Bladelius-Thor mk3/Leema-Tucana 2/Norma IPA-140?


Currently have a Valve Audio Predator which has exceeded my expectations but eventually want to seek a more refined amplifier. Three "relatively" affordable European made integrated amps have garnered my interest. They all have excellent build/parts quality in addition to positive reviews. I have not heard any of these amps but did have a short demo with the first generation Leema Pulse and was impressed with its PRAT and openness despite having such a modest power rating. I can only assume the Tucana 2 is much superior. I know speaker synergy will determine which amp is best(for me) but would appreciate any comments/opinions from anyone has heard these integrated amps.
dayglow
Speakers? they are to drive into is what needs to be looked at first?
So then we can see what kind of load the amps will see and what will suit them?

Cheers George
Georgelofi-Thx for the response. What I was looking for was feedback from owners/dealers or anyone that has had a proper demo with these amps to describe the +/- of these amps. With my current speakers(Focus Audio FS8) the Leema Tucana 2(based on reviews) IMO would be best. The caveat is I plan on upgrading my speakers but I have not narrowed it down to 1 or 2 speakers yet, but currently leaning towards the ATC-SCM40v2.
There are a lot of well wishers on this forum, that say this amp that amp is the best, without any regard to what kind of load the amp is seeing from the speaker.

Ok, you need to look at graphs of both these speakers, impedance vs negative phase angle, which can half the impedance load again if at or below -35 degrees phase angle, even though it's not shown with just the impedance graph itself.

Focus FS8 (bottom of page)http://www.soundstage.com/measurements/speakers/focus_fs8/

ATC SMC40 http://www.avmentor.net/reviews/lab/2014/atc_scm40/display/atc_scm40_impedance.jpg

Both speakers have a hard load the Focus is hardest of the two.

Both speakers need an amp that can do current well, of the three you mention I would go for the Leema Tucana as it's the only one that gives 2ohm wattage specs, the other don't which tells me their hiding something.

As the Leema can do
Output Power: 150W rms 8 Ohms/Ch

Output Power: 290W rms 4 Ohms/Ch

Output Power: 520W rms 2 Ohms/Ch

which means it has good current drive.


Cheers George

Maybe I am overly optimistic but I doubt Bladelius or Norma are hiding a poor design. From my research all 3 amps are near SOTA for integrated amps. Norma claims there amps are designed to drive difficult speaker loads(ML-MBL-Magnepan). The Bladelius Thor mk3 has a 1800va toroidal transformer which should have the ability to handle a 2ohm dip in speaker impedance. My concern would be noise from such a large transformer. Both the Tucana 2 and the IPA-140 are true dual mono amps. This is all based from reviews but Norma is closest to tubes(3D) where the Bladelius is SS(detail) with the Leema its strength being PRAT.
Speakers in consideration with best matching amp(based on reviews)
ATC-SCM 40v2-Tucana 2
Elac-FS407-IPA-140
Focus Audio-FP88se-Tucana 2
Geithain ME150-IPA-140
KEF-205/2-Tucana 2
Marten-Django XL-Thor mk3
Martin Logan-Montis-IPA-140
Spendor-SP100R2-Thor mk3


It's would be very much in the others best interest to show the 2ohm figure, if it is a good spec, and almost doubles from 4.

The only reason I can think of not showing a 2ohm spec for any expensive SS amp, would be, either it is Mosfet output or Class D. Both these give poor 2ohm specs when put up against their 8 and 4 ohm specs.

Cheers George
Well Dayglow..
There are lot of nice sounding amplifiers of different kinds.. thats for sure!
I have the Bladelius Thor mk iii at the moment and noise is not the issue with that amp. Blackness and 3D in power is the thing with that amp I think.
But then again.. f.ex. tube amps maybe are a little bit less 3D but are nice as well.. big.. musical..
The only time my hair rised on the sound and picture show in Gothenburg in September this year was in Old Scool Hifi 's showroom wit a pair of old macintosh 30 monos running.. ☺
Trainleader-Thx for your input. What speakers are you using? Do you detect any treble grain, which some claim was a flaw in the previous Thor mk2 version? Look forward to your reply.
I would like to add another Euro integrated amplifier to the mix, the Gamut DI 150. My research has found that the DI 150's only weakness "could" be it's overly analytical and presents a 1st row type of soundstage. Since the Gamut has been produced for nearly a decade have any updates been made during it's production run? I would appreciate comments from anyone that has owned the DI 150 or has had a serious demo.
Thx in advance.
I own the norma IPA-140.

I happen to think that there are no flaws on anything about this amplifier, and just commenting from specs and graphs can only get you so far, and is in fact, not very credible.

The real test is of course listening, and letting yourself be totally carried away to another place. And this is what the norma unit does brilliantly.

Parts quality, exquisite craftsmanship and pride of ownership are just icing on the cake. It is that good.

Sonicbeauty thx for the response. The Norma first caught my attention due to the build quality and being a true dual-mono design. My only caveat was it's not a true balanced design. In a review the designer claimed the XLR inputs were just there for show and does not recommend using them due to compromised sound quality. I assume this is not an issue for you? Do you think the preamp section is on par with amplifier? Finally what is the strongest attribute of the Norma? Thx in advance for taking your time to reply.
Hi dayglow, will, I just noticed your question months later, sorry about that!

About the Norma Audio Revo IPA-140 and your questions:

I would say that the XLR input on the norma is there for convenience. But it is true that input 4 is THE input with the optimal sound. The other inputs (including the XLR) are very good also, but input 4 is the one configured with apparently the shortest signal path and whatever else they configured. Difference isn’t great between that special input 4 and the others, you have to really listen for differences. But to call the other inputs "compromised" is a stretch in my opinion.

I happen to own XLR Ref3 cabling, both XLR and RCA, so I was glad I could still use the XLR and able to make direct comparisons.

Can’t tell you how good the sound of the preamp is because it never occured to me to think of the front end this way, but the whole is pretty magical. One thing for sure, the sound is not veiled in any way, you hear EVERYTHING.

Strongest attributes about this amp (highly subjective of course):

1. Absolute neutrality, if there’s a bass-boost in the recording you will hear it. And voices are done exceptionnaly well.

2. Resolution. Again, if there is the slightest detail at the back of the soundstage, you will hear it.

3. The whole clean, minimalist concept. It is the type of product that when you get very close to it, build quality is superlative, as it should be given the units price.

4. I am not knocking companies that assemble partly or wholly their gear in Asia (I did own a previous Ayon Orion which sounded great) but there is something about having gear that is hand made in Italy. And I am biased to Italian amplifiers, what can I say, they almost ALL do voices right regardless of manufacturer.

5. I have the optional USB DAC card  (in two separate parts) installed. For what it is worth, it surpasses by a long run the Sabre dac inside my Oppo 105. Even though the Norma dac sounds better, I most always use the Oppo dac for convenience (and it does sound nice) as I can plug USB hard disk right into it, and keep the norma dac for when I wish to connect my Apple laptop occasionnaly. But again, the norma dac is superior to my ears, and the increase in quality is pretty easily heard.

What I like less about the norma revo IPA-140:

1. Even though I love the minimalist design, my particular situation would now require an additional set of speaker outputs. Also, aside from being able to transform inputs into outputs, there are very few features on the amp. Sometimes I would welcome a mono switch, but that’s about it.

2. I wish I didn’t have to keep pressing the button to go forward through every input to go from (for example) input 3 to input 2. However the remote can go back and forth on input selection no problem.

It is an exquisite integrated on all counts.

Hope this helps,

Cheers !






Sorry, that was XLO brand cabling, not XLR!
Sonicbeauty-Thx for the mini review!