Discussion in 'Power Amps' started by rlow, Oct 16, 2018.
Yup. That's exactly how the manufacturer claimed! haha.
I am currently on the lookout for new speakers (especially looking for Klipsch RF-7 III and Heritage series, but also others) and sometimes I read in reviews something like this:
"speaker xyz doesn't need a powerful amp, but the amp should be stable at 3 Ohms (speaker's official specs are 4 - 8 Ohms)"
"a stable amp, no bitchy tubes"
I know that my Aegir x1 has 20 Watts at 8 Ohm, but I don't know anything about its impedance stability?
A single Aegir is not where you would run into impedance stability issues. It’s rated to double its power output into 4 ohms (40w), and in monoblock mode, it’s been run by many on 4 ohm speakers, where the amp would be seeing less than 2 ohms in some cases, so it should be perfectly fine to handle 3 ohms in stereo.
With a single Aegir, the main thing you need to worry about is speaker sensitivity and how loud you like to play it (including how far away you sit), and will a single Aegir get loud enough for you, since it’s only 20w/40w.
In general, I would say the larger Klipsch speakers are an ideal match with a single Aegir. The RF-7 III being 100dB sensitivity, you should have no issue whatsoever getting to ear splitting levels with a single Aegir unless you’re in a massive room sitting a long distance away. Speakers above 95dB sensitivity in general should be pretty safe with 1 Aegir (recognizing that most manufacturers overstate their sensitivity).
Thanks, that sounds promising! Concerning watts, speaker sensitivity and volume I basically know what to expect. I just sold my Klipsch RF82 MKII and the Aegir was more than loud enough.
I just wonder if this is a naive fallacy:
higher sensitivity speaker, maybe a tad on the bright side and / or horns -> Aegir x1
lower sensitivity speaker, maybe a tad on the dark/warm side -> Aegir x2
Basically taking into consideration not only the volume, but also tonality.
I expect the RF7 III to be case 1 and KEF R11 case 2, for example.
According to 3rd party measurements, the speaker you're looking at, the RF-7 III, has a sensitivity closer to 92db, not 100db. As well, there are some nasty impedance dips, combined with current hungry phase angles. Taking a look at the power handling of these speakers also gives a clue at the kind of power you will need. 250w RMS / 1000w peak. I think that's pretty telling that 40w into 4ohms won't be nearly enough to play at reference levels.
Indeed, I'd imagine even with musical content, you would be straining the Aegir. If you aren't like me and don't listen to music and movies at 105db peaks, I doubt you'll ever hear distortion. But I always like to have the headroom.
Greetings. Brand new here. I have been following the discussion on the Schiit Aegir. Based on this and some other reading, I decided to buy one. I have only had it for a day or so.
I have Zu Audio Superflys which are 101db and 16ohm--thus I felt no need to go dual mono. In fact, the Aegir keeps up with my 65wpc Peachtree Decco65 integrated. I was surprised by this.
It is early, but sound wise, using the Peachtree as a preamp, the Aegir provides more detail and dynamics compared to the Peachtree by itself. Streaming mainly from Qobuz, I find the higher res music has been more revealing, and some songs that were a bit flat with the Peachtree are more exciting, lively with the Aegir. Soundstage is overall good, not quite as expansive, but definitely deeper (3 dimensional). It has a more natural timber--instruments sound more realistic. For lack of a better description, the Aegir sounds more analog (which is probably not a shock). Treble is smoother, but bass is a bit lackluster, honestly.
I have a Mytek Brooklyn Dac+ on the way to improve the now aging DAC on the Decco65. I decided to go with the Mytek over Freya for a few reasons, mainly I love the versatility of the Mytek and reviews of the Mytek are generally exceptional.
I have spun a few records on my Rega RP2 (via Schiit phono pre) and results are good, but didn't blow me away.
Anyway, I have enjoyed the congenial and helpful discussion thus far, and looking forward to reading additional thoughts.
Just closing the loop on my own little amplifier adventure. After hearing the mono Aegir setup, I knew there was more to be had out of my setup versus my upgraded Odyssey Stratos Extreme stereo.
I plucked a Bedini 200/200 out of the used ether from a very nice man in Idaho. It's been re-capped this year. She's not a beauty queen, but one listen and it doesn't matter. Does exactly what I was hoping - the refinement and clarity of the Aegirs, but adds a Russian doping program to stand up to the Dyn 4-ohm load. Ok so that's not actually that great a feat but...
Adding it to the chain, it does such a great job controlling the Dyns, I had to back off my sub gain by 3 steps on each sub. Couldn't believe it. This amp seems to have no ceiling in my room on my setup. My primary complaints with the Odyssey were that as I pushed it hard, it constricted a bit - bass thinned out, midrange had a glare to it, and the soundstage sort of shrinks. Not with the Bedini. It just gets louder. Detail is incredible. Pairing it with the DM2 and it's coked-up energy, powering speakers that love current, has delivered me to the place I hoped I would be.
And I have to say thanks to this forum - the effusive praise of the Aegirs pushed me to try them. While they didn't work for me, they showed me my system had another gear. So thanks all!
Yes! The Bedini stuff is fantastic. I actually learned about them from Craig at EC who dislikes most solid-state amps, but he spoke highly of them.
Again, it's not necessarily the load as I have no issues with the E155 woofer (DCR of 2.5 ohms.) in the JBL 4469b driven by a single Aegir. What it comes down to amp power out / speaker efficiency. (That being said, I do feel the Aegir is limited by its small of heatsinking / lack of real-estate for fins).
Here are the guts of a 250/250. They sounded great, but measured not so great during a time when designers started chasing 0s. ASR would have a field day if they measured a 100/100 or 250/250 and accuse Bedini of being an incompetent designer! This wasn't one of those high negative feedback amps that made everything on an AP-555 look great.
Don't y'all go run out and buy used Bedini amps so nothing left will be available. (I fully expect this to happen in the next week or so.)
It looks like a Pass design. Not that he necessarily invented this layout. It’s very symmetrical and, thus, satisfying.
Thanks for the clarification Marv. I am pretty ignorant about such things, and in my mind it's the fact that my speakers dip down below 4 ohms in the low-frequency areas that creates a demand for current the Aegirs just won't abide. I think? But yea, at 87 dB efficiency (rated, who knows if they actually are even that high), I knew I was skirting a line with the Aeigrs. But, Schiit afforded me the opportunity to try them with minimal risk, so I am grateful for that.
My 200/200 looks quite a bit like the one pictured, except the transistors are all placed vertically, along about the same path as the ones pictured. I really want to clean this thing up, safely. Not sure how best to go about that. Mine also only has one transformer and no power plug or switch, just a cord out the back that you plug in when you want to let it start warming up for fun But the transformer in mine is massive, and apparently hand-wound by Gary and John themselves, or so I understand. I do have to swap in new RCA jacks, mine are a bit finicky and if they get nudged, the channel cuts out. Seems like an easy enough fix. I'll get some pics of it when I get it cleaned up.
Bedinis are a risk though, make no mistake. Had this one not been recently, and thoroughly gone over, I'd probably not have chanced it. But I'm glad I did.
Totem speakers, which used modified Dynaudio components, were notorious for needing big current. I don't know why I didn't think of this before.
Glad you found your synergy! Now try to enjoy it for as long as you can
This is where the transition between engineering and art lies.
Nice to hear you've found something you like.
For selfish reasons I wish you had tried a pair of Vidar though just too see your impressions vs. the Aegir...
I want to share some brief thoughts on the time I had with the Aegir loaner. I got a Vidar shortly after the Aegir loaner, so I have that as a quick reference as well. I have been able to spend a reasonable amount of time with the Vidar, and reflect a lot on what I heard with the Aegir. Please take these impressions with a pallet full of salt because unfortunately, I was in an unfamiliar new apartment space without any provisions for room treatment when I had the Aegir. Thus, what I heard is absolutely not the final word in what this amp is capable of, but I will stand by my assessment because what I heard was a stark difference from what I am used to hearing with my system and it did not change despite having 2 different DAC sources. I moved (again) only 2 weeks after I had the Aegir, so due to difficulties with a new job and unstable living accommodations, I was not able to fully commit to that listening space. The best I could do was measure the placement for my speakers and put some couches in to damp the room a little bit.
I honestly feel like I might have done something wrong, so if anyone can discern something obvious from what I am describing please let me know.
Spoiler: System Setup
Focal Electra 1028 Be --> Wireworld Equinox 7 cables --> Aegir --> Schiit Saga w/ electro-harmonix 6SN7 gold pin --> Wireworld Luna 8 RCA --> Audio-GD NFB 7.77 and Gustard DAC-X26 --> Singxer SU-1 DDR from Kitsune with HDMI I2S into the Audio-GD. The Gustard was fed with USB and coax SPDIF from the Singxer. I have a fancy Shunyata PS8 power strip with a Venom Defender "power filter" because reasons. I also use a mix of Wireworld Electra 7 and Aurora 7 power cords if you believe in that.
I will get straight to the point because this is why I was conflicted about the Aegir. The Aegir turned my Focal speakers into a knockoff pair of Sennheiser HD650 headphones. I did not like this, and I was frightened by how different it sounded compared to what I have grown accustom to after owning the Focals for 4 years. The first thing that immediately became apparent is the Aegir delivered a hyper focused mid-range, never harsh but somehow very subdued treble, and bass that was always there, but never with any impact or weight behind it. The mid-range was very clear and had nice dynamics but it seemed like it came at the expense of the quality for the rest of the audio band. It felt like I was in a video game where I had to apply attributes to the sound quality and the system pre-allocated them for me with 70% of the allocation going to the mid-range. I found it to be a very strange and distracting presentation.
Once I got over the startling sound profile that the Aegir presented, I was able to hone in on its ability to be dynamic and create a very nice sound stage with pleasing width and depth. I think this ability is to be highly commended for what this amp is offering. It is an affordable and relatively straightforward design which gives you a great depiction of two of my favorite attributes of Hi-Fi stereo - sound stage and imaging.
I got the Vidar a few weeks after the Aegir because I had to try it out. I find the Vidar to be nearly the inverse of the Aegir. The bass is super imapctful and hard hitting, and it's always there whether it should be or not. The mid-range to treble range is bordering on harsh. The level of detail is pretty good, but the dynamics and sound staging are below average. Overall it's acceptable, but it's not pleasing to me at all.
Prior to these 2 amps, I had been using a Sony TA-A1ES. I would not pay MSRP for this amp, but they can be found for less than $1K used. That's how I acquired mine. This is absolutely not the end-game of integrated stereo amps, but I do think when a good example is found in the used market it outperforms the Aegir and Vidar setup that I experienced. The treble is just right for my Focals which many people may characterize as harsh to begin with. The mid-range is not as hyper focused as the Aegir but it is much more in line with the rest of the spectrum making the presentation much less distracting and easier to digest. The bass hits hard enough to be enjoyed, but it is never too much or too little.
I am still scratching my head to understand why I heard what I am pretty sure I heard with the Aegir. In a panic, I want to blame the single-ended output of the Audio-GD DAC, but the Gustard DAC sounded the same. After that I want to blame the low-end RCA cables but I don't think we have any cable snobs here. I think I am going to buy an Aegir just because I feel like I did something wrong and I need to listen to it again. Unfortunately, my focus is shifting away from 2-channel stereo and back to movie watching. So, I am probably going to get rid of my front end and simplify it with an AVR receiver or pre-pro. I will use my Vidar as a power amp since I only have front stereo. But, I want to also try monoblock Aegirs to see if that makes it interesting. I have no justification for any of this, but I am compelled to give the Aegir another go.
Have you tried higher-watt tube amps (KT88 or EL34 etc) with your Focals or perhaps full Class A like First Watt/Pass Labs/Luxman/Accuphase/Sugden etc? I cannot imagine that Focal BE speakers + Schiit amp (insert whatever you like) is going to have good synergy. Much like Bryston, they're incredibly clean, powerful and hyperdetailed. I remember listening to some Sopra 1 + Bryston something monoblocks and my ears felt like they were bleeding lol.
Other amps I have tried over the years are Audio-GD Master 10, Luxman 550AXII, Luxman L505ux, Accuphase E-470, Accuphase E-370, MSB S200, Cary Audio SLI-80, Rogue Chronus Magnum (KT88), Hegel H190, NuForce STA-200, and Audia Flight FLS10 and FL Three S. This is at least all I can recall.
I do not like tubes. Out of those listed above, the Audia Flights are my favorites. The Luxman 550AXII and Accuphase E-370 are second. The Luxman 550UX was absolutely the worst amp I've ever heard, but when I told the USA distributor that at Axpona last year he assured me the Mark II version fixed that. I was going to buy an Audia Flight FLS10, but then I ended up getting into my new dwelling which is just not worthy of Hi-Fi audio. That's the primary reason I am throwing in the towel and getting some sort of AVR. The stereo will be rebuilt in a couple years.
The Aegir is a 20W amp into 8-ohms and probably has no business powering your Focals. The best use case for Aegir is high-efficiency speakers or moderate efficiency small speakers in a small room. The Focals love power, which the Aegir do not have. I'm not even sure Aegir monoblocks would be well suited. Although monoblocks did have better bass grip and less of a tubey midcentric presentation on my super efficient big JBLs. (I eventually reverted to a single Aegir). Maybe something like a 200W class A amp for a sound with benefits of Aegir without its drawbacks.
The Vidar is an entry level bargain amp which is slightly better or on par with pro audio Class AB amps or stuff sold on the Audio Advisor up to $2k. The tone is warm and could be a bit thick on the wrong speakers.
I kind of get that, but I don't fully buy it. The Luxman 550AXII is also a 20W Class A amp and it's one of the best I have ever heard at any price. It does lack any kind of class B amplification, though. The Focal Electra 1028 Be is rated at 91dB. There is a nasty dip to 3.5 ohms somewhere in the mid-bass region if I recall correctly, so I can see where this could be a problem. I rarely go above 70dB for my listening so I should not have been taxing the amp too much at all. It certainly seems like a bad match, but the specs that I've seen shouldn't account for the dramatic sound profile that I experienced. At any rate, my search continues.
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