bedini, bryston, mac
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As you can read here in the archives and on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shahinianspeakerowners/,
the most important thing for Shahinians is to have an amp which can deliver a lot of current. Otherwise, it will sound far under its potential. This is completely independent from your listening levels. Bedini is no longer the first choice for Shahinian, as a friend of mine and a fellow Diapason-owner found out. Better are e.g. Plinius, Naim, Densen, McIntosh (my choice). I would not start with an amp which delivers less than 150-200 watts with the Diapason. So your best choice is a used, strong amp. I do not think an integrated makes much sense in the long run. Shahinians more than other speakers reward you for really good amplification.
I owned the Diapasons for about 10 years. I used both tube and solid state amps and solid state is the way to go. As Hassel suggests, get an amp with some power. My Metaxas amp was 100W and did fine. The Plinius, Dynavector and Bedini amps are recommended on the Shahinian Acoustics site. Good luck. It's a wonderful speaker.
Plinius - only 250 or Reference. My SA-102 did not srive well Diapasons. The speakers really shined then I bought my 1st Spectron Musician III in 2005. Today the amp is more powewrful and more musical.
I know a few more owners of Diapason/Spectron combo and they love it. You neeed POWER and lots of it to see these speakers real capabilities.
Dick Shahinian also recommended to me Plinius SA-102...but Dick owned, at that time, two of them as monoblocks and of course it works fine with 400 watts per amp in pure class A
Recommended to me a single SA-100 for the Diapasons. He also said he was astounded how well a SA-50 drove them as well. I was not overly impressed when I heard Spectrons on Analysis speakers "
It is very interesting how people can use the same equipment and hear very different sounds !
I owned Diapason for many years and I thought it would be my last speakers and I used many tube and ss amplifiers with it.
Comparing 2005 original Spectron (not today's Mk2) with Plinius SA-102 (practically the same as SA-100 you used) difference was enourmous. While Plinius was somewhat better then early Spectron in treble (cleaner and more extended) Spectron has more midrange testure and provided BASS(!) - as no other amplifier I tried before did including Plinius which sounded rather castrated. Its day/night difference, not subtle by any means. Incidently, Plinius SB-300 has much better bass then SA-100/2/3 but luck their finesse.
The other funny things that when I had to sell my beloved Diapason I moved to...Audio Analyses Omega speakers which are more suitable to my current small listening room. I admit it took me some time and efforts to make Omega/Spectron esceptionalpair.
You can disregard my words, of course but...The Absolute Sound gave Spectron/Audio Analyses (Omega) "Best Sound in The Show" in CES 2009" and these people are not deaf!
I had an interesting occurrence yesterday. I have a single CJ Evolution 2000 (used to have 3 when I had Apogee Scintillas) that I had planned on using with the Shahinians.
I spoke to both the seller of the speakers and Dick Shahinian regarding which speaker terminals to use with the speakers. There are 3 different places that one could hook up the speakers with and it is quite confusing. Anyway, both Shahinian and the seller told me you could use either of the main terminals. I selected one of the terminals and turned on the amp. It sounded horrible to say the least. There was no treble and the midrange was terrible. I was really afraid that the CJ was malfunctioning. Last night, on a lark I felt agitated that this huge amp couldn't be used for this speaker and I decided to see if anything would change by trying the other speaker terminal. Once I did this, I was stunned! There was treble and midrange and speaker came to life!
It is ncredible that I was going to get rid of a perfectly good amplifier because the speakers were not correctly connected to it! Tonyptony told me the that the Ultravalve by Van Alstine worked great for his Diapasons so I couldn't understand why my 114 pound Evolution 2000 couldn't work as well. Anyway, I am enjoying the sound without the additional expenditure of a new amp.
I should have warned you about that! (Or asked you!) Depending on how the terminals are hooked up / used, you will get different crossover configurations. In fact I've had mine in one place for so long that I can't remember what the particulars are for the other possibilities. AAMOF, depending on how this particular pair were ordered it would be possible to bypass the crossover entirely if one chose to do so.
BTW, I had mentioned the AVA Ultra 550, not the Ultravalve. The 550 has a bit more umph behind it (!), just what the Diapasons need. Good luck with your new sound! Report in when you've had a chance to hear what it does.
Tonyptony, Sorry about quoting the wrong model number of AVA. You did in fact say the the Ultra 550. I very much appreciate you telling me about this because it had me continually trying to figure out the problem with the CJ amp. When I looked underneath the Diapasons the first time I was completely perplexed. I really didn't understand what was going on and probably still don't. Do you by chance have an owner's manual for these speakers? I can tell you even at this early stage that they are excellent! They are very revealing of cabling in the other parts of your system. I changed the power cord of my preamp today and it made a huge difference.
I honestly don't remember what I got or where it might be now. I suspect it's packed away in the basement somewhere. Best bet is to call Shahinian Acoustics mid-afternoon (Eastern time) and ask for Vasken. I'm sure he can walk you through it.
Or email him at email@example.com and get the directions in writing. Easier to remember that way.