Any opinions on old SAE stuff?

Good power amps?
Are parts available?
What are their characteristics?
They used some funky "OEM" ( original equipment manufacturer ) parts in some of their amps that are no longer available. The designer, James Bongiorno, was also responsible for Great American Sound ( GAS ) products and a few other products. As far as i know, he is still working on, repairing, upgrading, his old designs.

I have an SAE 2600 ( 450 wpc @ 8 ) that i have not fired up in a LONG time. I used to use it to drive "bass bins" when doing pro sound reinforcement ( PA systems ) at rock concerts. It was a brute and would beat up on most of the other big amps in terms of sheer "grunt" way back then. With some work and a lot of parts upgrades, i'm sure that it would perform pretty well even by today's standards. I can't speak about any of their other products from first hand knowledge, but i have seen the matching preamp to the amp that i have. It was a MONSTER, the biggest preamp that i've ever seen. More bells and whistles than even the old Phase Linear 4000's, etc... Have no idea of how it sounds, but i do remember it had a built in graphic EQ. Sean
Had an old 2400 amp, back in the stone ages and from memory, I recall the bass as the best thing about the sound. While the top appeared smooth, in reality, it was really closed down and lacking in detail. Much better sound is available today in terms of SS amps (like Adcom, Bryston,or Aragon). If you want a SS amplifier that gives you the good bass of the SAE design with none of the vices, try to find the truly great PERREAUX PMF-2150B. This is one I am sorry I got rid of. The 1150 is also a gem.....Frank
Frank, the 2150 was always reverred as a great bass amp in its' day and said to be able to drive anything. I knew guys that were running these amps bridged into Acoustats. As you know, bridged amps typically don't like low impedances. As you also know, Acoustats go VERY low at some spots. Never the less, the Perreaux's never flinched. That says a LOT about the build quality.

I remember when the 2150's first came out and the first thing that the dealer said was "you've got to hear the bottom end on this thing". He was right, as it was "rock solid". Both I and my Father agreed that it offered the best bass that we had ever heard up until that point in time. The 1150 was a little smoother but lacked the overall "oomph". Obviously, that was a few years ago : )

I currently have two of the 2150's bigger brothers. These came out a bit after the 1150's and 2150's and had some circuit revisions, changes / upgrades to the power supply, different parts layout, etc... I am specifically referring to the PMF-3150B's. These were conservatively rated at 300 / 500 wpc. Perreaux also released the 5150's ( 500 wpc ) and the much smaller 1050 at about the same time. Just for kicks a few years ago, i bought a 2150 to compare to the 3150's and see if my memory served me right.

MAN, did the 2150 sound anemic, hard, thin and glaring in a direct comparison. It also seemed to run out of steam WAY, WAY before the 3150 did. As such, i thought that i might have picked up a 2150 that was "funky" or way out of bias. As it turns out, i ended up talking to several folks that owned 2150's, some of them regulars here on A-gon. Most had very similar stories about their 2150's but some thought that they were smooth as can be.

As such, i have to wonder if something deteriorated very noticeably with age in these units, the factory had horrible quality control or if the 3150's were really THAT much better ??? While they did use similar circuitry with the same output devices, the layout and power supply was different.

I've often wondered how the SAE 2600 would stack up against my 3150's. My guess is that the Perreaux's would win. Have to check into that sometime soon. Sean
Sean; My experience with the 2150 was plugged into a CJ PV-6 preamp (not the highly colored 5, beautiful as it did sound though). I felt it to be the ONLY amp at the time (1983)that had the correct slam,lack of mud, weight and authority to run the bass columns of the Infinity RS-1. All other choices at the time were not as good save the Levinson ML-3 at way too much money. I am not sure that it was much better if at all. Trying the 2150 on the top yielded exemplary neutrality and smoothness. The 1150 was even better on top, but not on the bottom as you referred. I dont know why the dealers (like Lyric) dropped the line after the 3000 series came out, but I am sorry I never was able to listen to them. I thought the Design, fit , finish, style and sound of the 2150B, was amazingly good for the price, surpassing the Bryston 4B of that era.
It is allways in the back of my mind that parts quality deterioration has occured in 20 year old units, and the sound we remembered does not duplicate today, because of this. A real concern.
As far as the 2150 running out of steam, Sean, they never did that when I had them. In fact, we would constantly be in awe of how ballsy that thing was. All in all,a company that is surely missed. They were honest products. The preamp and tuner were darn good as well.
Regarding those Acoustats, the Perreaux drove them better than the Acoustat TNT amp. I remember the comparison. A testament to that amps ability with those wacky impedences.........Frank
i had a sae stereo amp back in the 80's. can't remember the model number. does 2200 sound right? anyway, my kids liked it 'cause it had two rows of red led's instead of a "power" meter. i used it to drive irs 2.5's. it took me a while to realize how bright that combo was, tho the bass was fairly taut. the amp shorted out when a hose bib broke, causing a smallish flood about 3 weeks after we had our basement finished as a family room. that turned out to be a bit of good fortune, since my insurance carrier gave me a "replacement cost" settlement. i used the insurance $$ toward the purchase of a "dr. thomas" by british fidelity (then the american version of musical fidelity). anybody remember that amp? heat sinks in front. real funky but worked quite well with a cj pv-10 on a pair of soundlab dynastats. ah, memories. -cfb
Frank, i would not doubt your results with the 2150. I think that we are both thinking along the same lines, especially given the common agreement about the differences between the 1150 & 2150. If i didn't already have more amps than i know what to do with ( other than sell them ), i might think about picking up another 2150 just to verify my previous results. Like you, i have a hard time understanding how such a "powerful bass authority" had turned into a "lightweight, shrill shrieker" over the years.

As to the 2150 running out of steam, you have to remember that i typically run low impedance / low sensitivity speakers. While the Acoustat's get pretty hairy, they typically present their problems WAY up high where there isn't a lot of information or energy required. Presenting that same type of load across the entire frequency range can tax just about any amplifier. Trying to do so with music that requires a high average power level ( rock ) as compared to other types that are more dynamic in nature ( jazz, classical, is even tougher to deal with. As a case in point, i was using the 2150 on the top and one of my 3150's on the bottom and i could still drive BOTH amps into compression. Switching over to a Sunfire Signature running full range solved my power / compression problems but also knocked the bottom end slam out of the system. Maybe i need to try the 3150 on bottom and my SAE 2600 on top ( or vice-versa ). My biggest concern is the electric bill at this point in time : ) Sean