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RMMN

Sprout 100 ? NAD D 3020 ? Vidar ? Stellar S300

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often, "hard to drive" speakers have a non-linear complex impedance with frequency and dip down to a very low value at some point - amps often have a hard time dealing with that

 

what about Linhof ??  Hassy ??  and today, Canikon has competition from Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, Oly for most areas of pro photog....

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3 hours ago, MarkS said:

 I am intrigued.

 

How do you know he won’t listen to your recommendations?  Plus, I would be interested and, perhaps, others would too. 

 

Also, while I see your point on some of the recommendations, do you consider Hagel, Job, Emotiva, and PS Audio to be “consumer grade products?”

 

First, this is a male pursuit. Men generally won’t listen to suggestions that run counter to our currently established opinions. He has his heart set on a consumer product he can order off Amazon and is attainable right now, so no matter what I say he won’t change his mind. I used to post these suggestions anyway knowing I won’t change any minds for the benifit of other readers. The thing is, truth is a popularity contest: if the truth isn’t popular it won’t be accepted. If the truth-teller is unpopular it won’t be accepted.

 

Emotiva is in a gray area of consumer-grade. The others are audiophile-grade, but more in the lower to mid spectrum.

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16 minutes ago, GUTB said:

 

First, this is a male pursuit. Men generally won’t listen to suggestions that run counter to our currently established opinions. He has his heart set on a consumer product he can order off Amazon and is attainable right now, so no matter what I say he won’t change his mind. I used to post these suggestions anyway knowing I won’t change any minds for the benifit of other readers. The thing is, truth is a popularity contest: if the truth isn’t popular it won’t be accepted. If the truth-teller is unpopular it won’t be accepted.

 

Emotiva is in a gray area of consumer-grade. The others are audiophile-grade, but more in the lower to mid spectrum.

GumbyChrist.thumb.jpg.1ae3b6ca04f30e20f295ad3cf4da3e5f.jpg

 

This is really getting old.


 

 

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Nah, this guys is kinda funny.

 

Anyways, to answer the OP's question, the Elac's did take some power to bring the volume up to level. I tried a 40w "consumer grade" amplifier on them, and it just was not enough. It's not that hard to reach listenable volume. What comes after that is a problem. I'm a big fan of amplifiers with integrated DAC's. Setup can be more flexible this way. My preferred way right now is a streamer via toslink to the DAC of my integrated amp. Its electrically isolating advantages far outweighs the downside of supposedly inferior optical connection in my system. And it's a point that cannot be overlooked in digital music.

 

I would do Bluesound Node + DAC Integrated amp.

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On 4/20/2018 at 2:08 AM, Ralf11 said:

Here is a thread on $200 DACs:

 

you don't need it if you get the Ruby plugin for the Creek Evo 50 or 100

 

I have the Creek Evolution 50A, I'm very happy about it (in my case it drives a pair of B&W CM5) and I can certainly recommend it.

I do not know the Ruby Dac module, so I do not know how it sounds. However for Dacs there are many options for a separate one at all budget levels and it could be more fun!

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Hi RMMN,

 

I hope you are not getting too confused by all the advice you are receiving some of which has been good, some not so.

 

I cam across an article by Steve Guttenberg of C/Net, where in he states:

 

"The UF5 has a lower than average nominal impedance of 4 ohms, and it dips down to as low as 3.4 ohms. Not only that, the specifications claim lower than average sensitivity of 85dB. Translation? These speakers will sound their best with high quality, powerful amplifiers and receivers." He also goes on to say they are great speakers for the money. 

 

You can obviously find everything you will need in one box and I would support the above recommendations of Hegel, Parasound Halo, Job, Cambridge and Creek - I would add the Nuprime IDA-8, which puts out a 100 watts, to that list.

 

However, if flexibility is important to you can I suggest that you consider the DAC/PREAMP in one box together with a separate power amp and that you search for these on the second hand sites listed above as you will basically double your purchasing power, i.e you will buy at half price.

 

There are many excellent DAC / PREAMP combinations that will give you audiophile quality foundation for your system. I would search for the Benchmark Media DAC2 (or DAC 3) and the Mytek Brooklyn DAC, to name just two. These are a couple of years old but are excellent pieces of equipment that will last you a very long time and which most audiophiles (except GUTB) would be happy to have in their system. You can pick one of these up for around $1000 - $1200 used.

 

Similarly go searching for a power amp with a minimum output of say 100watts into 8 ohms. The manufactures of the integrated amps listed above all make excellent power amps, however, there are many more manufacturers to choose from. As a rule of thumb you could buy something a little older (up to 10 years) as there has not been the same level of development in power amps as with DACs and you should find something second hand for around $1,000. The exception is in D class amps and here you would be better placed to purchase something no more than 2 years old. Have a look at Nord amps or any manufacture who uses Hypex modules. Google is your friend here.

 

In summary I believe the combination of a used PRE/DAC and power amp will meet your budget and desire for flexibility while providing you with excellent sound and real grunt to drive your Elac UF5 speakers properly.

 

Good luck,

 

Ajax

 

 


LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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If the OP wants to buy a separate DAC the new Mytek Liberty would be a good choice - just a DAC, but first reviews say it sounds as good as the Mytek Brooklyn  - for less than half the price (and without all the extra features the Brooklyn has).


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup and a RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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I think I would look for a used Naim 5-series integrated (splurge for SuperNait) or a Linn Majik, add a DAC of your choice (Schiitt or TEAC if DSD is needed) and SonicOrbiter or Rendu streamer.  Done.


QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBT->iFi xDSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: Squeeze Commander (DroidX) & iPeng (iPad Air); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: Sony NWZ_ZX1 & ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  Wish List: New DAC,  SBT replacement; Dream system: Linn EXACT or ATC Active or Big Tubes (KR or Nagra or Shindo or ...)

 

My goal is to use appliances and take home PC out of the chain...

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I have been looking at amps as well, especially ones that handle 4 ohm loads.  The ones I would suggest are the PS-Audio S300, or if you want to skip class D, the Audio by Van Alstine (AVA) Synergy 300 and 450.  They also have their Ultravalve line if you are interested in tubes.  Finally, I have heard nothing but praise for the Cambridge Audio 851W which has recently been featured as various online retailers at about the same price as the Stellar S300.  I hear it runs a little warm, but has great sound and a lot of power.  And of course there is always the Odyssey Stratos.  To bad it is almost impossible to compare amps side by side anymore.

 

Here is a list of power amps in the +/- $1500 range that will handle the Elacs.

 

PS Audion Stellar S300

AVA Synergy 300 (450 for about $500 more)

Cambridge Azur 851W

Odyssey Stratos

 

If you want an integrated you might look at the Rogue Audio Sphinx V2


1) Selah Audio Fedele Speakers (Revel in ceiling surrounds)

Marantz SR7008 A/V receiver

QNAP TS-251 NAS accessed w/ Bluesound Node2, and a Ruku Ultra through SPDIF ipurifier

2) Zaph L18 Speakers

Vintage Yamaha (1982) integrated

iphone w/ Audioquest Dragon Black & Pro-Ject Expression w/ AT440mlb

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Can’t go wrong with Pass amps.

 

I was very impressed with the Mark Levinson No. 585.

 

VACs are very nice.

 

Audio Research aren’t known for high value but they are very nice and plentiful in the used market.

 

Esoteric is very high-end sonically.

 

The new Luxmans are getting universal rave reviews.

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2 hours ago, MikePM said:

I have been looking at amps as well, especially ones that handle 4 ohm loads.  The ones I would suggest are the PS-Audio S300, or if you want to skip class D, the Audio by Van Alstine (AVA) Synergy 300 and 450.  They also have their Ultravalve line if you are interested in tubes.  Finally, I have heard nothing but praise for the Cambridge Audio 851W which has recently been featured as various online retailers at about the same price as the Stellar S300.  I hear it runs a little warm, but has great sound and a lot of power.  And of course there is always the Odyssey Stratos.  To bad it is almost impossible to compare amps side by side anymore.

 

Here is a list of power amps in the +/- $1500 range that will handle the Elacs.

 

PS Audion Stellar S300

AVA Synergy 300 (450 for about $500 more)

Cambridge Azur 851W

Odyssey Stratos

 

If you want an integrated you might look at the Rogue Audio Sphinx V2

 

Have you compared the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell S300 to other amps in a listening session?  If so, were there any sound differences you can describe?

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16 hours ago, MikePM said:

Here is a list of power amps in the +/- $1500 range that will handle the Elacs.

 

PS Audion Stellar S300

AVA Synergy 300 (450 for about $500 more)

Cambridge Azur 851W

Odyssey Stratos

 

If you want an integrated you might look at the Rogue Audio Sphinx V2

Hi @MikePM! Thanks!

 

PS audio said they will give full retail price credit when upgrading from PS Audio to PS Audio equipment. That’s amazing! 

 

So an upgrade path may be: (Sprout 100) -> Stellar S300 -> M700 -> BHK. 

 

Stellar M700 Curves:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/ps-audio-stellar-m700-monoblock-power-amplifier-measurements

 

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1 hour ago, zugisland said:

I just received my new ps m700 monos..thurs..and have been burning them in continuous since then And can tell you I am more then pleasantly surprised. 1st aesthetics..i have the silver and they are gorgeous imho..2..the sound is liquid and allows for great detail which rivaled my now gone pass labs 100.6..vocals are distinct bit not bright and the bass is just captivating and just ripples with energy emanating from my Django xl's.. I love the detail and warmth coming from these..i just picked up a Cary audio DMS..500 and listened to some old 70.s rock Uriah Heep..mqa masters blew me away.

Felt so good to hear some of the old titles I loved growing up listening to finally sound so good..congrats to Ps I love my amps so far and am expecting them to improve even further after the mandatory 100 hour break in

 

They will probably end up on the used market in a few months when you grow tired of the lifelessness, lack of inner detail / emptiness of class D. No one was going to talk you out of them because you have to experience it yourself. When you get to the point of moving on, just go straight to a linear amp and don’t burn a lot of cycles / money trying to fix class D. You can’t fix it, many have tried before you.

 

Try to avoid the psychological trap of pretending they sound good — it won’t work and just delay you moving forward.

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9 minutes ago, BigAlMc said:

 

Congrats on your purchases and glad that you are enjoying them. The M700s are pretty special and I agree with the reviewers who say they perform above there price point. I love mine and don't see me changing amps for a few years at least. 

 

Ignore GUTB. Aside from his sheer lack of class in criticising your purchase rather than wishing you well, he's simply trying to rain on your parade because he's self publicised his agenda against class D so much. I'm guessing he's not heard the M700s but is willing to critisize them on mistaken theories alone. 

 

Cheers, 

Alan 

 

Most everyone here is just looking for validation anyway so my statement will have no effect. If someone else reads it and it helps them realize thier class D amp can’t be fixed and it’s time to move on then it’s a net positive. I would hate to see people lose interest in high-end audio because of a class D experience. I’m very critical of the industry which thinks pushing class D on people for cost reasons is the way forward because they refuse to price quality linear amps at an affordable level.

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7 hours ago, zugisland said:

I just received my new ps m700 monos..thurs..and have been burning them in continuous since then And can tell you I am more then pleasantly surprised. 1st aesthetics..i have the silver and they are gorgeous imho..2..the sound is liquid and allows for great detail which rivaled my now gone pass labs 100.6..vocals are distinct bit not bright and the bass is just captivating and just ripples with energy emanating from my Django xl's.. I love the detail and warmth coming from these..i just picked up a Cary audio DMS..500 and listened to some old 70.s rock Uriah Heep..mqa masters blew me away.

Felt so good to hear some of the old titles I loved growing up listening to finally sound so good..congrats to Ps I love my amps so far and am expecting them to improve even further after the mandatory 100 hour break in

 

 

Enjoy your amps


The Truth Is Out There

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Much in audio is subjective so all I can say is listening to MQA Uriah Heep or Stevie Nicks on The Chain brings a smile to my face 

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25 minutes ago, zugisland said:

Much in audio is subjective so all I can say is listening to MQA Uriah Heep or Stevie Nicks on The Chain brings a smile to my face 

And that is really all that matters


The Truth Is Out There

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12 hours ago, zugisland said:

my new ps m700 monos..thurs..and have been burning them in continuous since then And can tell you I am more then pleasantly surprised. 1st aesthetics..i have the silver and they are gorgeous imho..2..the sound is liquid and allows for great detail which rivaled my now gone pass labs 100

@zugisland Congratulations on your new setup!! Thank you for sharing that you experienced the M700’s rivalling the sound of the Pass Labs 100 (200W Class A). That says something about the M700’s sound quality.

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1 hour ago, RMMN said:

@zugisland Congratulations on your new setup!! Thank you for sharing that you experienced the M700’s rivalling the sound of the Pass Labs 100 (200W Class A). That says something about the M700’s sound quality.

 

I think more likely a listener is immediately wowed by the high level of control and crispness of class D, especially in comparison with an old class A.

 

Class A is very linear in operation — what goes in is what comes out except larger. The fundamental limitation of class A is just the noise floor. The fundamental limitation of class D is the lack of linearity; what goes in is NOT what comes out. Modern class D designs appear to have alleviated ugly switching artifacts which makes them livable than they used to be, but they still fall off a cliff after 50 kHz.

 

I paid $5,400 for a pair of Linnenberg Allegro monoblocks which is a considerable value for the performance they offer — 1Mhz bandwidth, which is low-passed to 250 kHz on the outputs...that’s 5 times the output bandwidth of a class D. 700 ns rise time, and 120 dB noise (a-weighted). But that level of quality vs price comes at a cost of being stuck at 55 W per channel. Nimble, high resolution, super imagers, but they can’t put out powerful dynamics with average speakers...certainly not with my 4 Ohm 85 dB efficiency Thiels. Hopefully my new ProAc D30Rs will be different but if not then I need to look at a new amp.

 

That $5.4k is a great value. Fact is, the high end industry is charging WAY to much for high end amps. 3k for a pair of monoblocks is more reasonable and is in the reach of a standard married middle-class guy, and this $1-3k price point is utterly littered with class D. This is is what is being pushed as "working man’s high end", instead of Schiit who tries to legitimately put out a high-end linear amp for less than $1k. So when I’m browsing the used market for $10-15k amps that being pushed used for 5-7k, I’m not feeling superior to anyone, I feel a sharp sting of financial burden being pushed on me because the industry is dead set on throwing class D junk at anyone who’s not sone empty nester surgeon or senior executive.

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On 4/29/2018 at 2:47 PM, GUTB said:

The fundamental limitation of class D is the lack of linearity;

 

Interesting. I found this article :

https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1274731

 

I don’t understand everything in it,  but the author talks about the ratio of smallest to the greatest reproducible signal. Are these graphs available for D amplifiers?  If they where we could determine that this the class D amplifier is good while this one isn’t.  The author is saying that class A/B amplifier are easier to judge because the test graphs apply to them, but not so much to class D.

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On 4/19/2018 at 11:36 AM, RMMN said:

Hello,

 

I would like to become an audiophile as a new hobby. I don’t know that much about amplifiers and speakers at the audiophile level. May humbly ask the more experienced  members of the forum for their opinion and recommendations?

 

SETUP:

I will be running with the Elac Uni-fi UF5 speakers. As a start, I’ll be your playing from my iPhone from Apple Music to Airport Express:output 3.5 mm Jack or mini tosslink.

 

AMP:

I need help choosing an amp:

 

Sprout 100 ?

New Version to come out in May.  I won’t be using vinyl.

 

NAD D 3020 ?

 

Vidar ?

Looking at the specs/price this is impressive.

 

Stellar S300?

 PS audio claims this is very good. Class A —> Class D.

 

Any experience/recommendations you can share with me will help.

Thank you.

 

Aloha and Welcome,

 

Just to reiterate, the PS Audio Stellar S300 is a power amp and will need a pre-amp to function.  You cannot connect anything to the S300 without a preamp, or a more likely, a preamp/ DAC combo.

 

I own the S300 and its a great amp for the money, and the M700 monoblocks just received Stereophile's Class A rating, the same as the BHK.  Don't let class D throw you off.  The Stellar Gain Cell DAC/ Preamp is a perfect mate for the S300 and will solve your preamp issue.   I was quite satisfied with that combo since last summer, but recently upgraded to the PS Audio DirectStream Junior.

 

PS Audio is great to deal with.  They will take anything for trade and give you full original retail price as credit, doesn't have to be PS Audio gear.  They pay for shipping both ways on their gear and give you 30 day hassle free in home trial.  Highly recommend them!

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On 4/19/2018 at 2:36 PM, RMMN said:

Hello,

 

I would like to become an audiophile as a new hobby. I don’t know that much about amplifiers and speakers at the audiophile level. May humbly ask the more experienced  members of the forum for their opinion and recommendations?

 

SETUP:

I will be running with the Elac Uni-fi UF5 speakers. As a start, I’ll be your playing from my iPhone from Apple Music to Airport Express:output 3.5 mm Jack or mini tosslink.

 

AMP:

I need help choosing an amp:

 

Sprout 100 ?

New Version to come out in May.  I won’t be using vinyl.

 

NAD D 3020 ?

 

Vidar ?

Looking at the specs/price this is impressive.

 

Stellar S300?

 PS audio claims this is very good. Class A —> Class D.

 

Any experience/recommendations you can share with me will help.

Thank you.

Your source is inadequate. Use a computer and buy an inexpensive DAC, say a Schiit Modi connect them via USB. Believe me it will be better than an iPhone seven ways to sundown! Now the Amp.

Of the amps you mention, I'd go with the Schiit Freya/Vidar combo. But don't overlook a mail-order company called Emotiva. They have an integrated amp (with a built-in FM tuner, a built-in DAC and phono preamp and control amp, 50 Watt/channel power amp) called theTA-100 that sells for only US$399! It's entry level "high-end" gear and sounds pretty good. It's a good place to start and with your computer and a USB cable to the unit,  you have everything you need. Just add speakers!

 

https://emotiva.com/collections/pre-amps/products/ta-100

 

Emotiva gear is also available from Amazon. 


George

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