DIVA Power Amplifiers
DIVA amplifiers combine power with refinement.
When matched with appropriate loudspeakers, they are capable of reproducing all the nuances of vocal and instrumental expression - as well as the raw energy of a rock concert and the full glory of a Mahler symphony, which is important for DIVA designer T S Lim, who is a great fan of Mahler and a member of the Mahler Society, Singapore.
DIVA power amplifiers are original designs by T S Lim, fully hard-wired, without circuit boards. They are designed with absolutely no compromise to sound quality.
In the course of his career, DIVA designer T S Lim has designed many amplifiers but, for now. he has settled on two basic designs:
NEW - JANUARY 2004
NOS Silver wiring: All DIVA amplifiers now come with special NOS (new old stock) silver wiring. This was introduced in November 2002 as an upgrade because at that time, only a limited supply of the wire was available. However, we have now managed to find adequate stocks.
Qi Cones: DIVA amplifiers will also come affixed - around the centre-of-gravity - with Qi Cones, ($180 value for a set of three) an isolation cone made with specially treated wood and crystal.
BLUE SKY SIGNATURE - US$2880
EL34 push-pull, 50W Class AB
DIVA Blue Sky is a classic design push-pull class AB amplifier, delivering 50 watts of power.
It is specially designed with a high gain - and hence, a high driving capability - to handle some of the notoriously "difficult" loudspeakers such as the LS3/5A, ATC 10 & 20, B&W801, Quad ESL63 and Magneplanars.
Blue Sky Signature, the latest incarnation, features vastly improved mains and output transformers made by the same, Singapore-based transformer specialist who wound the transformers for the excellent-sounding DIVA Tian Zhu.
It also features very high quality European-made capacitors to replace the Cerafine capacitors that were originally used but that has since gone out of production.
Plus, it incorporates DIVA designer's proprietory "ripple remover" circuitry previously used in the Blue Sky Pro. This special circuitry significantly quietens background noise and provides better macro and micro dynamics.
Do not be swayed by marketing hype that good sounding amplifiers "must" be Class A Single-Ended Triode.
Even though the DIVA Tian Zhu - a Class A, triode-driven, Single Ended Pentode - is a much finer sounding amplifier, the Blue Sky is still a better match for medium or low efficiency loudspeakers.
TIAN ZHU - "A voice from Heaven"
ML-6 driven, CV345 single-ended monoblocks - US$4280
ML-6 driven, EL34 parallel single-ended stereo - US$3480
At CES / THE SHOW 2001, an infant DIVA Tian Zhu, barely a week old, wowed hifi reviewer Bill Gaw of enjoythemusic.com to pronounce it "Best Sound".
The Tian Zhu was born on Dec 30, 2000, just a few days before it was due to be launched at the world's biggest hifi show in Las Vegas.
The day before designer T S Lim completed this amplifier, I (his DIVA team mate, Richard) asked him if it would sound better than his previous designs.
His honest answer was: "I don't know. Until I build it, I won't know how it sounds."
As it turned out, the amplifier far exceeded Lim's own expectations. It sounded so good that, about half an hour after we started listening to it for the first time, Lim clapsed his hands and said, "Truly, this is God's gift to me!"
The following day, Lim gave his new creation the name Tian Zhu, a Chinese phrase which means "A Voice from Heaven".
It's a boastful name. And Lim does not normally like to boast. But in this case, he feels that the boast is justified.
DIVA Tian Zhu is a breakthrough in tube amplifier design. It uses a unique combination of tubes that no audio designer has been known to use before - 2A3 driving a pair of EL34s in parallel single-ended mode.
The idea behind this is simple enough: Marry the 2A3, a triode known for its refinement and beauty, with the EL34, a pentode known for its realism and power. We call it a Triode-driven, Single-Ended Pentode.
No one had thought of this before - probably because the EL34 is widely considered a "second-rate" tube, not in the same class as the 2A3, 300B, 211 and other beautiful-sounding triodes.
Lim has always maintained, however, that the EL34 is a great-sounding tube - great for its realistic, true-to-life protrayal of music and sounds.
"It is easy to build a beautiful-sounding amplifier, far more difficult to build
Personally, Lim prefers realism to beauty. But it dawned on him: Why not have both? Marry realism with beauty!
Of course, there is no guarantee that such a marriage would work. Just as if a beautiful woman were to marry an intelligent man, there is no guarantee that their children will turn out to be both good-looking and intelligent.
The marriage worked wonderfully.
One year later, at CES / THE EXPO 2002, Lim unveiled a new version of the DIVA Tian Zhu with one small, but dramatic, change - he replaced the 2A3 with the ML6, a rare tube from the 1940s.
The ML6 beat the 2A3 hands down. It offered far higher levels of refinement and beauty, as well as authority and control. It took the DIVA Tian Zhu to even greater heights of performance.
Still, there were greater heights to scale.
At CES 2003, Lim introduced a pair of DIVA Tian Zhu monoblocks with just one output tube per channel. And this time, he swapped the EL34 for a rarely used NOS pentode, CV 345.
A great-sounding amplifier just kept getting better and better.
The older, EL34 stereo version of the Tian Zhu just had a rave review by Srajan Ebean of www.6moons.com.
Meanwhile, several hifi dealers who ordered the Tian Zhu have said it is by far the best amplifier they have ever heard in their entire lives!
DIVA confidentally challenges audiophiles to compare the Tian Zhu with any amplifier in the world today, including amplifiers priced above US$100,000!
The DIVA Tian Zhu is destined to be a legend.