|Vincent Audio - SP-331 Hybrid Power Amplifier
The Absolute Sound "Best Tube Amplifier" 2008/2009
"Power Amplifier of the Year" The Absolute Sound Magazine
"Editors' Choice" Award, The Absolute Sound, 2007
"Best-sounding Sub-$1,200 Amp I've Heard"
Vincent's SP-331 wins the "Power Amplifier of the Year" award in the January 2008 issue of The Absolute Sound magazine. "Plan on using a very good preamp in order to hear what the high-resolution Vincent can really do," suggests Chris Martens.
"One of the Sweetest Deals in Audio"
The Absolute Sound magazine rated the Vincent SP-331 as the "Best Tube Amplifier" in the Winter 08 / Spring 09 issue, calling it "one of the best-sounding power amplifiers we're heard in the sub-[twelve-hundred-dollar]-category."
"Let me not mince words," says Martens in the August 2007 issue of The Absolute Sound. "The SP-331 is the best-sounding sub-$1200 amplifier I've yet heard, and I therefore regard it as one of the sweetest deals in high-end audio today."
"Richness and Subtlety"
The October 2007 issue ofThe Absolute Sound magazine awarded the Vincent SP-331 its "Editors' Choice" recommendation. "It combines the richness and subtlety of fine tube designs -- especially through the midrange -- with the sheer low-frequency grunt, control, and agility of a good solid-state amplifier."
No Nonsense Luxury in a Hybrid Tube Design
Its front panel design says elegance. Its gorgeous chassis testifies to the premium build quality. And its sound… well, its sound is a little slice of heaven, combining the legendary warmth of tube electronics with the speed, control, and reliability of solid-state designs.
The words 'no nonsense' and 'luxurious' usually don't go together, but the Vincent SP-331 power amplifier is a rule breaker. Thanks to German engineering, the look and sound are clean as a whistle. And the price is far less than you would expect to pay for a component of this high quality.
Plenty of Power, Oodles of Style
The SP-331 boasts a power delivery of 150-watts-per-channel at eight ohms, and a full 300-watts-per-channel at four ohms. That means you harness plenty of 'oomph' for the full effect of realistic orchestral crescendos and complex music passages. And when added to a home theater system, the SP-331 is pure audio dynamite for film scores and special effects.
You can't do better than a hybrid circuit design when it comes to appealing audio performance. The SP-331 offers the best of both vacuum tube and solid state technology. The input stage relies on two 6N16 tubes for liquid, effortless sounding audio. The output stage gets its muscle from six Toshiba transistors per channel.
A Titan of a Power Supply
A mighty power amp requires a titan of a power supply, and that's exactly what's on tap with the Vincent. Its precision-designed oversize toroidal core transformer of 1,000-watts x 2 offers energy storage capacity of 80,000 µF per channel. In fact, the power supply will even accommodate speaker loads of two ohms without any difficulty.
Two pairs of high-quality speaker binding posts give you bi-wiring options. The rear panel also includes a connection for the included IEC-style power cord, one pair of unbalanced RCA-style inputs, and a replaceable fuse.
- Hybrid vacuum tube / solid-state power amplifier
- German engineered
- Input stage: 2 6N16 tubes per channel
- Output stage: 12 Toshiba transistors per channel
- Oversize toroidal core transformer of 1,000-watts x 2
- 80,000 µF per channel power reserves
- Two pairs of high-quality speaker binding posts
- Rear-panel replaceable fuse
- IEC-style power cord
- Frequency range: 10 Hz – 20 kHz, +/- 0.5 dB
- Nominal output power 8 Ohm: 2 x 150 Watt
- Nominal output power 4 Ohm: 2 x 300 Watt
- Input sensitivity: 1.2 V
- Total harmonic distortion: < 0.1 % max. (1 kHz, 1 Watt)
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio: > 90 dB
- Input Impedance: 47 kOhm
- Inputs: 2 x RCA
- Outputs: 4 x 2 speaker terminals
- Dimensions: 17" wide, 6.3" high, 17.7" deep
- Weight: 41.5 lbs.
"Vincent's SP-331 amp, like its SA-31 preamp, has midrange subtlety and richness in spades. Connect the SP-331 with a sufficiently revealing preamplifier… and the Vincent will reward you with vivid midrange tonal colors and a delightfully holographic 3-D presentation that reveals the finely contoured edges of notes…"
"The SP-331 does more things right than any other sub-$1200 amplifier I've heard."
- Chris Martens, The Absolute Sound, August 2007
||Vincent SP-331 Amp Review
|I have previously only used Receivers with this being my first separate component. At this point Im venturing into separates one step at a time. Im using the Vincent Amp to power my front stereo channels of my B&K AVR-307 Receiver. With that said, after listening to the amp at my dealer with similar speakers to mine, I decided to take the unit home. After first listening at home to the same CD I played at dealer. I was wasnt to impressed at first. Then about, 2.5 hours later everything came together. Stereo imaging opened up, the sound stage was full bodied with detailed instrumentation. I can honestly say after listening to several of my CDs which Im familiar with, on some of the discs I have heard details I have yet to hear before. Maybe a guitar and keyboard in the background. Im enjoying this Amp and it seems to sound even better as it warms up, say after you go through 2 CDs.
Currently just upgraded to Kimber Hero interconnects amp to receiver. Next step will be an upgrade to the AC power cord. These small things are for peace of mind, rather they increase performance can be questionable.
QUAD 22L speakers
QUAD 99CDP-2 player
Kimber 8TC speaker wire|
|- CC C, CA|
||One of the true bargains in Audio
|I have owned a healthy number of power amplifiers, buying each one, using it for a year or so, and then re-selling it -- all in the search for an amplifier that manages to provide both tight, well-defined bass and also clear, articulate treble that does not cause violins and flutes to shriek in the higher registers. Oh, and that I can also lift and move without a wheel barrow or hiring a weight lifter.
In that search, I have owned amps from Conrad-Johnson, Audio Research, NAD, Nelson Pass First Watt, VTL, Exposure and Musical Fidelity, among others. And the first power amplifier I have ever heard that manages to completely meet my criteria is the Vincent SP-331, which cost roughly 1/3 what a couple of those other amps cost. Its hybrid design -- using tubes in the input stage and solid-state output -- provides articulate bass, smooth highs, a detailed midrange, and very respectable stereo imaging -- although not on a par with VTL or Audio Research. The simple fact is that you will not find a better amp at anywhere near this price -- and you can pay a lot more and get less.
The amp does have its foibles, which is why I have given it only four stars. It takes a good forty to fifty hours of playing time to break in. The binding posts on the back for the speaker cables are not true WBT -- they can take banana plugs, but only by placing the plugs in the large post holes intended for bare speaker wire and tightening the lugs. You cannot plug the bananas into the back of the terminals. The tubes are not user replaceable, so while they have a very long projected life of roughly 15000 hours, at the end of that life or sooner if you get a bad tube, which can happen, you are going to have to hope you can find someone to service them. Vincent also does not include any warranty information or a warranty registration card or online registration services with the amp -- although Audio Advisors -- who I trust -- tell me that the amp has a two year warranty and service can be arranged through them at Vincents service facility in Grand Rapids, MI. The fact is, though, that Vincent, which is rumored to be owned by Thorens, should know better -- they are required by federal law to include warranty information with the product or advise where it can be found online -- and they dont.
All in all, a remarkable product at a very reasonable price. Do yourself a favor -- if you have less than $5000 to spend on a power amp, dont bother to spend more than the price of the SP-331 -- get the Vincent and spring for better loudspeakers, instead.|
|- David W, IA|
||vincent SP331 is true value
|the vincent sp331 is really value for thre money you pay , @ 150@8 ohms its very powerful and can drive any speaker without a fuss it drives my jamo C809 to its full limits ,the highs/vocals/lows are top class ,i have actually replaced my old bryston 8bst with this amp and let me tell you this one sounds far superior and this also doubles out to drive my mains in the HT set up , additional advantage of this amp is it has biwire feature and this improves the SQ to a large extent ----compared to a lot of other amps at this price or even double this cost ,the vincent 331 sounds far better ,highly recommended do give this an audition my review includes the vincent SP331 power amp/vincent SA31 pre/marantz sa11s1 sacdp/ jamo c809 spkrs|
|- subhash r, INT|
||This Vincent has Vincent C. impressed with the music.
|This Vincent Audio SP-331 has me in awe with all you get for so little. My Magnepan MMG loudspeakers which are a none friendly 4 Ohm load is driven effortlessly, and sound is amazing for the price. Midrange the most important is very right, with no harshness. Actually Midrange on up the SP-331 is so smooth without sounding slow and veiled. Bass is taught and timbre accurate. Stereo sound field or soundstage is tops in depth and width, with a layering of the Orchestra that is well close to true 3d. This Amplifier makes other amplifiers in its range almost illogical to choose. Though many may have the Vincents power supply which is huge to begin with already 80k capacitance and a huge 1kva plus Toroidal Power Transformer and 12 Toshiba output devices per channel, the other amplifiers dont have the Russian 6n16x2 in the pre-driver stage. I think that is a big plus to give the amplifier the character I really love. Build is very good too, and with only the spaced too close RCA Phono connections to carp about, that is high praise indeed. Everything else is so musically right. Should be on any music lovers shortlist of amplifiers to audition at this magic value level. Hint, I have had NAD and Rotel at this level, and the Vincent is vastly superior. At least to my ears. Give the Vincent Audio SP-331 a listen.|
|- Vincent C, CA|