Sutts if you are lookig for a tube sound by a tube amp not SS. With the Coincident speakers especially.
It is better to describe these as non-solid-state-like rather than tube-like. They have no midrange bloom and they are not rolled off at the frequency extremes like tube amps. On the other hand they have no steeliness, no coldness, like many solid state amps. On the other hand, there are many solid state amps with far more bass slam than these. Don't confuse the lack of dynamic slam for lack of bass. These things can rattle your floors with the right speaker, but they don't deliver that kapow that others do. Aleph 1.2's are extremely neutral and, as an owner of the Aleph 4, and an occasional listener to the 1.2, in my opinion, you couldn't do any better than to own a pair of 1.2's. That said, they are absolutely space heaters and since they are class A biased and dissipate as heat there idling current, they get very hot. Additionally, if you left them on all the time, I doubt you could afford your electric bill at the end of the month. Although my experience is they sound even better after an hour of warmup and even better after three hours, it would be very costly and perhaps not the best for the life of the amp to leave them on all the time.
When I heard the 1.2s w/B&W 802s, they showed less of the typical ss steeliness, that Rayhall mentions above, than most other ss amps, but still fall short IMHO to many of the better tube amps as far as "soul" goes.
Only other ss I've heard extensively that does what your looking for is the Sunfire, which makes a nice 5 channel amp. However, the Sunfire loses some transparency & detail vs the 1.2s.
FWIW, I bought something lower priced for HT(NAD receiver), and kept the big $ in my two channel tube system. I don't miss the resolution in the HT system, and my music system continues to improve. Good luck,
Haven't heard the 1.2's but owned an Aleph 5 for a while. All the above comments would reflect my observations of the 5 as well. It got very hot and sounded best when it was left on for 2-3 days of warmup. Nice sound for SS, but not SS sounding nor tube sounding though it had many tube-like qualities, warmth being among them. Did not seem to live up to it's 60W rating. It felt more like half that. I went back to tubes after a few months with the Aleph 5 and am much happier. They're cheaper to run too and I don't need to keep the gear on for 2-3 days, just a few hours, to get them sounding their best. If I had to run an SS amp I would not throw the Aleph series out of bed, especially on those cold nights! I'll stick with tubes for both heart and soul thanks!
I own a pair of 1.2's and find that they can be quite captivating and involving - they can really draw you into the music. As mentioned above, they don't sound like tubes exactly, but have a lot more body and focus than many SS amps and more sheer drive capacity than tube amps. They can stand on their own merits.
They don't have the ultimate bass slam, but I would in no way say they are bass-shy. The bass they produce is very detailed and tuneful.
Each amp draws 600 watts continuously from the AC line, and most of it comes back as heat. It's like having a 1200 watt space heater running in your room. Continuous operation is not a really practical.
The 1.2's sound better after about an hour of warm up and will to continue to improve slightly over the next few hours of operation.
The cooling fins are sharp - don't put the amps where someone can accidently brush against them - they'll draw blood.
I think that the Aleph 1.2's are great amps.
BTW, they are driving a pair of Apogee Duetta Signatures.
Thanks everyone for chipping in with your thoughts on this one. Re: the electricity usage, we live in a condo, and pay one 'common' fee, so I can use as much as I want and it's always the same cost- not that I am advocating wasting electricity, but it's not as if I would pay any more to have them on all the time.
I believe I have come to the conclusion based on research and testing different amps in my system that a well-designed set of tube monoblocks seem tough to beat for musicality, but it's great to see that some of you have found some magic with solid state- and I have also found that really well-designed SS amps can be extremely enjoyable.
A guy I trust has told me that the Aleph 1.2's are really fantastic amplifiers, and I was seriously considering them, but the responses seem to be unanimous (and Nelson Pass himself chipped in today when I asked him the same question)- these are not really meant to be '24/7' amps, due to the high electricity usage and class a heat production. Sounds like they would be excellent in a larger room/dedicated 2-ch system with medium-efficiency full-range speakers.
Once again- thanks so much to everyone who responded- this is an example of the why I find this an excellent informational resource and such a great community we have here at the 'Gon- good listening everyone!
As a current owner of a Pass Aleph amp I can agree with all the comments,it runs HOT HOT HOT,a very industrial design,strengths is it pure neutrality and warmth,vast soundstaging and creates a realistic presentation.Power does seem to be overstated and its not a great bass slam amp,needs sensitive speakers.