Richard A

Net Audio 303SE/33

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Super Wammer

Hi 

I have owned a Net Audio totally modified Quad 303/33 (full upgrade) for four years or so.

I love it but wonder to what level I need to go to get a substantial improvement. Either pre/power or integrated. 

Richard A

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Rather depends on what it is you want to improve. From reading the Net Audio site, they have addressed some of the limitations of the 303 due to the time at which it was designed, although I'm doubtful whether any of these modifications would be audible when compared with a standard 33/303 in good condition driving suitable loudspeakers.

The main limitation as I see with the 303 is that power output is limited to 45 watts into 8 ohms, or thereabouts, and that may not be enough for some of the less sensitive loudspeakers, or for those who want to play REALLY LOUD.

If this is the case, then a bigger power amp, perhaps the 405.2, 606 or 909 would suit better.

I don't think you'll find any way of improving the sound from your 33/303 if the amp is used within its capabilities for output level and load driving.

S.

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Super Wammer

Thanks Serge,

I used the 303/33 unmodified for some years before sending it to Net Audio for conversion. The difference was huge. I had been hoping to get a second 303 modified too for bi-amping but unfortunately I believe David Pritchard, the man behind Net Audio, died a couple of years ago.

I am not necessarily thinking of Quad upgrades, I'm just interested to know how much I'll need to spend to get a worthwhile improvement and any suggestions people have.

I live in the Channel Islands so auditioning amplifiers at mid to top end is difficult.Hence my question.

Thanks for your input.

Richard A

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Hi Richard,

I've recently acquired a 33/303 combination and have been a bit of a ranting bore about it here ! Mine aren't modded, the 303 is Quad serviced and the 33 untouched but in sound working condition. I find the performance of this pair of boxes to be sublime. I put a far pricier pre in the system at the weekend (Croft 25R) and all probably was better in Hi Fi terms but no more enjoyable really. You could end up spending a lot of cash and in the end enjoying your music no more than you did.

Sound per pound from my recent experience is the Quad 34, maybe ! There's not a lot in it.

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Super Wammer

Thanks Ian,

As a student 45 years ago I worked in a hi-fi shop in my holidays. Our best amp then (amongst the early solid state Leak and Armstrong) was the 33/303. I grew to love the sound.

However! The Net Audio conversion is an entirely new ball game. It may not be as musical perhaps but depth, space and bass are in a different league.

Which is why I posted my question - how much do I need to spend to improve things. I guess the only way I am going to find out is to fly to mainland U.K. and audition a few things.

Thanks,

Richard A

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Hi Richard,

Welcome to the WAM!

Another option is to consider using a different pre-amp with the 303. I have used a fully modded Net Audio 405-3 with a Fidele Audio modded 34 ST for some time in a few systems.  The combo works very well together but IMO, the power amp is the stronger of the two. 

I was really impressed when I tried a Glasshouse Audio pre-amp with the 405, in this case the TVC C-core transformer model. It lifts the performance to a whole different level.  It does all the audiophile stuff, detail, sound-staging, transparency while keeping on the warmer side of neutral unlike most passives which can sound a bit lean.  I also had good results with an MFA classic, but the balance of the Glasshouse was better being fuller and warmer, and the gain was also a much better match to the 405.

As Serge says, if you need more power or current, then you may need a different power amp. But as it sounds like your existing speakers work well with the 303 then it may be worth investigating.

All the best,

Graham.

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Super Wammer

Thanks very much Graham,

That's just the sort of information I was looking for. I think I might try the pre-amp first as I am very happy with the Net Audio 303SE (can't really call it a Quad anymore!)

Will take a look at your recommendations but if anyone has further ideas for a suitable pre-amp, I'm all ears!

All the best,

Richard A

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