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'Cheap' UREI & QUAD Amps Better Than KRELL & LEVINSON?

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This is a new experiment where correspondence between readers and this 'zine are published for the benefit of other readers.

Of course, for this purpose, permission has been obtained from the relevant readers and the names of those writing in have been, and will always be, changed in an effort to maintain their privacy. So then, the names are fictitious, but the content is absolutely real.

As far as possible these letters are virtually untouched, with the bare minimum of 'corrections' made. Where English is obviously a second-language, for a particular reader, slightly more corrections might have been made to aid others in understanding, but the 'accent' is untouched. In all cases, and for the most part, these few letters, selected for their content, remain raw (or refined, as the case may be) and unadulterated.

Regarding the subject at hand, I'll only say this: A UREI 6150 power-amp can be picked-up on the 'used' market for around $150. This is the real bargain-leader in this saga, considering its cost and those it outperforms. There're also other higher-powered versions in the series - also for ridiculous prices. (The later JBL/UREIs are unfamiliar to me, since I've never heard them, but it's quite possible that some may also share circuitry similar to the 6150).

A pair of Quad 510 mono-bloc power-amps is more costly, but may still be had for less than $1000 (a single 510 recently sold in the UK for eighty-pounds, sterling). Some say the 520 is the stereo 'version', but the circuitry is slightly different, and it costs even less than the mono-bloc pairs - it's likely to be very good, but somewhat less potent than the 510. However, though they may all be found, the UREI is not common, and these Quads are rare. 

Oh, and perhaps I should mention that, with regard to the Urei, at first I was not aware that this reader had bought his Urei amp purely on the strength of my opinions of it, as expressed in one of the articles here: http://wajonaudio.webs.com/a-major-fault-common-to-most-amplifiers-where%27s-the-body-by-waj.html 

This reader is an experienced audiophile and a staunch Quad fan, having owned Quad ESLs & 63s (Apogee, AR, Rogers. ATC, and Spendor, are also among other speakers owned) and nearly every amp in Quad's inventory. He's also owned amps from Krell, Mark-Levinson, and a S.E.T. amp by Jean Hiraga, among many others over the years. It is against this backdrop that his views on the Urei 6150 and Quad 510 amps are presented.  

Of course other issues are also discussed, as will always be the case whenever audiophiles meet to 'shoot the breeze'.

This reader hails from Eastern-Europe (in case you may wonder at the 'accent'). Here's how the thread transpired:.

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.Re; UREI 6150 power amp.

Bran

08:15 AM on May 10, 2012 

I have just purchased Urei 6150 - what a wonderful amplifier !

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Bran
May. 11 2012 at 3:41 AM   

Thank you for discovering this truly wonderful amplifier. It easily outperformed almost anything I owned before (maybe not my Quad 510 monoblocks). However, transformer hum is noticeable (not in the speakers). Have you any idea how to reduce hum ?

Regards

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WAJ
May. 12 2012 at 12:10 AM

Hi Bran,

Thanks for logging-on to WAJ on AUDIO. I do hope you find the articles here interesting.

It's always nice to encounter another audiophile who is actually aware of the assets of the little-known UREI amp.

You asked; "Have you any idea how to reduce hum ?" I'm sorry to say, I don't. But, to tell the truth, I haven't spent much time seeking a solution to this since, perhaps because of the amp's current placement between the speakers, I'm really not bothered by that hum. In fact, the only times I really notice it is when I'm either switching-on or switching-off the amp. So the hum really doesn't bother me, at all.

Do continue to enjoy the UREI, and that Quad. And please do continue to tune-in to WAJ on AUDIO.

Thanks, again, for you interest!

WAJ.

.Bran
May. 13 2012 at 5:28 PM

Hello,

O yes, articles are very interesting indeed. Common sense behind them and rightly chosen priorities in audio are so refreshing. I have abandoned all audio magazines long time ago - from the reasons you pointed out clearly.

I am thinking of fully restoring my Urei 6150 by technician, and also to try to reduce transformer hum. In late night listening, it is annoying.

Just to mention, my mostly used speakers are AR3a, and also ATC SCM20.

I will report to you about Urei restoring it, when and if ever done.

Regards

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WAJ
May. 15 2012 at 12:19 AM

Hi again Bran,

Oh yeah, that AR 3a - I'm a fan. Fact is; I believe all AR's of that era are great. Perhaps it's because I think, even after he left, Henry Kloss' influence was still evident in the tone of ARs products of that time. Any speaker which can survive, let alone be promoted by, a direct comparison with live instruments (as AR did then) is worth its weight in gold, as far as I'm concerned. By the way, though I'm not the greatest fan of mini-monitors for all-out performance,  that ATC is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Great choices - as I'm sure you already know.

Good-luck in reducing that hum, whenever you get 'round to it - the outcome should be interesting - e-mail me any time.

In my previous reply, I forgot to ask in what ways you feel the Quad may be better than the Urei - I doubt you not. I once had a 303, but let it go partly because a custom tube-amp I also had was better. So I never got an opportunity to compare it with the Urei, directly. I'm curious to hear  your opinion of the differences, and the magnitude of those differences, between the 6150 and those 510s. Also, it'd be nice to know what pre-amp(s) were used in the comparison.

Thanx for the kind words on the articles.

Cheers!

WAJ.

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Bran
May. 16 2012 at 6:03 AM

Hello my friend

Now you gave me not easy task - to explain sound of two different amplifiers to another person. You know that, but I will say it anyway : my opinion on that matter could be based only on my personal preferences and tastes and is almost certainly useless to another person. But I will try.

In my opinion power amp is most , maybe only,  really important personal choice in audio chain. All other components are a kind of dressing.

And Quad 510 and Urei 6150 ?

Let's say that Quad is more realistic of the two. Listening live classical event on good tuner (Revox) through Quad 510 and AR3a is utterly realistic. Sound is just as it should be - not romantic, not overly presented, sound stage is realistic in proportions, with strong sense of live event, with small unexpected sounds here and there as performance is going on.

And when you think that you finally pointed down sonic signature of Quad, they will surprise you on quite different presentation on different material. And that lower midrange body and resolution you are talking about - Quads must be champions in that department - just listen to grand piano makes me thrill. Well, these are high power, serious studio power amplifiers, from the most respected amplifier makers and they are up to their reputation.

Just to mention, I am long term Quad 303 fan, and I regard it second best Quad amp only bettered by Quad 510. Possibly Quad 50E are very good.

And Urei ? I had many, many power amps, and Urei beat them almost all. And yes, certainly not Jean Hiraga single end power amp with one KT88 per channel - but this is another story.

Urei constantly works very good - to excellent on various music material. It consistently displays pleasant tone, kind of natural instrument color, big sound stage, fine detail, full body sound , music flows in easy and interesting way. It is so much better than , for example, my Krell KST100 which is simply difficult to listen and which sounds good only on selected audiophile music material.  Power is just adequate - how it will be with bigger Urei amps I am interested ?

But, it just can not reach Quad 510 sonic realism. But is truly excellent amp which will not be shamed in very expensive audiophile system.

And yes, my current preamp is fully restored (not upgraded) Sony ta2000f.

Well, I am tired now and this story is never ending - hear you again soon.

Regards

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Bran
May. 16 2012 at 7:41 AM

And, one of the greatest achievements of Urei, for me, is its ability to reproduce Rock music from 70-ties in such fresh, engaging and driving manner so I feel like I am young again !

It is typical that today’s megabuck power amps, with its over-engineered construction and its deliberately nice sound are completely unable to play that kind of music convincingly.

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.Bran
May. 17 2012 at 4:07 AM

And some more observations...

One of so called acid tests is listening to grand piano.

Listening through Quad 510 - tone goes deeeep with great control - no overhang, and is very very powerful when low keys are hit. Increasing volume control almost make you believe that piano is in the room with you, Sound is so solid, pure, transparent and yes - realistic ! Small and quiet changes in touching piano keys which respond with resonance of piano strings are evident and scary realistic. Also a size of the space (studio, concert hall etc) where the recordings were made is also evident.

On this "piano" test Quad 510 surpasses all amplifiers I ever had.

Listening through Urei 6150 - tone is full, goes deep but there is obvious limit for increasing volume. Size of image, colour of piano tone and transparency are very close to that of Quad. But, compared to Quad,  control on speakers is reduced, and that special solidity of piano body and ultimate detail recovery, those things that can make you believe that piano is in the room with you are reduced to some degree. But, we must have on mind that Quad are at least twice the power of Urei what is very important. My speakers are not easy to drive.

Well, my friend, I hope that you find some of my impressions useful.

Anyway, if you have any chance to try Quad 510 don’t miss to do that. It could be difficult, because I think these amplifiers are extremely rare.

Hear you,

Regards

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WAJ
May. 17 2012 at 9:33 PM

Hello Bran,

Thanx for your very good description of the differences and similarities between the sound of two great amps. It's a pity that the 6150's 'low' power, 80wpc, causes it to be at a disadvantage in your system. In my own case, though I'd driven it to clipping when taxing several different speakers years ago but, since settling on my current DIY speakers which are fairly efficient at around 95db/1w/1m, I haven't even seen that clipping-light (sometimes at 'near-live' levels) for the past years. I'd forgotten it's even there.

You mentioned that the Urei bested the highly-reputed Krell KST100 - this is interesting, considering the difference in cost, even at 'used'-prices. This is the sort of news I like to bring to my readers' attention. So would it be OK with you for me to publish (with minor editing) the whole thread of our correspondence? If you do agree, I wonder if (similar to my own list in the relevant article) it would be too much of a bother for you to mention some of the other amps this Urei has bettered? A brief description of the differences would be helpful. (Your account has given rise to this idea which, though I'm not yet sure it will actually be done, I'm seriously considering).

I've long been trying to impress upon readers that the newest and most expensive equipment are not really necessary for excellent performance. As you've demonstrated in your own system(s) excellent and realistic performance can be obtained at ridiculously reasonable cost. (A Urei 6150 can be picked-up for less than $500, yet it's better than a mega-buck Krell  - not to mention that AR which, I know for a fact, is more realistic than many which cost much more today. Perhaps you could also mention a few which the ARs outclass too, and in what ways). [By the way, I'm sure you know the Sony TA2000F is claimed to have a phono-stage which rivaled some of the best, at the time. And we needn't mention the merits of a ReVox - any ReVox.]

The story of your system, as far as I can see up to now, is inspirational. I'd be nice if you could share it with others. After all, isn't this part of what our hobby is all about? Corrupt magz are constantly indoctrinating people with the notion that the best of high-fidelity audio is the exclusive province of mega-buck gear. We both know this isn't true. I think the TRUTH should be illustrated at every opportunity - if only to counter the efforts of the disingenuous.

Here endeth the sermon (LOL).

It's a pity that the Quad 510s are not more readily available. From my experience with the 303, I'm confident in your opinion of the 510 - it too, I'm sure, is worth its weight in gold - congrats, again, on your choices.

Cheers!

WAJ.

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Bran
May. 19 2012 at 1:40 PM

Hello my friend

You are right that Urei is maybe not powerful enough for my systems, especially with ATC with its 83 dB sensitivity. That alone could be a reason for better performance of Quad at my home. But with different speakers (and with different pair of ears !) Quad supremacy could be doubtful. So, I would never say that Quad will outclass Urei anytime and anywhere.

I do not listen anything near realistic levels, and I have never pushed Urei into clipping. My observations are based on medium to low listening levels.

My smallish listening room (4,5 m X 3,7 m) is not really suitable for high listening levels.

However, I personally like high power amplifiers. These amps, for me, has some special quality over low power amps, which is most evident in greater control on speakers. In my opinion, people often uses amplifiers which are not powerful enough so they push them into clipping all the time and are even not aware of that fact. Amps which has adequate power for chosen speakers must not change a bit of their performance regardless of listening level. One of the amps which demonstrated that quality so obviously was my Mark Levinson No.27. When listening to that amp you know for certain what high power means.

That amp was not troubled with any speaker, listening level or music material. It worked absolutely confident in any situation. It is so easy to understand why audiophiles praise these Levinsons. Whatever you throw on it, you will always get huge soundstage, deeeep bass, tons of details and clean power to shake the house. Who can resist ? And that is precisely point where I think Levinsons engineers purposely tailored such sound – to impress each and every listener. Quad and Urei with their studio oriented application were not made with such intentions. From that and other reasons, I would choose Urei over that Levinson. Also, Urei brings me music as something full of joy and emotions as the music should be, and Levinson reproduce music in too serious and strict manner. Through Levinson music is somehow trapped.

But when I say that Krell KST 100 or Levinson No.27 are not to my tastes I would not suggest that all Krells and all Levinsons are bad amps. There are many models from these brands and they will certainly display different virtues and shortcomings. For example, Krell KSA 50 from 1981 or 82 was one of the best amps I have ever heard.

Anyway it would be difficult for me to assemble a kind of list of amps which I had in last say 30 years with some precise comments of their sound against Urei. There were too many of them and my observations could be unreliable. And I really don’t see any justified necessity to make such a list.

On the speakers matter, my favourite speakers for many years were BBC derivatives, like various Spendors and Rogers, also were remembered some Apogees, and certainly Quad ESL and Quad 63.

Speaking of AR, these AR3a which are my current main speakers are the only AR speakers I ever had.

English made, two way monitors of BBC heritage are very good indeed, famous LS3/5 is phenomenal speaker, but none of them can compete with that big, three way, full range AR3a in recreating live music experience.

Story of ATC is different. These are not hifi home speakers. These are strictly studio monitors of highest order. I have ATC SCM20 in everyday use for nearly 12 years, and that AR3a is the only speaker I have encountered that can challenge these ATC but for quite different reasons. Well, that ATC SCM20 maybe cannot recreate live performance convincingly as AR3a, but their strength lies in theirs truthful reproduction on studio-recorded material. These speakers are more kind of instruments that can measure skills of recording engineers. To my amusement, many of my hifi companions cannot even consider these ATC as a part of audiophile system – and they are right, ATC are far from audiophile kind of speakers.

My unfulfilled wish is to have active ATC speakers, say ATC SCM50A. Well, if I discover gold in my backyard, that would be my first choice.

And yes, you can publish on your reputable site some of my observations, but readers should always have on mind that hifi, just like music itself, is strictly subjective matter.

Regards

 

WAJ
May. 21 2012 at 1:09 PM

Hello again Bran,.

Thanx!

Just imagine the immense benefit to audiophiles world-wide to learn that a relatively inexpensive Quad or a less-than $500 Urei amp is actually better than a mega-buck Krell or Levinson amp they've lusted over but, perhaps, can't afford.

Mainstream audio magz have created and maintained a false hierachy, with very expensive brands such as ARC, Manley, Krell, Conrad-Johnson, Linn, and Mark Levinson at the very top. Now, I'm not sayin' that these brands are no good, my own system includes a couple of those brands and several others as esteemed as those, and I can attest to their quality. But the truth I've also found is that virtually all of these brands' products can be, and are, bested by relatively unknown and relatively inexpensive examples - old and new. The onus is on us to find and identify these gems. These magz certainly won't point them out for us, they really have no interest in the interests of their readers, the audiophile. Their allegiances lie elsewhere.

All real audiophiles know it's not difficult to recognize another genuine audiophile - I've absolutely no doubt as to your authenticity. Experience has also taught me when to accept an audiophile's word as 'gospel', and when to be skeptical, especially when combined with my own experiences on a particular issue.

I also recognize the difference between a preference and the fact of a manifest superiority: Regarding the Urei 6150 you stated;

"And Urei ? I had many, many power amps, and Urei beat them almost all. And yes, certainly not Jean Hiraga single end power amp with one KT88 per channel - but this is another story.

Urei constantly works very good - to excellent on various music material. It consistently displays pleasant tone, kind of natural instrument color, big sound stage, fine detail, full body sound , music flows in easy and interesting way. It is so much better than , for example, my Krell KST100 which is simply difficult to listen and which sounds good only on selected audiophile music material."

[As found on Google;  www.audioasylumtrader.com/ca/ca.html?ca=42766 KRELL KST-100 Awesome sounds. (used)Price: $1090.00. Original Price:$2950.00 (circa 1990s - i.e. closer to 10-grand at today's prices - ed).Days/Views: 521 / 966 (Posted 2010-12-13). Condition: 8/10 Very Good ...]                                                                                                     

You also asserted, "And, one of the greatest achievements of Urei, for me, is its ability to reproduce Rock music from 70-ties in such fresh, engaging and driving manner so I feel like I am young again !

It is typical that today’s megabuck power amps, with its over-engineered construction and its deliberately nice sound are completely unable to play that kind of music convincingly."

 

And this segment gives us a picture of merits of the Mark Levinson No. 27

[Re; price as found on Google: app.audiogon.com/listings/454049 14 Jan 2012 – MarkLevinson No 27 Amplifier [Expired] ...Asking Price:$1499.00 New Retail Price:$3995.00 (circa 1990s- again, closer to 10-grand at today's prices  - ed)...For sale is a 1 owner MarkLevinson No. 27...] compared to the (less than $500 - 'used' price - $200 is more likely) Urei 6150, and  the Quad 510;

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"Amps which have adequate power for chosen speakers must not change a bit of their performance regardless of listening level. One of the amps which demonstrated that quality so obviously was my Mark Levinson No.27. When listening to that amp you know for certain what high power means.

That amp was not troubled by any speaker, listening level or music material. It worked absolutely confident in any situation. It is so easy to understand why audiophiles praise these Levinsons. Whatever you throw on it, you will always get huge soundstage, deeeep bass, tons of details and clean power to shake the house. Who can resist ? And that is precisely the point where I think Levinsons engineers purposely tailored such sound – to impress each and every listener. Quad and Urei with their studio oriented application were not made with such intentions. For that, and other reasons, I would choose Urei over that Levinson. Also, Urei brings me music as something full of joy and emotions as the music should be, and Levinson reproduce music in too serious and strict a manner. Through Levinson music is somehow trapped."

 Well said, my friend. I have absolutely no reason to doubt you in so far as the superiority of the inexpensive Urei over that Krell, Levinson, and all those other expensive amps you hinted at, are concerned.

Similar to you, I've also opted for the Urei over other highly-reputed amps, some of which are documented in my article entitled, "A Major Fault of Most Amplifiers;..." - linked near the top of this page.

Urei 6150s, and others in the line, are not common, but they can be found, as you've recently proven. And I've seen 6150s being sold for less than 200-bucks. Consider this price against the fact that, as you and I and others have proven, these little stalwarts outperform some of the so-called 'best' and most expensive amps on the planet. Consider the benefit of this info to the prudent audiophile. Not that some other amps are not better than the Urei; you mentioned the Hiraga SET and, from what you say, I'm sure the Quad 510 is also at least slightly better, regardless of the power consideration, and I'm sure there are others. But consider the legions of mega-buck gear this little gem annihilates. This is big news. Audiophiles need to take notice.

And let's not forget that even rarer Quad 510, which is better than the giant-killing UREI. From experience with the 303, I've every confidence in your assessment. In fact, I believe that almost any Quad amp (built before the 'China-Syndrome') regardless of how inexpensive, merits choice over many mega-buck examples today.

Thanks again for your permission to include your part in this thread in the published 'Letters' segment being contemplated. Perhaps I should just put a permanent caveat on the site stipulating that any correspondence is likely to be published - names with-held, of course.

Oh, and before I go I should mention that, similar to you, I was also smitten by the BBC British-sound that has swept the world of 'high-end' audio (My affliction was quickly cured, however, when I compared my BC1 to the sound of live instruments. Yet, I kept the Spendor for many years since I couldn't find anything really that much better amongst the 'approved 'brands and types - still can't). And similar to you, in your choice of the ARs as your mains, I've opted for the more robust tone of speakers which much more closely resemble the sound of real instruments.

We seem to have much in common, my friend.

Enjoy the music!:)

WAJ.

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WAJ
May. 22 2012 at 1:44 PM

By the way, Bran, In composing my last reply to you I realized that you'd only recently bought your Urei. In your first e-mail you also thanked me for discovering this amp. My question is; Did you buy the the Urei because of what I said in my review, or did you know of the qualities of this amp before? I'm just curious. Cheers! :)     -  WAJ.

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Bran
May. 23 2012 at 12:20 PM

Hello my friend (and what is your name ? I didnt catch it)

I bought Urei solely on your recomendation. Never even heard about JBL pro amps.

But, reading some of your articles, I was pretty sure that two of us have similar taste in audio – what happens to be true.

And my decision to actually purchase that amp was reinforced by the price of Urei which was only cca 140 $. Most of hardcore audiophiles are paying much, much more for interconnect cable.

I remember that David Hafler said decades ago – audiophiles will never believe that power amplifier which cost 600 $ can sonicaly outperform amplifier which cost 2.000 $ -. So true, isnt it !

I bought Urei locally from one recording studio. And my Quad 510 came from studio in Austria.

You have mentioned that any Quad amplifier probably could outperform some of the very expensive stuff.

Generally speaking it is true, because Quad will always meet good standard of sound (not to mention ther legendary longevity) and , as we know, it is not always the case with expensive and voodoo magic stuff.

First I must admit that Quad was my favourite producer of all (before it was sold to Chinese) I love that brand for decades, and had, more or less, each and every product they have ever produced. Speaking about their power amps, here are my short observations :

510 are the best in every respect,

- 303 has second best sound with restricted low end and smaller images,

- 405 has beautiful and natural midrange, but its transparency is strong only in midrange.

- There were also Quad 520, 240, 50 E – I personally didn’t have them.

All this old models were often found in studios. I think that you can't go wrong with any of these.

Next important Quad amp is 606 (and its clones 707 and now 909). This amp is in production from 1986, I think, and that is quite an achievement ! But this amp is sonically buried in some kind of middle-ground. It is, however, broadly acceptable for majority of listeners and situations. It has good midrange, but for me, this is Quads least successful amp. That amp seems to be unable to light any fire when I listen to it.

Quad 306 was a nice and lively little amp for uncritical listener. Better than 606.

Quad II were tube monoblocks , 15 W, with two KT66 per block. These were possibly great amps, at that time I was listen them through Spendor SP1. But, unfortunately, they had constantly various technical problems so I let them go.

There are also other, newer Quad amps, but I think all of them are just variations on their old gear with embarrassingly low quality of parts and labour.

Hear you soon !

WAJ
May. 27 2012 at 10:54 AM

Hi again Bran,.

.The name's Winston, actually. But I generally use my initials, WAJ, for this site - feel free to use either one.

So sorry about the delay in replying. I was caught-up in other things elsewhere.

I'm very glad my article made you aware of the remarkable qualities of this little-known Urei amp. It's very rewarding to know one's efforts somehow assist in bringing awareness and enjoyment to others. I appreciate the confidence you've demonstrated by buying the amp solely on my recommendation, and I'm happy you've found my opinions of it to be true. I'm especially gratified that you're so pleased with the amp.

Oh, and thank you, Bran, for your very expert analysis of the excellent Quad line. I wonder if you'd go so far as to say that the 510 is one of the very best amps in existence. From all you've said of it, this definitely would seem to be true, certainly in the solid-state realm. It's a real pity they're so scarce. It's even more of a pity that the latest Quads are afflicted with the 'China-Syndrome' - so sad. From the likes of the magnificent 510 and 303, to this - can you imagine the magnitude of such a catastrophe?

Keep in touch, my friend!

WAJ.

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Bran
May. 31 2012 at 5:08 AM

Hello Winston,

Ok, maybe I could say that quad 510 are THE best amps I ever had (something that I cannot or wish to demonstrate or prove to anybody). But that statement is somewhat compromised by the fact that tastes for audio equipment (and music) vary in years.

How I compare say, Hiraga tube single-end with quad 510 ? They are different breed. When I had Hiraga, I was absolutely sure that was the best amp ever.

When I was younger I used to play acoustic guitar. And, as you know, there is folk guitar with steel strings and there is classic guitar with nylon strings. Both are the same instrument, a guitar, but theirs tasks and purposes are quite different. So I had both guitars.

But, I am aware that it is not practical to have more than one main audio system. So, one have to decide what would be the core of his/her audio system. In my opinion the power amplifier must be the heart and soul of an audio system. Right choice of power amp (which is very personal) and speakers which must be adequately controlled and driven by that amp, should be the foundation of every audio system.

And that is what really counts when composing an audio system. I would like to see more audiophiles concentrate on that, no so on changing say, cables every a while.

From that reason, speaking of what brand and what model of power amp is better or worse than others is not really helpful. It is personal choice ( I am a little bit of boring insisting on that, didn’t I ?).

And it is not really difficult to beat Krell KST100 and Levinson No.27 – many of quad amps can do that, certainly Urei but also many others. There must be a hundred of great amps (old and new) which can probably do that at much lower price. It is nice when you, now and then, accidentally discover one of these. And you, Winston, will bring that fact to your readers in an noble aim to make their choices more easier. But...from my experience, I doubt that many of them will believe you. Just as David Hafler said.

Hear you.

.Hi Bran, 

My Gosh!

Since you'd owned both (among many others, including Krell, Levinson, and Hiraga) I'd assumed that you'd probably say Hiraga-San's SET tube-amp is in a different league, but that the Quad is perhaps among the best solid-state amps you've heard, for instance. It really never occurred to me that it'd be so close between them as to preclude a definitive statement in favor of the SET. As far as I can see this, in itself, is further indication of the absolute quality of that solid-state 510 Quad (and, by extension, that of the Urei).

OK, I'd assume the very best SETs, such as Coincident's Frankenstein, would be superior, but the fact that this solid-state Quad is so close to Jean Hiraga's SET, which is reputed to be among the best, this is indeed stunning news. (And, no, I haven't missed the point that they're good in different ways, as in the nylon and steel-stringed guitars - though, in my own experience with similar amps, I'm not so sure I'd be as extreme as that - your point is understood, however). 

Oh, and though I'm also not so sure about 'hundreds', I agree with you that several unrecognized low-priced amps (and other gear) are as good as, or better than, several of the Krells and Levinsons of this world (and that some of the products of such brands are easily surpassed). But thanks to the hype of the mainstream audio-press, generated on behalf of brands such as these, you're also right in saying that many people simply refuse to believe that this is even possible. David Hafler was also right in that assessment. 

Nevertheless, there're always open-minded individuals, such as you, who're willing and wise enough to see thru the hype spewed by others. It is at that minority that the efforts of this little 'zine are aimed - remarkably, some even take our advice and find it to be beneficial, as you exemplify. Once again, I'm happy I brought the Urei to your attention, Bran, and I'm glad that you're happy with it. I'm also thankful to you for bringing the Quad 510 to my own attention. Hopefully, the publishing of our correspondence will serve to enlighten others of these gems.

I am extremely grateful for your contribution, my friend!

Sincerely,

Winston.

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