Review: Audio by Van Alstine Model 3 Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

Van Alstine Model 3 Amplifier
This is the little brother of the Van Alstine Model 2 Amplifier.

With the same sonics and robust build and quality,this one is rated at 125 watts per side.Has the same cosmetics but slightly smaller and weighs less.This one sold for $900.00 in 1978,and for the time was expensive.

I have been fortunate enough to find a old dealer brochure and have listed the information below as stated on the brochure.

Van Alstine Model 3 Specs.

Headroom:45 Volts Peak into 8 ohm loads.Internally bridgeable to mono operation by push button
Thermal Protection:Over Temp.,protection under extreme power conditions.
Speaker Protection:Relay speaker protection circuit disconnects your speakers during fault and error conditions.
Output Stage:Four high current output transistors in each channel-no v.i. limiters to slow down or clip transient peaks
On/Off:Two way switch - front panel or remote switching.
AC Power:117 V 60 Hz.
Size: 19" wide 5.25" height 15" depth
Weight 35 Pounds.
Price $900.00
By the brochure I have it appears the heat sinks are mounted on the rear of the cabinent.

If properly maintained by previous owners,it will easily compete with most of today offerings. This is a true gem of high end audio,from one of the true legends in High End Audio.

If you get the chance to acquire one and they are quite rare now,do so it is a true joy to listen to.

Associated gear

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Al Clark sent me this e-mail sometime back and thought it is worth posting here as a follow up. As information on this gear is sparse at best.

TO: Ferrari

I was just surfing and I found a few of your nice comments about the old VA Model 1,2,3

I founded Van Alstine Audio Systems along with Frank and two others in 1977 (or 76).

I don't think Frank talks much about these products because he didn't design any of them.

Greg Broburg and I designed the model one. We share a patent on the phono preamp. The model two was an improved modified Dyna Double 400. The model three was started by me and finished by Greg (also a partner). Grag thought my original design was too complicated, but many of the original elements were retained. Greg turned it into a current mode power amplifier. We didn't actually know what a current mode power amplifier was at the time. We just wanted to improve the speed of the amplifier. It was always our belief that the Model three was a much better amplifier than the model two.

I actually have 1/2 of the world supply of the Model 4 (still in kit form, since I never seem to get around to building them). We built two for our distributor Japan. These were essentially mono Model threes.

We also designed a very good replacement for the Model 1. It was clearly our best preamp but it never was released.
A few years ago, I designed on paper, an "ultimate" version. I was curious if I could design something that would compare favorably with today's best. At the time, I had an old dealer from way back who was interested and I was having fun with the idea.

I don't even have a turntable anymore. I had a fairly respectable stereo at home until my house got broken into and it was all stolen (except for an old pair of MGIIs that were well past their prime.

I keep thinking I might build my own system using a combination of old VA techniques and newer ideas. I specialize in DSP today. One of our summer products is going to be a DSP based crossover for high performance speaker systems.

What dealer were you? Did we meet? I replaced Frank Van Alstine (after I fired him in 1978). I haven't spoken with or seen him since 1979 so I don't really know much about his newer products. I epect that many of them are good because Frank was a good evaluator/listener and did develop a staff to help him move forward.

Al Clark
Danville Signal Processing, Inc