Aric Audio Super 2A3 SET


It just arrived just about a week ago, but I feel inclined to write a few words about it since my level of satisfaction with this amplifier is immense. I have nothing but praise to give in regards to the level of customer service I have received starting with a curious inquiry to having the amplifier in my home. Since I'm no expert in the world of tubes, I had quite a few questions.

It started with me asking about the 2A3 amplifier listed on his webpage and Aric got back to me with a suggestion. He said he had been waiting for the next order of a 2A3 amplifier and was eager to revise the product and put some new ideas and upgrades into it.
Me being a novice only understood half of the improvements he listed, but it all sounded good to me. I told him about the 2A3 amplifier that got me into looking at a 2A3 based amp and he was very familiar with the one in question and described in detail what he would do to make his version "better". I was sold, and I pulled the trigger, and oh so happy I am that I did.

It is a dual-chassis design that has an all film-capacitor power supply with toroidal filament transformers, DC filaments using Schottky diodes, and film cathode bypass capacitors. Audyn "true copper" foil coupling caps and a choke-filtered power supply, Vishay wire-wound resistors used throughout. 6SL7 SRPP driver stage and 2A3 single-ended output stage producing 3.5 watts per channel into 8 or 16 ohms. I'm running it with the supplied rectifier tube (CBS 5U4GB) and a pair of NOS Tung-Sol 6SU7GTY "Super 6SL7" and a pair of PSVANE WR2A3.

The amp from Aric replaced my old trusty Audio Space Galaxy 88 that produced 48 wpc in ultralinear and 24 wpc in triode. My first impression was that this feels like way more power! at only 3.5 wpc. The bass is deep, tight and "meaty", I hear midbass like I never did before. It's so clear and well defined and when I turn the volume up my walls are shaking, with 3.5 watts(!). Vocals sound like they are floating around the room and with an acoustic guitar I'm just there in front of the stage. It has speed and a level of transparency that is on a completely different level compared to my old amplifier. It also has a completely dead black background.

This amplifier just plays in another league compared to my previous one. I can only recall from memory another comparison of a much more expansive 2A3 SET that got me interested in the first place, I heard it for a lengthy session at a friend of a friends house and it blew me away. This amplifier beats it if my memory serves me right.

I can't imagine a better amplifier at this price and I could use a bunch of more superlatives to describe it.
My current speakers are a pair of Zu omen plugged in on the 16 ohm taps and it seems for now to be a match made in heaven.
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Welcome to the forum. It is hard to keep the joy to yourself without talking about it. I have SET amps also. Enjoy!!
Congrats tby,

I have had the great pleasure to review numerous pieces of Aric's and they have all been superlative music makers.  I'm sure your two piece 2A3 SET is a honey of an amp!  Aric is a great designer and builds reference level gear, regardless of the price.  On top of that he's great person.
@tby,

Congratulations on your purchase! I can relate to your experience having switched from Audio Space Reference 3 (805) mono’s to Aric’s Super 300B mono’s. Your amp is only going to get better, wait till you hit 200 and 300 hours mark. What preamp you’re using with 2A3’s amps?

You may read about my 300B project with Aric here once you hit toggle details under Components.
https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8046

Aric is super knowledgeable and his expertise in building/designing tube electronics is exemplary.
Enjoy!
Congrats tby!I'm a very happy Aric Audio customer also.Enjoy!
Congratulations on your new amp! The 2A3 tube is one of my favorites I love the detail and clarity you get while still retaining SET warmth. Enjoy!
Thanks for all the kind replies!


@teajay your mentions of Aric’s gear is actually how I found him in the first place. :-)

@lalitk Thanks! Interesting to hear you also switched from Audio Space. Sounds very intriguing that it will only get better from here. Amazing system btw! I am using a passive preamp called icOn4. I made an attempt of adding my office system where I use the amp to the systems page where you can find a link to it here: https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8714

@jtcf Thanks, happy to hear that. Checked out your system it looks great!
I own a preamp from Aric, beautiful sound and he could not be more helpful.
So what was the price? 
How long is the warranty?

It's always wonderful to read people getting so much joy out of this. Congrats on your purchase!

I myself am also looking into 2A3 stereo amps, so very interested to learn more. The Triode Lab 2A3S-FFX tops my list now. Yamamoto looks great too, but very complicated to communicate with company (just speak Japanese).

Was wondering what other 2A3 you were considering and what made you tilt towards Aric?

As others with experience with Aric have jumped in, I would love to hear from anybody who has experienced Aric and Triode Lab products.

Enjoy!
Hi all, I wanted to post a link to the product for any who may be interested in taking a look:

http://aricaudio.com/products.php?product=SU2A3SET

Note: The warranty on all of my products is 2 years parts and labor.

Thank you also for the kind words! Best regards, Aric
Hello Aric,
That is a serious looking and attractive 2A3 SET amplifier.  I really like the decision to have a separate power supply chassis and especially all polyfilm caps (very long lifespan). This seems to be an all out effort 2A3 design (hefty power transformer and chokes (this isn't a budget toy amplifier). I suspect it sounds superb. Is it DC or AC heated? I know that either method can sound good,  just curious which way you decided to go.
Charles 
tby, 
Congratulations on acquiring this custom built amplifier. It must have surprised you to discover that it provides more satisfying bass performance than your more powerful previous amplifier. I’m pretty certain it is superior in terms of transparency, nuance retrieval and just an overall natural sound quality. Good to hear it matches so well with your Zu speakers.
Charles
@lewinskih01,

I have not heard Triode Labs amps but did call them up for 300B amps. My experience with them was not very good as they weren’t open to discuss any customization.

Aric on the other hand was very patient and open to my ideas. He went over all the possible options for 300B based SET amps. During the build process I also had an opportunity to learned a lot. I can say this unequivocally, with Aric you can have a SOTA amp or preamp that will probably cost you lot more elsewhere. His products represents top notch performance and excellent value.

I am extremely happy the way my amp turned out. You can read all about it in my virtual system once you hit toggle details under Components.
Hi Charles, Much appreciated on the kind words and I hope you are doing well!  I went for the power supply having almost zero audible impact on the sound of the amplifier. Tube rectification, the 10H choke, film caps and Western Electric style noise cancelling on the cathodes of the 2A3, plus additional choke and Pi filter for the SRPP driver stage does a great job of isolating the signal from the power supply. I use DC filaments on the 2A3s with Schottky fast recovery diodes and vishay wire-wound resistors as a buffer before the first filter caps and between subsequent capacitor stages. All capacitors are very low ESR as well. In my experience this approach mutes the switching noise from the diodes, and the charging pulses the first capacitor has to absorb. Additionally the toroids provide excellent regulation and very low noise (plus zero magnetic field due to their construction). The reason I don't use AC is that the 60Hz hash from the wall still ends up across the audio signal and modulates at that frequency plus several octaves above and below and is audible. Many state that AC heaters provide a "lively" sound, or that DC "sucks the life" out of the sound, which may be true in each person's specific experience, however the modulation with AC is there and measurable and does introduce itself into the audio signal. With DC, if the charging spikes are minimized, and the cathode is decently isolated then you get a very quiet amplifier that does not have that AC modulation riding on the audio signal. Again, thank you very much for the kind words and noticing the various aspect of the build of this amplifier! Best regards, Aric
Aric,
Thank you very much for your detailed and informative reply. I completely understand your rationale for the numerous choices that have to be made in regard to design and implementation of such a high quality amplifier. Given all the factors that one has to weigh I would choose DC heating rather than AC heating as well. I wish you continued success. 
Charles 
My experience with Triode Labs/Finale Audio in buying a 7189 MK2 integrated is the complete opposite of lalitk's ; excellent and patient communications with Frank regarding options offered , assessment of each , build time, shipping etc. Build quality is excellent and musical amp. That said, I haven't read one thread that hasn't been very complimentary of Aric and his products; hard to beat that testimonial.

@tby you might want to email member teajay I believe that he has Triode's 2A3s and can offer you some direct insights. Also, I believe he is familiar with some of Aric's products.


@lewinskih01 The Triode Lab 2A3S-FFX was on top of my list. However, I never got in touch with them. I had previously engaged with Aric and had a very positive experience even though it did not end with a purchase at that time. In light of this I reached out and asked about his 2A3 design.
I was going to go with the 2A3S-FFX, I had heard it and I loved it. The one I had listened to with its options would cost a lot more, considering the price and what I felt being a better design I chose to go with Aric Audio. Having listened to Aric's 2A3 for hours daily since it got here I find that it has a better grip on bass and sounds more fluid, the background is also dead black, likely due to the power supply being in a separate box. Another selling point in favor of Aric for me personally was the wooden chassis options.

sorry meant this for @ lewinskih01

you might want to email member teajay I believe that he has Triode's 2A3s and can offer you some direct insights. Also, I believe he is familiar with some of Aric's products.
Aric is a true gentleman, professional in his approach, and has proven to be an invaluable asset to the audio community! 
+1 laaudionut. I bought a preamp from Aric, the Special. Aric was great to deal with and always available for questions. 
My budget limits me to Arics entry level equipment. However,the quality craftsmanship,and stunning sound quality,hardly makes anyone think”budget” when listening to Arics products. 
   The amp you purchased looks wonderful,and I’m sure sounds wonderful as well. Congratulations on your purchase! I’m certain that amp will bring you years of great sound,as well as years of reliable service. 
    If I ever have the funds to upgrade my preamp, I will no doubt be in touch with Aric. 
I just wanted to say a huge "Thank You" to all that have posted in this thread! I thoroughly enjoy discussing the details of your systems and building audio solutions respectively. I've always loved electronics and music since I was a kid, and am thankful and excited to be combining both doing something I love! Happy Memorial Day to all! Aric
I'm curious as to the minimum sensitivity required of the speakers to be driven by this amp.  Would my 96db Audio Note E/SPe HE's work with it?
@doni My 97dB Zu omen's are being driven just fine with it. I don't feel I lack any power.
Nice speakers btw! I had a look at them and according to https://www.audionote.co.uk/an-e-speakers the sensitivity looks to be 97.5dB ?
Thanks.  Could be, but I've always heard they were 96db.  I'm sure their website is correct.
@doni the E’s sensitivity is different depending on the specific model, tby is correct yours are 97.5 db should be an excellent pairing with a 2a3 amp.

Aric thanks for the detailed reply to Charles’s question as well as the detailed pics on your website. One question, and sorry if I missed this info on you site, what output transformers are you using? I totally agree with you on the importance of the power supply btw and that is a monster supply you’ve built there!
@jond No problem at all! I’m using One Electron OPTs in this amplifier, which outperformed several other brands (which I won’t name so as to not defame any brands/products), and they have the best blend of what I like to call "retained energy" from the power tube, meaning they are not hard to drive, or "lossy" and bring forth all of the power the 2A3 can produce, as well as have excellent bass response and micro-detail. They also have 4, 8 and 16 ohm taps (in tby's amplifier we went with 8 and 16 ohm taps, but stock the amp will come with 4 and 8 (16 can be used upon request at no additional charge). Thank you very much for the compliments on the power supply and amplifier as well!