The Two Channel Advice Thread

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by purr1n, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    @Maximillion
    I don't know too many Euro brands, but take a look at the SPL S800 Performer amp. The brand is generally well regarded.
    I'd also take a peak at the pro audio offerings. There's quite a lot of interesting stuff in the Euro market for that. Most have fans, but they can run surprisingly quiet unless you're cranking it (Powersoft is the first that comes to mind, and they have several 4-channel models).
     
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  2. Maximillion

    Maximillion Acquaintance

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    Thank you to the people who have responded and helped. Really appreciate it.
    Given the input and also the follow up research I did into the night and this morning, the picture has changed quite considerably.

    Luxman, Accuphase and Yamaha are out of the picture - not enough power.
    McIntosh out of the picture - not enough power at the price point I can afford. I really like the looks of the McIntosh gear, but maybe it's a bit too bling for a living room. Maybe more for a dedicated listening room and as mentioned, you need to go higher up the range to get enough power for headroom.

    I am now focusing on:
    ATC - CA2/P2
    Hegel - P20/H20 or H360
    Schiit - Freya and Vidar's

    I am going to try and get a listen of all 3.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  3. Sunflower_sutra

    Sunflower_sutra Acquaintance

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    Just to throw a curve ball but there's also class d amplification, manly ncore amps.

    Offer decent high watts, good standby, energy efficient and don't require warm up time to sound their best plus are compact.
     
  4. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf MOT - Sonarworks

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    @Maximillion make sure you can audition the amp in your setup, before you commit to buy. The issues you’re trying to doctor with an amp swap are more likely to be speaker and/or room borne.
     
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  5. Maximillion

    Maximillion Acquaintance

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    @Hrodulf thanks and agree... I certainly will be auditioning. I know I can sort that with the ATC and Hegel. Not sure with the Schiit gear.
     
  6. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    @Hrodulf beat me to it. Definitely audition these at home if you can - no review can tell you how these will sound to you or in your room, with your system, no matter how much you spend. The only time I will gamble like this is when I buy used, and I know I can just flip it for virtually no loss (which I do a fair bit).

    The other thing you may want to consider is spending a bit less on amp/pre and look at Yggdrasil as a replacement for Gungnir Multibit. I own both the A2 versions of Yggdrasil and Gungnir Multibit currently and Yggdrasil definitely has a much broader and deeper soundstage than Gungnir Multibit. It also has more bottom end slam. But it’s also a bit thinner sounding through the mids and brighter/more extended on the top end and less forgiving on those not-so-great recordings. So it’s a tradeoff, but one I am preferring now that I’ve tailored my system a bit to match with it better. I love the large soundstage and the improved macro and micro dynamics over Gungnir Multibit.
     
  7. aamefford

    aamefford Nothing like chamberpot coffee

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    At least the Vidar can be bought used and resold at minimal loss. A relatively cheap if fiddly way to try one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
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  8. Maximillion

    Maximillion Acquaintance

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    @rlow, thanks. I recently got the Gungnir Multibit and I love it. I am already quite attached to it, so not looking to change it out for Yggdrasil (even though I know you are advising specifically because I mentioned sound stage).

    That said, I may look elsewhere to upgrade my system.

    I had a listen to a Hegel (£4k and 2.5 times the price of my Rega). I prefer the sound of the Rega and it is also built better than the Hegel (like night and day). Not sure I can explain the sound difference, but to me the Hegel was more analytical and the Rega easier to listen to and enjoy. As for build quality the Rega is a hunk of thick metal and will last a lifetime (had it 6 years and it is as new in every respect), the Hegel has a cheaper feeling top panel, and comparitavely flimsy looking faceplate with controls that are smooth but I get the feeling won't last.

    I am thinking it may be better sometimes to stick with what one has and supplement it to give me more options (like a tube pre-amp direct in to the Rega and a better TT/phono stage).

    I have a full day at the music store tomorrow - I am going to listen to few more amp options, but with a view that something has to really wow me for me to buy it. The outlay is a one time thing as I am usually skint :) , so don't want to waste it on something that only adds a slight improvement to my enjoyment of music (or none at all). I guess I am learning that price <> enjoyment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
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  9. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Which Hegel? I'm a bit surprised to hear that comment regarding build quality. I had the H360 and that thing was very solid.
     
  10. Maximillion

    Maximillion Acquaintance

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    Hi @msommers , it was the H360. Found the same with the H190. I'm comparing to my existing amp as a point of reference on build quality. Just my view.. don't want to underplay Hegel. Just not for me. I think I will edit my post to make it clear I am comparing to the Rega.
     
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  11. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

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    Yup, had it briefly as well. Although it wasn't spectacular in any regard, was a good sounding machine built like a tank, with fit and finish up there with its price. Not a Tenor, Soulution or Pass product clearly, but respectable.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  12. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

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    I might repeat myself, but please look up Kinki Studio EX-M1. It's essentially a far better Job 225 (which is amazing for the money) and similar to Goldmund/Nagra amps. Swiss fresh sound; accurate, smooth, spacious and very quick but not lifeless or dull. EX-M1 is less than 2K new btw.
     
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  13. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    With respect to the Hegel integrateds, I think they all tend to use pretty much the same casework and design, which I’ve seen other people criticize as well. The Hegel I had I would say was fine from a casework perspective, but nothing crazy to write home about, so I can see where @Maximillion is coming from.

    While I’ve not heard the Rega, I know it gets compared a lot to the Naim stuff, and I know they have a particular type of sound signature that some prefer. Some say that Rega is like better Naim (as far as their integrateds go), but who knows.

    The only product I’ve seen directly compared to Rega and Naim, that some prefer, is the Exposure stuff. I have owned the Exposure 3010s2, and I can say that it is very good, with a fairly spacious soundstage and pretty solid power and bottom end. The 3010s2-D is supposed to be a bit better (but skip the DAC option obviously).

    So other than the ATC, which may be closer to the Hegel (not sure) you could also check out the Exposure 3010 or the new 5010 series.

    Honestly though, I preferred the Freya+Vidar to the Exposure, although only slightly in passive mode - but great tubes can take that combo over the top I think. The problem is you have to be willing to get into tube rolling, which is not for everyone, and can be a bit of a pain in the ass. Otherwise you need to stick to passive or JFET (the stock tubes I don’t like).

    If you’re ok sticking to single ended inputs, I do think a good option to try, if you can find, would definitely be Saga + Vidar. I don’t know of anything out there that can beat that combo for the price (at least nothing I’ve heard).

    @Forza AudioWorks recco of the Kinki is likely a good one to checkout as well since the Job/Goldmund stuff tend to focus on speed and agility like the Rega and Naim stuff. That Kinki might kick the butt off the Exposure or Schiit.
     
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  14. Maximillion

    Maximillion Acquaintance

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    @Forza AudioWorks I don't know why, but I always skipped past the Kinki's after seeing them online - because i thought they would be very very expensive. The only distributor here in the UK sells some high end stuff. I can't believe they are so cheap! Very tough to audition, though.

    @rlow Stock on Schiit gear in the UK is pretty low, unfortunately. Freya's and Vidar's can't be had at the moment. The European dealer has told me he will let me know when they get some in. I'd like to listen to the tube sound. I know there are some Saga's in stock.. cheap way to get tube sound as an option if I ran the Saga directly into the pre amp bypass on my Rega. Might try that - unless it's a stupid idea!
     
  15. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    You'll get a flavor for Saga, but not really much in the way of "tube sound" unfortunately. The single tube in Saga is pretty subtle, in fact many have a hard time even hearing the difference with the stock tube because it's so subtle. A great tube can do a bit more, but if you really want some tube flavoring you'll need Freya or another tube preamp.
     
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  16. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Almost "Made"

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    TL ; DR What about Naim Supernait 2? Perhaps an Audia Flight Three S because it's supposed to be cheap and easy to find in Europe. I'm kind of a schill for Luxman.

    Have you listened to a Naim Supernait 2? The Naim stuff I heard before the Supernait 2 was muddy, boring, and shitty to listen to. But I tried a Supernait 2 last year and it felt like a completely different brand. If you're in Europe you should have several options to find Naim stuff. I don't like the way they force you to use banana plugs, or how they charge insane amounts of money for their DIN connector accessories, or how they peddle various proprietary (Industrial Std) cabling. But the Supernait 2 gave me some real good vibes when I listened to it last time.

    I currently have an Audia Flight FL Three S amp on loan from my dealer. It is growing on me a lot. I am just learning about this brand, but I believe they have a pretty big presence in Europe and they are sensibly priced ($3850 USD or so). To my ears, this amp is very natural and uncolored. There isn't too much or too little of anything. I spent several hours with their TOTL pre and power amps before taking this integrated. It could be a good option. There are 2 things I do not like, though. There is no volume level displayed (at least I haven't figured it out) and the volume control from the remote is too coarse such that one click of the up/down button results in too large of a volume output change. I'm learning to deal with these usability issues, but it would make me hesitate to pay retail.

    I have reservations about the fact that the Luxman or Accuphase will not have enough power. I don't think that's true at all. The original Luxman 505uxII was complete trash and I talked to the USA distributor about that at Axpona last year. The replacement, 507uXII, has some alterations that should help that. Most notably is the damping factor and input impedance have been tweaked, among other things. I have not heard the 507uXII yet, but I've always loved the 550AX and 550AXII. It's still my go to in the $5K "HiFi" range. When it comes to build quality and subsequently pride of ownership, there are not many that I prefer over Luxman/Accuphase. Of the stuff I've had my own hands on, maybe only Nagra or Soulution were clearly ahead of the Japanese offerings.

    Accuphase has a new E270 model available in the US that is reasonably priced as well. I spent a lot of time with it last year. I don't see why it would not have enough power for your system. It was far and away better than the older Luxman 505UxII and I would have a very tough choice if it were between the E-270 and the 550AXII knowing that the E-270 won't heat up my listening room to uncomfortable temperatures. I think I'd prefer the E-270 over the Audia Flight, but only because of usability concerns I indicated above. If/When I purchase one, I would absolutely need to have them both on loan for about 2 weeks to determine which one sounded better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  17. Sunflower_sutra

    Sunflower_sutra Acquaintance

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    Hey Maximillion. U.k stock of schiit gear can be a bit patchy but you can purchase schiit gear from the European dealer and get it shipped. Still covered under the same warranty (until whatever happens with Brexit)

    Also Greg has a good point that Watts don't simply equate to power but if your buying an amp which you have the aim of lasting you for a long time it will impact on your speaker selection in the future.
     
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  18. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    Guys, I’m looking for a new power amp. I’m currently using an old Adcom GFA-535II on Klipsch Heresys. I only have room for one system so this doubles as the general family home theater system. I’m using a big Denon AVR that has preouts to control everything. Even though I wasn’t optimistic of the Denons preamp capabilities, It actually sounds pretty good running into the Adcom. When I listen to CDs or Tidal it gets run through an OG Yggdrasil and into an analog input on the Denon. There is a pure direct setting on the Denon that I use to bypass all the bells and whistles when I want to listen to music only.

    Here’s what I’m looking for in an amp:

    1. RUNS COOL! – this amp gets left on 24/7.

    2. Lower power, but probably not flea power – The Klipsch are 96dB efficient, and future replacement speakers will be in that range of efficiency or greater. (Considering a PAP Trio DIY or Cornscala DIY)

    3. Used is ok, but it has to be serviceable.

    4. DIY is acceptable but would have to be a kit with step by step instructions. Amp design/troubleshooting is not in my skill set, but I can competently solder and read a schematic.

    5. Budget <$500

    The Adcom works fine and at 60w is more than enough power. I could recap it and maybe be happy but I’m wondering if there might be something better out there that I should consider. I want something that sounds smooth and spacious, yet will control big woofers and not sound sloppy.

    The ‘535II was in my opinion the best sounding of the Adcom amps of that era but can get a little shouty on horns once you get up to medium volume or higher. I don’t think a recap would fix that, but I realize the budget and heat restrictions really limit me. What would you guys recommend?
     
  19. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Almost "Made"

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    @crazychile

    I cannot confidently say that this will be good, better, or comparable to the Adcom because I've never heard the Adcom or your Klipsch speakers. But I picked up a used NuForce STA200 on a whim from a user here. They are now on closeout price new for $500. I think this amp sounds fantastic. It's not reference level, but the bass response with my Focal Electra 1028Be was among the best I've experienced. It's a very simple and compact design. You should be able to find one used for $300-400. If you decide you don't like it, I'd bet you'd be able to resell with minimal loss. I would wager that "smooth, spacious, not sloppy with great bass control" is an accurate description of this little sleeper amp.
     
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  20. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Does that amp run hot? I’ve heard the Job225 does, which is why I ask.

    @crazychile Greg makes a good point - what does the Adcom sound like that you like about it? Are you looking for something with a similar sound sig?

    Edit: I mean besides the smooth and not sloppy part. From an FR perspective; is it neutral, warm, lean, rolled off, mid-forward, etc?
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
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