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Old 11th March 2006, 11:55 PM   #1
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Default Pass Shootout In Salt Lake City Part-2

Its been a year since the last shootout and we got together for another round here at my house. We were all loaded for this shootout! Loaded for bear!

LuckyLyndy attended and Bill W. brought his latest amp which is an Aleph 3 using ZVP-3310 MOSFETs for the input pair and CSS. Bill's brother Todd was also present for this shootout.

The ZVP-3310 has a much lower input capacitance of 50 pf vs. the 170 pf of the IRF9610. We all concluded that this lower capacitance translated into the ultra-detailed but still very smooth sound of his amp. We also compared his amp to the Aleph Mini and to the Krell KSA-50 Klone. The results were pretty surprising........

The Aleph 3 with ZVP's sounded super detailed and extremely smooth and spacious. Sound staging was excellent and in every respect surpassed the Mini Aleph and the Aleph 2's that also reside here. Next we switched to the Krell KSA-50 Klone..... Changing to the Krell lost just a little extreme detail at the very top end, but also moved you about 20 seats further forward towards the performance. Clearly the Krell was the much warmer sounding of the three amps compared, and it did so without any hint of harshness. The midrange was brought forward and there was a smoothness and liquidity to the bass extending into the lower midrange. Soundstaging was excellent. There was a dramatic difference in the bottom end between the three amps with it greatly extended on the Krell. The Krell definately had more punch than the other amps but it also had quite a bit more power. Comparison of the Krell to an Aleph 5 might be more fair. I have however I've compared it to my Aleph 2's and the Krell still has a more extended botttom end. Everyone agreed that the modded Aleph 3 was excellent, and a complete success, and Bill, who has horns, appreciated the effect that the mod had to enhance the top end of the Aleph 3 and to bring out the details in such a dramatic fashion. Like different wines, all these amps offer different strengths and weaknesses. But all can be enjoyed for their different approaches to good, musical sound reproduction.

We are planning another shoot-out in a month. Any local audio fans are more than welcome to attend!

System and gear............

Dynaudio Audience 9's--stock

12B4 Line Stage with cathode side css.... DIY

Aleph 3 with ZVP-3310's on the input pair and css....DIY

Krell KSA-50 Klone....DIY

Rosenblatz Grounded Grid Line Stage....DIY

Pioneer Elite DN-45A--stock

(Photos of the shootout to follow)
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Old 12th March 2006, 12:37 AM   #2
lgreen is offline lgreen  United States
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Default nice

Nice report.

Group photo? pics of the equipment?
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Old 12th March 2006, 01:12 AM   #3
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Great info Mark.
Can you share some more info on the mods on the Aleph 3?



Thanks
Lawrence
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Old 12th March 2006, 02:37 PM   #4
MikeW is offline MikeW  United States
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Default MOSFET A-40 ?

Do you want me to send you a MOSFET A-40 for the next shootout? How much power do you need?
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Old 12th March 2006, 04:45 PM   #5
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Default Good idea, Mike, but I would like to hear the Aleph J version

Mike,
That Aleph 3 was so tweaked out, and had so many modifications, I wouldn't dare to tell you what else was done to it. The Audio Twins
should step in and explain their bizarre creation! Mark left his digital camera connection at work, or he would have put some photos up that would have been very good. The amp case he salvaged from a Smart amp looked great with his Krell Kanto Klone inside. Also, over in the corner was an old linestage of yours, that Mark has spent a lot of time fussing over. He keeps grumbling about "balanced" something about it...
I would like to hear the Abnormal Aleph 3 on the Audio Twins own system, especially their big horns, to get more impressions on its qualities.
It was good we had the listening session yesterday. It is snowing like crazy this morning, three inches in the valley, double that in the mountains. The ski bums at Alta and Snowbird must be in powder heaven!
Lyndon
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Old 12th March 2006, 05:14 PM   #6
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Lucky,

Your comment "case he salvaged from a Smart amp looked great" makes me curious. Can you tell me a little more about the Smart amp? The only one I know about is a DH-220 clone with Hafler heat sinks suitable for a class AB 110 watts. Would they be big enough for a Krell clone?

I just happen to have two of these Smart chasses and have wondered what to do with them.

BTW, my years in SLC allowed me to be at least a P/T ski bum. Those were the days!
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Old 12th March 2006, 06:36 PM   #7
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Hi Dick,

Are you the Dick West that worked for Midwest HiFi back in the 70's? If so then we know each other.

The Smart amp I salvaged was a 6 channel beast, Model TA-6600 that was built for Smart by A-B Systems. These amps have proven to be VERY unreliable and A-B Systems is barely in existance for repairs to them. In fact I don't think A-B is more than a corner on some guys desk at the moment.

When one of these amps goes down it takes the entire theatre off line till it can be pilled out and replaced. They are heavy and round trip shipping to and from Smart is well over 100.00 and simply not worth the expenditure or the effort. Cinema owners don't like that sort of situation so we generally prefer to replace them with 2 or 3 2 channel QSC or CROWN amps.

I will try to post pictures of the shootout in the next couple of days. I unfortunately did leave my download cable at work.


Its up to Bill and Todd to make a post as to the mods they did. As far as I kow they just directly subbed in the ZVP3310A's in place of the 9610's. Hopefully Bill will post some info as he did the majority of the work on it.

Mark
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Old 12th March 2006, 07:25 PM   #8
Skorpio is offline Skorpio  Denmark
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Try a bipolar input stage on the Aleph 3....you might be suprised
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Old 12th March 2006, 08:09 PM   #9
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Mark,

My last name actually is Westenskow. If you check your phone directory you can see I have several cousins living in SLC. I left there in the mid 60s to find fame and fortune in the midwest which, at that time, had higher salaries than the mountain west. Such is life.....
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Old 12th March 2006, 08:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
I left there in the mid 60s to find fame and fortune in the midwest which, at that time, had higher salaries than the mountain west. Such is life.....
Kinda funy as saleries back by you are still higher than here in SLC. I did just the opposite... left Chicago to come out here. I love the outdoors and was tired of all the traffic jams and congestion back there. Last time I went back to Chicago (about 7 years ago) I told everyone there that if they wanted to visit they'd have to come see me. Having spent 40 years living in Glen Ellyn and St Charles I have no interest in going back there again.

Mark
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