I tried class D, PS Audio, on my 803D's some time ago, along with their Transcendent speaker cables. Impressive at first, but in the long run, I found them to sound "dry" and just did not match sonically well.
803D's are incredibly high resolution, and power hungry, so I opted for the most powerful MOSFET amp I could afford. I was rewarded in spades. My most recent upgrade has also shown that a very good pair of speaker cables will also bring you incredible results with 803D's. Mine sound world class now.
The Wyred 4 Sound STI-500 is a great sounding amplifier. It sounds way better (less dry/more musical) than the PS Audio GCC-250 Class D amp that I also used. In fact, the STI-500 replaced a Cary Audio CAD 120S tube amp and the NuForce Ref9 V2 SE amps in my system. It is an excellent amplifier by any measure and surely would have no trouble powering the B&W 803's.
I think the W4S is a more detailed/nuanced amp than the Spectron Mk II Signature (upgraded with Mk-III boards) although the Spectron sounded a little darker in my system and the B&W's might like a darker sounding amp since they tend to be bright sounding speakers.
I now have two Wyred 4 Sound amps. The second amp is the ST-250 which replaced my VTL ST-85 to power my Magnepans in my small-room system. I'm quite pleased with the results. BTW, I've also tried a lot of MOSFET amps and I find the Wyred amps to be as musical as the best MOSFET designs but with greater clarity and resolution. Dynamic contrasts are simply spectacular.
I have owned much more expensive amplifiers than the Wyred 4 Sound amps... and I would still own them if they sounded as good...
"..Spectron Mk II Signature (upgraded with Mk-III boards).."
Hello Plato: Do you mean Spectron MUSICIAN II upgraded to Spectron HYBRID or what?
If its Hybrid then upgraded boards are from Musician III standard, Signature or Mk2?
You are compressing about 10 years of design evolution...
Dob brings up a very important point, class D amplification has undergone an incredible evolution during the last 10 years. Recent offerings of most class D manufacturers are significantly more musically satisfying than what was available just a few years ago.
Not only designers are evolving their creations to optimize synergy with various proprietary and off-the-shelf power conversion modules, but users are progressively learning how best to integrate these emerging amplifiers into their systems.
I am starting to suspect for example, that some solid core ICs may not be appropriate with certain class D amps, and may generate audible intermodulation in complex treble passages, together with a certain unspecific thuddiness in the bass region. I will need to investigate further, but early results may suggest a possible correlation.
Besides W4S and Spectron, other non uber-expensive class D brands/series to consider are at least the current Bel canto Ref 500M and Ref 1000M monoblocks, H2O, and the Rowland 102, 201, and 501 offerings. The Rowland amps just mentioned yield their best only when fed DC through an external Rowland PC-1 power rectifier. For more elastic budgets, Chapter Audio, Rowland, Spectron, and even Levinson offer higher end class D products, ranging from $20K to over $40K.
In general, most class D amps exhibit transparency, excellent dynamics, and very good bass control on speakers with wabbly impedance. But, designers being totally human (just like audiophiles are), they make engineering and sonic decisions based on budget and personal musical preference. Therefore, class D amps sound as different as there are models on the market. . . In the end, it is worth while attempting to listen to a few different class D amps before dropping some final $$$$s.
I sold B&W from 1996 to 2001They are a very forgiving speaker and don't benefit from tubes the way many speakers to.That said they can be revealing. and we heard the major differences between the McIntosh and the Krell in our main room quite well (Mac was less resolving but highly musical and Krell had the clean highs and tightest grip you can find any where with bass).
My advice would be to go with a good Class A or A/B amp and just get out their and pair them down because D has been known to sound "Dry" you could go with a Butler hybrid if you are a tube/midrange lover like me but it depends on price.You want power.Ignore the 8 ohm high 80's low 90's efficiency.B&W canb have a nasty impedance swing (down arround 3 ohms) and really benefit from power at least 200 high quality watts better 250 or 300.Given what they cost they deserve a bit more dough the the admittedly bargain priced and dine Wyred.I'd say if trying to hold down price and no B.S a used Bryston 4B ST (or 7 mono's if large room and loudly played) or if you can swing it the SST.They are serious and value.Again you have a fine speaker and just getting out their and reading reviews,going to shops.Maybe you'd like tubey sound of SS Plinius?Gamut?Ayre?But you want minimum 200 wpc channel and headroom with them.Good hunting.I have heard them with newer Krell but I wonder how'd they sound with my 90's Krell KSA300S (goes to 1 ohm at 2,400 watts!though you'd never hit that).Top that with a tube pre.Well again your blessed or cursed with choices so go listen and read up!
I'd like to know how could a speaker be very forgiving, but also revealing?
"I'd like to know how could a speaker be very forgiving, but also revealing? "
"...and don't benefit from tubes "
May be it is because B&W family of speakers have terrible phase behaivor and thus very difficult to control bass...
I am happy for Chazz customers that he stopped selling audio equipment in 2001.
The Wyred Reference amps will be out soon. Tube and solid state input.
Dob, the Spectron is my friend's amp which he bought here on Audiogon updated by the manufacturer within the last 4 or 5 months. He said it is the "Spectron Musician II MKII (updated with Mk3 boards)." I'm assuming those are the standard Mk3 boards, but I don't know for sure. So you are correct that it's not the latest Musician model, but neither is it a 10 year old model.
Magnumpi205... Yikes, just when I thought I was set for a while. Then again, I suppose I'll have to wait and see how they turn out. I'll have to send Wyred an e-mail and see if I can get some further info.
Here's an example of forgiving & reavealing, in a speaker.
I had a Sony Transport, Theta DAC, Adcom GFP565, and Parasond HCA1000A amps or Adcom 555s biamping Magnepan MG3.3Rs.
The ribbon on the Maggies was the most revealing & deatailed tweeter I had ever owned, but was forgiving enough to be used with either the Parasound or Adcom amps.
I also owned a pair of Counterpoint Clearfield two way monitors. These used the same Aluminum Vifa tweeter, with the three pole guard, that Thiel used on their (3.5?) speaker, before they started using their concentric tweeter/midrange.
I tried the clearfields in the system, with the Adcom amps.
They were unlistenable. Just way too bright/forward.
That Maggie ribbon had more detail, but was still easily listenable with the Adcoms.
Hope this helps.
See my comments in the thread "opinions on wyred 4 sound ice amps".
The W4S amp is not at all "dry" sounding in my system. However, I suspect many users would not have an $8500 preamp in front of a $1600 amp. I have not listened to the ST500 with anything other than the VAC preamp. I am a tube amp guy but the W4S is a killer amp on the N802's
Face - Hyperion HPS-938 is incredibly revealing but never sounds forward/bright. I use it with class D Rowland 102.
Thanks everyone for the kind replies. So far it seems to be a very nice integrated. Can anyone comment on the match with my speakers (803D)? Some people had warned against digital amps and 800 series speakers.....on the other hand some say the later class D amp sound almost "tubelike"....I´m clueless!
Not sure if 'tube-like' is particularly meaningful, as tubed component can exhibit just about any sound under the Sun. . . but if you mean "very musical". . . then the answer would be. . . definitely, some class D amps are indeed extremely musical. G.
My dealer recommends Digital Amplifier Company if going with Class D. IHO, it's best Class D amp on the market ... best Spectron, Rowland ... You can bridge 2 amps so it has enough power to drive any speaker.
It mates well with tube preamps. In auditions, customers keep asking where is the SET amp and couldn't believe it's a Class D amp ... it's "tube-like"
Digital Amplifier Company only sells direct with a 30 days return policy and he gets no commission so just a strong recommendation.
Just checked out the DAC amps on Amazon.com? Check the connectors on the rear view. Always a reflection of quality!
Well, I can say that the TacT M2150 is a great match for my 802D's.
For what it´s worth, the back of the DAC amps looks NASTY to say the least.....the binding posts are worse than any 100 bucks receiver....
I can accept Spectron (pioneers in class D invention), wyred4sound (circuit builders for PS audio, another pioneer in class D) but this DAC brand seems like it suddenly appeared on the field......I am willing to spend 2k on a digital amp to get better performance, but above that, I´d rather go for some big irons in solid state.
So far in my brief exposure to Class D, the sound doesn't excite my interest ... just can't warm up to it. I'm still leaning towards conventional Class A/AB amps and have not audition DAC yet.
I contacted Tommy and if I'm still in the market for SS amps a month or so, I will give it a shot. FWIW, I found many tube lovers switched to DAC. For $2000 and a 30 day return policy, there is no risk. He can also customize the amp to your requirements.
There are many DAC threads on AC and here's link to more pictures.
The binding post looks fine to me for a $2000 amp. Have you seen the binding post on the $17000 Bryston 28BSST??
Some of those AC posts about the Digital Amp Co are from me, and I do know the designer so take that as you will.
The rear may look a bit industrial but it's the listening that counts.
Haven't heard the Wyred but one of the AudioCircle mainstays has heard them and the DAC and thought the DAC was far superior.
Unlike others with a shiny case and the same boring modules inside, the DAC products are proprietary technology that, IMHO, sounds much better than the ICE or UcD amps I've heard.
Don't discount them just because they are new (they aren't). They are a far cry from someone just stuffing modules into a box to ride the class D wave. Not all designers you've never heard of lack serious industry design experience.
Mfsoa, you have peaked my interest. Can you post appropriate URLs for info on DAC amps?
I have a pair of B&W 703s in the secondary bedroom system that I was never crazy about (why they are in the bedroom...) that I bought a class D amp cheap off ebay for (Rotel 1072 I think). It sounds great with the 703s! The bass has drive and punch like never before. The mids are flushed out and full. The highs are about the same as other inexpensive class A/B I have used on the 703s.
All in all class D is very good and not just good for the money. People that call Wyred 4 Sound budget clearly listen with their wallets and not their ears...
I am not one to argue with people online but Chazzbo advice is the worst I have heard in awhile. Maybe back in 96-2001 when he sold B&W, class-d was lacking but not today.
But really you have to hear for yourself. I would be very careful about taking blanket advice where people call an entire class "dry" or bright etc. What is dry anyway? Does it mean balanced tonally, if so that is a good think in my book. I have found many people like a colored sound the have grown accustom too and it becomes important to use your own ears.People have different tastes and ears. Think about how many people need glasses to see correctly... I can only guess how different all of our ears are.
Sure thing, G.
Tommy knows the web site isn't the slickest on the planet but you can learn about the amps there.
And the Digital Amp Co. has a circle on AudioCircle:
The amps are true-balanced inputs, and I thought it (I own a Cherry Jr but am talking to Tommy re a Cherry Plus upgrade) sounded better using the XLR outs from my VAC preamp than using RCAs w/ XLR adapters.
Tommy's a good guy, for sure. I'm sure he'll be glad to answer any questions (again - I know the guy so I like to add this just to be fair)
I think some reviews are in the works in some on-line mags.
I have B&W802D and I drive them with the pair of Spectron monoblocks and also I have one of the best tube preamps there is around, Joule-Electra LA-300ME and I am very happy.
A know at least one more audiogoner who uses Spectron with B&W 803. As far as I know he is (was?) a dealer and compared Spectron to Classe and McIntosh (both belong now to B&W group and cattied by the same dealers) and recently with Bel Canto 1000 Mk2 and he still uses Spectron, so I presume he likes it...
Hope it helps
Mfsoa, What is DAC's phone number? Contact information for Digital Audio Company appears to be the World's best kept secret. . . their full address and phone number is neither on Audiogon, nor I was able to find it on the digitalamp.com web site. Could you post contact info here or send it to me via private msg? Thanks, G.
I'll get it to you tonight or tomorrow, and I'll let Tommy know that this info wasn't readily available to you.
You can contact Tommy on AC. His username is: AmpDesigner333
Thank you Knghifi, very much appreciated. . . but. . . the captia mechanism on AC required for sending a msg is both currently broken, and it is EXTREMELY difficult to use with the screen reading software I use (JAWS). It seems to me that a manufacturer of consumer products should be easier to contact than this for customers and reviewers alike. I'll wait for Mike to contact Tommy at this point. G.
I use the Ice powered Red Dragon Leviathans on a pair of old Tannoy Ardens, Merlin TSM, and now on a pair of Ref3A Grand Veenas.
Great sound on all three speakers,try the Wyred 4 sound, I know all D amps don't sound the same,I didn't like the original Nuforce units, but fell under the spell of the Dragons.
Smooth, detailed, limitless power and no fatigue.
I have recently auditioned some tube amps, a Mac 275, and Art Audio Carissa,and never felt the need to switch to either.
Please send a regular email to Support@DigitalAmp.com. Thanks.
Thank you Tommy, will do. G.
Guido, Digital Amp Co can be seen Amazon?
Thank you Magnumpi205 for the Amazon suggestion. Saw the DAC equipment listed there. I do admit that at least DAC appears to be very consistent. I could find no trace of company address or phone number. If the corporate goal of Digital Amplifier Co. were to defend their privacy to the utmost, they are admittedly succeeding admiringly well. G.
Digital Amplifier Company has a circle on Audio Circle.http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=174.0
True enough Don, saw that. I found no company address nor phone number on AudioCircle either. DAC appears to be taking corporate security extremely seriously. G.
Guido, Maybe a hamster on a wheel inside and they're hiding it from PETA.
the W4S and even newer Bel canto models have a very tube-like sound with great bass control and extension
i know it's taboo to call a digital amp warm, but you must really try it for yourself
Magnumpi205 and all, I have been contacted by Tommy today. Hence my cheerful gripefest has happily ended. Thank you all for your assistance. G.
I can't understand all this hype about Wyred 4 Sound. I have tested the Dac 2, quite good but nothing exceptionnal for the price.. Amps like the Wyred 4 sound SX 1000 are just boring, flat, undetailed, lacking of everything. In one word: uninteresting at all.
I have compared them to two sono amps.. Sono amps were a lot better.. If you want to know what sort of sound you can get from a Wyred 4 sound SX 1000 in comparison with a sono amp, just take a pillow and put it on your loudspeakers.
So when you speak about high-fidelity, please stop mentionning Wyred 4 sound.. Even entry level sono products make better.
Just auditioned a set of 803d's with a Linn Majik bi-amp set up (Class D 100wpc) and a Majik DS as the source. Let me tell you the sound was pure perfection. Believe it or not these Linn amps drove the B&W's quite well. Soundstaging and clarity was something to behold and bass clear and taut. I was hesitant to consider Class D but after auditioning these Linns, I'm seriously considering a W4S setup. After reading all the feedback and reviews, it would seem the logical choice. And the price point.....great value.
If I had my BC ref1000m monoblocks back when I had B&Ws, the B&Ws might still be here I suspect.
WYred + B&W should be a very good pairing.
I see this thread has come back up after a long time, in the end I purchased the W4S integrated amp to pair with the 803D, I really couldn't be any happier, I am surprised of what the amp can do, someone above mentioned that when you increase the volume, it seems to "expand", not just sound louder.....it is the exact feeling I get, I find myself listening at very high volumes without realizing-