Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by Knightshade, Aug 7, 2004.
Anyone know much about 47 Labs?
Specifically the Gaincard Monoblocs?
Very highly rated by some audiophiles,especially in respect of the minimalist approach taken by the designers,in all respects.
I must add that I have no experience of them personally,although the manufacturer's website has quite a selection of useful material including reviews.
I have a friend who raves about them, low powered but incredibly musical.
I've read the reviews but with them being an American company it's difficult to find a retailer. I don't buy anything without listening to it for a couple of weeks first so you see my dilemma...?
Have to wait for a HI-Fi show somewhere I guess...
I also very rarely buy without listening,so i can understand your problems there(the only things I bought without trying first were my KMA100's but I already had a KSA100,so it wasn't too much of a problem to make the choice).
The lowish power output can be a bit of a problem if you listen at high levels,into relatively inefficient speakers,but otherwise should be ok.
The only other point about them that detracts a little is the slightly industrial quality to the finish...I know they're relatively low priced in terms of esoterica,and low powered,but many of the Chinese valve amps at lower prices put these to shame somewhat....as long as the sound quality benefits though,may be less of an issue.
Hmmmm...Food for thought.
You might want to do a search for gainclone on google, it turns out that these very highly regarded amps are actually made from very cheap, easy to assemble components (the sort of thing you can pick up in maplins). There are lots of sites dedicated to the various different construction methods which give detailed instructions on how to put one together. Might be a good way to save a couple of quid (well a couple of thousand).
Checked out what you said. Hows this? I found a chap who is about 15 miles from me who has just built 4 Gainclone's! Small world I guess. I've arranged to have a listen.
Thanks again for the help.
I'd be very interested what you think of them, any chance of a brief write-up when you've had a go?
Just come back from hearing them. When i've calmed down I'll write a few notes.
47 Labs, Gainclones. What I listened to were inverted Gainclones. I dont know the technical details but apparently according to some these are better than the standard Gaincard amps that come out of 47 labs. I cant comment as this is the first time Ive heard them. Bottom Line was this: I had some equipment he wanted to listen to and I wanted to hear the Gainclones so we combined the systems and came up with the best of both:
Test system was the following:
CHORD DAC 64
Exposure XXVII Pre
4x Gainclones (BI Amped)
On looks if you have to consider a wife forget them! They were built in (tiny) 8x 5 cases. Very plain and in black. Light as a feather. The power supplies were separate. (Home made) I suppose you could build them into anything you wanted though so you may get round the blandness. All wiring and connections within the amps were pure silver and looked well made. But still only 25 Watts A piece!! Well power isnt everything as I was soon to find out. The PMCs recommend and Amp of up to 300Watts per channel. I was naturally dubious about the Gainclones ability to drive these speakers. I shouldnt have worried. (If someone can tell me how this is possible Id be grateful For now Im just thinking everything Ive learnt so far is wrong!)
After some initial playing around getting the positioning of speakers etc right we started putting some music through them.
Tchaikovskys 1812 overture (Mercury Living Presence)
Vanessa May Toccata and Fugue
Barber Adagio for strings
Pink Floyd Brick in the wall.
After the initial warm up period and some settling in of the speakers
I started to notice the clarity of the music. During the last section of the 1812 there is a section with bells, an entire orchestra and cannons. This is usually a mega strain on any system. To recreate the dynamics of the music is quite often to complex for systems that the whole thing just sounds bad. With the Gainclones the clarity was superb, the way they handled the dynamics was very impressive. The soundstage was excellent you could easily pick out where instruments were located. The only thing that spoilt things was the slight lack of bass. The cannon shots not quite making the windows rattle as they should. The highs were superb. Crystal clear but with none of the harshness that you would associate with a bright sounding amp. These are not bright sounding. Smooth and defined is the only way to describe them.
Next up Vanessa May, Again this was slightly spoilt for me by the slight lack of Bass. But the clarity and the detail conveyed by the amps was very impressive. The whole piece sounded very alive and left you with a feeling of Goosebumps and a need to hear more. The amps added a very nice smoothness to the violin but kept the dynamics alive. I dont know how they do it with something so small. I was starting to notice less and less the slight lack of bass.
Barbers Adagio for strings came up next. Again a very nice smooth rendition, keeping the dynamics of the music alive but with none of the slightly bright sound and almost grating that Ive been subjected to with many systems. Ive always felt that this piece should be incredibly moving. Played on this system this was the most moving Ive ever heard! I could pick out individual violins in the orchestra. My Amps do this but not to the same degree. Very impressive.
Lastly Pink Floyd, Im not a huge fan of Pink Floyd but I couldnt help but become involved in the music. I know from listening before that the better your system the more childrens voices you hear. Well on this one I heard an awful lot! The feeling of the music was presented very well and all the instruments had a warm feeling. Vocals were excellent.
To sum up,
The most impressive thing of all is the detail! These were really getting something special out of the CD12. The dynamics are superb the midrange very smooth and transparent and the highs the sweetest Ive ever heard out of any amplifier. A very warm welcoming sound that invites you into the music and leaves you with a desire for more and a smile on your face. I liked these amplifiers very much. Will I be dashing out and buying some? No. They were lacking a little bit of punch in the bass department for me. Listening to my own system now I do miss the clarity of the Gainclones the exposures arent quite as good but I believe them to be better all rounders.
If all you listen to is classical music. Buy some!
Good write up knightshade, thanks a lot for that. How much did this guy spend on making these? might be tempted to give them a go at some point if they weren't too much.
Apparently the 4 MonoBloc's cost about £800 +/- £50 With various experimentation and modifying. The power (2 of) supplies £1200. Which considering he's got easily the equvilent of £7000 worth of albeit ugly amplifiers seems pretty good value to me.
Here's a very interesting page:
I'll draw your attention to the higher powered versions.
These could still be on the cards yet!
You could always have a look at diyAudio in the chip amps section. Lots of good advice, and you might see a few familiar names over there
Thanks for the link pinkmouse. Very useful
another good site for gainclones is http://gainclone.com - good forums with several uk members.
i built my gainclone around a kit from braingt -
and must say am pretty amazed with its performance - think all in i have spent probably around £70 on making a 2 channel power amp - stupidly good value considering how good it sounds....
diy audio rocks!!!
That site looks VERY interesting!
As for 47 Labs though, I thought they were Japanese. I was very impressed by their kit when I heard it at the London hifi show last year, being played through Konus Audio's diminutive single driver TL speakers.
The 47 Labs kit caught my attention because it looked identical to some of the components I saw in the backstreets of Tokyo's electronics district, Akihabara. I was shopping for speaker components at the time and was blown away by minimalist, industrial design of this tiny CD player and amp. It too was partnered with small single driver speakers (the Japs seem mad on tiny Fostex units in clever plywood enclosures) which really suited the simple, open nature of the electronics. I'm not sure if it was being sold as a 'Gainclone' kit or was a copy, or was actually the original and some opportunist has decided to market the design abroad. Good stuff though.
Seem to be American with Japanese connections. The new CD player looks interesting....
Thanks for the info.
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