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Avondale Grad One

Discussion in 'audio' started by say it as it is, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. say it as it is

    say it as it is pfm Member

    Ok I know these are rare as anything but chances are if anyone has one they be on here!

    looking to find out a little more about then before i start searching

    I have went down the Avondale route for power amps and power supplies.

    I had wanted to try get my 102 upgraded but that seems a dead end either no one wants to take it on or the price takes it into 82 money.

    so brings me to the Grad One or the 821 pre amps

    who has one and what are their thoughts and what they compare them to?

    TPX2 seem non existent was that the key part to this amp or can an TPX 1 or TPX 1.5 get close?

    I assume there is no way to get a remote control function with such a stripped back design?

    Just curious is 72 with 821 boards for example as good as match?

    Hard to find one to hear but as i have enjoyed the Avondale stuff so far just seems like the next step?
  2. PerF

    PerF Scandinavian Member

    They are out there, unsure how many actually made.? (I've had two myself within 6-8 years, both gone now, maybe stupid, people seem to be sticking to them)
    Definately much better than a 102, but lacking the DIN connections.
  3. say it as it is

    say it as it is pfm Member

    ok so all inputs are RCA? can live with that certainly what is the power supply input is that still DIN?
  4. uncl_nigel

    uncl_nigel pfm Member

    From memory - I sold mine some time back
    No remote
    3 inputs on RCA
    Sounds better than 72 with 821A boards
    Small and black
    Not so happy with non standard (i.e. above 2V) DACs and CD players - my Chord DAC64/II was rated at 2.7V (my present pre takes 6V with no problem)
    No balance control
    Power on Naim-style DIN
  5. PerF

    PerF Scandinavian Member

    I recall my latest Grad were 3 line-level RCA input and PSU DIN & RCA power output.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
  6. say it as it is

    say it as it is pfm Member

    thanks guys did you use them with TPX2 or what power supply?

    remote is a drawback must admit
  7. PerF

    PerF Scandinavian Member

    I think people used various PSU, as the first one I had was TPX, the later one not sure SPX something..

    Isn't Les W. still in business ?
    Maybe you could source from him ?
    Either DIY or finished product ?
  8. say it as it is

    say it as it is pfm Member

    yes he is still going but doesn't make them anymore
  9. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    APX2 here. Les would set the voltage a little higher for a G1 than the stock item (which was usually sold as a HiCap replacement)
  10. say it as it is

    say it as it is pfm Member

    Hard enough to find a grad one or 821 a TPX2 is thing of wonder and hard to find.

    so compared to a Naim amp where would you rate a Grad1?
  11. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

  12. say it as it is

    say it as it is pfm Member

    wow he was a busy man back then eh!
  13. PerF

    PerF Scandinavian Member

    He did a lot of Forum Naim bashing, defended by a certain sheep Mike Parry, not sure if this is ongoing other places, it was sometime quite amusing actually. I even think they became private friends at a time.
    I believe many of his customer base was born that way, he sort of bashed his own source to improve & service various Naim boxes.
    Also Les hardly replied to emails even he advised email on his website, he should be phoned.

    There was a guy called Zener, - if memory serve, wasn't he a partner or something to speed up manufacture and marketing ?
    Les W. did some great DIY electronics, lately power amp boards get really good views.
    I've read somewhere he's got a new tonearm out next 6 month.

    For some reason he left PFM, a pity really, as I believe the DIY section had a lot of good advise and knowledge contribute.
  14. quickie

    quickie SE 'A' Class

    The Grad 1 is really nice.

    Must have been around 15 years ago now that I owned it, powered by an APX4 PS.
    Pedro83 likes this.
  15. Pedro83

    Pedro83 pfm Member

    Mick Parry you mean?

    Zener helped with dems in the SE IIRC.

    My Dad runs a Grad1/TPX2 into S100 and Wilsons, sounds awesome.
  16. Simon s

    Simon s pfm Member

    I have used and still own a Grad 1 and for a while had it pitched against a Nac 52 and Dynavector amps to see which won out. Despite the fact Les's business model was always framed through the limitations of Naim amps it really is a different sounding amp than the NAC Naim range of pre's. Against a Nac52, for example, it doesn't have the drive and immediate excitement of the Naim amp. Yet if you listen over a longer term the Grad 1 is a superior amp in many ways.

    It doesn't impose its own character on the music in the way that Naim famously does. But if the music has drive, then the amp lets it through. It also is very neutral and to a degree has a creamy tonality and a much more mature presentation, which makes it a much better longer term buy in my humble opinion.

    All credit for Les on a remarkable achievement. Oh and i am just using it with a TPX1.
  17. MUTTY1

    MUTTY1 Waste of bandwidth

    That’s a nice summing up. Mine came after naim pre-amps, one modified by Les.
    Simon s likes this.
  18. say it as it is

    say it as it is pfm Member

    great to hear your thoughts all I have a lot of time for Les he is very helpful as I have just started out in the DIY field.

    the lack of remote is the only downside but I suspect the synergy with his power amps and power supplies should make for a fine amp.
  19. justpassing

    justpassing pfm Member

    My Grad1/TPX2 replaced a NAC82, is still in use with Avondale Voyager NCC300 amps and does indeed sound "just right". There was a rumour a little while ago that there is a Grad2 in the works and that this would include a remote, but that seems to have gone quiet. However Les is clearly still busy with new products as evidenced by the recent announcement of a new tone arm so who knows what's out there.
  20. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    The was a Grad2 advertised back in 2004 but I don't know that it ever became a reality. Maybe someone does...

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