Sixmoons award-FV-34A – Product Review

01-10-2013

Reviewers: Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: CEC TL5100, Audio Note tube DAC; Philips DVP 5500S SACD/DVD player; iPod Video; Thorens TD 160; Thorens TD124
Preamp/integrated: TacT RCS 2.0 room control system, modified Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); Tri TRV EQ3SE phono stage; Trends Audio TA-10; Qables iQube; KingRex T20U and Slap; Yarland FV 34 CIIISA
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Avantgarde Acoustic Solo in HT 2.0 setting; Podium Sound Podium 1 [on loan]
Cables: Audio Note AN/Vx interconnects; Siltech Paris interconnects; Gizmo silver interconnect; Qunex 75 reference interconnect; Crystal Cable CrystalConnect Reference interconnect, CrystalDigit S/PDIF RCA/RCA and RCA/BNC, Y-cable, Crystal Cable Piccolo iPod to XLR, CrystalPower Reference AC-Eur/IEC CrystalSpeak Reference; Audio Note AN-L; Gizmo silver LS cable. Nanotec Golden Strada #79 nano 3; Nanotec Golden Strada #79; Nanotec Golden Strada #201 nano3; full ASI LiveLine set; LessLoss DFPC [in for review]
Power line conditioning: ?LessLoss Firewall [in for review]
Equipment racks: Two double sets of Solid Tech Radius; Acoustic System amplifier shelves
Sundry accessories: IAR carbon CD damper; Boston Audio graphite CD damper, Denson demagnetizer CD; Furutech DeMag; Nanotec Nespa #1; Machina Dynamica Magic Box; Exact Audio Copy software; Compaq server w/Windows Server 2008 and XP; ; wood, brass and aluminum cones and pyramids; Manley Skipjack; Boston Audio Design TuneBlocks; ASI TopLine
Room treatment: Full apartment treatment by ASI? with Acoustic System Resonators and Sugar Cubes; Gizmo’s Harley Davidson cap
Room size: ca. 8.0 x 4.70m with open extension to a 2.20 x 2.40m A/V bay and open kitchen. Ceiling height is 2.50m, reinforced concrete walls of 45cm, reinforced concrete floors and roof of 30cm. Room has on one side a large glass bay.
Review component retail: €439 in Holland including 19% VAT

Last September, we reviewed the Yarland FV34 CIIISA to find ourselves pleasantly surprised by that small elegant EL84-based tube integrated amplifier. The only negative we could muster in the end was a small residual noise in the left channel noticeable only in combination with true high-sensitivity loudspeakers like our 107dB horns. Roland Breteler represented Yarland Europe at the 2009 High End show in Munich and solicited us for review of the improved version of another Yarland amplifier, the EL34-based FV34 AIII with the SA extension in its name. The christening conventions of this Chinese manufacturer remain confounding as most model names commence with FV34 but no obvious correlation to the employed tubes. FV stands for Fairy Voice but the numbers? In new guise, the FV34AIIISA is equipped with an added EU version tag screwed to the back of the transformer cage to distinguish it from gray-market China-direct imports. Another EU addition in the back is the third RCA input

  Around front, the tube rectifier for the input stage becomes a 5Z3P, the Chinese 5U4G equivalent. After removing the bottom plate, the SA version further shows the origin of those letters with a pair of Clarity Caps SA coupling capacitors. Last but far from least is the fact that the mains transformers are properly wound to comply with the European 230 Volt standard. So the FV34AIIISA is a tweaked specimen of a very reasonably priced tube amp, its specific additions and alterations implemented by Yarland Europe to position the brand more attractively in this fiercely competitive market segment. In this Euro-Sino — or better, Sino-Euro — alliance, owner Dai Kai is in charge of all design work and tuning and this really has paid off.

  After the Munich High End show, the promised review loaner arrived in proper packing materials with the five tubes handsomely bundled in a separate small jewelry-type box. With 14 kilos on the scale and dimensions of 32 x 17 x 28cm WxHxD, this integrated amplifier is visually compatible with other gear and no challenge for the usual racks. Besides the aforementioned 5Z3P rectifier, the Yarland runs two Chinese 6N3s as drivers and a pair of again Chinese EL34 power tubes. All valves sit in quality ceramic sockets sunken into a stainless steel dress plate with engraved markings for tube placement, in this case V1 through V5. Like most Yarland amplifiers, this model is adorned by a wooden front, giving the otherwise black amplifier a friendly face. With the large input selector and smaller attenuator knob, that face makes this Chinese product look very much like an Italian Unison Research design of After the Munich High End show, the promised review loaner arrived in proper packing materials with the five tubes handsomely bundled in a separate small jewelry-type box. With 14 kilos on the scale and dimensions of 32 x 17 x 28cm WxHxD, this integrated amplifier is visually compatible with other gear and no challenge for the usual racks. Besides the aforementioned 5Z3P rectifier, the Yarland runs two Chinese 6N3s as drivers and a pair of again Chinese EL34 power tubes. All valves sit in quality ceramic sockets sunken into a stainless steel dress plate with engraved markings for tube placement, in this case V1 through V5. Like most Yarland amplifiers, this model is adorned by a wooden front, giving the otherwise black amplifier a friendly face. With the large input selector and smaller attenuator knob, that face makes this Chinese product look very much like an Italian Unison Research design of timeless elegance.