I did not realise that SECA's were this good

edited August 23 in Amplifiers

Having just got Ben’s ID25 I now realise what all the fuss is about with SECA’s. They are enchanting and beguiling amps. I was unsure what to expect having used NVA amps for the last 20 years which met my requirements for a clean clear musical and analytical sound.

But initial impressions of the SECA are of a huge 3D cinemascope soundstage coupled with lots and lots of bass and impeccable transients. It does not have the sharp edge detail of an NVA but instead a very natural organic sound from both vocals and instruments. It is a completely involving 'wall of sound' that just makes you listen intently to the music of any genre. My Royds have become a totally different speaker smoother and faster and just totally enjoyable whatever the music. I am using my NVA passive pre-amp which is probably not as well suited to the amp as an active one. So there is more to come I am sure especially if I can upgrade the ID25 with Colin’s new boards. That really is something to look forward to !

 


Comments

  • Glad it found it's way to you safely.
    Even more that you like it!
    Colin's newer class A amps are even better than the ID25 so plenty to look forward to as well!
    Thanks again for the purchase.
  • The TOCA 300W Mono were amazing, shame only 2 were made. 
    And you needed 1800W each amp just to switch them on, 180Kgs 1.8M tall.


  • Now with the new PCB and 6 in each channel you can make your own, one PCB is the master and the remaining five are slaves.
  • The TOCA 20 isn't bad either. ;-)
    I won't be selling that one.
  • Thanks for packing it well Ben. 
    Yes they are a unique amp that seem to really gel with Royds. I also have a set  NVA cube 3 speakers to try which should be interesting. Cubes can disappear too as you probably know and have a wide soundstage albeit they are not everybody’s cup of tea. Likewise trying some EWA speaker cables could add another interesting permutation. 
  • @29mile:  If you fancy making an amp with the new SECA PCBs then see my thread about a mini GB for cheap heatsinks.   Let me know if interested.
  • 29mile said:
    Thanks for packing it well Ben. 
    Yes they are a unique amp that seem to really gel with Royds. I also have a set  NVA cube 3 speakers to try which should be interesting. Cubes can disappear too as you probably know and have a wide soundstage albeit they are not everybody’s cup of tea. Likewise trying some EWA speaker cables could add another interesting permutation. 
    Basically you'll be having fun. :-D
  • Alan that’s the scary thing. Having thought NVA would be the end of my hifi upgrades and tinkering I discover SECA and the addiction kicks in again. 
  • AntiCrap said:
    Now with the new PCB and 6 in each channel you can make your own, one PCB is the master and the remaining five are slaves.
    Colin stop it you are tempting me to use 2 boards per channel to get 80 wpc.   I must exercise restraint, I must exercise restraint, I must . . . . 
  • ian said:
    @29mile:  If you fancy making an amp with the new SECA PCBs then see my thread about a mini GB for cheap heatsinks.   Let me know if interested.
    Hi Ian plan A is to try to update the ID25 with the new boards assuming I can fit them in the case ( could be tricky given the larger dimensions of the.new boards ). Plan B would be a diy build and then your heat sinks might be useful. Best Mervyn 
  • Just to add some visual context, this is the ID25 that Mervyn is talking about...




  • edited August 24
    Here we get into very sticky territory, Mervyn :)
    You perhaps don't remember how much shit I came in for when I moved on from my modified NVA Statement monoblocks to my 12WPC SECA Green Goddess. As good as the Statements were, they don't do what the SECA did. And the monoblocks I have now, even more so.
    Colin's SECAs only have one downside, IMHO. SECAs swallow a whole load of electricity. That may be a problem from a utility bill POV or if you have a particular green view of our hobby. If you have a half-watt tube amp, that doesn't matter, but at 50 watts or more, it may be an issue. Just as well that SECA watts aren't the same as your usual amp watts.
    So let's drop those worries in the nearest bin while no-one's looking. There is a magic to what Colin does with a SECA amp that I've never heard from a single-ended tube design.
    I'm so glad the bug has bitten! Time to move on the NVA gear!
  • Thanks Ben. My worry is that the new boards are 140mm x 215mm ish so can only fit longways on the heat sink which are 170 high. This means the large caps and transformers need to be moved / replaced undoing all Paul’s ( Quickie’s ) excellent workmanship. Perhaps Colin could advise. 
  • uglymusic said:
    Here we get into very sticky territory, Mervyn :)
    You perhaps don't remember how much shit I came in for when I moved on from my modified NVA Statement monoblocks to my 12WPC SECA Green Goddess. As good as the Statements were, they don't do what the SECA did
    Colin's SECAs only have one downside, IMHO. SECAs swallow a whole load of electricity. That may be a problem from a utility bill POV or if you have a particular green view of our hobby. If you have a half-watt tube amp, that doesn't matter, but at 50 watts ort more, it may be an issue. Just as well that SECA watts aren't the same as your usual amp watts.
    So let's drop those worries in the nearest bin while no-one's looking. There is a magic to what Colin does with a SECA amp that I've never heard from a single-ended tube design.
    I'm so glad the bug has bitten! Time to move on the NVA gear!
    Relax, the price of PV panels is going to plummet over the course of the next few years ;)
  • ian said:
    uglymusic said:
    Here we get into very sticky territory, Mervyn :)
    You perhaps don't remember how much shit I came in for when I moved on from my modified NVA Statement monoblocks to my 12WPC SECA Green Goddess. As good as the Statements were, they don't do what the SECA did
    Colin's SECAs only have one downside, IMHO. SECAs swallow a whole load of electricity. That may be a problem from a utility bill POV or if you have a particular green view of our hobby. If you have a half-watt tube amp, that doesn't matter, but at 50 watts ort more, it may be an issue. Just as well that SECA watts aren't the same as your usual amp watts.
    So let's drop those worries in the nearest bin while no-one's looking. There is a magic to what Colin does with a SECA amp that I've never heard from a single-ended tube design.
    I'm so glad the bug has bitten! Time to move on the NVA gear!
    Relax, the price of PV panels is going to plummet over the course of the next few years ;)

    LOL!
  • Hi Dave yes I recall the sad NVA debacle but time has moved on and discovering SECA has been a revelation. Electricity usage is not such a problem just a matter of getting used to turning on the amps 30 minutes beforehand. 
    It’s my wallet I am concerned with as I suspect to get the full SECA effect I will need an active pre and matching interconnects and speaker cables. My current NVA kit is old modded/upgraded units so not much resale value but slowly slowly . 
  • 29mile said:
    Hi Dave yes I recall the sad NVA debacle but time has moved on and discovering SECA has been a revelation. Electricity usage is not such a problem just a matter of getting used to turning on the amps 30 minutes beforehand. 
    It’s my wallet I am concerned with as I suspect to get the full SECA effect I will need an active pre and matching interconnects and speaker cables. My current NVA kit is old modded/upgraded units so not much resale value but slowly slowly . 

    Mine aren't on that many hours each week (I listen to the Sonoses on my desk all day), so I don't worry about power bills. I hardly ever remember to switch the things on before I listen, but they sound OK from cold. About 20/25 minutes and they're 80% there, with around an hour to get to 100%, I'd say.
    The pre-amp is an enduring problem. My TQ Listen pre-amp is great, don't get me wrong, but I hanker after a SECA pre-amp, and they're expensive. I don't count the £20 Chinese stuff on eBay, BTW.
    I keep hoping Colin will design a SECA pre-amp kit for the soldering-challenged. Don't bother with messing with an integral phono stage or DAC, Col. Most of us don't have a use for either.
    You can put my name down now!
  • The Listen pre is fantastic, and another design won't necessarily be better, because it's SECA.

    The EWA Q-20 is a step up from the Listen, the M-50 is even more so, and both incorporate SECA into the design. But my vintage Magnum MP-250 is fully a SECA pre (at line level) and it's not so detailed or transparent as the new stuff. 

    A lot of time it's about impedance matching to the power amplifier to buffer it properly, and with modern sources the pre 'amplifier' usually is attenuating. So not necessarily a better pre because it's pure SECA.
  • 29mile said:
    Thanks Ben. My worry is that the new boards are 140mm x 215mm ish so can only fit longways on the heat sink which are 170 high. This means the large caps and transformers need to be moved / replaced undoing all Paul’s ( Quickie’s ) excellent workmanship. Perhaps Colin could advise. 
    Mount the boards upsidedown (FETs at bottom), and cut slots in the top of the case so the boards can stick through them. Like a hot-rod bonnet. ;-)
  • Re. turning on a SECA...
    I wonder what the effect is on the circuit / caps.
    Simply in terms of longevity is it better to leave them on all the time to avoid subjecting the amp to daily in-rush and heating>cooling / expanding>contracting, or is total "on time" the final arbiter?
  • Alan said:
    The Listen pre is fantastic, and another design won't necessarily be better, because it's SECA.

    The EWA Q-20 is a step up from the Listen, the M-50 is even more so, and both incorporate SECA into the design. But my vintage Magnum MP-250 is fully a SECA pre (at line level) and it's not so detailed or transparent as the new stuff. 

    A lot of time it's about impedance matching to the power amplifier to buffer it properly, and with modern sources the pre 'amplifier' usually is attenuating. So not necessarily a better pre because it's pure SECA.
    Of course, circuit topology (is that the right use of the word?) isn't the whole story. And vintage hi-fi is often good. But that's ignoring the fact that newer designs are normally better than their predecessors. 

    So, what I'm saying is a nice new SECA pre-amp kit from Colin would likely be better than the MP-250 and a move towards the presentation that we SECA fiends crave. It's a sad condition we suffer from  :)  
  • 29mile said:
    Thanks Ben. My worry is that the new boards are 140mm x 215mm ish so can only fit longways on the heat sink which are 170 high. This means the large caps and transformers need to be moved / replaced undoing all Paul’s ( Quickie’s ) excellent workmanship. Perhaps Colin could advise. 
    Now firstly, you will not need those monster cap, secondly you will need two transformers, and in the gap between the the heatsink and front panel,but mount them on a bracket so they are vertical and with a good wind and few bad words it should fit.


  • Thanks Colin for that. Seems a shame to dissect the IID25 so one alternative could be to DIY build another amp with your new boards. I could then bi amp my Royds using the ID25 for the tweeters and the DIY build for the mid/ bass. 

  • Ever since Colin revealed that you can daisy chain the new boards I’ve been toying with the idea of using 2 boards in each mono block.  Well I’ve just come up with an idea that clinches it.   I am going to make them with 2 boards and daisy chain them, but I will also add an extra pair of speaker terminals so that if I ever decide to use them for bi-amping I could easily convert each mono block into a 2 channel amp.
    Colin, I think I’m going to be buying an extra pair of boards!

    Ha! Now I need an even bigger heatsink🙄
  • Good job Ian...
    I'm waiting for the first water cooled SECA...


  • Any good? 
  • Alan said:


    Any good? 
    Mounting is the problem Alan
  • Docfoster said:
    Good job Ian...
    I'm waiting for the first water cooled SECA...
    Run them on batteries and drop it in the bath and be ECO too.

  • Mount them to the room radiator. 

    I'm only half joking..
  • ian said:
    Ever since Colin revealed that you can daisy chain the new boards I’ve been toying with the idea of using 2 boards in each mono block.  Well I’ve just come up with an idea that clinches it.   I am going to make them with 2 boards and daisy chain them, but I will also add an extra pair of speaker terminals so that if I ever decide to use them for bi-amping I could easily convert each mono block into a 2 channel amp.
    Colin, I think I’m going to be buying an extra pair of boards!

    Ha! Now I need an even bigger heatsink🙄
    Sounds good.
    FWIW, my monoblocks have two sets of speaker terminals so I can bi-wire using thick cable.
  • Docfoster said:
    Good job Ian...
    I'm waiting for the first water cooled SECA...
    I did discuss that with Colin some time ago, thinking there may be some use for the hot water.
    It didn't happen, of course.
  • Alan said:
    Mount them to the room radiator. 

    I'm only half joking..
    I know.
  • uglymusic said:
    Docfoster said:
    Good job Ian...
    I'm waiting for the first water cooled SECA...
    I did discuss that with Colin some time ago, thinking there may be some use for the hot water.
    It didn't happen, of course.
    Well actually, we are going to be re-modelling our house and as a part of that we are installing MVHR, so all that heat will get recycled 😀
    Funny how easy it is to justify things to yourself when you want somethIng !
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