Probably their lack of power.
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The honeymoon's over. 2.5 wpc can only take you so far.
Maybe somebody needs to step up with another amp like Musical Fidelity's Turbocharger line, which added several hundred watts while maintaining the source amp's sonic signature. That might bring some 2A3's off the shelf again. Maybe they should be offered as a package?
I believe the 2A3 has long suffered from looking bad on paper.
The 300B that audiophiles hold in such high esteem gets most of the attention, and making twice as much power likely explains a lot of that. Give the tube a chance, and it would likely win over many a tube lover. It often subjectively feels more powerful than the 300B, has a distinctly more emphatic bottom end, and can even beat the 300B in the midrange. In my experience, the 2A3 does not make a good candidate for SET use. In a parallel single-ended or push-pull topology, it can drive most reasonably efficient loudspeakers to sound pressure levels most any audiophile demands.
I have a 45 SET connected to 101 db / 1W /m speakers and those 2Ws can get loud. But loud is only a small part of what I'm after. I have heard 2A3s on my brand of speaker and loved their magic. They seem to have a huge soundstage and that is what I seek. Plus 2A3s historically have output twice the power of 45s yet 45s seem to be more popular design. I just don't get it.
It is a pity. I was hoping, that we will get more high efficient speakers in our modern time (with our technology it shouldn't be problem), but there is no change. Always the same 86dB-92dB Speaker Stuff.
Some years ago I listened to such an amp with a good 100dB System and it was very good. Some say, the truth is in the first watt...
But unfortunately it is a real task today to walk that road...
Yes, as Syntax mentions, there is the need to pair up these amplifiers with highly efficient speakers of a good design.
I am aware of one talented chap in Europe that has a very good highly efficient speaker design. Unfortunately, he is also famous for missing delivery schedules, so now new orders are restricted because customers have resisted prepaying with him; therefore, they are resultantly resisting suffering the interminable wait...delivery miscues have become the internally driven bottleneck to restrict the future order flows.
It would be nice if the high efficient speaker space would increase.
Mdblank, "Deja Vu Audio in Virginia sells a 2A3 amp. But I don't know if it's an SET or push-pull."
It is push-pull, about 15 watts, true (required two power cords) dual mono. Vu used vintage transformers in them, along with a level parts through most of it that you will not find in most high-end audio components.
I had one in my system. The only nit I could ever pick with it was the solid state rectification did not provide the same level of romance as tube rectification would. Of course, that's a choice every tube amplifier manufacturer has to make, and was balanced by the very tight and powerful bottom end. The Deja Vu drove all of my loudspeakers to very (110 - 120dB at the listening chair) high SPLs across the entire frequency spectrum without any sense of strain. Overall, it was an absolutely spectacular amplifier; one of, if not the best I've been around.
What manufacturers are currently making 2a3 SET amps and where are they available? PX25 tube amps have many similarities. Anyone making PX25 SET amps?
In regards to the above message about Audion amps, I've read some disconcerting comments on the Audiogon forum about these amps. People have reported Audion amps received with assembly defects and/or shipping damage, and also difficulty in having these problems addressed. Anyone with personal experience with Audion who could comment? Thanks.
Audion is usually very willing to help you out if you contact them directly. Address
Le Haut Mont
17360, La Genetouze
HOURS OF BUSINESS: 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. GMT + 1 Hr (Central Euro Time)
TEL: +33 (0) 5 46 04 32 82
We are English Speaking and a British Company.
We also speak Danish, Dutch, Icelandic and some French
If you do not get an immediate followup it is probably because they might be traveling. Follow up with a phone call if you do not get an answer via mail.