I used to own the Topaz amp, and demo'd the Opal pre in my system- what do yo want to know?
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I've got the latest Topaz. I spent several months earlier this year researching and auditioning before buying the Topaz. I also visted with Roger Hebert and heard it in his system with the Coincidents and Tannoy Churchills.I think he now has the bigger Zu's on hand.
I've got the Berning ZH270 on hand along with Futterman OTLs and various others including the Atmasphere M60's.
Front end is the Aesthetix Io Signature w/vc + 2 supplies + Koetsu RSP.
All going through refurbed ESLs or USA monitors.
Unfortunately, I don't think that you'll get much response on the Topaz as there are not many out there. Apparantly, there is a current review in the Canadian mag "The Inner Ear"... I have not seen it yet...but I have listened to the Topaz in The Innner Ear's "studio".
I would have liked to hear from others aswell on the Topaz but had to go to great lengths to hear it in other's systems before I bought.
It's built like a tank with brute force power supplies rather than say, the Berning's cutting edge elegance and leading edge innovation. Speaker match is everthing. It's nothing like any other SET. No soft tubby bass and it's fully extended. It hangs images in air like no other I've heard including some multi mega $$ amps. Hebert's working on a statement product that will be loosely based on the Topaz and will cost many more times the Topaz's price. I think if were distributed through normal channels the current Topaz would cost 50-100% more.
I'm very pleased and surprised there are three replies already! Sutts, Nutella and Nkj, thanks for the replies.
Do you think a pair of Topazs can power my W/P 8s "well" - I mean "sweet". My new W/P 8s are more much more efficient and a much better speaker than the 7s I had before. My Audio Note Ankorus (60W PSE design) are doing well with 8s in mid range area, but are a little weak on the highs and some what wooly on the bottom end. Articles on the Wyetech are glowing and even the Topaz seems to have many of the characteristics of their SE designs but with more power.
Second question is is would adding an Opal to my Aesthetix Io sig...with volume pots be an improvement?
Maybe I'm just reading too much into the Wyetech's reviews, but every reviewer seems to love Wyetech music presentation - way better than other systems. I also like the way Wyetech is designed and built. The Lavender is unique, but maybe that's ok? So does Wyetech systems live up to the raves in the the real world - your systems? If you still have them what do you like? If you got rid of them - why?
BTW: Are your systems online?
thank for replies and interest in my questions,
If you have read the Soundstage review of the topaz, you'll find that Mickelson reviewed them on a pair of WP7's and found they had plenty of power. In comparison to the Lamm ML2:
" The amps' power output seems about equal, with perhaps the Wyetech amp playing more loudly before it lets you know that it has reached its limit."
The similarities and differences are laid out between the two in the review (the $9,800 Topaz and the $30,000 ML2).
Personally I have found the grainless purity combined with the power and extension to be unbeatable. I have had amps that have sounded slightly more powerful in the bottom end (60 w push-pull tube mono's) and other SET's that have had a sweeter tone but I have found the Topaz to be amazingly natural and real sounding. I've had OTL's too. They have their strengths but are not as natural sounding.
FYI my taste in music spans the entire spectrum. Jazz, Folk, Blues, Classical, Rock, Metal. The Topaz was the only amp that did all of these well. And I owned the other three amps while I had the Topaz so the comparisons were done over several months of ownership, not an evening of listening.
Well if you ever add an Opal to the Io let me know what you think. The Io can swing a mean sine wave so I don't think lack of input sensitivity of any modern amp will be affected by the abiltiy of the Io's drive. But who knows, this is widely uncharted and when I asked Aesthetix about this they suggested to try and see.
I have not had the need to add a line stage to gain dynamics in my system. Dynamics and sensitivity is largely system dependant right from the source to the speaker along with the room interface.. a additional line stage may or may not help. For example I'm not a fan of passives..but that's just me YMMV and all that.
As for the Wilson's, Nuttella mentions the review in Soundstage which may give you some information...but with this kind of investment you really need to try first. Hebert may be on his last few chassis of Topaz and they may or may not go back into production when those chassis are used up and he moves on to his more expensive and elaborate designs. It may be close to last chance to buy an amp of this caliber from Wyetech at "reasonable cost".
Hi. I replaced my Classe Omega amp last year with Topaz monos & have not looked back. They easily powered my SF Amatis & are fantastic with my Acapella LaCampanellas. I think so much of them that I just dumped my ARC Ref II Mk II to buy either the Pearl or Opal from Wyetech directly. I've never heard one of their preamps but based on the Topaz's & the few reviews I've read, I'm jumping in. I think it's interesting to note that the reviews have been unanimous in their praise for a company that doesn't spend a dime on advertising.
These responses seem to back up the wildly enthusaatic comments in reviews. It very nice to confirm this with real owners. What do you think about my plans?
I have Wilson 8s and only play LPs.
1. Wait for the higher powered Wyetech amp ands make the whole system move then. Sell my Audio Note Ankorus.
2. Get the Opal and combine it with a Wavesteam phono section. Sell my Aesthetix Io Signature. Alternatively keep the Aesthetix (with volume pots) to drive the Wyetech amps directly.
If there was a Wyetch owner in the SF Bay Area I would love to try the Topaz and Opal in my system. It would be worth alot to me.
I recently sold my Wyetech Sapphires (which were singing when I let them go), but have not looked back after the purchase of the Topaz 211 C. This is the amp with the Audionote transformers. This amp is stunning in its vivid presentation of music, both sung and played. I happen to own the Wyetech Opal pre and served up front by the Reimyo CD player. This is a killer system that approaches reality in the Topaz's presentation. Unparalleled transparency, accuracy of tone and timbre, expressive dynamics and immediacy is what this amp's about. I use hi efficiency speakers from Brenthworth labs. The speakers are coherent, fast, and lively. While the bottom end will not send you out of your seat, it is deep enough and provides the dynamic shadings of the base notes that is exhilarating and a marvel.
Needless to say, I am a big Wyetech fan. Build quality is the best and the products are built to last a lifetime. The Wyetech products are keepers until Roger delivers a higher end model.
Congrats Stony40 on your Topaz purchase. It may be only 18 watts but it certainly kicks hard. Myself and a couple of friends spent the afternoon listening to the Topaz with the Opal pre and the sound quality was amazing. That 211 tube is Rogers favorite because it is so linear and resolute. As I am sure you are finding out the Topaz is a slightly different beast from the Sapphire. I love the Sapphire for its delicacy and forward mids and deep soundstage but the 211 based Topaz is noticeably more visceral.
I own the Pearl preamp and Onyx mono blocks and up here in Ottawa Roger Hubert has a small but fanatical following. The owner of Tetra (another Ottawa based company) has a couple of Wyetech products in his showroom and local audiophiles get the opportunity to drop in and hear two excellent products lines
The Topaz is a truly great amplifier, however I, and my buddy Chris (Nutella) ultimately got rid of it due to (our opinion of course) lack of emotional connection to the music, no matter what preamp; IC's; etc. Also compared it to many other tube amps- one example that we connected to more emotionally is the Art Audio Jota- while obviously not as 'neutral' as the Topaz, it gets at the gestalt of the music with more full-bodied tonality. However, that being said, depends what you are after. I have yet to hear as SET tube amp that nails the front-end transient of the note with more visceral attack than the Topaz- strings were superb- YRMV of course...
I've had my Topaz 211c for just over a year. Its taken this long to fully appreciate it. I have listened to the Berning zh270 I have along with some restored classics on hand: Citation II,Futterman, Marantz 8b,5's,quad II and more. Each of these has its qualities:the classic Marantz and Quads more like the Jota mentioned above. The Berning with the limitless/tightest bass and the Futterman with the uncanny cut through the haze clarity albeit a bit grainy.
I have difficulty with slow and syrupy so the typical SET does not entice me. There are few that can match the attack of the Topaz and maintain the integrity of the holistic image in space. Being a Canadian, made the choice easier as well. This amp should be a monoblock and I imagine if Hebert didn't get so many chassis made up before hand it would be...At 100+lbs It's too heavy and too big for one chassis. A real un-SET like SET. I can see why those enamoured with traditional SET sound or the rhythm and pace of a inarticulate presentation would not like the Topaz. I'm sure something will displace it sometime, however, after running through a whole bunch of amps including some very high priced current production OTLs this amp will be around for a while. It's to bad it is not more widely available so more might be able to appreciate it.
To my wife, my audio buddies & myself my Wyetech Topaz B with Svetlane SV572-10 output tubes is much better in every respect than the Art Audio Jota amplifier with KR VV32B output tubes.
In 2001 I purchased the Art Audio Jota based on a rave review in the Absolute Sound. At the time I had a VPI TNT turntable with Memorial arm, VDH Grasshopper cartridge, CAT Signature preamp, Reference 3A Suprema speakers with modifies Dahlquist LP1 crossover & Lumley M100 mono amps driving the Suprema's seperate bass cabinets.
Even though it has been well over eight years ago I still have all of the above equipment except for the Art Audio Jota amp that was sold in 2001.
Unless everyones ears have gone bad since then, there is just no comparison between the two amplifiers (Topaz winning hands down) on the same equipment with the same output tubes.
Joe Fretas of Art Audio told me that the Jota was designed to be used with the KR 32B output tubes that I was using.
I have owned my 211M's for mono block, for about three years. I have found no fault with them and cannot imagine changing them out. It is 36 watts so plenty of power and the way it controls the speakers is amazing to me. First time I heard it, I asked the seller to hold them for a couple of days so they could be listened to with different music and some other frame of mind. Went back, listened, and bought.
A friend of mine who makes speakers as well as being a good audio tech and been in the business for decades says he hasn't heard the like. I am in the north bay if still interested in listening.