SAE 2HP-D power amplifier

In 1967, in Los Angeles, Morris Kessler, with Ted and Beth Winchester, founded Scientific Audio Electronics (SAE), which enjoyed a successful run of 21 years. In addition to Kessler, Sherwood Electronics cofounder Ed Miller, as well as the legendary James Bongiorno, contributed designs. (If you don't know Bongiorno's résumé, please do a web search.) Some SAE products, particularly their big-metered power amplifiers, became objects of desire for audiophiles on the West Coast and, especially, in Japan.
Thu, 09/22/2016

Recording of October 2016: Lovers

Nels Cline: Lovers
Nels Cline, electric & acoustic guitars, lap steel, effects; Charles Pillow, C & alto & bass flutes, oboe, English horn, B-flat clarinet, alto saxophone; Steven Bernstein, Taylor Haskins, others, trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone; Julian Lage, guitar; Yuka C. Honda, celeste, Juno 60; Devin Hoff, contrabass, bass guitar; Alex Cline, drums, percussion; Kenny Wolleson, vibraphone, marimba, percussion; Michael Leonhart, arr., conductor; many others.
Blue Note 8002505102 (2 CDs). 2016. David Breskin, prod.; Ron Saint Germain, eng. DDD? TT: 90:02
Performance ****½
Sonics ****½

There's an old saying about music written for films and the stage: It's so lush and tuneful that it's almost too schmaltzy to be heard without accompanying visuals. Add to that the suspicion that many so-called "out" jazz cats—guys with outsize reputations as loud, atonal shredders of the brainiac variety, blinding talents who prefer endless effects and generally play unhinged and far away from the melody—are really, under all the noise, big softies. There you have the story of Lovers.

Thu, 09/22/2016

Shirley Horn on Resonance Records

Resonance Records has put out some of the most vital, previously unreleased (in some cases, unknown) historical jazz sessions in recent years, and the latest is one of the sweetest: Shirley Horn, Live at the 4 Queens, recorded at a now-defunct Las Vegas hotel-casino of that name in 1988. It's Horn's best live album, and one of her top few albums, period—which says a lot.
Thu, 09/22/2016

First Watt J2 power amplifier Measurements

Tue, 09/20/2016

COMMENTS
noelberkowitz's picture

I have been listening to a J2 with Audio Note AN-J HE speakers for a couple of years now and my findings are very similar to yours. the amp creates a very strong emotional connection to the music.

Joe Roberts's picture

Herb,

I should point out to readers that you were the first writer to popularize the later-to-become-iconic term "first watt" about 25 years ago.

Perhaps you are too humble to mention this...or, more likely, you totally forgot!

Ktracho's picture

Anyone know how this amp compares to First Watt F7 amp? In general, I'm not sure how one would go about picking between the different models, other than to guess how well it matches the impedance of one's speakers, but if the speakers are sufficiently high in impedance and sensitivity, then what would you gain for the extra $1000 that the J2 costs over the F7?

FritzSpeakers's picture

Hi Ktracho- For more info regarding the difference between the J2 & F7 (and the Pass SIT-1 mono blocks), check out the write up by John Richardson on all three amps with 3 different loudspeakers including Zu's Druid Mk. V, ATC's SCM 19 version 2 and my own Carbon 7SE's.
https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2016/09/09/review-j2-sit-1-and-f7-first-w...

Allen Fant's picture

Nicely done! HR.
this amp is on my must-demo list. I would have subtracted Charlie Hansen (a flake) and added Dan D'Agnostino to your list as above.

Otherwise a very good article. Happy Listening!

Les's picture

My guess is you have never listened to any Ayre products (nor even D'Agostino's for that matter). If you have, would you describe the sound as "flakey" too? Actually, logic dictates that you must, since you want him off the "Chi Masters" list. Can I safely assume that you dislike the sound of Ayre amps? Or do all designers have to align with your personal beliefs, despite the fact that they produce amazing products...

Allen Fant's picture

Sure, I have auditioned both D'Agostino and Ayre amps. Nothing inherently wrong w/ the products per se. I have seen many of CH 's comments in the various forums and he has always presented himself as a flake.

Those of us who have been in the hobby for 20+ years understand that it is "flake" laden.

Pages

First Watt J2 power amplifier Associated Equipment

Tue, 09/20/2016

COMMENTS
noelberkowitz's picture

I have been listening to a J2 with Audio Note AN-J HE speakers for a couple of years now and my findings are very similar to yours. the amp creates a very strong emotional connection to the music.

Joe Roberts's picture

Herb,

I should point out to readers that you were the first writer to popularize the later-to-become-iconic term "first watt" about 25 years ago.

Perhaps you are too humble to mention this...or, more likely, you totally forgot!

Ktracho's picture

Anyone know how this amp compares to First Watt F7 amp? In general, I'm not sure how one would go about picking between the different models, other than to guess how well it matches the impedance of one's speakers, but if the speakers are sufficiently high in impedance and sensitivity, then what would you gain for the extra $1000 that the J2 costs over the F7?

FritzSpeakers's picture

Hi Ktracho- For more info regarding the difference between the J2 & F7 (and the Pass SIT-1 mono blocks), check out the write up by John Richardson on all three amps with 3 different loudspeakers including Zu's Druid Mk. V, ATC's SCM 19 version 2 and my own Carbon 7SE's.
https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2016/09/09/review-j2-sit-1-and-f7-first-w...

Allen Fant's picture

Nicely done! HR.
this amp is on my must-demo list. I would have subtracted Charlie Hansen (a flake) and added Dan D'Agnostino to your list as above.

Otherwise a very good article. Happy Listening!

Les's picture

My guess is you have never listened to any Ayre products (nor even D'Agostino's for that matter). If you have, would you describe the sound as "flakey" too? Actually, logic dictates that you must, since you want him off the "Chi Masters" list. Can I safely assume that you dislike the sound of Ayre amps? Or do all designers have to align with your personal beliefs, despite the fact that they produce amazing products...

Allen Fant's picture

Sure, I have auditioned both D'Agostino and Ayre amps. Nothing inherently wrong w/ the products per se. I have seen many of CH 's comments in the various forums and he has always presented himself as a flake.

Those of us who have been in the hobby for 20+ years understand that it is "flake" laden.

Pages

First Watt J2 power amplifier Specifications

Tue, 09/20/2016

COMMENTS
noelberkowitz's picture

I have been listening to a J2 with Audio Note AN-J HE speakers for a couple of years now and my findings are very similar to yours. the amp creates a very strong emotional connection to the music.

Joe Roberts's picture

Herb,

I should point out to readers that you were the first writer to popularize the later-to-become-iconic term "first watt" about 25 years ago.

Perhaps you are too humble to mention this...or, more likely, you totally forgot!

Ktracho's picture

Anyone know how this amp compares to First Watt F7 amp? In general, I'm not sure how one would go about picking between the different models, other than to guess how well it matches the impedance of one's speakers, but if the speakers are sufficiently high in impedance and sensitivity, then what would you gain for the extra $1000 that the J2 costs over the F7?

FritzSpeakers's picture

Hi Ktracho- For more info regarding the difference between the J2 & F7 (and the Pass SIT-1 mono blocks), check out the write up by John Richardson on all three amps with 3 different loudspeakers including Zu's Druid Mk. V, ATC's SCM 19 version 2 and my own Carbon 7SE's.
https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2016/09/09/review-j2-sit-1-and-f7-first-w...

Allen Fant's picture

Nicely done! HR.
this amp is on my must-demo list. I would have subtracted Charlie Hansen (a flake) and added Dan D'Agnostino to your list as above.

Otherwise a very good article. Happy Listening!

Les's picture

My guess is you have never listened to any Ayre products (nor even D'Agostino's for that matter). If you have, would you describe the sound as "flakey" too? Actually, logic dictates that you must, since you want him off the "Chi Masters" list. Can I safely assume that you dislike the sound of Ayre amps? Or do all designers have to align with your personal beliefs, despite the fact that they produce amazing products...

Allen Fant's picture

Sure, I have auditioned both D'Agostino and Ayre amps. Nothing inherently wrong w/ the products per se. I have seen many of CH 's comments in the various forums and he has always presented himself as a flake.

Those of us who have been in the hobby for 20+ years understand that it is "flake" laden.

Pages

First Watt J2 power amplifier Page 2

Tue, 09/20/2016

COMMENTS
noelberkowitz's picture

I have been listening to a J2 with Audio Note AN-J HE speakers for a couple of years now and my findings are very similar to yours. the amp creates a very strong emotional connection to the music.

Joe Roberts's picture

Herb,

I should point out to readers that you were the first writer to popularize the later-to-become-iconic term "first watt" about 25 years ago.

Perhaps you are too humble to mention this...or, more likely, you totally forgot!

Ktracho's picture

Anyone know how this amp compares to First Watt F7 amp? In general, I'm not sure how one would go about picking between the different models, other than to guess how well it matches the impedance of one's speakers, but if the speakers are sufficiently high in impedance and sensitivity, then what would you gain for the extra $1000 that the J2 costs over the F7?

FritzSpeakers's picture

Hi Ktracho- For more info regarding the difference between the J2 & F7 (and the Pass SIT-1 mono blocks), check out the write up by John Richardson on all three amps with 3 different loudspeakers including Zu's Druid Mk. V, ATC's SCM 19 version 2 and my own Carbon 7SE's.
https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2016/09/09/review-j2-sit-1-and-f7-first-w...

Allen Fant's picture

Nicely done! HR.
this amp is on my must-demo list. I would have subtracted Charlie Hansen (a flake) and added Dan D'Agnostino to your list as above.

Otherwise a very good article. Happy Listening!

Les's picture

My guess is you have never listened to any Ayre products (nor even D'Agostino's for that matter). If you have, would you describe the sound as "flakey" too? Actually, logic dictates that you must, since you want him off the "Chi Masters" list. Can I safely assume that you dislike the sound of Ayre amps? Or do all designers have to align with your personal beliefs, despite the fact that they produce amazing products...

Allen Fant's picture

Sure, I have auditioned both D'Agostino and Ayre amps. Nothing inherently wrong w/ the products per se. I have seen many of CH 's comments in the various forums and he has always presented himself as a flake.

Those of us who have been in the hobby for 20+ years understand that it is "flake" laden.

Pages

Don't Play It Again, Sam!

What do Prince, David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Gato Barbieri, Phife Dawg, Frank Sinatra Jr., Keith Emerson (Emerson Lake & Palmer), Dan Hicks (Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks), Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire), Paul Kantner and Signe Toly Anderson (Jefferson Airplane), Glenn Frey (Eagles), Dale Griffin (Mott the Hoople), pianist Paul Bley, bassist Rob Wasserman, sopranos Susan Chilcott, Phyllis Curtin, and Denise Duval, countertenor Brian Asawa, composers Steven Edward Stucky and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and conductors Pierre Boulez, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gilbert Kaplan, Gregg Smith, and Royston Nash have in common? Besides the fact that all were musicians who made multiple recordings and who died in 2016, their recorded legacies rarely, if ever, get airplay at dealerships or audio shows.
Tue, 09/20/2016

First Watt J2 power amplifier

Every time a new audio technology enters the marketplace, a debate begins about its relative merit. That debate never ceases, even decades after the technology first came (and sometimes went). Turntable platters driven by belts vs rims vs idlers vs directly by their motors. Analog vs digital. Tubes vs solid-state. Triodes vs pentodes, Single-ended vs push-pull. Objectivism vs subjectivism. The power and seriousness of each of these debates has splintered our global hobby into diverse tribes, cults, and subcults—and therein lies one of the chief joys of being an audiophile: participating in cult rivalries.
Tue, 09/20/2016

Technics Event Thursday in Cambridge MA

Thursday, September 22, 6–8pm, Blink High End (129 Franklin Street, Cambridge, MA 02139) is holding a Technics presentation hosted by Bill Voss, US Business Development Manager for Technics. Bill will be demonstrating and discussing Technics' latest introductions for 2016, including the return of the iconic SL-1200GAE/G turntable, the new SU-G30 Networking Amp, the ST-G30 Music Server, and the highly acclaimed SB-C700 linear-phase, point-source loudspeakers, which Herb Reichert reviewed in our January 2016 issue, as well as the EAH-T700 headphones and OTTAVA All-In-One music system.
Tue, 09/20/2016

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