This is another very interesting tube integrated amp we got in recently. It was purchased together with the optional Super Black Box power supply ($3,000 option) which elevated the performance of the V 80 SE quite nicely. The V 80 SE can be used without the Super Black Box but the transformation is is worth the $3,000 outlay. In comparison with Ensemble Audio’s Massimo Fuoco and inevitably the Audio Note Kondo Overture, we would put the Octave somewhere in the middle between the three. It does not have the refinement or delicacy of the Kondo but it has more “grunt” and if absolute power output watts is the deciding factor here, it gets that accolade even though the Ensemble unit is slightly more powerful (100W vs 80W on the Octave). The V 80 SE had a more robust sound through its quad set of KT150 tubes. The mids were richer, the bass sounded fuller and the highs sweeter. But if you want a more refined sound that is more akin to the Kondo and have a current hungry speaker to drive, then the Massimo Fuoco would get that vote. The other joy with owning the Octave is the ability to swap power tubes. A power selector switch on the rear panel – 110W and 70W allows you to play around with KT120 or KT150 tubes (in 110W mode) or with KT88, 6550, KT90, KT100, or EL34 tubes (in 70W mode). Owning any one of these three integrated amps is going to make any audiophile happy. It all boils down to your listening preference and your system.
Build and finish like every other Octave gear is outstandingly well made. Fit and finish is typical German fashion – perfect. Cosmetically, the V 80 SE looks mint. One owner from new since Dec 2019. We have the original box, manual and remote for it.