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Van Alstine Fet Valve 350Ex
1 Reviews
rating  5 of 5
MSRP  1749.00
Description: 160 watts per channel 20 to 20 kHz into 8 ohms at less than 0.01% THD. 17" wide, 13" deep, 7" high. Shipping weight 33 pounds. All new AVA-designed black chassis with black-anodized faceplate and high-efficiency, black-anodized, extruded, rear-mounted heat sinks with 12 TO-3 case power MOSFET output devices. For 2 ohm loads and up. This is amplifier is recommended as the best Fet Valve amplifier for very low-impedance loads and electrostatic speakers.


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User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by bdfein a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: February 7, 2005

Bottom Line:   
I recently purchased the Audio by Van Alstine (hereafter AVA) FET-Valve 350 EX hybrid power amplifier and Transcendence digital to analog converter. My system now consists entirely of AVA’s top of the line components, including a Transcendence preamplifier, Biro L-1 loudspeakers, and a Biro Kensington subwoofer. My listening room has been designed and speaker and listener placement have been chosen to minimize interactions between speakers and room surfaces that would otherwise compromise sound quality.

Surprisingly, the amplifier and digital to analog converter made similar improvements in my system’s sound; the amplifier had a greater effect on bass quality while the DAC had a greater effect on image size and specificity. Since they share so many sonic virtues, I am submitting similar (albeit not identical) reviews for each.

The first of these virtues is the AVA FET-Valve 350’s realism. I suspect this realism is due in part to its superior transient response from the lowest bass to the highest treble. Where most electronics emphasize high frequency transients and shortchange the power of the midrange and the bass, the FET-Valve 350 captures the power and weight of live music more accurately than I have ever heard before. For me – and for all who have listened to my system – the FET-Valve 350’s combination of power and resolution made music listening much more fun.

One of the 350's most striking strengths is the accuracy with which it reproduces the texture and weight of bass instruments. In my system, at least, it reproduces string basses, bass guitars, low percussion, and the bottom octaves of pianos very powerfully and realistically.

Like the sound of live music, the sound of my system with the AVA FET-Valve 350 is effortless. Like live music, the AVA FET-Valve 350 sounds amazingly powerful; music reproduced over lesser equipment, by contrast, often sounds strained and compressed.

Regardless of the level at which it is played, my AVA system with the FET-Valve 350 amplifier is able to capture the subjective “size” of instruments. As those of you who attend concerts of unamplified music know, even a solo flute on the stage of a concert hall sounds huge. Most systems make instruments sound small and anemic, thus robbing music listening of much of its joy. The FET-Valve 350 preserves much that of fascinating and enjoyable sense of size. It also reveals the location and dimensions of sound sources – from human bodies to the bodies of guitars -- with remarkable clarity.

With the FET-Valve amplifier, my AVA system is able to capture the subtle tonality of instruments more accurately than I have ever heard elsewhere. For example, most systems can leave you uncertain as to whether you are listening to a violin or viola over much of the range they share. With AVA electronics, making such distinctions is effortless. This same characteristic makes it easier to distinguish voices from one another, and makes it easier to appreciate the expressive artistry of vocalists and instrumentalists. When I listen to discs I know well, the FET-Value amp reveals expressive subtleties I could never hear before.

Finally, where the vast majority of electronics sound harsh when attempting to reproduce sibilants (s’s, t’s, and f’s), the attacks of trumpets, and the brightness of violins, the AVA FET-Valve amplifier reproduces these sounds naturally and sweetly, while providing unsurpassed resolution of high frequency information.

In sum, the realism, excitement, listening ease, and absence of electronic artifacts that characterize the "sound" of the new FET-Valve 350EX amplifier transform listening to reproduced music into an adventure. It is a remarkable technical achievement and, at its price, an equally remarkable bargain. I have yet to encounter anything I consider its sonic equal. I recommend it – even to those who think know how good reproduced music can be – without reservation.

Anyone considering purchasing both the FET-Valve amplifier and Transcendence DAC should note that the improvement they made when used together is much greater than the sum of their individual contributions.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $1849.00

Purchased At:   Audio by Van Alstine




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