I spent some time with the Saphires and never really got into them. There wasn't anything to complain about. They just didn't thrill me.
THEN, I hooked them up to a BAT VK-250SE amplifier and WHOA! did they come alive. Completely changed the character of the speaker.
I'm not saying the BAT is the only way to go. Only saying that these speakers are definitely sensitive to what you hook them up to. I would look for something that had lots of current.
I've owned several pairs of Dyns (1.3SEs, C1s) and heard the Sapphires, but don't think Audio Research would be a good match at all. In general, tube preamp and ss amp would be preferred.
BAT and Pass both worked for me---and Krell 400cx was my next step. Krell works very, very well with tube preamps and would be a dynamite combo---you need something that pushes the bass on the Sapphires imo (its weak spot)
I drive my Sapphires with Pass XA60.5, Manley Snappers, and Bel Canto Ref1000M Mk.II.
3 entirely different approaches that work quite well. However, the Snappers do run out of gas with challenging source material and/or higher SPL.
Great speakers but they require quality horsepower.
I heard C4's w/ Ref 110's and they sounded flat. I think you need more drive than that.
If you're after tubes I'd look at VAC. I have two Phi 200's I'm selling which I used to drive some 83 db electrostats. I tried a lot of amplifiers and they were the only tube amps I ever found that could do it. Your Sapphires are much easier to drive than those were!
The ASR would be a good fit but they are really hard to resell if you ever went in another direction.
I don't know about the EAR but if they're not top notch with some serious cahones you're wasting your time.
In SS you have many good choices as mentioned by others before me.
i heard a sapphire demo at premier acoustic lifestyle in nashville that sounded great. they are great to talk to also. they were using a tube integrated with a capacitor reserve power supply. cant remember the brand. Give them a call.
In a demo a while back I heard them with Parasound Halo JC 1 monoblocks and matching preamp and they sounded quite nice.
At my dealer we set up his sapphires with a Naim 5i. Sounded really good (for a $1600 integrated) until you wanted to crank it. Heard them with Sim Audio - Burmester and Octave Jubilees (tube). Pretty close tie between the Burmester and Octaves. I'm not a fan of Sim - toooo detailed and not enough PRAT for me.
Wkjeffers I pretty sure Acoustic Lifestyle was using the Octave V40 integrated.
Pass labs and BAT would be my choice
By the I found a second hand ref-210 and ref 3. Generally solidstates had been recommended, but what do you think about this pre-pro ?
IMO, for that cash there are better options.I would also consider upgrading cables.
I agree with Mission. And the way to do this is to purchase BAT, Pass, and Krell amps and figure out which one you like first---then add the tube preamp. With BAT, you probably want a BAT preamp. With Krell you have many options. Pass you need to be careful on what you match it with (impedance-wise)---there is loads of information on this forum about Pass with tubes.
Can you use your Classe integrated as a preamp to do so? Speaker/amp is the critical match before anything else. If it were me I would purchase Krell and Pass and start from there....
Thank's for your advices, it really helps. At least lead me to some directions to research.
Missioncoonery I cannot agree anymore with you about the ARC stuff. For cables, I am planning as a last action. I am satisfied with my sources(cd player and turntable). I am not sure about my amp., and I think I am right. After finding the amp, I will look for the cables.
BAT is not an available product where I live, so it is out of equation.
Today I made a demo with EAR 890+868, and Musical Fidelity AMS 50 power+primo pre. Musical Fidelity gear is very very good.
Weekend I am planning to demo ASR, Pass and Krell.
Keithr, using classe as a pre is a good option. It never cross my mind. Also my Ear cd player can be use as a pre(it has a valve output). This way I may have a two pre's one ss, one tube. I think this way seems more reasonable. My only hasitation is, I am sure that I cannot find all the right models in Pass, Krell in my country.
Whatever, this is the best part of this hobby. Researching,taking advices from other audiophiles, making demos, researching again and again.....I love this game :)
Im just curious ,what are your first impressions of the Saphires now that you own them
Superb midrange, very tight bass, crystal clear ups, coherent, neutral
I auditioned the saphires at lenght a few times..sounded more like the Contour line(5.4) to me than the Confidence line so I passed on those and bought the C4s..Have you heard them?
Missioncoonery I heart them both. I made compariton side by side with c4 and sapphire. Amp. was Plinius sa-ref, Musical Fidelity Primo. All cables audioquest well signiture or white series. Source was Project Extension, Ortofon Perwinfeld cartridge, Plinius Koru phono stage. C4 was better in the lf, in the midrange section sapphire was far more better for my taste. Both of them were good. But because of the room size and waf factor I ended with sapphire. Because they are limited, I did not hesitate to buy. IMO in second hand market they may have a better value then C4, not only for their limited production, because of their size, waf friendly type vs.vs.
thanks for the comparo Altanpsx--btw, looking at the Stereophile measurements of the Sapphire, forgot that Dynaudio seems to have a bit more aggressive treble in its special release speakers (Special 25, Sapphire, etc).
Pass or BAT would probably be a slightly better match than the Krell.
Keithr I heart the 25 special edition too. Not side by side but IMO 25 th and sapphire plays little bit forward then usual dynaudio sound. Stereophile reviewer JA, mentioned about that treeble issue. He needed to grilled on/off because of this treeble issue. I am listening sapphire for a limited time with my classe grilled off. I never need to put them, I never feel the same way about the treeble like JA. Room acoustic, electronics, cables change lots of things off course, but from my experience untill now I can say that yes it is little bit forward but no metalic sound or harshness in treeble, on the contrary it is suberb. I will take care your recommendation about krell. Thank's
We are fortunate to probably have sold more Sapphires than any other dealer in the world. That being said, with our experience we have found numerous different synergistic combinations. Certainly, like all Dynaudio loudspeakers, you need clean high-current amplification to make the most out of them but you really have options to suit your tastes. Some of our favorite pairings include Soulution, Naim, Octave and Burmester. It is really fun to demonstrate the Sapphires on one of our reference rigs (Soulution or Burmester) and high value rigs (my favorite Naim Supernait, HiCap, HDX, DAC, 555 PS) and both systems, completely different price-points, are simply inspiring!
The C4s and Sapphire are more different than similar. If you primarily listen to Classical music and have a large room the C4s are the right ticket but for nearly every other application I personally prefer the Sapphire. Be warned though, the Sapphire can be utterly revealing so finding one of those synergistic pairings is key to ensuring your enjoyment.
Although both are amazing speakers which most could live with for a lifetime.
Nextlevelav thank's for the info. If it is not a problem, would you write us what Burmester electronics did you use ? Also maybe your are selling Musical Fideltiy electronics too, and you may have an idea about mathcing sapphires with ams 50+primo.
My Sapphires absolutely sing with my Bryston 7Bst's and Bryston BP-26. The best part is both Dynaudio and Bryston are fantastic companies to deal with.