Originally Posted by cddc
It seems you are a firm tube supporter. Most of the characteristics about vali that you mentioned are related to tubes.
I like the smooth sound from tubes for sure, but I also like the low noise floor and quick response from solid state. So sort of in the middle.
Yeah, I love tubes. When well done, I find tubes much more engaging and musical that most solid state. But when solid state is done well, it has its very enjoyable, too.
Originally Posted by prsut
can you compare Vali vs. A2 ?
They are different sounding amps, for sure. But both are smooth.
I'd say the A2 has a certain smoothness, evenness, and control that's very reassuring. Nothing sounds out of place. Everything sounds controlled, but in a sure, musical way.
Unlike the Magni, which is also solid state, the A2 has a sense of inner detail and delicacy that lifts it way above the Magni. The A2 tends to a slight warmth, and very slight roundness, which I also find nice. You would not mistake it for a hard, dry, bright, clinical sound that some solid state exhibits. It's a smooth, warm, composed, controlled, detailed, but delicate sound.
There's a certain anticipatory tension in the A2 sound as well. I think this comes from the reserve of power. Music doesn't sound like it's lagging, or struggling to keep up. The terms smooth, warm, composed, controlled keep popping up in my head.
I guess this is the sound of well done Class A biased solid state. A2 does run fairly hot.
The Vali doesn't sound like it has as much power, grip, or control as the A2. On the other hand, there's an easiness to the sound. It's easier to forget that you're listening to a recording with the Vali. It really draws you into the music.
There's a certain ease and flow with the Vali that sounds more natural to me. I attribute that to the tubes. Sometimes I will wish there were more power from the Vali, like with the HiFiMan HE-500. This phone sounds good on the Vali, but ultimately not a good match because the HE-500 needs more power. The HE-400 is a great match with the Vali, though, since it is easier to drive.
I have to say, both amps are winners, and really well worth their asking price.
My favorite phones, HE-500, HD-600, Q701 sound great on both amps. If I had to pick one amp, however, I'd probably go with the A2. There's something about the smoothness, delicacy, and control that I really like.
But the Vali is also great. I liked the Vali so much I bought two of them!
Edited by K.T. - 4/15/14 at 10:09am