Convergent Audio Technology SL1 Renaissance Black Path Edition

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Tullman, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif

    Nope, the latest are SL-1 Renaissance BPX and Legend BPX. I think a second hand Legend Black Path...which is basically a BPA, is going to be better than a Renaissance BPA...in theory, LOL.
    OTOH, if you roll in some killer NOS tubes into the Renaissance BPA and leave the marginal stock tubes in the Legend BPA ( or even Legend BPX for that matter)...all bets are off!
    I am a bigger believer in the sound of the tubes, vs the sound of the caps...even though Ken is having none of this!
    IME, and IMHO...the sound of the caps is important...but the sound of the tubes...more so:targettiphat:
     
    TarnishedEars likes this.
  2. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    So, did you ever take delivery on the Renaissance BPX and the JL5? If so, how about some pics and your impressions.
     
  3. now25

    now25 Active Member

    Location:
    Brunei
    Received the Renaissance BPX and JL-5 BP Limited Edition about 5 weeks back and was burning them in. Here are some photos










    My first impression was how black the background is. I couldn’t hear any hiss with my ears next to the tweeter when the music is not playing! I switched to the new BPX initially to see the difference between the 4 year old SL-1 Renaissance and the new BPX with the Bryston 7B3’s power amps. The improvement was immediately apparent. More transparent, refine and even more air/decay with more body. With the darker background you can hear more micro details and dynamics giving it a more live feel.

    On replacing the Bryston 7B3’s with the JL-5 BP LE the music has even more body, rounded (more analogue) and even more refine and airy. Instruments like cello, acoustic guitars, piano, violins and horns are more tonally right. Cymbals playback has a very liquid feel without any harshness. Vocals have a more natural tonal quality with more body . The JL-5 LE drives the PMC fact.12’s with ease! I can now play the music louder without a touch of brightness.

    I usually pump up the volume to hear more details but with the JL-5 LE you can hear the details at lower volume.
     
  4. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    [​IMG]
    Just go to the photo, right click - copy. Then go to your post and right click - paste. :)
     
  5. now25

    now25 Active Member

    Location:
    Brunei
    Thanks! I was using an iPad and could not right click!

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  6. nm_west

    nm_west Forum Resident

    Location:
    Abq. NM. USA
    [​IMG]

    I like the looks of your amp. :righton:
    I absolutely hate where you have to plug in your interconnects.:shake:
     
  7. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    I get what you are saying, but remember this chassis is also used for mono blocks. I guess having the plugs in the back is less obtrusive but for old guys these side plugs are easy to access.
     
  8. nm_west

    nm_west Forum Resident

    Location:
    Abq. NM. USA
    Hey Tullman, I just don't like the proximity of the hot OP tubes and the patch cord inputs.
     
  9. now25

    now25 Active Member

    Location:
    Brunei
    That’s exactly what I asked Ken Stevens when I saw the speaker cables’ output especially for bananas. He said there is no issue with the heat as they have been using bananas with their systems. Not crazy about the RCA input in the front too. I guess it’s all about the sound with his designs. The shorter the signal path the better.
     
  10. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Yeah my speaker cables aren't neat the heat.

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  11. now25

    now25 Active Member

    Location:
    Brunei
    Nice system. Is your JL-5 BP Limited Edition too? Noticed you are using Symposium Ultra platforms on the CATs. Pl advise the effects they have on your system. What’s the rest of your system? The spade connections are better for the JL-5.
     
  12. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Dang... That is one very impressive looking preamp! I wonder what they are using all of those tubes for? That is one heck of a lot of tubes for a preamp...

    Does anyone know where one can find a schematic for one of these units? I'm really curious to see what they are using all of these tubes for.
     
  13. now25

    now25 Active Member

    Location:
    Brunei
    I think you are referring to the CAT JL-5 BP power amp.
     
  14. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    One of the pictures shows the inside of the preamp--10 tubes!

    John K.
     
  15. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Actually I'm not. Nothing looks unusual about the number of tubes for a high-power tube amp. But 10 tubes in a preamp? That is pretty unusual, so I'm wondering what all of the extra tubes are doing inside of that design... A typical cascoded preamp with a phono stage usually contains 4 tubes. And a typical cascaded preamp with a phono stage usually contains between 4 and 6 tubes, depending upon if it uses a cathode follower.

    And considering that the best preamps rarely use cathode followers, that leaves 6 extra tubes to wonder about their function. I'm guessing that at least some are current sources, and that some others might be paralleled for lower noise. Or might there be some cascaded cascodes in there? But those are just some guesses. I still would love to see the schematic...
     
  16. now25

    now25 Active Member

    Location:
    Brunei
    Sorry I thought you were referring to Tullman's post and I do not have any schematic of the preamp. This CAT preamp has been around since early 80's and I don't think the design has changed that much. I understand the designer, Ken Stevens is very particular about the quality of the capacitors and circuit board material.
     
  17. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Yes I remember seeing it advertised in Stereophile way back then. I didn't expect that you'd be providing a schematic, but if somebody out there has one, I'd love to get a chance to see it.
     
  18. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    There is no schematic, the whole design is in Ken Stevens' head.
     
  19. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    According to Ken Stevens my JL-5 has it all. The Symposium platforms lowered the noise floor. Now, it has better overall presentation.

    [​IMG]
     
    now25 likes this.
  20. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    How much is the BP Limited Edition going for?
     
  21. now25

    now25 Active Member

    Location:
    Brunei
    The JL-5 BP Limited Edition should be going for USD21,995 there. Difference from the normal version (which is still available) is the Teflon circuit board and bigger Black Gate power supply capacitors like the JL-7.
    What are the speaker and interconnect cables you’re using?
     
  22. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Those are Magnan Speaker cables. I've had that pair for quite some. Coincidentally, I saw Ken Stevens using a pair when I was at his shop. I said, hey I have those too.

    Signature Speaker Cables
     
    now25 likes this.
  23. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    While I'm sure that the latter is true, the former I don't buy. However it is possible that it has never been circulated outside of his shop.
     
  24. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    You have a genuinely drool-worthy system there. I bet that it sounds amazing. :tiphat:

    However I wonder at the position of your CAT. That looks pretty inconvenient down there.
     
    Tullman likes this.
  25. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Not really inconvenient. A flick of a switch if I go between formats and volume adjustments every so often. Notice that the bottom of the rack has more space and don't forget the CAT has an umbilical cord that goes to the power supply.
     

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