An acquaintance of mine has a pair and likes them very much. He says there is a lot of bang for your money. I have never personally heard them.
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You can find reviews and comparisons of the Norh Le Amp at www.harmonicdiscord.com. Harmonic Discord is a forum similar to Audiogon; the discussions there tend to center around lesser known companies like Norh, Bolder Cables, Mapleshade, and Home Grown Audio. From what I've read you get tremendous value for a $495 pair of monoblocks. Go read the direct comparison between the Odyssey Audio Stratos and the Le Amps.
I have a pair and I really like them. I have no experience with high dollar amps in my house but I do enjoy the smooth sound. They are as described built like a tank, heavy, great on bass, and smooth. I don't think they sound rolled off as stated by some. Recordings vary too much to use this as an issue.
Well there is another review at HD that compares the Le amp to the Stratos. He prefered the Stratos. I don't think the le amp had the mod done to it. An unmodded Le amp may be an issue of system matching. mbarnes has called the Le amp very neutral. I have to agree as that describes it well. I have listened to low end tubes and SS and the Le amp seems to offer the smoothness of the tubes and the dyanmic bass of SS.
Again, my recordings vary too much from flat to over eq'd/mixed/whatever. I have found the Le amps to help both of these out. I also have found the better recorded (Chesky, Mapleshade, etc.) CD's sound clear without any edginess. Realism is the best that I have heard in my room with the different components that I have tried. For the price I don't think they can be beat.
Thanks for filling me in on that Doug. Unfortunately, i missed that part of their "battle". With all of the different forums, reviews, websites, etc... it can get a bit overwhelming at times. I do find that kind of strange though as he Brian was riding them pretty hard about the incorrect power rating. Oh well, i've been in the same boat before. Really liked an amp, just wished it had more "guts".... Sean
it wasn't really brian that was riding 'em hard, tho he *was* saying that mr. curl's measurements were ok, as far as he knew. it was mr. curl & some inmates that seem not to like the idea of a mfr publishing false specs, that seemed to be the ones *really* upset. never conclusively got resolved, tho, as mr barnes & his engineers still insisted their specified power is correct. seems like they & mr curl need to get together w/their measuring equipment so they're all on the same page. really confusing to me, that's for sure! ;~)
ever hear the home-brew aksa amps? seems they'd cost the same as the norh's - i'm looking for a cheap way to justify selling my original adcom gfa555's, used as subwoofer amps...
First of all.. Let me say I have never heard the LeAmps. So take my opinion for what it is. But as a value - oriented consumer (read "cheap") I am very interested in trying them after reading the reviews.
It seems to me that Michael Barnes (Mr. Norh) knew in creating these amps at the $500 price point that they would be used by many to add power to their receivers/integrated amps. Therefore he put in a DC blocking capacitor to keep DC from reaching the speaker's tweeters and damaging them. This also made the sound "smoother", which probably is desirable with most receivers and lower-priced integrated amps being used as pre-amps.
Without the DC blocking capacitor (after mod) people say the sound really "opens up" and is more detailed. This seems to be the way to go if you are using better upstream components.
So, you can get the amps either way - sort of semi-custom made for your system.