The Two Channel Advice Thread

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

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The problem is finding similar performance as Schiit for a similar price. Magic 8-ball (rarely wrong) says disregard Monoprice. Emotiva may be interesting despite the switcher. Parasound stuff today is so badly gimped at the bottom range (starting at $1500) that even one of their designers disavowed a product.

    It's easy to tell entry-level folks that there is other than Schiit, but I'm often flabbergasted when asked specifically what. "Name a recommended alternative you fucker." (I am going to start challenging people like this). My search for solid-state amps hasn't been easy: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/solid-state-power-amp-adventures.3789/ The good stuff is either extraordinarily expensive, OOP, DIY, used, highly specialized, or a combination thereof.

    Accuphase or Luxman. Rob a bank first.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
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  2. RobS

    RobS RobS? More like RobDiarrhea.

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    I agree, especially the bold. It's frustrating. I wish Schiit had other serious competition at that price point. I paid like 5x the price of an Aegir to get an upgrade across the board.

    BTW EagleWings, the Aegir definitely doesn't share the same DNA as the Mj2, Jot or Magni 3 (all headamps I don't care for). The single stereo has got some warmth, good treble (surprising for a Schiit amp IMO), body in the mids, but might be too forward with a lack of depth for you. I was not impressed with the soundstage of the Aegir and it wasn't the fault of the DAC.
     
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  3. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    They are available, so IMO that's a no brainer. Even if you decide to go straight to the LS50 first, you should still bring in the B&W for comparison. You're in a position where you're trying to discover what you like. You can't do that without actually listening and comparing gear. Have fun with the exploration.
     
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  4. monacelli

    monacelli Friend

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    How close are your speakers to the rear wall, out of curiosity? And what was the sensitivity? I've always found placement affects soundstage more than anything else with speakers. Aegir seems like it really needs the right dance partner in order to shine. I wouldn't dream of pairing it with anything under 90 dB/W @1m. I don't know what the hell Herb was talking about in Stereophile pairing Aegir with something like the Harbeth P3ESR (83.5 dB/2.83V/m). Get the heck out of here. I've got some Tekton Lore Reference on order, which have an 8" Eminence woofer with a soft-dome SEAS tweeter. They spec them at 96 dB/W, which I assume means they're probably ~92 dB/W. I like my little Adcom 535, but if it ever craps out I'm hoping Aegir will be a good pairing.
     
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  5. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    @purr1n @RobS @monacelli

    Thanks for the feedback gentlemen. It’s really difficult to come by decent amps in India, let alone good ones, unless I pay top dollar. I guess I’ll stick with active speakers for now.

    Aegir is something I would love to try. But my living conditions only allow bookshelves, so it may not work. Besides, the last thing you want in an Indian house, is a space heater.
     
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  6. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Won't tell anyone my name is actually Francis

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    My Emotiva A-150 sounds great. Been using it hard daily for over a year and I have no complaints. Drives my 4ohm 91dB KEFs very well and even pushing 90dB+ at my listening position it barely gets warm.
     
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  7. RobS

    RobS RobS? More like RobDiarrhea.

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    I've tried a few speakers at different positions, wanted to see which one worked the best with Aegir. Could never get the soundstage to open up versus previous amps. I also thought the Aegir was working against the layering the Multibit stuff is good at. In contrast, my active monitors really pulled off that sonic hologram the Multibit does where sounds kind of float in a three dimensional space. Kind of hard to explain, you have to hear it and just the way sound projects out from the speakers is really cool. I lost that with Aegir though. Ragnarok 2 might be the way to go for soundstage from reading impressions here.

    I don't get that pairing either from Stereophile. Maybe in nearfield? Saint Panda had the same setup but his criticisms against it read more as being Harbeth issues, cuz those were the same criticisms others have made against those P3s.

    Now if I was in a bigger room, more further back...yeah I don't see Aegir cutting it at the volume I listen to.
     
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  8. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    If you're fine with random gambling, there's some chance that aliexpress clone amps may meet your needs at a fraction of costs of real giants. Maybe shipping cost to India much lower than to US?

    I'm happy with the Accuphase clone for the exact reasons you listed -- except hard hitting (a little softer than I usually like). The amp fairly resembles vintage authentic accuphase class-a (confirmed by ABing shortly). Pairs very well with Bifrost 2. Downside is its low amplitude out region sounds a little rough by comparison. I like it with SR1a and Elacs but not with very efficient Spatials.

    Anyway, again, this is nearly a gamble. Far from solid or safe bets. Carefully check return policies when you go this route.
     
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  9. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Emotiva must have upped their game if their basx a-150 sounds good. An older predecessor UPA-2 for $300 @ about 100w/ch that I bought 10 years ago sounded like the garbage you would get with an absolute dirt cheap av receiver.
     
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  10. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Won't tell anyone my name is actually Francis

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    Looking at the internals the design is completely different, so I'm not surprised it sounds different. I can't hook my KEFs up to my Sony str-dn1080 but I did hook my Klipsch towers up to the Emotiva, and the difference is pretty obvious. The Emotiva blows the Sony away in musicality.
     
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  11. yonson

    yonson Facebook Friend

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    Of those the only one I haven't had is Monoprice...

    I started with an Emotiva XPA 5, then transitioned to Parasound JC1's and an A31 after only a few months, ran them for a little over a year (still use the A31 on my center (did have a Vidar on it as well, but moved it to my office system) and rear surrounds) until the Vidar was released, I've been running Vidars on my mains for almost 3 years now. Are they as good as the JC1's? No, however they are close enough, and not having to put up with 2 giant space heaters in my living room that add another $50+ plus to my electric bill each month is an added bonus!
     
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  12. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    I was using a Ragnarok 1.5 on my Maggies. I got some of what you’re looking for in the Ragnarok 2 (my loaner impressions). That certainly meets the value criteria.

    I recently replaced the Ragnarok with a 110-pound monster stereo amp from Coda Technologies in CA (very similar to the 15.5 amp, but with the amplifier channels and new FET input stage of the 16.0 amp). 100W Class A, 150/300W at 8/4 ohms. Coda founders worked at Threshold with Nelson Pass back in the 80s, but decided not to join him at Pass Labs. They utilize FETs on the input stage and high-bandwidth bipolar junction transistors on the output stage. Massive power supplies (mine has a 3 kVA power transformer). Have used for a couple months now and can definitely say it better meets the criteria you asked for, except price of course. Best amp I’ve heard with my Maggies.*

    * Peachtree Nova 125, Primaluna Dialogue Premium HP, Ragnarok 1.5, Ragnarok 2, Hegel H20, Coda 15.0/16.0.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
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  13. RobS

    RobS RobS? More like RobDiarrhea.

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    That Coda amp is sick dude. 100W of Class A. Wow what a beast. Very clean layout too. Their amps look well designed, my buddy was considering an 8 and integrated. Tell me more about this amp @zonto . Have you heard any Pass Labs amps?
     
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  14. k4rstar

    k4rstar Done his time

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    I recommend looking into the Akitika GT-102. It is $314 US for the kit and $500 US for it pre-assembled. I think it meets the sound characteristics you described as long as your source does as well and your speakers have a relatively benign impedance characteristic (no modern day KEFs that bounce all over the place). Herb Reichert reviewed it in Stereophile.

    I only actually listen to tube amps but chip-amps are legit, if I wasn't a vintage hoarder I would keep a GT-102 for backup.

    for the discussion on the last page my advice to people with very challenging rooms is to not waste money on power amplifiers and modern passive speakers. just buy Vanatoo T0 or T1 and use any digital source including Bluetooth. enjoy until you get a better space.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
  15. parmiep61

    parmiep61 Rando

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    Between you and @Senorx12562, message received, I've decided to go the Bifrost 2/Mjolnir 2 route with headphones and create a head-fi nook, and just ride out my sonos setup in my living room for the time being until I move and can have freedom to design my own space and not be restricted by a furniture layout. It is what it is, but it should be really great regardless!
     
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  16. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    Haven’t heard any Pass Labs amps, unfortunately. Terry London (former reviewer at Home Theater Review, now with Stereotimes) mentioned Pass amps in his reviews of the Continuum No. 8 and the 16.0 amps, and preferred the Codas. I have also private messaged a guy on Audiogon that sold his Pass pre and amp in favor of Coda. May come down to MOSFET vs BJT sound to a certain extent, but Pass stuff is a little more blingy and seems like it runs hotter.

    My amp certainly doesn’t run cool, but it’s fine being in a cabinet with an open back and metal grate on the front doors. Isn’t a room heater. This is likely because of the efficiency of the six massive heatsinks. My only other experience with a monster Class A amp was the Plinius SA-103. Was the best amp of the 7-10 or so that I demoed at my local dealer, but that thing was a room heater and needs tons of room around it for ventilation. I’m not kidding. It was on an amp block on the floor and we had to turn the AC up because the room was degrees hotter after listening for a while. The Plinius is also much bigger than the Coda.

    Coda amps have differential DC-coupled XLR inputs and are super quiet. I don’t hear any hiss or buzz from the Maggie tweeter even right up next to it like I did with my former Peachtree (Class D, single ended). Ragnarok was similarly quiet. Noise floor is super low, which is awesome given the output capability of the amp.

    With my Maggies, I’ve noticed the Coda is more resolving than the Ragnarok. Keeps its composure more during busy passages. Easy to listen to the song or follow certain parts if you want. Isn’t “forward” like the Hegel. It has a noticeably wider stage than the Ragnarok and very good lateral imaging.

    I listened to a bunch of old pop punk albums from high school last night. The Coda helped my Maggies portray the midbass kick on Weezer’s Blue Album that I could never get from the Ragnarok. The amp has balls, but its bass isn’t sloppy or overbearing. It is quick and well-damped which is nice. Treble is honest and a little sweet. It does better at the upper end of my volume range than the Ragnarok (which is limited given I share a wall with neighbors and listen at night with a toddler sleeping). Ragnarok would run out of steam and could get a little harsh. Last night average dB range on the iOS NIOSH app was 70-72 dB and the bass was still plenty punchy. On Maggies, at that relatively low volume, that’s quite a feat.

    I’ll probably make a thread about Coda and post more impressions there at some point. I was turned onto Coda only by perusing random Google search results for the Sanders Magtech amplifier. Lots of Maggie users swear by that amp because it pushes 500/900W at 8/4 ohms and it has “Mag” in the name. ;) I’ve also read numerous times (publicly and in PMs) that the Magtech amp could be a little sterile and cold. Turns out that Coda licenses to Sanders the basic circuit of the Magtech amp. It and the Coda Continuum No. 8 and older Continuum models use the same heatsinks (the companies batch order the heatsinks together) and a similar case. Main difference is the Sanders regulated power supply and Sanders seems more focused on voltage output than current output, likely given his electrostatic speaker roots.

    In any event, if your friend is looking at the No. 8 and CSIb, he should just buy the 15.5 on USAM posted today. It also has the 16.0 amplifier channels like my amp. If not, the No. 8 and CSIb have the EXACT same amplifier stage. Coda has confirmed. I was about to buy a CSIb in silver to match my Yggdrasil when the deal on my amp and a new 07x preamp came up from a dealer. Couldn’t pass it up. No. 8 and CSIb each have different bias options:
    • V3: 400/800W into 8/4 ohms, Class A ~8W
    • V2: 250/500W into 8/4 ohms, Class A ~12W
    • V1: 150/300W into 8/4 ohms, Class A ~18W
    Coda recommended V1 to me for the Maggies, and I’m sure they could advise depending on the speaker your friend will be powering. Can also be changed later for labor costs of course.

    Pics of my amp before it shipped to me:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I love it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
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  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Find a used set of JBL powered monitors like this for $250 like this: https://www.proaudiostar.com/2x-jbl-306p-mkii.html

    Pro stuff has switches to adjust baffle step compensation for near-wall or off-wall use. Sell without loss once you are ready to move to better stuff.
     
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  18. RobS

    RobS RobS? More like RobDiarrhea.

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    Congrats on the amp @zonto , looks like an elegant Pass circuit, compared to the city of Tokyo aka ABH2. I'll pass that information on regarding the 15.5, thank you.

    Got any other speakers to try the Coda on besides the Maggies?

    LOL. My XA25 dissipates so much heat I can feel it like 8 feet away. Running AC today playing music my room temp was 75F, turned off the AC and within no time shot up to 86F. Heatsinks are scalding hot. It's a wonder those MOSFETs don't just melt.

    If I had no AC it would still be worth every drop of sweat and heat exhaustion.
     
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  19. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    @Vtory , I did check out your review on the Accuphase clone. The soft bass may not work out in the long run. It was one of the reasons I sold my Lyr3. Also I have heard some worrying stories of importing amps into India from China. It might not be worth the risk.

    @zonto , Rag2 would have been perfect, but it doesn’t seem to have the stage and mids I am lusting for. The Coda amps are currently out of my budget. But Coda is now on the list that I will look into, when I am ready to afford a more expensive setup. I’ll also check out the other amps you mentioned in the bottom.

    @k4rstar , Akitika G102 seems like a good place to start, given its price. I have come to prefer fully-discrete gear. But if it’s really good, I don’t mind making an exception. DAC will be a Bifrost2. As for speakers, I am still looking.

    Thank you all for your input. I really appreciate it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
  20. k4rstar

    k4rstar Done his time

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    it should pair very very well with a Bifrost 2. if you are only using a single source and don't need a pre-amp you can add on a volume pot to the GT-102 when ordering.

    about discrete, yeah it sounds good on paper and helps us sleep at night. but the chip-amp based GT-102 kind of slayed the Kinki EX-M1 which uses MOSFETs and doesn't sound bad for a class AB amp in its power rating. just like the LME49724 in the Bifrost 2 kind of slays the discrete output stage of the Gungnir Multibit/Yggdrasil when it comes to sounding normal (IMO, YMMV, etc etc). just think of ICs like the LM3886 in the GT-102 as an idiot-proof solid-state circuit shrunken down to fit inside a chip. I think it can sound more like a good tube amplifier than most fully discrete solid-state amps I've heard.

    about speakers, no clue about your budget or taste or past experience but my recommendation for starting with a dedicated two channel system is something cheap and classic like Dynaco A25/A35, KLH or (Large) Advents. there are always people looking to buy these models, they are not expensive, not really that fussy about placement (put them up against the wall if you want) or ancillary equipment and do service most genres of music. oh and they slay KEF LS50s.
     
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