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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:25 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:03 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Nepean, ON, CA
A little story about some great Canadian gear.
It started like it always does, the itch, the need to upgrade....................
Did some looking around and decided to hunt down some PA-100's from Audio Design.
I had a 10a for a period of time and liked it very much, but not enough power for my application, Thiel CS3.6,
which are known to be are a fairly difficult load and not very efficient, they have a love/hate reputation, I happen to love mine.

Howard Brown who was one of the principals at Audio Design is active on Canuck, so I reached out to him some time ago, and we have been in contact ever since.

Kudos to Howard, very few people will answer questions and put up with people bugging them about something they did 40 years ago!
There are still great human beings out there, and Howard is one of them! :D

Anyway, after discussion I was pretty sure the PA's were the ticket.
I am quoting Howard from our email exchange, hope he doesn't mind!
Quote
"Final comments – When you have a pair of speakers of the quality of the Thiel CS3.6, go for it! You will soon find out if the PA100`s are up to the task. I am betting on them. Please let me know how you make out. And yes, they are designed to allow for up to 20 amps of current for peak loads"

Seems that Audio Design dealers back in the day also sold Dayton Weight electrostatics, and it was common practice the run the PA's in mono on them, a very, very difficult load............... Sounds promising.

So I locate 2 PA amps, and take them to a local shop to have them repaired/inspected/re-furbished and bench tested.
I want to be sure all was Ok before I used them on the Thiel's, as Thiel parts for the CS3.6 are very spendy.
So a month or so goes by while I work with the repair shop to decide how far to go with the repair (both required repair) and re-furbish.
I have to say Hai at Hi-Tronics here in Ottawa was great to deal with, he put up with me flip flopping on how far to go, he convinced me to do a decent job on both so they could match them ( I wanted to do just one to see if I liked it) which in hindsight is the correct way to go.

So for a very reasonable price they repaired and tested both amps, picked them up, and ran them in a test setup for an hour or so just to be safe, and liked what I heard.

Moved them to my main rig, an HTPC with Asus Xonar Essence Stx sound card ( Dual BurrBrown 24 bit DACS) direct to the amps via Cardas Neutral Reference RCA interconnects, so no preamp in the chain. I use Foobar as my front end.
Tara Labs RSC Reference Gen 2 speaker cable to the 3.6's.
Play some low volume stuff for an hour or so to let everything settle in, amps warm up and so on.
So now we start to add a little volume and some more difficult music, you know the kind, your favorites that we all evaluate equipment with.
Great midrange, smooth and detailed, no grain or glare, very good bass, solid and controlled, extended and open treble.
My wife thinks they are THE most natural sounding she has ever heard on the Thiel's, and she has sensitive hearing, she actually has been asking me to play them more often since the arrival of the PA's

Remember I have these bridged mono into a difficult load, most amps are rated 8 ohms mono, and I am driving a sub 3 ohm load............
Well they will play at any volume I require, 90db plus at my listening position measured on a crappy smartphone app.......
I worked in the audio business for 13+ years, did custom car audio back in the day, and we did pro audio sales and install, so I am not new to high SPL's and these PA's will play loud enough, that I need to back off, it becomes uncomfortable, NOT unlistenable, but uncomfortable...................
Reference Recordings Pomp and Pipes at realistic levels, very satisfying...... :lol:
No sign of stress from the amps, they stay well controlled, glare and grain free, just LOUD.
No sign of clipping, no compression of dynamics, which are good signs that an amp is beyond its limit
Oh and they are hardly warm to the touch, just above room temp, they are not space heaters by any means!
I have had, and heard a good many amps in my system, $12K dollar tube mono blocks, Moon W5, and so on, and none of them twisted my tail like the PA's do!
So if you happen across one ( or better yet 2 of them) grab them up!
40 year old amps that I am going to hang onto for good, off the upgrade train, finally.
Audio Design another great Canadian product!
So thanks to Howard and his team for great products, and Hai at Hi-Tronics for working with me getting these gems up and running.
Dave

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HTPC with Asus Xonar Essence STX HD Sound card direct into
Pair of Audio Design PA-100 bridged mono
Thiel CS 3.6
Cardas Neutral Reference 1m and 2m IC's, Argentum 2m IC's
Tara Labs Reference Gen 2 Speaker Cables


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:14 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Brampton, ON, CA
Please comment on restoration of the PA-100, what work was done? I have one that I'm not using as the transformer has gone from a hum to an occasional buzz. Also, seems like the high end has dulled over time, so the amp does need servicing if I were to run it again. Now I'm using a Bryston 2BLP and it has given back the higher frequencies end and tightened the bass, seems to also have better detail. Driving KEF 104ab (crossovers recapped about 8 years ago) speakers.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 3:21 am
Posts: 263
Location: Owen Sound, ON, CA
I am the original owner of 2 Audio Design PA100's and have been using them since October 1981. Imagine 2 of these bridged running my sound system in a University residence !!! "Turn that thing down !!!" I had 4 of these things at one time. Great amp, easy to fix. I installed handles shortly after buying them to aid moving them around.

Here's the pair handling mid and high frequency duty in my triamplified "man cave" system. I also used a Model 1 preamp as well as the 30A power amp.

Thank you,

JBLman (& Acoustat man) :D


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:03 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Nepean, ON, CA
Cyberflush:
I can only tell you they repaired the driver section in one amp and output stage in the other one, one amp had low output on one side, the other one was blowing the main fuse, and they replaced the input coupling caps in both.
I did not do a full restoration, I wasn't sure if I wanted to be that deep (dollar wise) in them.
Now I know what I have, I will probably have a full restoration done, update the RCA inputs and add an IEC power cord socket so I can make use of good power cords I have.
Have a shop do an estimate on yours, they are well worth repairing.

JBL Man.
That would be SICK!!!!!!!!!!
Great amps aren't they! :D
Dave.

_________________
HTPC with Asus Xonar Essence STX HD Sound card direct into
Pair of Audio Design PA-100 bridged mono
Thiel CS 3.6
Cardas Neutral Reference 1m and 2m IC's, Argentum 2m IC's
Tara Labs Reference Gen 2 Speaker Cables


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:14 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Brampton, ON, CA
I have had two repair techs look into this, both said the transformer is very difficult to replace and the cost would be equal but likely more than what what the amps sell for now. Then to replace other parts that add to the cost makes me wonder if it makes any sense. That's why I bought the Bryston. But I still would like to get the PA 100 going again....


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:03 pm
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Location: Nepean, ON, CA
Cyberflush.
So the transformer has to be replaced? They can fail, didn't know that, just a bunch of wire wrapped around a steel bar, I thought.
Keep an eye open for another on for parts, they pop up for sale now and again.
Dave.

_________________
HTPC with Asus Xonar Essence STX HD Sound card direct into
Pair of Audio Design PA-100 bridged mono
Thiel CS 3.6
Cardas Neutral Reference 1m and 2m IC's, Argentum 2m IC's
Tara Labs Reference Gen 2 Speaker Cables


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:59 am
Posts: 16
Location: Kitchener, ON, CA
I still regret refreshing a website one morning around 5-6am and seeing a fresh <1minute ad for a PA-100 and Yamaha C4 preamp for $50 each and not wanting to call the number that early.

I emailed right away and didn't get them. :(


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:03 pm
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Location: Nepean, ON, CA
Hi all.
If someone has manuals, scandal sheets, or ad copy, I would really love a copy to go along with amp's.
Thanks.
Dave.

_________________
HTPC with Asus Xonar Essence STX HD Sound card direct into
Pair of Audio Design PA-100 bridged mono
Thiel CS 3.6
Cardas Neutral Reference 1m and 2m IC's, Argentum 2m IC's
Tara Labs Reference Gen 2 Speaker Cables


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