Recap my ailing Forte 4a?


Any advice on whether I ought to upgrade my Forte rather than identify a newer design as a replacement? The rebuild will run me around $850 with shipping costs. I was considering a used Classe but it would be at least twice the price. My 25yr old Bryston 2B, which has been temporarily pressed into service, just doesn’t cut it.
kebslew
keblew,

     I was in a very similar position to you about 3 yrs ago.  My older Aragon 4004 MKII was going to cost about the same to repair due to leaking caps in the power supply.  I thought the cost was too high and was thinking of buying a high powered used class A/B amp to replace it.

      I ultimately decided it would be a good time to try out a high powered class D amp. I'd been reading several posts here on Audiogon that related good results from various class D amps.that offered free or low cost home trial periods and I became curious .

      So I ordered a classDaudio SDS-440CS stereo unit for $630 on a 3 week in-home trial basis.  This unit is rated at 220 watts into 8 ohms and 440 watts into 4 ohms.  My Aragon was rated at 200 watts into 8 ohms and 400 watts into 4 ohms.  I preferred a high powered amp on my 4 ohm Magnepan speakers and knew an amp that could double power output when going from 8 to 4 ohms was a good indication of high current capacity as well as quality.
       This amp was 1/3rd the weight, size and price of the Aragon but outperformed it in every way; better bass, a lower noise floor,better dynamics, more neutral, more detail at all frequencies with a similarly smooth mid-range and treble that was never harsh, even before break-in right out of the box. I highly recommend not only this amp but class D in general.  Class D also runs much cooler than other amps and are more energy efficient.
      There are currently a lot of good class D amps on the market. I've since bought 2 more class D amps that have replaced the 2 other class A/B amps I used in my combo 2-ch music and 5.1 surround HT system.  
       I now use a pair of D-Sonic M3-600-M monoblocks (about $2,000/pr) to drive my Magnepan 2.7qr mains, an Emerald Physics EP-102 bridged stereo amp ($600 on sale) to drive my Magnepan CC3 center channel and the classDaudio now drives my rear surrounds.

         IMO, some current class D amps are very good and outperform many good class A/B amps. All upside with no downside I've discovered in 3 yrs.
        I've noticed a general irrational bias against class D by some here on the forums but there's really very little financial risk involved with many of them so you could try one and decide for yourself.
       I'm not a dealer just a big fan.

     Hope this helped you,
             Tim     
Since you like a FET amp, you should take a look at these. Get something new!
http://www.avahifi.com/products/power-amplifiers/synergy-amplifiers
By all means, get a new amp as these fellas recommend.
Send that junky old Forte 4a to me. I'll get rid of it for you. ;^)
As I recall it, the Forte 4a ran in pure class A, and was something of a classic design. If it were me, I'd keep it and get it fixed.  I'll add that I'm not a fan of the Class D designs that I have heard; however, I do think you should give one a listen, maybe it would be what you're looking for.
Get her fixed kebslew.  Great amp.  


Absolutely rebuild the Forte provided you are sending it to Jon Soderberg at Vintage Amp Repair. He is the best for Threshold and Forte.

The  Forte 4a still is a great little amp, I wish I still had mine.
I'd get it fixed!

I had that amp once and other Pass amps too. I would have it rebuilt. The 4a was made from 1988-1991. It was a great sounding amp back then, still has a following and with a rebuild, a better amp to last another 25+ years.

Kebslew,

I think the suggestion to listen to some class D amplifiers is a good idea, just listen and see what you think. If you feel the Forte is better sounding (and it could be) change the capacitors and enjoy this amp for many more years. Pure class A done right is still hard to beat (sonically speaking) and has stood the test of time.

Charles

Oh alright, I'll admit it, your Forte 4a is a classic amp. Getting it recapped, even for $850, would still sound better than anything else you could get for under a couple of grand.
$850 seems a bit steep to recap though. You could probably do it yourself for less than half that price. If I recall, you are just replacing the 4 large power supply caps, right?
Firstly, let me say a big "thanks" to all who have responded. 
Secondly, I should add that the 850 is for more than just a recap. It's the price for a Jon Soderberg update that includes IXYS rectifiers and Cardas Binding Posts, plus my estimate for shipping costs both ways from here in Florida.
Admittedly I've yet to hear a class D amp that impresses me beyond the area of improved bass dynamics. Nor have I heard anything for near the current value of the Forte that has me very excited. So I will be going ahead (most likely) with the mod even though I may later decide to part with the amp.


A good idea.  You already have a number of potential buyers who posted on this thread if you do decide to sell down the road!

for $850 after the repair and upgrade, you cannot beat that amp for the price.  Unless you are  seriously considering spending quite a bit more money for another amp, I would keep that amp and upgrade/repair it for that costs.

Again, if you have the money, then by all means, consider another amp.  If you are staying in the used category and still want solid  state, then for around the $2000 category, recapped mark Levinson ML3 (yes I recently sold one), classe 201 and 301 amps are very nice, and there are many others, including Threshold, Bedini to name a few.

These are relatively easy to work on by a good technician.

Don't stress over this.  Even if you repair/upgrade  the amp and decide later you want to sell it, you won't have much trouble selling it for a good price.

So, do what's comfortable for you and enjoy.

"Don't stress over this."
I love it – I won't. And I will be upgrading the amp and giving it a long audition after it's broken in again. Thanks for the help with this decision — seems now like a no brainer.

If I recapped my Meridian 204 tuner, would I notice any improvement in sound?