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Peachtree Era D5 6Ohm 83dBa amplifier dilemma


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Hello, have been a reader of CA for several years, now finally ready to take a full plunge into the wonderful world of computer audio. I have a modest setup that I am planning to use for both nearfield listening and at times I will move it into 2-channel stereo setup with the same amp.

 

I have a pair of Era D5 speakers and HRT Streamer II connected to the 2010 Mac Mini with Amarra playing FLACs and AIFFs.

 

What I need to decide is what integrated amp (or preamp/amp combo) should I pair with this system. D5 are not sensitive speakers to say the least at 83dBa and they like power, thus I was wondering what amplifiers I should be looking at. I do like warm, inviting sound, probably more on the tube side, but at the same time, I enjoy deep bass and even more tight mid-bass extensions. I have Cambridge Audio Azur 640V2 now and this amp seems to be underpowered and anemic with these speakers. Easiest thing is to change the speakers but I like their size and I heard them extending well into lows at the CES. Their sound character is compelling to me.

 

I never owned tube-amps but these speakers are not tube-friendly anyway, thus looking for an advise on the choice of either an integrated strong enough and musical to drive these speakers or to an amp/preamp combo. I listen to vinyl too but phono stage is probably best being offboard. My budget is quite modest by CA standards at $1500 but appreciate any thoughtful advise I can get.

 

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Thanks, Chris. I certainly have looked into that. I do like the warm sound of Peachtree iNova, but I also like the sound of my HRT DAC and I am getting vibes from different forums that even iNova is a bit underpowered for their own D5, or to be careful I must say many folks believe that D5 being quite inefficient, they can benefit from 100Wpc amp to be dynamic. Also, I do not need iDock feature that add no value to my setup. Plus for $1800, one can buy a decent pre/amp combo, maybe even used. Used Burson combo was on my list until I started to see posts about them being susceptible to EMI noise. Tough choices indeed.

 

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Hi dvzzz,

 

Love these speakers & they're a great bargain. I had them them paired with:

 

Peachtree Decco

Peachtree Nova

Peachtree Nova + PS Audio A1 Trio 100 Amp

 

I thought all these combinations sounded good & were sufficient to drive the D5's. The last was the best, and I believe I paid about $1500 second-hand for the Nova + A1.

 

But I hear what you're saying about hanging onto your HRT (I've got one, it's a steal!) You'll probably get the most bang for your buck by upgrading your amp.

 

You might want to check out the Wyred4Sound integrateds. A bit above your price range, starting at $2000, but you could probably find something cheaper second-hand.

 

I also really love my Rega Brio 3 (available now for probably $500-600,a very under-rated amp), though I never paired it with the D5's.

 

Also, I'd steer clear of the pre + amp combo at your price point.

 

Good luck,

Rascal

 

 

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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The NAD 375bee runs $1500 and you can pick up a refurbished one with a manufacturer's warranty for under $1k from Spearit Sound, http://www.spearitsound.com/nad/nadspec.htm.

 

Macmini (as server)-> AE Express/SB Touch-> Dacmagic plus -> Outlaw RR2150 -> PSB Image T6 (dedicated 2 channel audio system)

Macmini (via toslink)-> NAD T747 -> PSB Imagine B/SVS SB2000 subwoofer (home theater)

Macbook Pro-> Peachtree idecco->PSB Imagine Minis, Energy ESW-M8 subwoofer, Beyerdynamic DT880 (home office)

IMac->audioengine D1 dac->airmotiv 4 (work system)

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Thank you you Gents for the advice. I gave these speakers a listen with Cambridge Audio 640 and I must say these speakers do extend really low and they are capable at playing fairly well with Azur but they need to be cranked up to sound well. I am trying to figure out if there are amps out there that are better suited for lower volume listening for nearfield. Class A, Class B, Class D or Class T? Tube?

 

BTW Aurelex Mopads are really strange, they appear to be make the sound mushy and tight mid-bass is somehow is missing. Without them the sound is cleaner but the D5's are coupled to the table that they are sitting on. I am very interested in opinions from other folks how they decouple their nearfield speakers.

 

Thanks,

Dima.

 

 

 

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Speaker stands are almost always your best bet to free up your speaker's sound. Short of that, I've had very good results with Quadraspire QX! Silencers. They're like mini-stands meant to used on top of a table or credenza. They're clear acrylic (?) and (with some blue tack) seem to absorb little vibration.

 

About $110 US, but can be hard to get a hold of. However I have an extra pair I could let go at a reasonable price if you are interested.

 

Rascal

 

 

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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Vincent makes some fairly beefy hybrid integrateds. Maybe one of those new or used (don't know prices but they are relatively inexpensive) would serve you well.

 

Tom

 

tomE[br]Bryston BDP-1, Bryston BDA-1, Oppo BDP-95, Rogue Audio Sphinx, Montor Audio Silver RX8s. [br]Analog: LP12, Alphason HR100S, Benz Micro LO04 and Rogue audio Triton phono pre

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On paper, the D5 looks in-efficient. But in reality, they are not really that difficult to drive.

I drove mine with 14 watts tube amp & its fine in my medium size bedroom.

But personally i like the i-nova or the Nova with the D5.

It has good synergy with these speakers.

I also have the HRT Streamer II+.

Good luck with your choices but i must say, i like the Peachtree combos together.

 

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Thank you very much everyone for your thoughtful comments. I found a middle ground for now: fixed volume control in my beloved highly upgraded and modded Cambridge Audio 640A V2, this amp has been upgraded throughout except the motorized volume pot that is is still cheaply-made Soundwell part, these pots are both inaccurate and fail early. I wish Cambridge Audio would not cut corners and put Alps pots but to be fair 640A V2 before the upgrade was a low-end amp. Aside from the volume control this amp now has musicality and warmth, it is also fast with excellent damping. RMS is only honest 50W but I agree D5's are only inefficient on paper,.

 

I listened to them for a straight week and I must say after spending 2-3 hours on acoustical reconfiguration of my room, I am getting very accurate, but non-fatiguing sound. D5's are a bit lacking on the top, (I am used to the Scan Speak Air Circ sound so it is tough to match that) but D5's really shine at the mid-bass and low-bass. It is very filling, speakers are extending much lower than I ever thought they could. The 640A is playing them without a hint of strain. They sound excellent, taking solid 2nd palce and putting my trusted SVS MBS-01 to the 3rd place, while Ascend Acoustic Sierra NrT in my small hit-parade are still taking firm 1st place.

 

I can listen to this setup for hours, HRT delivers for all of my vinyl rips made with Sony recorder. I know we are all digital here but Sony Super Bit Mapping-based digital recorder is worth a challenge. I compared Getz Gilberto recorded off the original first press in stereo record on the Super Bit Mapping Sony in 16-44 and then compared it to the HDTracks... What can I say, in my humble opinion 24-96 is overrated. Please ping me if you would like to hear small vinyl episode to do your own comparisons. At this point I cannot go back 24-96 it is simply synthetic, compressed stage and 2D sound. Yes, we can dive into the depth of how resolving my system is, but at the end of the day, we are all looking for accurate but at the same time pleasing sound. I wonder if vinyl rips is the way to go.

 

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I've had a pair of D5s for about a year now. I'm using them for nearfield listening. They sounded stunning at the store, but still haven't totally gotten them there at home. I started out with a Tripath amp (Virtue Sensation) and it felt very lifeless and underpowered. Part of it could have been the power output, and part of it could be that I might not connect with the class T sound - smooth, but a little synthetic? Maybe a different class T like the Wyred4sound would be a different story. I felt like these speakers really wanted more current so got an Opera Consonance a-120 (120 WPC hybrid amp) and there was an improvement - more dynamics and excitement. But still missing a little impact. So I added a REL R-205 subwoofer. Again an improvement. But I still don't feel that involved. My next step is to play around with stands and isolation/coupling. Part of the problem is half the time, I use headphones (Denon D2000) and i doubt a set of sub $1000 bookshelves are ever going to came anywhere close to the visceral experience of these headphones.

 

Some of my thoughts so far: The D5s really do benefit from a high current amp to bring them to life. Even though the bass is good on these, a sub can be a big improvement (assuming you can get a synergistic setup, which is a challenge). The D5s sound the best played on the loud side. As 6moons observed, after a warm-up period, the sound improves, and the volume increases noticeably. Maybe there is something to going with a Nova amp as has been mentioned. Not the direction I had wanted to go, but I may go back to the store and demo these again with the Nova.

 

The Fusion & Instrumental Music Forum: http://fuze-zone.com/

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I assume you're using stands now?

 

I started out using isolation stands stands w/ the D5's on top of a credenza, but there was a major improvement when I put them up on stands.

 

Rascal

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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A little embarrassing, I have them up on empty CDR containers. The reason being that there are virtually no stands out there that are made for desk top use if you want to raise them about 6-8 inches to get them closer to ear level. The closest I've found is the Lovan Jazz, which is the right height, but a little too wide.

 

I'm intrigued by the isolators you suggested. Too bad they are only an inch tall. Perhaps there would be some way to use them on top of some sort of plinth to get them up to ear level.

 

The Fusion & Instrumental Music Forum: http://fuze-zone.com/

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I just wanted to share my experiences with D5's, they are (like all speakers) are sensitive to room acoustics to sound their best. I spent numerous hours trying to find locations for my table with speakers on them and I must say that nothing change sound print of these fine speakers as the placement. I had to move things around several times, as in nearfield arrangement searching for the bass was huge hit/miss issue, once I found it, I do not need any sub at all. They speakers are extending so low that I cannot believe that bookshelves are playing. My room is 20x13ft with 9ft ceiling, fully carpeted.

 

Another big thing to watch out for is the de-coupling from the surface. I have tried MoPad from Aurelex and, despite all glorious reviews, I did not like what they did to the sound, bass became all soft, but when I got my spikes from Parts Express, sound picture became clear with tight lows and more importantly upper bass emerged.

 

I guess, all I am saying, if possible try to experiment with placement and with de-coupling, those low-cost mods will bring in tremendous musical benefits, you may never need a sub if you are 2-channel person. Best of luck with these fine speakers. I wish I can keep them but I have way too many toys now. Time to buy toy gifts for kids, Dad gets to keep only one toy:) - Ascend Sierra 1.

 

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@dvzzz

 

Thanks,

 

If you are using spikes, wouldn't that actually couple, rather than de-couple the speakers from the desk?

 

Just wondering, what is the advantage of de-coupling speakers? It seems like you want want the cabinet to be rigidly isolated, rather than free to move. I can see the advantage of decoupling the audio components, but why the speakers.

 

Also, did you find that getting the drivers closer to ear level helped? It makes a huge difference in my setup - if I lower my head so it is in plane with the tweeters, the soundstage comes into focus & mids/hights get much more articulate. They are mellow in the treble, so it does not get harsh. I think my main goal is to get them up 10-14 inches. I may have to get custom stands made though.

 

Edit: I notice the 6moons reviewer has his Mark-Daniel speakers on stands from the Ikea kitchen dept.

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/belcanto2/1.html

 

The Fusion & Instrumental Music Forum: http://fuze-zone.com/

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I actually did not raise them, I just angled them up using two spike at the front, and according to Peachtree folks, spikes are de-coupling the speakers. I did sense vibrations on the solid wood table top that I have vs. Aurelex Mopad but sound was very different with Mopad bass was all but tight.

 

You are correct speakers are quite mellow in the highs but in nearfield scenario in my case I liked them slightly below my ear level, which is not scientific, science tells us that if you cannot get your tweeter at the ear level then get it above the level not below but these speakers are forgiving and rich across the spectrum except highs.

 

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I just want to chime in that I had a good experience adding a subwoofer to the D5's. After plenty of listening, the crossover is set to about 65 Hz and now drums are more realistic, and jazz bass solos have a much more satisfying tonal quality. The volume is set pretty low on my subwoofer, but the difference is huge.

 

Bluesound Node 2-->LFD LE Mk V-->HSU VTF-1 Subwoofer (via high-level inputs)-->Harbeth P3ESR

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@funkle

 

Yes, the Quadraspire isolation stands, while excellent, aren't intended to raise the level of the speakers.

 

I'm surprised you are using these punchy speakers on a desktop! Your'e not overwhelmed having them sitting so close? In any case - is there no room on either side of your desk for some short speaker stands?

 

@dvzzz

 

Really true about room acoustics w/ regard to the D5's. I'll share a little story regarding this.

 

I had one of those transcendent musical experiences with my D5's, after I brought them, along with my Decco, to a friends place for a party. I came back to pick up my Decco and speaker stands the next day (I decided to sell my friend the D5's). I was breaking things down and packing up while my friend joined some others for some tennis in the apartment complex - I'd join them when I was done.

 

Well, I couldn't resist having a quick listening session before letting go of the these lovelies. He has a rather long but somewhat narrow living room with an loft above, so the ceiling is quite high. I positioned them on the long wall, on top of the inexpensive Sanus Euro stands, about 6 feet apart, close to the back wall. Sat maybe 8 feet across. I was so blown away at how involving the sound was! And with only my iPod as a source. The sound in his room was far better than it ever was in my space.

 

In fact, it was so involving, I just couldn't pull myself away, and stood up my tennis buddies. "One more song" I kept thinking, "one more song". By the end of the evening, I was pretty sad to leave them behind. But I figure I can always visit!

 

Rascal

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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@ Darascal

 

"I'm surprised you are using these punchy speakers on a desktop! Your'e not overwhelmed having them sitting so close? In any case - is there no room on either side of your desk for some short speaker stands?"

 

I dont find them to be too punchy at all, Id characterize them as having a smooth top end, and they do not feel as dynamic as some of the higher efficiency speakers. The only issues I have with nearfield placement is that it is a little tougher to get the speakers to "focus" at a distance of 3 feet. The desk is built in, and extends the length of the wall, so stands on the desk is the only option. I've considered changing the layout, going to a free standing desk in the center of the room, but if I do this, I may as well go to floor standers.

 

I did go out and buy the Ikea saucer stacker stands Srajan Ebaen recommends, and I'd say there is an improvement. The8" height, and decoupling effects seem to make them a little less constricted.

 

The Fusion & Instrumental Music Forum: http://fuze-zone.com/

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By "punchy" I didn't mean to describe their quality, rather that they easily fill a room. I have this image of my hair being blown off sitting so close!

 

Just from intuition, I'd think you wouldn't get optimal sound quality at such close range, I'd think 6' or so would be a minimum.

 

if I do this, I may as well go to floor standers

 

I don't quite understand this. I believe monitors on stands are just as viable an option as floor-standers. Usually cheaper (Cabinets are the most expensive cost of speakers) and - for me, anyway - easier to work with. All of the monitor speakers I've had benefited greatly from even inexpensive stands.

 

Anyway, I'm glad you found an option that improved your listening experience.

 

Rascal

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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@ darascal,

 

"I have this image of my hair being blown off sitting so close!"

 

Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm after :) Occasionally anyway.

 

Regarding the floor standers, I've been through a bunch of bookshelves, and even with a good sub, and in various arrangements, they've never really matched the natural bass that my floor standers could produce. Since I still have the floor standers, it seems like the way to go. I just need to make the arrangement of the room work.

 

The Fusion & Instrumental Music Forum: http://fuze-zone.com/

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I completely agree with @Rascal, room acoustics/positioning is what makes/breaks any speakers. I had numerous floostanders and was always into the bigger- the better but I was wrong on every occasion. Many floorstanders including Axiom, B&W and even fine Acoustic Energy make the lows a bit boomy for my taste, perhaps because of the placement and room but I on 4th set of monitors sitting on the very heavy stands and they play extremely smoothly in the lows, Era D5 is just such example, excellent spectrum, smooth and balanced but with lows that are palpable. Ascend Sierra-1 is another glorious example of the speaker that rivals many floorstanders under $2500. They all play without a sub, no DSP just plain old 2-channel via Azur Integrated.

 

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I don't bother with "desktop" speakers anymore, I just fill the room with sound. But then the desk that my desktop sits on is only one spot in the room (my bedroom) where I listen from. Somes at the desk, oftentimes walking about doing things, sometimes in bed. I position my speakers (B&W DM 601 S2's) on stands at one end of the room (on either side of the bed). Though I'm rarely seated at the true sweet spot, the sound is quite good from practically anywhere. Suprisingly good while in bed (at a sort of "reverse sweet spot").

 

However, if you spend most of your time at your desk, then I get the desire to have speakers on the desktop.

 

Rascal

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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