TDSS D.R.R.T. Upgrade of NuForce Ref-18 by Brett Miller

From: Audiogon Review

[xxx] = Our Edits


"Bob Smith worked with Nuforce all those years, I bought 5 Nuforce Ref 9 V3 and a pair of Nuforce Ref 18 V3's. I have a multichannel system, and they are mixed in with some other amps. I have a triamped system for my front end with horns/supertweeters and enough speakers/amps to do 7.1, but I only do 5 channel.

Bob was the guy who knew all about this digital switching tech from years in the medical imaging field [Crown/Techron] before Nuforce. He [also] designed speakers and has a great personality and always exhibited integrity. It is no secret that Nuforce amps would sometimes overheat and burn up their main circuit board. This is [one  of the reasons] why the company folded and reformed as Nuprime for their high end.

Bob had the contract servicing Nuforce [& NuPrime] amps for many years. He talked me into his upgrade as he repaired my amp, as the reliability issue and the sound improvement are both addressed with his upgrades. A real no bullshit technician who knows his stuff, he will take a very great Nuforce amp (easily available used) and make it a new machine that is stable and worthy of the most expensive gear.

I love tube amps, but the heat gets too much in the summer. Solid state is fast and has bass slam, but puts off a lot of heat in a class A, warm sounding amp and can be very heavy if you need to ship it for a repair. The Nuforce put out amazing bass and run cool, leave a modern and small footprint in your sound room, and have detail like the best solid state. Many solid state amps sound etched, synthetic, digital on the higher frequencies.

I have to admit that I prefer an OTL SET tube amp with horns for the highs as compared with the stock Nuforce Ref 18V3's. Now that I got the upgrade, right out of the box they sound more relaxed and smooth, natural on the highs. The noise floor is non existant with my balanced cables. I use Blue Circle BC3000 with outboard power supply that uses 6922 tubes for a preamp and then it runs to Marchand active crossover, solid state version. The amps sound so natural and relaxed that they make Miles Davis SACD sound like melted butter.

My turntable, by Expressimo Audio, is world class. The vinyl that Brian Calaio recommended to me to showcase his tt (Patricia Barber-Cafe Blue) just sings on the upgraded amps. They pair so great with my Legacy monitors, that I really do not miss my OTL SET/horns on top during these hot summer days.

If you own some Nuforce amps already- unlock their potential with Bob's wizardry. If you are never quite happy with your amp choices and want simple and reliable audiophile sound, Bob can be your man. TDSS has multiple options, and I did level 2 upgrades. I use subwoofers so I felt I did not need the extra power that level 3 would afford. I might just have all my Nuforce upgraded to level 3 when money allows. Bob is up to new things so expect a rollout of new products by him as well."

Bret L Miller