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NuForce STA200 Power Amp

Discussion in 'New Gear - Performance' started by musichal, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

    Messages:
    11,261
    Location:
    Norman OK
    First, I want to make it clear that I have not heard, do not own, nor am I considering a purchase of this amp because I simply have no need for it. However, it looks like it could be a winner, and I failed to find any threads about it. So if you show me one (or five) such threads, then, well, oops, my bad.

    Not being in the market for audio doesn't mean we don't look, now does it? And when I see an amp with a claimed $1300 price tag on sale at AA for $499, that sort of gets my attention. I generally wonder if anyone ever really paid that ask, when I see such a deep discount. I suspect few have, otherwise they wouldn't be offered at this reduction.

    However, I did own a compact NuForce Heaphone Amp/Preamp which impressed me with its SQ used as a preamp. Ended up not really needing a system in the guest bedroom where I put it and dismantled the system, and sold some of it in Barter Town, including that preamp (and sort of regret it). Anyway, the point is that I am favorably disposed toward the brand.

    The STA200 (model number reminds me of Realistic) is a dual mono design, each side powered from different taps off the same toroidal transformer. Rated at 80wpc at eight, I didn't see any four-ohm ratings. Looks nice in silver, but plain, minimalist appearance. One power switch, one small LED. The little preamp I owned was similar... simple, minimal.

    One reviewer wrote this excerpt:

    "A linear power supply, which is uncommon in most Class-D amps, produces the ultimate experience for audio enthusiasts. This supply produces 85 Watts through each of its channels at 8 Ohm, providing incredible speed and accuracy."

    Which appears to imply that this is a class d amp, but it is touted as class AB. I think it is class AB and either the professional reviewer simply mistaken, or the excerpt left out some context. [edit: definitely class ab]

    The amp is said to have included Swiss company Goldmund in its design process, which lends some credence to its claims, I think. Claims of innovative design, also mentioning star grounding in the same breath (is that innovative?). TAS seemed to like it, for what that's worth.

    So someone here is bound to have tried one out, or is using one. Or maybe is in the market and should give it a look, What's the AK skinny, if any?
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
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  2. invaderzim

    invaderzim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I just recently saw it for sale for that price and while the customer reviews are quite good I always get suspicious when something is marked down that far. Like you said, was it ever really sold for $1300 or is that just a semi-random price to make it seem like a better deal. For me once the excitement of "What have I found???" wears off a bit the cynical part of my nature kicks in and I figure it can't be that good.

    The one review I found: http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/optoma-nuforce-sta200-power-amplifier/?page=2 did list it at $1300, just not sure if it really sold any for that.

    I would love to hear from people that own one.

    https://www.optoma.com/us/product/sta200/

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
  3. HiFiJeff

    HiFiJeff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    794
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    I too am very intrigued by this amp. But yes, how long has this amp been selling for $499?
    And how long did it actually sell for $1299?
    And I am not suspicious for it being marked down, it happens in this industry, sometimes you run across smoking deals. I have read favorable reviews on it and if worse comes to worse and it doesn't excite me I can always return it. Maybe I can be the guinea pig on this forum. LOL
     
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  4. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    I tend to think it's name recognition. They keep building some good product under the NuForce banner, but haven't quite hit a homer yet. I think the amp obviously wasn't designed to sell at $499, and is likely a bargain at that price. Also, I'd already read the TAS review - seems to me the collaboration with Goldmund was to try to gain some brand fame, but the good review does mention that the Goldmund amp, with more power, at just $300 more, may be a better value. So using the name may have been a bit of a two-edged sword. Overall, looks like a potentially very good buy.
     
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  5. tmtomh

    tmtomh Active Member

    Messages:
    326
    Location:
    PA, USA
    It's very intriguing - although I too am at a loss to explain the price issue.

    Also, to me 34.4dB of gain seems awfully high for an 80wpc amp.

    Still, it does seem like a smoking deal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
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  6. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    Location:
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    If I needed an amp, I'd give it a try.
     
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  7. HiFiJeff

    HiFiJeff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    I don't NEED an amp, and heck, most of us on this forum don't but we are all junkies and want a better fix! LOL
     
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  8. HiFiJeff

    HiFiJeff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    794
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    Maybe my musical bliss with $69 chip amps has my mind playing tricks on me and trying to convince me that there is no way a $69 TPA amp can sound as good as the big boys that cost 10-20x as much!
    But maybe they do!
     
  9. invaderzim

    invaderzim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    641
    Location:
    California
    Same here. It isn't quite cheap enough to convince me that I do in fact need another amp but it is intriguing

    It is pretty amazing what some of those little amps can do. The thing that makes this amp tempting is the 'original' price being a glimpse into what $1300 amps sound like for much less. Although I'd guess the real price for it should have been somewhere between $500 and $1300.

    I need an audio show that has an entire wing of just $1000 and under items just to compare what the next steps up would be like; without ruining all the $1000 stuff with listening to $100,000 stuff.

    I'd say enjoy the TPA amp and don't spend hundreds chasing fractionally better sound. But then again I'm lousy at taking my own advice.
     
  10. 45rpmspinner

    45rpmspinner AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I noticed the price drop awhile back.
    Besides the competition from the Goldmund amp [which puts out more watts], I wonder if the Class D Nuforce STA 120 wasn't a problem as well.
    Listed as having the same power output, it too looks to be nice design, and currently retails for about $440
     
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  11. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

    Messages:
    11,261
    Location:
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    Good point. Some old codgers like me prefer class ab, though. Just because they've been around so long, and have stood the test of time, I think. No doubt, class d has been done longer than many realize, but it is the last few years that really seem to have evinced strides in their design. The way I see it, class d is quickly maturing, but I trust ab more. So, yeah, I'd pay $60 more for the ab if I were in need of an amp.
     
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  12. gkarelitsky

    gkarelitsky AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Nobody here has this amp? I am interested in this as I bought the compact NuForce Heaphone Amp/Preamp from Musical and am looking for a compact amp. BTW I am currently using the SMSL SA-50 that was generously included in the sale and it surprises me with detail and power that I would not expect from such a small package.
     
  13. 45rpmspinner

    45rpmspinner AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I might as well, but at original price, the difference was $900.
    Which, as I suggested, might have something to do with the drastic price drop on the STA 200.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  14. seminole54

    seminole54 AK Member Subscriber

    Messages:
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    I've owned an STA-200 for months and it is a first rate amp and a steal at it's price. It is based the circuit for the Job 225 which I have also owned. You would be hard pressed to tell them apart. I ran both with either a Nuprime DAC-10 or a W4S STP-SE.
     
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  15. invaderzim

    invaderzim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    641
    Location:
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    I've just gotten to where class ab is tempting in place of class a

    Now I have to hide my credit card.
     
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  16. IPADave

    IPADave Which one's Pink? Subscriber

    Messages:
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    I've been using this amp since the end of June. It's a fine sounding amp and a bargain at $499.

    -Dave
     
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  17. HiFiJeff

    HiFiJeff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    794
    Location:
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    It's on my radar. I wonder how much longer it will be available.
     
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  18. HiFiJeff

    HiFiJeff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    794
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    And I notice you use it with Lore 2.0's! Nice speaker! I had the M-Lores and then moved all the way up to the Pendragon's. Now own ZU Audio Dirty Weekends. Very similar speakers so I am assuming the ZU's would like the STA-200 as your Tekton's do.
     
  19. IPADave

    IPADave Which one's Pink? Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,181
    Location:
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    Paired with my Tektons, the STA-200 is a bit on the warm side of neutral with good dynamics. I imagine that your Dirty Weekends would be a nice match.

    -Dave
     
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  20. HiFiJeff

    HiFiJeff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    794
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    That's what I am wanting
     
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