astrostar59

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About astrostar59

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  1. astrostar59

    SOLD

    £3300. 9/10 as new condition. Single owner, bought from new 3 years ago from a UK Plinius dealer. SA-103 Power Amplifer. Pure Class A and Class A/B (selectable). 125W into 8 ohms, 220W into 4 ohms. Fantastic sound from a class amplifier. Super delivery and superb bass and dynamics. An organic sounding amp, slightly warm signature and very smooth treble details. Suitable for use with both efficient and non efficient speakers with effortless delivery. Quite unique selectable as full class A setting which maximises it’s performance and rivals the very best amplifiers for sound. i.e. incredible performance, the best I have heard from a solid state amplifier. On A/B setting it runs barely warm and still sounds fantastic. Cost new is £9,400. I bought mine 3 years ago from official Plinius dealer in the UK. Owned from new (single owner). No smoking environment and well looked after. Superb condition, like new. The amp is great build quality, the best I have seen. All photos are taken of my amplifier for sale, the one you will receive. Any questions, just ask. Note, I also have good selling history on www.head-fi.org under my moniker 'astrostar59' NOTE 220-240v model. Ships from Spain with UPS insured / tracked. Can split shipping cost. Is on Audiogon as well. SPECIFICATIONS 125 Watts RMS per channel into 8 ohms. 220 Watts RMS per channel into 4 ohms. Both channels driven from 20Hz to 20kHz at 0.05% total harmonic distortion. MONO OUTPUT 400 Watts RMS 20Hz to 20kHz into 8 ohms FREQUENCY RESPONSE 20Hz to 20kHz +/-0.2dB. -3dB at 5Hz and -3dB at 70kHz DISTORTION Typically <0.05% THD at rated power 0.1% THD and IM worst case prior to clipping CURRENT OUTPUT 50A short duration peak per channel. Fuse protected RISE TIME Typically 5us PHASE REPSPONSE +0 at 20Hz and -14 at 20kHz. HUM & NOISE 100dB below rated output 20Hz to 20kHz A-weighted INPUT SENSITIVITY 0.8V RMS for rated output at 1kHz GAIN 32dB Unbalanced, 38dB Balanced INPUT IMPEDANCE 47k HEIGHT 220mm (8 3/4”) WIDTH 500mm (19 3/4”) DEPTH 455mm (18”) WEIGHT 38kg (83lbs)
  2. astrostar59

    Wanted: Stax Setup

    I would post on head-fi for this. Plenty on there.
  3. astrostar59

    Aries Cerat - Kassandra Ref II -New DAC in town

    Hello ptekkis I just found your post, I didn't spot the email about a reply. Yes a great DAC it is indeed. Since my last posts my Kassandra has burnt in a bit, it sound absolutely marvellous. I went to Munch Hi-End in May, and met Stavros and some of the dealers, plus many of the clients. It was a frenzied weekend, lots of excitement. There is a huge energy round Stavros, he is a genius I'm my opinion, and a really nice 'bloke'. We had a great time. We all actually trailed round the bigger system room and then onto HiFi Deluxe at the Marriot which is the 'other show' at the same time. Needless to say not much got me excited. The Living Voice room did though, very good but 500K+ more with all Kondo amps. I am so happy I decided to go for the Aries Cerat DAC, it has similar ideas to my previous Audio Note DAC 5, but is way way ahead on all counts. Sadly I did visit the Audio Note room at HiFi Deluxe. Ooh my, it was weak, flat, no soundstage, dull as ditchwater. I was a long time fan / obsessive to the Audio Note brand, had a full level 3 system and have some buddies who had level 5. Moved on...... IMO if anyone wants the Audio Note sound, they should buy AN Kits instead. Brian's stuff is more transparent and with care can be tweaked to surpass the UK stuff, I know I have beaten my own AN UK DAC 5 with a maxed out DAC 4.1 Kit, better caps and other parts such as Sowter transformers etc. No, Aries Cerat is the real deal, it is everything I want in a top DAC. Highly recommended. PM me if anyone wants more info on this DAC....
  4. I thought I would post my impressions of a top DAC by Aries Cerat. The model has been around since 2014, and I bought mine new recently. I haven't seen any posts about this brand here. They are based in the Greece side of Cyprus and also make amplifiers, Phono Stage and Horn Speakers. So here goes.... Aries Cerat Kassandra Ref II 2018 model I have been in the hobby at a decent level for 20 years+ and have had incremental improvements along the way. Some things have surprised me a bit, mainly it’s been a slow upward direction over the years. Right from the first song I played on the DAC, it shocked me. It was very different to what I have heard before or had in my system. My previous DAC was the Audio Note DAC 5 Special (circa 30K new, mine was used) but with Duelund copper cast caps on the line board. That DAC was until then the best I have heard at home, nearest to my ‘ideal’. While I owned that DAC, I also had the CH Precision C1 on a day long demo, the Chord DAVE, the Lampizator Golden Gate (think it was 2017 spec), the Naim CD555 (used example), MSB Platinum and various others. Some of these DACs did some things very well, detail, soundstage etc,. But I always got bored. It was really only the DAC 5 that had my attention for most of that period. Enter the Aries Cerat Kassandra Ref II. I have been following this DAC for some time. It has some of the design ideas I find interesting such as Non Oversampling, the excellent AD1865 chip (but 16 of them), I/V stage using transformers, tube gain stage, output transformers. It also has a very healthy gain stage design with the E280F ’super tube by Siemens with very low output impedance. My DAC 5 was 1.8v output and 300 ohms, the Kassandra is 10v on 55 ohms, or 6v on 12 ohms - a very good gain stage indeed I thought. Then those huge capacitors, none of the typical weedy caps in many Dacs here, big mains transformer, huge output transformers. The DAC is BIG, 60 kilos and 540mm wide x 520mm deep, 165mm high. Anyway, this was all a taster for things to come. When the Kassandra arrived, I was apprehensive. Would it live up to my expectations? Maybe slightly better than my DAC 5? Well - it was a revelation I can tell you, hand on heart, a fantastic sound. I was very happy as you can tell. I’ll try and detail my impressions of the sound below 1. The very first bar on one of my favourite test tracks (some EDM) it was obvious, this thing is on another level to anything I have heard before. The amount of information coming right at my listening position incredible. I have heard this level of detail in other ‘modern’ Dacs such as the CH, but not with this level of realism, the flow of the music, so smooth and solid, really 3D, and very unlike any digital I heard. The timbre and texture of instruments, I don’t know how Stavros did it, but he has managed to get so much detail out of this Dac without the usual digital payoffs of thin and flat dynamics and a generally cold presentation. It does remind me of the better turntables and how they carry so much body and energy with the music AND detail. 2. The punch and drive to the speakers, it is an iron grip and super charged, really big dynamics. It isn't fake or false either, it just sounds hard wired, nearer live music in energy. The Zingalis are flying off the stands I am not kidding. I can listen to everything going on at a low level without difficulty, but playing a bit louder, it is addictive. There are part of the music, tracks I am very familiar with that fly out at you, as though there is another layer revealed, and all this information is stacked up as separate entities. In other words, I can so much more even when the music is very busy, nothing seems to faze it. 3. The bass goes so low and has so much texture, my listening room is energised. It has an iron grip on my speakers, as though I have upgraded my power amplifier as well. Obviously the pot is a lot lower for the same volume now with 10v line out, but it also seems to drive and thrust the bass energy with limitless power. I get the feeling my previous Dac was strangled for power, as though it was on it’s limit. The Kassandra seems to be just ticking over, like a big American Muscle Car, tons of torque on tap for instantaneous response to the music. 4. The midrange at first seemed more forward than I was used to, but after a few hours it settled. After a few more weeks of running in the Dac, and getting used to the sound, I find vocals in all types of music sound very natural. I used to hear a lot of female vocals that were a bit pitchy, possibly over processed in the studio, but on this Dac this is no longer an issue. I have no idea why, but the mids are creamy smooth and very detailed indeed. On the LCD4s which already have a superb midrange, the sound of female vocals is just perfect. 5. The treble, oh my. My love / hate thing with digital since I bought my first CD player right back the 1980s. The Kassandra nails it to me. Vocals are very very smooth and natural, the detail is all there, but it has no extra edges or emphasis. Female vocals have no pitching on the chorus. It is all very natural to my ears. Beyonce, amazing. After a few weeks, I think it is even better here. I also bought 2 x Golden Dragon tube rings. Note how close my Dac is to the right speaker. So, super super happy with this beast. It is huge, and doesn’t let you forget it is in your system either, it has totally changed my system for the better. I always thought the source is so important, and the Kassandra confirms that to me. It also confirms that not al Dacs sound alike, far from it in fact….. I can say Stavros & Aries Cerat is the real deal Very highly recommended. It is not easy to demo it, I bought it blind! Ha Ha, yes I know, crazy. But I did talk to some AC owners first, it gave me some confidence. But I am so happy I did risk that. There are dealers in the EU and a new one in the UK, and Joshua in Texas. Feel free to PM me if you want more info, I seem to be glued to my listening chair at the moment LOL. BTW the build quality is excellent, as good as the CH Precision but obviously bigger and heavier as well. The faceplate for example, it is engraved in thick smoked glass. Normally that would be printed (cheaper). The source readouts are tubes that glow behind the front panel, it looks fantastic. Thick stainless steel plates for the chassis, no thin bent mild steel sheet here. The graphics are bold on the top plates, I think it works great. I can see the LEDs and tubes glowing inside. On a night it looks superb. Even the back plate with big connections is first rate finish. I can’t fault it. It is even better in the flesh than the photos on the Aries Carat website.
  5. astrostar59

    Krell in Trouble

    Good points. But the current efficiency obsession with other appliances and the practicality of excess heat and parts life is an issue with big pure class A IMO. You can get really close with well designed A / Suedo AB. The first few watts are the most important many say, so unless you play at roof lifting levels regularly pumping out class A at full rates 24/7 is never going to be a good idea. Musical Fidelity did the same thing, I used to own the very good MF 370 which did get hot. The current draw on big Class A amps running full bias is insane as well, like leaving all your lights on (and some) 24/7. Unless you like burring money...... Did the later Krell FPB units have Class A switch off if unused for say 1/2 hour, so drop back to A/B. Some amps can do both, and run Class A for the first say 50 watts, they A/B after that.
  6. astrostar59

    Ebay sale

    Have you actually asked him if you can compromise, i.e. he keep the unit? Surely he realises it is a better deal? Seems barmy. And you loose the shipping and the ebay fee etc.
  7. astrostar59

    Audio Note M6 phono - tube rolling suggestions

    Ha Ha, like it. Going back to tube rolling an M6, I have had a lot of luck rolling the DAC 5 Special TBH. Telefunken ECL82 on the PS is more transparent, Mullard ECL82 warmer. Then the OB1 can be rolled a bit, but I like the NOS Mullard for that. 6X5 Tungsol NOS 1960s is good, the Bendix equivalent better but Peter says don't use that. The line board Telefunkens 6463 is v good and transparent again, but in the first slot a RTC 5814 (French NOS tube) works better in my system. So IMO a tube roll can work, but probably get the tubes at set by AN first, then roll to get closer to where you want to be. It may prove bang on as stock. Go Telefunken for speed and transparency, Mullard for a tad less and more warmth.
  8. astrostar59

    Audio Note M6 phono - tube rolling suggestions

    Good luck finding a top level SS phono IMO....
  9. astrostar59

    audionote thread

    Ha Ha, yes very small group I imagine. Partly the cost of a new DAC 5 and partly the fact it has remained fairly unchanged, and as we know the digital scene is all about this weeks latest... I have tried to leave this small group many times, but the DAC 5 does something special, I can't seem to want to sell it. Actually pretty much everything is right about it as long as you are ok about SPDIF input only. On V2, if yook on the back of the DACs, it says V2 in the serial panel, and on many parts inside such as the output trans and PCBs (signed). AN updated the PS from the original DAC 5 way back, around 2007 I believe. And the line board changed, amongst other things.
  10. astrostar59

    audionote thread

    To open some discussions of other owners. I have the DAC 5 Special V2.
  11. astrostar59

    audionote thread

    Anyone here got the DAC 5 Special or DAC 5 Signature`?
  12. astrostar59

    MQA on Tidal or??

    Few things. Tidal on MQA and Hifi (lossless) account is 20 Euros PM not £30. I find MQA masters very good, better than Redbook 44.1 of the same album. I would say give it a go, instead of reading all the tech blurbs and theories. There is more misinformation and suspicion on the web than users actually trying the thing. Get the free 1 month or 3 months tryout and hear for yourself. Tidal App is surpassed on a Mac by Audirvana+ BTW. Agree with Cable Monkey, go for Tidal for the huge library of Redbook, and see MQA as a bonus. It does sound better though, even on a non MQA DAC probably due to the fact it is a 192K or 96K file rather than 44.1.
  13. astrostar59

    Review of Khozmo Passive Preamplifier

    Hi Guys I have the Khozmo Passive with RCA's. My Audio Note DAC 5 has transformers on the output so that may help things along? The classic trap most passives fall into is frequency shift at lower volumes (more attenuation). You really need 25 times at least impedance difference from out impedance to input impedance on the power amp. A tubed DAC has more chance of driving a passive IMO. Interesting the thoughts on the Music First Passive. If it is brighter than the Khozmo then I wouldn't be after that aspect, not in my system anyway. I am pretty happy with my Khozmo, the only thing is it does frequency shift a bit a really low volumes (late at night levels). I am sat really close to my speakers which probably doesn't help that, the horns fire up quicker at low levels than the big 12 inch mid/bass driver. Still, it is very fast, transparent and big soundstage, dead quiet (derr!) and when wound up the bass is superb, so maybe the impedance is not so far off? The Khozmo has a bad rep for getting scratchy after some use. Mine started at 6 months. But I found a fix. When your system is off, manically flick the volume pot from zero to 12 o'clock a few times (polish the contacts). Then all good for a months or so.
  14. astrostar59

    SOLD SOLD Cary Audio 100T valve / tube dac with upgrades

    I would look at the AN Kits myself. R-R2 and tubed.
  15. Or a stripped back Mevericks. Also Audiovana+ version 2.3.2 sounds better than the current version.