Hi willgolf, I have the Blackhawk from Raven Audio (since June 2015) and can report I'm very happy with the amplifier as well as with Raven Audio's owner, Dave Thomson. Mine was an upgrade from my Denon AVR3802 system and my entry into tube which was something I put off doing for years, despite listening and research.
What got me was Dave's willingness to answer my questions, to accommodate a try-before-buy, and awesome service. I also like that it is manufactured in Texas. What nailed it was his passion for the product. I'm certain when/if I upgrade again I will go back to Raven.
I paired my Blackhawk with an NAD M51 DAC and still need to add a phono preamp. I have no hesitation in recommending Raven Audio to you.
I should add: I drive a pair of Energy CF-30 speakers with the Blackhawk (90dB) and a sub as well using the Blackhawk's sub-out.
It's way more powerful than my room and listening levels, but I suspected it would be. (20W in analog blows away the transistorized Denon 110W which is what I expected.)
I went the extra dollars for better sound. I chose it for its self-biasing design and like the integrated design. Also the motorized remote volume control is cool.
Raven audio tube amps are some of the best I ever heard, I have the black hawk integrated amp. They are awesome, I heard them on many speaks before I purchased them and they drove every amp with no problem and the sound was incredible, the clarity and softness of the sound blow me away, and when I had friends came over they were amazed. They told me they are considering Raven audio tube base audio system.
which ever Raven audio system you decide to get you will be very satisfied with both quality, sound and customer service which I my say is outstanding .
My experience with Raven Audio... I've owned the Raven Audio Spirit 300B monoblock amplifiers and the Silhouette Reference pre-amp for around 3 years - driving Volti Vittori horn speakers. Even before buying the Raven equipment, I got to know Dave, who is one of the great guys in audio --- he loves music and strives to make products that maximize his (and his customers') enjoyment of music.
II have not heard Raven's Silhouette's MK 2 amplifier but I think it puts out around 100 w/c. I've heard the Wilson Sasha sound good with 100 watts per channel, but I certainly suggest you hear the speaker with whatever amp you may be considering before buying. If you're looking for great sounding, reliable equipment with a guy who stands by his gear, Raven should be on your short list.
Good luck with your amp search.
I shared the following in another forum:
If interested, here are the tubes in my Blackhawk (directly from Raven, not rolled):
1. Preamp stage, 12AT7: both RCA, left marking: 67 43, USA 6201; I think
this indicates mfr'd in 43d week of 1967. Can only make out RCA on
2. Power amp first stage, 12AT7: both GE, left 57 43 (and 188-5 marking?); right GE, 58 4 (1957 and 1958 resp, I think.)
3. Phase inverter stage, 12AU7: both Philips ECG/USA, both say JAN 5814A, right-side says 8813 APX
Power tubes, 6L6GC, made in Russia, (written in English), all say OTK
61, Front/right 1103, Front/left 1115, Back/right 1050, Back/left 1115.
These aren't date codes as I bought the amp 6/2015
Any help in further translating this information is welcomed!
Adding: the two 6L6GC pairs are Winged C stamped =C= which indicate Svetlana/St Petersburg.
I can say also that Dave T has been unbelievable in helping me set up a total system. His enthusiasm and guarantee almost make it a no brainer. He really just wants you to have the best sound you can have within your budget parameters.
Hello Willgolf, we have Raven Silhouette amps here at Legacy Audio in our studio and we have used them at shows. They are top notch units really well built and provide plenty of power. We most recently used them at an off site invite only show during Cedia in Dallas. Amazing response by all who attended. Setup was easy and they results were stunning! Sound Stage is deep and detailed and the top end is creamy yet detailed. Good luck! By the way Dave is a great guy who will go the next mile for you.
Legacy Doug...I started this forum for a friend. I am actually looking at the Legacy Focus SE with the the Raven Reflection MK2 integrated amp. I am also looking at the possibility of adding the Legacy Silhouettes for my theater room. I am building a new house starting in March. I live in Arizona and have not heard the Legacy speakers yet. Dave told me he would have the set up available to listen to in Dallas in May. I wish I did not have to wait that long to hear both the Raven integrated and the Legacy speakers.
hi,1st of all i have had 2 types of amplification my whole life(im 51)..i had mcintosh as a kid and NAD for last 20 years.. I have a very close relationship with some of the top analog sellers in the industry.I have wanted to get a tube amp. for about 1 year and had done my own research and some testing done at local hi end stores..I was told "ANDY,DO NOT DO ANYTHING UNTIL YOU TALK TO DAVE". inside of 3 minutes,we connected. our passion for sound is unmatched. I told him my speakers tekton enzo xl,
We both agreed a perfect match. i instantly bought the blackhawk integrated LE . On very 1st listen..i was startled..The music has a realism that is at the very essence of pure natural sound. Every instrument had more detail,clarity and presence. the most impressive thing yet:the natural dynamics of the music. The swings are more pronounced as they were intended. Oh,by the way..his 20 watts qeuals 200,300 or whatever of top of the line solid state. His 20 watts equals most mid to hi tube amps 75 watts..He can and will explain why.But in a nut shell its what they do with voltage regulation and power supply that no one seems to do. if you have a real deal loud speaker big and bold and you want to hear you vinyl or your dsd files the way they REALLY SOUND ; raven raven raven audio its a case closed issue.. andy rothman firstname.lastname@example.org
Totally Concur....throughout this whole process, Dave has been helping me out immensely. I feel like he is a good friend. Next week I am going to buy the Raven Reflection MK2 integrated amp from him. I recently got a steal on a pair of Wilson Audio Duette 2's and the combination of the two should be awesome. The only problem I have is that I am building a new house and won't get to listen to them for a year. By the way, one of the speakers I am thinking about for my theater room is the Tekton Pendragon series. Do you like the Enzo's? Eric at Tekton is another Audio lover who I have spent a lot of time talking to.
Here is something very interesting to read - if you are the least bit interested in Raven Audio products:http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/all-reviews/hi-fi-reviews/the-raven-audio-blackhawk-limited-edition-tu...
Ive never taken steve huffs "reviews" seriously, if you can call them reviews.
That's you... but you also said Raven Audio was a Chinese product... which it is not. It's made in Texas. So what do YOU know about anything?
- I love my Raven Audio Blackhawk LE integrated amp. Only its second day in my system and it has enthralled me. The most musically real sounding amp I've ever owned.....and I've been fortunate enough to own ARC, Levinson and Odyssey, to name a few. First class design, build quality, customer service and most importantly purely magical sound. And amazingly powerful for 20 WPC. I consider myself fortunate to own this amp and Dave at Raven Audio is a pleasure to deal with.
willgolf..i never saw your post..listen..legacy is amazing..there is no doubt of the established they are the best for the money..however..tekton for 2000.00! is the best value in audio/speaker history..my enzo xl's with the blackhawk or now the 300B "THE RAVEN"... its a joke..3500 for a 20 watt top of line tube amp. 2000 for a ridiculous,innovative,hi end loud speaker..you really need to spend 50,000+ to get to my level of sound with raven and tekton. the 300b the raven,may be the best sounding int.amp in the world:PERIOD.END OF STORY. i am now buying eric's open baffle design speaker to pair with the raven. eric considers it to be one of the 10 best sounding speakers in earth's history. AND I DONT DOUBT HIM AT ALL. any questions at all please email me at email@example.com..i dont visit these site often. regards andy
il go on to say that legacy's focus se in a blind shoot out with the tekton enzo xl..there would be no clear cut winner..
As I've already mentioned I love my Raven Audio Blackhawk with my Tekton Enzo's and soon I'll have the Legacy Focus SE's to compare with the Enzo's. Raven Audio uses Legacy speakers to voice their amps so I have great expectations for the Focus SE's.........and they have big shoes to fill as the Tektons are amazing speakers.
Sharethemusic, I envy you having the Raven 300B integrated amp. Should I ever get another amp that's the one it will be!
The sound of the Raven amps, preamps and Raven gear matched with the Legacy V speakers at the recent Newport Show was some of the best sounds there. Big, but effortless, which made it so natural sounding. It made my wallet hurt just to listen.
All the best,
I ended up buying an upgraded version of the Raven MK2 Reflection integrated amp at 58 wpc. Despite loving Legacy and Tekton, I purchased Wilson audio duette 2's for my two channel room. I met Dave Thomson at the Newport audio show and he is the reason I bought Raven. What a great guy.
i also talked many times with Eric at Tekton. I was going to do a 7 channel Tekton pendragon theater room but then I got an unbelievable deal on Dali so I went with them. My only concern with the Tekton pendragon was their massive size. For the money, they are the best sounding speakers bar none.
Now I am into buying a dac and music server for my two channel room. I have narrowed it down to bricasti m-1, mytek Manhattan and Schitt Y. For music server, the auralic Aries, aurender n100h, or prodigy 2. I am on a plane so please excuse any typo's.
We need to spread the word on Raven. I am building a house so I can't enjoy my system for another 7 months.
Raven products are indeed excellent but find Steve Huff's review (more of a BS than an actual review) actually counterproductive to the image of their products. Its more like a strip mall used car salesman trying to sell you a Ferrari.
willgolf..how on earth can you not have a system for 7 months...i cant have a system down for more than 4 hours. i have 3 analog systems on a 3 floor home in miami. with turntable back ups and phono stage back ups..sorry,dont get it at allllll regards andy
for those of you who do not want to spend 10k and up..dont fret or worry. the blackhawk limited edition for 3450.00 is =to any other 10k tube amp.. i cant tell you how dynamic,how much punch this "20wpc" amp has...its mind boggling..it has deep tight defined bass and an all natural soundfield...my raven 300b ,of course has much more detail,transparency etc..however..there really is no difference in power and punch and dynamics
mac4802520 posts06-20-2016 3:34pmAs I've already mentioned I love my Raven Audio Blackhawk with my Tekton Enzo's
I also have a Raven Audio "Blackhawk LE" integrated amp. The Raven comes close to the far more expensive and powerful Ayon Audio "Triton III" and it does make beautiful music. The speakers I am using are top-end Avalon Acoustic "Eidolon".
The Raven amp is extraordinary, it sounded beautiful right out of the box and right after power up. I can not say enough about this amp: It must be the "deal of the century" in tube gear. Right now I am not sure where I will end up using the Raven, so until I decide I will keep switching interconnects and speaker cables as I play these two amps off against each other.
i had the nighthawk and blackhawk and each delivered an extraordinary high end sound quality.
Hi avanti1960, did you sell your nighthawk? Just curious what amp you are using with your ls50 now?
I posted above, this is an update.
I moved the Raven Blackhawk LE from my living room system into my home office where I previously had some excellent solid state Parasound gear (the "Z" half-width rack-mountable gear, very good). Well... All I can say is that I just upgraded my home office experience. Previously the Raven drove a pair of Avalon Acoustics speakers (wow). Now, it's driving (designing on my whim) either a pair of Martin Logan bookshelf speakers or a similar set of Mordant-Short bookshelfs. Both sound excellent with this amp. I've also ran a red other older speakers through this, including some excellent yet cheap Energy speakers. All sound great and in all cases I got absolutely excellent soundstages and holographic placement.
Well, I just auditioned a set of Legacy Audio Focus SE with Raven amplification at Dave's place, and, well, I don't even know where to begin or what to say. I've always had SS amplification and pretty much mid-fi equipment at that, so it's not like I have much, if any, listening experience with tube amps. But I have heard lots of speakers demoed with SS amplification over the years, some of which sounded very good. Dave played CD quality tracks off his computer, no high rez. Suffice it to say, I've never heard CD level audio sound anywhere close to this natural. Ella Fitzgerald seemed right in front of me. Bass like crazy, and with impact.
What I heard today is certainly eye opening. There is no way to assign the percent of relative contribution to the awesome sound for each component involved, all of which are orders of magnitude better than what I currently have. I've just never heard any reproduced music sound that good. I attended the East Texas Symphony(better than you might think) last Saturday, so I have a very recent experience with live, large scale music. What really got my attention is cymbals, which sounded pretty much exactly like they did at the symphony. Very open and "airy". The Focus SE are certainly excellent speakers, but my suspicion is that the Raven amplification played a huge part in the incredible sound quality. Now, I'm going to have to re-think my whole approach to audio.
@mtrot ...If you liked tube amplification, you would love a really well-made tube-powered CD player.
mtrot: much of what you write about why you like the Focus SE is a result of the speakers themselves independent of the choice of tube amplification. The Raven's are reported to be great amps but I will tell you I've heard the exact same positive attributes you talk about and more out of my old Focus SEs and now my AERIS with pure solid state amplification (Edge NL12.1, Maker Audio NL14 and especially an Esoteric A-02 stereo amp that is the star of the show in my system for a couple of years now...
what cables and interconnects did you settle on
@styxtrekr (I've been away from this thread...) You asked: "What cables and interconnects did you settle on"?
I am using Homegrown Audio "Silver Lace" RCA interconnects which are silver wire Litz configuration cables. They are very delicate but I am happy with the sound. For balanced interconnects, I'm using Silnote "Morpheus Reference" XLR cables. For speakers, after listening to multiple cables, I am very happy and stayed with my AntiCables.
I am happy with these choices and do not think I can appreciably get an improvement in my current listening spaces. If I went wild and made substantial improvements in the physical spaces my systems are in, then I think I would consider further cable tweets — but for now I am probably wise to avoid chasing shadows in a shadow-rich listening space.