Forté 1A power amplifier.... still good?

I have the chance to buy a (used but mint condition) Forté 1A power amplifier - to try some class A Nelson Pass magic - but I wonder if it still have a valid performance today.

Although this question can only be addressed after a proper listing session and with the right speakers, my main concerns are still of a significant measure.

So I kindly ask to any member to have or had a Forte amplifier, and those with experience and technical knowledge:

- is it easy to repair? I am considering the probability of a need for bias checking and also a recap?

- Are there any known mods suggestions, to improve any design flaw?

- what are the power consumption?

My aim is to pair it with the Thiel CS.5 and probably the Totem Model 1 (both 4 ohm  speakers) and the Rogue RP-1 pre amplifier.

Thanks to all.


call Jon Soderberg. Vintage Amp Repair, his expertise is updating old Pass designed amps...certainly it can sound great refurbished...he did my friends Threshold and it sounds superb...


Many moons ago I owned a Forté model 3 (200 watts). I used it with Dahlquist DQ10s and Vandersteen 2Cs and 3As. It was one of the better solid state amps that I’ve had before and after!

I picked up a Forte model 3 for my son a while back and paired it with Magnepan MMG. Some of the best sound I have ever heard! Still all original with no work ever done on it.

Yes.  Forte 3 / 1A.  Recently upgraded mine. Jon at VAR is local, and we upgraded the main caps to larger ones, new bridge rectifiers, eliminated some spades with direct solder, and installed Cardas speaker binding posts, converted to full Class-A 50 watts, lowered voltage, and turned up the bias. If you buy it, imo don't wait to service and upgrade it, best to just get it done and start using it. Sounds nice!  👍

@decooney that is what I suspect, extending the works could totally revitalize the 1A, but at what cost?

It certainly must sound excellent:)

Do you know if the full conversion to Class A make the power consumption go even higher?

Unfortunately I can’t use the service provided by VAR, because I sm in Europe.

@audiofilo123 The upgrade costs depends on who does the work and how far you have to ship depending on where you are sending from, est $1200-1500, but don’t hold me to that. I had a few other small tweaks on min to improve signal path. Since you have no conversion on the 1a, just replacing the main caps and bridge rectifiers and speaker binding posts is a good start, perhaps. A good local tech can do it. Fortunately, the boards and wiring inside is not complicated, which I like. 

Yes, I’m quite pleased with the results, thus brining the amp to a level that it beat out my former SS amps that cost more, and puts my mono block tube amps to the challenge to some degree. I like to now rotate this amp in vs. my tube amps every few months.

Yes, having the amp sitting there at true Class-A 50w is like having a light bulb turned up to full light, and if you are not using the light it’s a waste of energy. There is no low-mode or standby power mode, yet the beauty of it is it warms up pretty quick, stays warm, and if you have the desire and patience to start listening after 45-60m its good, even better after 2hrs when the transformer is good and soaked.

Gotta say, I was not expecting the upgrades to do as well as the did. I might look for another 1a myself, sell mine with upgrades, and go even further with a few more tweaks on the next version just because I have local access to all of this. Best of Luck, yes, it’s worth doing if you want true full Class-A 50w like this, affordably.

Don't have the Tech aspect, but my Forte 7 monoblocs were very nice!!  Regret selling them.