Have you tried the ART SLA-1 amp yet?

Since Audiogon removed the first thread related to the ART SLA-1 amplifier based on reasoning I can't really make sense of, I will re-post being careful not to advertise services. I would simply like to read peoples exerience with the unit as compared to other amplifiers. I believe some people were about to post their findings when the post went the way of the DoDo. Now, lets see if this is good enough to not get axed after having nearly 60 responses.

D911, I hope that auditors of audiogon will remove this thread also, so "members" like you will stop sneaking in their advertisements.
I missed the thread that was cut.

D911: Do you have a commercial interest in the ART SLA-1 product. May I ask what services you were advertising? Guess I am curious about why the thread was cut. If Agon wants to comment on that point that would be helpful too.

I remain,
I for one would like to hear any thoughts on the sound of this little amp........anyone?
I say leave this thread alone.
AudiogoN members can decide for themselves the merits of this thread.
If this guy has a killer product for a low price I think its a service to us 'poor folks'
Moderators please leave this in!!
I vote to leave the thread in !

Time will tell if the amp is praiseworthy and the price of admission is cheap. So where's the problem with leaving the thread here ?

Unless the problem is that this little amp truly is capable of embarrassing some of the big boys amp's much like the ART DIO has done to some DAC's.
Just to be clear.

I'm not against threads with folks who have commercial interests so I agree with David and Ears above. Often they are knowledgeable because they deal with things every day and we are all amateurs. If D911 has them who cares if they are disclosed. On the other hand "anonymous" (puppet) posts from people with commercial interests are intolerable.

It is somewhat difficult to balance commercial interests with valuable advice but it is certainly possible and can make for a better forum. Rives' excellent contributions on room acoustics come to mind. Disclosure and a certain restraint (which is rather hard to describe) is important though.

I was just wondering why the information in the thread was removed. If the moderators thought that there were commercial interests being unfairly presented at least I can understand their motive and thinking in removing the post.(and as I said above I missed the thread and have no idea of its content) Otherwise it appears as some sort of censorship that makes you wonder along the lines of Fiddler's last sentence.

I remain,
I stumbled upon the thread in question last week while doing due diligence on the Parasound JC-1. It made for a fascinating read, especially when D911 admitted to doing mods for the SLA-1. I assume Audiogon removed the thread because they rightly saw it as a shameless commercial effort (badly) disguised as a question, "What's the best amp you ever heard?" I think they were acting to preserve the integrity of the site, and I applaud them for it.

That said, I have to tell you I was intrigued enough to buy the amp, for fun. I just spent the weekend with it, and I can say without hesitation that it's a pretty worthy little amp that didn't embarrass itself in my $50,000 system. Plenty of caveats and reservations, though, which I'd like to explore in a separate review. I think this amp deserves some exposure, so a thread should be started by someone who hasn't already used up their credibility. I'll try to post tonight, when I have more time, or I'll add to another thread started by a trustworthy member.

I hope I haven't offended you, D911, but you really did blow it with that post last week. Run an ad, it's cheap, and I'd probably call you.
I am posting this in two places:
The way I look at this is that D911 has a financial interest on the line here and is really doing some major league bragging about is his modded amp. In and of itself no hurt to anyone. But on the other hand, whats the difference between this and every one of us who is about to sell a piece of gear using some "gimic" to start a thread saying how good it is. We would be swamped.

D911 started this game and should show his cards. It seems reasonable for him to send one of his modded units to an audiogon member who we all feel will give an impartial evaluation. In this way Don has one unit tied up in testing so there is no big financial anchor for him, unless it doesn't pass the test. But if it does, he benefits. If this works it can be benchmark for future self promotions.
I agree with Clueless, especially his assertion that a certain level of restraint is warranted. Like he says, it's hard to describe, I guess it's like pornography...

However, once that line is crossed, we are now into the area of free advertising, and not only do I find that offensive and in bad taste, but it is unfair to other manufacturers, distibutors, technicians, salespeople, etc.

I have always been of the opinion that rather than bar these interests from the Audiogon Discussion Forums, they should be encouraged. It adds to the wealth of everyone's audio experience.

With certain provisions.

First, there should be full disclosure. Which is something that Don did not do last week(no problem, everyone gets a free mistake) but seems to be coy again this week(resurfacing again to blow the horn and get some chatter going) - which should warrant at least some comment. Secondly, and stating this again, there should be no free advertising. I pay Audiogon to get the word out of something I have available, as does everyone else.

I do want to make clear that I have no axe to grind about this amplifier, I have not heard it. In fact, it certainly would be welcome to have an inexpensive amplifier provide audiophiles with good sound.
So what is the dividing line on audio boards for pushing products? Yes Don did cross over many people's imaginary lines in posting about his mods on the deleted thread, but isn't audio gear pushed on internet audio boards all the time? You or I like a product so much that we post a rave about it on an audio board. It happens all the time, right? So in a way we're acting as salesmen for McCormack, Plinius, etc etc by pushing their product with free internet advertising for the manufacturer. We've had positive personal experience with a piece of gear, liked it, then recommended it when someone asked. Don comes in on a "What's the best amp you've heard" thread and says that his modded amp is the best he's heard, while others chime in with Plinius or McCormack or whatever. What's the difference (besides a little financial interest by Don)between Don's suggestions and ours? No one knows the motivation of everyone who says something positive about a piece of audio gear and industry shills are all over the audio boards, subtly and not so subtly pushing their wares. Dealers and manufacturers aren't doing any of us a favor by hanging out on audio boards soft-selling their products. Don didn't do anything different on the deleted than what happens here and on the other boards in some shape or form every day.
Enough already with the ART SLA-1. So, it's a cheap amp. Big deal. Anybody who wants one can go buy it. If people really think that a $179 amp is their bag, fine. I've had threads pulled and denied before too. Nothing unique about that. As far as the motives for the last thread, I think it was obviously an attempt to bring mod business in for D911. I'm surprised that it was even allowed in the first place. He might make a real nice mod for the amp. If so, he can advertise like the rest of the commercial accounts.
I'm kind of interested in what people have to say about the stock SLA1 myself if you don't mind. Find another thread to comment on if this one doesn't suit you.
Ericthered, Are you affiliated with D911 or do you have other finacial interests in this amp or its MODS?
Yes I do have a finacial interest in Don's mods as in Don (who lives in GA) will get my full financial interest to the tune of 700.00 for his deluxe mods if I find the stock SLA1 that is arriving at my house in OREGON tommorow from Music123.com sounds good and has enough power to drive my Platinum Audio Solos. Unlike some of you, I am always on the lookout for audio bargains (check my Agone feedback) and am QUITE INTERESTED in what maybe be an audio bargain. This thread asked if anyone had heard the stock unit, but I guess I'll have to wait until tommorow to find out for myself. Threads like this would be a lot more interesting if people could stick to the questions asked. If Don's modded amp does indeed take off, don't fall down trying to jump on the bandwagon.
Personally, I've always been interested in value oriented audio products such as the modified ART DI/O. For those of us with an interest in this hobby and limited discretionary income, used or modified equipment that delivers great sound are some of the few options.

Can't say if posting about a product one has financial interest is right or wrong, but I think everyone benefits of information about new products. I for one will be looking forward to seeing A-B comparisons with the modified ART SLA-1 and other amplifiers. Since I have signed up for one of Don's mods, I'll be posting my impressions at Audio Asylum and Audio Circle, so as not to hurt anyone's feelings here at Audiogon.

Since I was already in the market for a modestly priced amp for my office system when the controversial and now-deleted first thread on the ART popped up, I decided to take a chance on the ART SLA-1 and see what it would sound like in my system before moving it along to system B or selling it. It arrived today--without any mods--and I have had it playing for three or four hours now. Although it is much too soon to make any kind of judgment, I can give you my honest first impression, for whatever it is worth.

To these ears, the ART is a very clean sounding and powerful little devil. Whether it is as good as D911 claims remains to be seen, but it appears to be holding its own in my system. I will withhold further comment until I've lived with it for a few days and had a chance to get better acquainted. Based on what I've heard so far, I am looking forward to it.

Associated gear: Supratek Syrah preamp, Piega P10 speakers and Piega speaker cables, EMC 24/192 CDP, Nottingham Spacedeck/OL Silver/Shelter 501, Jena Labs Symphony ICs, Virtual Dynamics Power 2 and Audition ACs.

I have no affiliation whatsoever with D911 and no financial stake in the amp's sales. Just a curious cat and a bargain shopper.

Fool's gold? Maybe, maybe not. We'll see. I will be interested in others' impressions.
OK, as long as people are looking at buying budget amps, I will say that Norh, a company I had not heard of until someone mentioned them on Audiogon about two weeks ago is bringing out its new LeAmpII. This unit has a switching power supply and does about 200 watts into 8 and 400 onto 4. These monoblocks are looking really nice for $200 plus about $50 for shipping per mono. Take a look at the prototype at this link at the bottom or so. http://www.norh.com/news.html The only reason I am posting this is to let people know there are other budgets out there.
I feel the need to make a public apology to Audiogon and explain my actions. This also goes to those people that may have seen another thread that i posted to and was pretty much "instantly deleted" or those that i contacted via email.

As many of you know, the original thread that D911 posted was recently deleted. Someone started another thread that touched on this subject the other day and i responded to it. I posted that i had thought that this was VERY wrong on the part of Audiogon and that Audiogon basically needed to do some explaining on the subject. Audiogon deleted the second follow-up thread as my post was the first and only reply at that time. Needless to say, i was pissed and went off the deep end. You can take it from there...

As it turns out, i was the one that was VERY wrong. As far as i'm concerned, D911 was out "shilling for business" in a very direct manner. I was not aware that he had business affiliations with the product that he was promoting. The fact that he started the thread and then later chimed in to support a product that he profits from working with appears to be a pre-planned move and what the thread was started for to begin with. As such, the truth was revealed as to D911's true motivations and i was not aware of this when i "stuck up" for the previous ART based threads and wondered why they had been deleted.

Quite honestly, i owe Audiogon an apology. I not only attacked them publicly in the second thread that was deleted, but approached a select group of others that i correspond with publicly and privately to make them aware of my thoughts on the thread deletion policy. Needless to say, i jumped to conclusions based on less than full understanding whereas Audiogon knew exactly what they were doing and why. As such, i should not have questioned the motives of Audiogon but been smart enough to see the motives behind D911's public manipulation of a thread for his own benefit.

To Arnie and all of the Audiogon crew, i say "I'm sorry and THANK YOU for doing your homework / protecting the users of this forum from unsolicited advertising. I hope that you continue to watch over these forums and disregard the outbursts from children like me that fly off the handle. Once again, i apologize for my less than adult behavior and admire your persistence in keeping these forums a "troll / commercial free zone".

To D911, all i can say is that what you did was wrong in my eyes and i'm sure that it was wrong in the eyes of many others. Some will not see anything wrong with what you did. Some may see these people as "bargain hunters" ( aren't we all ??? ) but i see them as gullible fools that have played right into your hands via your "master plan". If such is the case, they would be willing to be manipulated at their own expense. So be it.

I hope that they realize that they may end up sinking three to four times the money that they originally spent for a $200 product that is under-designed to begin with. I also hope that they realize that, should this product NOT live up to the hype, they'll have what is now a near $1000 product that offers very little resale value on the used market.

While we all make our own decisions and have to live with them, this does not seem like a very wise move to me. Then again, my flying off the handle in the previously deleted thread probably didn't seem very wise to others and they would be right. As such, that would be a mistake that i regret making. The main mistake that i made was in trying to support a thread that was directly posted as nothing more than shill by D911 and challenging the integrity of Audiogon.

Having said that, i am NEVER against someone mentioning products that offer good bang for the buck. That is, so long as they aren't out "shilling for business". In fact, that is why i got mad i.e. i thought that Audiogon had deleted these threads because they did not support the "high profit margin" of a dealer. My thoughts were that some of their dealers had leaned on them to remove these threads as the word of this "super bargain" could hurt brand new sales of other products they might carry. Once again though, i had jumped to conclusions.

With that in mind, i can see that if one were to buy TWO SLA-1's and have them modified in a very specific manner, it might overcome the majority of flaws that i previously mentioned. By using what is a shared power supply for two channels and converting the supply to feed only one channel per chassis, you would have in effect doubled the current capacity of the power supply. You would end up with what "should" be a pair of "relatively sturdy" mono-blocks for an appr $400 investment. One should keep in mind that i have no idea as to if the output stage of this amplifier can pass enough current to take advantage of the increased power supply capacity and reserve. As such, this could be an exercise in futility, but i sincerely doubt it based on past experiences with other under-designed "budget" type amplifiers. This would not alleviate the problems that come along with the use of other "low grade" passive parts that one is required to use when building a product built to this low ( phenomenally low ) price point. For someone that was "handy" and could do their own modifications / buy their own parts, the ART SLA-1 "might" be the basis for a very interesting and potentially highly worthwhile project though. Sean
No trouble, Sean. Don't even give it a second thought!

We have all been in the position of having to apologize here on Audiogon. I've been there, and not just once. That's what makes our group so special - WE ARE REAL PEOPLE.

Anyway, fault isn't making a mistake, it's not owning up to it. To me, a man is someone who can stand up and admit he was wrong.

As you can tell from my posts in these ART threads, I am taking a wait and see attitude about the worthiness of the product. However, having just said that I admire one for standing up and coming clean(even in situations where it may not be necessary), I am wondering when Don will do the same.

In my above post, I mention his initial entry into the threads did not come with the disclosure of being the person doing the mods. One week later we again get all this chatter with Don again not admitting from the get go that he has a financial interest in this venture.

Free advertising is more than offensive to me. I am sure I am not alone in this feeling.

At this point, I must state that despite my belief in products that offer great value, and have heard a certain $200 Kenwood modified to produce very good(NOT THIS BEST I HAVE EVER HEARD BS) sound, I will not consider doing business with Don unless the way he seems to do things changes radically.

Am I closing my ears to perhaps having the best sound I could ever achieve for sake of principle? Maybe, although I doubt it in this case. However, there was recently a very interesting thread which asked the question of whether we go for best sound or other things. While I seemed to feel strongly both ways, factoring in sound and the company, I now feel as if things are more clear to me.

The people you deal with are a bigger factor than I figured. Good sound can be had in lots of places. Investing in product from people you respect definitely increases the value one has received for his money.

The converse is also true.

And, while I mean no offense to Ericthered, speaking from the perspective of being a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan, it's always one heck of a lot more dangerous when they start jumping off the bandwagon than when they were trying to climb on. You would never believe the amount of broken ankles. Make sure you stay healthy, because the emergency rooms spill over.
Sean, your post is too long. Frankly, I was surprised that someone who worries so much about the ethics of audio reviewing wasn't offended by the original thread. I was glad to see your apology above The problem here is that everyone (me too, now) who contributes to this thread helps this guy's advertising.
Psychicanimal was kind enough to forward me a link to a similar discussion regarding D911 / ART SLA-1's on another forum. The moderators over at Audiocircle came to the same conclusion that Audiogon did. The fact that Audiogon was the first to catch and delete some of these posts a week ago whereas the guys at AA and Audiocircle are just catching on now shows what a "sharp" bunch we have moderating this forum.

Paulwp: Unfortunately, i can't see all of the threads all of the time. As such, i had missed the fact that D911 was charging to modify these amps was brought up prior to my "outburst". If i would have known then what i know now, i would have never made the comments that i did. Hind-sight is normally 20/20 and this is a perfect example of that. As to my post being "too long", what else is new ??? : ) Sean
Sean-Others have written to me concerning this thread that has been much talked about. I try to be unbiased ,but after reading a few of the post I have to side with some of the negative opinions concerning the way that D911 (Dan) had gone about promoting the mods.

I just cannot see how buying a $200 Pro Amp then having it Modded for $500 is going to produce a SOTA amp.

There are notable amps costing less that are worth checking out is my point. Weather or not A-GOn or the other sites are against his tactics are not a concern to me,but there are other options available to the consumer.

Wow, I checked out the Audiocircle and AA threads, and all I have to say is to ALWAYS go with your first impression.

I am not sure if anyone remembers, but in the initial thread, here comes D911(Don) in out of nowhere, blowing the horn of a product no one has ever heard of. Saying it's the best he's ever come across, and he has owned some really high priced gear.

I could smell this guy a mile away.

So what do I do? Ask him who he is, and what his affiliation to the product is. No, he did not say he was involved, but after my query, he did come clean. He seemed like a nice enough guy, so I gave him the old, you should have been forthright, but we should all move on kind of thing.

Again, ALWAYS go with your first impression.

And, never forget one of my favorite sayings, "If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas!"

As always, CAVEAT EMPTOR, and let's be careful out here,
C'mon you guys-Don Nance just scored the biggest piece of free advertising that I've seen in a long time on the audio boards. When's the last time you saw a sockpuppet's posts generate so much interest in a product? The guy's no dummy, give him that, and it's all pretty dang entertaining in the end.
It is only entertaining if you don't loose money getting suckered. Sean
If I want entertainment I'll see a show or listen to music not throw money into things that are not worthy of endorsement!

Guys, I'll admit I am in a bit of a quandary, and I am probably not the only one. The right place at the right time might well turn out to be the wrong place at the wrong time. Be that as it may, I am now owner of this amp and am letting it break in a few days before doing a head to head with my reference.

Now here is the quandary. I think it is clear by now that D911, at minimum, made some poor choices in bringing this amp and his mod business to our attention. I cannot disagree nor am I inclined to disagree with any of the negative remarks made about his tactics, and I plead guilty not only to a certain amount of gullibility, but to perpetuating his advertising with this post. Guilty as charged.

However, there is another issue: the amp. Is it any good or not? Is it a real bargain? How does it stack up to the big boys? How can one evaluate it fairly and post results for the benefit of others without helping D911's cause, unless it turns out to be a real turkey? The worthiness of the amp, it seems to me, is a separate issue from D911's credibility. The real question is whether any objective discussion can ever take place about its relative merits, now that the well has been poisoned. Anything positive anyone has to say will have stink all over it. We've already been branded as fools for buying it. Imagine what would happen if we liked it. And liking it, of course, would promote D911's business further.

D911, you sure have made a mess of things, haven't you?
Politics aside, there are very positive initial comments being made over at www.audiocircle.com on the stock unit before break in.
I ordered one today, and may order two more[stock units] for HT and apoligise to no one for it.
Bare with me for a moment. I want to take a moment to flat out APOLOGIZE. I have behaved badly to say the least. Though zealous, I could have and should have presented myself in a more forthcoming manner. I accept the responsibility of my action and I throw myself on the mercy of the "forum tribunal", all kidding aside, I really do apologize to the audio community at large.

Best regards,

PS> I will be posting this apology on all sites affected.
I do not think you are a fool for buying it,though you have to judge weather or not having it modded might be worth it.For $200 there is not more out there as an alternative.A used B&K ST-140, Outlaws new Monoblocks($600?) or the LeAmpII's($400).For me the latter was what I was looking for.

I try to look for value and it might be totally or more than worth $200.bottomline is are you happy?

Dan might have handled things differently.
Walter & Ears: I apologize for coming across so strongly. I hope that you are happy with your purchases AND take the time to do some in-depth listening with them. Having someone that is willing to give them a chance to strut their stuff side by side against other gear will be interesting to say the least. I'm sure that others beside myself would love to see what you think of these after some break-in time.

As to my above comments earlier in this thread, i don't doubt that they will be at least "reasonable" sounding amps. It's not hard to make a "decent" sounding amp nowadays. My main concern is how they do when driven hard and / or with speakers that are of low impedance and / or highly reactive. The lack of power supply and / or current capacity of the output section is what has me most concerned. That's why i suggested losing a channel and dedicating the entire power supply to just one channel per chassis. While i'm not familiar with the design, this could only help in the long run. As i said earlier, this doubles the cost, but the amp(s) should become far more consistent when dealing with various loads thrown at it. If i didn't already have too many amps around here, i'd buy a set just to play with. They are surely cheap enough to do that with. Sean

PS... Who has the best price on these units "just in case" ?
The concerns that you have given above are the exact reason I chose to try the new LeAmpII's.
At $400 for a pair of Monoblocks they are worth the chance to see what they can do!

From all indications they should be the best at that price level.They might be the best affordable amps since the days of the B&K ST Series came out.

They might not be Krells or ML's ,but they surely cannot be that bad considering the Build quality and specs given!

Sean, i am not sure if there the cheapest but my trial amp was ordered from www.BSWonline.com for 199.00 shipped.

They have already sent it out and sent a tracking # without exchanging a single word.... so they have decent service.

I am not expecting a world class sounding amp for 200.00 but if it is above midfi in sound quality as others have suggested, then one or even two of these amps for driving each channel above 80hz in HT duty, might be cost effective.
No apology necessary--not from you. Defending the integrity of this site is something we should all do as vigorously as possible. As for price, I got my amp from fullcompass.com for $209 delivered.

For anyone interested,
Dlshifi has just posted an outstanding review of the ART SLA-1 in the review section. I think his observations are spot-on, based on what I have heard of the amp in my own system, which, admittedly, is very similar to Dlshifi's (Supratek, Piega P10s). I want to give the ART more time to break in and experiment with some different power cords and tweaks before commenting further on the sound, but I think it is safe to say that the amp is pretty damn good, perhaps even remarkable at its price point.
It really does not look like a bad amp,Internally speaking. Will do further research into parts quality and read feedback on it!

Other contenders are the Samson,AKSA and LeAmpII's.All are noteworthy in the eyes and ears of others.
Synergy is another factor that has to be weighed in.

Abex: are you a spokesperson for the LeAmpII? Any affiliation with the company? In every post I've seen by you on 3 forums you've name dropped this amp constantly as a superior product, and seeing the amp doesn't exist yet, it's all rather absurd....
I just visited your website, and would like to ask a question about your reference upgrade. As I understand it, it includes your standard mods, plus dual mono attenuators to replace the stock detented potentiometers. Are these Shallco based attenuators a ladder design or series design?

Thanks in advance,
Pm: You forgot about the best sounding attenuator type i.e. the "shunt" method. This places only one resistor and far less solder joints / points of contact in the signal path at any given time. Obviously, this results in the shortest signal path possible. Ric from EVS came up with this approach and several manufacturers have adopted it. Sean

I believe we simply has a difference over nomenclature. By ladder I'm referring to an attenuatior which switches both a single series resistor and a single shunt resistor for each attenuation level. This has a number of benefits in that it minimizes the total number of contacts through which the audio signal passes. It also requires a doubling of the poles/decks used in each attenuator. It also has the benefit of of choosing either a constant input or output impedance, but not both. The ultimate attenuator would be a T configuation which offer both constant input and output impedance.
If I understand you correctly, the shunt configuration you are referring to is a single series resistor and and a variable series shunt configuration, with either a switched series of resistor via a switch or a potentiometer. This offers neither this the constant input impedance of a classic series attenuation. Regardless, I would not dispute that the shunt configuration you suggest is not the 'best' configuration for a given price, and that the the L(adder) or T configuration offers insuffient benefit considering their inherent incremental costs. The SLA purchaser also has the option (given the assumption that the input to the existing pots are driven by an opamp of sufficient drive capabilities), of adding/changing a series resistor and configuring the pots that are there as a variable shunt element. For others who aren't familiar with this, please look at the following thread on diyaudio.com -

If indeed, Mr. Nance is offering a shunt or ladder attenuator, is he providing those same 42 levels of attenuation? Given the cost of Shallco switches, he is either compromising on the type and/or the granularity of the attenuators. I personally, find a attenuator with less than 40 positionss unusable, but many others are content with 12-24 positions.

This would all be moot, if d911 hadn't posted on his site -
"These attenuators are the very best I know how to design and make use of Roderstein MKII resistors".

Notice he did not add - "within the constraints of cost/profit."

If the attenuators are not L or T configuration, I can only conclude that Mr. Nance is not a particularly competent engineer, specifically with regards to what is "...the very best I know how to design...", or that he continues his diengenuous ways....
From d911's website -

"This is the mod that has to be heard to be believed. It is quite extensive and employs new sheet metal, computer grade capacitors huge chokes, 20 amp breakers, Cardas binding posts and RCA's and many more additions."

20 amp breaker? This as a replacement for the <=10amp fuse?
Its a truly wonderful idea iff'n you want your insurance company to tell you to take a leap (or look to those deep pockets of DNA Audio) when your house burns down.

Admittedly, a 20amp rocker breaker will replace the switch and existing fuse and offer substantially lower resitance under heavy current draw. But, in any and all countries electrical codes, this is the equivalent of putting a penny in as a replacement for a fuse. So, you put in a 20amp breaker on a device that would typically plugged into 15amp house circut. What exactly is the point?, other than a continuing display of engineering 'expertise', from someone who claims and Electrical Engineering degree?

No doubt, Mr. Nance will now change his website, but I've saved this page on my computer, so I will always have this 'gem'. Truly amazing......
Pmkap, you wouldn`t be related in any way to Occam over on Audiocircle would you? You two seem to talk the same talk, makes one wonder if you walk the same walk? I`ll be really curious to hear D911`s answers to inquiring questions, like your ever going to have Dandy Don do any modding for you. LMAO Regards, Robin

Indeed, I am Occam over on AudioCircles. But unlike Dandy Don, I only post under one name on each forum. No pudpuppets for me! Please don't misunderstand me, I don't doubt that the SLA, as is, or with a few $hundreds max, at retail from a competent, honest modder (or DIY), is a fine value. But as Sean has so cogently pointed out, the volumetric and transformer constraints would put this product, if one were to spend $500 on modifications, in the realm of 'polishing a turd'.

From d911's website -

"Because the whole is greater than the sum.

ART SLA-1 modification is priced at an INTRODUCTORY USD$500 the normal price for the mod is USD$1,000 due to the cost and level of the material used in the modification process. The introductory pricing is extended through the month of June.
This is the mod that has to be heard to be believed. It is quite extensive and employs new sheet metal, computer grade capacitors huge chokes, 20 amp breakers, Cardas binding posts and RCA's and many more additions."

Golly, we should all act now, lest this $500 bargain slip away. And while we're talking bargains, I live in Brooklyn, and have this bridge to sell, and I'll be raising the price as of July 1st....

I've put up some technical discussion, constrained by the lack of a schematic or actual product, over on audiocircles,here -

Pmkap, aka Occam
Pmkap or Occam or whoever you post as on all the other boards (Why use different names on audio boards but that's really not sockpuppeting now is it??): Ever hear a version of Will Durant's "To speak Ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves"? Probably not. You aren't maybe a little jealous of Don Nance at least taking a shot at modding and marketing his modded amps and being the first one out of the gate while all you are left to do is try and get people's attention by posting negative comments about him on audio boards and fascinate everyone at AC with your technical knowledge of the innards of the stock SLA1 are ya? Just curious.
Eric, I post as Occam on AudioCircles and Harmonic Discord, all other boards I post a pmkap. As you can see above, I freely acknowledged this prior to your enquiry here. Discord and Circles are the last boards I joined, and the moniker is a reference to his razor, something I endeavor to wield properly. I've never used any other names and have certainly never engaged in pudpuppeting, that orchestrated 'call and response' between different aliases or between cronies. If you consider my consistent use of two different names, unique/board as sockpuppeting, that is your prerogative. Although Mr. Nance's shenanigans on the offending thread have been exorcised by Audiogon, his exploits on AA are still there for anyone to judge for themselves.

the 'ménage a trois' between d911, audiodilbert and Jack Seaton is truly a marvel to behold.

“Ever hear a version of Will Durant's "To speak Ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves"? Probably not.”

‘ol Will’s of the ‘Story of Philosophy’ ??? You’re right, never heard of him. Why in heaven’s name do you ask a question you already know the answer to?

“You aren't maybe a little jealous of Don Nance at least taking a shot at modding and marketing his modded amps and being the first one out of the gate while all-“

No. I admire tremendously those vendors/modders/hobbyists who provide substantial cost/performance. Mr. Nance, IMO, most definitely does not fall in that category.

“you are left to do is try and get people's attention by posting negative comments about him on audio boards and-“

My intent was that the audiophile community could make their own judgments of both the integrity to which he shows in his exchanges with the public, and the technical expertise and value that he provides in his products. You are free to judge the technical 'exchanges' between Mr. Nance, and myself as you so choose. I would think that some within our community might be interested in both in forming their judgments

“ fascinate everyone at AC with your technical knowledge of the innards of the stock SLA1 are ya? “

As you found my innocuous and obvious comments on the innards of the stock SLA patronizing, I apologize. Perhaps it was a fool’s errand to post such on AudioCircles, and it might well have been more appropriate to pursue such on other, more appropriate, forums.

“Just curious.”

Curiosity is a wonderful trait. Keep it up!
D911, I had assumed in my comments about that ludicrous 20amp breaker, that you are familiar with the time/trip characteristics of circuit breakers. My mistake. In an effort to save both life and property of your unsuspecting potential market, you might consider a small 'refresher'.


If you'd like to familiarize yourself with other commonly used standards, i.e. AS, BS, dc-34, etc., please do some research, and learn how to properly specify components for their safe, appropriate, and effective use.

You might even attempt to model your super duper enhanced PS. Given that 130w into 4ohms, you really should include the calculated equivalent source resistance of the transformers secondary. Feel free to assume 1milliohm total of esr (residual) for whatever capacitance (COMPUTER GRADE, no less) you choose to put on the rails. Those MASSIVE CHOKES certainly aren't going to increase the current surges. No matter how you slice and dice it, you will find that, indeed, your 20amp circutbreaker is superfluous, the equivalent of a penny for a fuse, serving only as a switch, and to endanger the lives and property of your hapless customers.

You are free to engage in your commerce as you choose (until exorcised), but selling a faulty, dangerous product is ?????.
To all those reading (Pmkap, harmonic discord, Occams (same person)) rant. My unit uses an Airpax breaker switch which I have found to be far superior sonically to the breaker I was once going to use. I think this character thinks he can bait me into telling him about my circuit. He even attempted on Audiocircle to get me to send him my schematic (so that, according to him he could help me). I didn't ask for your help, I don't need your help, I don't want your help. This is the last I am going to comment concerning this character.
Thank you,
While a lot of people seem to have an opinion of Mr. Nance's marketing approach, there seem to be only 2 or 3 people that have actually listened to the amp. Has anyone compared it to the Samson Servo amp that has generated a few favorable comments at audioasylum? Has anyone heard the Samson? How about comparing the ART to a budget tube amp? I could use a small cheap amp as a spare to give my tubes a rest during the summer so this has attracted some interest. However, since I am one of the few who was disappointed by the ART DIO, I am reluctant to just throw money at this to see what I get.
That amp has a fan in it ,I will pass ,doesnt look too exiting ,Antique Sound Lab Waves would be the better deal.

I have spent quite a bit of time listening to the SLA-1 for the past week or so, and have more or less arrived at the following conclusions. First, it is an unbelievable value, and I like the idea of having it in a second system and as a backup amp for my main system. I cannot really improve on the impressions of Dlshifi in his excellent review--I agree with everything he said. The amp is dynamic and clean, with precise placement of instruments in the soundtage, but can sound hard or lean at times and does not quite have the extension/dimension or musicality of reference quality amps costing thousands of dollars more. At first, I was so impressed by the sound coming out of this little booger that I wasn't quite coming to terms with the fact that I was missing something I had with my Plinius SA-102.

So, was it a close competition? Well, yes and no. Yes, in the sense that the SLA-1 exceeded my expectations and amazed me with its performance for <$200. It is a credible performer even in audiophile systems. If I ever fall on hard times, I could easily "settle" for the SLA-1 and be fine. But the Plinius is just more musical. As my girlfriend said, "It just gets down in your ears more." Simple, but true.

I'm still impressed by how good the SLA-1 is, but I also know that I would choose the Plinius 10 times out of 10.

How can one tell when Mr. Nance is being disingenuous, dishonest, and duplicitous?
His lips are moving or his fingers are typing.

“My unit uses an Airpax breaker switch which I have found to be far superior sonically to the breaker I was once going to use.”

I’m quite pleased that your mod page no longer specifies those ludicrous 20amp breakers, but simply breakers.
Respected folks such as Bob Crump have long advocated the use of breakers to replace the switch and fuse. I hope that your new ‘discovery’ of that better sounding breaker is also properly specified so as to not only provide an improvement of subjective audio qualities in addition to preserving the safety function, which is there to protect life and property. Whether this enhancement was facilitated by my comments or is simply an example of the synchronicity of the universe is not germane.

“I think this character thinks he can bait me into telling him about my circuit. He even attempted on Audiocircle to get me to send him my schematic (so that, according to him he could help me). I didn't ask for your help, I don't need your help, I don't want your help.”

There you go again, misinterpreting what was said, and not giving a link to what was actually said. So I will provide the link –

I had thought it was clear that my response to Donny’s testosterone fueled adolescent challenge to a mod-off, was that before considering such, I would need either a schematic of the stock SLA-1 or a stock unit from which I would derive the schematic. In addition to Mr. Nance’s fine qualities he so amply demonstrates, we can add poor reading comprehension. Mr. Nance’s proclivities are amply demonstrated in another thread –

“This is the last I am going to comment concerning this character.”

Amen. I will do likewise, assuming you keep your word.