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I have the A2 balanced line stage from Ys Audio. It is a fine sounding preamp. My only quibble is that there are volume controls for left and right channels rather than a single control. It does not cast a sound stage as wide or deep, nor is as tonally correct as the Atma-sphere MP 3 which replaced it, (relegating it to back up status), but sounded way better in my balanced system then unbalanced pre-amps before it (Melos SHA 3). Plenty warm, really good imaging, the tube compliment really makes a big difference, and, for some reason it seems to go through tubes about every 6 months, rather then one year or so like my other tubed pre-amps.
Mcfarland, are you speaking about the Balanced A1 preamp. The A2 has L&R Balance controls as well as a main Volume control.
I own the A1 and, with a decent set of tubes (nothing over $17./each) casts an enormous sound stage. Instrumental detail and location of performers are quite spectacular. Complex classical recordings (Stravinsky Rite of Spring, Mahler Symphonies, etc.), if well recorded, suffer no congestion or smearing. Crappy, tiny sounding recordings (early digital), do sound like...well, crap. So the preamp is not coloring the sound, just giving it to you straight. By the way, for a tube preamp, mine is almost dead silent. Only sticking an ear right to the speaker would you hear a very faint hiss.
Previous balanced preamps I have had were the BAT 3xi, BAT 5i and Pass X-1. (I run balanced into a Music Reference RM-200.) Unbalanced pres have included a modified ARC SP-8, SP-10 and one of the early Threshold items (as you can see from my choices, I prefer an old fashioned mentality for sound).
The only reason for me to part with the A1 preamp is if I were to buy the YS Audio A2. As we see with Chinese companies like Audio Experience, MHDT (Paradisea, Havana) and others, they have the goods to make quality products at affordable prices. The latter two words, along with the phrase "Chinese Made," have come to mean "cheap" in the world of "audiophilia nervosa." Maybe as it relates to some products, but certainly not to this preamp.
The BALANCED A2 preamplifer use following good components:
Resistors: Vishay DATE , RMA , Mills
coupling capacitors: WIMA ( Special order )
connections: RCA , XLR gold plated connections.
The BALANCED A2-SE (Special Edition) preamplifier use following good components:
Resistors: Vishay DATE , RMA , Mills
coupling capacitors: SONICAP
connections: Cardas CTFA RCA connections , Neutrik XLR connections
I received yesterday my A2 SE, and wanted to post some initial impressions.
I have not popped it open yet, since I want to break it in with the stock tubes. I am planning to roll some quality NOS after that. When I do, I will post some pictures of the good components that I know it has.
A couple of very preliminary thoughts:
-Built like a tank; whoever thinks that Asian gear is crap, they need to see (and lift) this one.
-Instructions manual can be improved, specifically add remote instructions; some things are not intituive and required a couple of clarifying emails with Nelson.
Sound? I've had other tubed preamps (Audio Research, Cary), and the immediate SHOCK was the expanded soundstage and 3D presentation. This is after one hour initial warm up, and stock tubes, so I am very excited and looking forward to see what this thing is capable of after a couple hundred hours (I've put some Sonicap capacitors in speaker xovers and I know they will get better and better even after 200 hours).
I'll come back here with additional findings when it breaks in. but so far, I am very happy with this purchase.
I have had many tube and solid state preamp, the most expensive tube being the McIntosh 2200. Had the top of the line PS Audio DACIII, Bel Canto e.oneDACIII, Parasound Halo JC2, and others. The Audio Experience A2 I have had for the longest time, about 8 months and it is a keeper for me. Soundstage, presence, depth of image, IMHO is superb. Of course everyone's ear's and tastes are different. I run a Spectron Signature MKII digital amp through it.
to Ys I bought the older model it is still pooly made the rectifier section blew out on mine as well as a few other people I have spoke with my uncle is a master technician
over 40 years in the field and he stated there are
elementary principles that were overlooked such as 10x the needed voltage should be min for a rectifier ,you put in the smallest cheap ones .My uncle has a phd in audio and electrical engineering from Worcster polytech in Mass if that doesnot quality than nothing does. Get back to basics
then your units would be bullit proof !!
TO Audioman58, you have not answer me:
"The BALANCED A2 preamp start produced at December 2007 , How you bougth it 2 years age at Februaty 2009"
Also, the A2 not have older model .
We produced tube amplifier and preampliifer over 20 years age. My all preamplifier and amplifier never have rectifier section problem !
Other Audiogon member
Please see the Balanced A2-SE 's Review by Enjoy the Music.com.
While I do realize that this thread is about 10 years old, I would like to add something should anyone still be interested in one of Nelson's older preamps, and they should be for these preamps are a true high end bargain. Having owned over 20 different preamps from many different companies (Rogue, deHavilland, VTL, Cary, Allnic, ARC and others) the Audio Experience can certainly compete unless one is an audio snob. My Audio Experience throws one of the largest soundstages I have ever experienced, great recordings sound great, and garbage sounds like...garbage. This preamp does not color but it does require good tubes. One does not have to go NOS as recent manufactured tubes (TungSol re-issues come to mind) work well but there is one thing I would highly recommend and it this: swap out the 5687 tube for an Amperex or similar 7119 tube and be prepared to be stunned to the hilt! For a mere $80 or so, this "upgrade" makes the preamp perform like you added another $1000 to it in some way. I have never experienced such a drastic performance change in a piece of equipment with just a change of two tubes.
Hi. I know this thread is old, but may be someone is reading )))
I've heard an A2 Plus recently in my system, used, but very low hrs, and thinking of buying it, because I think it sound really great. Especially I was struck by razor-sharp delineation of everything, dead background, retrieval of low level detail, etc. In my system though it sounds a bit dark. I wonder what can be done to make it sound a bit brighter, more open? Not like Audio Research, but a little? I'm pretty handy with soldering iron, so can replace parts no problem. Thank you.