VALVET E3 solid-state single-ended Class-A dual-mono amplifier
VALVET E3 solid-state single-ended Class-A dual-mono amplifier is the successor of the well-loved VALVET E2.
Among other things, the improvements over the original E2 include:
- Carbon top
- New powerful 500VA transformer
- New and better (audiophile) resistors
- Pure silver wiring with real cotton isolation
- Mundorf MCap Evo Oil caps
- OP-amps replaced by discrete circuits
- WBT NextGen connectors (copper)
- Alto-Extremo Exact feet
- Audiophile fuse pre-installed
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 89 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). 500VA toroidal dual-windings transformer, 250V for each channel, finest parts, pure silver wiring, extremely short signal paths.
- connections: massive silver cinch & Neutrix XLR inputs, input impedance 50 kOhm, massive 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 2.0 x 11.8 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
Udo Pipper of the Fidelity magazine #56 June 2021:
"...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 VALVET 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 (06/2019):
"...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
Reviews of the original Valvet E2 amplifier:
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 (02/2018):
"...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
The following review are for E2's predecessor, the E1/E1r:
Wolfgang Dellen reviewed the VALVET bricks 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