Well i'm not exactly a U.S. source because I live in Melbourne, about 10km away from Hugh (who makes the Aspen Soraya amp). It is a sweet little amp, gives my Cary's a run for its money. What would you like to know?
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I have corresponded with Hugh and he seems like a great guy and builds a good product. No question about that. The intent of this post is to try to understand how the Soraya compares to its US competitors.
At the current conversion rate the Soraya is approximately US$4700 plus international shipping and any import taxes. This price of admission gets you into some pretty good company like Ayre, Modwright, Cary, van Alstine, Odyssey, etc.
Many Aussies say this amp competes with amps 2-3 times its price point; I am just trying to understand this versus buying something "local". Especially since the purchase would be a leap of faith since I cannot hear the amp.
Crozbo sorry for the delayed reply. I only just saw it. Hugh hangs around some other audio forums, I think mostly audiocircle. It is a bit unfair to compare the Soraya to my Cary CAD-211 amps, but I have heard it in my system. The Soraya has much tighter bass, but the treble extension and detail retrieval isn't quite as good as the Cary. The overall sound tends towards slight warmth, but the amp isn't lacking in drive and rhythm.
Unlike some other amp designers Hugh pays close attention to the harmonic structure of his amps and designs for how well they sound. I have met the guy enough times to know.
Can not comment on Ayre, Modright, Van Alstine, Odyssey as none of them are available in Australia.
I know Hugh and the Soraya 2009 do have very different topology and give a real improvement over the previous Soraya amps.
Hugh explain it a bit there;
Here is the link to the Soraya 2009 listening impression by various buyers;
Hugh verified the one you heard was the old version. Now Hugh is coming out with his masterpiece. He debuted it in front of 110 people at an audio club meeting or something of the sort. Some of the attendees that had been there every year said the setup was the best sound they had ever heard at the event. Also a first, a standing ovation. The new amp will be called the Maya. I am going to give it a try for 30 days and if it is not my cup of tea I can send it back. All I would have to do is send it back.