[Sticky] Welcome to the Raven Audio Forum!
Thanks for the invitation. To one and all, my name is Joe and I met Dave at the NY Audio Show back in 2017. We talked for a long time that day, and I have been following Raven Audio ever since.
My musical tastes are primarily in the classical and jazz genres. I like solo and small group works, especially vocals, as well as big warhorses. Give me Beethoven and Bruckner symphonies, and Duke Ellington's Big Band any day. I play at moderate volume much of the time, but when the family is away, I will spin a Mozart opera or Mahler's 2nd to pretty impressive pressure levels. That's when my wife says, "you can blast your music now!"
My current system is very simple, and was assembled in the 1998 timeframe. (Yes, I am Rip Van Winkle, back to audio after 20 years away dealing with kids and "family stuff.") . I have a Copland CSA 28 hybrid integrated amplifier; a Copland CDA 266 CD player, and last year I dipped my toe in the "modern" world of audio with a very basic but wonderful Audioengines B1 Bluetooth streaming device. My speakers are Meadowlark Hot Rod Shearwater towers of the same vintage as my Copland gear. That's it, as I said, very simple and has served me very well. I know I probably need to learn a lot more about DACs, music servers, DSS, etc... While my equipment is still chugging along pretty well, I am also looking to the future, and want to change it up, make upgrades, and get a pair of terrific monitors.
As an engaged audio "hobbyist", I have spent a lot of time demoing systems and equipment, and I have come to the conclusion that I prefer tube to solid state integrated amplifiers. I really don't understand at all how some "audio professionals" say all amps sound the same. My experience has been exactly the opposite. Tube amps sound very different from solid state amplifiers for the most part. A few from McIntosh, Sugden and Gryphon come close, but not all the way, and they are generally very expensive, and hard to find.
In a number of areas of my life, I have really enjoyed working with committed, passionate entrepreneurs who make quality products, whether it be furniture, clothes or whatever, so I feel a natural connection with Dave and his passion for music and the allure of tube audio technology. The sum and substance of the foregoing bits and pieces have led me to Raven Audio, and so far it's all good, but it's also time to make some decisions. That's why I am glad we have this forum to explore and share with like-minded others.
Well, that's my intro, so I will sign off for now.
All the best to Dave, Raven Audio and everyone here.
Hope you have a Happy Christmas and a very successful 2019.
Welcome back to the audiophile community and to our little Raven forum. We're glad you're here!
You have a very nice system. I can certainly appreciate your interest in tube amps. For many years, I only listened to solid state amps. My audio background is primarily from commercial studio recording. Like you, when I first heard a Raven tube amp, I was in love. There's just something special about that tube sound. Not to mention, Dave's design's are sonically amazing and the style is beautiful.
Keep following Raven. The new 2019 Avian MK3 series Tube Integrated amps are some of the best amps Raven's ever made. Also, we're launching a brand new speaker line as well. The Corvus Reference Line. We have bookshelf monitors and a tower design as well. If you love classical music, you've gotta hear the Corvus Reference.
Thanks for participating in our forum. Merry Christmas!
Operations - Raven Team
Looking forward to seeing that mysterious Corvus bookshelf, although for the short-term, I may decide to go with the Osprey and play it with my Shearwaters (89db, 8 ohm), as the old Meadowlark (not the new which has just come back on the market) were supposedly very tube friendly; now Patrick is going all-powered speakers I think....
So great to see you on here Joe, and it was indeed quite a lot of fun and interesting getting enough time at the NY show to talk with you like we did. When the time comes let me know and I will ship you an Osprey MK3 to try out on those Shearwaters... and I know they will get along wonderfully together. Hopefully by the next NY show I will be able to drop by and listen to them in person~! That should be great fun.
I certainly love my personal Osprey, and have for a long time now. It's awesome.
Welcome to the Raven Audio forum, and please by all means, keep in touch.
Dave....better late than never, finally signed up and happy to be here! Thanks for sending me the forum announcement a few months ago.
Work and life 'stuff' has gotten in the way these past months.
Will post an into post in this section shortly...
Mark (Greenville SC)
SCAudiophile (Here and other places)
Zephyr24069 (Audiogon and Computer Audiophile)
Welcome to the forum. Glad you're here.,
Operations - Raven Team
Yes, it is about time! Hello there Mark! The new CeLest' speakers are in. You just MUST try them! They are beyond awesome.... and guaranteed of course as is everything we do. I am putting a pair into my listening rooms as soon as I can get back to the Shreveport office. Cannot wait. They are so good at the shows, now I get a chance to have another pair in my Raven Audio, Texas listening room near Houston.
The Avian Series amplifiers are all in too. Reflection MK3s are coming too, albeit slowly. They should be done early in 2020. I think they will be around 100 watts. Another can't wait thing. Corvus Reference Towers with the Reflection MK3... that will be the match of a lifetime... oh my!
I just wanted to give my thoughts on this Raven company. I’ve only been an audiofile for a short period of time; doesn’t mean I don’t have nice gear. I just finished upgrading adding an Oracle Delphi MKVI with a MCoil cartridge also adding a pair of Tannoy Turnberry Speakers. So the challenge, the chase was what tube amp? When I started this upgrade, what do you invest in first (chicken or the egg)? Meaning what’s of foremost importance, the quality of the table and cartridge, the amp, (tube or solid state) or the speakers? If I asked ten audio files I got ten different perspectives!! Well the turntable and stylus should be foremost bc its picking up the sound, then no, its the speakers bc it deliveries of the sound to your ears, then no... its the amp to interpret, color, manage and send the sound!!! So wow wow wow these are great arguments, so I woke up one day and said I’m employed, life is good and I love music and I want to hear music with all the emotion it can deliver. So I’ve said all this to say finding the best amp (tube) was like dating again, only I did not have to commit to anyone type. Blondes, Brunette, Redhead! So I travel three states in my daily work and made it a point to visit many audio stores and let all these sales personnel play their best systems including turntables, DAC’s, solid states, integrated systems and speaker designs. What I learned is that you have to decide what you... like, and if you have the opportunity please DATE all the demonstrations! You will learn a lot and learn a lot about what your going to love and commit to. Is it perfect, not by a long shot, but it is fun and life is hard so date them all before you buy. “Ladies don’t be hating on me” as this is only in figure of speech; you are all fabulous! So now to the punch line. No integrated amp delivered what Raven did! Funny thing is I auditioned Mac, Rotel Carver many many many etc.... all they had and while I said ok I can hear it, I couldn’t commit, did not fall in love with any until I went on a business trip and auditioned the “Raven Nighthawk” at James’ home. I found Raven by chance on the internet; the internet is biased! I think I searched so many times that they gave up trying to sell me others then out of the blue a Raven ad spontaneously popped up. Back to James’ house. The audition of the Raven Nighthawk was astonishing to say the least! Do you remember when you first saw that girl and your heart drops and then your heart accelerates that moment you make eye contact? That’s the feeling with the Raven. I would have bought it on the spot but James would not let me. James said this one is mine, “Go to internet and take the 45 day trial”. I did and I upgraded to the Blackhawk bc I did not want to have upgrade envy 6months/2yrs down the road. So I ordered the Raven Blackhawk online and I believe I received it 3 days later; packaged so well. I read so much, I can tell you that you would have to spend 10k and up to address everything the amp delivers and then maybe still not get this total value. Build like a tank! But delivers sound that is magical to the heart. I can listen for hours and never get tired. I play Vinyl, DAC, streaming and this amp delivers bliss. The kicker is that I bet these Raven amps pair nicely with just about any system. Okay enough sucking up but what I said is true. You will be happy, I just hope they can keep them in stock. If backordered please wait, it will be worth it and not drain you pocket book. So, enough about the amps, try and get the service you receive from this company from anyone else. Bet these big companies won’t give you cell numbers from the big wigs. Don’t get me started on tube rolling these guys are on steroids with tube rolling!!! You get expertise and access to the finest rarest tubes available and at a fair price and man what it will do to your music listening! I’ve been in sales with fortune 100 companies for over 30 years and these guys have never left me hanging with anything. Best follow up and long term service in the industry and though I have spent thousands with this Raven company purchasing the amp, numerous tubes and cables (cables are awesome) none of these men every try to sell/close me on buying. They are just confident in their product and are in it for the love of music. So thank you Dave, Daves Wife, James and Bryant. I look forward to being a part of the Ravenhead listening and tube rolling club for years to come. Thanks- a very satisfied audiofile- Steve
Great review Steve! I happen to agree with everything you said re the amp and the company because I have experienced the very same things!
And with a tear in my eye, I must say - THANK YOU STEVE~! And we all wish you a heartfelt welcome into the Raven Audio family. And now that the German tubes are in stock! I have some pretty neat stuff sitting around here that I didn't this morning. So we'll talk about that on the weekend!