21 responses Add your response
I am a tube kind of guy, my wife is a tube kind of gal and we own SC-V's. My wife and I primarily listen to large scale late romantic music, art techno, and organ music. We love the Dunlavy's. But to get the most out of them you need a big room, big power and room treatment. We use the Sigtech DSP combined with a very simple ASC configuration. Measured, in my room, with the SigTech, they are virtually flat down to 22HZ. The room is about 7000cu ft. The amp selection goal was clean 108db peaks. In the room that measures out, allowing for Sigtech correction at about 400 watts. Given the impedance curve of the Dunlavys, if you drive them from a 4 tap on a tube amp you will need additional power for solid bass though this isn't an issue with most SS. The listening tests follow the measurements. In the last year we have driven them with Bryston 7BST, Spectral DMA 150, DMA 360, ARC VT-200, ARC Ref 600, monoblocks, CJ Premier 8 Monoblocks. VTL MB-750, Melos Soloists 400 watt triode monoblocks. On the Rite of Spring, and other large scale works, the lower power amps, including the CJ's choked. The Spectral monoblocks were too harsh. The Bryston was OK but too SS sounding and not in the same league as the other choices. I originally was going to biamp with SS on the large woofers and Tubes above. But while the bass on the SS units was excellent, the high powered tube monblocks was very close so we didn't bother. The choice between ARC, VTL and the Melos for us was a matter of subtle taste in tube sound. We like the slightly darker sound so we went with a custom version of the Melos Solists built last February between bankruptcies. They were specifically built to match my pair of Dunlavys based on the impeadance curves. That Melos amp also has a huge joule capacity power supply so peak power is no problem (measured as well as listened to). We've owned a lot of ARC stuff over the years and would probably have gone with them if the Melos opportunity hadn't come along but the difference to the VTL was a matter of taste. Bottom Line: 400 watts plus of pure musical power that suits your taste.
The Melos was custom built on the output to match the impedance of the Dunlavy's. Also this unit was their new design including a revised power supply that gave it a Joule capacity equal to the ARC 600. These are both critical for solid bass and peak performance into the Dunlavy's. I don't think Melos was successful in their corporate reorganization this year so I think they are now out of business. The point of my original post here is to stress the need for LOTS of power to bring out the best with the SC-V's in a large room. Between the two ARC units I actually preferred the sound of the ARC VT-200 but as I said I prefer a warm sound. This is from having front row balcony seats for the Chicago Symphony for many years. The RCA classic recordings from the 50's were miked with that mid hall perspective and accurately captures the sound of the CSO. However, even before the Sigtech correction the peak capabilities of the VT-200 were pushed to the limit as measured and listened to. With Sigtech correction, there are places in the bass spectrum that required an 8db boost. This range of frequencies corresponds to the bass drum, so for Mahler or Stravinsky the amp demands are pretty outrageous when you then add a full brass choir in the midrange. I have measured the CSO at 112 db peaks live in that music! With the Sigtech, measured in room impulse and frequency response is superb. The musicality of these speakers is truely amazing. When we started listening last year we had budgeted a lot more for speakers and amps but for our tastes the Dunlavy SC-V's with the Melos gave us what we want. French Organ music is awesome. With the Melos out of business I would seriously consider a big VTL in Triode mode. I've not heard the Wolcott amps, but I would first like to know if they would be able to push 500-600 watt peaks into the Dunlavys.
My SC-V' are on the original bases on a hardwood floor, but I did special bracing underneath them to stiffen the floor, not for weight. I did impulse measurements before and after the bracing and the bass tightened up quite a bit. Given both the weight and the large amount of acoustical power delivered into the room I think points on a flexing floor would be a waste.
I have used peak reading instrumentation on my SC-V setup. On high dynamic range Mahler, Stravinsky, Bruckner etc where the average SPL of the Tutti passages is 90-95 db in my room, the peak power to the Dunlavy always is way above 220 watts. From my actual SPL measurements at concerts, these in room levels are actually a little low for a live Chicago Symphony performance. If you want to try this out for realistic volume performance try Mahler first with Boulez conducting the Chicago symphony (a superb performence and an very good recording) or Levi with Atlanta (an ok performance and a superb recording). Set the volume to 98-100 SPL just BEFORE the bass drum comes in in the last few seconds of the work. If you hear any strain on the brass it could be a lively room. If you hear strain on the brass change when the drum comes in or if you can't actually hear the rapid individual strokes it's most definitely your system.
My original plan was to biamp the Dunlavy's. The crossover point is 150HZ so you still need solid power on top. I actually had a Bryston electronic crossoverand tried it but it added too much harshness to he sound. several I had the VT-200 on hand with the Bryston 7BST but the Melos opportunity came along and I went with that and sold the other amps.
Snook2, I have removed my bases and speakes are now on the carpet with 3 cones inbetween. The cones tightens the bass slightly increasing the focus. Regarding the power discussions, I don't know if 30 watts will do the job. I had Classe CA-150 and 200 befoe I settled on the CA-400. Even 200 W was not enough for the V's in my average size room. CA-400 completely changed that. Now there is lots of reserve power ( you can tell by the ear, you know). I have tried Bi-wiring without success.