This 120V E3s is from a trade-in in excellent condition. It's black with red illuminated V and carbon top. It comes in a double box with manual, stock power cord and SR Purple fuse installed.
The successor and latest version of the well-loved German handmade Valvet E3 amplifier is in - the Valvet E3s. Even though from the outside it looks just like the original E2 - the typical Valvet understatement, the inside is much improved. The E3s is a rare breed - a Class-A, single-ended, solid-state amp in dual-mono design using only one single transistor per channel in the output stage.
Among other things, the improvements include:
- Carbon top
- New powerful 500VA transformer
- New and better (audiophile) resistors
- Pure silver wiring in the signal path
- Mundorf MCap Evo Oil caps
- Class-A discrete OP-amps
- WBT NextGen connectors (copper)
- Alto-Extremo Exact feet
FEEDBACK FOR THE PREDECESSOR VALVET E3:
"...Valvet E3 is a single ended class A power amp that gains some popularity now. I bought this guy from Alfred over a year ago and the sound has been consistently pleasing. Unlike some other options for class A amps, it is neither slow nor too mellow. Maybe thanks to the relatively simple design and the selection of quality components, what I have been experiencing is a direct and responsive bass and rich mid range. I use a pair of floor-standing speakers with moderate sensitivity and impedance (91db and 6ohms), and it can drive them without issues at all. I don’t see any reason to upgrade this power amp in the near future yet..."
"...the Valvet E3 is a complete musical amp. I'm not sure if the sound could get any better than this. I completely concur with the professional reviews of this unit and the E2SE. The unfatiguing detail sound is smooth and clear, even at higher volumes. This unit could easily be a final purchase for high-efficient speaker owners...."
"...the E3 exceeds my every expectation and everything I loved about the E2se version. Right out of the box, bass is impressive. Ballsy with a huge soundstage and it still has delicate, sweet and articulate treble. It’s a superb match for my Fleetwood Deville speakers. Never thought it could get better. Valvet is the best kept secret that more people need to experience..."
"...with the E3 the bass is improved because of the huge transformer and it also seems to pump out the sound with less effort; the sound flows right out of it. Possibly a bit better detail too. Weighs 5 lbs more than the E2SE..."
"...connecting my PowerDAC (functioning as preamp) to this gem (E3) and fire it up was quite a interesting moment. Are the 12 watts sufficient to handle my Magico A1s? Does it have enough juice to show authority and drive? Well it does, and how. I have never experienced such a density of information coming through but in such a balanced way. Even playing at very low volume levels gives such a thrill. And o yeah, I tried lots of 10k+ amps.. this is a stayer for a longer time..."
"...while the E3 amp sounded good right out of the box, after the amp had some time to warm-up, the music flowed with detail and articulation that you’d expect from a single-ended triode-like amp. Being the previous owner of an E2-SE, I didn’t really expect much difference, however the music now seem to have a little more for lack of a word, "body". Perhaps it has something to do with the new larger transformer ? In any event, as this amp breaks-in, it’s only sounding more refined and smooth in the presentation of the music. Vocals give you the "you’re there" feeling and the amp provides ample power for my 94-db speakers, never seeming to run out of head-room even when pushed. Well-recorded music takes on a special presentation with musicians/instruments portrayed within a wide and deep sound-stage. You really can’t go wrong with this amp and it’s one that will keep you digging through your albums to discover the hidden nuances you’ve been missing in the music..."
Udo Pipper of the German Fidelity magazine #56 (June 2021) wrote:
"...the music rides like a bobsled through the course, without touching the sides a single time. Then there is a constant fluidity in the music, that flows seamlessly and never noticeably from the speakers. The listener’s brain goes on standby, because they don’t need to reconstruct the musical events in the brain’s neural network, but rather receives the music directly, all the way down to their solar plexus... I don’t know whether the listening experience is just fun, or if it’s actually arousing. Primarily, I’m absolutely astonished. I wonder what tricks Knut Cornils could have used to incorporate such skills into his power amplifier. It’s primarily the deep black background that brings the music to shine more than usual..."
"...the performance specifications are misleading. Of course compared to some race cars that have been in our system, the first impression is that 12 watts would seem a little thin. But the listening experience proves to be very different. The attack and the dynamic abilities of the Valvet E3 are so immediately direct and fast that all fears are alleviated, even at the lowest listening volumes. Very noticeable is that the sound stage and the fundamental solid bass don’t break down, even at low volumes, but remain constant even down to whisper levels. When the volume is raised, the sound isn’t strenuous or overpowering, but rather envelops the listener with more strength. The volume levels that can be reached without any distortion are truly tremendous. Instruments and voices don’t billow out, but remain sharply outlined and in the same contrast ratio as at moderate room volume. That’s exactly how it should be..."
"...for me, these components (E3 & soulshine 2) are not only a surprising experience in lifelike music reproduction, but, from now on, a listening reference for the future. What is yet to come?
"...the newly remodeled Valvet E3 presents itself forceful and unrivaled musical, in spite of seemingly low-valued specifications. One of the best amplifiers that we ever had in our rack!"
Reviews of the predecessor E2se:
Bruce Kinch of Positive Feedback (April 2020) writes:
"...the VALVET E2se is simply the most addicting yet almost affordable amplifier I’ve heard in my system, and one of the best amps I’ve heard, period. It’s not one size fits all, but if, like me, you have or are downsizing to a smaller room, prefer accurate and efficient loudspeakers, and can couple it with high-resolution sources and cabling, the VALVET E2se is going to be a great fit...So to echo Robert Learner’s conclusion (park them on your rack for the next ten years and find other things to worry about), the VALVET E2se is a 10-year product, and while I have other things to worry about, it stays..."
CLICK HERE to read the entire review
Jerry Seigel of 10audio.com concluded (June 2019):
"...even with the excellent [original] Valvet E2, some tube amplifiers maintained a small superiority in harmonic depth and resolution at the edge of silence. No longer. The E2 SE amplifier is fully competitive in this area and should convince many serious audiophiles that vacuum tubes are no longer necessary for the ultimate in warmth, texture, purity and correctness. The Valvet E2 SE’s ability to ’listen in’ to a voice or instrument and allow the listener to really hear the intimacy of a performance is state of the art, and perfectly delivered..." CLICK HERE to read the entire review
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK (E2se):
"...I’ve got less than 50 hours on this little Class A amp and it’s still opening up my favorite recordings in ways I never experienced with more powerful Class A/B amps. The soundstage is wider and deeper, and the instruments and vocals have remarkable separation and clarity. It can even drive some very inefficient—4 ohm/80db—desktop speakers I’ve got. The Valvet is beautifully constructed with high-end hardware (the WBT NextGen speaker connectors are rock solid) and a case that has an appealing minimalist design. I waffled between getting the Valvet or higher-powered A/B and D alternatives, and I am very happy I wound up going with the Valvet. The reviews I read seemed over the top in their effusiveness—but it turns out they were spot on..."
"...I wish I had purchased this amp sooner. I spent a fair amount of time trying to find a low wattage Class A power amp for my system. I previously was using a mid-wattage tube amp and found it to be harsh and bright no matter the tubes used. After switching to this, I was able to get rid of my parametric equalizer because the sound didn’t require any additional frequency trimming or boosting. Everything sounds smooth and as it should while offering great imaging, dynamics, and soundstage. Power on and off are both silent. The amp itself is physically quiet. Simple to use, there’s a power switch and that’s it. The amp does get quite hot to the touch around the outer edges of the case, but the manual assures you that this is normal. The heat doesn’t extend out into the room as my tube amp previously did. Well worth the price when the sound is this good..."
"...bold statement but has to be one the of the finest sounding amplifiers tube or SS ever produced. Limited power so match is important. Seems to be more like a tube amp in that impedance trumps sensitivity. Surprising current and drive for its power rating. Sound and power like a superior 40-50watt PP tube amp but with a clarity and focus more common in the best SS designs and the midrange of a SET. With the right speakers in a small to med room, state of the art sonics. In fact not duplicated by higher power systems regardless of cost and complexity. Been there too..."
"...amazing little amplifier, absolutely wonderful. The Valvet E2se is an outstanding amplifier. So musical, quiet, a touch sweet, open, airy and three dimensional. If you can live within its power envelope, and I think most speakers could, do not hesitate. You’ll rediscover your music collection all over again and not even think about the gear anymore..."
REVIEWS FOR THE ORIGINAL E2:
Roland Kraft of the Stereoplay print magazine wrote (Oct. 2018):
"...a good single-ended Class-A design conveys music with a charm that other end-stage concepts seldom or never reach... the Valvet plays crystal clear transparently, always agile and dynamic. However, its true strength lies in its large 3-D sound stage which reaches far beyond the speakers, nearing that of a reference system. What the E2 is doing here borders on sorcery... It’s understandable that using efficient speakers makes life easier for the single-ended amps: every decibel more per watt is converted into pure listening joy. In Conclusion: A short, purist signal path and single-ended design aren’t relics of bygone times, but remain as beneficial for the sound as ever. Therefore: huge compliments!"
Jerry Seigel of 10audio.com concluded (Feb. 2018):
"...the Valvet E2 is easily the best sounding amplifier this lifelong audiophile has heard. And it is only $2,990, with no tube issues to drain your bank account in the future. Components like this make us think “I’m done upgrading.” That thought is usually accompanied by a wonderful feeling that we enjoy when a new component seems to be as good as it can get. How long that feeling lasts determines if the initial evaluation was correct. So, let me share my two take-aways from reviewing the Valvet E2 Class A single-ended stereo power amplifier. 1) I’m done upgrading. And 2) I bought it. This is a great amplifier!" CLICK HERE to read the entire review
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK FOR THE ORIGINAL E2:
"...I feel this is a wonderful amp. In fact, it may be one of the best hi fi purchases I have made in over forty years of being into this hobby. It ticks everything on the check list of what is important to me: organic, natural lifelike sound and a warmth that does not cloud over the musical message. Add to that bass that is well defined and deep and one has what I would call ’the total package’. It’s awesome for me, with my bad back, that it is also pretty light in weight and relatively small in dimensions. I have had many different kinds of amps through my audio journey, including solid state (class a, a/b, digital) as well as tubed (push/pull, single ended set and sep, 300B and 2A3). This Valvet has the best attributes of all of them, and then some..."
"...the amp is magical! I have never before felt such a direct, involving, physical connection to recorded music. It is truly wonderful!"
"...there is a seductive quality to the E2 power amp that I’ve not heard before. Instruments sound as real as they do live and vocals are incredible. I’m a former professional jazz piano player and know what instruments sound like when they’re right next to you. The E2 provides this kind of realism that I’ve been chasing for several decades. The E2 is the only amp I’ve found that allows all kinds of music to sound good..."
"...I’ve had the Valvet E2 for only a few hours, but it is already impressive. I’m using it to drive a pair of Klipsch Heresy IIIs... Great, balanced sound with excellent control of the woofers. No whumpy bass with this amp. The Valvet seems to have as much or even more drive than the Rogue Stereo 100 it replaced. It also seems to be more powerful and cleaner sounding than my First Watt F7. I’m looking forward to trying it with my Spatial Audio M3s. Thanks a lot..."
Long-term audio pleasure
The Single-Ended Class-A solid-state dual-mono amplifier E3 is built in pursuit of a goal that is common to all VALVET amplifiers: the transmission of music free from artifacts or manipulation, music that stimulates the senses! A simple but well-thought-out circuit, short signal paths and the best, most reliable components guarantee that your favorite music reaches you directly, thus producing long-term pleasure and satisfaction!
This little amplifier delivers 20 watts into 4 Ohms (12 watts into 8 ohms). At first glance this appears to be a bit stingy, but rest assured that this amplifier is quite capable of delivering the goods even when connected to speakers with 90 dB efficiency.
The E3 power amplifier operates in Single-Ended-Class-A mode, with only one transistor in the output stage. We believe that the common practice of employing several transistors in parallel required to produce a higher output is detrimental to the sound quality. If you believe that you lack power, why not use a second pair of these little gems in bi-amping? For those interested in technical details: ultra-stabile power supply, pure dual mono construction (2 independent amplifiers sharing one box and one power cable). 120VA toroidal transformer for each channel, finest parts, pure silver wiring, extremely short signal paths.
- connections: WBT NextGen RCA and Neutrik XLR inputs, input impedance 50 kOhm, WBT binding posts for speaker cable (plugs or spades), IEC socket
- amplification: 12 watts into 8 Ohm (20W into 4 Ohm), Class-A, single-ended solid state!
- gain: approx. 21dB (up to 30dB on special order)
- transformer: 500VA dual winding, 250V each channel
- filtering: 25,000 µF filtering each channel
- dimensions: 445 x 45 x 300 mm (17.5 x 2.3 x 12.6 inches) WxHxD
- case: black or silver anodized, solid extruded aluminum profiles
- front: silver or black anodized, chromed and polished brass at extra charge
- sound: neutral, balanced, very musical and simply right
As a business we have to collect 8% TAX from buyers in California.
REVIEWS (for the predecessor E1/E1r):
Wolfgang Dellen reviewed the VALVET E1 mono-blocks in the German "Hoererlebnis" issue 61
"...the single-ended solid state mono-blocks E1 have thoroughly convinced me. In my opinion, they have what’s necessary to become classics. Their natural, warm sound, blessed with vivid tone colors entices the listener to listen on and on."
- read the entire review (in German)
- read the entire review (englisch translation)
Review of E1r in the US online publication "Enjoy the Music.com" 11/2012 by Clive Meakins:
"...what was striking me was the superb mix of resolution, imaging and body... upper frequency details were clear and quite brilliant. Bass drive and power was excellent. Instruments were contained in their own space, the whole became greater than the sum of the parts, and it just worked so well musically... With the Valvet E1r amplifiers driving my system I have zero desire to swap them out to try anything else, when a hi-fi component sounds this right you have stop analyzing it and just enjoy the music!"
- read the entire review
Review of the L1 pre and E1r monos in the German magazine "Fidelity" 05/2013 by Christian Bayer:
"...one thing is clear to me. The main thing most amplifers do is deliver informations, like: Miles Davis - Trumpet - Solo. But the Valvets do more than that, they present the music as a whole, communicate the real meaning behind the music and invite the listener to re-discover his favorite music..."
- read the entire review
Review of L2, E1r and A3.5 MkII on the German web-zine "HIFI Statement" 07/2013 Amre Ibrahim:
"...we cannot thank Mr. Cornils enough for enriching the world with high-end components such as the Valvet E1R, A3.5 MKII and L2. At a time when many amplifiers are beyond the financial reach of the average consumer’s purse, he provides an impressive counterpoint with unusual approaches to development and robust Made-in-Germany fabrication: absolutely consistent, highly musical audio components at an affordable price. More, please, Mr. Cornils!"
- read the entire review
- or here for original German