Integrated amp for my Sonus Faber Guarneri

Need a good advise here since the possibility of listen before i buy is limited. No hard-rock fan, else all kind of music. On my short list at the moment are Pathos (Classic), Sugden, BAT, Creek, Edge, Lavardin, CJ.
How about the Sonus Faber Musica? It stands to reason it would be a good match and I think I just saw one on here yesterday, though I don't know the seller. Good luck!
I have borrow a Genesis I-60 to use on my WP7 system until my Pass amps get here. It a great amp. I was pretty impressed that it can drive the Wilsons and not run out of gas!

Exposure or Naim. Lavardin is wonderful, but expensive!
I use an Accustic Arts Power 1 with my SF Cremona Auditors.
Fantastic amp. No bells or whistles just top to bottom organic and musical sound. Amazingly sweet (i do not mean reticent) through the mids and top and bass is articulate and tuneful and full enough. I don't understand why German stuff doesn't get more press.
I'm in love with my Blue Circle NSCS. I'm not much on waxing poetic odes regarding this unit. However I do feel its even better sounding than what the reviews have stated.
I bought it sound unheard. (Shame on me!)
It does takes a LONG time to break-in. And I have to admit prior to owning the unit I thought break-in was a bunch of hooey.
To think I have so few dollars wrapped-up in innerconnects and spealer wire... Wonder how it would sound with some cash thrown at wires?
That's a beautifull Speaker.
I suggest a Mcintosh MA2275 to go with them.
McIntosh MA6900 or the NAD Master Series M3. The Sonus Fabers really need considerably more power than their efficiency suggests. The Mac MA2275 is also quite viable, but I the autoformer MA6900 solid state integrated is synergistic with the Sonus Faber.

Ive heard the Gryphon Diablo integrated with the new amati anniversario.....
beautiful result.!!!!!!
I am using the McIntosh MA6900 Integrated Amplifier and the McIntosh MCD205 CD Player with my Sonus Faber Grand Piano Speakers. The MA6900 makes the system more dynamic and open. The imaging is excellent and I was surprised at the amount of bass. Once the system was broken in, my friends were surprised at how good the system sounded. These speakers require high power to sound good since my previous amp was the BOW Wazoo Integrated at 50wpc. I agree with the above post that Sonus Faber Speakers need considerably more power than their efficiency implies. I suggest you borrow the MA6900 amp (and others) and try it out. Using the amp in your home is the only way to decide. cheers...
Thanks everybody for your comments. Any experience with Cary SLI-80 or BAT Vk-300X vs. Sonus speakers ??
Guarneri needs some real power, Krell FBI, Jadis DA88S, Gryphon Diablo, ASR EmiterII, big Chord, new Hegel.... would be some good choices
With my new pair of Guarneri Hommage's, I am using a Jeff Rowland model 8 ( 250 watts per channel) and it is magic.
Seems like these two were made for each other.
Try and hear the model 8 without mods if you can, the original choke power supply is far superior to the later versions.( Also, according to Jeff, far more expensive to manufacture)
So, like the above posts, I agree that these speakers seem to need some real stick up line.
I used the BAT integrated with the original SF G's for a while. Nice combo that works well. I am nor running SF G Mementos with a Cary SLP 05 pre and V12R monos...All around better performance than the integrated.
It combines the best of Solid State transparency and detail, with tube-like warmth. If you are in the San Jose area, ask about in-home auditions at
I have a pair and they sound best with tubes, power and a sub (REL in particular). Jadis DA-60 and 88S highly recommended as potential integrateds but I would go with separates (CJ or ARC) having 80+ watts per side.
I have spent time listening to guarneris with Pathos Integrated and with CJ tubes. Both sound great. I agree with Pgulrich regarding subs...i have heard the guarneris specifically with Velodyne DD18 and CJ pre and amp (mv60). Sounds magnificent imho. Good luck!
I think it may depend on the quality of power and type of amp, maybe not the total watts.

I originally drove a pair of Cremona Auditors with a 100w Primare A30.1 integrated (and the combination sounded fine), but when I moved to my Graaf GM50B 50W tube integrated, there was a big improvement in liquidity, soundstaging and air. I know everybody says the SF speakers thrive on power, but that hasn't been my experience.
Best sound I have ever heard. Cary 805C with Guarneri Homage. I now own the Mementos with a Cary Rocket 88R and in 30W triode they sound phenomenal.
Hi i agree that the Mcintosh MA-6900 is a great amp i was helping a friend to choose a new integrated amp for is Magnepans 1.6QR is final choice was between Mcintosh MA-7000 and the Classe Audio CAP-201 tried both in home for two weekends both where very nice but is preferance went to the 100 watts per channel Classe Audio over the more expensive Mcintosh i was very very surprised of the results because i am not a fan of the new generation of Classe Audio i loved the pure class A designs of the old Dave Reich days since he as left Classe Audio the nice sweet sound they once had left with him BUT this small integrated amp is a sweetie compared to there 200 watts per channel seperates that for ME are to bright but that's me it's only a question of choices i love a laid back sound and with this Classe you can listend for hours with out any fatigue for me that is the real test.
How about the McIntosh MA6800? At 150 W/channel it is 50W/channel less than the MA6900. Is it powerful enough to do the Guarneris justice?

I found an MA6800 nearby in excellent condition, and am tempted to take it home based on many recs for the MA6900. The latter is harder to find where I live and much more expensive.

I just got a pair of Guarneris last Friday, and need to find a good amp to drive them quickly. Wifey is unimpressed with their sound, driven temporarily by my 50 W classic Luxman SS amps. I need to change her thinking right away.

How about the McIntosh MA6800? At 150 W/channel it is 50W/channel less than the MA6900. Is it powerful enough to do the Guarneris justice?

I found an MA6800 nearby in excellent condition, and am tempted to take it home based on many recs for the MA6900. The latter is harder to find where I live and much more expensive.

I just got a pair of Guarneris last Friday, and need to find a good amp to drive them quickly. Wifey is unimpressed with their sound, driven temporarily by my 50 W classic Luxman SS amps. I need to change her thinking right away.

Sorry about the double post. It was unintended. I only refreshed my browser.
Hi D-I-L-Eye,

I owned the Guarneris for years and upgraded to STrads a few years ago. I know many owners love Mcintosh with Guarneris. However, i will also say placement of the speakers is very important here. Your Luxman amp is quite good by reputation (i've not heard it)...and while the Guarneris will use greater power well...i would say they react better to higher quality mid-level power than to mid-quality high power.

I also would ask...what do you/your wife think the Guarneris are missing? when dialed in right, they have a unique "magic" that most find very engaging. they will never produce prodigious bass. if you can explain in more detail, happy to share my 2 cents. they are a truly great speaker amongst a pantheon of great speakers.
I have my Guarneri's paired with ASL 1009 mono's which are rated at 60 watts and have never left my Guarneri's wanting more in a 19' x 13' room. I agree wholeheartedly with Lloyd that they are best mated to "higher quality mid-level power". I think 50-100 watts of tube power power is plenty, I would get something slightly on the warm and sweet side. I think they are not too hard to mate, and there are a plethora of choices in the mid-power tube amp market, have fun the Guarneri with a nice tube amp has been pure bliss for me.

Lloyd asked what you're wife thought was missing? I will boldly predict that paired with solid state amplificaton they perhaps sounded a touch thin and dry...
well, i thought one of the obvious solutions would have to be the berning zh270, nowadays unavailable, so it would have to be the zh230. if serblin used it to design it (at least the original guarneri, which i had before my merlins), why not you?
Lloydelee21, Jman, Egidius...thanks for responding. As for what seems missing in the sound to wifey and I, of course there is the "small speaker" factor as we are used to floor-standers with 12-inch woofers, but that's to be expected. I don't mean to offend, but I'm at a loss of words to for this. The overall sound quality to us sounds "smooth" and "refined" in a way that seems maybe suitable for well-dressed lounge lizards sipping fancy cocktails and discussing the outcome of a polo game, rather than "real" in a way that would appeal to people like us who often travel rough and listen to a wide range of music from around the world for music's sake.

It's hard for me to describe, but I'll try. It seems as though the GHs sort of bundle the sounds together such that the overall presentation is flattened out, as if the musicians are far away, rather than up-close and personal. They sweeten and soften all the sounds and take the "edge" out of them, with an overall "mushy" effect. It seems this way with each of the amps I've tried them with, although all are SS amps only. Jman, yes I would add a tad bit "thin" to that description, and also a bit "dry" with one of my SS amps, but not the McIntosh.

I'm in a mid-sized city in Japan and limited in budget to used gear, so I can't easily find some of the brands and model names thrown around in the 'Gon here. I took home the MA6800 to try the GHs with because the similar MA6900 was recommended more than once on this thread, and the GHs seem very underpowered with my old Luxmans. The Luxman L-550 class A produces lovely sweet sounds that have "oomph" to them through my other speakers, but it sounds somewhat more harsh, dry, and "mushy" through the GHs. The GHs sound less "mushy" with the McIntosh, though there is obviously a loss of detail with that amp.

My wife thinks the problem is just the "style" of their sound not being suitable for our taste, while I still feel they should greatly show-up my old Yamaha NS-100Xs with the right source and amplification, but unfortunately I'm running out of time on my (expensive) trial period on these. In the meantime, while the GHs are obviously smoother with classical strings and woodwinds, overall we still prefer the slightly rougher but much fuller and "open" sounds of the Yamahas for most genres we've compared, and we've been comparing back and forth for two weeks now (unfortunately of course only with my mid-fy equipment).

I greatly appreciate all of your input, and hope this unaudiophilish description might mean something to you ppl, such that maybe you can imagine what I'm hearing and might recognize it as possibly either the actual character of the GHs or the fault of my equipment and/or room acoustics.

that is helpful. First, a caveat: i have not heard the Yamaha speaker. Now on to comments:

1. The Gs are very smooth...mellifluous. That is the SF sound...particularly in the Homage Range...Guarneri, Amati, Stradivari.

2. They are going to set the soundstage back a sitting mid-row instead of front row.

3. They are not going to give a boost in the upper bass that will give you a fullness of sound that a much larger, well designed floorstander will give you.

4. With all of that said, here is what i would say about your comments and my own personal experience with the Gs.

a. Side by side comparison with Quad 2905 (along with 3 audio pros with 20+ yrs experience each) showed that the G has every bit of detail, nuance and melodic capability of an electrostatic...that is saying something!

b. just because a speaker is smooth...does not mean it lacks detail or life. it can sometimes be a matter of letting the ear adjust to the fact that the speaker is just effortless in its delivery style of that detail. Whereas some speakers make a point of delivering that detail. A digital (over-sharp) photo vs. a medium format shot. Medium format is smooth, rich, but wont zing you with detail...but upon close comparison to the digital (may) be surprised the medium format has at least as much detail...just more balanced and natural in its presentation. AGain...i am not saying this is the case here...i do not know the Yamaha speaker...i am saying while you still have the G's...make sure to listen in a relaxed manner...dont try to listen for "decay" or "individual notes"...listen for live music.

sometimes, i go into the next room, and see which speakers sounds like someone is playing next door.

c. i also will add that the G's need room to breathe...meaning placement is important. 6-8' in between the inner edges of the speaker...toe-in up to your ear...but 3' from back wall depending on room and your bass levels in-room.

When they breathe...they R-E-A-L-L-Y breathe magic.

d. read the review from STereophile...july 94? i believe for free. they indicate the speaker will react to the electronics fed it...from good hifi to "breathing music".

e. what's the rest of your electronics? to be fair, that has a big affect...but i totally understand you may not wish to play around with everything for this speaker. i am only saying it will matter in a speaker that is this revealing. the better speakers usually will reveal differences in electronics quite significantly.

hope that helps for now....feel free to ping with any other questions. good luck.

Another thought...depending on the music you play, i could understand your desire to trade for "larger, more open" sound. Its all about selecting the characteristics you cherish the most, and compromising in others perfection!

On that basis, you (may) wish to go the other Sonus Faber range in a more full-range speaker for comparable amount of money. Many people have said there is no "bad sounding SF" speaker and i am inclined to agree, having heard the majority of them.

You may lose that last bit of "single malt whiskey" refinement from the G...but pick up a very high quality refinement with much, much greater presence, openness (and frankly, bass) which might suit your music selection better.

Again, good luck and pls keep us posted on how things work out.
Thank you Loydelee21 for taking so much time, and your consideration and thought on this very big issue with me. I really appreciate this.

Today I invited my old friend who is a Julliard graduate, ex-player for the NY Phil, and now 1st cello in the symphony of the city I live in now in Japan. I would say his ears are pretty good. :) When he arrived, I had a Shostakovich string quartet playing, and before he even entered the room the Gs are in, having heard a few notes, he announced that they are good speakers. He is a critical person when it comes to classical music, as you can imagine, and would not say such a thing meaninglessly. Without listening to genres other than string quartets, he decided that the Gs were best for that area and he guessed he would not enjoy listening to them with, for example, Talking Heads live in concert bootleg uploads on youtube... ahem...Anyways, the first few seconds he was listening to the speakers, but soon afterwords he was listening to the musicians and their music.

After about an hour of listening (and eating the many delicious bribes wifey prepared), with some comparison to the Yamahas (very little, actually, as he had heard them before at my house and knew their character already), his suggestion was that I keep the Gs and use them to study the chamber music of the great composers with, as he claims it is through chamber music that they experimented with their ideas, and once I get better educated in that area we could discuss those areas of interest better.

However, he was also convinced of the Gs being great over a very narrow range, a range more important to him than to me. He did not know about Sonus Faber, and had no biases, and thought they were remarkably good, but suggested I borrow a pair of Rogers LS3/5 from our friend the oboe player and try them side-by-side, because he thinks they are also quite pleasant for chamber music but without the "cluttered extra trappings of Italian fashion overkill all over them."

He then brought one of his cellos into my house from his car, and began to play various bits by Dvorak, Shostokovich, Bach, and on and on...with the result of shockingly awakening me from imagining that the Gs somehow sound "real." Side by side with a live cello in a small room, the difference is so vast that I have to change my idea of what stereo is, and appreciate the Gs, as you said, from a different perspective.

By the way, he plays a real Guarneri cello, owned by the symphony, at concerts, and said its character is having a weak bass, and the mids and highs are tied together more than with most cellos - sounds very familiar, eh? - intentional voicing in the Gs by SF designers?

Having these Gs in my home right now is certainly an interesting exploration.
About my system:

Source: iMac playing flac or wav files via Toslink to iDecco DAC output to integrated amps: Luxman L-507, L-309 (both starting from 1973), L-550 (1983), or McIntosh MA6800 (all amps SS). Belden Studio 497 Mk2 speaker cables.

My Gs are about 2 m apart, toed-in a bit, and my seat is at the apex of a triangle formed with their separation as a base.

I know this is a low-to-mid-fy system and inadequate to show what the Gs can do, but I think it does tell me in relative terms at least where the strengths of the Gs lie in the spectrum of musical genre in terms of my own taste, and that the Gs for me are exquisitely superior for small acoustic groups but inferior to my lesser speakers for most other genres.
Deaf_in_left_eye, I think that as I have said before, you are simply NOT hearing the GH's for what they can do.
As we talked about before, the other equipment that you are using is just not in the same league as the GH's! What you are now listening to, is not in fact really the GH's doing there thing, BUT the true sound of other gear.
It may seem hard to fathom this, but the GH's are truly dependent on what is fed to them upstream. I can well understand your preference for the Yamaha's since they are far more in synergy with your other equipment. I really think that you are attributing various attributes to the GH's that are in fact not their fault at all.
For instance, in my system they have a VERY wide and deep stage that allows all the musicians to be in their own space with plenty of air around them. The reproduction of human voices and strings of all kinds is IMHO as close to real as any speaker I have heard. ( I have owned 'stats',planars, and many other speakers over the many years).
It seems to me a real pity that you are coming to these conclusions with out the benefit of truly hearing what these speakers can do.
If I can give you an analogy; it would be like this: You just bought a Ferrari and you are using diesel gas in the tank... Not only does it not run well, BUT you cannot even out accelerate your Honda Accord. Therefore, you feel that the Honda is a quicker and better car!

Sounds like you've made a lot of progress in your assessment! I would agree with your assessment, with some minor additional things you may wish to try. First, your assessment:

- yes, chamber music will be very good, jazz ensembles
- yes, this is a small will not reproduce anywhere near live. in fact, if it helps you at all, i have not heard a speaker that comes close to live
- the power of a live instrument is sometimes very shocking to people when they actually compare side by side. however, what you will find in reproduced music is 2 things: variety of music from amazing artists you cannot have in your home, and sometimes a microscopic view of the music playing (which you cannot get in a concert sitting 150 feet away)

As for the Gs and possible "tweaks":

- Greater toe-in can sometimes "concentrate" the sound to give more around. toe-in such that you cannot see the sides of either speaker from your main seated position. you may have set them up perfectly already...obviously i cannot say.

- How far from the back wall? how you set up the speakers relative to the back wall will have an impact on bass quality and quantity

- Sub...i know, i know...more money. but i used to run the G's with a Velodyne Sub, and it make quite a difference. In my room, i had the sub cut off around 40-45hz, and it not only gave me added an overall larger soundstage and fullness of sound.

- if you can possibly "squeeze" it...budget wise and also room wise, its worth a shot. Subs are very, very difficult to tune into a system as demanding as the G's, but when dialed-in properly, you may get the best of both worlds...wonderful chamber music, life, organic human vocals...with the fullness for "Talking Heads bootlegs".

Just mho. good luck and best wishes,

Depending on your budget/desire to maximize the output of the Gs, i can say that i found a dramatic change when i switched speaker cables. i used to use Audioquest Crystal from the early '90s. i then bought a pair of very old, used Transparent REference cable...holy smokes, big difference. not a subwoofer, but i was surprised at how much more full it was. i do not know Belden, so i cannot say how good/not good Transp Ref might be...just another thought. good luck.

I'll toe them in a further as per your suggestion.

The Gs are over 4 feet from a bookshelf in front of the back wall, which is a thin Japanese-style plexiglass sliding door. The first true concrete wall is another 8 feet behind the sliding plexiglass door. I've got some thick cloth hanging between the bookshelf and the plexiglass to reduce reflections. The room is very small, about 10 X 12 feet, 8 ft ceiling. I wonder whether a sub would work in this small space, though I imagine it might. The 12-inch woofers of my Yamahas do fine.

My cables are not special, just what the shop where I bought the Gs uses for all their gear and better than typical K-mart stuff.

Many people recommend a sub, in particular a Rel, which I can't find here and would have to order from the US. The timing is good for me in terms of Yen/Dollar, but impossible in terms of my listening trial period with the Gs.

I've got until the 28th of this month to decide whether to keep these, or face possible long-term disappointment (in terms of diversity of enjoyable genres) and the difficult task of trying to resell them in Japan myself someday. That makes it tough to try other components. In addition, the shops here don't generally allow listening trials. I have to take a loss of 10% on a return within 30 days, even for the Gs. Beyond 30 days the return price drops to joke level.

Do you agree with Daveyf that I am not hearing the G's potential at all yet because of the limited quality of my equipment, and with much better equipment I would probably love these, or feel that perhaps I am hearing the basic character of the Gs at least in a relative sense, which is apparently not well-suited to my tastes, and that with better equipment I will still be "sitting in the middle seats" rather than at the front, and limited to enjoying small ensembles, even with a better amp and sub?
I agree with most everything that Lloydelee21 has said. Without a doubt, the GH's are NOT going to plumb the depths of music reproduction. As I said before, they fall off fairly drastically below about 50hz. A sub would be a very good idea if you want to get information below that. Also, you would gain a better foundation to your music. This is absolutely correct. However, in your room, which is appx. the same size as my room and therefore very small, a sub is a very very difficult thing to integrate. I have not chosen this route, simply because I know that my odds of success are slim. Far better, IMHO, is to do what I have now done...that is add room acoustic treatments. If you look again at my system pictures, you will see that I have added bass trapping which has garnered a VERY BIG improvement. Nonetheless, I still think that your gear needs to be changed for you to begin to hear what the GH's can do.
I have heard Belden cable, which again IMHO, isn't even high-end. Like Lloyd said, even a change there would produce tremendous results. Unfortunately, the only way you are going to know if what we say is true, is to try out our advice and see. I can think of no other method.
IF you decide to keep the GH's, then I would say that they would be a GREAT FOUNDATION to a superb system. However, a foundation is all they would be.

Fellow GH owner here. Like Lloydelee21 mentioned, try and get your hands on "ANY" subwoofer you can take home to try no matter how cheap or small (but do try for the best you can). I don't see how the G's are going to have the impact of what you are used to (12" woofers). Even a cheap sub will give you an idea. If this makes the difference you want, then by all means get a great sub, the G's deserve it.

The beauty of the sub/monitor way is you can put the G's where they image/sound best and put the sub where the bass will sound best. The G's go low enough so you can use a low x/o point (good thing) and then use the subs volume control to dial in the correct amount for your room/taste.

Good luck.
Maximum toe-in per Lloydelee21 made a huge difference. Such a dumb and simple thing. I think it drastically reduced reflections off side walls that I hadn't realized were so severe, giving me more "near-field" earview. Right now I'm enjoying a collection of jazz recordings (not classic string quartets), and they sound really good. Another thing I'm doing is not comparing to my other speakers, but just listening to these Gs for a change. The total lack of harsh notes, even with trumpets, is certainly soothing...

Next, I'll try to find any cheap subwoofer to try as "test of concept" per Onemug.

Thanks all, and please keep any more suggestions coming. I really hope to make these Guarneris work and keep them.
Hi Onemug, I agree with what you say about a sub. However, don't you think that in a room as small as Deaf's and mine that a sub is likely to overload the room and cause more problems than good?
I have actually heard the Yamaha's that deaf is referring to.. They are able to drop down lower due to their 12" driver, however, they are very much like the old JBL's of the past that could move air, but that was about it.Frankly, I'm not sure that Deaf is looking to get past that sound.
If he is, then a willingness to give up the lower reaches of the bass and accept the gains in overall music reproduction across the rest of the board is something that he may want to live with. I have accepted that in my system, because I am very sure that in a room of these dimensions only so much is possible. Without question in a larger room that can accommodate bass below 50Hz, then a quality sub with the GH's is absolutely warranted. Alternatively, as Lloyd pointed out, maybe a more full range speaker would be appropriate....if one wanted to give up a little accuracy and acquire more full range.
IMHO, Deaf is trying out a speaker that is NOT showing him its true self, Because he is essentially system building from the wrong end. Again, IMHO, he would be much better served starting at the front end and working from there. Even if it means leaving the Yamaha's in place for the time being!
As I said in my previous post, putting the GH's in the system would be a great foundation to a superb system, BUT a foundation only...Until the front end is sorted out along with the rest of the system, I don't think that Deaf will be able to hear what the GH's can really do.
Hi Daveyf. Yes it would be "very" easy to overload a small room with sub. You would want to be very careful with the volume control. Less is more.

I'm pretty happy with the G's just the way they are and usually don't use a sub with them but a few days ago I heard ELP's Lucky Man on the radio. When I dug it out of my vinyl collection, it just didn't sound as good as I remembered. I fired up the sub, played it again and it made all the difference. To me, that song needs to have the lower octave produced to make it right.

That's where the beauty of the sub comes in. Turn it on when you need it, adjust the level to your taste and "room size" and enjoy 20 to beyond 20k hz.

I could easily live with the G's and no sub for all the magic they do but if Deaf needs to feel that impact some of the time, this is what I'd recommend. And yes, he will be rewarded with future upgrades to his system. No matter what I put in front of them, they bring out the best of it.
Daveyf and everyone when you talk about upgrading the front end of my system first, are you referring specifically to my iDecco DAC? Many people seem to think this DAC is high-end (although not the amp output stage of the iDecco, which I am not using).

Also, many people seem to like their McIntosh integrateds with their Gs. I really like the McIntosh with my other kinds of speakers, and I like it best of my 4 amps with the Gs. I also like it much better than the VERY expensive Krell and Goldmund amps and preamps I tried it with at the shop before I bought the Gs. I can imagine another flavor of amp being better for me with the Gs than the McIntosh, though, as the McIntosh, while warm and bassy, is not the clearest or most detailed around. Two of my Luxman amps are more detailed, and the Gs show all details immaculately, as they did with the Krell and Goldmund stuff. My Luxman amps sound thinner with the Gs, though, and I suspect they are just way underpowered.

I am at a loss as to how to start trying various speaker cables. Is there a relatively common one that you consider a good starting point that I might be able to find over here right away?

Anything that would show me definitely that the cables are one of the components I need to upgrade would be helpful. Once I hear the differences, I could get a better and more permanent set sometime later.

I guess my biggest gripe about the Gs I'm having is the flat and distant presentation I am hearing. For instance, Aretha's voice on "I Never Loved a Man" is quieter than the electric piano through the Gs, whereas with the same equipment/room/placement through 3 other kinds of speakers her voice is dominant. The Gs' presentation is similarly flatter across the spectrum of genre to my ears. I think this is what Lloydelee was describing as a characteristic of the Gs, also. Maybe its just what I am used to, but I prefer a more foreword presentation. Is that "flatness" an aspect that could be changed with another source/preamp/amp/cables?
Deaf_in_left_eye, I can't talk for the other posters, but when I talk about your front end, I am referring to your source components. The Toslink connection IMHO, needs to be tossed (pun intended). I'm not sure that the imac with flac files is the way to go either, others with more experience on this area might comment.
The itunes platform apparently isn't that great for downloading hi-rez files. ( I am presuming you are using itunes?) ( see MF's comments in the new Stereophile)
The iDecco DAC might be ok, but I suspect that there are probably significant losses there as well. I heard a Peachtree Nova a few months ago and frankly it did nothing for me. Albeit, I heard the Nova used as a integrated and not as a stand alone DAC; the Nova was ahead of a Mac Mini feeding WAV files. IMHO, the sound was very thin and unimpressive.
I think that a better solution would be in the way of a stand alone transport and DAC along with a different set of electronics...I would dump the Mac integrated and look into maybe the new ARC Vsi60 or if funds allow a good tube amp and separate tube preamp. The preamp section is a really important part of one's system, IMHO. Besides the front end, this is where I suspect you are also loosing a lot of information. The aspect of a flattened sound and a distant presentation most likely can be laid at the integrated's preamp section along with the cables that you are using.
Hi Daveyf I agree that the Nova and also iDecco amps sound thin and unimpressive, so that is why I only use the DAC direct output. My music collection is mainly in FLAC and WAV format, fed from an iMac. They are mostly high-rez (24/96) rips and not from iTunes. If not fed from the iMac to iDecco via Toslink, do you suggest USB? technically, the optical link should have the least loss.

I don't see an ARC Vsi60 available in Japan. The only amps from this thread I see here is the McIntosh, which is why I went for that. I would like to try something else, but fear a lot of hit-and-miss at great expense.

As for cables, again, could you recommend some common brands/models that I might be able to find here quickly? I mean something that would show me the difference from my low-end cables right away while I'm testing the Gs.

This is all very frustrating, as I feel I'll probably have to give the Gs up without first knowing how they can sound when matched properly.
Hi Deaf, I would suggest an S/Pdif on Coaxial if you have the ability to connect that way.A digital co-ax would be highly preferable to the Toslink. I use a Harmonic Tech Platinum digital cable that seems to be a good connection as an example of a co-ax connect. In regards to speaker/ic cables, I really like the Nordost line. As you can see, I am now using their Red Dawn Rev2 speaker cables and I am impressed by these.
I do think that the line below Red Dawn is too bright though, so you may want to start at Red Dawn or above. I'm not sure what is commonly available in Japan, if the Nordost is not, then I would suggest looking at the Furutech cables. BTW, I don't really understand why you cannot order gear off the web? Certainly cables are pretty easy to order online...I'm also fairly sure that ARC will be happy to sell you a piece if you don't have a local dealer, or at least refer you to a dealer in Japan. ( I would think there is one).
Hi D-I-L-Eye,

Been busy and am glad to see many AGoners have stepped in during the last couple of days.

- Glad to see the toe-in helps...i do not know your room, but suspected it might.
- If you slide the G's back towards the back wall about 1 foot, you might find greater bass will need to re-adjust the toe-in a bit so that you continue to avoid seeing the sides of the speakers...or because of the speaker being further may prefer seeing just a small bit of the inside of each speaker.

- i generally prefer co-axial cable as well...if the MAC does not have it, then trying to adjust this part of your system may be too complicated in the short amount of time you have...dont worry. this is not the end of the world, and you are really looking for fullness and bass. (so see below)
- as for cables, ask your store if they've any old Transparent Ref cables. relative to the description of beldens, try even audioquest crystal cables. again, very helpful to give bigger sound...but see below for more thoughts...

- As for own personal experience ranges back to 1995, and across multiple rooms, large and small. they will give you big bang for your buck for the fullness/bass it appears you are looking for, providing you pay attention to a few critical things:

in general, in smaller rooms, you will find the blend difficult to achieve my own experiences, i have always preferred to keep the sub in and live with the tradeoffs of an imperfect blend. this is because i often listen to hip hop, as well as classical/jazz.

as for blending, i think you if your sub can do a steep (18db-24db) crossover on the sub at 45hz or below (ie, shutting off the sub from producing sound at above this level of bass), and then turn the volume of the sub down to suit your ear, i think you may find your listening tastes may result in the pros outweighing the cons.

Finally, some thoughts on your dealer. clearly, he wants to make a sale...share with him your dilemma and ask that he give you a sub to try ASAP!!! Plus ask for an extra 1 week to trial the sub with the Gs.

As a final thought, swap the Gs for the Sonus Faber Cremonas (not the Elipsa which i believe costs more than the Gs)...the Cremonas look like the Amati Homage...but have a more straight forward sound...and being floorstanding will inherently deliver more bass than a G. And they retain much of the "family sound" of a G...please check but i think they cost in the same range as the G?

Good luck and feel free to continue ask any questions!!!
Deaf, just to follow up on the article in Stereophile about the idecco. Art Dudley, the reviewer, suggests and uses the USB input from his Mac to the idecco. He also has various other suggestions that you might want to review about the hookup of the idecco.
Hi D-I-L-Eye,

i have read and re-read the very many valuable posts over the last 2 addition to my reply post (which is pending), i would like to address your others questions:

- Aretha. i cannot hear what you are is either that the other speakers are set up to be midrange forward (not flat), or that the Gs are not giving you fullnness (in part due to the cabling, toslink, etc).

The only reason i give these 2 primary suggestions for your observation about her voice being recessed/flat is simple: Sonus Fabers (and the G above nearly all of the other SF speakers) are reknowned for their reproduction of beautiful vocals. it is a speciality of theirs. So a flat vocal presentation strikes me as strange.

- i concur with DaveyF that room acoustics/traps make a big difference...i have NOT done this in my own room purely for aesthetic reasons (my system is in my living room)...but daveyf's posts seem entirely consistent with feedback from everyone i've ever spoken to who has gone thru the trouble of using acoustic treatments. in your case, a glass sliding wall is likely "leaking" bass reflection from the back of the speaker...hence why i suggested you move 1' closer to try to maximize whatever bass reflection you can get (without creating muddy bass by being too close). (i bet if the G reflected off a solid wall, the bass would improve...but perhaps that is not possible in your current room.)

- Again, please get the dealer to get you a trial with a is in his best economic interest to do so!... because you might just buy both!!! I have used Velodynes myself going back 15 years...but given your time constraint...i suggest you get anything...if only to get a "quick confirmation" that a sub will fill in the fullness/bass that you are looking for. if your "trial sub" demonstrates that you can do this...even if it is not perfectly blended, you dont have to buy that particular sub...but you can take your time to find the right sub...knowing that once you find it...the Gs and the Sub will produce the sound you are striving for. Subs today have tremendously more flexibility/blending capability than they use to 10 years ago.

Only you can (and should) make the decision about your Gs...all i can say is that you should take some comfort that the G has garnered a world-class reputation in the press (again Stereophile July on-line), from owners, from audiophiles in general...all for good reason. The G truly is a phenomenal (stand-mounted) speaker. Set up well, voices should sound lush, beautiful and true...the soundstage will be intimate but detailed in a very natural, organic will not produce a big sound in a floorstanding manner...but if you find the trade-offs of a sub to be acceptable, i think you might find what you are looking for.. if not, try the SF Cremona.

keep us posted! best.
Hi Lloydelee21 and Daveyf
Daveyf - Thanks for your further details on cables and for looking into iDecco connections. I'll try the USB and see if I hear a difference. The iMac doesn't have a coax connection. As for ordering amps and cables online from overseas, please understand that I am under strict time constraint, and also that it is huge risk to buy an amp without listening first, and I would not do so.

My wife and I did another extensive listening again last night, and we are increasingly feeling that the "problem" we are having with the sound is a matter of taste and what we are used to. The Gs are small speakers, and have that sort of quality. Yes, we agree that vocals are especially true and wonderful, but it always seems to be at a cost elsewhere in the overall presentation. Maybe I'm just not a "small-speaker-kind-of-guy."

Based on their reputation, I'm willing and eager to try to get more out of them this week. If I can find a sub and better cabling this weekend, I'll definitely do it.

All of this about buying and trying the Gs started with my dissatisfaction with a pair of NS-1000Xs I have in my office room. While they sound great in out tatami room, they have been relatively anemic in here except on a few extra-good recordings.

One thing that has already come of all this is that I discovered I really like the sound of my McIntosh amp with the NS-1000Xs, even in my office. It seems to have solved that initial problem, which I had thought had more to do with placement, cabling, etc.

The NS-1000Xs are very good speakers, and work well over a wide spectrum of genres. They are not the ultimate greatest speakers in any one area, though. They are still basically monitors, and bad recordings sound bad through them, whereas the Gs seem to "repackage" even bad recordings, smoothing things out and making them more listenable.

I've given the Cremonas several listens over the past few years. In fact, a few years ago they were the first floor standers I had heard that drew my attention away from my NS-1000Xs. They were way beyond my budget back then, but not now. The Cremonas cost a little less than the Gs here. By reputation, they are not in the same class as the Gs, though.

I'll keep updating. This thread has been really great for me, and I thank you all.

Deaf, something just occurred to me, are you using a pair of Guarneri Hommage or are you using a pair of Guarneri Memento's? The Memento's are still part of the current line up...the Hommage's are not. It seems a little odd that the dealer you are demo'ing from has the GH's! The Mementos look VERY similar BUT are a different speaker. Some of the aspects that you are attributing to this speaker are IMHO a little like the sound of the GM's.
You're being thorough in your approach, and no one can fault you for your decision. after all, its your system and your ears. You have been very consistent about what is not ideal for you about the Gs, and i have noticed you have been able to articulate it better and better. Good luck with the sub and your search in general. if ultimately, you decide not to go with Gs (w/ or w/out sub), feel free to email back about alternative solutions. Good luck.
Daveyf, good call on "Mememto or Homage" question.

Deaf, what color are they? Red (maybe Graphite) or Brown? I've owned both at the same time and they are different.