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LYRITA 6C33CB SET vs CADENCE VA 1

Wharfedale EVO4.4 Speaker

Kamal

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Hi everyone. Ive been taking a break to catch up with my reading( my other lifelong passion, apart from music).
I saw a PM from srramanujam asking for my impressions of The Lyrita s Russian 6C33CB output valve based set amp vs the Cadence VA 1 since he wants to take a decision so , for whatever its worth, here goes.
You may have read that HiFiAshok, Viren, anm, my brother Rohit (Cadence Amayas + VA 1 +Oppo 981 HD ) who is not an audiophile in the conventional sense but loves music, & myself got together one evening with the express purpose of comparing the merits of the 2 amps this being of particular interest to Viren , who has a system of getting people together for listening sessions when he develops something new, to get other points of view. He has done modifications based on such feedback several times, so he was pretty keen on this get together.
Ashok was the host , members would be familiar with his setup detailed in the threadShowcase your Aidio/Video setup -http://www.hifivision.com/my-audio-video-setup/1167-showcase-your-audio-video-setup-here-19.html.
The equipment used for the session was CDP-CEC3300R > Cadence VA 1/ Lyrita 6C33CB SET Amp ( 12 / 15 watts RMS switchable ) > Cadence Arista Mk II Electrostatic/Dynamic Hybrid speakers.
In order to tune ourselves for the session, the host laid on beer/whisky as per choice along with delicious finger food- Mrs Ashok is a very gracious host , all thanks to her for her hospitality & patience.
We heard the follg music, alternately thru the two amps-
Sara Mclachlan, Greg Brown, KD Lang, Kalpana Zokarkar, Music in a Great place ( a recording made in a cathedral in the US by Viren & a friend of his),Pink Floyd The Wall & The Dark Side of the Moon, some tracks from the Manger test disc, some Ghazal music & a selection of hindi film music. Dire Straits & Thriller-MJ.
As would be evident, the variety was fairly wide
Now for the difficult one: which amp was better?
Both the Amps are valve amps in a sense- the VA 1 is a Hybrid PushPull with a solid state Pre Amp stage with EL 34 output valves, while the Lyrita is an all Valve SET design with a switch to allow either a single plate output-12 watts, or a parallel plate output-15 watts.
(Incidentally, a mention has been made somewhere that the VA 1 is NOT a Hybrid Amp but only with a passive volume control & valve output stage.
That is not correct !
I was quite surprised by that comment & cross checked with Mr Ajay Shirke, MD of Cadence who confirmed that it is indeed a Hybrid Amp as stated in their website.)
There can be no sweeping statement either that PushPull Amps are superior or that SET Amps are better- it all depends on how well the design has been implemented & how well quality components have been matched.
Both the Amps have been well designed by designers who care a lot for their art, & are capable of giving long term joy to their owners.
The difference lies in the basic philosophy, with the proponents of SET amps placing an emphasis on the shortness of the signal path & maintaining the integrity of the musical signal as a way of extracting the maximum enjoyment of music.
Both the Amps performed well & both generated a more than adequate SPLs in the big listening room of Ashok.
It was generally agreed that the Lyrita Amp pulled out more low level detail, yielding a better musical texture and was thus more emotionally involving, e.g Dark side of the Moon which we had all heard thousands of times sounded so very moving & mesmerized us all into silence.
This difference is there even with Lyritas earlier PushPull Amps vs their SET designs.
The VA 1 , with its greater reserves of power had the edge in tracks like, for example, Money for Nothing-Dire Straits- with its explosive staccato drumming in the beginning & the waves of electric guitars & pulsating rhythms of the song, & in MJs Billie Jean which has a pervasive background foundation of the double bass. But the musicality of This Girl is Mine shone thru the SET. We noticed this time & again in the selections of music that we played.
In the end, both the owners of the VA 1 spontaneously raised their glasses to Viren, overcoming their ownership bias ,
The 6C33CB SET, at less than half the cost of the VA 1 more than held its own & was proved worthy of audition & consideration by audiophiles evaluating valve amps.
The build & basic quality of both the Amps was very good with the VA 1 better as regards fit & finish.
But when it comes to performance-
Whos better, Nadal or Federer ?
The verdict lies ( & should lie ) in the ears of the listener, there can be no absolutes.
 

mahiruha

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Hello Kamal,
nice write up. But this Nadal Vs Federer comparison isn't suitable. Samprass or Borg vs Federer should have been better. I guess Nadal is more of a runner than a tennis player who was bound to run out of steem.:)
Thanks.
 

anm

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I did enjoy the whiskey, however, I couldn't continue with the entire session due to an urgency at home, and I had to pull out midway.
Both amps sounded great. I have exp of the russian valve amp at home. I could not hear it doing anything wrong while driving my less efficient JBLs - except may be in brutal bass. If you have decently efficient speakers, I think you can't go wrong with the Lyritas. As Viren himself says, synergy of components is very important. And in case you don't like them, I am think Viren will have some deal for you.

regards
 

Kamal

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Mahi, that statement was purely rhetorical, to underscore the slim margin of difference. The artistry of Federer vs the power of Nadal, if you like !
 

heliumflight

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Kamalji you have a passion for helping everybody except me.

Your visit to my house in long over due. You had a back ache earlier so didn't bother you...

I would really be honoured.


Thank you in advance
 

buswal

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Hello Kamal,
nice write up. But this Nadal Vs Federer comparison isn't suitable. Samprass or Borg vs Federer should have been better. I guess Nadal is more of a runner than a tennis player who was bound to run out of steem.:)
Thanks.

or is it gary kasparov vs. antoly karpov or bobby fisher or viswanathan anand?

I had an opportunity to listen to viren's amp few days back. awesome amp (with both tubes on duty). I have auditioned va1 amp also more than a year back (thanks schmeler). comparing 1+ leema amp with 45 k product may not be appropriate, imho.

to satisfy people who are looking for bottom end/deep bass like me, viren is going to make two way speaker (12 inch woofer). I am eagerly waiting to listen to the same.

regds
 

GeorgeO

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I couldn't agree more with this.

George

>There can be no sweeping statement either that PushPull Amps are superior or >that SET Amps are better- it all depends on how well the design has been >implemented & how well quality components have been matched.
 

buswal

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I couldn't agree more with this.

George

>There can be no sweeping statement either that PushPull Amps are superior or >that SET Amps are better- it all depends on how well the design has been >implemented & how well quality components have been matched.

well said, george. I agree with you 100%
 

Rajiv

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Hi,

Kamal, welcome back after your hiatus. As usual a great write up.


I couldn't agree more with this.

George

>There can be no sweeping statement either that PushPull Amps are superior or >that SET Amps are better- it all depends on how well the design has been >implemented & how well quality components have been matched.

Agree 100%.

Regards
Rajiv
 

AMITNOIDA

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Hi Kamalji,

As usual very well written. I am feeling deprived for not getting chance to be present in that evening. We all have a very high regard and feeling about the decor and equipments in Mr. Ashok's place.

I had the privilage to listen to 6C33CB SET of Lyrita. The musicality was spot on.

I am thinking to pair this amp with ProAc Response 1 SC for my bedroom. I think it will not be a bad combination.

Request some first hand / authentic comment from experts.
 

suri

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Hi Kamal,

that was fantastic, and helped me put my mind in the right direction.

I cannot help mention-

Federer = peerless = rolex = swiss = in the hallowed company of mcenroe=sublime artist

but

Nadal = what is this monkey doing here?
 

GeorgeO

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I think Kamal's write up is mandatory reading for all those who are looking at making/buying valve amps. Since the numbers of these are relatively low, unless one auditions this at the mfrs place or listens to this kind of equipment one cannot make any kind of informed assessment. In addition, whiel the FR/flea powered amps are an option for some people, many others have already invested in speakers, so push pull may be the only possible option for them.

I got into valves via the push pull route, after investing initially in ss equipment, and since I was fortunate enough both to have a wife who indulged me, and and some loose change lying around, made further investments in both valve amps+ multiple speaker systems-of different sensitivity. Consequently I can enjoy different types of "cuisine" so to speak:eek:hyeah:

Cheers

George
 

vinod_david

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Kamal ji has put up a review of both tubes that no body had ever written here. He has written a well-balanced review, which I like. But, from his review, I feel that Viren's are more VFM and stunning product that everybody can afford.

I'm wondering like George said can I have 2 amps for 2 duties ? - that'd would be wonderful if all the parties are happy at my place. There is so much good news for Viren's amps here from users here.

:)
 

Asit

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Hi Kamal,

Very precise write-up. Thanks. I have heard the VA-1 and that audition did not work out well for me, as some of you may know. I am eager to hear Mahiruha's Lyrita SET when it arrives. Or, has it already arrived?

However, the confusion over the design of VA-1 still remains. You say it's not a passive pre plus output valve. At the same time you also say that it's valves at the output stage and SS pre. Usual hybrids are valve pre and SS power section, am I right? I have little knowledge on these. Somebody please help!

Regards.
 

thevortex

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Hi Kamal,

that was fantastic, and helped me put my mind in the right direction.

I cannot help mention-

Federer = peerless = rolex = swiss = in the hallowed company of mcenroe=sublime artist

but

Nadal = what is this monkey doing here?

McEnroe and Federer? A greater contrast in both playing style and temperament would perhaps not be possible:) They are two sides of the coin so to speak.

But both were natural athletes of the highest order. Federer still is.
 

mahiruha

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Hello Asit,
well It hasn't arrived yet. Viren told me the amp is ready and roaring and the speakers and the preamp with phonostage is in final stage of production. So I am hoping "Ma" as of goddes durga and the stereo system will more or less arrive at the same time.:) Hoping this puja is definitely going to be very musical for me.Not too sure how long the courier people will take to ship this 100 kg shipment by road.
Thanks.
 

thevortex

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Kamal - thanks for the comparison. That was educative and useful. How would you compare the 6CC3 SET with the 2A3 valve? I know the former are supposed to be more powerful. That apart - what are the differences that I should note, in your opinion?
 

dinyaar

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Hello Kamal,
nice write up. But this Nadal Vs Federer comparison isn't suitable. Samprass or Borg vs Federer should have been better. I guess Nadal is more of a runner than a tennis player who was bound to run out of steem.:)
Thanks.

WOW Is Nadal only a runner!!!!!!!! He can play a bit u know. He has beaten the greatest player ever more times than he has lost by using a 'bit' of skill I guess.
Am not taking a dig at u Mahiruha or suri but Nadal is something. Watch him live if u can and see the spectacle. If u play tennis try hitting the ball with that much topspin and try getting back half as many balls.
I am a federer fan big time but i cannot run down nadal at all. I mean the 'boring' clay court bully won wimbledon!!! My take is if he can (and he will) improve his serve i doubt fedex will beat him ever.
Once again i state that i am a Federer fan and my mood/day is spoilt when he loses.
Also remember Federer is brought up on swiss clay and it is not as much of a shock that he won a French as is Nadals win at wimbledon with his clay court game. There were many clay courters who would just skip wimbledon entirely and the few that played most times lost miserably. I guess the man has a tremendous 'will' and desire and has a huge heart not just a great pair of legs!!!!!
Its also unfair to compare players from different era s. Borg was great in his day but the game evolves, athletes train differently now and equipment is like rocket science these days. When Borg made a comeback (lost most of his money) he was thrashed by henri leconte.
I saw the Sampras/federer showdown in NY and federer won but IMO he was playing in 3rd gear. Speed of the Sampras serve was amazing though even after retiring from competetion.
Anyway thanks Kamal for the write up.
Rgds
 
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suri

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McEnroe and Federer? A greater contrast in both playing style and temperament would perhaps not be possible:) They are two sides of the coin so to speak.

But both were natural athletes of the highest order. Federer still is.

Ah, thevortex,

that one match between john mcenroe and bjorn borg, when the former had just reached the peak, still lingers in my memory. i think i have it on vhs tape somewhere. that was poetry in motion (mcenroe) and borg was destroyed.
it was genius, and federer, not uncommonly, puts that on display.

@ dinyaar - Nadal is a great player and a brave-heart, but it is uncommon to see him display strokes of genius. I do not know how to put this, but let me say it like this - all players at the top have what it takes, but there are some who have been unnaturally favoured by god. Bjorn borg won plenty of matches, but it would be difficult to think of him as a genius.:)
 
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