Mystère pa21 Amplifiers

Mystère pa21 Amplifiers 


  • Power: 55Watts x 2 @ 8Ohm 1%thd
  • Freq. Response: 9hz-52khz +/- 1db @ 40w
  • Distortion: 0.2% @ 1W, 1% @ full power
  • Inputs: 1 pair RCA
  • Outputs: 4 & 8 Ohm 5-way speaker terminals


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[Sep 01, 2016]

What a surprise! After 35 years of ARC and VTL tube gear, typically with planars, on a pair of floorstanding, undemanding Sonus Faber speakers hooked up an old Dyna while an ARC 6550 amp was being re-tubed - I was reminded how sweet and holographic EL34 tubes can be. At this stage I realized I was willing to trade some dynamic performance to obtain more musical involvement - more about enjoying the music than being admiring of the performance. Thus began a search for a new tube type amp other than the 6550's I've used since the mid 1980's.

After a bit of research and listening to a number of higher end amps ($10/20k) with KT120 and KT150 tubes, just walked away un-involved. Decided to limit my search to low wattage amps - less that 60 watts, but decided that I likely would not be happy long term limited to the 5/15 watts of typical 300b SE amps. There are a number of push pull amps that originally used 300b's, but typically the manufacturers of those products have converted over to KT88's.

At any rate, in spite of a less that glowing review of this amp by Dick Olsner - of who I am in extremely high regard, I obtained an amp from Upscale Audio, a wonderful source of tubes and tube information. I obtained the amp due to its ability to use EL34's in spite of the fact that it came with KT88's - figuring I'd spend some time giving those a try first and having some El34 Mullards I had on hand to roll in.

After a few days with the KT88's - clearly not yet broken in - I appreciated the balance compared to 6550s, but something wasn't there which was in the Dyna's. I then rolled in the well used EL34's and amazing - there really was magic... I'm very, very pleased. The amps self bias, a wonderful update. A side switch lets the user select side which bias setting/tubes to use, and the amps take care of the rest - I certainly won't miss testing and adjusting bias manually.

The amps may not be great for every user - system interactions surely come into play. The amp is running on efficient 4ohm speakers, and 55 watts @ 8ohm may not be enough current for many speakers, in fact other speakers that I own, but if your speakers are 90dB or higher and don't need an arc welder to drive them, these may be for you.

Music type may be relevant too. Certainly favors acoustic cuts. If you want to hear Leon Redbone actually plucking the banjo, or hear how amazing Paul Simon or Sam Cook can sound, this amp may be for you - rockers and electronic lovers may want to look elsewhere - although the drum kit on Whole Lotta Love sounds as good as I've ever heard it...

Although I was prepared to spend a very good bit more, glad I didn't need to. If any of the above changes over time, I'll edit or re-post, but for the moment, I'm a very happy camper.

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