The SS3602 discrete op amps have been reviewed in an AVI labs integrated amplifier on DIY audio and The Art Of Sound Forums. Below are some excerpts from the posts and links back to the original threads detailing this audio upgrade.
To see the original threads on DIY audio and The Art Of Sound Forums, click the buttons below –
I’m loving my AVI labs integrated amplifier, and I can’t fault its presentation or all round ability playing my tunes. However nothing is perfect, and the non-perfection for me regarding this amplifier is that it’s lacking for some macro/micro detail that tends to make the music become more “real/believable”.
From a quick bit of research it seemed that a discrete op amp replacement was generally accepted as a better improvement than any of the latest IC op amps available. Enter the Sparkos labs SS3602 discrete op amp modules . I promptly got in touch with Andrew at Sparkos labs; a top guy that never got tired of answering all my silly questions and even went above the call of duty to help me out on another aspect of my amp that had nothing to do with any of his products or upgrades. So two ss3602s were ordered and they promptly arrived within a week, well boxed and safe.
I think the best technical term that can best sum up this product and mod is…”WOW” I wasn’t expecting such a massive step-up in sound quality, I was only after a little more micro/macro detail . What I’ve ended up with due to these Sparkos discrete op amps is what seems to me(and this is just my opinion and view of course) is an amplifier that is now in a totally different league compared to the original regarding musicality, detail, sound staging, air, and presence. All without upsetting the original amps charm or abilities. It sounds leaner and brighter after this mod but you soon realize that this is due to the smear and waffle being taken out of the bass. You now pick out hidden details in a bass line that you never noticed before. Bass lines stop and start instantly and if anyone is familiar with the AVI amp sound then you know how great these amps do bass to start with.
At last we have tones and textures thrown in there also, which is what I was hoping for as I felt this was one of the biggest failings with the sound of this amplifier in standard form. The treble is so extended, smooth and detailed with plenty of air; I really can’t believe the amount of extra detail that is coming through. It’s exactly the same story for the midrange as well. It’s all unforced and natural sounding, and I think that is the best way of describing what these discrete op amps have done for this amp. It’s just made this amp so much more musical while offering up more realism and detail, but in a natural and unforced way. The speakers seem to have disappeared all together as the sound staging is truly massive, with the constraints and boundaries seeming to have disappeared. The AVI amplifier in its standard form had a bit of an upfront nature to its presentation and this mod has changed that presentation slightly, it now has deeper sound stage depth. Of course this is just all one man’s opinion and views but I’ve been so impressed with this product, not to mention the service and speedy delivery that I thought I would give them a mention in case others are thinking of giving them a try.Back To Reviews Discrete Op Amps