It Cost How Much!?!

Audio Innovations Red Hot Crew

Recommended Posts

Guest MJ.

Reading all the love given to the AI brand. surely there would be a market for a new AI S500 say ?

If not, A modern day equivalent of the Alto must be doable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the AI stuff is great.

A 500 series integrated was my first venture into valve amps. I knew nothing about them, but a few folks, mainly Yoda and Coco , suggested that it would be a great match with my Snells. So, I bought one, and loved it. Then a 700 series integrated came up, so I bought that too. Very similar, but the 500 edged it for me, so I sold the 700.

I was hooked.

Next I bought a pair of 2nd audio monos power amps. Cant remember what pre I was using, but they were a big step up soundwise, from the 500. Sadly I tried a ground breaking technique of re-seating the valves, and this meant they were out of action for a while , whilst they were fixed !!!

To tide me over, I bought the 1st audio from Bob, that he mentions above. Also really nice. A step up from the 500, but not quite the same quality as the 2nd audio monos.

I then bought an L1 pre, P1 phono stage and series 800 SUT. These were the bottom of their respective ranges, but I really liked them all. I used the 2nd audio monos, L1, P1 and SUT at Scalford in 2013 and they went down very well.

I then sold the monos to try a different power amp.

I was looking to get a better phono stage and an AI P2 was one that I fancied having. I had heard Papa Laz/Phil's and Scidb/Dean's P2 phono stages and always loved the sounds they got.

Then one came up as part of an 8 box AI amp system. 2nd audio monos, L2 pre and P2 phono. All 4 paired with Border Patrol PSU's. the guy wouldnt split, so I ended up with them all !!

The P2 is a big jump up from the P1. Its great. Ive had it to a few Bake Offs now and it is very well received. Im very pleased with it, and it is going nowhere.

My plan had been to sell on the 2nd audios and the Pre, but they were better than my existing pre and power amp. So, I kept them.

Fantastic sounds, and probably the best my system has sounded. I think what I have now is probably as far as I can go in the range. They have all been heavily upgraded at Definitive. (edit. no, my SUT is the basic version and could be improved on )

Sadly, in addition to having Hi Fi lying all over my floor, too much of my Hi Fi fund is tied up in this AI stuff so the 2nd audios will be sold, to enable me to try other stuff.

So, Ive tried quite a lot of the range. Still more to try though, and I will do so, someday.

( Bob, I would love to try your 1000 Sut alongside my 800 version, someday )

OK Brian, are you going to Steve's in Oct?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Who owns the brand now, Richer Sounds?

Audio Partnership so effectively yes. but they haven't done anything with it for 15 years or so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Selling and supporting a valve amp in Richer Sounds would be a difficult ask I reckon.

Not because of the sales staff, as all the ones I have spoken to would love to be selling more serious hifi but because of the suitability of the speakers that they stock and also managing customer expectations and knowledge.

Valve amps aren't quite plug and play, they need a certain investment in knowledge and understanding from the user. Richer are predominantly a High St shop selling TVs, I am not sure how valve amps would sit with their product range, or how they would manage returns and warranty etc as well as stocking replacement valves.

I would imagine the return rate from customers who don't know what they are doing would be quite high.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

​Funnily enough they did flirt with selling some higher end stuff in some of their branches in the early 90's. I think they may well have sold a few Series 500's alongside the Alto. But iirc that approach was a short lived experiment & by the late 90's they'd stopped it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
​Funnily enough they did flirt with selling some higher end stuff in some of their branches in the early 90's. I think they may well have sold a few Series 500's alongside the Alto. But iirc that approach was a short lived experiment & by the late 90's they'd stopped it.

Hi Guy,

Why did Audio Innovations sell to Audio Partnerships? Was there a offer too good to miss.

SCIDB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In about 1992 PQ had sold the AI brand to the company who had been subcontracted to build the amplifiers for the previous couple of years. Audio Components were based down in Weymouth & continued to develop new products such as the P2, L2, P1, L1 and Alto items as well as refining the existing designs and improving their production engineering.

Although they continued to sell valve amps, the volume of Alto products that Richer Sounds were able to sell was very appealing to the then owners. They wanted to keep the factory busy at all times but didn't really understand the mindset of high end hifi customers. They were very reluctant to develop really ambitious products as they couldn't see who'd buy them.

There was also a complication in that a sizeable % of the company was sold to the American corporatiom International Jensen which in turn became a subsidiary of an even larger company called Viacom. Valve amp development & promotion was neglected (despite it being what the brand was known for) and the Alto range & other potential 'design' led items looked increasingly attractive to Audio Partnership who were accumulating brand names at the time. I think some sort of deal was done between AP , the Viacom representatives & some of the other shareholders . In 1996 AP took control & the factory down in Weymouth was closed. AP had the Alto products re designed and manufactured out in China. But there was a delay before the new versions became available and I suspect their moment had passed.

A few interesting high end products had been developed during the final few years but weren't taken to production. I still have the prototype 3rd Audio amplifiers which a few wammers have heard at bakeoffs and even at Scalford. Those could have caused quite a stir back in the early 90's when there was nothing like them available . Had PQ still been in control they would probably have been made but the subsequent owners didn't 'get' it.

3rdaudiocropped.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In about 1992 PQ had sold the AI brand to the company who had been subcontracted to build the amplifiers for the previous couple of years. Audio Components were based down in Weymouth & continued to develop new products such as the P2, L2, P1, L1 and Alto items as well as refining the existing designs and improving their production engineering.

...

A few interesting high end products had been developed during the final few years but weren't taken to production. I still have the prototype 3rd Audio amplifiers which a few wammers have heard at bakeoffs and even at Scalford. Those could have caused quite a stir back in the early 90's when there was nothing like them available . Had PQ still been in control they would probably have been made but the subsequent owners didn't 'get' it.

Would have love to have heard those Third Audios.

I recall being taken with the idea of valve systems when coming across combinations of Snell, Voyd and Audio Innovations back in the late 80s. It took a while until I picked up an L2 and P2 (relatively recently) but they've always appealed, and still do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those Third Audio 845 Monoblocks have to be the finest 845-based amps I've heard. I'm lucky to have heard them on several occasions and running a variety of loudspeakers - including Wilson Benesch Arc, Living Voice OBX-R2 and Snell As. They aren't perhaps the sweetest 845 amps, but OMG do they get down and boogie!

On another note I'm another happy Audio Innovations owner. I have an original chrome finish Alto (british 30 wpc version) and P2 phono stage (pre-production prototype - foo'ed up a bit witn Tants, Blackgates, AN caps etc).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have a copy of the Series 700 Owners Manual they could scan?

I've been asked for it by someone abroad. I have a fair few brochures / reviews etc but no Owners Manuals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Dealer

Hi, I bought and tweaked an S500 amp recently which went to Italian friends in Italy. An excelelnt sounding amp that responded well to an upgraded volume pot and connecting caps

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, I bought and tweaked an S500 amp recently which went to Italian friends in Italy. An excelelnt sounding amp that responded well to an upgraded volume pot and connecting caps

David

LOL.

I bought and tweaked an AI amp once. It didnt respond well.

I sent it to Guy, to be fixed. :oops:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.