My Blackhawk Mk. 3.1 - The Truth in the Sound
This was the year I upgraded my audio system.
I wanted to support audio craftsman and keep my money home during Dumpster Fire 2020.
Early when the lockdown started, I ordered speakers from California, found a used DAC and power supply on my system list.
In the past when I was shopping for my first real audio system, one audio store employee said "maybe you are spending too much money."
I listened to a system with Double Advent speakers for many years.
Middle of the year I got the itch again.
Been a while since I played with tubes, tube radios and TVs when I was much younger. I do love nixie tubes. Never had a tube amp.
I heard someone again who believed in and suggested their product was just as good as more expensive ones.
When Raven production restarted; I received my Blackhawk Mk. 3.1 (2020 update) this month.
The amp is extremely well built, with excellent parts from all over the world.
The metal remote could leave a knot if you drop it on your foot.
I bought Raven cables to go with the amp so it could sound its best. I was shocked at how extremely well built the cables were. I'm a convert.
To sell an amp with the Soniquil power cable, this is pride of someone's work.
Raven is a class act.
The truth is the sound.
One quarter turn is all I need to drive the Towers to listening volume, 1/3 turn is very loud. There is no bass lacking with my speakers.
Are the speakers even more holographic now that I have added the Blackhawk?
What I can say is the amp keeps sounding better. Period.
In Dave's words "Knowing that the Blackhawk MK3 and Osprey MK3 are even more refined is really a difficult thing to think about right now because of what I am hearing is pure bliss. I know the Nighthawk has always been good... but this new one is just so musical and effortless. I don't hear anything that shouldn't be there. It is doing its job so admirably overall."
When I first setup my amp, I listened to it as soon as I turned it on. There is a warm up period of time (they tell me with tube amps) yet when I listen, it always sounds good.
My listening room is in the basement and it can sometimes be cold. Too bad this amp runs cool, doesn't run the tubes hot so it doesn't heat the room much. Tubes will last longer.
Dave is the tube guy. After I spend a few more months breaking in the amp, I look forward to his tube rolling knowledge.
I bought from Raven because I know that this is Dave's baby. He's there before, during, and after the sale.
Thanks Dave, Bryant, James and staff for your excellent products and support.
The sound is the truth.
Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers w/RAAL speakers (93dB)
Custom built Roon Server
PS Audio PerfectWave Transport
PS Audio DirectStream DAC w/ Bridge II
PS Audio DirectStream Power Plant 12
Peachtree nova300 intergrated amp
Raven Audio Blackhawk Mk. 3.1 interegrated amp
- Row 1 - Jan Philips 12AT7
- Row 2 - Brimar CV2024 Black Plates
- Row 3 - RCA Clear Tops
- w Raven audio, power and speaker cables
What is the 2020 upgrade?
I own the nighthawk m2 what a great sounding amplifier.My first row of tubes are telefunken ec81,second row are briar 6060 yellow T ,third row are cbs shiny 12au7. I own raven audio RCA cables,speakers cables and power cables. I want wish everyone at raven audio a merry Christmas and happy holidays.
Thanks to everyone who has posted here about our products!!! We wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope you/we all have a better year for 2021. And yes, I will ALWAYS be here for you... eventually if not right away. I still have a great batch of guaranteed old stock and NOS tubes here when you are ready. Even though most are 60-70 years old I will stand behind them 100%. They are friggin expensive, so I will make sure everyone never has to worry if one of these old antiques goes bad after sitting on a shelf for that long. I know I am not above failure these days... so you don't have to worry when you purchase from me.
I get almost all of my tubes from overseas, so they are already expensive. I am not an Ebay buyer... though I sometimes will see a deal and forward that info to some of you guys when I do notice it. I know several of those sellers that I can trust to do the Raven community right. And I am always looking to learn more too... and from time to time I still get stumped. That's part of what I enjoy the most... the extremely dense history of this part of the audio hobby. For instance, I just found a batch of very interesting tubes from PERU of all places.
They were supposedly made by the European Philips company, though I am sure they are Brimar, stamped with the Haltron brand, a version of which I had never seen before - from the early 50's and in that cool wine colored box with the very "art deco" green logo - I hadn't seen these previously with ECC81's in them. They have a wonderful sound.
You just never know though. They could have been duds and I would have been out hundreds of dollars. But once again I added a little bit more to my knowledge and gained a few pairs of some wonderful vault-worthy tubes. They guy does have more... different ones, none of which I have ever seen before. I'll wait till after the holidays though.
@mikeknj this is what Dave told me...
Avian Blackhawk Mk 3.1
"As far as I know we are only waiting on a few items before we can finish building the new Avian Series amps. Be glad you bought now, the amps that are going out next actually have the newly designed PC board with a copper plate sandwiched within them which makes the amps super quiet. It's a brand new idea and it is shockingly good, like an extra Faraday cage layer buried within the board. That keeps all the components and the redundant tracings separated and makes the sound even fatter and punchier at the same time."
Also, has different IC connectors, Cardas connectors if I remember correctly.