Author Topic: Review: The Satie Amplifier  (Read 589 times)

Offline vpgh

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2019, 10:29:12 PM »
I hope that Carl or Mike can write their impression flawless, without pain with forum "engine"...

Offline Sir Thrift-a-Lot

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2019, 11:33:33 PM »
The most important part of any "engine" is a power supply. I use the linear power supply with 2 separate circuits for tube and SS stages/ The oversized (625VA) toroidal transformer utilizes an array of high-capacity capacitors with Schottky rectifier and soft-start for SS output stage and HV regulated PSU for tube's section.

You mean that you are the builder of the amp in the OP?   Impressive.

Offline schwarcw

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2019, 06:42:23 AM »
I recently had the privilege to demo an amplifier designed and built by Vintage HiFi Forum member vpgh (Vince).  Vince named his amp the Satie after Erik Satie, the 19th century French composer and pianist.   I had the amplifier for about two weeks in my system.  See the attachment
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 06:44:57 AM by schwarcw »
Carl

Offline schwarcw

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2019, 06:46:42 AM »
That worked!  Check out the attachment in the previous post.  Maybe I had too many words.
Carl

Offline OldiesButGoodies

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2019, 10:21:54 PM »
The Forum is limiting my characters that I can post!!!!

 >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(


Carlos - have you read my post on this?  Repeating below:

"This version of the forum (not sure if it has been corrected in more recent releases) does not undertsand Microsoft smart quotes and certain other special characters, they get interpreted as bad bytes and cut off [what are smart quotes you ask?  quotation marks that, although all keyed the same, are automatically interpreted and set as opening or closing marks rather than vertical lines].   If you are copy/pasting from the web and some of the text gets cut off,  those quotes are to blame.  To fix the post (for now anyway),  copy the text onto a notepad (or textedit if you are using a Mac) and use the find and replace function to replace all double and single quotes with dumb quotes."

Replace the smart quotes with regular quotes and it will post w/o issue.  If you want me to test send me the offending text in an email using gmail.

Regards,

Pepe

Spkr: Harbeth 30.1 on Sound Anchor stands
Pre: Schiit Saga
Power:  Rogue Stereo 90 Super Magnum
Phono: VPI Aries 1,  Denon 103R, PS Audio GCPH
CD: Oppo 203
Sub: Rhythmik FV15HP

Offline OldiesButGoodies

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2019, 01:43:48 AM »
Good God there were a crapload of smartquotes in that article, Carl!!  Seriously, like 20.  Then a special hyphen that also tricked the forum.    I am trying to get a hold of Al to get the forum version updated, as I suspect the newer version has had this bug removed.  Until then,  see where the copy is getting cut off and that is where it encountered a funcky quote (or other) character.  Here you go:   

___________

I recently had the privilege to demo an amplifier designed and built by Vintage HiFi Forum member vpgh (Vince).  Vince named his amp the Satie after Erik Satie, the nineteenth century French composer and pianist.   I had the amplifier for about two weeks in my system.  When I returned the amp I also had the privilege of hearing the Satie at Vinces home driving his Focal Electras.  (WOW! More later!) 

The amplifier is a hybrid tube/MOSFET.  Vinces build quality was top notch!  The physical presentation was a simple custom black chassis with a front panel power switch and LED indicator, weighing about 50 lb.  Vince designed the basic amplifier circuit.  He also had the PCB boards custom made.  He populated the PCB with hand selected, discrete components.  This amplifier was not a kit assembly but a true ground up design and build.  Very impressive!

Vince offered to provide some insight on his design and some of the technical features:

Satie is a product of my attempts to get close to Audio Grail. Its hybrid tube voltage amplification section and SS unity gain buffer (output stage) and the design concept was to exclude the general negative feedback in audio path. However, you can find some similar realization in Anthem (partial match- uses NFB), Counterpoint, LAZARUS, Luxman (partial match), MOSCODE, Onkyo (partial match) amplifiers etc. The trick is the SS buffer idea by itself: to reduce the heat dissipation, size of the heatsink and quantity of parallel transistors.  Most of the critical listeners noticed that large amount of parallel transistors in output stage.  This may reduce some clarity in the voices and reduce the "air" as compared to the couple output devices. The other point is using lateral MOSFET in output stage (not the whole SS buffer) instead more affordable HEXFET MOSFETs that Nelson Pass loves to use in his designs. Experienced listeners noticed that PASS amplifiers little bit harsh on the top-end. The closest analogy in automotive engine design: to get more power from the engine we can increase size or number of cylinders, OR put the turbocharger in the motor.  The 2nd way helps to get power and keep the fuel consumption and weight of engine in acceptable range.
The most important part of any engine is a power supply. I use the linear power supply with 2 separate circuits for tube and SS stage. The oversized (625VA) toroidal transformer utilizes an array of high-capacity capacitors with Schottky rectifier and soft-start for SS output stage and HV regulated PSU with dedicated transformer for tubes section.

I put the ECC85 (6AQ8) tubes to this design due to I love the sound signature and I can achieve the gain of 29dB with this kind of tube. I prefer the voice of NOS RFT ECC85 since my 1st usage in 2007, I temporary put other ECC85 tubes in this amp.  However, I can swap ECC85 (6AQ8) to 6BQ7 as more affordable substitution, or some 4 digits tubes like military grade, or 6CG7 with some input sensitivity lost. Choice ones for your ears!
Sorry, no 12AX7 in this design: its very subtle and has very high gain.

Vince helped me swap out my White Audio Labs amplifier and install the Satie.  I was very interested to see how the Satie would power my Legacy Focus speakers.  The Legacys are notoriously challenging to drive as the impedance can drop to less than 4 ohms. 

My ears tell me that all amplifiers have their own a sonic signature.  Each are different, some more noticeable than others and offer a unique listening experience.  What impressed me right away about the Satie was its ability to easily drive my Legacys.  There was plenty of tight, bottom end bass.  The high frequencies had a lot of clarity and sparkle.  Overall, a nice smooth presentation and a fast dynamic response to level transients in the music.  I listened to both digital and vinyl sources.  The Satie identified my digital streaming as the weakest source in my system.  I noticed the same with my White Audio amp.  My best source is my vinyl.  I used some of my favorite reference music from classical to new alternative music.  I am particularly partial to female voices singing jazz standards.  I listened to Santana, Bill Evans, Diana Krall, Kacey Musgrave, Rebecca Pidgeon, some Gershwin, and the Vienna Philharmonic. Overall, the image was large and the soundstage was wide and deep.  There was a lot of air around the voices and the instruments.  I liked the separation and I could identify the location of each instruments and voice(s) in the presentation.  If there was anything the Satie did not do well in my system, it was the mid-range.  I thought at times the mid-range was a little thin on some orchestral music compared to my White Audio amplifier.  I did not observe the thinner mid-range in Vinces Focals at his home.
When I returned the Satie to Vince, he was gracious to invite me into his home and listen to his system.  Vince is using a NAD preamplifier and a multi disc Pioneer Adcom GCD-7000 CD player with the Satie amplifier and his wonderful Focal Electra speakers.  We listened to a variety of music, CDs only.  I was extremely impressed with the sound of his system.  I heard more mid bass and the mid-range was wonderful!  The imaging was beautiful and the soundstage was deep and wide. 

The acoustics of any room affect the sound as much as the equipment.  I liked the presentation of the Focals in his living room.  I think the soundstage was not as wide as my listening space.  But I think the smaller room as compared to my listening room was probably the difference that I heard in the soundstage width.  I have never heard a Focal speaker that I did not like.  Vinces Electras were no exception and sounded wonderful. 

Overall the Satie is a wonderful sounding amplifier.  The design and build quality are exceptional.  Vince is working on another project and I am very interested to hear that in the near future.

________

Pepe

« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 05:14:06 PM by OldiesButGoodies »

Spkr: Harbeth 30.1 on Sound Anchor stands
Pre: Schiit Saga
Power:  Rogue Stereo 90 Super Magnum
Phono: VPI Aries 1,  Denon 103R, PS Audio GCPH
CD: Oppo 203
Sub: Rhythmik FV15HP

Offline schwarcw

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2019, 07:57:59 AM »
Thanks Pepe!  That's what I wanted!

Coincidentally, I saw Al yesterday.

Regards,

Carl
Carl

Offline RuralTom

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2019, 08:55:11 AM »
Carl:
   
      Is the White Audio amp a hybrid design as well?

T
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Offline schwarcw

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2019, 12:05:16 PM »
Greetings Tom,

Sort of, but it does not use tube amplification.  It's biased very high for Class A output.
Carl

Offline schwarcw

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2019, 12:07:14 PM »
White Audio Labs was trying to make a product to complete with the Krell KSA-100 at a lower price point.  It definitely reminds me of the Krell for the woofer control that it has on the Legacys.  At least to my ears.
Carl

Offline vpgh

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2019, 02:45:34 PM »
If there was anything the Satie did not do well in my system, it was the mid-range.  I thought at times the mid-range was a little thin on some orchestral music compared to my White Audio amplifier.  I did not observe the thinner mid-range in Vinces Focals at his home.
When I returned the Satie to Vince, he was gracious to invite me into his home and listen to his system.  Vince is using a NAD preamplifier and a multi disc Pioneer CD player with the Satie amplifier and his wonderful Focal Electra speakers.  We listened to a variety of music, CDs only.  I was extremely impressed with the sound of his system.  I heard more mid bass and the mid-range was wonderful!  The imaging was beautiful and the soundstage was deep and wide. 

Carl, OldiesButGoodies,
Thanks for publish review.
Just small correction:
I use Adcom GCD-700 CD player, not Pioneer, recapped and little modified in audio path. ADCOM utilizes one of  the best Burr-Brown DAC chip PCM1702 that is the same for more expensive model like Krell 300, LINN NUMERIK, McIntosh or WADIA devices.
Same for preamp- my Onkyo preamp, fully recapped and little modified. Onkyo has no significant coloration like most of the other real vintage preamps.  I played with 5 other makers at least. However, Onkyo is SS and I going forward to Tube preamp to clean-up the SS artifacts.

BTW, I appreciate for your time and efforts.

Still looking for another listener with the speakers usually called as heavy load

Vince



Offline Sir Thrift-a-Lot

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2019, 05:01:09 PM »

Still looking for another listener with the speakers usually called as heavy load

Vince

Hereseys certainly don't qualify, but this is a fun read.

Offline OldiesButGoodies

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2019, 05:14:41 PM »
Post corrected...

If there was anything the Satie did not do well in my system, it was the mid-range.  I thought at times the mid-range was a little thin on some orchestral music compared to my White Audio amplifier.  I did not observe the thinner mid-range in Vinces Focals at his home.
When I returned the Satie to Vince, he was gracious to invite me into his home and listen to his system.  Vince is using a NAD preamplifier and a multi disc Pioneer CD player with the Satie amplifier and his wonderful Focal Electra speakers.  We listened to a variety of music, CDs only.  I was extremely impressed with the sound of his system.  I heard more mid bass and the mid-range was wonderful!  The imaging was beautiful and the soundstage was deep and wide. 

Carl, OldiesButGoodies,
Thanks for publish review.
Just small correction:
I use Adcom GCD-700 CD player, not Pioneer, recapped and little modified in audio path. ADCOM utilizes one of  the best Burr-Brown DAC chip PCM1702 that is the same for more expensive model like Krell 300, LINN NUMERIK, McIntosh or WADIA devices.
Same for preamp- my Onkyo preamp, fully recapped and little modified. Onkyo has no significant coloration like most of the other real vintage preamps.  I played with 5 other makers at least. However, Onkyo is SS and I going forward to Tube preamp to clean-up the SS artifacts.

BTW, I appreciate for your time and efforts.

Still looking for another listener with the speakers usually called as heavy load

Vince

Spkr: Harbeth 30.1 on Sound Anchor stands
Pre: Schiit Saga
Power:  Rogue Stereo 90 Super Magnum
Phono: VPI Aries 1,  Denon 103R, PS Audio GCPH
CD: Oppo 203
Sub: Rhythmik FV15HP

Offline RuralTom

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2019, 05:22:21 AM »
Greetings Tom,

Sort of, but it does not use tube amplification.  It's biased very high for Class A output.

Gotcha.  I wasn't sure how far back White's designs were tube/SS designs.
preamp: Schiit Saga S
amp: Llano Trinity 200
DAC(s): McIntosh D100, M2Tech Young
Mac Mini server / iFi micro iUSB3.0 / Roon
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Offline EmperorNorton

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Re: Review: The Satie Amplifier
« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2019, 07:39:50 AM »
Hello folks,

Carl's description is excellent and far more detailed than I could provide.   I had Vince's Satie connected to both my DQ 10s and Vandersteen 2cs and the music sounded wonderful.  More detailed to my ear than the Hafler 500 or the Parasound HCA1000.  My listening room is on the small side so I didn't have to push the Satie very hard.

Vince did a great job building an impressive unit. 

Mike
Technics SL-1350
Sony CA8ES
Yamaha C-2X
Hafler Five Hundred/Sansui AU9500/Heathkit SA-2
Canton CT800s/Vandersteen 2CE/Dahlquist DQ-10