convergent stereo amp

I heard last time the newest stereo amp from convergent. I was also very impressed by the sound withe the eidolon diamond's, perhaps one of the best amp I ever heard. The amp was a giant-size with 8 x 6550 for side, but no mark no name no sign. Who can give me more info's about? (exacte typ-watts-price in the states-test & reviews, best associated preamp etc) Convergent audio - incredible - has no web-page.... Thank you very much, guys!
100 Watts Class A
$12,000 US.
It would make sense that it works best with the CAT Ultimate for the preamp.

Here is are two reviews:

From Arthur Salvatore's Website

The CAT is the most versatile, "powerful" and expensive amplifier we have ever recommended. It may also be the finest in overall performance, though that will obviously depend on speaker matching and personal listening priorities and tastes.

So far, only one of our (tight knit) group as heard this amplifier in depth. However, he has an "all-out" analog system and extensive experience with every other amplifier on this list, plus hundreds of others in his 30 year audio "career". I trust what he has told me, though I will add a personal "caveat" at the end.

The Facts
These are mono amplifiers that weigh 190 lbs. each! The "standard" model, which was both auditioned and purchased by my associate, costs $ 20,000 a pair. The "Signature" version, with silver wire output transformers, cost $ 50,000 a pair. The output transformer weighs 55 lbs. by itself. The power transformers are even larger. This is a serious amplifier. The designer and manufacturer is Ken Stevens.

The JL-1 doesn't use (direct-heated) triode output tubes, like every other amplifier that has ever been in this class. It is also the first "push-pull" amplifier ever listed in this class. Instead, it uses (8 per channel) pentode tubes that are wired in triode. It is, like the more recent Jadis JA-80/200, able to work with 6550s, EL-34s or 6L6s. This particular model, used by my associate, was operated with 6550s.

(Important Note- A reader, who is also a distributor, informed me that this amplifier sounds best with the KR Enterprises KT-88s.)

The input tube (and phase splitter) are a 12AX7 and a 12AU7, plus there are two 6DJ8s used as driver tubes (which is unusual). The input tubes, as this is written, are still stock EIs from Yugoslavia, which will allow further sonic improvements to be made when the finest NOS tubes are used as substitutes.

A Short Sonic Description
According to my associate; "the JL-1s are the most emotionally exciting amplifiers I have ever heard". He feels they provide an overall "visceral" experience that is unique.

While they are rated at "only" 100 watts per channel, he claims they have more "impact, solidity, weight and control" than any other amplifier he has heard, and that includes many of the 500 watt (Jadis, Krell, Classe, Pass etc.) "monster" amplifiers, and the Altec/Tutay 1570 and Wytech Topaz tube amplifiers already on this list.


THE CAT by Reinhard Wendemuth AUDIO August 2001
In issue 4. 1998 AUDIO magazine celebrated the JL1 LIMITED Edition as "the best amplifier of all time". The Limited Edition version of the JL1 monoblocks , from Convergent Audio Technologies, sounded better then anything that we had ever heard up to that time. At that time it topped the "AUDIO BEST LIST" at 125 points, which in the meantime has been topped only recently by the extremely expensive, 300.000 Mark, "Krell MRA". This rating is especially remarkable since this is a tube unit. With this rating technique, "Audio", is especially careful with recommendations, because of the universally problematic characteristics of tubes. The CONVERGENT amplifier is an exception to this rule. The measured values are far beyond good. The JL2 has practically no limitations regarding choice of loudspeaker. Exceptions are absolutely seldom. Tubes in general have a shorter lifespan than transistors, but are very easily replace. With every "amplifier" one should be prepared that with the rare failure of a power tube, the hardwired cathode resistor will be lost. In this case a good service technician is needed, to ensure a weekend of musical pleasure.

However, the quality of the Russian 6550 power tubes supplied by Convergent, is so great that such problems will be limited to every 2-3 years. Surprises can be controlled with visual monitoring of the tubes. Tube lifespan is recognizable by the deterioration of the silver mirror finish.

Convergent became quieter and quieter since the Drum-role of the "Limited Edition" a good three years ago. In the beginning we still hoped soon to be able to present fans with the price advantaged stereo version of the JL1. But the German distributor had to keep asking us to be patient.

Ken Stevens, president and manager of R & D is not to be rushed. He releases a product only, when he is fully satisfied. Because of this he has lost many potential clients over the years. Other manufacturers constantly bring new or just slightly up-dated products to the market, just to stay in the picture.

Self Competition
Those who waited for the JL2, will now be rewarded for their patience. As advertised the new stereo amplifier not only sounds better, but is also comparatively more price advantaged than the Monoblocks of the JL1, which is widely known for its exotic wound transformer and sold for in excess of 100.000 Mark. This raises the suspicion that Convergent does not want to sell anymore JL1’s and certainly no more "Limited Edition’s". It is hard to imagine a worse marketing strategy. But the people at Convergent are honest. Actually it would not have done any good to hide the quality of the JL2. During the AUDIO listening test, the performance of the JL2, was so outstanding, that it left no doubt as to its superiority.

Just how did Ken Stevens do it? Two monoblocks which share the same housing, but otherwise with the same technical efforts can be accepted. However the JL1 (AUDIO 6/97) did not have the same openness and detail and registered 5 points lower. The answer to the question: what he worked on in that long development time, kept the developer to himself. He only gave the lame reply "many buildingblocks were exchanged for better sounding ones", and that he optimized the already comprehensive, 22 layers boxed transformer to deliver the advantages of pure class A single-ended triode sound..

The JL2 also improves in the area of convenience. Previously the multimeter power supply was simply shipped as a separate unit, it is now built in. This makes the recommended fine tuning after a tube change childs-play.

Convergent does not need any special attention in the set up of the unit to prove its absolute world class superiority. Basically the new JL2, was clearly less capricious than other tube amplifiers, without sacrifice to the certain special something, which is inherent to this species. This certain something makes even lesser recordings a musical experience. In addition the exceptional qualities were not limited just to the mid range, but also on both ends of the frequency spectrum JL2 underlined its unmistakable superiority. It was unbelievable how well she handled the not at all easy to control reflexsystem "Wilson Watt/Puppy 6", with regard to precisely controlled basses. In fact how wonderfully the JL2 harmonized with the legendary Wilson boxes, is proof of how much less critical it reacts to the selection of the speakers, in comparison to other tube units. Amazing also is the strong sound of the clarinets, without the usual mistake to cover the sometimes sharp sound of the instrument. Just as the Spanish say of their famous artist Diego Velazquez, to have the ability to paint in the air, the Convergent JL2 is equally capable with its three dimensional and lively sound.

Happy those who can obtain one of these rare units!
I think you are referring to the JL-2. It is 100 WPC and it does have 8 6550C's per side. It is quite large - 19 X 26, and it weighs 175 lbs. It retails for $12,000 US. Cat (Convergent Audio Technology) doesn't have a web site, so it is difficult to get information. You can call them directly, and speak to Ken Stevens, the owner/designer.
I have had the JL-2 for about 8 months now, and I am completely in love with it. It has a combination of detail and musicality, that I have not found in any other amp. It is also able to drive virtually any speaker out there. You really should try to hear it. It is that good
Good Luck
The JL1 and JL1 Signature monoblocks have been replaced with the JL3 and JL3 Signature models which incorporate the improvements introduced in the JL2.

Brian Walsh
thank you guys! In my opinion the jl2 is a greath amp... one of the best - if not the best - I ever heard. but the cat preamp? I had a cat sl1 signature long long time ago but the phono gain was to low and the overall sound wasn't "so" impressive. Then I replaced it with jadis, spectral, and now, fm acoustics (made in switzerland). who can tell me something about the sl1 ultimate?
thank you......
Can't tell you anything about the SL1 Ultimate from personal experience but only what Ken Stevens told me in a phone conversation with him. The major upgrade in the Ultimate over the Sig Mk3 was the marked improvement in timbral accuracy. He accomplished this thru significant changes in the power supply & associated filtering. So he informed me.

I own a SL1 Signature Mk3 & I can tell you that it is very impressive. Impresses me each time I listen to it! One of the major reasons I bought this pre was for its phono stage!! I have heard the Spectral DMC20 in my system. Excellent ss pre but doesn't have the tube magic of the CAT. Otherwise, a very fine pre despite its age. I know that Ken has the highest respect for Jadis. Haven't heard one just yet.

Now, I don't know which Signature model you owned (there was Mk1, Mk2 & finally Mk3). The Mk3 version was the best. I think that when they upgraded from Mk1 to Mk2 they changed the V1, V2, V6, V7 tubes to 6922 from 12AU7s. Ken tells me that this change made a world of diff. for the better + improved tube reliabilty even more. Maybe you had the Signature Mk1 w/ 12AU7 input tubes??

I personally feel that the SL1 Ultimate Mk2 will impress you a lot but only you can decided once you hear it for yourself.