Alchemist Kraken APD8A Amplifiers

Kraken APD8A

55W Class A Integrated

User Reviews (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9  
Sylvain   Audiophile [Mar 17, 2000]
Strength:

Very clean, detailed sound. Bass is full and true.
I challenge any solid state amp to sound
better on female vocals.

Weakness:

Class A therefore runs hot.

I don't know whether it is the fact that the power supply is in a separate shielded box or that this is a class A solid state amp but I have been bewildered by how this little piece performs. Put on Patricia Barber's Cafe Blue or Diane Krall's Love Scenes and you will be in audio heavan.

I picked this up demo for $800 and have not looked back. I have listened to seperates costing three times as much and I can't even match the sound let alone better it.

If you are running low efficiency speakers then this may not be for you but with efficient speakers, this is the best kept secret in the world. It puts the Bryston B60 to shame and I would say is even one up on the YBA Integre.

Similar Products Used: Bryston B60, YBA Integre, Arcam Alpha 9
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Piotr Stepien   Audiophile [Apr 05, 2000]
Strength:

Very clean, transparent sound, lots of details and space. Strong bass. Perfect vocals.

Weakness:

Could be too aggressive playing poorly recorded CDs

I bought it as a demo discount and I am very happy with its sound. Opera and baroque music are perfect. I was amazed by the amount of bass and beautiful, agressive, detailed brass generated from the recording of Die Walkure ( Solti, recently digitally remastered ). I could not believe to squeeze out that much from my system - Marantz 67II and Celestions 100.
Vocals are perfect, Ella Fitzgerald and Hooker are warm, detailed and in front of you.
However this sound is very different from the rounded, soft pentode type. Beware : some poor recordings sound too harsh.
I have made my choice after long hours of comparing with other amplifiers : Audio Analogue, NAD and others. It is very different, both sound and styling. You love it or hate it, of course I love it.

Similar Products Used: NAD312, Audio Analogue Puccini, Struss S, push-pull triode Amplifon
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
KL Lim   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 21, 2000]
Strength:

Very musical and sweet sounding yet detailed. Tight and full bass and not too boomy.Very Vocal

Weakness:

High heat radiation.Not suitable to be used without an air-conditioned room.

Used with Dynaudio Audience 50, Marantz CD63mkII KI, Musical Fidelity X10-D.I am very very satisfied with the set.Especially on female vocalists like Laural Fygi, Diana Krall and Rebecca Pidgeon.Class A circuit with external transformer.55W pc.No problem driving my 4ohm/87db speakers.
Price is affordable(go for a used or demo set)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
JOHN ,,,,,,,,   Audiophile [Oct 04, 2001]
Strength:

BIG OPEN SOUND STAGE GREAT VOCALS GOOD WITH ROCK POP GOOD ALL ROUNDER

Weakness:

UN MODIFIED ITS A WARM. NICE VOCALS.GOOD BASS CAN SOUND DULL

THE PRE AMP IS A TWEAKERS HEAVEN THERE ARE SIX OP,AMPS THEY ARE PHILLIPS, CHANGE FOR BURR BROWN OPA 132P FROM RS COMPONENTS. CHANGE THE INTERCONECT WIRE FROM THE VOLUME POT. THERE ARE 8 ORANGE PHILLIPS CAPS VERY POOR. PEPLACE WITH POLYPROPLENE FROM MAPLINS METALLISED TYPE £148 EACH GIVE TIME TO RUN IN THEN BE YOU WILL HAVE A PREA AMP THAT WILL BE AS GOOD AS HI END PREA AMPS COSTING £1000, TO £2000 IT IS A MASSIVE IMPROVMENT MIND. NOW THERES THE POWER AMP REPLACE THE SPEAKER WIRE ITS POOR MAINS WIRE THAT STRANGLES THE SOUND THEN CHANGE THE RESISTORS 4 ON EACH SIDE THEY ARE 3WATT 0R47 REPLACE WITH VISHAY NON IN.DUCTIVE RCH25 FROM RS WHEN FINISHED YOU WILL HAVE A PRE AND POWER YOU WONT GET RID OF EVER. HONESTLY YOU WILL LOVE THIS SOUND MORE OF WHAT YOUR ALL READY GETTING AND MUCH MORE ELSE WHERE

Similar Products Used: QUAD 306 NAIM NAP 140
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
john jones   Audiophile [Sep 25, 2001]
Strength:

with upgrade warm sweet trebble open clean very good

Weakness:

none

upgrade this beauty change the internal speaker cable with high quality speaker cable. the cable inside the anp is poor mains cable massive improvements if you own a kraken pre amp then change the op amps to burr brown opa132ap great sound when run in by the way there is six email for more help wwwcalclaire@aol there will be no charge for my help best of luck john

Similar Products Used: naim nap140 nap 160 orelle p150
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Lush   an Audio Enthusiast [Jun 23, 1999]

It was some time since I tried this integrated but I do remember it. It is certainly different looking; a smallish silver box with gold colored knobs and heat sink "fins" radiating out of the sides of the unit. It comes as two pieces: the amp as one and another box housing the power supply/transformer. My experience with it is mixed. On one hand, Sarah McLaughlin's voice was rich, lush and syllables just flowed from one to the next. Same with Thom Yorke of Radiohead on "Fake Plastic Trees." Those who listen mainly to vocalists should have no problem melting into the couch with the Kraken. However, with alternative/rock, I found it difficult "jam" with the distorted guitars. The Foo Fighters just didn't have the kind of "attack" that I enjoy with my Audiolab 8000A. It is a well-built piece but I think it is limited to those who believes music should flow like honey. Five stars for those listeners. Rockers look elsewhere.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Frederick von Feldon   Audiophile [Oct 27, 2000]

Forgive my friend John, who is a little demanding in his tastes. He was talking about a particular piece of classical music and recording that is more demanding than a normal classical orchestral work. That particular recording of Beethoven's 9th will definately stress even the best of equipments.

Overall an excellent product. Detailed with a tube like smooth sound with no trace of grit! Delicious...

I only listened to it through my friend John's system. And he is pairing them with Klipsch speakers which is known for dynamics and as the icing on the cake he has a great soundroom. Imagine dynamics combined with smoothness & detail! I must say his setup sounds very good even comparing to gear costing ten times as much.

I shall give it four stars. Only perfect equipments should get 5. Like passing my friend's so called test. :-)

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Damianos Dimitriadis   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 16, 2000]
Strength:

Warm and musical. Rich and full sound body with great bass, but with no compromise in detail. Very robust construction.

Weakness:

Unreliable phono module. Needs air - conditioning room in summer.

I've bought the APD6A (NOT THE APD8A - THIS MODEL IS A POWER AMPLIFIER), as un ex-demo at a bargain price. My other components are:
Digital Souces: Marantz 53 (as a transport), Philips DCC-951.
DAC: Parasound 1100
Analog souce: Thorens 321/Rega RB300/Grado MF1+ (with Project MM/MC preamplifier)
Speakers: Chario Delphinus

I agree with most of reviewers about the warm, musical sound of the KRAKEN. On the contrary, I disagree with John about its performance in large scale classical music.

I'm a fun of classical music (orchestral, chamber and selected operas). Especially for large-scale orchestral works, I've tested the KRAKEN with high quality digital (Alexander Nevsky/TELARC, Verdi's Requiem/TELARC, Night on the bare mountain (Dutoit)/DECCA, Shostakovitch Symphony No. 10 (Jansons)/EMI) and analog recordings (Firebird/Shefield, Sound samples from the Ortofon's test record).

At all levels the sound remains warm, detailed and clear, with great dynamics and bass. Brasses and cymbals are bright with full body, but not hard or annoying. Vocals are impressive (of course). No sign of the distortion John reported.

I (probably) agree that this box might not being suitable for hard - rock jamming. But for acoustic organs and especially classical music I recommend it with no doubt.

Concerning its driving capabilities, the Kraken drove my 4 ohms speakers at high levels with no problem.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John   Audiophile [Sep 04, 2000]
Strength:

Very musical. Smooth. Warm sounding. Analogue like. Great with jazz.

Weakness:

Sound distorts easily on large scale orchestral classical works.

Now with the correct kind of music, these may be the best deal available. I pretty much agree with the previous reviewers on the sound on other types of music.

However I am a classical music fan and unfortunately for the kraken I listen mostly to symphonies and sometimes a solo concerto. I almost do not listen to quartets or perhaps only once in a blue blue moon.

Although it is fine when playing pianissimo, everything becomes muddy when playing fortissimmo. The horns blur up the entire image and sometimes I cannot hear the strings at all. The cello and double bass is reduced to a noteless unmusical grumble.

Try finding a full version of Beethoven's symphony no.9(full version is 60 mins long, not the abridged one that is so common). There is a huge powerful part at the end of the last movement of the symphony where the entire choral will sing at the top of their lungs and all the strings(violin,viola,cello,double bass,etc ALL strings) will also play at their loudest possible, the entire horns section will blast away and the bass drum will pound like there is no tommorow.

At that point, it is so badly distorted the sopranos do not sound human anymore and i cannot AT ALL make out the words they ought to singing. However if you do not bother to listen out for the different instrument and just "gulp" the entire resultant sound, it is still somewhat musical and i still enjoyed the music very much, beethoven's intended feelings for the listener in that piece did shine through, but the fact remains it was heavily distorted.

3 stars- listenable, but could be better.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-9 of 9  

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