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Old 03-29-2019, 12:22 AM
mfoley3 mfoley3 is offline
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Default GAT S2 and ART 300

Has anyone had the opportunity to compare, either individually or as a tandem, the GAT S2 and the ART 300 Mono amps with the GAT S1 and the original ART Mono amps? Also, have there been any authoritative reviews of either the GAT S2 or ART 300 in the audio press? I havenít found much.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Mike
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2019, 01:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mfoley3 View Post
Has anyone had the opportunity to compare, either individually or as a tandem, the GAT S2 and the ART 300 Mono amps with the GAT S1 and the original ART Mono amps? Also, have there been any authoritative reviews of either the GAT S2 or ART 300 in the audio press? I havenít found much.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Mike
No, I haven't heard these, but sure I wish I had! I'll bet they sound absolutely amazing.

I haven't read any reviews of the ART300s, but I've read a couple reviews of the GAT S2. If I recall, there is one on Tone Audio's site, and HiFi+ had a review by Alan Sircom. Just do a search, I read both online without subscriptions.
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:35 PM
mfoley3 mfoley3 is offline
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No, I haven't heard these, but sure I wish I had! I'll bet they sound absolutely amazing.



I haven't read any reviews of the ART300s, but I've read a couple reviews of the GAT S2. If I recall, there is one on Tone Audio's site, and HiFi+ had a review by Alan Sircom. Just do a search, I read both online without subscriptions.


Thanks Puma Cat, Iíll check those articles out.

Iím currently considering returning to tubed electronics. About two years ago I sold my GAT S1 and ART monos. I had fallen in love with the Raidho D3.0 Ver. 2 speakers but, unfortunately, the ART monos didnít pair well with them. The result was that I eventually moved from the CJs to the Aavik U300 solid state integrated which drove them far more authoritatively.

Since then, I upgraded to the more efficient Raidho D3.1 and, also, came to realize that, while I enjoyed many aspects of my system, I missed the warmth and musicality of my prior CJ tubes. I am now looking for alternatives to the Aavik, preferably tubed, that would pair well with the D3.1s. Under current consideration are the VAC i170 integrated or the VAC Renaissance Mk V preamp paired with the VAC Sigma 200 stereo amp.

Iíve also added CJís GAT S2 and CJís new ART stereo amp to my list of candidates. I also would like to consider pairing the GAT S2 with a stout, but musical, solid state amp as another option. In that regard, Iíve heard good things about Accuphase and Pass, but possess little current knowledge of good solid state power amplifier alternatives.

the rest of the system consists of an Esoteric K-01X with a G-02X clock for CD (both from GregofNH1) and a VPI Aries/Triplanar Mk VII SE/Lyra Skala for vinyl. Cables and power products are from Ansuz.
Iíd appreciate any insights or relevant information you would be willing to offer.

Thanks, Mike
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Old 04-01-2019, 11:15 AM
Dth31 Dth31 is offline
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The VAC Renaissance preamps are very good, but there is a sizable gap between the Renaissance and VAC Master. The Master and CJ GAT S2 are more comparable. Havenít heard the ART300, but the VAC Master/200iQ pairing is outstanding.
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Old 04-01-2019, 04:42 PM
mfoley3 mfoley3 is offline
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The VAC Renaissance preamps are very good, but there is a sizable gap between the Renaissance and VAC Master. The Master and CJ GAT S2 are more comparable. Havenít heard the ART300, but the VAC Master/200iQ pairing is outstanding.


Thanks for the info. In a recent conversation, Kevin Hayes told me that they design their products in a manner that makes them easy to pair with non-VAC products. He seemed to think that the GAT S2 wouldnít have a problem pairing with the 200iq. There is a sizable power difference between the ART 150 (150 watts per channel) and the 200iq (100 watts per channel).

I havenít heard either, however, a review of the ART 150 by Rob Johnson in Tone Audio was very positive. Of particular interest, is the much improved bass muscle of the new ART amps in comparison to the old. My prior ART Monos (using KT120s) had slow, inarticulate bass paired with my Raidho D.3 V2 speakers.
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Old 04-02-2019, 08:31 PM
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The VAC Renaissance preamps are very good, but there is a sizable gap between the Renaissance and VAC Master. The Master and CJ GAT S2 are more comparable. Havenít heard the ART300, but the VAC Master/200iQ pairing is outstanding.


Hi Dth31, have you had the opportunity to compare the VAC Signature SE to the VAC Master? Mike Boivaird of Suncoast Audio tells me that, while not totally comparable, they are pretty close in performance (Mike has had both at his home). The list price of the Signature SE is within approximately that of the GAT and the Signature SE includes a sophisticated 6 tube phono with its own power supply. Unfortunately, the VAC Master is out of my price range, so I donít plan on seriously considering it.

The difficulty Iím finding is that most of the equipment Iím considering is not available for direct evaluation, thus the value of audio publication reviews and, especially, the insights of fellow audiophiles is paramount. Fortunately, Mike has a 170iq integrated l, with phono, which he will let me bring home to audition. He says that will give me a good sense for the voicing of VACís gear. Iíll pick it up this Friday.

Thanks for your or anyone elseís input.

Mike
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Old 04-03-2019, 01:19 AM
Dth31 Dth31 is offline
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Default VAC preamps

Hi Mike. I previously owned the mk2, but not the mk2 SE. There was a very big difference between the mk2 and Master. Having said that, I was VERY happy with the mk2 and wasnít looking to upgrade. But once I heard the Master, it was hard to consider not purchasing it.

I personally would be hesitant to buy a linestage preamp with a built-in phono unless my budget was severely constrained. It is definitely cost-efficient in the short term to buy a preamp with a built in phono, but the phono will often be the weakest link in the amplification chain and the first candidate for upgrading. Even the MC phono on the Master isnít nearly as good as the linestage. The phono is very quiet, but I donít care for the Lundahl input transformers. IMO, and YMMV, that phono sounds a lot better with MC cartridges using a separate SUT into the MM inputs. For example, I much preferred a Bobís Devices SUT into the MM inputs rather than using the stock MC inputs. Bigger soundstage, warmer, richer and WAY more dynamic with Bobís into MM input.
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Old 04-03-2019, 04:46 PM
mfoley3 mfoley3 is offline
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Hi Mike. I previously owned the mk2, but not the mk2 SE. There was a very big difference between the mk2 and Master. Having said that, I was VERY happy with the mk2 and wasnít looking to upgrade. But once I heard the Master, it was hard to consider not purchasing it.



I personally would be hesitant to buy a linestage preamp with a built-in phono unless my budget was severely constrained. It is definitely cost-efficient in the short term to buy a preamp with a built in phono, but the phono will often be the weakest link in the amplification chain and the first candidate for upgrading. Even the MC phono on the Master isnít nearly as good as the linestage. The phono is very quiet, but I donít care for the Lundahl input transformers. IMO, and YMMV, that phono sounds a lot better with MC cartridges using a separate SUT into the MM inputs. For example, I much preferred a Bobís Devices SUT into the MM inputs rather than using the stock MC inputs. Bigger soundstage, warmer, richer and WAY more dynamic with Bobís into MM input.


Hi Dth31, that is wonderful input and makes perfect sense. My personal bias, based upon decades of prior CJ ownership, is to go with the GAT S2 pre and the ART 150 amp. However, my big concern with CJ is the future viability of the company, particularly, now that Bill and Lew have retired. Iím delighted to see that CJ has refreshed its product line and that CJ also seems to be regaining a bit of their prior stature in the audio marketplace.

Iíll be turning 72 this month and am expecting that I probably wonít be doing much in the way of future upgrade (other than a hearing aid), so I feel itís prudent to do some due diligence before I proceed. Your input is invaluable and I greatly appreciate it.

Thanks, Mike
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Old 04-04-2019, 07:38 AM
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Some of you might find this Link below to a GAT vs ARC vs VTL Preamp Shootout useful. I also have a friend that was a former owner of the REF10 but now has the GAT2. He finds the GAT to be more "musical". Obviously you can see below that I have a REF10 so I am not prejudiced in any way. Hope I get the chance to try a GAT down the road.

http://www.theaudiobeat.com/blog/trio_preamps.htm
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Last edited by Billion$Baby; 04-04-2019 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 04-04-2019, 08:38 PM
mfoley3 mfoley3 is offline
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Some of you might find this Link below to a GAT vs ARC vs VTL Preamp Shootout useful. I also have a friend that was a former owner of the REF10 but now has the GAT2. He finds the GAT to be more "musical". Obviously you can see below that I have a REF10 so I am not prejudiced in any way. Hope I get the chance to try a GAT down the road.

http://www.theaudiobeat.com/blog/trio_preamps.htm


Hi Billion$Baby, thanks for the info. I found Roy Gregoryís ďShoot OutĒ article interesting, but given his equivocation itís difficult for me to discern his conclusion. After reading it twice, Iím left with the sense that his probable personal ranking is: 1. VTL, 2. Ref 10, 3. GAT. In any event, itís useful information and supports the general conclusion that the three contenders deserve inclusion in the universe of elite preamps.

The article does a good job of illustrating why itís very difficult to unequivocally determine how an individual component ranks relative to its competitors due to the test componentís complex interplay with the reference systemís other gear, the roomís acoustics, the characteristics and recording quality of the music being played and the preferences of the evaluator.

This reinforces the idea that the insight of fellow audiophiles combined with your own long term listening experiences are probably your best guide in determining the gear best suited to your needs.

Thanks again for your input.

Mike
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