Van Alstine Omega III Preamplifiers

4.8/5 (10 Reviews)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (10 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by John Cardell a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: March 30, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I received my Omega III preamp and have been listening to it for a couple of weeks now. It replaced my Superphon preamp. The first thing I noticed was that the mid-bass bloat comming from my Vandersteen 2ci's was gone. I initially mistook this for a lack of mid-bass. But when the mid-bass came out on some of my rock and disco CD's the mid-bass was hitting hard and powerfull. It made my B&K St-140 sound like it was a new and more powerfull amplifier. It sounded like I went out and bought a new amp and not just a preamp. Plus in action movies I wasn't hearing of that low bass rumble at all. With the new preamp it's now there plus it's extended and powerfull. Now I don't have to worry about going out and purchasing a subwoofer which I don't like anyway because they're almost impossible to balance with the main spkrs anyway. One last note the highs are also now full and extended while at the same time sounding less harsh. I was able to turn the tweeter control on my spkrs back to the neutral position. For six hundred and fifty dollars(mine was $739 with the buffered tape outputs) it sounded as good as any solid state receiver I have yet heard at any price. Well worth a five star rating.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Paul M a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 18, 1998

Bottom Line:   
I ended up swapping my Omega III in the PAT-4 (silver) chassis for anotherOmega III in the PAT-5 (black AVA faceplate) chassis with gold jacks. I paid
the restocking fee gladly. Sonically they are the same, but I wanted a better visual match with my other components. I haven't done any head to heads with my Omega III, so I can't say if it sounds grainy compared to Aragon or others. Compared to the Adcom GFP 555 I had for several years before, the AVA is night and day better - along the lines of Adler's review on 9/24.

Maybe others' ears or standards are higher than mine. I think Frank puts out a terrific value for the buck - I like his philosophy as outlined on his web site. His phone manners are a little rough, but I chose to overlook that given his technical expertise. I DID choose to upgrade my CD player shortly thereafter, from a Sony ES changer to a Cal Audio Icon Mk II, and I've been smiling ever
since!

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Overall Rating:5
Submitted by JoeAl a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 20, 1998

Bottom Line:   
First, let me beg your indulgence...
I recently upgraded my speakers from JSE Model 1's to Legacy Classics and found my existing amplification (BK ST-140 and NAD 1600) not quite up to the task.
Unfortunately, I barely have enough time to enjoy my audio system, let alone visit audio stores with poor auditioning setups with gear and rooms I am often unfamiliar with.

20 years ago I purchased a Van Alstine (AVA) modified integrated amp which I still use in a second system. 20 years without a problem and the amp still sounds "high-end". I read a few articles about his recent gear and decided to give them a listen.

I first tried to buy an AVA amp and preamp in the "pre-owned" market. In the last 9 months, I've only seen two AVA pieces up for sale. People keep AVA gear or trade-up to new AVA gear. If you want AVA gear, you usually have to go to AVA (www.avahifi.com).

The Omega 3 preamp (I have the SL version) is, in every way, better than the NAD. The NAD (and most other mid-priced preamps)hits you with sharp leading edges which overshadow the notes. The Omega 3 let's you hear every nuance of the music. The bass from the NAD thru the Classics was boomy and ambiguous, as if only one bass note was ever being played. The bass thru the Omega was tight, deep, and articulate. CD's which I thought were poorly recorded suddenly became listenable.

The high-end from the Omega 3 is clean, clear and extended. Instruments sound like instruments. No part of the audio spectrum is overemphasized, none is overlooked. All this, performance, reliability, upgradability, resalability for about $450 (and only $90 additional for phono!).

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Overall Rating:4
Submitted by David Adler a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 24, 1998

Bottom Line:   
I bought the AVA Omega III EC several months ago. It included the bufferedtape connections and the phono preamp which brought the price to over
$800 plus shipping. It had all the features one could hope for...tone controls,
external processing loop, two tape inputs, either channel thru both speakers,
etc. etc. I had expected to replace my Aragon 24K with it but in a head-to-
head comparison the Aragon demonstrated greater smoothness and musicality.
The Omega III EC was slightly grainy by comparison. I sent it back at a loss
since Van Alstine charges a restocking fee of over l0%. On its own it's a
reasonably good preamp but it loses in comparison to the Aragon 24K which
is also a solid state preamp but sounds tubelike. I give the Van Alstine four
stars..

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Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Paul M. a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 12, 1998

Bottom Line:   
This is my initial impression after one long evening's listening. I bought a used Omega IIIEC from avahifi.com that they built using a PAT4 chassis. It's not much to look at, but for $395, WHAT SOUND! Compared to my Adcom GFP555, I'm hearing more detail, but with less fatigue. More smoothness, ample bass, full midrange. I was hoping for an audible improvement, and so far my expectations have more than been met. Very highly recommend for serious music lovers on a budget!

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