May 16, 201819367 views

5 Amps That Cost More Than Your House

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Just hearing the word audiophile can be enough to make wallets tremble in fear, and if you dig deep enough you can easily find some gear that reaches astronomical prices. The sheer variety of uber-high-end gear is quite shocking, ranging from amps that look like spaceships to amps that look like they are 100 yrs old, the common factor between all of them being wallet busting prices and goosebump-inducing audio quality.
*Note: Prices are in USD, but at these rates, it hardly matters!

1. Pivetta Opera Only - $2,200,000
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The Pivetta Opera Only is a truly ridiculous piece of gear. Part amplifier, part computer, part modern art, it is an engineering masterwork. The amp is also massive, it’s not something you’ll be placing under your TV, in fact it’s more likely you’ll have to give it a room all to itself. The asking price? Just a cool $2.2 million. If that is just slightly over budget check out the Pivetta Opera One for $650,000.
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Here's the amp in action. No touchy .
Link: www.onlycreative.it/opera-only

2. Ultrasound Otello - $600,000
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The Ultrasound Otello is not cheap at $600,000, but it is truly an engineering marvel. Thermionic tubes, and OTL with 6 transformers with adjustable polarization, with zero feedback.
Link: http://ultrasound-hifi.com/Us_wh_1/main_frame_en.html

3. Rike Audio Edzard - $490,000
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Rike Audio, a German manufacturer of high end audio products and capacitors, designed and manufactures the absolutely gorgeous Edzard monoblocks. Not only is the price astronomical at $490,000, the power supply for each block weighs an incredible 440 lbs!
Link: www.monoandstereo.com/2014/03/rike-audio-edzard-490k.html


4. Ether Audio Abbssolute Intuition - $380,000
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The Abbssolute Intuition is handmade in Bulgaria. Each Monoblock is 4 ½ feet tall and weighs nearly 900 lbs! They use Russian GM100 tubes with pure tungsten cathodes that are the largest tubes ever made for audio, making the monoblocks look like something Nikola Tesla would have invented. The price? $380,000.
Link: www.etheraudio.net/abbssolute-intuition-by-etheraudio/


5. Goldmund Telos 5000+ - $375,000
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The Goldmund Telos 5000+ is a limited edition amplifier that has an insane 5,000 watts of class-A power. The specs claim a THD of 0.0005% and frequency response of 0 Hz to 300,000 Hz, the higher frequencies being far outside of human perception. But why not make a modern marvel of audio engineering instead of just limiting yourself just to mere mortal human perception? At just $375,000 you can not only get pristine audio and massive power, but also the satisfaction of knowing you own an amp that you’ll never be able hear everything it is capable of.
Link: www.coolthings.com/goldmund-telos-5000-monster-amplifier-at-a-monster-price/

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YanboWu, carliber, and 21 others
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Good for me. An amp should NEVER cost me more than my house just as my underwear should never cost me more than my car.
Let's go back to being normal. Now where's my Edifiers?
Can't wait to play USSR anthem on them with max volume.
Teeblackgold97
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That $2.2M Amp only pushes 24W to speakers?
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Could you imagine your power bill if it did put out 24,000W, and it’s class A so it’s pulling maximum power 100% of the time.
Cokeman
Dude, I was JUST thinking about that! hahahaha
Would knock my entire block off the grid.
Hmmmm. I don't see the usual "it is cheaper on Amazon" snark.
oldgearhead
lol
MY TUBA!!!!!! I knew someone stole it.
They're nice, but can they power a pair of TR50p's?? Probably not.
I have paid and, paid handsomely but I have not received my Pivetta Opera One. Please expedite!
Should I get some beats by Dre for these? They’re really expensive headphones!
TheLennipede
Sir, I would go with Blows, cough, cough, excuse me, I meant Bose.
I wonder how many of these are crap
lets start a drop on #1 guys
Living in Singapore, it almost disturbs me to think that every entry except #1 is actually cheaper than a house here...
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Oops yes that's what I meant. Thank you!
dawo5010
Yes, my condo in Silicon Valley is only cheaper than Pivetta Opera, even the Pivetta One is only a few thousand over current asking prices;) But, I suppose you'd need be powering the Estelon Extreme's as they are also motorized (http://estelon.com/speaker/extreme/) for your Pivetta Opera's.
How much power are these bitches using?
Should be legal to kick people's asses, for those prices. Insane!
Free shipping to US only. Pftz!!! the box those ship in cost more than my system yet I don't feel the need to upgrade shit. But if someone would invite me to listen, yeah, why not. They might have good beer to drink.
Lemme test these on my m50x’s
Let's look at what an amplifier does it takes a signal and increases it's gain, I've seen amplifieres for as little as $45 dollars but now I've seen it all. As long as your unit adds nothing but gain without imparting it's own character you have a winner. Transistors Add a cold sound tubes add a warm sound . Pick one you like and purchase.
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Tazcat123
Yeah, but literally no amp is able to simply add Gain without also adding THD and other little nuances of it’s own character. That said, yes these amps are way outside the realm of reason. And I thought $200,000+ watches were crazy!
Couldn't agree more. 🐕🐕
Mark Levinson has a whole white paper on broadband audio amplifiers...
What an amp should be: "A straight wire with gain!"
Nelson Pass usually does make sense....hahahahaha; for those that know his background! Met the man many years back.
Being a sober audiophile and engineer, it's hard to know what to say, when the manufacturers give no sonic justification for these products. A 5kW class A amplifier would have to idle at 5kW, so I'm surprised it doesn't come with a toaster attachment (and crumb tray).
This article by Nelson Pass seems to make sense:
https://www.passlabs.com/press/leaving-class
An amplifier should be transparent, neither adding to or subtracting from the signal. If it comes close (with only minor audible errors) for $1500, it's a well-designed amp. I doubt any of these amps is sonically neutral (which you'd expect at such unbelievable prices), making them poorly designed.
As for response extending well beyond 300kHz, I can only quote Michael Flanders: "All the highest notes, neither sharp nor flat -- the ear can't hear as high as that! Still, I ought to please any passing bat."
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GrizzledGeezer
Haha!
Properly designed listening tests would enable us to properly evaluate the "sound" of individual componets. It would then be possible to attach meaningful specifications (as you point out in your post beloe.)
I read in TAS about symphony hall putting 12 Magies 6.0 on stage with the orchestra to augment the sound.
My dream monoblocks? Moth Audio M-304-TL
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Only one known pair sold in the U.S.
Almost killed the designer at 1200V who made them (Craig Uthus of Eddie Current). He won't make anything like this again.
The Moth Audio M-304-TL is a power amplifier in the valve amplifier category. It was manufactured from 1999 to unknown. Moth Audio web site (May 19, 2010): 35 watt single-ended class A1 no feedback interstage transformer coupled monaural amplifier.Specifications:Topology: One triode for voltage gain, transformer coupled to the output power triode. Only thermionic devices and magnetic circuits are used. No coupling capacitors and no feedback. The output power triode never leaves class A, operation and is used at half its rated plate dissipation for longer life.
  • Tubes: Four 6D22S rectifier "Svetlana" (Russian)
  • One 5Y3 rectifier "Sovtek" (Russian)
  • One 5842Q voltage gain & driver "Sylvania" (USA)
  • One 304TL output "Imac" (USA)
  • Wiring: Hand wired point to point for all circuits. Cardas solder user throughout.
  • Capacitors: Polypropylene in soybean oil for power supply circuits.
  • Output Transformers: Custom manufactured for Moth Audio Corporation.
  • User selectable: 2,4,8, & 16 Ohms.
  • Connectors: Cardas rhodium plated RCA for unbalanced input, Neutrik gold plated XLR for balanced input. Silver-plated speaker connectors.
  • Chassis: Zinc plated 18-gauge, cold rolled steel with a heavy wrinkle black powder coating. Polished and black anodized 3/16" thick aluminum top and bottom plates. Brass plaques are custom etched and filled. Indicator pins are 24K gold plated.
  • Glass Bell Jars: .25" thick hand blown Pyrex with acid etched logo.
  • Power Output: 45 watts, 5% THD @ 1kHz.
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: Less than 1% 40 - 20 kHz @ 35watts.
  • Power Supply: Low-flux leakage design using toroidal power transformers as well as toroidal inductors.
  • Frequency Response: (-3dB Points) 10Hz - 40 kHz .
  • Input Sensitivity: 1.5V for 35 watts out.
  • Input Impedance: 100k ohms unbalanced. 600 ohms balanced.
  • Power Requirements: 105 - 125 VAC 60Hz (210 - 250 VAC 50Hz.) 400 Watts.
  • Dimensions: 20"H x 15.75" W x 23" L
  • Weight: 75 Lbs.
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It’s not about watts bro, it’s about current. Remember- current kills.
krisr2005
Yup, about 10mA. You only need about 50v to get that.
If i had a few mil in the bank doing nothing i would definitely splurge on one of these. The pleasure derived from listening to a multi million dollar system must be orgasmic.
Made exclusively for old white men who can't hear past 10k.
ripsterarmy99
whys it gotta be old white men lol were not the only race or gender that does silly things. and my old ass ears are tested near perfection lol
turbomustang84
its just the stereotype, it’s predominantly them because that’s how it is in North America.
I guess the ultrasound guys can't sell even one of their amps because they can't afford a decent looking website.
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Kinda fitting for how old school those amps look.
MortalKonga
They're very firm that their amps are NOT for sale but WILL revolutionize the audio market.
If i understood correctly the opera is capable of driving 96 speakers? not that bad of an investment for a theater or concert hall.
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The big stuff. This L.A. is old, will be replaced in a couple of years, and it's really costly. A Martin Milo module (self amplified) costs around 18.000€.
Speakers, yeah throw all your dough at that, but an amplifier... This L.A. has given wonderful sound or awful sound, it has always been the knowledge of the sound technician. Edit. The L.A. is made of 6 W8LC+ and on H1 Al passive boxes made by Martin Audio. As I said old but good.
Guanaco
...Pro PA equipment are about sounding loud with ENOUGH accuracy in a reasonable price range, yes they are still expensive for its extreme high wattage output, reliability requirements and such, but how can you compare it to audiophile equipment where it is about seeking the absolute sound accuracy and where cost is no object?
Maybe you can persuade your boss to upgrade to something like this, then your saying might actually get people's attention here. https://www.cnet.com/pictures/this-dance-party-is-powered-by-a-50000-watt-hi-fi/
Will these be released in a Blue Box option soon? It is very unlikely that I shall join any drop for these because:
1. None comes with a travel case 2. None seems to be Bluetooth compatible 3. I wonder how Jim Reeves (yes I am 98 years old) would sound on these
Audiophile porn--Nothing I would want. Sound?
living fossil
What do you think?
Assplop
My bass amp stack when I played was 1,000 watts,four double 15" speaker cabinets. Except for the 45 watt tube amp I can not imagine the loudness levels. Most of these would destroy a house if played at any level.
Wallet went from trembling to becoming sentient and running down the road away from me.
Such beautiful Hifi porn... now all we need is a drop for the Pivetta Opera Only and pair of Wilson Audio WAMM.. MSRP $3 million is something I want to see on Massdrop
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That's kind of the meme though. Go to some of the major hi-fi shows, a lot of these 100,000+ dollar speaker systems sound like pure trash, at least as they set them up in the shows. Also a good way to hear Hotel California 90,000 times in one day.
ElectronicVices
I haven't heard this model. I have heard a pair of Wilsons that were around $150K. Big bold "hi-fi" sound but lacked nuance, musicality, and failed to convey emotional intent. Companies like Wilson Audio mainly caters to the "carriage trade" — people looking for expensive status symbols who really don't care about musical reproduction. You might say that it's primarily a marketing company. Personally, I would rather have a $12K pair of Monitor Audio Platinum series speakers, Cary 805 monoblock amps, a First Sound Paramount MKIII-SI Super Special Edition (S.S.E.) preamp, a Cary DMC, a full loom of Ultimate cables by High Fidelity Cables, individual platforms by Star Sound Technologies, an Audience power conditioner, Furutech NCF wall outlet with NCF carbon fiber wall plate ... all for around $100K. A system like that would make Wilson Audio sound like crap.
I wonder if they can power my Apple EarPods...
Are any of these able drive my Beats?