rock needs bigtime muscle in an amp, even with effecient speakers...not necc mega-watt, but devores won't mind something bigger than fleawatts and won't lose any rich sound either.
20 responses Add your response
Why are you evaluating these amps? There are so many great name brand amps..these guys may be out of business in this economy at any time.
Unless you know something you're not sharing, this is a bit of a reckless statement toward two small companies trying to make a go of it. And, I think we've learned that a big "brand name" means squat, i.e. see Lehman, Merrill Lynch, AIG, GM, Chrysler, etc.
I'm evaluating these amps because of the outstanding reviews they have both had. Because they are small companies putting pride and effort in, and taking on the big dogs.
Plus, I never said rock is all I listen to. I love jazz too. I love hearing a saxophone like it's right in the room with me, but I also want to hear the groove of a bass line, and the snap of percussion. I don't listen to a lot of vocals, but I'm not some solid state slam monster. That's why I thought an amp with 20-30 watts would be plenty of juice for my devores (90db) to give me a little taste of SS bass power without the overwhelming SS authority, slam, and all that other junk that makes me feel like I'm not listening to music anymore.
I have First Watt F5. Check my system and look through the various amps that I've been through. F5 is the most musical sounding amp that I have owned. I do not know how similar or dissimilar F3 and F5 sounds, but you probably will do well with F3. By the way, one thing that I like about my F5 is how realistically it renders the rock music. I'm going through my old collection of Led Zepplin and Deep Purple. My speakers are 93dB at 1 Watt/Meter. I get 25W of class A power from F5 and I honestly don't feel that I need any more power than now. The cannon fire from Tchaikovsky 1812 is as realistic as with 300W+ mega amps that I used to have with SPL reaching up to 90dB+ at my listening chair. YMMV, as what you get out of these low powered First Watt amps will be highly dependent on your speakers.
I own the F3 and F5.
Both are terrific products with the F3 being a bit more sophisticated and refined. However, it is a relatively low output amplifier. Furthermore, the user must be cognizant of the low input impedance (10K) so many tube preamps will not work well.
The F5's higher power output and higher input impedance make it more friendly for use with a variety of speakers and preamplifiers. It will also drive a 2 ohm load without blinking.
I am a Pass dealer but have no financial interest in First Watt products.
Have you read the FirstWatt reviews on 6moons.com? There is a lot of history and it makes for a very interesting read. I have Pass electronis, have great respect for Nelson Pass, and I think you would be very pleased with either the F3 or F5, though I haven't heard either. I do own an Aleph 3 and consider it a great deal on the used market.
Why are you evaluating these amps? There are so many great name brand amps..these guys may be out of business in this economy at any time.Get real, Pass Labs has been around since '91 and this isn't the first recession Nelson's seen seen.
Hell, his first company in '71, Threshold Audio, is still going strong almost 40 years later.