Review: Forte Model 7 Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

Have recently acquired the Forte Model 7 Mono Blocks, which replace the Forte 4a power amp, in the Forte/Alon system.

In all honesty there was no reason to change out the Forte 4a. It is a stellar performer,just magical. And certainly the additional 25 Watts RMS was not an over riding issue. Just got the bug to try the Forte Model 7. The Forte Model 7 is 75 Watts RMS into 8 ohms,150 into 4 ohms and 225 into 2 ohms and is a high current amplifier.Build quality is in the Threshold/Forte tradition, that became a benchmark for the industry. Few manufacturers can compete with Threshold/Forte in this area,let alone exceed the build quality. Built to last a lifetime is a major understatement.

Like the Forte 4a the Forte Model 7 is a Pure Class A output amplifier. As far as sonic signature is concerned there is no difference between the two. Thankfully the signature is not different as this design is truly remarkable with its IGBT ouput devices. Extremely linear and a joy to listen to do day in day out. To do better than the Forte 4a or Forte Model 7 you will spend dearly for only a marginal increase in overall performance. At the prices these sell for in the secondary market, they are an outright steal.

Where the Model 7 do have an edge over the Model 4a is in lower bass extension and overall separation. With that being said it is only an octave or so over the Forte 4a. However being mono blocks the separation is quite outstanding. As the Forte Model 7 are indeed Mono Block configuration they can be placed much closer the the speakers thereby eliminating long speaker cable runs. Would much rather run long Interconnects that long speaker cable runs. No matter how good speaker cables are long runs are not ideal. When I get the new Alons, will place the Forte Model 7 behind each speaker and run the shortest speaker cable that is possible.

The Forte Model 7 Mono Blocks usually sell for $800.00 to $1,000.00 the pair in the used market. I know of no other Pure Class A Mono Blocks that can offer this level of performance for the dollars spent. In my opinion these are one of audios great used bargains. Will drive most any speaker connected to it. In fact I don't know any speaker that could not benefit from the Forte Model 7. New these sold for $1,295.00 each or $2,590.00 the pair. A very good value then and now better than ever.

To derive the very most from the Forte Model 7 Mono Blocks your source components should be of equal or higher caliber for best results. Don't skimp in this area, the Forte Model 7 deserve the best source components you can afford.

The Forte Model 7 Mono Blocks have a sonic signature that is very close to the Threshold T Series of power amps. The sound is clear,detailed with depth,transparency and sound stage is breath taking. Clearly and without question a musical presentation that is nothing short of mesmerizing and with a presentation that will totally astound you.

The Forte Model 7 do not come up often for sale, another testament to their faithful music presentation. Audiophiles that have them, keep them. However when the opportunity presents itself, do try them. Being Pure Class A, they run hotter than a Class A/AB amp, so make sure to have adequate ventiliation. Do not let the IGBT circuitry put you off from trying these, as there is now a source for them. IGBTs are very rugged and I have never had to replace any IGBT devices. This is one remarkable amplifier by any standard.

Have been in this hobby since 1957 and now 61 and have seen a lot of gear in this time.When I got into this hobby it was only tubes and mono! So you tube guys don't bore me with your gear, remember been there,done that. Bailed out of tube gear in 1977 when Nelson Pass and Mark Levinson finally got solid state right. If you like tube gear thats fine,then it is for you, not me. I like listening to music, not tinkering with tubes. Did that for 20 years.Probably longer than most have been in this hobby. Make no mistake the Forte Model 7 is one of the most impressive power amplifiers I have ever had the pleasure of owning.

If the Forte Model 7 are not in your budget, then look at the Forte Model 4 or 4a. Same great performance on a single chassis and same great sonic signature.

The Forte excels at Classical and Jazz. However it may not be the cup of tea for the over the edge rocker. Make no mistake the Forte's can rock n roll, but their signature is much more suited to Classical and Jazz.

So if the Threshold T Series of amplifiers are not in your budget, then do try the Forte Model 7 Mono Blocks or the Forte 4a or 4. After all Forte was the companion line to Threshold and much of the Threshold technology found its way to the Forte line.

Listed below are the Compact Discs used for the evaluation of the Forte Model 7 Mono Blocks.

Ben Webster At The Renaissance (Contemporary Records OJCCD-390-2)
The Royal Ballet Gala Performances (Classic Compact Discs CDSCD 6065)
Peter And The Wolf - Boston Symphony Orchestra (Sony SK 64079)
Jurassic Park Motion Picture Soundtrack (MCAD 10859)
We Get Requests - The Oscar Peterson Trio (Verve 810047-2)
You Won't Forget Me - Shirley Horn (Verve 847482-2)
Sneakers Motion Picture Soundtrack (Columbia DIDP 078100)
On Every Street - Dire Straits (Warner Brothers 26680-2)
Trio Jeepy - Branford Marsalis (Columbia CK44199)
Paris Jazz Concert - Louis Armstrong (RTE 1001-2)
Braveheart Motion Picture Soundtrack - London Symphony Orchestra (London LC0171)
Patriot Games Motion Picture Soundtrack (RCA 07863 66051-2)
Hook Motion Picture Soundtrack (Epic EK 4888)
Highlights From The Plugged Nickel - Miles Davis (Columbia CK 67377)

If you are still into vinyl and you should be, the Forte Model 7 Mono Blocks add a depth of realism that is hard to imagine. Just one liquid preentation after another.

Listed below are the vinyl LPs used for evaluation. Turntable is Oracle Alexandria with Sumiko Premier FT 3 Tonearm and Grado Platinum cartridge. Preamp Forte Model 40p.

Bob James - Hands Down (Columbia FC 38067)
Hiroshima - Self Titled - (Arista MFSL1-525)
John Coltrane - Blue Train - (Blue Note BST 81577)
Wes Montgomery - Bumpin' - (Verve V6-8625)
Rickie Lee Jones - Self Titled - (Warner BSK 3296)
Wynton Marsalis - Live Blues Alley - (Columbia PC2-40675)
Eric Gale - Forecast - (KUDU Records KU 11)(CTI Records)
Kenny Burrell & Grover Washington Jr - (Blue Note BT 85106)
Earl Klugh - Finger Painting - (Blue Note MFSL 1-025)
Larry Carlton - Friends - (Warner 23834-1)
Sadao Watanabe - Autumn Blow - (Inner City IC 6064
Doobie Brothers - Minute by Minute - (Warner BSK 3193)
Santana - Zebop - (Columbia FC37158)
Pat Metheny Group - American Garage - (ECM 1-1155)
Frederick Fennel - Cleveland Symphonic Winds - (Telarc 5038)

As you can tell the listening test was very encompassing and with a very wide selection of genres.

Not once did I feel the Forte Model 7 Mono Blocks lacked anything in musical presentation. Listening fatique was totally absent. In fact I was eager to hear the next selection. I have seldom been this impressed in my 48 years in this hobby.

The only reason we are here is because of the music we enjoy,whatever that music may be. Without question the Forte Model 7 Mono Blocks clearly deliver the music with total authority.

In conclusion the Forte Model 7 Mono Blocks are a perfect way to start your high end adventure and for many of us the search may truly be over. Will be very hard to surpass the Forte 7 Mono Blocks.

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Excellent review and information passed along. I fully agree!
FYI, the newer Forte 4A is now called the Forte F4.
Your system looks awesome!