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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:13 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:37 am
Posts: 741
Location: Quebec, QC, CA
Hi there Milag,

Apologies, it appears my reply didn't make it through!

I disagree with a great deal of what you have said, leaving out the issues with Pascal, who I have had virtually no dealings with, nor does it matter in the least when it comes to the sound of an amplifier.

First, I am not aware there was ever a time that Audiomat products did NOT have an authorized service centre to deal with service issues, new tubes, etc. I have always dealt with Joe DeMelo at Acoustic Technologies in Montreal, and he as always been both responsive and very professional.

In a previous comment a while back I made the case that Audiomat is a niche company geared at a laser targeted piece of the market- those that don't want to mess with preamp / poweramp combinations, don't want to fuss with calibration (biasing tubes, etc) but like very musically involving gear.

Now, I will come across as an Audiomat Kool-Aid drinker, but I drink the Clarisse brothers brew with absolutely zero shame.

I started pretty young with my first "high end" system, and over a number of years tried a ridiculous number of different combinations of integrated amplifiers and pre-amp / power-amps. (For the record I have owned Reference 3A speakers for the better part of 15 years, so that has always been a constant)

A lot of that gear was good, and I don't want to throw anyone under the bus here, but the list included a lot of the usual suspects.

The only unit that I thought really sucked was the DK Design VS1 Mk 3, which I did not like at all. Maybe I got a bum unit, who knows- many others liked that amp.

The bottom line is, once I switched to the Audiomat Prelude Reference in 2011, the constant searching came to a screeching halt.

I kept it.

There was no more messing around with pre/power combinations, interconnect cables, etc. because the Prelude sounded AMAZING and my desire to change completely disappeared. In fact, from the moment I bought it in 2011, I knew what my next amp purchase would be- the Opera Reference.

I don't think that Audiomat products are a poor value, either used or new. In addition to that, if you follow Audiomat's recommended pairing combinations, I think that the synergy involved can compound and increase the value even further.

Here's an example;

When I purchased the Prelude Reference, I was running it with a DH Labs Silver Sonic interconnect cable (a very good interconnect), and DH Labs Q-10 cables (very decent no-frills cables). I was using a pair of Reference 3A Royal Virtuoso's (Corian cabinet) as speakers with the system.

I picked up a pair of Equation 7's, which literally can be picked up for $700 - $800 used. The Prelude was supposedly voiced with Actinote cables and the Equation 7, and I can say that in my room, the Equation 7's sounded every bit as good as the extremely awesome Royal Virtuoso's which are worth four to six times as much.

I'm not suggesting the Equation's are the equal of the Royal Virtuoso's in every room / situation, but there are SERIOUS synergies if you follow Audiomat recommendations.

Another layer of improvement occurred when I switched to an Actinote MB interconnect and Actinote LA speaker cables. I know, it sounds like I'm a Mutine sales guy...I was not a believer in cables before the Actinotes, but in my system the improvement was painfully obvious. The most striking immediate change was a serious reduction in hash / increase in detail in the upper frequencies, and a noticeably bigger contrast between loud and soft passages that simply didn't exist with the DH Labs cable.

Your comment about modern high-end being fuss-free on all fronts strikes me as very applicable to actual Audiomat gear. Put in the tubes, plug it in, and listen.

That's all you need to do. Just like a guy with a transistor amp does.

That is what Audiomat is selling.

That's what I want, I've got absolutely zero interest in biasing anything or "tube rolling", which is at the very worst a bunch of guessing, and at best may offer improvement but with a decent risk of just "sounding different."

If you don't like it, that's fine, and I get the desire for control- but there are tons of brands out there that will give you the control you desire, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way Audiomat conducts themselves.

When I buy an Audiomat amp, I know it's going to sound exactly how the designers intended it, and that is a good thing, because I don't know a damn thing about designing or voicing amplifiers, but I sure do appreciate a great one when I hear it.

Also, you mentioned that you found better value in other products.

I'm genuinely curious as to what you found that was less expensive yet delivered better sound?

I'm always open to listening to new stuff, but I definitely have a bias toward French equipment it seems.

T[/quote]

Milag responds:

I appreciate your comments and glad that you are enjoying your Audiomat. You make some interesting points. You mention that Audiomat are a niche product aimed at those who want worry-free operation and simplicity. My experience differs. You also mention not caring about biasing and tube rolling. That's ok. Actually, and DO care about biasing, because if not, the amp will leave it's optimum performance and enjoyment zone as the tubes slowly (and sometimes quickly) degrade with use. This is a fact for all tube amps in general, except those which have auto bias. But with Audiomat, biasing became a nightmare if you cannot get answers from them. You mention also that you wish to hear the designers vision. Actually, I prefer designers that go for neutral sound, with as little editorialized and subjective sonic footprints. But even if you do wish to hear the Clarisses vision, it comes with a formula. You MUST get the cables (actinote) and whatever else from them, so they say. As I said before, it's their way or the highway, including "Audiomat approved" tubes.

You also stated something to the effect that service levels don't have much to do with sound. I respect your opinion, but it sure has something to do with the overall ownership experience. And paying big bucks for those toys means you should include ease of servicing in the equation, at least for me.

Finally, I feel that you assume every tube audiophile craves for ''control'' where Audiomat owners do not. The fact that some owners tube roll does not mean that it is a control thing. It may just mean that they appreciate to be given the chance to fine-tune the sound to their personnal liking and this may include minimizing the artifacts of less than ideal listening room. Something that is of course not encouraged by Audiomat the least bit. Do a quick poll, and ask any Audiomat owner ( or any owner of an integrated tube amp) if they would enjoy having at least control over biasing their amp.

Anyways, in audio everything remains so subjective, and if you enjoy the sounds and ownership of your Audiomat, I am happy for you, and thanks again for your commentary. Much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:43 am
Posts: 221
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
milag wrote:
Hi there Milag,

Apologies, it appears my reply didn't make it through!

I disagree with a great deal of what you have said, leaving out the issues with Pascal, who I have had virtually no dealings with, nor does it matter in the least when it comes to the sound of an amplifier.

First, I am not aware there was ever a time that Audiomat products did NOT have an authorized service centre to deal with service issues, new tubes, etc. I have always dealt with Joe DeMelo at Acoustic Technologies in Montreal, and he as always been both responsive and very professional.

In a previous comment a while back I made the case that Audiomat is a niche company geared at a laser targeted piece of the market- those that don't want to mess with preamp / poweramp combinations, don't want to fuss with calibration (biasing tubes, etc) but like very musically involving gear.

Now, I will come across as an Audiomat Kool-Aid drinker, but I drink the Clarisse brothers brew with absolutely zero shame.

I started pretty young with my first "high end" system, and over a number of years tried a ridiculous number of different combinations of integrated amplifiers and pre-amp / power-amps. (For the record I have owned Reference 3A speakers for the better part of 15 years, so that has always been a constant)

A lot of that gear was good, and I don't want to throw anyone under the bus here, but the list included a lot of the usual suspects.

The only unit that I thought really sucked was the DK Design VS1 Mk 3, which I did not like at all. Maybe I got a bum unit, who knows- many others liked that amp.

The bottom line is, once I switched to the Audiomat Prelude Reference in 2011, the constant searching came to a screeching halt.

I kept it.

There was no more messing around with pre/power combinations, interconnect cables, etc. because the Prelude sounded AMAZING and my desire to change completely disappeared. In fact, from the moment I bought it in 2011, I knew what my next amp purchase would be- the Opera Reference.

I don't think that Audiomat products are a poor value, either used or new. In addition to that, if you follow Audiomat's recommended pairing combinations, I think that the synergy involved can compound and increase the value even further.

Here's an example;

When I purchased the Prelude Reference, I was running it with a DH Labs Silver Sonic interconnect cable (a very good interconnect), and DH Labs Q-10 cables (very decent no-frills cables). I was using a pair of Reference 3A Royal Virtuoso's (Corian cabinet) as speakers with the system.

I picked up a pair of Equation 7's, which literally can be picked up for $700 - $800 used. The Prelude was supposedly voiced with Actinote cables and the Equation 7, and I can say that in my room, the Equation 7's sounded every bit as good as the extremely awesome Royal Virtuoso's which are worth four to six times as much.

I'm not suggesting the Equation's are the equal of the Royal Virtuoso's in every room / situation, but there are SERIOUS synergies if you follow Audiomat recommendations.

Another layer of improvement occurred when I switched to an Actinote MB interconnect and Actinote LA speaker cables. I know, it sounds like I'm a Mutine sales guy...I was not a believer in cables before the Actinotes, but in my system the improvement was painfully obvious. The most striking immediate change was a serious reduction in hash / increase in detail in the upper frequencies, and a noticeably bigger contrast between loud and soft passages that simply didn't exist with the DH Labs cable.

Your comment about modern high-end being fuss-free on all fronts strikes me as very applicable to actual Audiomat gear. Put in the tubes, plug it in, and listen.

That's all you need to do. Just like a guy with a transistor amp does.

That is what Audiomat is selling.

That's what I want, I've got absolutely zero interest in biasing anything or "tube rolling", which is at the very worst a bunch of guessing, and at best may offer improvement but with a decent risk of just "sounding different."

If you don't like it, that's fine, and I get the desire for control- but there are tons of brands out there that will give you the control you desire, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way Audiomat conducts themselves.

When I buy an Audiomat amp, I know it's going to sound exactly how the designers intended it, and that is a good thing, because I don't know a damn thing about designing or voicing amplifiers, but I sure do appreciate a great one when I hear it.

Also, you mentioned that you found better value in other products.

I'm genuinely curious as to what you found that was less expensive yet delivered better sound?

I'm always open to listening to new stuff, but I definitely have a bias toward French equipment it seems.

T


Milag responds:

I appreciate your comments and glad that you are enjoying your Audiomat. You make some interesting points. You mention that Audiomat are a niche product aimed at those who want worry-free operation and simplicity. My experience differs. You also mention not caring about biasing and tube rolling. That's ok. Actually, and DO care about biasing, because if not, the amp will leave it's optimum performance and enjoyment zone as the tubes slowly (and sometimes quickly) degrade with use. This is a fact for all tube amps in general, except those which have auto bias. But with Audiomat, biasing became a nightmare if you cannot get answers from them. You mention also that you wish to hear the designers vision. Actually, I prefer designers that go for neutral sound, with as little editorialized and subjective sonic footprints. But even if you do wish to hear the Clarisses vision, it comes with a formula. You MUST get the cables (actinote) and whatever else from them, so they say. As I said before, it's their way or the highway, including "Audiomat approved" tubes.

You also stated something to the effect that service levels don't have much to do with sound. I respect your opinion, but it sure has something to do with the overall ownership experience. And paying big bucks for those toys means you should include ease of servicing in the equation, at least for me.

Finally, I feel that you assume every tube audiophile craves for ''control'' where Audiomat owners do not. The fact that some owners tube roll does not mean that it is a control thing. It may just mean that they appreciate to be given the chance to fine-tune the sound to their personnal liking and this may include minimizing the artifacts of less than ideal listening room. Something that is of course not encouraged by Audiomat the least bit. Do a quick poll, and ask any Audiomat owner ( or any owner of an integrated tube amp) if they would enjoy having at least control over biasing their amp.

Anyways, in audio everything remains so subjective, and if you enjoy the sounds and ownership of your Audiomat, I am happy for you, and thanks again for your commentary. Much appreciated.[/quote]

Hi Milag,

Thanks for the reply and I totally respect your approach as well.

For the record I don’t think Audiomat amplifiers sound like “tubes”, they just sound super musical to me.

I’m curious what kind of gear you’ve liked better than Audiomat. You mentioned you found some other gear you liked better.

I’ve found a lot of end-stage audiophiles end up with Audiomat and then Shindo gear. The Shindo stuff is fascinating, but I haven’t had a chance to hear any of their gear yet.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:09 am 
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Posts: 741
Location: Quebec, QC, CA
Hi Milag,

Thanks for the reply and I totally respect your approach as well.

For the record I don’t think Audiomat amplifiers sound like “tubes”, they just sound super musical to me.

I’m curious what kind of gear you’ve liked better than Audiomat. You mentioned you found some other gear you liked better.

I’ve found a lot of end-stage audiophiles end up with Audiomat and then Shindo gear. The Shindo stuff is fascinating, but I haven’t had a chance to hear any of their gear yet.[/quote]


My answer !: (Milag)


I would say that the Arpège sounded very tubey, euphonic as we would say, everything basking in warmth - very much in the traditionnal old-school sound of tube amps. It did remind me of the Conrad Johnson sound of their integrateds years ago. I would call the Arpège sound very forgiving, where most music sounded very nice, but ultimately with the same sonic signature and some high-frequency roll-off a bit too soon.

My other Audiomat was a Prelude, and it was a departure of the forgiving sound and sounded less like a typical tube amp. At the very top of the Audiomat line, (other Audiomats I have listened to but not owned) the more you go up the less it sounds like tubes. But then, the same can be said of top SS amps. Top SS amps seem to sound less ''transistor" and more like the best that both tubes and SS can offer. Don't get me wrong, Audiomats are beautiful machines, like a beautiful mechanical Swiss watch that one would be proud to wear - I'll take a mechanical watch any day. But even a $5K one can't hold the candle to a $70.00 Timex for accuracy ;)

I have owned mainly "boutique" or (borderline boutique) amps except for my current one, which for the first time in maybe 20 years is giving me lot's of pleasure, and mostly fun.

Some past amps (both integrated and separates): Cary 572 monoblocks, Bel Canto REF 1000, Cayin A88-T, Sonic Frontiers Power 2, McIntosh (forgot the model number, but did not like the sound), Sim Audio Moon I-5 (on two occasions 7 years apart, two mistakes), the two Audiomats, Pathos Logos, (hybrid) Norma IPA 140. And I am missing some (Naim etc. but will stop here).

My current integrated, Yamaha AS3000, the most fun I had in years.

To answer your question, the Cary monoblocks was the best-sounding tube sound I ever had in our home - by a wide margin. But the 572 tubes got to be expensive and the amps themselves were not reliable, going through tubes faster that you can say "oh no not again?".

Best solid-state sound - Norma Audio - totally pure and neutral the way I like them. It bested my current Yamaha amp on soundstage, but I would call it equal sonically everywhere else, except maybe for bass definition, where the Yammy is just amazing on this front.

Once thing though, the Yamaha while being expensive, compares favorably with twice-the-price Accuphase very easily both on sound and build quality. Someone pointed this out to me last year with both machines on the table, open with the cover off. But mostly, this amp is such a joy to operate, and I must admit that now, I would not do without tone controls - they work in a totally different way from the ones in the 70's when they were popular. And finally, this Yam, on sonics, meets at the top, where both SS and tube sound merge to get rid of the negative aspects of both technologies. Same could be said of a lot of gear, both tube and SS, but I feel at a higher price point and with brand-name bragging rights you have to pay a premium for. Who would ever pick a top Yamaha amp over an Ayre, Simaudio or the like? I would ;)

I am a tube guy, nothing matches tubes for my enjoyment. But I went back to SS for one main reason: I only listen to my system for short periods or time, usually under 30 minutes. This is about the time most tube amps need to sound decent - Audiomat included. Could not bother with this anymore. Maybe one day in the future, but not now.

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:42 am 
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milag wrote:
Hi Milag,

Thanks for the reply and I totally respect your approach as well.

For the record I don’t think Audiomat amplifiers sound like “tubes”, they just sound super musical to me.

I’m curious what kind of gear you’ve liked better than Audiomat. You mentioned you found some other gear you liked better.

I’ve found a lot of end-stage audiophiles end up with Audiomat and then Shindo gear. The Shindo stuff is fascinating, but I haven’t had a chance to hear any of their gear yet.



My answer !: (Milag)


I would say that the Arpège sounded very tubey, euphonic as we would say, everything basking in warmth - very much in the traditionnal old-school sound of tube amps. It did remind me of the Conrad Johnson sound of their integrateds years ago. I would call the Arpège sound very forgiving, where most music sounded very nice, but ultimately with the same sonic signature and some high-frequency roll-off a bit too soon.

My other Audiomat was a Prelude, and it was a departure of the forgiving sound and sounded less like a typical tube amp. At the very top of the Audiomat line, (other Audiomats I have listened to but not owned) the more you go up the less it sounds like tubes. But then, the same can be said of top SS amps. Top SS amps seem to sound less ''transistor" and more like the best that both tubes and SS can offer. Don't get me wrong, Audiomats are beautiful machines, like a beautiful mechanical Swiss watch that one would be proud to wear - I'll take a mechanical watch any day. But even a $5K one can't hold the candle to a $70.00 Timex for accuracy ;)

I have owned mainly "boutique" or (borderline boutique) amps except for my current one, which for the first time in maybe 20 years is giving me lot's of pleasure, and mostly fun.

Some past amps (both integrated and separates): Cary 572 monoblocks, Bel Canto REF 1000, Cayin A88-T, Sonic Frontiers Power 2, McIntosh (forgot the model number, but did not like the sound), Sim Audio Moon I-5 (on two occasions 7 years apart, two mistakes), the two Audiomats, Pathos Logos, (hybrid) Norma IPA 140. And I am missing some (Naim etc. but will stop here).

My current integrated, Yamaha AS3000, the most fun I had in years.

To answer your question, the Cary monoblocks was the best-sounding tube sound I ever had in our home - by a wide margin. But the 572 tubes got to be expensive and the amps themselves were not reliable, going through tubes faster that you can say "oh no not again?".

Best solid-state sound - Norma Audio - totally pure and neutral the way I like them. It bested my current Yamaha amp on soundstage, but I would call it equal sonically everywhere else, except maybe for bass definition, where the Yammy is just amazing on this front.

Once thing though, the Yamaha while being expensive, compares favorably with twice-the-price Accuphase very easily both on sound and build quality. Someone pointed this out to me last year with both machines on the table, open with the cover off. But mostly, this amp is such a joy to operate, and I must admit that now, I would not do without tone controls - they work in a totally different way from the ones in the 70's when they were popular. And finally, this Yam, on sonics, meets at the top, where both SS and tube sound merge to get rid of the negative aspects of both technologies. Same could be said of a lot of gear, both tube and SS, but I feel at a higher price point and with brand-name bragging rights you have to pay a premium for. Who would ever pick a top Yamaha amp over an Ayre, Simaudio or the like? I would ;)

I am a tube guy, nothing matches tubes for my enjoyment. But I went back to SS for one main reason: I only listen to my system for short periods or time, usually under 30 minutes. This is about the time most tube amps need to sound decent - Audiomat included. Could not bother with this anymore. Maybe one day in the future, but not now.

Cheers![/quote]

Hi Milag,

Very interesting- it sounds like you may have a soft spot for Japanese equipment!

I just came back from Japan and Accuphase was absolutely everywhere. I had a chance to listen to a number of models, but the way they were set up (selector switches with as many as 40 pairs of speakers in one room) was very suboptimal so I have no idea what I was hearing!

I stopped by at Shindo Labs but it was the traditional New Year's holiday time so most businesses were shut down, and I didn't get a chance to go back...next time for sure! Japan is quite a place for audio, though huge department stores will carry tons of high end gear which is way different than here. One place I really want to visit next time is EIFL Corp in Fukushima, who are building a vintage audio museum and do a lot of work restoring ancient Western Electric drivers.

Agreed that the Arpege sounds the most "tubey". I've never owned the Arpege, but owned the Prelude and now the Opera.

Previously, I had a variety of gear including a Copland 301 / Simaudio W5 combo which was simply overkill for my room at the time, but fun to listen to. (I do not miss the hassle of separates)

I went through just about every integrated imaginable, as well as some other separates.

My first ever "audiophile" system was a Rega P3, YBA Intégré (I believe William Andrea designed this), and a cheap pair of Paradigm Atom's. It was a nice little system, and it was made much nicer when I was able to score an original pair of French made 3A MM's for $600, which sounded absolutely ridiculously awesome.

I haven't heard much Cary Audio stuff though I know they have a dedicated following.

If I had to pick a few favorites from everything I've owned, I think the Vecteur i4 integrated amplifier (designed by Willliam Andrea- the guy is a genius, if I ever meet him I will be a 100% fanboy) was my favourite bang for buck component ever. The build quality was astounding, and it sounded fantastic, any sins it committed were of omission only- it had a very well designed power supply (a hallmark of Andrea designs) and I'm sure that was a key source of its awesomeness.

The Dynaco A25 speaker can sound outrageously good as well with proper amplification, and for someone starting out they are totally affordable.

In terms of digital, I think the Monarchy Audio NM24 is an incredibly special piece of gear. C.C. Poon is an absolute genius at getting the most for the least out of a digital signal. The thing has been in production for nearly a decade. He has designed multiple DAC's that stand the test of time- who else can claim that? Pretty much nobody.

I've always had a soft spot for French equipment for whatever reason, as my speakers have been Reference 3A's for a VERY long time as well- 3a MM, Reference 3a Suprema (which are outrageously good but overkill in an apartment), back to the 3a MM, then Reference 3a Master Control, and now Reference 3a Royal Virtuoso. (I also had the Equation 7's as mentioned earlier)

I definitely got a bit off topic here...


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:25 am 
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I don't see much love for Pascal Ravach/ the one man operation/ mutine on this thread. I can't comment on after sale service or tube replacement issues as I don't own Audiomat gear myself. And I know that the man had a dedicated purist aproach to sound reproduction, had no patience for tire kickers, bargain hunters, and for dealers who would not set up "his" gear in the proper environment, that is: the way he saw fit. In a sense, he is a bit like Steve Jobs, someone with a very very clear vision on how to reach his goal, in this case: music reproduction, -and is not willing to compromise about it. Annoying for tinkerer, for sure, but great for people who just want reliable results.

For example, at Salon Son & Image, in 2006 or 2007 I believe, you could only enter the Mutine listening room at fixed time and listen to the gear after a short exposé by PR. Some found that annoying as hell but I remember that room as best of show that year.

I only met the guy once, 10 years ago, but he was very generous of his time with me, open minded, curious and courteous. I called regarding a dac at the time. He inquired about my gear and musical taste, was intrigued by my equipment which he hadn't heard and invited me to bring it to his place of business so we could compare relative performance. So one day I came with amp and preamp under tow (Anthem Amp-2 and Pre-2L) and spent one full afternoon comparing relative merits and listening to Audiomat/Equation gear. I can attest to the near maniacal attention he deployed to assure perfect condition for each piece of equipment we compared and moved around. Same signal and AC cable (model and length), same cable management, same surface for the equipment and cable to rest on, similar positions relative to speakers, rest time after manipulating cable, wait time before critical listening and so on.

All those attentions took time but the results achieved in his listening room were just fantastic. My gear sounded better than usual and the Audiomat gear of similar value somewhat better. He then proceeded to go up the chain and we could clearly see the improvement with each model up the line.

His higher end gear, in his room, conveyed emotions and sense of scale like nothing else. To this day, it is among the best I've heard. We discussed recordings, the state of the industry, music, art, and other related subjects. He never inquired about my intention to buy anything. Just two audiophile and music lover chatting. I've learned a lot from this encounter and went on a quest for true musicality regarding audio equipment at different price point, experimenting with Mapletree Audio, Leben integrated, Ampex 6973 monoblocs, and so on.

All of this to say that while the guy is indeed "special" and might conduct his business in a somewhat rigid manner, he is a true audiophile, a music lover, can be generous of his time, ans a true gentleman.

He was to me that day !


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:35 pm 
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ludiqueman wrote:
I don't see much love for Pascal Ravach/ the one man operation/ mutine on this thread. I can't comment on after sale service or tube replacement issues as I don't own Audiomat gear myself. And I know that the man had a dedicated purist aproach to sound reproduction, had no patience for tire kickers, bargain hunters, and for dealers who would not set up "his" gear in the proper environment, that is: the way he saw fit. In a sense, he is a bit like Steve Jobs, someone with a very very clear vision on how to reach his goal, in this case: music reproduction, -and is not willing to compromise about it. Annoying for tinkerer, for sure, but great for people who just want reliable results.

For example, at Salon Son & Image, in 2006 or 2007 I believe, you could only enter the Mutine listening room at fixed time and listen to the gear after a short exposé by PR. Some found that annoying as hell but I remember that room as best of show that year.

I only met the guy once, 10 years ago, but he was very generous of his time with me, open minded, curious and courteous. I called regarding a dac at the time. He inquired about my gear and musical taste, was intrigued by my equipment which he hadn't heard and invited me to bring it to his place of business so we could compare relative performance. So one day I came with amp and preamp under tow (Anthem Amp-2 and Pre-2L) and spent one full afternoon comparing relative merits and listening to Audiomat/Equation gear. I can attest to the near maniacal attention he deployed to assure perfect condition for each piece of equipment we compared and moved around. Same signal and AC cable (model and length), same cable management, same surface for the equipment and cable to rest on, similar positions relative to speakers, rest time after manipulating cable, wait time before critical listening and so on.

All those attentions took time but the results achieved in his listening room were just fantastic. My gear sounded better than usual and the Audiomat gear of similar value somewhat better. He then proceeded to go up the chain and we could clearly see the improvement with each model up the line.

His higher end gear, in his room, conveyed emotions and sense of scale like nothing else. To this day, it is among the best I've heard. We discussed recordings, the state of the industry, music, art, and other related subjects. He never inquired about my intention to buy anything. Just two audiophile and music lover chatting. I've learned a lot from this encounter and went on a quest for true musicality regarding audio equipment at different price point, experimenting with Mapletree Audio, Leben integrated, Ampex 6973 monoblocs, and so on.

All of this to say that while the guy is indeed "special" and might conduct his business in a somewhat rigid manner, he is a true audiophile, a music lover, can be generous of his time, ans a true gentleman.

He was to me that day !


I think the man's passion, as an audiophile and strong believer in his products is not in question. But in my view, he is above all, a promoter.
If you wish to obtain business success in the marketplace, you do have to make some compromises in dealing with everyone in the ecosysystem, and also respect that their way of doing things may also be the right way, or else you end up playing solitaire if you wish to keep the deck of cards all to yourself ;)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:55 pm 
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milag wrote:
ludiqueman wrote:
I don't see much love for Pascal Ravach/ the one man operation/ mutine on this thread. I can't comment on after sale service or tube replacement issues as I don't own Audiomat gear myself. And I know that the man had a dedicated purist aproach to sound reproduction, had no patience for tire kickers, bargain hunters, and for dealers who would not set up "his" gear in the proper environment, that is: the way he saw fit. In a sense, he is a bit like Steve Jobs, someone with a very very clear vision on how to reach his goal, in this case: music reproduction, -and is not willing to compromise about it. Annoying for tinkerer, for sure, but great for people who just want reliable results.

For example, at Salon Son & Image, in 2006 or 2007 I believe, you could only enter the Mutine listening room at fixed time and listen to the gear after a short exposé by PR. Some found that annoying as hell but I remember that room as best of show that year.

I only met the guy once, 10 years ago, but he was very generous of his time with me, open minded, curious and courteous. I called regarding a dac at the time. He inquired about my gear and musical taste, was intrigued by my equipment which he hadn't heard and invited me to bring it to his place of business so we could compare relative performance. So one day I came with amp and preamp under tow (Anthem Amp-2 and Pre-2L) and spent one full afternoon comparing relative merits and listening to Audiomat/Equation gear. I can attest to the near maniacal attention he deployed to assure perfect condition for each piece of equipment we compared and moved around. Same signal and AC cable (model and length), same cable management, same surface for the equipment and cable to rest on, similar positions relative to speakers, rest time after manipulating cable, wait time before critical listening and so on.

All those attentions took time but the results achieved in his listening room were just fantastic. My gear sounded better than usual and the Audiomat gear of similar value somewhat better. He then proceeded to go up the chain and we could clearly see the improvement with each model up the line.

His higher end gear, in his room, conveyed emotions and sense of scale like nothing else. To this day, it is among the best I've heard. We discussed recordings, the state of the industry, music, art, and other related subjects. He never inquired about my intention to buy anything. Just two audiophile and music lover chatting. I've learned a lot from this encounter and went on a quest for true musicality regarding audio equipment at different price point, experimenting with Mapletree Audio, Leben integrated, Ampex 6973 monoblocs, and so on.

All of this to say that while the guy is indeed "special" and might conduct his business in a somewhat rigid manner, he is a true audiophile, a music lover, can be generous of his time, ans a true gentleman.

He was to me that day !


I think the man's passion, as an audiophile and strong believer in his products is not in question. But in my view, he is above all, a promoter.
If you wish to obtain business success in the marketplace, you do have to make some compromises in dealing with everyone in the ecosysystem, and also respect that their way of doing things may also be the right way, or else you end up playing solitaire if you wish to keep the deck of cards all to yourself ;)


I disagree with this. You seem to be implying that Pascal needs to be nicer. Who appointed you the wizard of business advice? People can act in whatever manner they choose- if you don't like it, don't do business with them.

I have a business, and I suppose that makes me a promoter too- but I only promote things I'm truly passionate about, and my loyalty cannot be bought for any amount of money. I don't think its a stretch of the imagination to think the same can be true of Pascal or anyone else who believes in what they are doing.

It is perfectly acceptable in business to target specific customers to your endeavor, while passively or actively repelling those who you don't want as customers. I'm sorry but the 80/20 rule applies here. You can easily spend 80% of your time fielding inquiries from people who drive zero revenue, and if you don't want to do it, it's absolutely your prerogative as a business.

Everyone has the right to decide how they spend their time. It's not like Mutine hides this- they are very up front about it. If you don't like that service approach, go somewhere else!

You have previously stated Audiomat products are not good value (I disagree ten thousand percent). Just take a gander at ANY issue of Stereophile of the past 30 years and see some of the ridiculously expensive equipment that gets reviewed on a regular basis. There are MUCH softer targets to pick on than Audiomat when it comes to "value for money."


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:17 pm 
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Milag wrote:

I think the man's passion, as an audiophile and strong believer in his products is not in question. But in my view, he is above all, a promoter.
If you wish to obtain business success in the marketplace, you do have to make some compromises in dealing with everyone in the ecosysystem, and also respect that their way of doing things may also be the right way, or else you end up playing solitaire if you wish to keep the deck of cards all to yourself ;)[/quote]


T-Dogg wrote:

I disagree with this. You seem to be implying that Pascal needs to be nicer. Who appointed you the wizard of business advice? People can act in whatever manner they choose- if you don't like it, don't do business with them.

I have a business, and I suppose that makes me a promoter too- but I only promote things I'm truly passionate about, and my loyalty cannot be bought for any amount of money. I don't think its a stretch of the imagination to think the same can be true of Pascal or anyone else who believes in what they are doing.

It is perfectly acceptable in business to target specific customers to your endeavor, while passively or actively repelling those who you don't want as customers. I'm sorry but the 80/20 rule applies here. You can easily spend 80% of your time fielding inquiries from people who drive zero revenue, and if you don't want to do it, it's absolutely your prerogative as a business.

Everyone has the right to decide how they spend their time. It's not like Mutine hides this- they are very up front about it. If you don't like that service approach, go somewhere else!

You have previously stated Audiomat products are not good value (I disagree ten thousand percent). Just take a gander at ANY issue of Stereophile of the past 30 years and see some of the ridiculously expensive equipment that gets reviewed on a regular basis. There are MUCH softer targets to pick on than Audiomat when it comes to "value for money."[/quote]

Milag responds:


Well, I surely do not consider myself a business wizard. But I am entitled to my opinion, just like you are, this being an open forum. I wish however that you did not resort to insulting remarks in protecting Mr.Ravach. The truth is, I have been earning my living as a business advisor and consultant for the past, oh, 30 years. Still, this does not qualify me as a wizard. But I am opiniated on the topic of business practices, From a strick audiophile and consumer point of view, I did pony-up and spent good money for two Audiomat amplifiers. If you have paid any attention to my previous postings, I did say that they were well made and beautifull objects. What you have trouble accepting is that as an Audiomat owner, I had next to zero service. And that the Audiomat dealer network was never a success (most jumped ship) and I offered some reasons why. And it was not because the gear was not good or not even very seductive. (I wrote: Audiomats are beautiful machines, like a beautiful mechanical Swiss watch that one would be proud to wear). I dont hate the guy, (PR) he was generous with me too before I purchased my first Arpège at full retail. But you seem to defend the very subjective ways of his conducting his business.

Reading your comments is pretty incredible from a business point of view. If I am an unsatisfied client, you can either be a good listener, acknowledge ar least part of the responsabilty, then try to somehow fix things. The easy way out is of course to blame the client for being wrong, and insult him by implying that he is not in the company's "target market" and if I'm not happy I can just take my business elsewhere ! If this is how you run YOUR business?

Your previous comment specifically imply this attitude when you wrote: "It is perfectly acceptable in business to target specific customers to your endeavor, while passively or actively repelling those who you don't want as customers "

When you have next to zero market share in any market, and especially in the very thin slice of high-end kilobuck integrated amplifier sector, and made even thinner by selling tubed products, there is a limit to this '' passively or actively repelling those you don't want as customers" , if you wish to have success in the marketplace that is.

My opinions are those of first-hand experience as a customer mainly, but of course biased professionally as to sometimes analyze why things happen and if there are lessons to be learned by everyone in the food chain, manufacturer, dealer, consumer. And even forum participants (including myself) if the shoe fits ;)

Audiomat make great products. The fact that I think that they are not particularly good value can be said of many other audio manufacturers out there. It is all subjective, but not completely so.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:25 am 
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From what I understand the OP wish is:
Please feel free to share your experience with these wonderful amps, especially if you have had one re-tubed or are able to share any knowledge in the effort to demystify these amps and educate other folks on how to keep them running the way they were intended.

Let us just go back to the main topic.

I got a used Prelude Reference (from a great seller here in CAM) which sounds awesome and made me a new Audiomat fanboy.. The tubes installed are 3 EH 12ax7 and EH EL34 (with Tubestore label). The amp came refreshed (parts replacement/new tubes) from the authorized Canadian service center (Acoustic Technologies) which means long years of maintenance free service. Its safe to say this amp will stay with me for a long time unless another higher up in the hierarchy Audiomat amp comes along with a great price to pass up. Tried many SS/tube amps before, but the total listening experience from Audiomat Prelude is something special indeed.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:03 pm 
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bluejeans wrote:
From what I understand the OP wish is:
Please feel free to share your experience with these wonderful amps, especially if you have had one re-tubed or are able to share any knowledge in the effort to demystify these amps and educate other folks on how to keep them running the way they were intended.

Let us just go back to the main topic.

I got a used Prelude Reference (from a great seller here in CAM) which sounds awesome and made me a new Audiomat fanboy.. The tubes installed are 3 EH 12ax7 and EH EL34 (with Tubestore label). The amp came refreshed (parts replacement/new tubes) from the authorized Canadian service center (Acoustic Technologies) which means long years of maintenance free service. Its safe to say this amp will stay with me for a long time unless another higher up in the hierarchy Audiomat amp comes along with a great price to pass up. Tried many SS/tube amps before, but the total listening experience from Audiomat Prelude is something special indeed.


The OP is asking for us to share their experience with Audiomat. I have already posted a few times that they were great amps. Then one person tells us about a certain dissatisfaction with not being able to bias the amp. Then another person informs us of not getting response from Mutine. And that Ravach has been out for a decade maybe. Then I chime-in with my experience on a personnal level only to wake-up the white knight in shining armour rushing-in to defend the honour of Mutine!

For me, the experience of owning an expensive amplifier is larger than the product itself and larger than the sound too.

But if we wish to restrict and limit the discussion to sound only, no problem. They sound great.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:34 pm 
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milag wrote:
bluejeans wrote:
From what I understand the OP wish is:
Please feel free to share your experience with these wonderful amps, especially if you have had one re-tubed or are able to share any knowledge in the effort to demystify these amps and educate other folks on how to keep them running the way they were intended.

Let us just go back to the main topic.

I got a used Prelude Reference (from a great seller here in CAM) which sounds awesome and made me a new Audiomat fanboy.. The tubes installed are 3 EH 12ax7 and EH EL34 (with Tubestore label). The amp came refreshed (parts replacement/new tubes) from the authorized Canadian service center (Acoustic Technologies) which means long years of maintenance free service. Its safe to say this amp will stay with me for a long time unless another higher up in the hierarchy Audiomat amp comes along with a great price to pass up. Tried many SS/tube amps before, but the total listening experience from Audiomat Prelude is something special indeed.


The OP is asking for us to share their experience with Audiomat. I have already posted a few times that they were great amps. Then one person tells us about a certain dissatisfaction with not being able to bias the amp. Then another person informs us of not getting response from Mutine. And that Ravach has been out for a decade maybe. Then I chime-in with my experience on a personnal level only to wake-up the white knight in shining armour rushing-in to defend the honour of Mutine!

For me, the experience of owning an expensive amplifier is larger than the product itself and larger than the sound too.

But if we wish to restrict and limit the discussion to sound only, no problem. They sound great.


I agree.

The are more modern no worries tube amps with tube autobiasing and protections ( against dc , etc.). Primaluna is an example.

Sure Audiomat amps sound great, but you have to be ready to put some more care in them just like owning an old house or an old VW car.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:51 pm 
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Its not only Audiomat but all tube gears require maintenance and TLC from time to time like power tubes replacement every 2 years or so under normal use. It is widely discussed over the net and the general consensus is that auto-bias and protection circuits limit the dynamic range of the tube and thus not giving the best possible sound. Its like driving a car - a manual offers better control over an automatic transmission.
For those who have back ground in electronics and long experience in using tube amps, owning an Amp like Audiomat is a pleasure and not an inconvenience at all :D


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:12 pm 
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bluejeans wrote:
Its not only Audiomat but all tube gears require maintenance and TLC from time to time like power tubes replacement every 2 years or so under normal use. It is widely discussed over the net and the general consensus is that auto-bias and protection circuits limit the dynamic range of the tube and thus not giving the best possible sound. Its like driving a car - a manual offers better control over an automatic transmission.
For those who have back ground in electronics and long experience in using tube amps, owning an Amp like Audiomat is a pleasure and not an inconvenience at all :D


Please gimme a break BJ ! Lot's of great tube amps have auto-biasing and sound just wonderfull. With the two Audiomats I once owned, not being able to perform a simple bias was a major inconvenience for me. Maybe you think biasing is to be done only twice a year? And when I needed it, or needed to get the tubes that Mutine insisted you use, it was a total major pain. I don't mind that you wax lyrical about AudioM or Mute-in but let's call a cat a cat please!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:54 pm 
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On the positive note, I've tried several new production 12 ax7s which did not change the sound signature of the amp.
By the way, has anybody found schematic diagrams of Audiomat amps on the net?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:15 am 
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bluejeans wrote:
On the positive note, I've tried several new production 12 ax7s which did not change the sound signature of the amp.
By the way, has anybody found schematic diagrams of Audiomat amps on the net?


On a positive note, if Audiomat don't want you to do simple biasing yourself, and not let you choose the common replacement power tubes yourself, does it sound like a company that would publish schematic diagrams of their amplifiers?

Those are probably locked-up in a safe situated in the basement of an unknown croissant bakery somewhere in an old village France ! :wink:


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