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Feliks-Audio ELISE...(previously 6SN7 + 6AS7G/6080 prototype)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by hypnos1, Sep 1, 2014.
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  1. hypnos1
    Edit...the amp has been named the 'Elise', and I am indexing the more relevant posts at the end of this one for those who may not have the time to plough through them all at first (although there are a good few other interesting contributions that you may want to browse at your leisure!)...
    On encouragement from member 'Lorspeaker', I am starting this thread to channel any interested folks here - new ones as well as those from "Little Dot Tube Amps Vacuum Tube Rolling Guide" (which is where I first mooted the suggestion re this project), and from "For 6AS7G tube rollers here".
    For those who are wondering what it's all about - a quick intro...
    After a year with the marvellous guys at LDTAVTRG, where we discovered wonderful results from using 6SN7s and especially 6AS7G/6080s (in amps that were NEVER intended for such tubes!), some of us felt the need to up our game and have gone, or are going for, higher level units...Woo/B'Head/Glenn etc.
    I myself, however, cannot afford most of these prices so while looking around I saw the Feliks-Audio Espressivo-E  (reviewed in another thread some while ago - but correct price now being about £230), made in Poland by feliks-audio.pl. Although it looked very well made, I felt it was let down badly by using mediocre tubes...ie 6N1P drivers and 6N6P powers. My LDMKIV SE had 6H30Pi-EH power tubes as stock, and when we found the massive improvement by using the 6AS7G/6080 I (tongue in cheek) suggested to the Feliks guys that a unit using the popular 6SN7 as drivers for the 6AS7G family would surely bring a great improvement, and appeal to a much wider audience - both in Europe and especially in the US and Canada - if the price was right!
    Well, amazingly, they (specifically Lukasz) agreed and have just started on a prototype. Interested forum members have made suggestions re possible extra features, and he has already agreed to incorporate a protection circuit in the pre-amp section for use of DC direct coupled amps. He is considering balanced output as well as SE (but as an optional upgrade), and I am awaiting reply on some other possible optionals, like facility for the 5998 as well as the 6AS7G; 12SN7 provision; separate low/high impedance h'phone function...
    The projected time frame is within the month (hopefully!...Edit...19/02/15 - first main production units now being constructed), and although it's too early of course to get a close final cost, they are seriously (again, even more hopefully) looking to try and pitch at BELOW $500 for the base unit...which will be some miracle, given the prices of some of the better Chinese models. Only time will tell if they can achieve the impossible...I for one am praying they can (especially as I want to see what my GEC 6AS7Gs can REALLY do - these tubes are awesome!). Edit...launch price confirmed at $500 + shipping.
    Edit...from 20th June 2015 the post-introductory price is $649, with the re-issue Tung Sol 6SN7 as standard.
    Anyway, folks, I'll finish for now but will keep you updated as soon as I get further info from the Feliks people.
    First the main specs (as of 18th Jan - further info to follow soon) :
    SE OTL Headphone amp + preamp (with protection circuit for use of direct-coupled power amps).
    2x 6H5C (6SN7 equiv.) drivers; 2x 6N13S (6AS7G/6080 equiv.) powers - configured for good performance with low-impedance headphones, as well as high-impedance...(32 - 600ohm). Adapters/extenders for use of wider-based 6080 tubes...EDIT, May 2015 :
        1. Re. low-z HPs, I personally found Audeze LCD2s were driven easily by the amp, and member Shaffer was impressed also : viz post#s 1112 (p75) & 1159 (p78).
        2. From about unit 4 onwards the amp's sockets were raised flush with the case, thus allowing for wider-based tubes without the need for adapters/extenders.
    220/240V model and 110/120V model.
    Output impedance 50 ohms
    Over-sized transformer (specially manufactured in Poland) for better performance/capacity.
    Very low heat of both case and transformer housing.
    Special unique 'in-house' developed  noise/hum suppression feature.
    Price (launch)  :  $500 (incl VAT) + shipping (post-introductory, from 20th June '15 : $649 + shipping)
    A peek inside...certain spots blurred so as to retain some of the in-house R&D elements :
    And a peek outside...
    And video...(initial impression also on page 35)..

    PRODUCTION UPDATE - 19/02/15....The first batch of (pre) orders is now under construction...
                                     -   3/04/15....The first units (240V) having been delivered, the next batch (120V) should be on their 
                                                         way within the week.
                                                         The website has been updated, with more info and facility for direct ordering. Plus the 
                                                         option for upgraded driver tubes, ie new production Tung Sol 6SN7s or Melz metal-
                                                         based equivalents.      
                                     - 10/04/15....The lead time for new orders is 4 to 5 weeks
    Index... post#s :                   
    Video/photos....512; 520 (page 35 - video with initial impressions); 576; 670.
    Related info/assessments....428; 533; 555/557; 561; 569; 588; 599; 604; 692(original ref to 'atma-sphere' article courtesy of Acapella 11);696; 712; 734; 740; 752(preamp results);891;909;1063,page 71(by Shaffer, USA) + 1112, p75 and 1159, p78.
    Useful links  :  http://www.feliksaudio.pl/en
                         http://www.head-fi.org/products/feliks-audio-elise/reviews/13718 (Review by agnostic 1er)
                         http://www.head-fi.org/products/feliks-audio-elise (A review by Renderman)
    ghettocoolie, superdux and Renderman like this.
  2. kvtaco17
  3. Lorspeaker
    A few teaser-pics...the original model ( before the "makeover" ) :
    Isnt she a beau.... :p
    if it can drive LOW impedence cans too, controlling the bass,  that would be awesome... 
    as it is, one of my tube amps just choke up with my D7k...couf couf.
  4. hypnos1
    ....Magic Wand??!! [​IMG]...
  5. hypnos1
    Hi L.
    Many thanks for posting these pics....you've beaten me to it...AGAIN!! I feel redundant already lol! [​IMG] 
    It sure would be a very useful addition, even if it has to be an optional upgrade - given the targeted price point...
  6. Rossliew
    Can't wait for impressions on its sound especially compared against the LD and LF339 :)
  7. hypnos1
    I'm afraid I don't have the MKVI+/MKVIII or LF, so that will have to be up to somebody else, sadly!
    However, as I'm sure my modded LD MKIVSE (with C3GS drivers and GEC 6AS7Gs) is possibly at least the equal of the MK9, I too can't wait to see how the Feliks compares to this particular amp...
    Rossliew likes this.
  8. hypnos1
    Hi folks.
    Latest update...
    In order to keep to the target price and time-frame, the prototype will (of course!) be the basic unit, viz :
    2 6N13S power tubes (which I believe aren't too bad at all, but which I am sure we will all replace with our own favourites!)..Edit - some days later...I now realise I was rather hasty in making this uninformed comment. Have since learned (as expanded on later) that I seriously undervalued their qualities, and believe they will actually prove more than good enough for many people who don't have their favourites - and possibly even those that do lol!)...And they feel these should probably drive low impedance 'phones pretty well...
    1 or 2 6SN7s - they are still experimenting to see what is really needed. But for me, anyway, 2 6AS7Gs (or 6080s) is MUCH more important.
    Protection circuit in the pre-amp section for use of DC direct coupled amps.
    There will be, as opposed to their former model, just one signal input...which will make for a much neater front panel - just one nice big volume control knob...
    They have taken serious note of the other suggestions made, but most would probably have to wait until further down the road, depending on level of demand...which is quite understandable, given the immensity of this task.
    Further info re progress will be given by Lukasz as soon as is possible.
  9. Lorspeaker
    noob question..
    so must i have 2 back tubes that are "balanced, matched etc etc " ?
    i have been buying single tubes so far...:p
    or will there be a knob to adjust the leftright balance of sound? 
    how is this done on other amps? 
    I have a Woo Audio 2 that uses 6AS7 tubes and they are not matched and it sounds good to me try your singles first as long as they are the same brand so they sound the same 
  11. hypnos1
    Hi Lorspeaker.
    As mikelap said, it appears you don't really need to spend loads extra just to have them "balanced, matched". Just the same tube type should be fine, especially from the same manufacturer (but given that the same branded tubes could come from different makers, who knows what we're getting sometimes!!). Actually, when I was using 6SN7s as the power tubes in my LD, I mixed a PsVane CV181-TII with a 7N7 and the result was BETTER than 2 of each! So sometimes the rules can be rewritten, lol!
    As for balance knob the answer is no...I would imagine this is not normally done due to the likelihood of degrading sound (think I'm right), plus cost. Separate adjustment comes with the more expensive "dual mono" type of set-up.
  12. Lorspeaker
    ok...i will not worry about this for now...since i am still on the DV. :p
    Can a 7N7 be used on a 6as7 slot? u need any adaptor? i am so afraid of burninng the amp.
    Last nite, i accidentally plug a 5U4g rectifier into the back slot of the DV...it was dark,
    and left it there to  "warm up"...but no sound came out thru the headfone, i tot the tube died on me..
    and the amp was so HOOOOOT...enuf to fried a pc of steak, reminded me of the LYR. 
    luckily the amp survived.. :p
  13. gibosi
    The 7N7 would need an adapter as it has an 8-pin loctal base. Even so, the 7N7 is electrically the same as a 6SN7, so you would get essentially the same effect by using a 6SN7 in the 6AS7 slot. It wouldn't hurt anything, but might not sound all that good....
  14. Nic Rhodes
    Another subscriber here
  15. hypnos1
    Hi Nic.
    Nice to see you here...let's all hope for good things from Poland, no?
    I really do hope there will be a good few folks seriously interested enough to give the (anticipated!) amp a try...the more ears the better, for judging the real pedigree of something new, lol! Especially as I don't pretend to be anything other than a novice still at this game - even after over a year experimenting with all the other guys over at LDTAVTRolling Guide. I hope I can remain totally impartial when the unit finally arrives [​IMG]...am working hard at trying to temper my excitement, in the interests of objectivity!!
    Actually, while I'm here, I may as well mention something that has cheered me up no end : from over at the "6SN7 tube addicts" thread, the maker of the GLENN amps, no less, has stated that he regards the "Winged C" 6N13S (6H13C) as the best - for his amps, anyway. PRAISE INDEED! (Two other members agreed with him as to their prowess). So now this bodes well for those who may not want to stray from stock powers (and perhaps spend the money on different 6SN7s instead?!)...Wonderful news [​IMG]...Mind you, I'll be pig sick if they oust my (very) expensive GECs!! Still, as Lorspeaker said (along with others), it's all down to "synergy".
    It seems to me more and more that the combination of 6SN7 and 6AS7G/6080/6N13S is going to provide a wonderful opportunity to "fine tune" the sound to suit individual preference, and without having to perform the kinds of modification that I, and others, have had to make in the quest for "better" sound.
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