Author Topic: New member: gjm  (Read 7502 times)

Offline gjm

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New member: gjm
« on: May 02, 2019, 03:51:31 PM »
I'm still wondering if I have been a member here before, but maybe not... I'm certainly a member on some other hifi-related forums, and have cancelled my membership to some others! I've certainly known about Audio Nervosa for many years.

This time my attention was drawn again when doing a quick search for my pre-amp, a B11a from Steve. Nice piece of kit.  :thumb:

A lot of my kit is DIY through financial necessity - turntable, 2A3 monoblock power amps, speakers (OB, or folded tapered horn), speaker wire, even the power conditioner/isolator... The power amps are very much overdue for a rebuild (and perhaps partial redesign - they are based on Bottlehead Paraglows (which dates them!) and were kinda put together in a hurry. I really should sort them properly. Or perhaps I should look for something with a little more power? We'll see.

Catch y'all later.  :beer:

Offline P.I.

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Re: New member: gjm
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2019, 11:36:21 PM »
Welcome to the zoo.  :thumb:

It looks like this place that will be great for you and for the animals here-in.  Your system sounds very cool actually.

Thus continues the never ending search for excellence.  People here won’t BS or pound on you.  :D
"A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." - Hilmar von Campe

Offline Nick B

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Re: New member: gjm
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2019, 08:44:40 AM »
Hello and welcome to the forum!
Nick B
Administrator
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Offline gjm

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Re: New member: gjm
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2022, 02:45:51 PM »
OK - more than a touch of thread resurrection about this.  :D

I still have my SAS B11a. It, and the balance of our system, has seen little use in the last few months for a host of reasons, but yesterday I was invited to a local dealer to have a listen to a system there. Pinus M10 Reference pre (http://www.pliniusaudio.evanta.co.nz/en/Plinius_Range/Preamplifiers/Reference_M-10.html), the Plinius A150 power amp (I think it was the A150, not the 300), Fyne F502 speakers, and a Marantz streamer for source.

I took the B11a along for a comparison.

The system as set up was very good, albeit in a room in need of treatment to control bass (in particular). We agreed it was hard, in isolation, to attribute any aspect of the reproduction to any given piece of kit, but that the speakers did sound very good. A variety of music was listened to, from Billie Eilish to Rammstein, acoustic guitar to hardcore electronica.

We swapped the B11a in, replacing the M10. At first it was understandably 'hard', but that's easily attributed to lack of use and that it was cold. As it warmed, that changed of course.

Upshot - the M10 was deemed better than the B11a with electronic music in particular, but the B11a was an easy winner in the detail stakes. It produced the sound and 'feel' of fingers or slide moving over guitar strings: you could hear the profile of the wound steel strings. The Plinius was not as good at this.

Plinius M10 - unsure of US availability, but it's listed in Australia at $16995.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2022, 04:25:48 PM by gjm »

Offline Nick B

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Re: New member: gjm
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2022, 12:55:28 AM »
OK - more than a touch of thread resurrection about this.  :D

I still have my SAS B11a. It, and the balance of our system, has seen little use in the last few months for a host of reasons, but yesterday I was invited to a local dealer to have a listen to a system there. Pinus M10 Reference pre (http://www.pliniusaudio.evanta.co.nz/en/Plinius_Range/Preamplifiers/Reference_M-10.html), the Plinius A150 power amp (I think it was the A150, not the 300), Fyne F502 speakers, and a Marantz streamer for source.

I took the B11a along for a comparison.

The system as set up was very good, albeit in a room in need of treatment to control bass (in particular). We agreed it was hard, in isolation, to attribute any aspect of the reproduction to any given piece of kit, but that the speakers did sound very good. A variety of music was listened to, from Billie Eilish to Rammstein, acoustic guitar to hardcore electronica.

We swapped the B11a in, replacing the M10. At first it was understandably 'hard', but that's easily attributed to lack of use and that it was cold. As it warmed, that changed of course.

Upshot - the M10 was deemed better than the B11a with electronic music in particular, but the B11a was an easy winner in the detail stakes. It produced the sound and 'feel' of fingers or slide moving over guitar strings: you could hear the profile of the wound steel strings. The Plinius was not as good at this.

Plinius M10 - unsure of US availability, but it's listed in Australia at $16995.

Thanks for posting. I had no idea Plinius had gear in that price range 😳  Quite interesting especially since Steve from SAS is a member here. I’m not surprised as to his preamp excelling in detail retrieval. I’ve known about SAS since the 90s when I was reading Marty DeWulf’s newsletter. Have not had the pleasure of hearing his products. Can I ask how long you’ve had the B11a and have you upgraded caps or anything else?
Orchard Starkrimson Ultra amp
Supratek Chardonnay preamp
JMR Voce Grande speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Holo Red streamer
Hapa Aero digital coax
WyWires Silver cables
TWL Digital American II p cord
Audio Envy p cords
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline gjm

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Re: New member: gjm
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2022, 02:41:29 PM »
Thanks for posting. I had no idea Plinius had gear in that price range 😳  Quite interesting especially since Steve from SAS is a member here. I’m not surprised as to his preamp excelling in detail retrieval. I’ve known about SAS since the 90s when I was reading Marty DeWulf’s newsletter. Have not had the pleasure of hearing his products. Can I ask how long you’ve had the B11a and have you upgraded caps or anything else?
I've had the B11a for 10 years or so. I can check - Steve might recall sending it to me in the UK via a friend in Carolina. He and I have spoken on the phone a few times and exchanged some emails.

It's all as it came from Steve. I know he put a lot effort into voicing with tubes and so on, an that the components were carefully selected. Hopefully I can discuss the potential for changes, hopefully improvements, with him at some point.

Offline steve

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Re: New member: gjm
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2022, 10:31:00 PM »
Thanks for posting. I had no idea Plinius had gear in that price range 😳  Quite interesting especially since Steve from SAS is a member here. I’m not surprised as to his preamp excelling in detail retrieval. I’ve known about SAS since the 90s when I was reading Marty DeWulf’s newsletter. Have not had the pleasure of hearing his products. Can I ask how long you’ve had the B11a and have you upgraded caps or anything else?
I've had the B11a for 10 years or so. I can check - Steve might recall sending it to me in the UK via a friend in Carolina. He and I have spoken on the phone a few times and exchanged some emails.

It's all as it came from Steve. I know he put a lot effort into voicing with tubes and so on, an that the components were carefully selected. Hopefully I can discuss the potential for changes, hopefully improvements, with him at some point.

I hope all is well with you and family Graham. This is an edit, but now I remember. You lived in England, I sent the B11A via the route you stated, and you later moved to New Zealand as I recall. After 10 years it would be interesting to see if any sonic changes have occurred over time.

I have made a change or two, not sonically, per se but for longevity. First, the 11A never needs to be upgraded sonicaly as the output sounds exactly as the input. In otherwards, the 11A does not alter the musical quality at all. The more accurate the components the more natural the instruments, voices, and all aspects of the music is.

However, different quality interconnect cables (ics) will affect the sonics, just as other components in a system will affect the musical quality.

There are also a couple of extra features the public might like to know.

I have replaced the first (input) high voltage electrolytic capacitor (first stage of 5 filter stages) with a Polypropylene capacitor. After many decades, all electrolytic filter capacitors will eventually become leaky. The poly capacitor will remain in perfect shape for virtually forever. (This first filter capacitor does not alter the sonics since there are 4 following heavy filter stages, including tube regulation.)

Two other interesting items that the public needs to know.

A. A toggle switch near the back power cord reverses the AC line polarity. (It does not affect the pin 1 ground wire).
In one toggle position, the sound will be more relaxed than the other toggle position. The optimum toggle position will depend upon the amp.

B. With amplifiers having differing input impedances (Z), an output capacitively coupled preamplifier's
lower frequency response will vary depending upon that input impedance. (A dc output coupled
preamplifier is also not accurate with any amplifier input Z.)

There is a rotational control in back so one can compensate for differing amplifier input impedances (Z); from
20k ohms to infinite ohmage input of an amplifier. It can be adjusted on the fly.

So the problem of matching the preamplifier to the amplifier's input Z is not a problem. I know of no
other entity in the world who has designed such a feature into their preamplifier.

Good to hear from you and thanks for the review as well G.

cheers

steve

« Last Edit: December 13, 2022, 09:19:50 AM by steve »
Steve Sammet (Owner, Electron Eng, SAS Audio Labs, Ret)
SAS "V" 39pf/m 6N copper ICs,
SAS Test Phono Stage
Acutex 320 STR Mov Iron Cart
SAS 11A Perfect Tube Preamp
SAS 25 W Ref Triode/UL Monoblocks
2 way Floor Standing Test Speakers

Offline steve

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Re: New member: gjm
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2022, 10:07:11 PM »
OK - more than a touch of thread resurrection about this.  :D

I still have my SAS B11a. It, and the balance of our system, has seen little use in the last few months for a host of reasons, but yesterday I was invited to a local dealer to have a listen to a system there. Pinus M10 Reference pre (http://www.pliniusaudio.evanta.co.nz/en/Plinius_Range/Preamplifiers/Reference_M-10.html), the Plinius A150 power amp (I think it was the A150, not the 300), Fyne F502 speakers, and a Marantz streamer for source.

I took the B11a along for a comparison.

The system as set up was very good, albeit in a room in need of treatment to control bass (in particular). We agreed it was hard, in isolation, to attribute any aspect of the reproduction to any given piece of kit, but that the speakers did sound very good. A variety of music was listened to, from Billie Eilish to Rammstein, acoustic guitar to hardcore electronica.

We swapped the B11a in, replacing the M10. At first it was understandably 'hard', but that's easily attributed to lack of use and that it was cold. As it warmed, that changed of course.

Upshot - the M10 was deemed better than the B11a with electronic music in particular, but the B11a was an easy winner in the detail stakes. It produced the sound and 'feel' of fingers or slide moving over guitar strings: you could hear the profile of the wound steel strings. The Plinius was not as good at this.

Plinius M10 - unsure of US availability, but it's listed in Australia at $16995.

Thanks for posting. I had no idea Plinius had gear in that price range 😳  Quite interesting especially since Steve from SAS is a member here. I’m not surprised as to his preamp excelling in detail retrieval. I’ve known about SAS since the 90s when I was reading Marty DeWulf’s newsletter. Have not had the pleasure of hearing his products. Can I ask how long you’ve had the B11a and have you upgraded caps or anything else?

Nick, I did some checking and found this review. I hope this helps to get a better "fix" on the sonic characteristics
of the B11A.

"Bob: "Hey guys. . .if anyone's interested, I'm selling my Tram 2 preamp since my SAS B11A is so awesome...."
(Tram 2 uses 45s or 2A3s.)

Cheers

steve
« Last Edit: November 29, 2022, 04:05:20 PM by steve »
Steve Sammet (Owner, Electron Eng, SAS Audio Labs, Ret)
SAS "V" 39pf/m 6N copper ICs,
SAS Test Phono Stage
Acutex 320 STR Mov Iron Cart
SAS 11A Perfect Tube Preamp
SAS 25 W Ref Triode/UL Monoblocks
2 way Floor Standing Test Speakers

Offline Nick B

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Re: New member: gjm
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2022, 02:22:53 AM »
OK - more than a touch of thread resurrection about this.  :D

I still have my SAS B11a. It, and the balance of our system, has seen little use in the last few months for a host of reasons, but yesterday I was invited to a local dealer to have a listen to a system there. Pinus M10 Reference pre (http://www.pliniusaudio.evanta.co.nz/en/Plinius_Range/Preamplifiers/Reference_M-10.html), the Plinius A150 power amp (I think it was the A150, not the 300), Fyne F502 speakers, and a Marantz streamer for source.

I took the B11a along for a comparison.

The system as set up was very good, albeit in a room in need of treatment to control bass (in particular). We agreed it was hard, in isolation, to attribute any aspect of the reproduction to any given piece of kit, but that the speakers did sound very good. A variety of music was listened to, from Billie Eilish to Rammstein, acoustic guitar to hardcore electronica.

We swapped the B11a in, replacing the M10. At first it was understandably 'hard', but that's easily attributed to lack of use and that it was cold. As it warmed, that changed of course.

Upshot - the M10 was deemed better than the B11a with electronic music in particular, but the B11a was an easy winner in the detail stakes. It produced the sound and 'feel' of fingers or slide moving over guitar strings: you could hear the profile of the wound steel strings. The Plinius was not as good at this.

Plinius M10 - unsure of US availability, but it's listed in Australia at $16995.

Thanks for posting. I had no idea Plinius had gear in that price range 😳  Quite interesting especially since Steve from SAS is a member here. I’m not surprised as to his preamp excelling in detail retrieval. I’ve known about SAS since the 90s when I was reading Marty DeWulf’s newsletter. Have not had the pleasure of hearing his products. Can I ask how long you’ve had the B11a and have you upgraded caps or anything else?

Nick, I did some checking and found this review. I hope this helps to get a better "fix" on the sonic characteristics of
the B11A. 

"Bob: "Hey guys. . .if anyone's interested, I'm selling my Tram 2 preamp since my SAS B11A is so awesome...."
(Tram 2 uses 45s or 2A3s.)

Cheers

steve

Thanks, Steve      :thumb:
Orchard Starkrimson Ultra amp
Supratek Chardonnay preamp
JMR Voce Grande speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Holo Red streamer
Hapa Aero digital coax
WyWires Silver cables
TWL Digital American II p cord
Audio Envy p cords
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline gjm

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Re: New member: gjm
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2022, 12:34:14 AM »
I hope all is well with you and family. This is an edit, but now I remember, Graham I believe. You lived in England, I sent the B11A via the route you stated, and you later moved to New Zealand as I recall.

I have made a change or two, not sonically, per se but for longevity. There are also a couple of extra features the
public might like to know.

After 10 years it would be interesting to see if any sonic changes occurred over time.

I have replaced the first (input) high voltage electrolytic capacitor, first stage of 5 filter stages, with a Polypropylene capacitor. After many decades, the electrolytic filter capacitor will eventually become leaky as they all do. The poly capacitor will remain in perfect shape for virtually forever. (It does not alter the sonics since 4 following heavy filter stages, including tube regulation.)

Two other interesting items that the public needs to know.

A. A toggle switch near the back power cord reverses the AC line polarity. (It does not affect the pin 1 ground wire).
In one toggle position, the sound will be more relaxed than the other toggle position. The optimum toggle position will depend upon the amp.

B. There is a rotational control in back so as one can compensate for differing amplifier input impedances (Z); say from
20k ohm input to infinite ohmage input of an amplifier. Of course the control is in parallel, never in series.

Good to hear from you and thanks for the review as well G.

cheers

steve
Yup - all as above.  :) My B11a has the switch and control on the back as described.
Sonic changes... I'd need to listen more to be sure, but one track I recently listened to sounded a bit 'muddled'. Not sure if that was the recording, though. The only other change that may have occurred (let's face it - audio memory is pretty poor despite what many reviewers would have us believe!) is that reproduction might not be as 'fast' as it was. Not easy to tell, especially when the power amp has changed.
Would you share the cap change details? Future proofing is only ever a good thing.

Offline tmazz

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Re: New member: gjm
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2022, 06:49:27 AM »
Any sonic changes could be a result of the tubes aging as well.
Remember, it's all about the music........

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Offline steve

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Re: New member: gjm
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2022, 09:59:03 AM »
I hope all is well with you and family. This is an edit, but now I remember, Graham I believe. You lived in England, I sent the B11A via the route you stated, and you later moved to New Zealand as I recall.

I have made a change or two, not sonically, per se but for longevity. There are also a couple of extra features the
public might like to know.

After 10 years it would be interesting to see if any sonic changes occurred over time.

I have replaced the first (input) high voltage electrolytic capacitor, first stage of 5 filter stages, with a Polypropylene capacitor. After many decades, the electrolytic filter capacitor will eventually become leaky as they all do. The poly capacitor will remain in perfect shape for virtually forever. (It does not alter the sonics since 4 following heavy filter stages, including tube regulation.)

Two other interesting items that the public needs to know.

A. A toggle switch near the back power cord reverses the AC line polarity. (It does not affect the pin 1 ground wire).
In one toggle position, the sound will be more relaxed than the other toggle position. The optimum toggle position will depend upon the amp.

B. There is a rotational control in back so as one can compensate for differing amplifier input impedances (Z); say from
20k ohm input to infinite ohmage input of an amplifier. Of course the control is in parallel, never in series.

Good to hear from you and thanks for the review as well G.

cheers

steve
Yup - all as above.  :) My B11a has the switch and control on the back as described.
Sonic changes... I'd need to listen more to be sure, but one track I recently listened to sounded a bit 'muddled'. Not sure if that was the recording, though. The only other change that may have occurred (let's face it - audio memory is pretty poor despite what many reviewers would have us believe!) is that reproduction might not be as 'fast' as it was. Not easy to tell, especially when the power amp has changed.
Would you share the cap change details? Future proofing is only ever a good thing.

Hi Graham,

As Tom mentioned, tube aging could account for sonic changes. Thanks.

Changing the amp will almost guarantee the musical quality, speed etc of one's system will change.
A question, has the control on back been rotated, maybe by accident? Just a smidgen could cause a
change as well.

I changed the first filter capacitor after the rectifier from an electrolytic to a Solen polypropylene. It does not alter the sound as there are 4 other filtering stages afterwards to isolate. I still have a couple of the first filter capacitors in my parts box, and they are still test remarkably close to new after 20 years.

I also have one in my test phono stage and after nearly 20 years, the leakage current is still as near new. The reasons are the capacitor's repetitive charging current is so low, just a few milliamps (ma.), and the running temp is quite low.

I did add a 6th filtering stage just to make sure no hum with the super high gain audio systems some are using.
It also does not alter the sonics since it is next to the diodes and first filtering stage. Now 5 stages of filtering after it.

When designing, I ran specialized comparison listening tests with the 11A being in the system VS out of the system.
No sonic changes were detected over the years. Dozens of musical selections were used as some recordings are more revealing than others. Some day we might find a tiny error, but for now the 11A is the true world standard pre-amplifier. One can only match perfection no matter the cost.

One note, the interconnect cables (ics) need to be perfect as well, to match with the 11A. Designing them also required rigid specialized listening testing over months and I still test to this day. There had to be a change sometime back as Vampire, who makes all copper plugs and jacks, closed their business. I found a replacement and all is well.

Cheers Graham and hope all is good down under.

steve

« Last Edit: February 25, 2023, 08:39:59 PM by steve »
Steve Sammet (Owner, Electron Eng, SAS Audio Labs, Ret)
SAS "V" 39pf/m 6N copper ICs,
SAS Test Phono Stage
Acutex 320 STR Mov Iron Cart
SAS 11A Perfect Tube Preamp
SAS 25 W Ref Triode/UL Monoblocks
2 way Floor Standing Test Speakers