Aleph 3 - Its 2013, are they still awesome ?

I have a chance to purchase an admittedly overpriced Aleph 3 ($1400).
Have not heard it yet, but judging by its reviews am very excited.
But I do understand the Amp is atleast 14 years old technology.

So would this amp still hold on its own with newer Amps from this era in the same price range <4K.
No. But its still pretty good. If you can, find an Aleph 0. Its much better than the 3 and the 5.
I would try to listen to them before deciding. It's only 30W but in the right setup with efficient speakers, it will still sound great. What other amps from that era are you considering? Not that many at 30W.

It's kind of a soft sound very tubelike weak sounding too with weak bass but also very magical with certain music if you love a tube like sound and don't need to crank it up it might be just right. It's gets super hot too. Though it does seem to do some of the magic that the pricey amps do for a cheap price (they used to go for around 800) if you can live with its limitations and are a listener of mostly delicate music it may be hard to beat.
Yes. But it was never made for difficult speaker loads. It was a great design.
I heard it yesterday and bought it, admittedly at a high price. But feel it was worth it.

Will post something more detailed about the sound soon.

Thanks for the reply, and now I need a right speaker to go with it. damn!
Don't buy it, rather buy a First Watt M2 for $1690 from Reno Hifi if they still have any refurb ones. You get the full warranty and Nelson Pass's current best effort and an amp with similar tone and strengths - only better.

No kidding. Buy one! I just did and love it.
... now I need a right speaker to go with it. damn

> 92dB / 8Ω
Hmmm...I think the guy I bought it from, did the same that you mention. I saw that replaced the amp (Aleph) I bought from him with a First Watt.
Thanks Syntax.

Do you have any recommendations for such speakers under 5K new or used ?
I got really good results with ProAc. I think DeVore would be worth looking into, as well. Even though the amp is only 30 watts, its a very clean 30 watts. You won't have any problems finding a speaker to go with it.
I would check out some of the ZU Audio speakers. They are very efficient.
Hello Essrand,

I listened to some Aleph Designs with Horn speakers and it was always a good combination. The recommendation from Stereo5 - ZU Audio - is interesting, too. Another idea is to check Reference 3A, those speakers are outstanding from Performance, or Verity Audio, but I have no experience with their 2. hand pricing. You can also look what Atma-Sphere used for their demos, probably you can get some new ideas there. The Alephs are quite robust with speakers but they are never made for low impedance speaker designs.
Thanks Zd and Syntax.

I did not think of proac or reference 3A, but now I will.

Any ideas on Pre-amps for the aleph. Am planning to audition the following next week. Was wondering if from experience you guys have any opinions.

I can get a BAT Vk-50SE used for around 2500$ or an Aleph P used for 1900$.

Or a CJ ET3 new $2500 or the Triode Corporation TRX-1 $3000.

Or do you guys know anything else that you absolutely loved with your Alephs.

I tried the Aleph 0's with Martin Logan Quests and thought they were boring. They look cool and have a great sexy name, but make sure you emotionally love the sound with the speakers you choose.
Hello Essrand,

from my experience, the Alephs run very well with a wide range of Preamps, I used Klyne 7, Aesthetix Callisto sign., Lamm L2R, Lamm LL2 and my favorite match was with Lamm units. Specially LL2 (or LL2.1) is amazing (and reliable).
Gain is generally a chain, when you have a weak Preamp output but a high sensitive speaker it doesn't matter so much, but when all is on the downside + a speaker which has a complex X-over (that is important, because such a design can ruin ever a high sensitive speaker design, Wilson, Martin Logan and others) even good units will be not able to serve an effortless reproduction. The Aleph Design itself is outstanding good but a lot of Audiophiles used them with problematic speakers, that was the reason for higher powered Alephs (until Model 1.2) because most Users simply didn't understand that this amp is totally different to others (former Threshold, later the - boring - Pass X-amps ...
It is in a "way" a 300B, but made with Transistors.
A relatively inexpensive used pre amp that you could try is the Pass X-1. I replaced the Aleph P with the X-1 and found it to be quieter and much more transparent. I used the X-1 with a pair of Aleph 2s.

Syntax is correct when he writes that the Aleph 3 is an excellent amplifier, but it needs to be paired with the correct speaker load. I would try to stay with an 8 ohm nominal rating and fairly efficient (90+dB) design.
I thought the aleph p was a real boring sound personally I didn't like it much. I would go for the BAT that is a much better preamp and may even give a nice flavor to the aleph 3
Its probably a really good 30 w/ch amplifier, but still only 30 w/ch. I would not compare it to other good higher power amps that would come in for similar or less cost.

So its about quality more than quality. Gotta have speakers that can reach their full potential with only 30 watts for best results I would say. THat would seem to infer the speakers be fairly efficient, unless litening at higher volumes is not a concern.
"07-29-13: Mapman
Its probably a really good 30 w/ch amplifier, but still only 30 w/ch. I would not compare it to other good higher power amps that would come in for similar or less cost.

So its about quality more than quality. Gotta have speakers that can reach their full potential with only 30 watts for best results I would say. THat would seem to infer the speakers be fairly efficient, unless litening at higher volumes is not a concern."

That's not always the case. Amp power ratings can be all over the place. There's no standard for measurement. I took my Pass 0s (40 watts x2) and easily drove a pair of B&W 802's. When I put my Krell KAV 250 in the system, there wasn't that much of a difference. The bass was better and you could get a little more volume, but the amp really wasn't necessary. The Pass was more than enough.


Given the above statement, I'm not suggesting that you go out and buy a big, inefficient pair of speakers. The 0s is a much bigger amp than the 3, or even the 5. If you are considering ProAc, I wouldn't go any bigger than the Response 2. I have heard the 3 with the Response 1sc, 1.5 and the 2. Great sound with all 3.

As far as a preamp goes, I never really liked Pass preamps. Its been a while since I've heard one, so its possible they have changed. I wouldn't hesitate to get the BAT. That was the best one I tried. (VK 5i I think was the model). A BAT Vk-50SE should sound even better. The build quality is also as good as it gets. Pick a good source and you will be very happy with the combo.
I did not like the Aleph 30 with a single driver + super tweeter design similar to the Zus. The Aleph overdamped the bass on these speakers. A problem that I did not have when using First Watt amps with these speakers.
Never were
I am with Stringreen here. I've tried the Aleph 0, 2, 3, and 5 based on the glowing reviews but never really warmed up to any one of them. They sounded pretty good with the right speakers but nowhere near as good as some of the reviews claimed.

As for the the preamps, the Aleph P and Ono (and X-ono) were downright awful. Perhaps one of the most overrated SS preamps of all time.
I tried the Aleph 30- agree with everything Ejlif says- nice, magical on some types of music, but forget about big dynamics... I was using on higher efficiency Coincident speakers as well.

I will agree with some of the other posts here on the advancement Pass has made with the First Watt amps- the J2 I tried had fabulous inner detailing; very 'SET like' in that area, and superior to the Aleph amps I have heard in this regard- there is an amazing thread on the First Watt amps on Agon that is very informative. I am one of those guys that was tempted, but ended up keeping my 2-watt 45-based SET as it is still a more 'complete' picture than even the First Watt J2, HOWEVER, if I were to consider solid state in the smaller-room high efficiency system that I have, the FW SIT-1 monos would be a serious contender.

Back to the Aleph series, I also had the preamp, and again agree with Ejlif- 'boring', no life- in fact, I have had TVC-based passives I prefer to the Pass Aleph preamp.

Lastly, I contacted Nelson recently and guess what his preference is for the entire Aleph series- the Aleph 2 monoblocks...
I had the Aleph 2 mono blocks and loved them. I did prefer them to the Aleph 3 and Aleph 5. I do write a little about these amps in my review of the XA100.5. For the current used price, if you can find a pair of Aleph 2s, they are a great value.
Hi PeterAyer, Eljif

Have you guys tried the Aleph L ?
Heard good things about it here:

He seems dismissive of Alephs but for some reason loved the Aleph L.

Been listening to Aleph 3 with my Benchmark DAC HDR as pre-amp.

So far a big upgrade from Jolida 801 Amp/Jolida 100A CD player combo.

Am not yet sure, how much of it is the Aleph, but am loving hearing some real bass that was completely missing in my prev setup.

I have not heard the Aleph L. I did have a later model Aleph P with remote and then upgraded that to the X-1. My current XP-20 seems to combine and improve upon the basic character of these two pre amps: the rich, natural timbre and tonal balance of the Aleph P with the low noise floor and detail of the X-1. One caveat: I did change amps and speakers once during these pre amp upgrades, so I did not compare the three preamps in the exact same system, but I did compare the P to the X-1 in the same system and then the X-1 to the XP in the same system.

I do like the compactness and simple design of the Aleph L.
Just a final comment.

Its been a few weeks. I LOVE this amp. I finally got a taste of what hi-fi means for that much money.

Even my 89dB/4W humble Vienna Acoustics Haydn bookshelf speakers has such a new/great sound that I have temporarily shelved plans to buy a new speaker.

Am not even using a pre-amp, directly connecting it to a Benchmark HDR. Which I may replace with a Berkeley Audio Alpha Series 1, if things go well.

Thanks all for your feedback and help. Am still looking for speakers and pre-amps, but for now its enjoying/rediscovering my music.
Great news. I bet it is very musical,and easy on the ears drawing you into the music. Good for you!
Congrats. I thought you'd like them if you listened to them. If you need a bit more oomph, look into the Aleph 2 monos. Currently, I'm biamping them (to the HF and MF) with some Thresholds (to LF). But they did sound really great all by themselves.