Perreaux amplifier 3150B - your opinion sought

I am considering getting the Perreaux 3150B amplifier. I am very keen to find out if anyone out there has had any experience with it or other perreaux amps in general. Another thing I noticed is that it is a mosfet design - any advantages or disadvantages? My speakers are Paradigm Reference Studio 40's.

Is $800 a good deal?

Any help info or advice appreciated!


This specific Perreaux amp is very warm and full sounding with great bass "thump". Some would say that the amp lacks air and spaciousness and i would probably tend to agree as a general rule. If you like a warm and romantic sound with great bass attack, it would be right up your alley. It is also capable of pumping enough juice to drive just about any load that you throw at it.

I have tried quite a few different combo's with this amp in terms of speakers and speaker cables and the sound has remained consistent 98% of the time. I found that the YBA Diamond speaker cables actually did alter sonics i.e. opened the top end up but caused an overall lean sound. I would think that Nordost's might have a similar effect although i never ran them with this amp for some reason.

Given the above info, i use two of these amps to power multiple low impedance subwoofers in one system. They are great for bottom end impact and slam. Just keep in mind that they run QUITE hot and will need quite a bit of open space around them if you want to avoid cooking them to death.

As far as pricing goes, that may be a tad high but not by a whole bunch. Obviously, prices will vary with physical / electrical condition and you have to take that into account.

Here are some other points that you should be aware of. The binding posts on this amp are 100% bare metal. On top of that, the rail voltage on this amp are capable of swinging 180 volts peak to peak out of those binding posts at a very high level of current. As such, it has the potential to kill you or do major damage if the cables or speakers short out. If the output terminals were accidently shorted, the amp would probably be terminally wounded. Peter Perreaux basically believed in building amps like tanks and avoiding all but the most essential protection circuitry. As such, the output devices would probably be cooked and they are no longer available. In effect, this would leave you with a nice chassis and transformer and no source for amplification. Sean

That was very nice of you to go to such length to explain so many things in one go. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

I am a bit concerned about the safety aspect that you touched, I am not very happy to hear that, as you know accidents to happen, but not the type you mention stirs my soul.

I will surely reconsider it and make a decision based on that very point you raised.

I am not too concerned about the cost part of it, slightly on the higher side is sometimes OK if one really likes the equipment.

Thank you again for the insight!

As far as shorting the outputs goes. I accidently shorted out my output terrminals about a week ago. The rail fuses blew instantly but zero dammage to the amp or the mosfets.I put a peice of thick rubber between them now just to be safe. Sean's discription is rirght on the money. I also have two 2150b Perreaux amps and never have had any problems. The 3150 is a better amp though and IMHO thats saying alot as the 2150b's are very good also. The boards inside the 3150 are made of a better material. Basicly the 3150 builds on the earlier 2150b's and what they had learned from them. should be happy with it for a long time to come. And there are plenty of people that would be interested if you ever want to sell it. If you use heavy speaker cable as you should it with spades watch that they do not turn themselves and short out. It can be difficult to tightend the binding posts. You can't use a wrench on them as they are straight grooved aand kinda slippery. Also if you do over tightend them they may spin in the back pannel. I use WBT locking bananna connecters now and feel much better. Great amp and should give you many happy hours of good listening.
"As such, it has the potential to kill you ".........SEAN, my are scaring me to pieces!!!!

But seriously, I am still looking for this amp (took your advice or the one on auction. I do respect your advice so when (if) I get this guy you will have to tell me how I should protect the amp and (more importantly) me!!

Thanks Rick

"WBT Banana Plugs" that is a fantastic tip thank you for that, I will surely keep that in mind. I know a fellow audiophile uses the VDH speaker cables on his Krell 300i and they sure lock in place.

Thank you guys for the input, always appreciated.

Rwd: Sorry for the phenomenally slow response. As you might have noticed, i've not been on the puter as much lately.

As to my "deathly" comments, you would have to be doing something really dumb to have an amp "cook" you via the binding posts. None the less, many high quality amps of good power are capable of doing what i mentioned IF you somehow managed to put yourself in such a position. The 3150 may offer slightly more potential to do so since it runs very high rail voltages (+/- 90 volts ) and makes use of bare metal binding posts. For the record, most amps run the rails somewhere in the 40 - 70 volt range.

Motorpsychos: Personally, i think that the 3150 & 2150 sound noticeably different from one another. It is hard to believe that they came from the same manufacturer let alone make use of 90% of the same parts. The 2150 is noticeably brighter / edgier sounding to me in the mids and upper range and lacks the bottom end "oomph" that i find the 3150 to normally display. Having said that, some might prefer the more forward and leaner sound of the 2150 than that of the warmer / more "potent" bottom end of the 3150. Obviously, this would boil down to system synergy and personal preference. Sean
Hi Sean, My 2150b from 1983, had a staggering bottom that drove Infinity RS-1 bass towers better than anything I had.
Perhaps they didnt all sound the same. The amp was quite a bargain when it was introduced. We also thought quite a bit of the 1150b. You say output transistors are no longer available? Another reason to stick with the big established types like MAC. A basic power amp should be servicable for as long as one cares to keep it going........Frank
Hi Frank. I too remembered the 2150's as having excellent bottom end "way back when". The first time i heard the amp, the first words out of the owner of the shop's mouth were "listen to the bottom end on this baby", etc... After comparing a few 2150's to a couple of 3150's in a side by side, there is NO comparison when it comes to bottom end impact and slam.

As far as the 1150 goes, i think that it sounded a little smoother than the 2150 but was a little lacking in terms of dynamic punch. This was probably due to the reduced amount of available power.

In terms of the availability of output devices, these amps use the same outputs as MANY amps i.e. B&K's, Muse, etc... to name a few. While there are some substitutes available, i don't know how well that they work. I have heard of some "heavy duty" versions that are basically a "double stamping" ( twice the amount of junctions within one casing), but i don't know much of a "drop-in" they would be. It should make for a very rugged device but as far as sonics go, who knows ???

As far as sticking with "reputable brands" i.e. long term servicability, i agree with what you are saying but also know that a manufacturer has no control over what is / isn't available on the market place. Don't you think that every manufacturer would like to produce a product that they could stand behind "forever" in terms of reputation ?

I know of a major manufacturer that built a product based around a specific Integrated Circuit, sold thousands of that product and when it came time to re-order, the manufacturer of that IC stated that it was no longer available and there was no substitute. What does a single manufacturer do in such a situation ???

While you would think that Hitachi, Toshiba, Motorola, Sanken, etc... would recognize the captive market that they have for some of these "unavailable" products and do a small production run every now and then, i guess that they have got bigger fish to fry. It's a shame too, as a lot of good products end up in the boneyard simply because we can't get the parts for them. Sean
Sean, good points all, The Products that used "special" ICs, are indeed a big problem. The 3k Mcintosh MR-80 tuner, is just such an item. If a particular chipset does indeed fail on that unit,its adios to your investment. The chipsets are all ticking timebombs that will eventually fail. This is a real concern when buying older equipment. Sticking with all discrete circuitry, all the time, is pretty hard to do......especially with Japanese oriented SS products, (but increasingly worldwide production as well)
Should'nt serious high end mfr's, take long term servicability into account before issuing a zillion megabuck item? Lets say you purchased a crazy exotic, like the Krell KAS-1 four piece amplifier from 94, at 28k. Can you imagine the shock and anger you would feel after being told it was not fixable due to parts unavailability?? Just something for everyone to consider before the big money is parted with. On the other hand, an item like the 1968 McIntosh 2105 amplifier, should always be repairable, due to the straightforward circuitry.........Frank