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Aspen SAKSA85 amplifier


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Guest Muon N'

Just thought I would do a mini review on the above amp that I got from Hugh for a friends system.

 

Firstly, Hugh is awesome to deal with, a good guy if ever there was one. Thanks, Hugh :thumb: It's a compact little beasty in the supplied case, I love the form following function.

 

Need to let it burn in before going into sonics, but initial impressions are looking very good :)

 

To be continued :)

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Picked up a Apsen Saksa 85 recently.  Using it to power the horn channel (>150hz) of my active system, is really impressive. No idle noise/hum. Sounds powerful but refined and delicate at the same

Hmmm, thanks Ian, you were a great guy to deal with too!! You really describe my SAKSA nicely, my thanks...... the fact you are from a valve background is all the better!! Hugh

Thank you Noum, your thoughts on the SAKSA v. Tube hit the spot - trying to meld the resolution and transient power of SS with harmonic grace and depth of image is the exact design brief of all my rec

Certainly Hugh is a real gentleman and I have had many a chat with him. So glad that he recovered sufficiently from his health event to get back into audio.

 

Let us know how you like it. I am familiar with AKSA but not SAKSA.

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Guest Muon N'

Hay, Newman. This will be the first amp of Hugh's i have heard. Though i have followed his model progress for many years.

 

Yup! great that he got past that period of ill health.

 

I'm sold on Hugh, now we will see if the saksa can win me over as well :) I have a preference for valves so if it wins me over I'm going to be bummed when i have to give it to the owner :unsure:

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Guest Muon N'

First hour running, this is sounding better than I ever imagined and It's not burned in at all.

 

Well done, Hugh.

 

Have to listen more....

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Guest Muon N'

Hugh put it together apart from the volume attenuator, though I used the one he supplies.

 

Been out and just powered it up again to get more time up on it.

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Guest Muon N'

Has about 4 or 5 hours on it now and sounding pretty nice, although Hugh says it will improve a little more over a weeks further play time.

 

Where do I start, I'm not very good at reviews at all. I'm a socking words smith, though I'll try.

 

OK, I often hear things said about these is that they have a valve amps sound signature to some degree, I have to agree with that and I actually forgot I was listening to the saksa and could well have been listening to my custom EL34 amp (triode strapped) at one point. Except It's a touch more transparent and retrieves a bit more information from the Marantz player than what my amps does ATM.

 

Bass is well controlled, defined and fleshed out as they say, It has nice bass.

Mids, they are smooth and also convey a little sweetness.

Treble is all there, I was looking for the sound of some little bell sounds outside the realised it was in the recording.

 

Over all a very nice presentation with a great sound stage, wide and deep, deeper than I normally hear from SS amps. The saksa has that ability to project into the room and fill it with sound like some valve amps do.

 

A sweet sounding and musical amplifier. I often am looking for that emotional connection with sound reproduction, and the saksa provides this in my system. Very even handed. Micro and macro dynamics are all there too.

 

I could easily live with this amp happily in place of my current amp. Just wish I had a better source for this saksa as that is where the limitations lay at the moment with it in my system. Will be interesting when we hook it up to my friends Aurum Cantus 103's in a weeks time.

 

Definitely an amp for many to consider, and at the cost they go for a cracking bargain IMO.

 

Cheers

Ian

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Guest Muon N'

Sarah Blasco is sounding seductive and ethereal right now through the saksa, a little more than just earlier, so still definitely improving still.

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Hmmm, thanks Ian, you were a great guy to deal with too!!

You really describe my SAKSA nicely, my thanks...... the fact you are from a valve background is all the better!!

Hugh

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Guest Muon N'

Hugh, what you have done with this amp is cool, listening to Joe Cocker now for a different pace and It's full of toe tapping goodness  :)

 

I can only imagine how nice your reference Maya amp sounds.

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Guest Muon N'

Damn, I think I'm liking this amp more and more all the time. If it gets any better I'm going to be a very sad panda when I hand it over to my friend.

 

But glad I have had an opportunity to hear this amp.

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22 minutes ago, Noum said:

Damn, I think I'm liking this amp more and more all the time. If it gets any better I'm going to be a very sad panda when I hand it over to my friend.

 

But glad I have had an opportunity to hear this amp.

 

Hugh is a fan of tube amplifiers and has strived to deliver some of that "tube magic" from a ss component.  At the same time, his amps deliver the resolution that an ss amp can deliver.  :)

 

2 hours ago, Noum said:

OK, I often hear things said about these is that they have a valve amps sound signature to some degree, I have to agree with that and I actually forgot I was listening to the saksa and could well have been listening to my custom EL34 amp (triode strapped) at one point. Except It's a touch more transparent and retrieves a bit more information from the Marantz player than what my amps does ATM.

 

I'm a long-term Hugh customer and I thoroughly agree.  :thumb:  I don't have the SAKSA but I'm using a combination of NAKSAs for the mids & ribbons of my triamped system ... with an older amp, the Soraya, on the bass.  Transparancy is particularly what I like about Hugh's amps!  :D

 

2 hours ago, Noum said:

 

Over all a very nice presentation with a great sound stage, wide and deep, deeper than I normally hear from SS amps. The saksa has that ability to project into the room and fill it with sound like some valve amps do.

 

Although possibly your tube amp will be a touch more 'liquid'?

 

2 hours ago, Noum said:

 

A sweet sounding and musical amplifier. I often am looking for that emotional connection with sound reproduction, and the saksa provides this in my system. Very even handed. Micro and macro dynamics are all there too.

 

Emotion - a key component of Hugh's amps.  But, yes, macro & micro dynamics, too.  :thumb:

 

2 hours ago, Noum said:

 

Definitely an amp for many to consider, and at the cost they go for a cracking bargain IMO.

 

Cheers

Ian

 

Agreed!  :thumb:

 

 

Andy

 

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Guest Muon N'

Yup, what he has done with harmonic profiling is very cool. It's the lack of these pleasing harmonics that leaves me a bit cold when listening to a lot of SS based systems, these types of harmonics I find add realism to things....for me at least. Each to their own of course.

 

Have often read your posts on the Naksa's, Andy. One of many instances of peoples thoughts on his amps that made me turn to him when a friend said he wanted a tube amp. Knowing he had no experience with tubes I thought it an ideal option for him. Some tube magic without the fussing with setting bias and tube replacements/rolling.

 

More liquid, my amp? maybe so with some material, but It's pretty close with acoustic stuff. A lot of Rock sounds funny when presented with too liquid a presentation IMO :)

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Brilliant - thanks for sharing. This is exactly what audio is about - emotions - and Hugh is definitely one of the great guys and brilliant minds in audio. I was lucky enough to share a coffee recently and listen to both the saksa and the Maya. :)


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Hmmm would be interesting to compare the sound to something like Sugden class-a which I find to be one of the most tubey SS amps


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Ian,
Congrats on your purchase.. They are great little amps and good bang for buck [emoji106]

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Guest Muon N'

@hyper

 

This was purchased via myself for a friend, unfortunately It's not mine :(

 

I'll hear it when I visit my friend anytime though :)

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Yep, definitely nice little amp. And a very friendly maker to boot!

Spent an afternoon with Hugh earlier this year, listening to his Saksa85 and Maya200 amps, talking about the tech and philosophy behind his designs and then enjoying a drink at a local cafe.

Because of that afternoon I grabbed a Naksa 70 amplifier that ran in my system for several months but is now for sale, looking to upgrade possibly to the new Saksa or even Maya if funds stretch. The Maya is simply in another league entirely to the already fantastic Naksa and Saksa amps.

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OK I'll brag. Glass Harmony. Had a one month loaner courtesy Hugh. A while ago now. Memory jogger for Mr Dean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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@Sir Sanders Zingmore

 

The Saksa is priced same as the previous Naksa, best to shoot a PM or email to @AKSA for details as it depends on how you approach things, you can buy just the modules mounted on a heatsink and use a case of your own ect' or get the bits from Hugh himself or you can have him assemble it for you, so it depends.

http://www.aksaonline.com/

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$930 for the Saksa 85 module.

Ball-park for one completely assembled by Hugh is $1600-$2000 depending on what you want (connections, stepped attenuator, front LED, case, standard or oversized toroid, etc)

 

The Maya 200 is about $2200 for the module.

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3 hours ago, ~Spyne~ said:

$930 for the Saksa 85 module.

Ball-park for one completely assembled by Hugh is $1600-$2000 depending on what you want (connections, stepped attenuator, front LED, case, standard or oversized toroid, etc)

 

The Maya 200 is about $2200 for the module.

 

Don't forget Hugh also offers the Maya with 100w (or 120w?) power. :thumb:  i would presume this is slightly less?

 

This would be purrfect for your Avantguardes, IMO, Trevor (@Sir Sanders Zingmore).  :D

 

Andy

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Guest Muon N'

That Maya must be a real joy to listen to.

 

Listening to Pink Floyd 'Pulse' through the saksa earlier and it sounds more like it should, a live concert, and hearing lots of subtleties I haven't before.

 

This amp seems to seduce with tender euphoric sweetness with some material (Diana Krall ect') but shows It's muscle when the material calls for it.

 

Does a good job on poorer recordings compared to lots of amps I have heard, maybe not as kind as my valve amp but it compensates well in being able to handle some material better than my valve amp.

 

 

My friend is going to love this amp when he hears it on the weekend.

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Thank you Noum, your thoughts on the SAKSA v. Tube hit the spot - trying to meld the resolution and transient power of SS with harmonic grace and depth of image is the exact design brief of all my recent amps.  Big task - took twenty years!

 

I'm in Perth but back at the keyboard home on Sunday.  Thank you for your terrific observations on the SAKSA.

HD

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18 hours ago, Noum said:

I'm liking the Saksa a little more than my valve amp.

 

Nuff said :D

 

traitor :P

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Guest Muon N'
8 minutes ago, Happy said:

 

traitor :P

Guilty as charged :)

 

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On 05/07/2017 at 1:00 PM, andyr said:

 

Don't forget Hugh also offers the Maya with 100w (or 120w?) power. :thumb:  i would presume this is slightly less?

 

This would be purrfect for your Avantguardes, IMO, Trevor (@Sir Sanders Zingmore).  :D

 

Andy

 

Yep, I'm considering options for a "summer" amp :) 

As much as I love my valves, having a 400w heater running on a 40 degree day is not ideal. 

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Yep, I'm considering options for a "summer" amp [emoji4] 
As much as I love my valves, having a 400w heater running on a 40 degree day is not ideal. 


No ac in the room?


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Guest Muon N'

@Sir Sanders Zingmore

 

Traditionalist :)

 

The Maya sounds like a cool solution to summer amping like Andy suggested, If it's a premium version of the Saksa sound I'm keen to have a listen if anyone near me gets one.

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Guest Muon N'
On 7/5/2017 at 9:13 AM, Newman said:

OK I'll brag. Glass Harmony. Had a one month loaner courtesy Hugh. A while ago now. Memory jogger for Mr Dean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have only read about the Aksa and Glass Harmony, still was interesting reading on those models. Nice to look at the lineage of an amp.

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On 05/07/2017 at 9:13 AM, Newman said:

 

OK I'll brag. Glass Harmony. Had a one month loaner courtesy Hugh. A while ago now. Memory jogger for Mr Dean.

 

 

I heard Hugh's Glass Harmony about 12 years ago - in a comparison against a Bryston amp, driving some large Dali speakers.  (I don't think you can get a more extreme "ss-sound" - harsh, sterile - than that combination! :D )

 

The Glass Harmony is a single-ended amp - but solid-state ... not triode!  As it's single-ended ... it produces lots of H2 - so it has a very 'tube-like' sound.  It was an experiment for Hugh which he decided not to proceed with as:

  1. it produced a large amount of heat - just as much as any tube amp, I would think!
  2. and it was only about 25w ... maybe 40w (sorry, have forgotten).

 

What was fascinating about the comparison is that when we put the Glass Harmony monoblocs into play ... the singer jumped forwards of the speakers about a metre - whereas with the Bryston, the singer was in the line of the speakers.  That was a big plus, IMO ... but then, of course, there was the tone of the amp!  :thumb:Unfortunately, though, the GH's power output was not enough to drive the large Dalis comfortably.  :(

 

1 hour ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

 

Yep, I'm considering options for a "summer" amp :) 

As much as I love my valves, having a 400w heater running on a 40 degree day is not ideal. 

 

 

I suggest you pay Hugh a visit, Trevor and listen to both the SAKSA and Maya at his place.  (Unfortunately, though, his speakers are not in the AvantGuardes' class! :( )  Then, you should be able to borrow the one you prefer, to play in your system.  :thumb:

 

 

Regards,

Andy

 

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