McAlister Audio SE 44 SET AMP Amplifiers

McAlister Audio SE 44 SET AMP Amplifiers 


Amazing single ended amplifier. Pure class A tube amp design. Uses 0 global feedback for a very open soundstage. Extremely fast design using horizontal output tubes that have lower harmonic distortion than 811, 300B ,6550, EL34 etc and are more efficient than 300B’s. Minimalist design using point to point wiring. The amp gives world class sound for very low dollars.


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[Aug 13, 2014]

McAlister preamp and headphone amplifier MA12 and single ended Class A MA 44 amp.

There is a negative review out there that I feel does great injustice to Peter McAlister's products. His custom built amplifiers are of a different order of magnitude higher than any mass produced amps that I have been able to afford. Yes, with enough money there are certainly better offerings. But at a price range anywhere near his prices McAlister Audio is superior in construction and audio quality. For example...he builds his own hand-wound transformers, point-to-point soldering (no circuit boards) and he utilizes inexpensive tubes in his designs
This is one reason why some people are hesitant to purchase his equipment.....they think cheap tubes equals poor quality sound. Hogwash! I have been into 300b amps for years and a good pair of tubes runs from $250--$450 or more, yet the quality improvement is quite subtle and nowhere near the level of a simple upgrade in film capacitors will produce. You can replace the tubes he uses for $6. bucks a pop.
One positive outcome is that in the used components in e-bay, or Canuk Audio Mart, his products are a steal. I picked up his MA 44 for a grand.
The MA 12 pre-amp and headphone amp have been upgraded in this last year, in fact he added a very cool remote control and a few other upgrades. It's clean, fast, detailed, and is not "tuby" sounding as older classical units can be. And that quality holds true in the headphone output as well. With good sounds gorgeous. I would like to add that the 22 watts a side drives my mid-efficiency Magnepans superbly when I have a powered subwoofer, with one caveat...I have a smallish living room about 400 square feet and at half volume I have the neighbours pounding at my door. But if you live in a very large room I suppose that a larger amp may be required.
The matching MA 44 is well described in the other review and of course the preamp and power amp are perfectly matched and look beautiful together.
Overall rating I give it a 4 only because I know if you have unlimited cash to through around there are superior products to be had.

I have been an audiophile for over 30 years and have been into tubes for at least 20 of those years and I can't remember how many amps I have traded, but the list included the standards like Audio Research Company etc.

[Dec 06, 2006]
Audio Enthusiast


Amazingly detailed, yet warm sound.

Extremely fast.

H u g e soundstage.

Totally real high end. Cymbals will shock you.

Awesome bass.

Crazy low price for world class performance.

7000 + tube life, and very inexpensive to retube.

On and on.


Powersupply gives an audible hum.

Underground cosmetics. Some may find negative, I find a plus. It has shock value.

Always back ordered due to the underground community catching on.

I just absolutely love this Set amp.

It removes a layer most amps leave behind.

It is what digital amps can only dream of being.

Fantastic speed is evident in how bells and chimes are revealed.

There is a total absence of grit, grime, or artificial edge. This leads to a bit of a laid back presentation. Not boring at all. It just does not wack you over the head unless called for. So industrial rockers may not like this amp. It is too clean.

The tonal balance leans to the clean and clear, yet with some wonderful warmth. This is not a golden glow boy like perhaps Conrad Johnson. Just beautiful music.

Very wide and deep soundstage, with excellent localization of instruments. I was worried about this since it has 4 output tubes per channel. Well, it images good enough for me, and imaging is a top priority in my books. I want a real, life sized, performance before me. Otherwise, why bother?

The top end just shimmers with life.

Bass is excellent as well. Is this a Set I am listening to, I ask myself?

This amp made my Hornshoppe Wannabes sound like some sort of electrostat, Avant Guard, monsters.

I am drawn into the music and amazed by the amount of music previously missing, like subtle details, spacial cues, etc.

It comes closer than any other amp I have had to recreating the recordings we have produced for our record label.

Oh, and it sports a powerhouse 22 watts. Got to like that if you are a set guy.

In 25 years of high end audio there are a few events that stand out as milestones. One was my Oracle/Alphason 1000S arm, with Electro Research EK1 strain guage cartridge, and Electron Kinetics Eagle 7A amp, driving Acoustat Model 3's. There were others as well.

This McAlister SE 44 is another one of those milestones. That coupled with the GR Research OB 5 speakers takes my breath away.

You can see the SE 44 in action in the picture link above. It's on top of the audio rack. On the bottom shelf is it's massive power supply. The speaker is the GR Research OB 5 that were just given birth.

I have not been this excited about listening to music for a long time.

Here is the McAlister web site:

Here is GR's site:

If this is not one of the very best amps I have experienced, then I don't know what is.

It gets my highest praise. Thank you for Mr. McAlister for making such high end affordable.


Similar Products Used:

Sun 300B - highly modified.

CR Developemnets Kalipso

Conrad Johnson MV 55

Classe DR2

Electron Kinetics Eagle 7A

Manley Stingray

Jadis Orchestra

Classe 70

Moon W5

Pass Labs Aleph 5

Others, etc.

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