The Atma-sphere's do not have enough power to drive the Talons. Nothing more than that.
7 responses Add your response
From your description, this sounds like a system synergy problem with the Wadia not able to drive the Atma-Spheres correctly when the subs are paralled to the Wadia output. It sounds an awful lot like you've created an impedance mismatch when the subs are in the chain. A preamp would solve that by buffering the output going the amps from the output going to the subs. Best way to know is to try it.
Overall, I would expect the Atma-Spheres to give a materially more satisfying musical experience into the Talons that the Goldmund. You might also consider checking with your Atma-Sphere dealer or the factory about the match of the Wadia's output impedance (without the subs in the loop) to the the Atma-Sphere amps. Ralph Karsten would probably be pretty responsive to your questions. You can contact him through the contact information provided at his company, Rendition Audio (http://www.renditionaudio.com) since the Atma-Sphere web site is currently being moved to a new server.
Taking a look at the Talon website, the Hawk looks like an easy load for a tube amp, which is typical of other Talons. The efficiency is 89db, so if you have a larger room there could be a power issue, but if the subwoofer section crosses over the amplifier signal this probably is not a big deal.
This speaker does not seem to require the use of the ZERO either. If you are using the ZERO (and if the speaker matches the specs on the Talon website) then you may have indeed experienced a lifeless quality as the ZERO may not have been all that helpful.
If I were you, I would try different speaker cables to help optimize things, as the cable that is right for the Goldmund is likely not the one that will be optimal with the M-60, or any tube amp. I would say that you would be very lucky if the foregoing were not true!
Good luck and remember to have fun.
THE RalphK? The Hawks may need more power. I had started with an S30 (30 Watt/ ch), and there was a distinct midrange dip with the Hawks. I then got a pair of Zeros, which helped a lot. We then tried a pair of older M60s, again a big step up. Best sound of all came with the M60s using the Zero's 4X tap. This combination was more natural sounding in the mids than the Golodmund, but had the tradeoffs mentioned. My dealer didn't have a pair of MA-1s available to try, and they are out of my price range. So it seems like the more power the Hawks got, the better they sounded. I'm not sure if this would keep going if I went further up the Atma line, or if the ability of my source to power everything is also an issue. Maybe the Hawks impedance varies considerably from the nominal w/ frequency? I wanted to give the Atma-spheres as much of a chance as possible, because I've heard them trounce other amplifiers with the right speakers, they look way-cool in the MA-1/S30/'new M60 chassis, the last-a-lifetime philosophy, and the company's reputation. I could look for other speakers, but I have a difficult room, and I tried a lot of stuff before I settled on the Hawks. Thanks for your inputs.
Yes, that was "the" Ralph Karsten offering comments to your question.
One additional thought: the Atma-Sphere MA-1 would certainly be an adequate power match to the Hawks, but you say they're out of your price range. Have you considered buying a used MA-1? There have been several offered on Audiogon recently, and they show up from time-to-time. I'm confident you could arrange to have any used unit shipped directly to Atma-Sphere to be checked out and brought to current factory spec for a moderate charge. Then, you would get a full new warranty on the unit. (At least this has been Ralph's consistent policy in the past, and I doubt that it's changed.) Worst case is that you could re-sell it for about what you paid for it.