New Coincident Frankenstein 300B Stereo Version

Coincident has a new stereo version of the Frankenstein. I currently use Coincident Super Victory IIIs speakers driven by Pass Labs XA30.8. My preamp is EAR Yoshino 868PL.

Logic tells me the Frankenstein Stereo would be a steller match with my speakers. I have never had SET amps in my setup before.

Just wondering if I will be going the SET route, would I lose bass?

Love the Pass XA30.8 but curious about what people call "SET magic".

Any thoughts would be appreciated.


I recommend that you contact the manufacturer, Israel, and see if he will let you audition the amplifier. He might even be willing to pay a small fee and shipping for the opportunity. You will never otherwise know.  

I actually live in the same city as Israel. I wanted to audition but he told me it's not possible.


As you know, you will get a significantly different sonic presentation with the amp you are considering over the amp you are now using. My experience with SET was mixed, BUT the mid range was glorious. Tones sounded lifelike and spatial qualities  were most satisfying. I don’t think you will lose bass but you should get a much different sound. I am not familiar with the amp you are considering and perhaps an audiophile near you might be able to let you listen to his 300B rig.

@sim_audio_nerd - suggest private messaging member charles1dad , though he may see this thread and respond directly. He has coincident speakers, preamp  and Frankenstein; and I find him to be objective in providing his thoughts

I have Coincident Statement II pre and 845 Turbo, both are not of golden tube sound, more about accuracy, transparency. I also have custom built 300B monoblocks, none have bass bloat or high freq. rolloff. I'd expect the Coincident 300B would be voiced similarly as my 300B and Coincident equipment. I'd expect more harmonic development with the SET vs Pass.


Yes, Charles1dad would be able to more accurately describe Coincident 300B. Also important to use one of the upper crust 300B tubes with any 300B amp.


In regard to a successful pairing of the Frankenstein and your Super Victory III (SV III) it depends on your goal/objective/listening habits.

I have used the Coincident Franks MK II mono blocks, Statement Line stage and their Total Eclipse II (TE II) n combination for 13 extremely happy years. This set up has exceeded my lofty expectations when acquired.

A key factor is although the SV III is relatively an easy load and moderately high sensitivity (92 db and 8-10 ohm load), my TE II (94 db and 14 ohm load) are even more so. Thus an even better match with lower power SET in general.

How large is your listening space, how loud do you typically listen and what genres of music to you listen to most often? These factors will determine the degree of success you may experience. If your preference is large scale classical music at higher volume you may want more than the 8 watt SET provides.

For my listening needs (Vast majority acoustic jazz combos, smaller scale classical  and some blues) the Franks are remarkably good, actually sublime. They are actually very good with large scale classical  at very reasonable listening levels. But if this were my main fare of music I’d have a higher power SET (845, 805,211,GM 70 etc.) or higher power OTL amplifier.

So it really just depends on what you are seeking to achieve. My previous amplifier was a very good push pull 100 watt (UL mode) 60 watt (Triode mode). This amp has more ultimate high volume potential (If that matters, non factor for me) more bass weight and punch (Franks are actually very good here but 8 watts is not 100 watts). Bass texture, tactility and nuance with acoustic bass/piano is better with the Franks.

In all other sonic parameters I find the Franks superior. More emotion conveyed, inner/micro detail and nuance, tone, timbre and overtones/harmonics a level above. Just a more engaged and compelling listening experience . Unmatched midrange truthfulness of instruments and human vocals in my opinion.


@sns  is 100% correct . High quality 300b SET amplifiers absolutely deserve top tier level 300b tubes. Yes they are expensive but in my listening experience worth every dime! The less costly 300b tubes are certainly decent in sound quality but will restrict the wonderful high ceiling  potential of the better level amplifiers.


Loose base is good 

Definitely no loose bass with the Coincident Frankenstein amplifiers. Far from that.

Or by “base” is something else being referenced?


I have had owned the XA30.8 and I now own Frankenstein IIIs.  It seems to me that most people prefer big boomy bass.  The Frankensteins have plenty of bass if you have the right speakers, but the presentation is not what most people are used to.  It is punchy and articulate rather than boomy and powerful.  I tell most people that the XA was the best amp that I owned.  It was very powerful and very detailed at the same time.  The Frankensteins are so beautifully detailed and have such wonderful midrange and at least on my system, have plenty of bass.  What is boils down to in my opinion is the type of presentation you prefer.  The Pass will certainly be more authoritative, but that's not to say that the Frankensteins are anemic, only different.  To my ears, the Frankensteins are sublime and as much as I love the XA, I could never give up my Frankensteins for it and I can't justify having both.


Well said.

To my ears, the Frankensteins are sublime and as much as I love the XA, I could never give up my Frankensteins for it and I can’t justify having both.

Exactly why I chose the word sublime to describe the overall effect and presentation of the Frankenstein SET amplifier. The Pass XA 30.8 is universally praised as an excellent amplifier and I have zero reason to question that.

No doubt the XA 30.8 offers more power just as my previously mentioned prior 100 watt tube amplifier. So if one feels they need the additional power for their speakers then go that route. I do not miss nor do I need the added power. The Frankenstein is utterly natural sounding. It made the very good 100 watt tube amp by comparison sound more "electronic" in nature.

There is just more musical connection, heart, soul and humanity via the presentation of the Frankenstein reproducing recorded music. It makes other otherwise terrific amplifiers sound relatively speaking artificial. The critical midrange is simply wonderful yet the upper and lower frequencies are also presented in excellent fashion.

No amplifier will ever be perfect and one has to choose their compromises. If your listening habits can be easily satisfied with lower power then the Frankenstein is very difficult to surpass in terms of an exceptionally natural and utterly transparent amplifying source.





What speakers are you using and room size?

I have a finished space in my basement  that's roughly  14 x 27 with an  8 foot  ceiling. No problems at all.


@charles1dad your description is spot on.  That is precisely the way I feel about the Frankensteins. My system is in a ground floor room with 10' ceilings.  The room is approximately 16' x 10'.  I use Zu Soul Supremes and I doubt that I am even using 1W.

I use Zu Soul Supremes and I doubt that I am even using 1W.

YEP! And very often well under 1 watt of power. My typical listening levels are C-weighted SPL of 65-75 db with occasional peaks to mid 80s. In reality (Seated 10 feet from my 94 db sensitivity speakers) using small fractions of a single watt. Even with the rare listening at higher levels (Peaks 90-94 db) no sense of strain. However I want to preserve my hearing as best I can.🙂


@charles1dad  Preservation of my hearing was a significant motivating factor for choosing the Frankensteins.  I can listen at much lower levels and hear much, much more detail.

I have happily owned the Frankenstein MKII version for 6 years and had a brief experience with them hooked up to Victory II speakers. If I recall correctly, the VII’s were 97db and 10 ohms. I did not perceive any issues with this particular pairing.

Recent Coincident speakers are all around 92-94db and 8 ohms. Some owners of these speakers who also have Frankensteins have ended up bi-amping for better bass performance, or have gone with higher powered amplifiers.

If it is low level listening you prefer, the Frankensteins with very good tubes and cabling will be superb. With loud rock, or large scale symphonic music, then maybe it would not be a good choice.


Where are you with respect to room size, listening levels and music genres?



Do you alternate your Frankenstein and Atma-Sphere M-60s on your Von Schweikert speakers? 


Between the two, I have a strong preference for the Frankensteins. I use the Franks 99.9% of the time, but it is fun to switch in another amp every once in awhile.


I own Coincident SVII speakers and still own the Frankenstein monos.  However, I found that the Franks just didn't really have the guts to do justice to the SV's.  My room is about 14' x 20' x 8' and I do listen to a fair amount of orchestral music.  In contrast to the experience of others above, I found the Atma-sphere M-60's to be a much better match for this speaker than the Frankensteins in my room with my music.   My M-60's have the V-Cap upgrade, the M-1 power supply, and have enjoyed the benefit of careful 6SN7 tube selection.  Also relevant is my use of the Coincident CSL with Psvane WE replica 101Ds.  The later coupled with the Atma-sphere amp provides a very nice measure of SET magic in my system without the downside associated with driving low efficiency (yes, 92 dB for an SET amp is low efficiency) speakers. 

As I said, I still own the Franks and on very rare occasions rotate them into the system for a day or two, but they don't stay longer than that.  If I were using speakers having an efficiency in the mid to high 90's, it might be a tougher choice.  The Franks really are wonderful amps when equipped with top notch tubes.

I have no experience with Pass amps and won't speculate on how they might compare with the Franks in your set up.  But I will say that if you are buying a new amp for your speakers, I just don't think that the Franks will be the best choice.  

I have found my SVII's to be wonderful speakers, but their performance is perhaps more system dependent than some other speakers.   The SVIII's appear to be a very similar design using better or newer crossover and drivers. 

Good input by brownsfan. His personal experience is very valuable to the OP’s concerns. Regarding my Atma-Sphere amps, they are an older, non-upgraded version, so it should be no surprise that brownsfan has had a much more positive experience with them than me. I am at a crossroads with the M-60’s as it would cost a few thousand to upgrade it to get sound which might or might not end up being comparable to the Frankensteins in my system with my 99db speakers. Don’t mean to derail the thread, sorry.


Don’t mean to derail the thread, sorry.

Not a chance. This is what these open forums are supposed to provide, different members sharing their varied experiences. This is why I asked the OP about room/music volume and genres as they all matter. I even mentioned the Atma-Sphere M 60 as an alternative yesterday as I’m aware of @brownsfan’s situation. There’s an Audiogon member with the Coincident PRE speakers (Pure Reference Extremes)  who preferred the Franks to the M 60, it always depends on variables. But again, different room/ears/taste/music genre etc. The SV III with crossover and driver changes may or may not be an easier load to drive. Surely horses for courses.


@brownsfan @charles1dad

And everyone else. Thanks for taking the time to respond and offer your valuable thoughts.

I was worried about 92.5db/8ohm efficiency of the SVIIIs. I do listen around 70-80 db volume levels but once in a while like to crank her up!

I am very much intrigued about the Franks, specially the stereo version.

If Israel would have allowed me to try it out, maybe I would be bought it (he lives in the same city as me). But looks like that is not possible according to him.

I am intrigued but do not want to buy the amp without hearing as if it doesn’t work out, ill be stuck with it.

It’s really a shame, if there was a chance to audition or try it out in my system I would have bought it.

Thanks again everyone for sharing your thoughts.

To think of it this way, if I do change my speakers in the future, the Pass XA30.8 can still drive any reasonable efficient speakers. The Franks won’t.



To think of it this way, if I do change my speakers in the future, the Pass XA30.8 can still drive any reasonable efficient speakers. The Franks won’t.

True. The Pass XA 30.8 clearly has more universal application with a larger pool of speakers. To bad Israel can not arrange an in home audition for you given that you are local to him (And own his speakers).

I understand not wanting to buy an amplifier that may not suit your needs. Alas, the way it goes sometimes. The Frankenstein is truly one of the  most open, transparent and pure sounding amplifiers I've ever heard and I've heard many.



@sim_audio_nerd I think you are wise in exercising caution here.  I've been a customer of Coincident for over a decade now, and still own two pair of Coincident Speakers, the CSL, and the Frankenstein Monoblocks.   Obviously, I have a deep appreciation for Israel Blume's design and execution talents.  I would also offer an opinion that his stuff is quite reasonably priced.  You get a lot for your money.

I think the value proposition probably necessitates some constraints on business practices.  I think it is fair to say that he is a superb designer and a hard nosed business man.   It's kind of a here it is, take it or leave it approach.  Top tier customer service has a cost that someone must pay.

The stereo Frankenstein looks like another superb value, and I suspect it will sell like hotcakes at that price.   The reality is that there are going to be some serious compromises associated with this single chassis design.  In the past, Israel has explained how important, and how difficult in execution, use of the 6EM7 driver is.  Going to the 6SL7 is not just a simple tube switch.   My guess is that the performance of this stereo version will be closer to his 300B Dynamo than it is to his Frankenstein monos. Just a guess.

Also relevant here is that in times past, Israel himself conceded that a 300B amp may not be the best choice for the Super Victory, depending upon the things we have already discussed--music, room, listening levels, etc.   On the other hand, he has done shows where he has used the Franks to drive the SVIIs, so it's not like one can't make this work.  It is just not optimal, and I suspect the stereo version will be another step down from "not optimal."

You don't say in your original post what your current system lacks that you would seek to improve.  The obvious inference is introducing some SET magic.  I think we all get that, and it is important to note that my  system is working so well for me because I am using an SET preamp.  You might give some thoughts around that option if you are locked in on using the SVIIIs and if you can live with the limited functionality of the CSL.   Just my opinion, but I think the 101D based CSL  is Israel Blume's finest piece when used with the superb Psvane WE replica 101D tubes.

I have some other thoughts that are tangential to this post.  If you want to discuss further, PM me. 


Just my opinion, but I think the 101D based CSL  is Israel Blume's finest piece when used with the superb Psvane WE replica 101D tubes.

Has been my assessment for a long time. Simply a stunningly good Line stage and no concerns with regard to power output needs as arises with the superb sibling Frankenstein SET.

Bill, excellent comments in total.  I hope that @sim_audio_nerd reaches out to you.


@charles1dad Thanks for your kind words, my friend.  The CSL can be a superb foundation for anyone not needing a full function preamp.  Stunningly good is the right descriptor.  I'm still toying with getting the latest update.

I actually live in the same city as Israel. I wanted to audition but he told me it's not possible.

He obviously doesn't want to earn your business.  Walk away, there are many other manufactures/dealers would love to earn your business.


The CSL is indeed a special piece, made that much better with MK II upgrades. I also got the Amtrans switch upgrade, much more precision piece than the standard upgrade switch.


I've given up on using Psvane WE101D with no longer having trustworthy distributor/seller here in NA. In last six month purchased two singles,one DOA, another failed at around 50 hours. Perhaps Woo Audio could be enticed to sell 101D, doubtful since none of their headphone amps use that tube. I did purchase my 300B Acme from them, no issues in well over 200 hours now. Chinese stock of Chinese tubes cannot be trusted IMO. Until then, I'm completely satisfied with Linlai  Elite 300B solid plates purchased through Grant Fidelity, wonderful tube. Mesh plate not so much.


I would agree that the tube purchasing “source” is a key factor. I bought my original pair of Psvane W.E. Replica 101D from Grant Fidelity. They lasted a good 7-8 years with fairly heavy usage. I bought my current W.E. Replica pair directly from Israel Blume last year and they have been faultless thus far.

He told me he had several failures with the Linlai 101D and no longer recommends them. Perhaps this was an early run/production issue and current models could be just fine now. Agree with @brownsfan Psvane W.E. Replica 101D is a fabulous sounding tube paired with the CSL. Choose your source carefully.


My experience with the Psvane WE tubes has paralleled that of @charles1dad.  As background, back in about 2014, I purchased a pair of Psvane Hifi series 101Ds.  They were a major step up from the only other current production tube available at that time, the Shuguang.  About 2-3 months after I bought the HiFi's (from  Grant), Psvane released the WE replicas, so I bought a pair of those from Grant.  Those gave me many years of good performance before failing.  At that point, I rotated the old HiFi tubes, which were old but had very few hours on them, back into service.   Within about 2 weeks, one of the HiFi tubes failed.  At that point, I became concerned that something was wrong with the preamp, since I was suddenly having tubes fail right and left (literally). 

So I contacted Israel Blume before shelling out another pile of cash on new WEs.  It was at that point that I became aware that Israel was offering the WEs for sale (at a premium over other vendors) and assured me that his (presumably hand picked) WEs would give excellent service, though is warranty was only for 3 months.  I've had the tubes for, I don't know, 3 years or so, and they are fantastic.  They sound even better than the first set I bought back in 2014.   

When the word got out about North American supply problems on this tube, I contacted Israel again and asked if I should buy a spare pair.  He assured me that he was experiencing no difficulty getting this tube and anticipated no difficulty in the future. 

I do hope that Linlai is able to address whatever issue may have led to unreliable service in the CSL.  The 101D is an amazing tube, and in my opinion, remains underutilized.  As much as I love my 6SL7s, the 101D WE tube beats every 6SL7 based design I ever heard. 


I know that @sns is using the Lanlai Elite 101D in his CSL and has had no problems to my knowledge. So I suspect that the current production available via Grant Fidelity are of good quality. I may at some point give them a try but for now I’m very happy with the Psvane W.E. Replica 101D, very happy.

Bill, I also believe that the 101D is a brilliant preamplifier tube but for what ever reason is not even close in popularity compared to for example the 6SN7. I’m very familiar with the 6SN7 and it is no doubt a very fine tube. Of course implementation is a major factor in determining ultimate sound quality. What impresses me about the 101D is its sheer purity and transparency. It seems to have nearly zero editorializing qualities, yet is by no means sterile/lean/analytical, just pure.

If the rest of the audio system is capable then one will hear natural and beautiful tone, timbres, overtones/harmonics and very fine nuanced musical detail. Perhaps it’s a more difficult tube to work with and get right in an audio circuit. I’m glad Israel Blume decided to give it a go and develop the magnificent CSL.  for us hopelessly devoted music lovers’ 🙂


@charles1dad, the 6SN7 benefits from economy of scale.  More designers use the tube because they are cheap and readily available, and demand for the tube motivates more manufacturers to offer the tube, which in turn drives the price of the tube down.

The 101D never benefited from any of this.  It is tempting to draw a parallel between EL34 and 301B.  301B was always and always will be more expensive to manufacture than the EL34. 

Israel Blume stuck his neck way out when he designed the CSL around the 101D.  It wasn't a great preamp when all you could get was the Shuguang.  Kudos to him for taking the risk. 

It is a funny thing about tubes.  You can go for years, trying this tube and that, and they all have their virtues and weaknesses, then all of a sudden, you find that one tube that is sonically perfect.  For me, the Elrog 300B was that tube.  The old Siemens from the 6922 family fell into that category.  Got everything perfect, and nothing else came close to the Siemens.  The WE101D replica is that tube. No where to go but down.  Purity, transparency, detail, harmonics, tonality, it is all just right.  Oh my, have we drifted from the OP.

Oh my, have we drifted from the OP.

Yes, guilty as charged. You raised intriguing points (As usual for you) I felt compelled to comment on. Sorry. 😊


Duh! I had previously thought of asking Israel about good source for WE101, completely forgot about that route!


Sixmoons had an article some time back in regard to Linlai Elite tubes having early run failures. Grant Fidelity also mentions newer runs having greater reliability.


The Elite solid plate beats WE in some ways, just a bit more presence in mids, WE a little more recessed. Very natural timbre, highs slightly less spotlit than WE, bass comprable. For me, WE and Elite solid plate both equally brilliant, just slightly different flavors.

@brownsfan @charles1dad

Great to see happy owners of the Coincident Line Stage (not to derail this thread).

I was actually considering it strongly last year. I totally get the minimalist design but I needed a remote with my preamp. That was the only thing which stopped me. My listening room is upstairs and often I would have to adjust the volume so that I don’t disturb anyone else in the house, specially when I am doing late night listening. I dont want to gettting up many times, specially in the dark. I turn off the lights when I listen in the night.

I agree, Israel does make great products. I am so happy with my SVIIIs. I do get he’s a one man show and cannot let people audition at his place, specially with COVID. BUT. it would have been nice, since I have bought 2 pairs of speakers from him :)

I did audition my first pair of Coincident speaker at his place (Dynamite - now discontinued). Within, months, I upgraded to SVIIIs.

His room and full system is quite something. One of the best system I have heard yet. As you may be aware, he has a double stacked pair of PREs. He bi-amps I believe...Franks on the mids/highs and Dragons on the bass. Killer Kuzma turntable too :)




A few years ago Coincident offered an  845 Integrated (With a 300b as driver tube)  SET that was about 27-30 watts per channel and it received universal praise. Was a very nice position between their Frankenstein (8 watts) and the Dragons (75 watts). I have no idea why Israel decided to discontinued it. This would have quite likely been a terrific option for you. Near impossible to find them used.



Ha, Jut dawned on me that you own the Coicident Turbo 845 SET integrated amplifier. 😀 Do you use it strictly as an integrated amp or as a power amp paired with the CSL?


@charles1dad Only as power amp with CSL. Using passive/volume control on 845 substantially inferior to CSL, even inferior to my relatively cheapo Schitt Saga+ passive. I see integrated feature as add on, temp solution for those without pre.


. I'd bet the 845 would be very nice match with all Coincident speakers, plenty of drive along with the SET magic. 845 not quite the magic of 300B tube, but authority, impact, drive and enough of the 300B magic to be quite enticing. The 845 preferable to my 300B amps with my Merlin VSM MM 91db sens., easy impedance curve. 300B preferable with my 104db sens. Klipschorns.

A little observation on bass:

This appears to be a unique US phenomenon that good bass is almost always equated to "tight" or "super-duper tight" (aka overdampened) bass.

While we can observe overdampened bass in real life in recording studios, or at venues where the instruments (mainly drums) overload the room acoustics.


The exact opposite is the overly loose bass: just like what you get in a concert hall when you sit at the end of the row close to the exit. Still, it's realistic, but I have not heard of many people standing in line for those seats & that experience....


Yet, while listening to bass at venues with good acoustics at good places, bass is not overly tight - it's just right. A good SET can deliver that, the bass that has a good likeness of both texture in the bass and the right tightness. Overly tight bass representations bleed out the texture of the bass.

Push-pull implementations have bass tighter, with bland bass texture. (=More apparent power, less refined skill/technique.)

Single ended implementations have bass looser, with better bass texture.

Good implementations of each have less issues, and get closer to a fine balance.

It's up to your preferences from which side you want to approach bass - is tightness or texture your #1 goal?






Yet, while listening to bass at venues with good acoustics at good places, bass is not overly tight - it’s just right. A good SET can deliver that, the bass that has a good likeness of both texture in the bass and the right tightness. Overly tight bass representations bleed out the texture of the bass.

You are my brother from another mother. 😊

I have been making this point seemingly forever. I have been attending live (Usually smaller/intimate) jazz clubs for 30 years. Often they don’t even bother with microphones on the stage as they’re not necessary. You are hearing pure untampered with acoustic instruments. And you know what? Those upright beautiful wooden bass instruments are not tight!

Certainly not in the overdamped,dry artificial sense that some audiophiles seem to demand. What they are is very full bodied with undeniable warmth, plenty of texture and a natural present bloom. The sound is not slow, flabby or bloated either. There is control but tight and overdamped is no where to be found when playing without the mic.

Now in those circumstances where the acoustic bass is played with an attached microphone through the club’s electronic sound system, all bets are off.

I have had various solid-state amplifiers and a couple of very good PP tube amplifiers. In terms of presenting what sounds like the most authentic acoustic bass, and all other instruments for that matter my 8 watt SET comes closer to that live acoustic vibe than any of the other amplifiers.

It isn’t flawless and speaker choice is critical. But what it excels at just happens to be what matters most to me. Naturalness, realism and emotional/musical connection.


@Charles- I completely agree with your last point from a purely theoretical standpoint.  I live 10 minutes from Coincident, and have likely owned more models of Coincident speakers over the past 20 years then most on this forum.  One of the best previous combos was a 14-watt SET 211 amp and Air Tight ATC-2 preamp on Total Victories, so am with you on the inherent quality of SET bass.

 **However, when I was last at Israel’s place a couple months back, I was quite blown away by the impact of the double PRE with Franks on top and Parasound A21+ driving all 4 woofers (double bass cabinets as well).  The naturalness on the mids/highs combined with the massive impact on the bass was really something, and the bass didn’t seem ‘overdone’ either…

Boy, there is some real wisdom in the above comments by @realworldaudio !  For most of us, our first experience hearing the low frequency component of music was sitting in our buddies 8x10 bedroom listening to Jack Bruce's electric bass with Ginger Baker whacking away on his bass drum, as reproduced by a 13 WPC Technics receiver through Cerwin-Vega speakers.  Oh the horror of it all, the source was a cheap dual table with a $39 Shure cartridge sitting on top of one of the speakers. (Perhaps this is why so many of us fell in love with Clapton!) I might suggest this miserable excuse for reproduction of music was the basis for the "unique US phenomenon" to which real world alludes.  It didn't take a discerning ear to figure out that Cerwin Vegas in a bedroom wasn't quite "right", so what was "right" must be the pendulum swinging to the opposite position.  But no, that is not quite right either. 

Real world gets to the heart of the flaw in the TAS theory.  He points out that in the same venue, one can experience bass that is too loose, too tight, or just right, depending upon where one sits.  But since all of these are real experiences of unamplified music in a live venue, they are all "right" in an objective sense.  Choosing one of these three as "right" is a matter of personal preference.  

For years, my preferred seat in my local symphonic venue was in the front row, less than 10 feet away from the cello section.  This was in the Indianapolis Circle Theater, where as far as I was able to determine. there was no good seat.  It is just a hall with miserable acoustics.   I sat in the front row right in front of the cellos because that is where the cellos sounded best..  I sat there for enough years to become acquaintances with one of the cellists.  I recall a conversation I had with him regarding why I sat in the front row.  He told me to move my seat to the dress circle.  He said "symphonic" means "sound together" and that is how this music is meant to be heard.  I replied, that may be, but the ghost of LvB is not haunting me and the cellos sound better here!

My decision to move from SET to Atma-sphere's OTL WAS NOT because of low frequency reproduction.  In actual fact, what I found was that every aspect of the music just sounded a bit better-more real-more right- in my room to my ears.  

The absolute sound concept has value, but it has limitations. As real world so beautifully pointed out, the absolute sound is not a singular experience in the real world. It is a range of experiences all of which are possible within the same venue.  Some like their coffee unsweetened, some like one spoon of sugar, some like two.

The most important component in any system is the ear-brain, the second is the speaker-room, and everything else follows. 

I suspect that @hilde45 could add much to this discussion if he has time.   


The absolute sound concept has value, but it has limitations. As real world so beautifully pointed out, the absolute sound is not a singular experience in the real world. It is a range of experiences all of which are possible within the same venue.  Some like their coffee unsweetened, some like one spoon of sugar, some like two.

The most important component in any system is the ear-brain, the second is the speaker-room, and everything else follows. 

I suspect that @hilde45 could add much to this discussion if he has time.  

Very pertinent comments from you and @sutts as well. I am in no way suggesting that excellent (which to me means natural bass) performance is not possible with non SET amplification. I was really connecting to what @realworldaudio was explaining as it fit my listenings experiences so closely.

I wanted to make the point that a high quality SET amplifier with appropriate speakers can produce very convincing and natural bass in one's audio system. Bill I do not doubt for a momment you are not enjoying superb bas with your Atma-Sphere M-60s. It's simply the better match for your speakers/room and desires.

In that context same for me with the Frankenstein MK II with my Total Eclipse II. The correct buttons are being pushed.☺. It's all good.


@charles1dad you have never, ever, taken an overly dogmatic position on any of  your posts that I can recall.  I did not misunderstand your comments. I hope no one has misunderstood mine.  

 In actual fact, I agree that SET is quite capable of delivering a very natural and very pleasing bass.  That did not drive me in the OTL direction.  It was the very high THD resulting from trying to reproduce orchestral music with 92.5 dB efficient speakers that prompted the move.  Had I stuck with my 94dB efficient Triumph Extreme II monitors, I would have certainly stuck with the Franks in my main system.

I've grown to love my OTLs as much as my CSL.  But it took a lot of tube rolling to get there, and it also took a lot of work on my room to get where I am now.   I'd go further and emphasize that were it not for my CSL and its SET magic, I would not be nearly as enthusiastic about the OTL as I am.  Going back to my coffee analogy, the OTL/CSL combo is one spoon of sugar.  That is just right for me.

I think Ralph would tell you that his amps are more popular with the vinyl crowd.  I suspect there are not many  of us Digital only OTL guys. 

In the end, there is a reason why my Franks have been sitting idle for nearly 5 years.  I haven't sold them because I still love them, and they are worth more to me than they would likely bring.  I just know that at some point, I'm going to want to go down the Frankenstein road again.  But, it won't be with the Super Victory speakers.  I noticed that Israel has resurrected the Pure Reference as a MK II.  It looks like the Total Victory with PRE drivers.  MTM configuration with side firing dual woofers. Very interesting.  30K.  I hope we will see a review on these.  I think the PRs would work in my room, whereas I think it is probably a bit smallish for PREs.



A friend is a longtime Atma-Sphere owner and I am  familiar with his MA-1 mono blocks. So I feel that I can extrapolate the sound of your M-60 mono blocks. We paired his MP-1 preamplifier with my Frankensteins and result was pure and gorgeous.

I can easily imagine your CSL and M-60 pairing being every bit as accomplished. Ralph has described his OTLs as 3rd order harmonics signature and SET as 2nd order harmonic signature. He is spot on with this distinction. He pointed out that naturally a listener may prefer one over the other’s presentation. Bottom line is either is quite capable of exquisite sound quality with proper set up.

Bill your former Coincident Triumphs were very easy to drive just like my Total Eclipse. In fact I believe that the old Eclipse series of Coincident speakers were probably the most compatible with SET amplifiers. 14 ohm load impedance will do that.😊




Thank you for your kind words, indeed, big part of my audio journey was working on myself, on how I listen to music and what I hear.

Of course, we don't need to learn to enjoy music, anyone with a pair of ears can bask in sound and voice. Yet, there is a massive difference between what an unsuspecting victim used exclusively to instant gratification absorbs from the music and how Mozart perceived it. I know, Mozart is a tall yardstick, as tall as it ever gets, but he does set the bar and stands as a warning sign that there's much more to music and music appreciation than just desensitized and sanitized instant gratification and empty shows.

For me getting to learn the nuances of what I hear, getting familiar with the fabric of music made it possible to fine-tune my system to allow further and deeper exploration.

It has been a wonderful journey so far. I'm glad I'm not alone on the road.