Used VAC Super? Moscode 401orBelles Reference 350?
I was recently at CES and i had a chance to hear the VAC phi amps and was absolutely floored from what i heard. Although i didnt get around to hearing all rooms the VAC/Wadia/Talon Thunderhawk room was amazing. There was somthing special about that set up. I'm not in the league to spend 20k on amps but if i had the money the Phi amps would certainly be on my short list and i never considered even buying a tube amp in the past. I just like the sound and character of the breath of life VAC puts out. Is anyone familiar with the sound of the VAC Super integrated compared to a new Moscode 401 or the Belles Reference 350 and even the TRL 225 D? I will be narrowing it down to these amps. One will end up in the system im going to be building.
Jaybo What pre amp and speakers did you hear the Moscode with? What do you like about the amp as far as character most? If i step up a little on the amp, i have up to 2k for a good new or used pre amp.
i had the opportunity to hear the moscode in my system using an audiolab 8000p, a c22 II mac pre and a nobus proteus(similar to a marantz 7 in character). speakers were gradient rev's and b&w 802 matrix. the sound was certainly 'sweet' and 'smooth' but not without taking care of business in the bass regions. since it is in effect a hybrid it really does fall in between your other two choices. i have always appreciated well designed hybrids. i used to own a nobis amp(cantible) which although not as powerful as the moscode had some of the same character. good front to back, but a left to right as big as sold state. certainly a bigger soundstage than my mac 275.....lush, but not excessively so. the highs were as extended as anything i've heard, but not harsh or hard with older recordings. i've also had lots of experience with belles(before, during, and after his OCM venture). Solid and neutral, but that bit of magic that can't be quantified is with the moscode in this group. if you go ss, look into mac, cj, mccormick, and plinius for the 'big' power stuff. i think you'll hear a difference. that that, the moscode is a winner.
I have the VAC Avatar Super with 4JRs which I think is a great overall combination throwing excellent soundstage width and depth. I don't have a frame of reference to the other amps you are considering but greatlt enjoy the VAC.
Thanks for the feed back all. It would be interesting to hear a used VAC Avatar Super vs the Moscode 401. Maineiac have you heard any of the new phi products from VAC? And if so, would you say the Super has the same character? Obviously there is a difference but would you say it out performs most solid state and tube amps under 5k?
To tell you the truth I bought it without ever hearing it on the recommendation of VSA who had done a lot of demos with the 4JRs and the VAC Avatar Super. They said it was a great match. I compared it against a DK MKII and Musical Fidelity A5 but nothing else. I would love to hear the other phi products. I saw the phi beta at a dealer when I was looking for a turntable last year and didn't even want to hear it for fear that my heart would lust for something that I am not likely to get for a LONG time. The choice of tubes greatly changes the sound.
I have the VAC Musicblocs. The owner and designer at VAC, Kevin Hayes, told me that the VAC Avatar Super and my Musicblocs have virtually the same circuitry. I much preferred the VAC factory tubes to many different( some expensive NOS) tubes. So consider that if you go with the VAC Super integrated. By the way, I'm very content with my VAC Musicblocs. When the budget allows, I hope to upgrade in the VAC line.
Chaz 801, Keep in mind that Kevin has indicated that he may build another version of the AVATAR integrated amp. I think it will be near $10K, but I can't remember if that figure came from him or from someone in an online forum. It might be worth talking to Kevin to see what the status is on that project. Also, maybe try to find someone using one that lives near you for an audition.
Thanks Maineiac I have talked to kevin also and he did mention great things ahead for the new avatar. He wasnt sure when exactly it would be introduced. He mentioned if all goes well, it could be near Q4 of this year. I will be patient and keep my eyes opened for a used avatar super. I have to buy a complete system from the ground up and my budget for everything is 10k to 15k tops.
Jaybo..i want to look at different pre amps too. Lets say i went with a moscode which is 1k more than the belles reference. I have aprox 2k+ left over for the pre. I have considered looking at different tube or ss pre amps. I also want to consider a placette passive pre amp to start to see how it would sound. Are their any pre amps new or used i should consider for the $$$ i should listen to?
Awsome Tvad This is great info that im looking for. I want to try the placette passive because it sounds like a fun product to try. Do you have any experience with it? I will most definetly look into the Lamm ive heard several good things about that manufacture. What do you like most Lamm LL2 or First Sound Presence Deluxe II? And can you describe the difference? I mentioned before im looking to get as close to transparent, 3d, deep & wide, extended high's and mids with air around each instrument with good balance with out it being to harsh.