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Before and After...PASS LAB FirstWatt F5 Turbo V2

RoyB

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I picked up this FirstWatt amplifier yesterday. Always wanted a Nelson Pass design Class A amplifier.....But couldn't afford his premium stuff. This showed up a few miles away at a reasonable price. But is it ugly! It needed cosmetic love.....A bit of paint, some new allen head screws and some sandblasting and coating of the front panel. The VU meters and the power button in the picture are just photographs. The real deals are on the way from China.......And man, does this thing sound AMAZING! Im running a Node2i directly into it for now.....Maybe getting the preamp out of the circuit is the reason it sounds so darn good.....Or maybe its just "Buyers Justification"....And tomorrow it won't sound as good!
 

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Jim Taylor

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And man, does this thing sound AMAZING! ....Maybe getting the preamp out of the circuit is the reason it sounds so darn good....

Glad to hear that you're enjoying the music! I'm an orchestral/classical music nut, and my headphones are much better than my speakers at letting me hear what is on the recording. I am so jealous! :) :)

Which speakers do you have? Jim Taylor
 
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RoyB

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I have KEF LS50 Metas, B&W DM601, KEF 103.2, Magnapan MMG, and more...I just hooked up the FirstWatt to the Magnapan MMGs.....I've owned the Maggies for quite a while...Driving them with Yamaha M45, Dynaco Clone ST120 tubes, Cambridge Audio 840 Azur, Sound Artist SA200ia......I've NEVER, repeat NEVER heard them sing like they are right now. I thought they imaged and had sound stage before! I'm sitting here shocked at the difference.....
 

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Jim Taylor

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I have KEF LS50 Metas, B&W DM601, KEF 103.2, Magnapan MMG, and more...I just hooked up the FirstWatt to the Magnapan MMGs.....I've owned the Maggies for quite a while...Driving them with Yamaha M45, Dynaco Clone ST120 tubes, Cambridge Audio 840 Azur, Sound Artist SA200ia......I've NEVER, repeat NEVER heard them sing like they are right now. I thought they imaged and had sound stage before! I'm sitting here shocked at the difference.....

Shocked, eh? Hmmmmm ................
Seems I've heard that somewhere before. :) Jim
 

Walter

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I suspect the OP will soon be receiving much criticism for his subjective comments, as Pass does not design his amps to have high SINAD ratings. (Although using the Amp Camp amp as an example is ridiculous, as it was designed to be a cheap DIY group learning project.) I don't believe I've ever heard any of the First Watt amps, but the Pass Labs amps were some of the best sounding amps I heard when I was shopping every weekend for three months for relatively high end gear in 2000. Yes, the speakers they were paired with and the dealers' ability or lack thereof to design listening rooms was probably in reality a much bigger factor, but even if that was the case, that means that the Pass Lab amps sounded no worse than Mark Levinson, Jeff Rowland, or Krell amps.
 

escksu

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Cheers!! Awesome new toys! Just in time for christmas too!
 

escksu

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I suspect the OP will soon be receiving much criticism for his subjective comments, as Pass does not design his amps to have high SINAD ratings. (Although using the Amp Camp amp as an example is ridiculous, as it was designed to be a cheap DIY group learning project.) I don't believe I've ever heard any of the First Watt amps, but the Pass Labs amps were some of the best sounding amps I heard when I was shopping every weekend for three months for relatively high end gear in 2000. Yes, the speakers they were paired with and the dealers' ability or lack thereof to design listening rooms was probably in reality a much bigger factor, but even if that was the case, that means that the Pass Lab amps sounded no worse than Mark Levinson, Jeff Rowland, or Krell amps.

Haha, hopefully not. Pass LAbs amps are among the best, so yeah!!
 

Shefffield

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Regarding distortion figures, Nelson Pass's papers are interesting imho:


I believe I read something in one of his articles that the distortion in a push-pull design has a peak when crossing the null (handing over from + gain stage to - gain stage) and that our hearing is sensible that peak. Conventional measurements only state a percentage that is integrated and averaged over time. Food for thought?
 
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RoyB

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If you look inside this amplifier you might be amazed at how simple it is. Huge transformer and a bunch of large capacitors and then a few other components. The fellow that built this amp used all point to point wiring and no PCBs so its a bit of a spaghetti mess. This will all be cleaned up over the winter. Last night I was up well past my bedtime just simply listening to music......
 

raindance

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Regarding distortion figures, Nelson Pass's papers are interesting imho:


I believe I read something in one of his articles that the distortion in a push-pull design has a peak when crossing the null (handing over from + gain stage to - gain stage) and that our hearing is sensible that peak. Conventional measurements only state a percentage that is integrated and averaged over time. Food for thought?
You're referring to crossover distortion which is a solved problem. Sufficient bias effectively eliminates crossover distortion in a class A or AB amp with push pull outputs. The audiophile crowd constantly users arguments pertaining to pure class B amplifiers, which are NOT suitable for audio and so they're arguing using facts that aren't relevant to the issues at hand.
 

Tom C

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Weren’t old school PA systems, of the bull horn type you see on an episode of the vintage TV series M*A*S*H, class B? Output power was harder to come by back then.
 
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RoyB

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Those were 70V transformer coupled speakers....
 
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RoyB

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Tom C

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