As many of you know, I am not very comfortable writing about the sound of my own creations. I prefer to let others speak. The owner of the 801A / 211 amplifiers was so kind to share his impressions and allowed to publish them on my blog.
This is his listening report, the original german text can be found below.
As the new owner of the Thomas Mayer Elrog 211 SE amplifiers I have some good and some bad news to share: First the good news: This amp is a hit! And now the bad news: The Hirata-Tango transformers used in these amplifiers are not made any more since a long time also the production of the ISO-Tango transformers has ended in the mean time. But there are still some few pairs of them in Thomas' stock in Lindau.
What has changed in my system after adding these amplifiers? The 25W per channel (up to 20W in Class A1 and 5W 'reserve' going to Class A2) is in a totally different league than the 1.5W of the SE 45 I used before. You might think now : Ah yes, those amps have so much power they are not really able to walk any more. Not true! The 211 SE amps with the tubes from Lübtheen (Elrog) can reproduce very subtle nuances, if the music material demands that. This was the biggest surprise for me. I could now use the whole array of silly audiophile adjectives about the sound but would still not be able to describe the core of the performance. Of course they have an extremely controlled and black bass, silky mids and a clear and extended treble range. Focussing is precise as never before in my system. The layering of the instruments in width and depth is extraordinary. The dynamics are monster! Did I forget something?
Such descriptions fit a number of amplifiers, but the 211 SE can do more and you don't have to worry about all those points above. Everything is just there. I don't know if a 45 SE is able to provide a tad more resolution. I don't care with all I got now. The 211 plays along with the same charm as my previous 45 had. And I didn't expect that to be possible.
If the rest of the system is up to the task the result has less to do with HiFi but rather with realistic music reproduction. I never heard all the power and tone colours of a concert piano so convincing before. Tonal nuances between a Bechstein, Brodmann or Steinway are very easy to hear. Often these instruments sound like toys when played through a HiFi system.
The naturalness of the reproduction is very apparent with live recordings. Is the applause realistic or does it sound as if the audience is clapping with logs of wood? The 211 SE shows how it is supposed to sound. Here the resolution capability plays an important role. Another aspect which I only realised after a while: Mediocre recordings get new live with the 211 SE amps. What sounded flat and featureless before now gets some fresh excitement. Of course the 211 SE cannot make a silk purse from a pig skin. But it is surprising what it can pull out of such recordings.
A solo violin is always very difficult. This instrument has an extended harmonic spectrum. Rarely can it be realistically reproduced. Again the 211 SE shows how it's done. The amps keep everything in order during complex music parts like orchestral tutti. It doesn't run out of steam like flea power triodes do. These amplifiers might open new doors for Wagner fans. I could go on with this list. I have not found any weakness.
I can't say if it's the Hirata Tango transformers, the extraordinary Elrog 211 or the circuit. For sure it is the overall concept which is responsible for the performance.
Too much praise? I don't think so. I have never heard any amplifier before which is more convincing.
Thanks to J.S. for his in depth report. I am glad you enjoy the amps!
As he mentioned, sadly ISO Tango is stopping their business. At this point it is not clear if that is temporarily or if they are going out of business permanently. I still have some of the superb Tango X10S transformers in stock for a very few more of these amplifiers.
Da ich ungern selbst über den Klang meiner Verstärker schreibe, ziehe ich es vor wenn andere Ihre Höreindrücke wiedergeben. Der Besitzer der 801A / 211 Verstärker war so nett seine Klangeindrücke niederzuschreiben zur Veröffentlichung auf meinem blog.
Hier der Hörbericht:
Vielen Dank an J.S. für diesen detaillierten Bericht! Es freut mich sehr, dass Du diese Verstärker so geniesst.
Wie in dem Bericht erwähnt, stellt ISO-Tango leider die Produktion ein. Ob nur vorübergehend oder für immer ist momentan nicht bekannt. Ich habe noch welche von den hervorragenden Tango X10S Übertragern auf Lager für einige wenige weitere solche Verstärker.