Sound Lab and CODA?

home Forums General Discussion Sound Lab and CODA?

Viewing 16 reply threads
  • Author
    • #1594

      Hey Massimo,thank you for taking your time to provide that excellent, and detailed, information on your amp experience with the SL’s! That is really valuable information. Cello is phenomenal gear. Even though your Cello amps might be considered “older technology”, those amps were built to a whole other level of quality. So to have that level of amplifier to compare to the Mola Mola really helps to put into perspective how good the mola mola must be. Thank you again for taking you time to share your experience this helps the SL community.

    • #1593
      Massimo Stefanizzi


        I do not have much experience with the latest generation of power amplifiers: the last comparative tests date back to thirty years ago when I gave up tubes for solid state.
        At that time I had Audiostatic speakers driven by Audio Research, later by Krell, in the end I bought a Cello Palette Preamplifier and a Duet 350, since then (1996) my last power amplifier.

        About two years ago I had my Duet 350 completely rebuilt, which cost many months, effort (it weighs 100 lbs) and money but it was worth it and gave me great satisfaction.
        During this time my system was turned off because I didn’t have a second amplifier, so I came up with the idea of buying one.
        For some time I was also interested in trying some more modern amps. A few months ago a dealer gave me the Mola Mola Kaluga on trial for a weekend and I never returned them.

        First of all: Duet 350 and Kaluga have about the same output power: 350 Watts on 8 Ohms the Cello, 400 watts on 8 Ohms (approx. 380 watts measured) the Mola Mola.
        Once a month I compare them at matched volume because the Cello has a slightly higher output. Both are top notch amplifiers, Kalugas are extremely neutral, Duet 350 slightly coloured, the preference for one or the other could depend on tastes and personal priorities.

        From an objective point of view the best qualities of Mola Mola are effortless and ease of drive, neutrality, a powerful low bass, detail, silence (the dynamics and resolution in the -ppp- is breathtaking)

        The strengths of Cello are musicality, roundness, density, with some programs the emotional involvement is greater because the medium-low range, approx. 120-300 Hz is somewhat emphasized and the first octave is a little rolled off.
        Mola Mola is just the opposite.
        Sometimes, in some well known recordings, I can hear subsonic sounds like subway noises which I was not aware of.
        Fresh out of the box, at first glance Mola Mola may seem less powerful in the bass but the opposite is true.
        I guess that those of you who listen mainly to Jazz, blues, pop, rock etc. may prefer Cello.
        Five months after my purchase, I find that I am using almost only Mola Mola.

        From a practical point of view, Mola Mola wins hands down. They are very small, lovely, handy amplifiers, they do not heat, they hide well behind the speakers, you can use very short cables and they consume little electricity.
        Twenty years ago for us SL users there was little alternative to big and heavy amplifiers. I am convinced that the old technology (be it called class A- AB, transistors, mosfet, tubes and so on) will be wiped out in five years from now.

        Best regards
        Massimo 🙂

        (Krell MD-2, Aurender X100L, Weiss INT 204, dCS Scarlatti DAC, Mola Mola Kaluga, Sound Lab A1)

      • #1591

        Oh man, Massimo! I’ve been wondering how the Mola Mola Kaluga would work with the big Soundlab’s! Please keep us informed!

      • #1590
        Massimo Stefanizzi

          (Old refurbished) Cello Duet 350 and (brand new) Mola Mola Kaluga here! 🤗

        • #1589


            Although I do not have a Coda amplifier I have used an Innersound ESL800 amplifier to drive my Soundlab A1s. The Innersound ESL800 monoblocks was made by Coda and has a similar amplifier architecture. They are high power (800 watts) and high current amplifiers. Personally, I like the sound. It is very neutral. Moreover, it can provide so much current that the impedance changes of a Soundlab speaker are a non-factor to this type of amplifier. The other amplifier I use are VTL MB450 monoblocks which is are tube amplifiers. Tubes do sound different than solid state so you would have to listen to see what you like better. For the record, my amplifiers are older but perform quite well. I don’t think you would go wrong with Coda as they are well respected amps.

            Hope this helps,

          • #1588

              To clarify—-by “struck out with CODA” I meant my post drew no comments from folks who had experience with their amps driving SL’s. However, I am grateful to those who chimed in afterwards. My post was intended to support development of a shortlist of amps to try with SL’s that I plan to order in the coming months as I reconfigure my system entirely around the big panels. This will be my final system and want to move methodically towards my audio ideal. Based on my research and multiple conversations with those with experience using SLs (of course Roger as well) I’ve narrowed down to the CODA 8M, the BHK 300’s, the Pass X600.8, the Luxman 10x, and the Benchmark ABH-2. I’ll use my Herron reference linestage for all but the Benchmark, BHK and Luxman, where I would use their matching preamp. Im open to additional thoughts and suggestions so please don’t hesitate to share a thought—-I am super appreciative of your expertise. I know many favor the Atmosphere tube amps but for various reasons I plan to stick with SS amplification.

            • #1581

              dodgealum, could you please elaborate on what you meant when you stated that you “struck out with Coda”? Were you able to try a Coda amp with your Soundlabs? What Coda amp did you try and struck out with? Or did you strike out because you were not able to get your hands on a Coda amp? Clarification would be appreciated.

              Thank you

            • #1579

                Sound Labs are such great speakers that just about any amp will sound great with them. BHK’s should be fine for your 745’s. When did you place your order? It took SoundLab a year to fill my order.

                If you do a search under Atma-sphere amplifiers you will find that the Atma-sphere and SoundLab speaker combination is magical.

              • #1578


                  I am in the process of securing a pair of Ultimate 745’s. They are the latest generation with Bass Focus Technology, membranes, and Hot Rods.

                  I own BHK 300 monos and would be very interested in learning more about your observations and experiences with this combination.

                  Scheu TT/Morch arm/Shelter 901
                  BHK Preamp and VIVA Phono preamp
                  PS Audio DSD Mk. I



                  • #1582

                      I just looked up the BHK 300s (I wasn’t familiar with them). It seems they will work fine with Sound Labs from a power perspective: 300W into 8 Ohms, 1000W into 2 Ohms. The fact that their output increases with decreasing impedance suggests they have FET output transistors and that the tube is for an earlier stage of amplification.

                      If you’re obsessive (like many of us are in this affliction, er hobby) you might want to contact PS Audio and ask how their amps handle ~1 Ohm impedance, as the Sound Labs’ impedance dips quite low (down to 1.2 Ohm if memory serves) above 10kHz. The good news is that there is not a huge need for power at higher frequencies. You also might want to ask what happens with the amps at high impedance–again SLs have pretty nonlinear impedance, and as I recall they climb to ~40 Ohm below 50 Hz, which is why tube amps, especially OTLs like AtmaSphere, are a good match.

                      Again, I’m pretty confident the BHKs will be fine, but if you want to obsess…

                      Best of luck!

                      • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by ACHiPo.
                    • #1580

                        Craig, I have been using the BHKs for about 5 years and have been very pleased. Very natural sounding, dynamic, with excellent detail but smooth. I rolled in Bugle Boys from the start. Overall tube like in a good way but much more transparent.

                    • #1545

                        Thanks everyone for chiming in with suggestions–very helpful. This will help to narrow my list greatly–what you have proposed very much mirrors my own research and conversations so far. I’ll circle back with an update and report on what I have learned.

                      • #1544

                          I’m running a pair of Hegel H30 mono blocks. Beautiful sound and power to spare. I suspect there are many fine SS amps that work well with SL speakers. Not surprising that people recommend what they own. I’ve owned three different Hegel amps and have loved them all.

                        • #1543

                            I am finding that the Pass 600.8 mono blocks have plenty of current delivery for Sound Labs. They SQ is superb, with wonderful tonality and timbre, and the the sound stage is extremely well defined, with excellent PRAT. I previously tried the 250.5 and the 350.5, but the 600.8 is definitely the sweet spot.

                          • #1542

                              There are a couple of other threads about amplifiers and SL. I created one about 1-2 years ago. Lamm M2.2 is very good, and possibly one of the best below nosebleed prices, if you consider 10-12k below nosebleed levels. (Disclaimer: I have a pair of Lamm M2.2 listed for sale, which I used before I upgraded to nosebleed levels with an Ypsilon Hyperion, both of which are hybrid amplifiers, with a bias to class A.)

                            • #1540

                                I have tried the Coda Continuum 8 on U-1s. Absolutely stable down to 0.3 ohms, very musical with better high-frequency air than anything else I have tried including the Pass Labs INT 250 as well as the Benchmark AHB2.
                                An awesome pairing that is second to none at a fair price!
                                Highly recommended!

                              • #1539

                                  Hi, I have 845 Ultimates. I am using PS Audio BHK 300s with great success. They are very smooth, detailed and musical. More tube sounding than typical solid state, but much more transparent than mis tube amps.

                                  • #1541

                                      Check out the Jeff Rowland 625. A match made in heaven with my A1s.

                                  • #1538

                                      Well, struck out with CODA I guess. A bit surprising. Maybe open it up a little to other suggestions. What solid state amps would this crowd put on the short list that pair exceedingly well with Sound Labs? How about the big Luxman’s? Like the Pass they run Class A for the first handful of watts but can double down into low impedances all the way to 1ohm. I’d appreciate any reflections on your journey that will help me narrow down the choices.

                                    • #1535

                                        First post here but semi-active elsewhere. Been following the conversations to better understand the SL user experience and grateful for all the helpful perspectives. Would appreciate opinions on pairing Coda amps with SL’s. For those who prefer solid state but feel the ABH-2’s lack warmth and musicality (oft expressed here and elsewhere) and Pass lack sufficient grunt (also a common theme) CODA would seem the “Goldilocks” solution. Anyone tried CODA with your stats?

                                    Viewing 16 reply threads
                                    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.