audio Carissa. I came very close to taking a punt on one of these, but without no opportunity to hear it downunder, my rational brain kicked in and I pulled back.
 

Hear Here

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I really liked the Carissa although my experience with tube amps is somewhat limited. I used it with my Avantgarde Uno horn speakers and it was a great combination. I had on load for a few months an Art Audio PX-25 amp too. This was very nice indeed with music such as female voice (never heard better) but was struggling slightly with big orchestral music - it's only 6 watts or so! Other tube amps I've tried were Audio Note 300B (not good), Graaf GM-20 (nice OTL sound but physically noisy) and my present Cyber 845 monos. I'd pick the Carissa over the Cyber for sound quality.

Tom Willis (who designs and builds Art Audio) used to say his favourite amp is his Diavolo 300B SET. However this is low powered and I suspect only suitable for 100+dB speakers. He says of the Carissa "It has muscular intensity and musical finesse with transparency and intimacy. We have sacrificed some power in this 845 design to double the current output.(less watts, more power or current delivery). No softness here, dynamics with a light and airy soundstage and a treble that is crisp and sweet, emotionally charged and expressively satisfying."

He rates it at 16 watts, whereas the Cyber 845 is rated at 28 watts. These monos don't seem to like their situation in my new home - a bit noisy - but I put this down to nearby router, TV and other electronics. I've not tried to sort out that problem as they are for sale.
 

VerdantAudio

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FYI...the Carissa has been re-designed and the current version is the Carissa Copper Reference. There are a few tweaks including Silver Foil caps, the addition of a second transformer (now HT for audio circuits, LT for heater), a soft start in front and it is now rated at 18w vs. 16w. It is a really nice amp.

This amp will benefit from tube rolling (ships with Shuguangs) but it very much depends on the speakers. I listened to it with a pair of Avantgarde Zeros and it was tremendous. With less efficient speakers, moving to a different tube can be super helpful.

I work with Tom and he loves the 300B. It is his favorite tube and the Diavolo and now Harmony Silvers are his favorite amps. That being said his mission when designing an amp is to make it the ultimate expression of whatever tube he is using. So, the Diavolo is a very stereotypical 300B with lush mids but will be obscenely quiet. The Carissa will be more linear (+/- .5dB from 20hz to 60khz under a normal load) and will deliver the monster soundstage you expect from an 845. Same goes for the PX25, EL34, etc...
 
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Hear Here

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In fact, I thought the Carissa was rated at 18 watts, but I decised to check with Tom's website. This shows that it's 16 watts, so that's what I quoted. Tom is more interested in building his fantastic amps than updating his website, so whether 16 or 18 is correct, I don't mind - as long as it sounds great!

When Tom was exhibiting at a Hi-Fi Show at a Heathrow hotel several years ago, I took along my Avantgarde speakers for his amps to power. The general consunsus of visitors who had also heard Avantgarde's own room, considered Tom's room sounded better. Avantgarde of course were using their own solid state amps, so perhaps this explained the better sound with Tom's valve kit. Peter
 
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VerdantAudio

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In fact, I thought the Carissa was rated at 18 watts, but I decised to check with Tom's website. This shows that it's 16 watts, so that's what I quoted. Tom is more interested in building his fantastic amps than updating his website, so whether 16 or 18 is correct, I don't mind - as long as it sounds great!

When Tom was exhibiting at a Hi-Fi Show at a Heathrow hotel several years ago, I took along my Avantgarde speakers for his amps to power. The general consunsus of visitors who had also heard Avantgarde's own room, considered Tom's room sounded better. Avantgarde of course were using their own solid state amps, so perhaps this explained the better sound with Tom's valve kit. Peter


Tom hasn't had certain aspects of the website updated in a while. I am 100% certain it is 18w as that is what is spec'd in the manual and what he told me. There is also no longer a separate US version with a single bobbin transformer. That was eliminated a few years back and the split bobbin is far superior.

I am not even vaguely shocked to hear that people thought Art Audio amps sounded better than Avantgarde's SS. I picked up the Avatgarde line based on feedback from customers experience as they are a brilliant match. One note about the PX-25, it comes standard with 8 ohm taps. It will perform much better if it is customized with 16 ohm taps for Avantgardes.
 

Hear Here

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When I had the PX-25 on loan from Tom (I was acting as an unofficial delaer for Art Audio and Avantgarde as neither had a London dealer at the time), my Unos were pre-Omega so rated at 8 ohms - a good match with PX-25. If I go back to Tom's amps, I'd be tempted by the PX-25 or Carissa. With my new Duo XDs that are 107dB and 18 watts, I'll remember to specify a 16 ohm tap. Thanks..
 

bonzo75

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Tom hasn't had certain aspects of the website updated in a while. I am 100% certain it is 18w as that is what is spec'd in the manual and what he told me. There is also no longer a separate US version with a single bobbin transformer. That was eliminated a few years back and the split bobbin is far superior.

I am not even vaguely shocked to hear that people thought Art Audio amps sounded better than Avantgarde's SS. I picked up the Avatgarde line based on feedback from customers experience as they are a brilliant match. One note about the PX-25, it comes standard with 8 ohm taps. It will perform much better if it is customized with 16 ohm taps for Avantgardes.

I have visited Tom around two years ago and tried his various amps with his Ars Aures speakers and preferred the 300b the most. Very musical sound with small speakers in a normal room. He had voiced it with the WE reissues and it sounded best with them.

unfortunately he did not have the PX25. I know a couple or people who own that and will try to listen once COVID eases.
 
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christoph

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The general consunsus of visitors who had also heard Avantgarde's own room, considered Tom's room sounded better. Avantgarde of course were using their own solid state amps, so perhaps this explained the better sound with Tom's valve kit.
This is also my experience from so many shows :eek:
Their own amp is really not a good combo with their speakers, IME :rolleyes:
 

Carlos269

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How does that 300B preamp from Transcendent Sound...sound??

My particular unit is highly modified from the standard version. This unit is dead quiet with crystal clear transparent sound and a magical midrange, some might call it warm, I call it organic. Beautiful on acoustic wood instruments and vocals.
 

morricab

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My particular unit is highly modified from the standard version. This unit is dead quiet with crystal clear transparent sound and a magical midrange, some might call it warm, I call it organic. Beautiful on acoustic wood instruments and vocals.

What have you modded? Mostly upgrade on the passive parts?
 

Carlos269

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What have you modded? Mostly upgrade on the passive parts?

Main mods are CDE 930C caps in the signal path, these are some of the lowest ESR caps available. DACT style 100k attenuator. One input only that goes directly to the DACT attenuator, then into the gain stages, to avoid any additional cable runs in order to maintain the highest signal integrity. And used with Grand Prix Audio Apex Footers with the optional silicone nitride ceramic balls.
 
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cineon

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I really liked the Carissa although my experience with tube amps is somewhat limited. I used it with my Avantgarde Uno horn speakers and it was a great combination. I had on load for a few months an Art Audio PX-25 amp too. This was very nice indeed with music such as female voice (never heard better) but was struggling slightly with big orchestral music - it's only 6 watts or so! Other tube amps I've tried were Audio Note 300B (not good), Graaf GM-20 (nice OTL sound but physically noisy) and my present Cyber 845 monos. I'd pick the Carissa over the Cyber for sound quality.

Tom Willis (who designs and builds Art Audio) used to say his favourite amp is his Diavolo 300B SET. However this is low powered and I suspect only suitable for 100+dB speakers. He says of the Carissa "It has muscular intensity and musical finesse with transparency and intimacy. We have sacrificed some power in this 845 design to double the current output.(less watts, more power or current delivery). No softness here, dynamics with a light and airy soundstage and a treble that is crisp and sweet, emotionally charged and expressively satisfying."

He rates it at 16 watts, whereas the Cyber 845 is rated at 28 watts. These monos don't seem to like their situation in my new home - a bit noisy - but I put this down to nearby router, TV and other electronics. I've not tried to sort out that problem as they are for sale.

Hello , I'm also an owner of AvantGarde Duo paired with AudioNote Conquest Silver 300B PSE low gain paired to an M3 and find that is a pretty good combination. Which AudioNote 300B you didn't like with your speakers? I'm surprised you got a better result with the Consonance 845 monos... Can you develop please? Greetings
 

Hear Here

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Hello , I'm also an owner of AvantGarde Duo paired with AudioNote Conquest Silver 300B PSE low gain paired to an M3 and find that is a pretty good combination. Which AudioNote 300B you didn't like with your speakers? I'm surprised you got a better result with the Consonance 845 monos... Can you develop please? Greetings
cineon -
Welcome - I believe this is your first post.

Good to hear from a fellow Duo owner. Which model do you have? I've just bought new XDs that are 3 generations newer than my circa 2006 Duos, but I'm surprised at how well my old pre-Omega ones stand up to the latest version. In many was I prefer them!

I've replied to your PM. I hope it was helpful.

IMG_0265.JPG IMG_0268.JPG
 
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morricab

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cineon -
Welcome - I believe this is your first post.

Good to hear from a fellow Duo owner. Which model do you have? I've just bought new XDs that are 3 generations newer than my circa 2006 Duos, but I'm surprised at how well my old pre-Omega ones stand up to the latest version. In many was I prefer them!

I've replied to your PM. I hope it was helpful.

View attachment 70732 View attachment 70733

What are you preferring in the old ones compared to the new ones? I have heard both types that you have and I preferred the old ones actually as I found the new ones to be too "in yer face" (could have been amps as well). Looks like the midrange driver is different (at least based on the color). AFAIK, the tweeter is still the Beyma CP380m, a great tweeter.
 

Hear Here

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What are you preferring in the old ones compared to the new ones? I have heard both types that you have and I preferred the old ones actually as I found the new ones to be too "in yer face" (could have been amps as well). Looks like the midrange driver is different (at least based on the color). AFAIK, the tweeter is still the Beyma CP380m, a great tweeter.

I doubt the current Duo XD uses the Beyma tweeter you mention as it's shown as 8 ohms whereas the XD Duo has an 18 ohm tweeter - and mid for that matter.

I don't find the new speaker "in-yer-face" although I know exactly what you're describing. In fact it was because I found my old ATC50 Active speakers so in-yer-face I wanted to push then 20 ft further way. I looked around, read Robert Deutsch's Stereophine review of the Unos and bought a pair in 2002. Suddenly music opened up with clarity, detail and excitement that I'd not heard before. I changed the Unos last year to the 2006'ish Duos (not Omega spec) and bought the XDs a couple of months ago.

No, I find the sound quality much the same. The XD uses the same mid and top drivers as the earlier Duo Omega. The difference in sound is relatively subtle. Now the XDs are broken in, I'll be doing some A-B testing using a switcher to select the speakers without leaving my seat.

It's the height of the XDs that require them to be tilted forward to obtain the recommended presentation towards a typical listening position that I don't like. This looks ungainly from the side in particular which is very noticeable in my room. They needn't be that tall as the older Duos have deeper cabinets than the XDs. With the bigger 12" drivers the cabinet could have been made a little deeper and less tall to achieve the internal volume needed. You can always jack up speakers but you can't shrink them!

Also, as you'll see from the photos I posted, I don't like the vertical "scaffolding" that AG uses on the Duos. I ditched these 3 poles in favour of a rear-mounted F frame that supports the horn tubes and this makes the speakers appear much "slimmer" and less fussy - a feature I was looking for as it blocks less of the view from my windows behind the speakers. I'm planning to do something similar with the XDs.

I've not got to grips with the XD software. Unfortunately AG don't offer a facility to measure the speakers before making the comprehensive changes that the XD software offers. It would cost little for this to be included with the XDs (as it is with for example Martin Logan hybrid speakers), so I'm a little disappointed that adjustments have to be made entirely based on what one hears.
 

Robert Young

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First post here...I've been reading a lot of threads/topics that interested me, but they all hit moments of extraordinary crankiness, which has kept me from posting my own crankiness...;)

I still regret selling my Nagra VPAs when my daughter was born, and I regret even more that I will probably never be able to afford them again. They were wonderful with an early pair of Sonus faber Amati Homages I bought from Carl Bernstein (yes, that Carl Bernstein. However, I am not that Robert Young).

As great as they were, the best I have ever heard was Nori Komuro's 845 monoblocks, driving prototype Exemplar horns. My memory of that set-up still informs my (rather less pricey) system goals....
 
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lordcloud

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Nagra VPA.
 

adamaley

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Can one translate the sound of an 845 tube to its 805 stablemate? Since there is a dearth of 805 amps in existence, I'm hoping I could extrapolate these 845 findings for 805s. Don't mean to sidetrack the thread, just looking for experienced feedback regarding if one can apply the same preferences in the 805 domain. Mods or thread starter, please feel free to delete or steer the thread away from 805 talk if desired.
 

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