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Avondale Power Amplifiers

Discussion in 'audio' started by Bruv Sawney, Jun 18, 2022.

  1. Bruv Sawney

    Bruv Sawney Member

    Having recently purchased Avondale’s passive crossovers for my SBL’s and been very impressed I’ve been considering buying a used Avondale built power amp to compare to my NAP 250.

    Is there any kind of hierarchy with the amps Avondale have produced? It seems that the Voyager is top of the pile but how would this compare to a M130, a modified Nap 180 / 250 or any other Avondale amp?

    I know could install NCC220/200 boards in my 250 but I would like to do a direct comparison with an Avondale amp and then sell one or the other to finance the purchase.
  2. 1964meb

    1964meb pfm Member


    I had a CB 250 for years and loved its thunderous - ness.

    I was offered a Zener Avondale '250' to try - I believe Zener was a pfm member for many years and I also believe that he has tinkered with it. So my Avondale 250 is not a standard one

    The presentation of the Zener 250 is much more detailed and it lacks the CB 250 upper bass bloom that I both loved and disliked at the same time.

    Th Avondale presentation is tidier (did I really type that), more detailed and has more space around each instrument. The CB 250 is more dynamic, more thumping and has more oomph.

    I opted for the Avondale sold the CB250 and lived happily ever after

    Happy tinkering


    naimplayer likes this.
  3. Tigerjones

    Tigerjones Bagpuss

    In my early adventures in to hifi, Les sold me an amp called The Beast, it weighed as much as a small car and could have probably driven one. Replaced a Nap 110 to use with the rather demanding Epos ES22s. The Avondale lived up to its name.
    Gervais Cote likes this.
  4. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    The 260z is closer to a 250, i.e stereo amp with dual mono boards running from a single transformer. These were sold as 'kits' but in reality it was only left to you to wire the thing up. A big improvement on a 250 but it would benefit from speaker protection...

    Scroll right down this page - the voyager came a little later...
    Nytechy likes this.
  5. Mynamemynaim

    Mynamemynaim 38yrs a Naim owner

    There is a hierarchy of sorts....though there is a degree of crossover due to different specs and configurations

    Roughly it goes
    300 monos
    220 voyager monos
    220 voyager
    200 voyager monos
    200 voyager

    These are the boards used in the amps....other names may apply if actually fully built by avondale
    Garrard 401 and Mike Hanson like this.
  6. MUTTY1

    MUTTY1 Waste of bandwidth

    I’ve a 260z built by Les. It needs a service and check over. I’d sell for £350 with buyer arranging/paying carriage.
  7. chiily

    chiily PFM Special Builder

    I had, for many years a pair of DIY Voyager monos (220s) and I loved them. Oodles of scale and lots of foot tapping smiles all around. Very recommended.

    Over in the DIY channel people have built NCC300 amps and say that they are better than the NCC220 Voyagers.

    Moved on through a KSA50, a couple of Nelson Pass's DIY amps along the way, finally settling on valves, but then my listening habits have changed as has my tinnitus.
    Mynamemynaim likes this.
  8. Mike Hanson

    Mike Hanson Lovely!

    This is a pretty good list, although I would personally put a Voyager 200 ahead of a non-Voyager 220.

    BTW, I've built all of these, but only the 200 in stereo configurations. All the others were built in mono topologies (either separates or in a shared case).
  9. Mynamemynaim

    Mynamemynaim 38yrs a Naim owner

    Your right Mike...there is a degree of cross over and User preference when deciding which is best...
    It can of course come down to what transformers are used or what transistors are employed...there really is no definitive answer
    Mike Hanson likes this.
  10. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    The 260z is named after Les's Datsun, I believe. A 130 is half of a 260 - obviously!
  11. chiily

    chiily PFM Special Builder

    It is indeed. Les had a picture of it on his old website. Time to have a look at the internet archive.
    gavreid likes this.
  12. Bruv Sawney

    Bruv Sawney Member

    Thanks for all the replies

    The day after I posted the query above an Olive NAP 250 with NCC220 qudos and HCR200 modules built by Les at Avondale showed up in the classifieds. I bought it!

    It’s certainly a very big improvement in all area on the standard NAP 250, particularly on vocals and the bottom end. My SBL’s now have bass that I never dreamed they were capable of!

    It’s not a problem to me but I’m confused that it has a green power button that I’ve not seen on an olive amp before. The naim logo lights up but the button doesn’t so it doesn’t appear to be a repurposed chrome bumper model. Did Naim ever produce olive amps with a green button?
    gavreid likes this.
  13. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    I really don't know - they were black buttons I thought. Once rebuilt/modded it really could be anything...

    I hope you enjoy the amp!
  14. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    The only word of caution would be as above - speaker protection needed for pure Avondale builds.

    I bought some NC200 mono's, originally built by Les and they left some Audiolab 300MB totally out of sight, they were like chalk and cheese, night and day, when run side by side.
    Rebuilt by Les using NC300..............................

    Croft pre'. I mention that as I am certain that there will be incompatibilities out there somewhere.
  15. Bruv Sawney

    Bruv Sawney Member

    I’ve heard of speaker protection but don’t know anything about why it may be required? Do most amplifiers have it or do Avondale have a reputation for failing and fritzing the speakers?
  16. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    In a worst case, output devices of a power amp' can go open circuit and fry your speakers (the woofers).

    Until moderately recently, Les did not fit speaker protection.

    My NCC200 units were rebuilt..........................

    That apart, it will take a little searching, but more has been posted here by others FAR, Far more qualified than me to comment.

    Comment from the better half (a music junky who knows nothing at all of hifi) about 5-10 seconds after swapping the Audiolabs for the NC200s - "Bloody hell, you must be pleased with those"
  17. Mike Hanson

    Mike Hanson Lovely!

    Speaker Protection Modules are good insurance, but I want to make it clear that this potential issue is not specifically related to Avondale amps. All earlier Naim amps run this same risk, including all chrome bumper and olive amps. I'm not sure if they started adding it in their later stuff.

    Also, I've never had an amp board go bad, and I've built many Avondale amps. I think I heard of one guy once having it happen, but it's certainly a rare occurrence.

    Ultimately, it's like any insurance: you probably won't need it, but if you do, you'll be happy you have it. As such, I tend to add SPMs to most of my builds.
  18. James Evans

    James Evans Bedroom Bodger

    I've only had one NCC based amp go belly up on me and that was due to my stupidity, all the other ones I've built (with speaker protection from then on....) have been as stable as very stable thing (touches wood given the current ambient room temp).
  19. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    My Naim NAP 250.2 probably doesn’t have any speakers protection as I can hear a thumping sound in speakers when powering on and off.
  20. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    That is a very serious over-simplification. I would STRONGLY suggest that anyone should dig around for the thread where lots is discussed about the subject, including input from experts and repairers.

    That isn't what speaker protection does.

    A distant memory suggests that Naim circuit design is very unlikely to damage speakers in the event of component failure. Again, I am pretty certain, covered in the thread as above.

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