I ran a similar thread about a year ago, and got no feedback. I am simply curious why Van Alstine products don't receive more reviews and evaluation. Need some feedback about the sound quality and reliability of VA's "Synergy" amps and one integrated amp.
I bought myself a new AVA Synergy 450 for XMAS, it much outclassed the Odyssey amp I was using, very dynamic and enables me to hear every line in the Symphonic music I primarily listen to. My biggest complaint is cheap plastic speaker terminals placed in tight space pretty much limits you to banana plugs. To be honest one reason I bought it was I live an hour away from AVA so no shipping required if I do need service. I would never buy an amp rated at 4 ohms, which his cheapest model is as Maggies will smoke them. Reviews are a function of advertising in the mags that review, AVA is running a few adds lately,so getting a few reviews, I noticed his FET 600 rated top of class by TAS. Frank himself has said Synergy 450 sounds as good as that in many setups.
To Schubert: That will surely make me think twice about buying either the Syngery basic stereo amp or his overpriced integrated which is $1800. I can buy a used Krell 400i for less that probably will smoke his integrated and you get twice the power and also is stable at 2 ohms
You helped answer another question I ask in a previous thread. If his S-450 outclassed the Odyssey Stratos, it will do the same and then some to the Odyssey Khartago which I considered, and got very good reviews
Yes, as you guys have noted, I guess advertising determines a company's recognition among the audio literati; I thought they were committed to reviewing the best products??? Thanks guys for the advice and comments, Jimbo
To.Mr JMC Grogan, Relax, I was just being facetious. Most of these audio pundits have ears stuffed with cotton when they go to audition high-end. I have only truated reviews by Bob Reina at Stereophile. His review method is systematic and thorough, and 90-95% of the time his impressions are right on target. This could be said of Tom Norton who is no longer with Stereophile and possibly deceased. His review of the Aragon 4004 MKII power amp in 1988 was excellent, and over my 15 years of ownership of this amp, I came to hear every point he made about the amp's performance
Years ago Frank came to my house and plugged in his latest preamp. At the time is bested my ARC SP3-a. His equipment doesn't strive to be audio gems in looks, but his designs will live up to his claims. Further, he makes iterations of his amps with the stability to drive hard loads. Check out his sight and remember, he is an engineer, not a designer.
I too bought a Synergy 450 after hearing it. My brother owns my old Odyssey Amp I sold him with double banks of capacitors. The VanAlstine450 is far more modern and advanced.the double Mosfets can be added For $99 In the Synergy 240, as well as 300, the 450 comes with 4 double dye Mosfets per channel 15amp each 250v which is = to 8 per channel. These new units have 12 regulated power supply's .it runs cooler No power sags very stable even if your voltage sags 10 volts. Musically a very nice balance very clear open but with a very Vacuum tube like nature. Instrument textures I find night and day more palpable then A new Bryston I compared with.the Synergy it reminded me of a $5k Ayre amp with better dynamics and control. I can not think of any amplifier even at $5k that betters this . I highly recommend the 450,and 300 ,Buy the double dye Mosfets it gives better dynamics,runs cooler and actually less wiring.the 300 is $1,600 with the double Mosfets. I overlooked Van Alstine for years,for not enough advertising I guess. with this new design I picked a great time to start. The fet vacuum tube version is slightly better At a much high price.
I have had a Synergy 450 for 2 years, first time in 40 years I haven't been looking for a different amp. Sounds like a high-quality 100 watt tube amp using NOS output tubes better than any currently available. Easily betters the Hafler, Odyssey, Belles, McCormack and Quad amps I used before.
AVA equipment made a favorable impression on me years ago so I recently acquired their TOTL hybrid pre/power combo to see how modern AVA compares to my trusted Classe and VTL amps. I was not disappointed as they held their own in many ways. The AVA gear sounded good - it had finesse and was quite transparent, but ultimately could not keep up with my Classe and VTL in conveying the weight, lushness and scale of the music as effortlessly in the way I’m used to hearing. Yes, it beats Hafler, Belles and McCormack, but not VTL or Classe. Furthermore, the combo (neither pre or power amp was equipped with an earth ground) developed a faint buzz on phono. When I asked Frank Van Alstine about this, he did not give me a response. I’m not sure what to do now with the amps. Maybe I’ll sell them.