Is judging Goldmund products on what’s inside them fair? If it’s, then what are you paying for? There’s nothing but space inside most of their equipment. Not only is there nothing inside them they’re ridiculously expensive. Look inside their Nextgen 590 intergraded amp $29000. There’s nothing inside. To be fair, I must say I’ve never heard their equipment, so maybe it’s worth what they charge, but judging it from its inside It looks like it isn’t.
From your description this suggests a very simple straight forward circuit and signal path. The ’few’ parts that were chosen (probably quite carefully) are likely very high quality and expensive. They probably believe that simple circuits sound the best and many others feel this way. Stuffing the component with many parts doesn’t ensure excellent sound quality. Bottom line of course is you’d need to hear the component to form a valid impression.
To be fair, I must say I’ve never heard their equipment,
This is what we call a target rich environment. But you caught me in a good mood.
For a while back in the 90’s and 00’s, before I got hooked up and crazy good at figuring out what was what, I would go around to all the shops looking and touching and listening. Well this is an essential stage we all must go through. Assuming you ever do want to get really good at this, I mean. There really is no other reason.
So anyway that’s what I did. And so all the time I would hear variations on the OP. Only they would put it different. They would tell me all about the great build quality. Which at first when you don’t know too much is pretty hard to argue with. Especially when they seem so sure and use a lot of technical sounding terms. Like scroll around, easy to find the same going on here every day, all the time. Word salad. Like iceberg lettuce. You feel good because they tell you you’re supposed to eat it, even though ultimately zero nutritional value.
Okay, okay, I’m getting there. Global pandemic, bear with me, please.
If I’ve laid the groundwork then by now you are anticipating some sort of change is coming. Right, because at first everything seemed fine. After a while though I began to notice there sure seemed to be an awful lot of really expensive stuff chock full of really expensive parts that just did not sound very good at all. And I will get flack for it so no names but anyone been around any time at all can think of plenty of examples, no problem.
The better I got at listening and evaluating the less patience I had for sales blather. At first I would knowingly nod and ymm ahh yes I see good point. But eventually what I settled on was, "Just let me hear it. If it sounds good enough it could be bailing wire and bubble gum for all I care."
Now of course I know enough to just look at a Raven or Prima Luna and know it just about has to sound awesome, even in the absence of reviews. Because I have learned over time and experience exactly what difference quality caps, resistors, diodes, transformers, wire, and connections makes.
So yes it is fair to judge a product by what’s inside. But only to a point. And even then, only when you know what you are looking at.
Never owned a Goldmund integrated amp, but the ones I've owned (Mimesis 29 amp, 2+ preamp, 12++DAC) were all extremely well built and sounded amazing. Very fast and transparent sounding like Spectral but with more body and slam
The innards of most modern "transistor and circuit board" items always bore me, but I own 2 "point to point" hand soldered single ended tube amps, one from Burriss (18 watt guitar amp, a tube rectified single ended little gem with reverb) and a Dennis Had Firebottle, and they actually look so cool and simple inside the case...they also sound better than any other amps I've owned.
I agree with this to a certain degree, but in terms of part quality rather than merely the quantity of parts. I feel that ultimately your paying for the sound quality, not how much can be stuffed into the component's interior space. I believe it's a sign of talented engineering/design when you can achieve excellent sound with fewer parts.
It’s also cheaper for the manufacturer to have as little parts inside as possible to maximize their profit margin. Don’t blame Goldmund, I just bought a 31K SUV with thousands of parts inside and yet a 6 foot pair of speaker wires can easily cost in excess of the 31K. Why, other than greed? No wire on the planet is worth that no matter how you try to justify it.
I don't disagree that sometimes "less is more". And of course it does not mean the more parts the better and ultimately it's the sound that matters.
In a similar topic, in term of "less is more", some people prefer low power amplifier because the sound relatively is more "agile" and has more "rhythm" and "drive". High power amplifiers sometimes can get in their own way and makes music sounding somewhat lethargic.
Don’t blame Goldmund, I just bought a 31K SUV with thousands of parts inside and yet a 6 foot pair of speaker wires can easily cost in excess of the 31K.
Just curious to ask what do you think of a $310K Ferrari? It gets to the grocery store just the same as a $31K SUV. Both cars use the same metal, plastic and so on. Why would one cost 10 times the other?
All cables use either silver or copper just the same so why would one costs $31K vs. some other much cheaper cables.
On a side note, $310K is on the low end of Ferrari.
Currently using a Job 225 amp which is a Goldmund design. It’s the best amp I’ve owned so far, but to be fair I’ve never paid more than $1k used for an amp. It’s as fast as the Simaudio I5 I once owned, but more transparent and much more full sounding. With my limited budget, I don’t really have a desire to spend much more on an amp at this point. I’m sure there will be class D amps released over the next few years that may better this amp, but I’m extremely happy with it. The only amp I really am interested in that would probably be a step up would be the Benchmark AHB2.
From what I’ve read, people really love the Goldmund gear based simply on how it sounds. Price is another issue altogether as value is subjective.
As you've heard, an item is worth what a person is willing to pay for it. Some equipment is well designed (R&D cost money), use very good parts (also cost money) and is well built (also cost money). R&D and tooling up for a product cost money up-front. Some countries pay a very high salary for their employees also. These factors along with supply chain issues, add to the price of items.
If it "made in America" or made in Switzerland, etc. The costs for employees is very high. Tariffs that are applied to get the item into America also is a factor.
Goldmund makes really good equipment. The stuff I've heard was excellent.
But, most of us have price point budgetary limits. So a $340,000 Ferrari is out of the question. I couldn't even afford the periodic maintenance costs on one. BMW 335i turbos blow frequently and to remove them, you have to drop the sub frame of the car. How stupid is that?
For audio equipment, the proof is in how it sounds compared to other equipment within the same price point limits and specifications. Apples to Apples.
Here's Srajan Ebaen's answer in his Goldmund Telos 360 amp review a while back.
Conclusion. Responsible journalism can't skim over a basic fact.
Goldmund's Telos 360 are very expensive.
For that they're quite empty inside and materially of low weight. The very
smallest XA Series stereo amp from Pass Labs weighs more than this pair
combined but wants just 1/6th the coin.
Such a seriously loaded tab is part of the brand's luxury positioning. It comes
with the territory. Where material packaging goes, their own Job 250 monos sold
direct at $3'400/pr and manufactured in the same Geneva location show how a
very similar circuit with the same power output can be stuffed into far smaller
de-blinged boxes. Wherever ownership is invested in such matters, pride takes a
hit. With these luxe monos, there's only a reassuring cuddle and the obligatory
gleam of gold-plated decals and silkily finished nearly white aluminium to
confirm status. Whilst sensibilities on eye candy diverge, there's no argument
that these Swiss amps also deliver sonic substance. They aren't pushers of
empty calories. Yet they aren't kitchen pickers with big knickers either. The
overriding part of their design brief is speed, low noise and the resolution
which occurs at the confluence of these two streams. There's very refined
smoothness yet no comfort padding from fatty warmth.
With speakers whose warmth is
built in with strategic radiation patterns and minor response tweaks à la
Kaiser, the Telos 360 amps are truly ideal and ultimate
choices which prevent additive fattening, deceleration and coagulation. Hence
my earlier amp-as-passive-magnetive-preamp characterization. With speakers on
the cooler leaner side like our Albedos or equivalent efforts from Estelon,
Gauder/Isophon, Mårten & Co, arriving at a similar sound requires
adjustments with your upstream choices. Then a superior valve preamp and/or
tube-buffered DAC become natural options. Finally, I can think of precious few
if any amplifiers which could brag of an equivalent lineage or core circuit
tracking back unbroken 3+ decades. Over this period, the topology has undergone
constant refinements by different teams of engineers. Should this be the sonic
flavour of your dreams, here it's been tweaked, polished, re-tweaked and
polished again and again perhaps to a more extensive degree than anywhere else.
It's how Goldmund's commitment to tradition coexists with and informs their
commitment to evolution. For those of us insufficiently lubricated*, the Job amps
benefit from the exact same commitment. They're simply a few generations behind
this now 9th-gen curve. This rewards those who make a far greater
investment into the company with the very latest advances and findings. Which
is as it ought to be. Finally, the art of scaling up power without sacrificing
sophistication is trickier than doubling or quadrupling everything on a proven
low-power circuit. That's why to this day we don't have a 100wpc FirstWatt, a
200wpc Bakoon or 300-watt Crayon monos. That Goldmund have learnt how to scale
their circuit into high-power turf without sacrificing sophistication speaks to
the lengths their various project leaders have gone over the years; and how
management continues to invest into relevant R&D to make it so.
Yes research & developmental are cost factors, but their prices are ultra expensive, not mere expensive. This research & development cost must translate into cutting edge sound given the price that one must pay to play: does it?
A lot of folks believe that the ideal amp is going to be sounding like a straight wire with gain. The fact that the Goldmund amps don't have a lot of parts inside them doesn't necessarily mean that they don't sound great. OTOH, we can look at some of the old 70's era solid state gear, particularly receivers from that era ( and some from today as well) and they are chocker block full of parts...and yet they sound poor! (admittedly they are not priced, nor were they priced, like this Swiss gear). Nonetheless, can we equate numerous interior parts to either better sound quality or value??
I've been happy using my 590 NextGen for two years now. High quality and simplicity of use for a super-integrated; the target audience isn't into tweaking or OCD fascinations.
The sound is quite resolving but not clinical (as I find the CH Precision to be). There is a warmth, perhaps from a slight boost in the lower mid, that makes listening a pleasure. A bit like hiking in the Cascades on a sunny day -- clear, refreshing and you can see for miles.
The internal DAC is in the $5-10K quality range. Because it is voiced to the amplifier I prefer using it to my MSB IV stack.
As one would expect, the 590 is appreciative of clean power and good cabling. :-)
I find it really strange to judge a hifi component by how much air it is in the box. I also think that if the manufacturers would shrink all boxes to the minimal size someone would complain about that instead. But it is especially strange to target Goldmund with this complaint. They have many different amps and some of them do fill most of the space. I assume someone has listened to various models and noted that the more expensive ones are better, otherwise they would be really hard to sell. I know 6moons thought a Telos model was better than the simple Job amp (their "low price" line). I also remember reading about them years ago, they would not sell their upper price offerings unless they found you a worthy audiophile. You had to have a serious system before buying theirs. They had a waiting line for the products they produced. and did not want to sell to someone who did not appreciate their hard work and the sound quality of their products.
And if the amount of air is your biggest problem you can buy the Goldmund Telos 5500 (Nextgen), problem solved!