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Steve's Fleawatt Amplifier Review




I just wanted to share how much I am enjoying my new Fleawatt amp.  I have a
very simple system (DAC/Buffer/Amp/Speakers) which provides very nice sound
quality.  I normally use a Shindo power amp ($8,000 new - I bought it 2nd
hand) and the sound quality with my PS Audio DAC and Vivid speakers is truly
outstanding.  But, the amp was having noise issues so I sent it out for
repair and bought the Fleawatt to use in the interim.  However, when used
with my Dodd tube buffer the sound quality of the Fleawatt is VERY
acceptable.  Considering the 20-times cost difference it's sort of amazing
how good it sounds.

"Manistique" Two input TPA3116D2 (Sold to Matt of Bayonne, New Jersey)




Solid Ash wood front panel.  Machined aluminum knobs.  Elnic Silmic II power supply caps.  Power supply featuring 4700uf of capacitance.  Toroidal transformer.  Gold plated hardware.  
Two inputs utilizing a goldpoint selector switch for ultra transparent sound.
Belen brilliance input wire and Kimber TCSS output wire.
Sold to Matt.


"Hans Zimmer" Two input TPA3116D2 (Sold to Tom G. of Chagrin Falls, Ohio)




Large 11"x14"x4" Machined Aluminum Enclosure. 
Two inputs.  Oversized R type transformer with regulated power supply set at 18 volts.   Nichicon fine gold power supply capacitors.
Shielded Belden Brilliance input wire and cloth covered twisted/stranded 18ga. copper output wire.
Alps blue velvet volume pot.  Solen brand gold plated binding posts.  Rean RCA inputs.
20 watts per channel into 8 ohms.  40 watts into 4 ohms.
$475 plus $35 shipping.


"Gary Numan" TPA3116D2 Integrated Amp (Sold to Steve H. of Brodhead, Wisconsin)





R Type transformer.  Audiophile quality Nichicon Muse and Elna Silmic power supply capacitors.
Real oak wood and aluminum enclosure.  Premium gold plated binding posts.
Jupiter brand cotton insulated 4N solid core copper output wire.
Rear mounted DACT style volume pot.  
Working 1950's vintage Hewlett Packard panel meter. (Sweeps to center upon power up)
Note:  The aluminum used to make this enclosure is very soft.  It has a distressed look, but also has deeper scratches in various places that occurred during construction.   Still, it's a very cool looking amp.  13.5"wide x 10"deep x 4" Tall
20 watts per channel into 8 ohms.  40 watts into 4 ohms.
$400 plus shipping.   




"Bypass" TPA3110D2 (Sold to Paul in Middle Village, NY)



TPA3110D2 with a volume control bypass switch.  Use as a stand alone amplifier with your favorite preamp via bypassing the volume pot or as an integrated amplifier.
R type transformer, 4700uf of power supply capacitance and upgraded Nichicon Fine Gold power supply capacitors.  Teflon insulated copper wiring and gold plated hardware.
Distressed diecast aluminum with a gloss clear coat. 



"Soultrane" TPA3118D2 (Sold to Hugo L. of Greer, South Carolina)




Features include a high powered R core transformer, Nichicon Fine Gold power supply filtering caps, two inputs, 26ga. twisted, teflon insulated, solid copper signal wire, Kimber TCSS teflon insulated output wire and for those carbon pot loving audiophiles, an Alph carbon volume pot.  The binding posts are machined copper, gold plated with polycarbonate insulators.
25 gorgeous watts per channel.


"Waring" TPA3116D2 with Dueland cotton/copper wire (Sold to Thomas K. in Katy, Texas)




This build features a EI transformer, known for it's great line filtering properties.
Elna Silmic II & Panasonic FC power supply capacitors.  Alps Blue Velvet volume pot for silky smooth rotation & sound.  Output wire from the neoprene vibration isolated amplifier circuit board to the binding posts is the new 18ga. Dueland oil impregnated cotton, tinned copper wire.  This wire was created by Dueland to emulate the wildly popular Western Electric cotton insulated, tinned copper wire of days gone by.  Input signal wiring is Belden Brilliance, fully shielded copper.
Binding posts are WBT style premium gold plated machined brass.
25 watts per channel into 4 ohms.

Owner comments after receiving the amp:
I bought your amp for a couple of reasons ... first, I was very curious about Class D amplification having never heard one .... 2ndly, I wanted a couple of alternatives to my Triode TRV-A300SE Integrated .... an excellent integrated itself (w/Gold Lion 300B output tubes). This is part of a home-office system that uses my PC as the source and via USB cable feeds a Chord Electronics QX (British version) DAC with it's own linear power supply .... this drives my beautiful Antero bookshelf speakers.
I gotta say, your Waring, is simply impressive. It's detail & transparency, surprisingly are BETTER than the Triode and that's saying something ... bass extension is very good and tight ................ sonics can be just a bit brassy at higher volumes .... but @ the 10 o'clock position, volume is quite LOUD. I have a list of reference recordings I've used for a number of years .... recordings that I know, and your integrated plays them all very well with a fairly broad stage ..... and for the money, I'd say your Integrated is exceptional. I'll become one of your greatest advocates .... I've got several audiophile friends and you can bet they'll be informed. Not sure if that'll transform into purchases, but I'll let 'em know.

ESS Technology ES9028PRO DAC (Sold to Mark of Woodridge, IL)




SPDIF/Coaxial input only.  Top of the line ES9028PRO DAC chip with unreal signal to noise levels.
Please do some reading on the 9028PRO for additional details on it's design and development.
24/196 via digital coaxial input.  I use a M2Tech converter for USB input.   Unbalanced and balanced outputs.   Enclosure is generic "Breeze Audio", but is made for this new 9028 board.  I've done the work assembling this DAC using a high quality pre-stuffed circuit board,  R core transformer and  gold plated Neutrik hardware.  This might be the least expensive, plug and play 9028PRO on the market at the moment.  This DAC sounds gorgeous, with tons of heft in the bass.
Extremely pure, black backgrounds.  8 selectable filters and + - gain on the front panel.
High quality parts used in this build, including Nichicon capacitors and a R core transformer.
LED display is bright blue in color.  (not lit in photographs)


"Cello Suite" TPA3118D2 (Sold to Jeff S. of Statesboro, GA)



TPA3118D2 2x15 watts into 8 ohms.
Alps Blue Velvet Volume pot.  HEXFRED bridge rectifier with Elna Silmic II smoothing capacitors.
Capacitance multiplier.   Gold plated RCA connectors, binding posts and IEC inlet with fuse.  
 R core transformer, Dueland cotton insulated output wire.


"Schostakovich" TPA3116D2 Dueland Western Electric (Sold to Norman G. of Englewood, Colorado)




Stand alone 2 channel TPA3116D2 in an elegantly simple aluminum enclosure.  
This custom built amplifier has a R core transformer and regulated power supply board.
Nichicon Muse power supply capacitors.  Elastomer washers under the circuit boards for vibration isolation. Input wire is shielded Belden Brilliance & the output wire is the new Dueland 18 gauge oil impregnated, cotton insulated, tinned copper Western Electric clone wire.
Large elastomer isolation pads under the enclosure.
$375

"Holst" TPA3116D2 Dueland Wire (Sold to Mark W. of Woodridge, IL)




This gorgeous sounding amplifier was assembled with top-shelf audiophile components.  The TPA3116D2 is such a good sounding chip amplifier that mating it with good quality components  and a high quality linear power supply takes it to another level.  This is the first amplifier I've equipped with a "capacitor array" power supply.  This entails an array of sixty-eight Rubycon YXF high frequency, low impedance 220uf capacitors.  This is a silly amount of capacitance for an amplifier that sips current.  However, it allows immediate and fast current delivery to the amplifier.   Additional power supply capacitance on the amplifier board is provided by silky smooth sounding Elna Silmic II 1000uf capacitors.   Feeding the power supply is a huge (and expensive) 65VA R type transformer that has more than enough power to feed the capacitor array during large dynamic swings.   
The amplifier board itself is mounted on a 3/4" slab of Sitka Spruce wood.  Harware includes premium WBT style gold plated binding posts and Neutrik gold plated RCA inputs.  An Alps blue velvet volume pot is mounted front and center.   Wiring includes solid core copper power wiring, shielded Belden brilliance input wire and the output wire is the very special and expensive, Dueland brand oil impregnated, cotton insulated, 18gauge tinned copper.  (A close copy of the Western Electric wire)  A fire engine red LED is mounted above the volume control.
$545 plus actual shipping.
Here is a comment from the owner after the amp was received:
The integrated amp right out of the box is very impressive musically with exceptional build quality. It runs cool and operates dead silent. After a good break in period I will send further info on my opinions/comments. I think with this amp you HIT A HOME RUN. 

"Gerry Mulligan" TPA3116D2 (Sold to Chris C. in Littleton, Colorado)




Have you read all the superlatives regarding the TPA3116D2 chip amps?
Imagine what one sounds like mated with high quality or even boutique audiophile parts!
This amplifier was built with a R core transformer, 1000uf Nichicon Muse capacitors in the power supply, Belden Brilliance shielded copper input wiring, boutique Jupiter cotton insulated 4N purity copper output wire, solid-core copper power supply wiring, DACT style stepped attenuator that uses high tolerance SMD resistors, Solen brand gold plated binding posts and Neutrik gold plated RCA connectors.   This amplifier has the circuit board mounted on a 3/4" thick piece of maple, affixed with brass hardware.   
$400 plus shipping.  Lifetime Warranty.

"Mancini" TPA3116D2 with Goldpoint Attenuator (Sold to David F. of Buffalo, NY)




R Type Transformer.  Panasonic FC and Nichicon Muse power supply capacitors.  Goldpoint stepped attenuator.  Solen binding posts.   Neutrik Rean RCA inputs.   Teflon insulated, solid-core copper signal wiring and WBT TCSS output wire.   WBT style premium gold plated binding posts.  Circuit board is mounted on rubber vibration isolating washers. 
The goldpoint stepped attenuator is highly regarded and one of the most transparent sounding stepped attenuators available.
$525 plus shipping.

"Amati" TPA3116D2 Dual Input & Sitka Spruce (Sold to Aaron T. of Leawood, KS)




The circuit board in this amplifier is mounted on a 3/4" thick piece of Sitka Spruce wood.
Two inputs.  Alps Blue Velvet Volume Pot.  Toroidal transformer with regulated power supply.  Teflon insulated solid core copper hook-up wire.   Solen brand binding posts and Neutrik Rean RCA inputs.
Elna Silmic II power supply capacitors.  
The TPA3116D2 is one of the most written about chip amps in recent times, on all of the major audio forums.  There is a reason for this.  This special sounding integrated circuit deserves high quality parts.
$475 plus shipping.

Ravel II (Sold to Joon K. of Middle Village, NY)



Elna Silmic II power supply capacitors.  Regulated Power supply with 4700uf additional capacitance.
Ultra quiet R Type transformer.
TPA3116D2 is mounted on a 3/4" thick piece of Sitka Spruce wood.  Jupiter cotton insulated solid core 4N copper output wire and shielded copper input wire.  Silky smooth Alps blue velvet volume pot.
Binding posts are gold plated solid copper.  Neutrik RCA connectors.


"Joyce Cooling" TPA3116D2 Remote Control with Subwoofer Outputs (Sold to Thomas of Oakland, California)



Nichicon Fine Gold power supply capacitors.  Remote control volume.
Two inputs and stereo line level subwoofer outputs.  Premium gold plated WBT Style binding posts and Neutrik gold plated RCA inputs.


The water used to make your whiskey....

(Photo courtesy of James Transformer Manufacturing)


"AC power is the raw material for the output of the component. Make beer, wine, scotch or bourbon with bad water and you get a bad product. Make an audio component with a generic off-the-shelf toroidal transformer and you are going to get a generic sounding component. It won’t be terrible, but it will fail to scale the heights of what is possible." (Doug Blackburn of Soundstage)


"Koussevitzky" TPA3116D2 (Sold to Kregg H. of Dallas, Texas)


TPA3116D2 with upgraded Nichicon Muse power supply capacitors.  Audiophile quality R Core transformer. (internal linear power supply)  Teflon insulated, silver coated 4N copper output wire.  Fully shielded copper input wire.  Gold plated connectors.


Fleawatt Vintage Flip Clock



Vintage flip style clock workings mounted on a gorgeous solid slab of Canary Wood.
Vintage style cloth cord and plug.

Edison Globe Lamp (Available)




Globe shaped Edison bulb mounted in an aluminum enclosure with a functioning vintage panel meter.
1950's style cloth cord and grounded plug.   Copper colored accents, including machined wheel styled knobs and lamp socket.  Switch on the back is the master power.  Knob on the right is a dimmer for the bulb.  Knob on the left moves the needle on the panel meter.  Emits a gorgeous, warm light.  A fun, unique, handmade piece for the office or home.  $200 plus shipping.



Fleawatt Speed Read Clock (Sold to Paul S. of Ostrander Bay, MI)



Vintage 1950's "Speed Read" clock.  Removed from it's shabby housing and mounted on a die-cast aluminum enclosure.  Motor has been lubricated.  New 1950's style houndstooth cloth power cord.   A one of a kind piece.


"Mussorgsky" TPA3116D2 (Sold to James M. of Wilkes Barre, PA)



Heavy machined aluminum enclosure.
 Giant toroidal power transformer along with 4700uf of capacitance on a separate regulated power supply board.   Boutique Solen brand gold plated binding posts.  Gold plated REAN connectors.  High purity copper, gold plated IEC input with integrated fuse.  Kimber TCSS output wire and Belden Brilliance shielded input wire.   Alps blue velvet volume control.

Weston Kilovolt Meter Lamp (Sold to Steve L. of Lynnwood, Washington)




Three warm glowing Edison bulbs & a working 1940's vintage Weston Kilovolt panel meter.
One of a kind, handmade lamp art.  It's not too late to ask Mrs. Claus for one.
7.5" x 7.5"x 2.5"

Vintage Radio Dial Belts Display Box Lamp (Sold to Dean M. of Massachusetts)





Vintage Radio Dial Belts steel box with drawer from an old hardware store.  Gorgeous rusty/weathered patina that only old age is capable of producing.  Ceramic sockets are painted with enamel to blend with the metal box.  An on/off with rotary dimmer switch is on the left side.  A vintage style cloth covered, twisted electrical cord with vintage style plug on the back.
The photos do not capture the beautiful warm glow these bulbs produce in a dark room.
A perfect gift for the antique radio enthusiast.
Box measures approximately 5"x6"x14"


The Ravel (Sold to Guillaume B. of Paris, France)




This amplifier is hand crafted with high quality audiophile components throughout, including gold plated, solid copper binding posts.  A well regulated power supply is set to the voltage I feel produces the most tube like sound from the TPA3116D2.  Listening tests have led me to choose a particular R type transformer that I feel sounds the best with the 3116.  The circuit boards used in this amp are insulated from vibration by elastomer pads.  Elastomer pads on the bottom of the support posts further isolate the chassis from vibration.  A highly respected Alps blue velvet volume pot, combined with my favorite hook-up wire combination is all part of the recipe.  I'm thrilled this amplifier will leave my hands and reside in Paris, France.   An amplifier built by an avid audiophile for a fellow audiophile.