NuForce vs Red Wine

I am looking for insight into the differences that others have heard in a direct comparison of the NuForce Ref9 V2Se and the RWA .2's (30 or 70). I currently own the Ref 9V2's and would like to upgrade to the Se's. But there is so much good word on the street about the RWA units, that I am considering trying their units. Opinions?


IMHO, I think You should.
I liked what I heard.....
It would be ideal to have them both
for a comparison in your own system.
Unless you are sure the rest of your system is superior to your amps, then and only then, think amp upgrade.
NuForce: Cold, sterile, analytical.

Red Wine: Warm, engaging, very pure.

Have owned both.
I have recently auditioned the NuForce Ref 9SE V2. In my system, they were surprisingly good and they had none of the cold, sterile and analytical characteristics of the Ref 8.02 I heard a few years prior.

They were musical, and grain free. No top end or upper midrange etch.

The only thing they lacked in my system was drive and punch in the mids. Had they possessed these elements, I'd have likely bought them...and I was a vociferous critic of the NuForce sound prior to this audition.
I own Nuforce Ref 9 V2s and they are NOT cold, sterile or analytical. I will admit, the V1s I had before these did exhibit these characteristics, but the V2s do not.

I have not had the good fortune of hearing the RWA amps though. When (if) you listen to the RWA amps, please share your impressions.
It is true that my experience with NuForce was a good 2 years ago. It was either the 8 or the first 9 model. Quite possibly they are much better now.

What hacked me off at the time was the RAVING the reviewers were doing about these amps when they were frankly pretty awful. Lesson was learned there.

I would personally take the RW amps over anything but SET. If you like SET they are indeed very similar, but do not match the spaciousness and holographic imaging qualities of the best SETs.
Just curious did you hear the RW signature 30 or the new signature 30.2. The 30.2 is a big leap forward vs. the original 30 in many regards. I have also heard the new NuForce amps (Ref 9s). I wont say they were that bad sounding but the RWA is in an entirely different class when it comes to musicality, emotional involvement with the music, black background, and retrieval of fine details. The nuforces are rated at higher power but the RWA seems to play cleaner at higher volumes. The only bad thing about the RW is that they are always backlogged with orders. I had to wait around 5 weeks for mine but it was so worth it!
I can not comment on the new Nuforce but I completely agree with Natewalker_2006 in describing RWA ( I've heard new 30.2 ).
I was very impressed .....& it is not an easy thing to do.
Mentioning your speaker system, a general description of the type of presentation you prefer, and maybe the type of music you listen to, might help regarding your question.

Just as important for anybody responding to such a query to clarify their opinion by either filling out the system section in their personal profile or giving a brief description of the system in which they auditioned the component in question. Example: Paulfolbrecht's comments would be so much more informative if we knew what speakers he was using.

It's no wonder many of the responses seem to be nothing more than brand loyalty. I think we can all agree that both of these amplifiers are some of the most creative designs that class D currently has to offer. I own one and auditioned the other. I didn't like the other in my system but powering a more forgiving and sensitive speaker system the other was simply stunning. Both of these amplifiers are very good.

03-02-08: Vicdamone
Just as important for anybody responding to such a query to clarify their opinion by either filling out the system section in their personal profile or giving a brief description of the system in which they auditioned the component in question.

Silverline Sonata III
Belles 150A Reference
Atma-Sphere M-1 MK III
Modwright Sony 999ES Platinum Signature w/ tube rectified power supply
KAB Technics Sl1200 MK II w/Benz Micro Ace Medium
Purist Audio Venustas RCA ICs
Oyaide PA-02 balanced ICs
Analysis Plus Oval 9 speaker cable
Purist Audio Dominus Ferrox PC
Lessloss Power Cord
Tel Wire Cord
Shunyata Hydra 2
Two 20A dedicated outlets
Environmental Potentials EP-2050 whole house AC filter/surge suppressor
My system:

APL Denon 3910 with latest AKM DACs and tube output stage, run directly to amps
Nuforce Reference 9.02 V2 monoblocks
Von Schweikert VR4jr
Ridge Street Audio Poiema III shotgun speaker cables
Ridge Street Audio Poiema III Balanced ICs
Ridge Street Audio Poiema III Signature PC
TG Audio 688 power cables for the Nuforce Amps
Audience Adept Response AR12
Oyaide R-1 outlet
Partial comparison:

Owned NuForce IA7 (original 50w version). Verdict was similar to what many have already said... sounded impressive esp given the price, but something seemed 'off'.

Then RWA Signature 30 (not .2). Very impressive, great detail and texture, soundstaging and warmth. Ultmately thought it was a little too laid back and uninvolving. (BTW I thought this of another highly reviewed amp, nameless for now as I have my reasons, that was also supposed to sound like SET. I have heard tubes in my system and love them but cannot deal with the downsides so SS is what it must be).

Now NuForce 8.5V2. With these, I do not feel any of that 'weirdness' that I felt with the IA7 v1. Both I and my wife, with better ears and who really likes tubes, feel that it is **very** close to tube-sounding. Perhaps there could be just a bit more refinement, which I am sure the 9 delivers. Not to say it is unrefined... just in comparison with the best I have heard, it is a small step behind.

As my budget expands I am fairly sure a Ref9SEV2 is in my future. I would definitely be interested in trying the Sig 30.2 although the reviews I have read so far do not persuade me that the sonic signature is that different from the original, just that it has more refinement, bass, etc. I would love to be corrected by those who can make a clear case after having heard both.

I asked my question to solicit multiple opinions on the differences between the two amps, independent of system, fully aware that component synergy does make a difference. I did not list my system only because I thought it unlikely that someone would have the same setup as mine, let alone my room, room treatments, power supply, ICs, ears, etc. But, who knows, maybe someone does have a system SIMILAR (objectively?) to mine:

Fully Balanced-
Marantz SA-11S1
NuForce Ref9 V2
PLC Sonic Euphoria or Placette RVC
AZ Adagios
PS Audio Quintet
Dedicated AC Circuit
Van den hul & PS Audio PCs and ICs
AP Oval 9 Speaker
Small Room (11x13)
Mature ears

It has recently been mentioned to me that my system would benefit more by replacing my passive preamps with a good tube preamp than making the upgrade to either the SE version of NuForce Ref9V2 or the RWA .2s. Could this be true?

Thanks to all for great feedback!

Jason from Nuforce states in this thread:
"We don't recommend using passive preamp."

I wonder why that is so?. I have used several SS preamps with my NuForce amps, but none have come close (IMHO) to the smooth and detailed sound of the passives. In my system they present the dynamics of the recording as well as the actives. The only downside that I have perceived with the passive units is that they are slightly, (very, very slightly) rounded on the leading attack. But neither do they have that accompanying snap glare that I have sometimes heard accompanying the attack with the SS units. Has anyone compared passives with tube pres with the NuForce amps?


I have no idea. Contact Jason at NuForce. I'm sure he'll provide the answer.
A friend has had top passives in front of his Nuforce 9.0SE V2. He had used several early versions of Nuforce. He thought the passives were great on all versions.
Then he used a Shindo Aurieges-L on the 9.0 SE V2. He said the passives sounded "broke by comparison". He is now a total fan of the Shindo.
He says the Shindo has been further improved by Hi-Fi Tuning Fuses and Crystal Cable Power Cords.

I saw that "broke" thread. I also think that passives are very limited in application (duh). When I get a chance I will try my TVC with the 8.5v2 but don't really have much hope for this pairing for some reason, although the TVC is pretty good.

In the meantime, I am enjoying switching between two truly excellent preamps. One is a well-known European make using tubes, and the other...NuForce's own P9! It does NOT have snap-glare and is very neutral but dynamic with control.

The tube pre is also excellent and provides a study in contrast to the P9, in that it is *slightly* romantic but still very dynamic. I know I will need to settle on one and sell the other, but I am delaying this decision partly because it is so difficult.

I strongly recommend trying the P9. It is NOT ss-sounding, but neither is it tubey, using both those terms in a traditional sense.

I share your pain in parting with components. My TVC really does sound liquid and dynamic to me with my NuForce amps. My Placette has great tonality and transparency - I just like it. I hate to part with either. But I now just have to hear a tube pre so I think its time to part with one - but which one? Maybe I'll decide next week.

Best regards,

I use both a Placette and a Bent Audio TVC with Ref 9SE V2 without any apparent problems, though I am not yet sold on the Nuforce amps. Perhaps I should try an active pre again, even though it's against my religion.. It should be noted that, as far as I understand, the Sonic Euphoria TVC is a different animal from the Bent TVC.
hi drubin:

i own a bent tvc. what objections do you have with regard to the nuforce/bent tvc combination ?

i was thinking about auditioning the amp with my magnepan, although i am reluctant because i prefer tube amps.
MrT--no objections at all, really, and I think you should try it. My reservations are about the Nuforce amps themselves. Powering my Harbeth Monitor 30's, the combination sounds terrific. But with my Dynaudio Confidence C1's, not good at all. I have no explanation for this, but I doubt the Bent is the problem. So you should definitely try the Nuforce amps with your Magnepans.
03-08-08: Drubin
MrT--no objections at all, really, and I think you should try it. My reservations are about the Nuforce amps themselves. Powering my Harbeth Monitor 30's, the combination sounds terrific. But with my Dynaudio Confidence C1's, not good at all.

Interesting that your experience with the NuForce/Dynaudio combo is not good at all. My Sonata III use Dynaudio drivers and I thought the combo was very good, but lacking some punch and drive in the mids and bass as compared with my SS amplification.

Maybe you can borrow an active pre from a buddy?
I will try an active pre.
One of the things I did not care for about the Red Wine 30.2 was the batteries ,In my case they did not last nearly as long as they were said to last on the website,always seemed like I would get cut off in the middle of a listening session,and have to wait for the batteries to charge back up.As the batteries aged you get much less time per charge!And the batteries are not cheap,if you send the unit to Vinnie ,he will charge you labor,batteries,shipping,so you are better off changing them yourself .The quality of batteries varies greatly depending where you buy.The batteries were a PITA,took a lot of enjoyment away,from owning this amp ,,,,they are very nice sounding amps,,but 30 watts is 30 watts,,was not enough power for my system .Resale value not very good.Would work better In the right system,that does not require long listening sessions ,IMHO