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I come away with the impression that Mike Silverton considers them competent amps, and he specifically writes the H20 is "a contender".
While he comments favorably on the H20's ability to recreate strings, lower midrange and bass, he makes no mention of upper midrange, treble, or vocal reproduction.
Finally, Mr. Silverton admits he is not a fan of tubed electronics, and yet he finds himself suggesting that the H20 amps would be a good alternative for those who like tube amps. Huh? Isn't that akin to a vanilla ice cream lover recommending a brand of chocolate ice cream?
Within the context of its bronze-amber character, the M250SA performed well: dynamic gradation, soundfield veracity, textural depth -- its a contender. In an early phone conversation with Henry Ho I mentioned that Ive never been a fan of tubed audio components...In light of that conversation, I find myself in the curious position of suggesting that audiophiles with a taste for tubed electronics -- in particular for a luxuriant midrange and rich, full bass -- will find H2Os top-of-the-line mono amp an unusually attractive, maintenance-free alternative, with, as a bonus, a superior command of musics nether strata.
Ive never been a fan of tubed audio components...In light of that conversation, I find myself in the curious position of suggesting that audiophiles with a taste for tubed electronicsAn odd comment, not only because he disavows tube gear, but also because the H20 amplifiers don't sound remotely like tubes.
It seems the reviewer likes amps which are light and nimble rather than lush and romantic...probably why he does not like tubes. I've never heard the H2O's so don't know what they sound like. I was extreamly impressed with the preamp from this company "The Fire"...and Fire is a good name for this baby...cause it do run HOT!...as a matter of fact, when I pulled it out of the box and saw the heat sinks running down both sides I thought it looked more like a power amp than a preamp.
12-12-06: Sogood51If this is indeed true, then the reviewer has never heard an even marginally good modern tube amp, which are generally characterized as being quite light and nimble. Lush and romantic does not describe the good tube amps made today, unless the user chooses to "tune" them by substituting tubes with those characteristics.
He did say they were "kinda tube like" in a round about way, ie...tube lovers will like them...people who say that usually have not had much tube experience.
light and nimble, lush and romantic, have many flavors...depending on a few things. You could even say...new Krells are light and nimble, while old school Krells are lush and romantic.
Hey Tabl10s, let me say first your children are beautiful. Have you got your system to working condition?
Can I bribe you with eggnog and Dambuie to come down for a new listen? I got my Lambda fixed. The disc is now centered, and focus is way sharper. I also have the preamp Sogood51 has been praising. You heard an early prototype. I hope you like Christmas music.
Boa2 is right. This does not sound like tubes. Like Tvad says about tube amps, the H2O will sound anyway you set it up to sound. My sound like the Audio Note DAC I am using. It is on the warm side. I do think of bronze.
As a point of correction, the reviewer was using silver and bronze to evoke music characteristics, not to award Olympic medals.
Sajran's review was more similar to what I am listening to, but not.
I had the Fire Preamp in my system for a few days. It is big, heavy, and runs hot. I don't know what is inside, but the sound screams MOSFETs. If you like second order harmonics that suggest a "tube" sound, then you will probably like it.
I dislike the veiled and hazey sounded created by MOSFETs in general. This preamp wasn't to my personal liking.
Henry is a wonderful person and the build quality of his equipment is top-notch. Our audio tastes and expectations are just different.
The MOSFET debate about them sounding veiled and hazy is growing old. It's rather like the blanket description of tubed gear sounding slow, or warm or rolled off.
I have owned to components with MOSFET outputs and neither has sounded veiled or hazy. Maybe I've been lucky with the particular components I've had in my system.
If you don't hear the MOSFET veil, then you don't. I heard it clearly on the "Fire" preamp. MOSFETs can sound clean when you choose the correct one and bias it correctly. MOSFETs are excellent at voltage gain. They get nonlinear with current gain. Nelson Pass and others have written on the subject.
Why would someone join audiogon just to hype his own system endlessly and deny that anything else on the face of the earth might even be remotely as good. Seems weird to me.
Just joined? Check you dates....
Tvad is right. It is in the implementation (and parts selection).
I heard no veil...I compared it to my Audioprism Mantissa tubed preamp which replaced a Bent Audio transformer volume control in my system a couple years ago...both first rate in my opinion.
Amps were tubed monos (Rogue M-120 Magnums) and speakers (Apogee Duetta Signature)...it did take around 2 hours warm up before really opening up and fleshing out. Maybe not a good preamp choice for those users that can only grab a quick listen to their systems...sounded about on par with my Sunfire Theatergrand before full warm up...(good, but nothing special).
After it got "very hot"...(around two hours)...it was one of the better preamps I've had the pleasure to use in my system.
It's attributes are subtle with noting standing out, however...it digs very deep into the recording if you listen. It has a large outboard power supply...three times the size of my Mantissa...probably why the bass is so good.
>but the way to check membership is to click on your monicker<
No that's the wrong way to do it. Go to "my page" and do a member search. Enter the member's username/moniker (not monicker) or email address for his/her information. You'll note in Whimby's case the membership began in April 2005.
Whimby, I did not start this thread. I do have a system thread, like a lot of other people. The amps and preamp I am using is better than anything I have used in the past.
I have used Pass Labs MOSFET gear and it is good. To all witnesses here, the Fire is demonstrably better. The builder of the Fire is an expert at bringing out the best in audio circuitry. As Sogood51 points out, your experience simply does not jive with ours.
I got an email from another party that tried the Fire."A friend of mine and I auditioned the Fire (for several hours only) and were blown away at the detail.
I know me repeating that quote mounts to hearsay. Take it as you like. The point is, you can't hear fine detail if it is veiled.
Whimby, help me out. There are exactly two Fire preamps in existence. I have
been told there are more on the way soon. I have one of the two on loan.
Other than the builder, I am the only one to have heard this particular
preamp. There is one other loaner. It has traveled to only a select few trusted
listeners known by the builder, one being Sogood51. They have all checked in
with predictable glowing reports. How did you come by that one preamp?
I was also fortunate enough to demo one of the very rare "Fire" preamp prototypes early last year. It was partnered with my already beloved S H2O amplifier. I thought it was everything you describe and more. There are many of us silent listeners out here that agree entirely with everything you say. I just thought you might appreciate knowing.
Jees Lloyd, I saw that posted on my active threads list, and couldn't remember what it was it's been so long. I can almost cry getting affirmation from you.
You are right, even more than I can say. I put some short ribbon speaker connectors in I made, and the amp, plus preamp responded gratefully. Egads, this gets more real. Write me if you are interested. I spent only 18 bucks making them.
BTW, get some Sonicap Platinum bypass caps in your H2O. If your present rig does not show you why, wait until you get the Fire. I hear Henry is making some now.