Poll: Which of the three? Aleph J, M2X, F6

Best choice to add to a growing Pass collection

  • Aleph J

    Votes: 41 65.1%
  • M2X

    Votes: 8 12.7%
  • F6

    Votes: 14 22.2%

  • Total voters
    63

jasonb84

Member
2004-04-13 1:32 am
As someone who has built three F5s I'm trying to figure out which one to go for next. After scouring through pages of Aleph J and M2 posts it seems there is still not only a division but some overlap between people calling the Aleph more rounded, soft and tube like and then similar statements against the M2. Or equally divided as to which one is "better".

I enjoy the articulation and detail of the F5 and was considering an EL84 or 34 tube amp for the second system just to get back into the tube scene. I am not after a lush romantic sound but something that is different enough to have as a complement to the F5 in an amp rotation and provides maybe a little more magic in the mids and highs rather than F5 matter of fact presentation.

Speakers are a monitor designed by my friend with Vifa woofers and scanspeak tweeters. Nominal 8 ohm and only 87dB but they play fine with F5. No issues with trying to tame any frequency as they are transparent and balanced to me. Just a matter of flavour now regards to amp choice.

And both or all three may be built eventually but this is my next project for the spring. Appreciate all the opinions.
 

codyt

Member
Paid Member
2019-08-26 7:05 pm
IN, USA
I’ve built the AJ and F6. I think my overall favorite so far has been the Aleph, for reasons you mentioned above. But I’ve gone back and forth a lot. AJ seems on the opposite end of spectrum from F5, while F6 being somewhere in the middle. F6 has that fast, dynamic push/pull thing that I really love, but I always end up coming back to AJ for the mids. I think an M2 variant is next on my list!
 
I have built all three, the M2x, Aleph J and F6, in that order. The M2x is a great amp, especially if you like to tinker with different input stage designs. It can be a simple build or a more complex one, depending on what you want. The Aleph J is probably the easiest to get to sound like the best possible single-ended Class A. That's saying a lot. I built mine almost stock, except for the power supply.

The F6 is an interesting beast. It is capable of doing some things a little better than the Aleph J, but requires extensive mods to get there. In stock form, it could sound pretty similar to the M2. I went all-out with mine, and am still playing with a couple ideas to wring the most out of the simple topology.

All three will benefit greatly from a proper dual-mono power supply.
 

codyt

Member
Paid Member
2019-08-26 7:05 pm
IN, USA
I have built all three, the M2x, Aleph J and F6, in that order. The M2x is a great amp, especially if you like to tinker with different input stage designs. It can be a simple build or a more complex one, depending on what you want. The Aleph J is probably the easiest to get to sound like the best possible single-ended Class A. That's saying a lot. I built mine almost stock, except for the power supply.

The F6 is an interesting beast. It is capable of doing some things a little better than the Aleph J, but requires extensive mods to get there. In stock form, it could sound pretty similar to the M2. I went all-out with mine, and am still playing with a couple ideas to wring the most out of the simple topology.

All three will benefit greatly from a proper dual-mono power supply.

Which mod to the F6 did you feel made the best impact?
 
Which mod to the F6 did you feel made the best impact?
It is somewhat difficult to say. The main thing was choosing a higher transconductance Mosfet (FQH44N10), and making the commitment to use it most effectively. So, higher voltage power rails sourced from a synchronous rectifier followed by a capacitance multiplier (the SLB with extra caps on the output), and a diamond buffer input stage to handle the higher voltage. The basic F6 runs on about 23V rails and 1.5 A quiescent current. Mine runs a little over 26V and 1.8 A current. The PSU regulators are larger than the amplifier boards, and dissipate over 10W per channel by themselves.
 

jasonb84

Member
2004-04-13 1:32 am
All fantastic suggestions and I line with what I've been planning, that is a proper dual mono build in a big chassis.

I've used CRC in all of the F5s of which two are my own and used in the main system with active 3 ways (Ncore on bass). I just received 4 Hammond 159ZJ to try CLC.

For this new build the plan was getting a 4U/5U 400 and two Antek 4222. A pair of SLB supplies from XRK will round out the full dual mono setup.

On all my amps I have bought stock chassis from Modushop and done my own metal work for back plates and heatsink tapping. Having that ability will make it easier and cheaper to just order blank sinks in the future.


I already have the Edcor transformers which I actually ordered thinking it would take the 6-8 weeks and that would give me time to decide. No harm in holding on to them.

Pure single ended Class A sound... That there is a big selling point as I have heard 300B in a system similar to mine and it was something else. Polar opposite was not exactly what I was after but when you are talking legendary amps this is reason enough to have a listen.

M2 is simply the newest and most novel for me. In my mind I somehow thought better but with Pass this is not the case. Along with F6 the idea of iron in the signal path was something I never had thought of in a solid state design.

Regarding Aleph J front end, I have some pairs of LS Fets. But in the name of making this amp a little more special does anyone think it would be nice to pick up some proper Toshiba FETS? I don't have an issue with the cost and found the trusted source punkydawgs on ebay.
 

PJN

Member
2004-12-31 1:27 am
Pa, USA
I have a AJ, F6, M2, and did have an F5. I prefer the F6 with my main lower efficiency 3 way speakers. The AJ and M2 are softer in the base. That said they all sound great, all are warmer than the F5. You can't lose with any. The M2x is interesting with the different front end options.
 

Extreme_Boky

Member
2003-12-07 11:57 am
Hmmm...
 

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Russellc

Member
Paid Member
2003-03-06 12:59 am
midwest
All three are fantastic examples, I have all three but your tastes, room, speakers and ancillaries will not be same as others.

First I built F5. Mine is older one before P3 which is said to address many taste differences.
Didnt realize it at the time, but I was transitioning away from all tube components period.

So impressed with the F5 I actually sold my Mcintosh M225 power amp! I built the M2 and was even more impressed with its easy yet powerful and transparent sound. Then F6.....sort of reminded me of F5 in tone, top end very extended. Eventually I cannibalized it and installed Aleph J in its case. I found it to be a beautiful amp. Two things here, I have never done this before, always just building the next amp and "putting it on the heap" and I never looked back or missed the F6.

The way you describe your taste preferences you may well enjoy F6 the best of these.
I really like AlephJ, I really do. Same with the M2, just different taste. Not sure if I could pick one over the other between the two, and have decided to convert both like the member who posted the thread "I made my M2 and AlephJ into mono blocks" with half in each case and a toggle on the power supply. Only hesitancy would be if it lost any characteristics I enjoy of stereo version?

All that said...the second Amp I built was BA3. It in many ways IS my all time favorite. To me, similar to F5 in characteristic but better in every way. A little more warmth. I have described it as a "more mature version" of the F5.

If budget allows, build two cases and power supplies and enjoy two mono block versions of two different FirstWatt clones...say F6 and AlephJ., or M2.

For what you have described you might try F6 of the three you mention....me? I would say BA3 with 30 volt rails, like 6l6's build thread. Approximately 50 watts of class A, I elected it over Turbo F5, which you might also like.

Whatever you build, you will be impressed with sound, so just build!


Russellc
 
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