As recently as 8-10 yrs. ago, I maintained my card carrying residence in the ‘lots o’ watts’ camp’ regularly. I’ve since held only a casual attendance to that group, and since departed with the acquisition of higher eff speakers, and lower powered tube amps.
Now I’m debating the future and appropriateness, of that perception and considering another SS, or a non tube amp. This time a digital amp… such as a class D or ICE configuration… as in a Bel Canto, PS Audio, Spectron, Wyred 4 S, etc., to use for both music and HT with my current Silverline speakers.
Several of these amps profess IMO rather high ratings for output power. 250, 300, and 500 wpc into 8 ohms, as your ‘oh by the way’ choices, and then doubling up should the impedance drop off to 4 ohms!
1000 wats per!
E frekin' Gad!
Truth be told, I’ve never put together a high eff speaker & high powered amp combo, nor felt the need, so I’m in a whole new ball game now, or am I?
I understand immense power reservoirs on tap, (like with my former BAT vk500) is a good thing, as well as are other attributes like a good input impedance, and control or damping figures. that amp ran VR4 JRs though, and both have since departed la casa Sunburn.
Additionally, my current tube mono blocks (120wpc) handle my 93db Sonata IIIs quite well IMO. My Odyssey Stratos SE also does a good enough job too rated at about 160 wpc. Between the two amps, the Dodds are the better sounding, and appear to have better control and more ease with the Silverliness.
In making a choice on one of these Digital or ICE amps, should the power numbers be regarded as something other than what they are? I mean more likely, do 250 wpc into 8 ohm rated ICE amps provide likewise results or the same feel, of an SS amp having the same output? Ie., control, power reserves, etc?
I do feel a good match between the speakers and amp is a prime consideration now, and do not wish to buy far too much or too little an amp, given these thoughts.
There too is the thought of the amps actual 'voice' itself to consider.
I sure wouldn’t want to smoke the speaks with too little or too much power on tap. Or have the amp ()s) always loafing. Or is that loafing bit just nonsense?
Any experiences and insights here on the digi power front is more than appreciated as I'm trying to get a 'feel' for this 'new to me' amp topology and not over or under buy.
If the amp sounds good to your ears, there is only one potential problem. You have to keep drunk/impaired friends away from the volume control.
I lost a good pair of Jamo's that way. And the amp was only 75 watts into 8 ohms.
Currently my Emerald Physics are by-amped with 250 amps going to the bottom end (really 500 being seen by the 4 ohm woofers), and 125 amps going to the top. ICE powered, and the speakers sound spectacular to my ears.
Extra reserve power can be a blessing with inefficient speakers. However, extra care is definitely warranted. An inadvertant dropped stylus, or turning on the DAC after the preamp and amp can all to easily blow your speakers.
So, if you're feeling anal, and keep alcohol away from your lips when playing your stereo, and are not an error prone individual, then go for it.
To me it's like horsepower. I don't necessarily need a lot, but it's nice to have "just in case" hehehe. I have a limit on my volume knob I just won't pass. I did recently hear a pair of Joseph Audio Pulsars being fed by a 85 wpc Sim Audio amp and it was LOUD, and CLEAR. One of the best combos I've ever heard. Of course I haven't heard a lot, but I couldn't believe 85 wpc was that loud.
Jim, even within the ICE amps, there are 500W, 250W, and even 100W PC units over 8 Ohms. There is probably no need for you to acquire a set of monos that deliver 500W over 8 Ohms, but perhaps some of the lower powered units may do very well. I am thinking for example about the Bel canto Ref 500 monos, that deliver 250W PC. They are said to be even sweeter than the Ref 1000 Mk.2 that I have just reviewed for Positive Feedback. Then there are the 100W per channel amps like the Rowland 102 stereo, which is said to sound very sweet but I have not heard.
I suspect that with any powerful amps on efficient speakers one of the keys may be a pre with very fine volume control granularity. e.g. the JRDG Capri I use yields 0.5db steps on the dual speed volume control.
The hobby is dominated by fashion, flavor, and dogma. Today it will be SE tube amps and horns, tomorrow 1000 watt SS amps and 80db sensitive speakers. Switching amps, chip amps, tubes made of unobtainium, magic, religion, faith, hope. I love this game!
I don't think you need a lot more power than you have. Are you hearing any distortion at typical high SPL levels and do you like to crank it often or do you play bass heavy stuff a lot?
Those are all nice high quality drivers in your speakers (the Sonata III's are excellent value for awesome sound, IMHO). they could certainly take more juice but the question is really more down to whether your ears demand it?
I could not find an impedance plot but an unusually low impedance or sharp drops might be the best indication that you might benefit from doubling or tripling your power. On a smooth impedance load at 93 db sensitivity my guess is you don't need more power.
I'm no expert on the subject and certainly do not have an electrical engineering background but I really wonder whether these Class D (and other) switching amps are as powerful as their specifications would suggest. Clearly, they produce power more efficiently than Class A or AB designs, but do they really have the ability to deliver copious amounts of current when called upon to do so? Case in point: I recently went from and Audio Research 150.2 (a Tripath-Based switching amp--or Class T) to an Audio Research SD135 Class AB design. The 150.2 is rated at 150wpc into 8 ohms, doubling into 4 ohms. The SD135 is rated at 130wpc into 8 ohms and 230wpc into 4 ohms. Question: Which amp is more powerful? Easy, right?--the 150.2. However, when one looks at peak current capability, the SD135 puts out THREE TIMES as much current (60amps vs. 20amps) as the 150.2. And then there is the listening where the SD135 is way more dynamic, with gobs of headroom, much greater control and authority in the bass and the ability to play louder without a hint of strain or distortion. And, I would add, the 150.2 is a much more robustly built switching amp than the Bel Canto's, Channel Islands, ETC, ETC, which, if you look at the specs, are not able to produce the kind of current suggested by their WPC rating. If you buy into the Musical Fidelity "White Paper" on the subject of amplifier power, some serious questions are raised about the ability of switching amps to provide the kind of juice that is really necessary to convincingly recreate the sound of live music. Again, I'm no expert but regardless of their technological sophistication, I have a hard time believing that some of these flyweight amps are really up to the task, even when paired with relatively high efficiency speakers like mine.
Dodgealum - it is complicated. 60A peak current but at what output voltage? for how long? Why do you need 60A? Even on 1 ohm load it would deliver 3600W.
1000W Icepower (1000ASP) can deliver 40A for about 0.5s. Minimum load is specified as 2 ohm. I wouldn't pay too much attention to specifications but more to reviews or auditions.
Can amp like that blow your speakers - sure, but if you undersize you'll get into risk of cliping and damaging tweeters (high frequency content). Icepowers have even soft clipping built in to prevent it (and all other protections).
Icepower has incredible damping factor at low frequencies DF=4000 but it is pretty much useless since inductor inside of the speaker box, in series with the woofer, limits df to about 100 (80 mohms typical resistance).
The insights are super, the sound of it is key… and the words on how numbers apply & translate were outstanding.
Guido, I liked the review on the VA speakers.
Well, keeping booze and boozed up friends away from the remote control, and gear is not a consideration… and I learned a few years ago about handing the remote to the ‘girl friend of the month’ while I’m otherwise occupied.
I seldom if ever really crank up the vol. My hearing is sensitive, the room is not cavernous, and my preffs aren’t towards paint peeling these days… Once in a very great while I’ll zip things up for some Def Lep, ZZ or Gordon Goodwin, Illinois Jacquette, etc… but only temporarily… a song or two.
I doubt I exceed 95 - 96db +/-, on avg during those few minutes.
…and who want s to hear K D Lang 7 tony B at 98db, anyways?
I may have not been 100% clear as to my fears/worries regarding the power similarities or diffs from ICE to SS… I merely wish to get a feel for about which gate I’d best be in when deciding. Current levels.. eg., 150 +/-; 250 +/-: 500 +/-; etc.
True enough, the voice of the power plant is a larger concern. I sincerely loved the big ol’ chunky VK500 w/BAT Pk. On 88-89db speakers.
I love the sound of the 120 wpc MK II Dodd mono’s on the 91-93db speaks I have now… with the Thor pre of course.
The Odyssey SE 150 +/- either with the Onkyo receiver or Thor ain’t bad either, just not even close to the all tubes setup… but quite liveable.. Especially if no repetitive A/B’ing is going on… and it doesn’t.
So given the speed of recovery ICE’s have, I’m getting the imp here a 250 into 8, 500 into 4, should be easily enough ICE.
Now, as usuall the preponderance regards ICE’s tenor… it’s sound. I get the imp too, they are image happy little boxes, dynamic, and possess very good headroom.
But are they in general, dryer or cooler sounding than SS?
A predominate amount of the time this new pair of monos or stereo amp will serve purely as main ch’s for HT.
Now and then, I’d use them with the Thor for pure audio.
Short list needs are rain free mids, easy yet revealing top ends and good low req response.
The Wyred 4 sound units look attractive, the reviews sound awesome, and the price is right for a ST500. IMO.
The sentiment that one can always benefit from more power, may be true, assuming nothing else is lost in attaining more power, is often grounded on demonstrations that live music has an enormous dynamic range. In particular, a piano, and symphonic orchestras are used as examples. But, no commercial recordings ever really exploit the full dynamic range of either; if they did, most people would be unable to listen to such recordings. In other words, the importance of lots of power is greatly exaggerated.
Are there tradeoffs in attaining more output capability? At least some designers think there are big tradeoffs. Some designers think something is lost when more than one output device is used (or two in a pushpull design). In the solid state realm Dartzeel amps are designed on that premise (their original amp sounds pretty good to me, though I don't know if any particular design choice accounts for the good sound). Designers of low powered tube equipment also think the same way. I tend to not like as much tube gear with high power and lots of tubes.
I have only heard a couple of Class D amps (Bel Canto and a Rowland). The Rowland (early model costing something like $14k) I heard auditioned in two systems owned by friends. In the system with Sonus Faber Anniversarios, it sounded decent, though a Hovland Radia amp sounded better to me and is a lot cheaper. In the other friend's horn-based system (107 db efficient), it sounded much worse in comparison with low output tube amps.
I don't know where the current state of the stands with respect to switching amps, but, my understanding is that there is NO performance parameter where a switching amp is better than conventional solid state; good design being a matter of minimizing bad characteristics. The advantages of switching amps are all practical: compact size, high efficiency, low heat output, and low cost to produce. That may well mean that at certain price levels they outperform other types of amps, particularly where truly high levels of power are needed. I think they would be at their competitive worst, where high power is not needed and price is not a major limiting factor.
"But are they in general, dryer or cooler sounding than SS?"
The answer is. . . there is really no answer, because there is no longer an . . . "in general" with ICE amps. Some of the older designs tend to be on the cool side of neutral. The more recent designs tend to fit exactly where the designers want them to fit. E.g. the Bel Canto Ref 1K Mk.2 that I review yields mounds of harmonics and has just a smidjin of warmth. It definitly does not sound like stereotypical old ICE, nor like stereotypical SS. On the other hand, it neither has a stereotypical tuby sound, although its neutrality has just the slightest hint of tubes. I have heard some comments that the Ref 500 may be even slightly more extended and may have an even sweeter treble. Guido
Larryi, what you heard is probably the old Rowland 302. I agree completely with you, it sounded nice but it did not stir any emotions. That is why I was kind of skeptical when I first auditioned its successor, the 312. . . luckily it is a completely different beast and it is a greatly involving amp. . . and I have it in my system. But its price point is probably not what Jim is looking for, nor is its throughput. That is why I am suggesting the Bel Canto Ref 500.
Class D amps are evolving rapidly. What was the state of the art in Class D designs just a few years ago has already been long surpassed. It is not only a matter of newer modules, but also of a learning curve by class D amp designers. The Rowland 302 does not represent the current state of the art in class D sound, and your misgivings about it are quite justified.
It is worth pointing out that class D and ICEpower amps are neither inherently superior nor inferior to any other technology. I can say the same of tubes or classic SS. ICEpower modules are basic components just like 6550 tubes. One can create a very basic device with them, or one can create a cost no object amp. We can't really judge one by the other, nor we can make some broad assertions about sonic footprints of the class in general, because class D amps today tend to sound very different from one an other.
I run 300 wpc Sheng Ya monoblock solid state amplifiers on the low end and Wyred 4 Sound 125 wpc amps on the top end of Emerald Physic speakers. These are highly sensitive speakers yet they sound specatcular with the powerful amps I am using on the low end. Do you need this much power? Probably not with these pseakers. But again the sound is spectacular, emotive, and impactful.......I was surprised very pleasantly....
"Kijanki is right - an underpowered amp can clip when played loud, and clipping of an amplifier causes high-frequency harmonics that are routed to the tweeter by the crossover, possibly overloading it."
Yes, I have seen more speakers fried this way than any other over the years.
"Kijanki is right - an underpowered amp can clip when played loud, and clipping of an amplifier causes high-frequency harmonics that are routed to the tweeter by the crossover, possibly overloading it."
This is often what makes a system sound "perceptively" loud when in reality it isn't at all loud. When you have 15" subwoofers with 1000 watt amplifiers that can still clip then it is not hard to imagine that you can exceed any amplifiers requirements (no matter how big) if you go loud enough and deep enough in frequency.
Jaymark's example of a biamped speaker eliminates the problem - you still get crytsal clean highs even if you bass is clipping somewhat.
The issue is to determine whether your listening levels are high enough to often cause clipping distortion in some musical passages.
The power as engineering term is the product of voltage and the current and thus you must control both, separately.
It is my opinion that rated continius power into specific load (e.g. 100 wpc into 8Ohms) is almost totally meaningless since you do not listen to music as to continous test signal.
In normal conditions, you use may be 5% may be 10% of this "power" - however, when you want to reproduce creshendo your demand for voltage and/or current will rise two orders of magnitude (x100) !!!!!!!
The only one characterisic which truthfully describe real "power" of the amplifier is its Headroom which in turn, has a number of parameters to watch - most important of which are peak voltage, peal current, their duration, and level of distortions at full output and few more.
Its somewhat complex matter so most reviews and audiophiles describing specs emphesize the nominal (meaningless) power stats and threads like this one discuss one meaningless parameter versus another meaningless parameter.
What is common - the more power however you define it - the more expensive and more difficult is to build such device be it tube, solid state of switching.
Interesting. . . I usually get a little cantankerous with fellow Audiogoners by about the middle of August, when the temperature in my home office reaches the low hundreds. By mid september, I am typically back to my unflappable self. Unfortunately, it seems that our Bill may be a little more sensitive to heat than I am. By the time the last of the maples in western New York state are in full foliage, he starts picking fights on Audiogon. The good news of course is that by the time I fly off my 1st rocker, maples in Buffalo will be turning red, Bill will have downed his 1st flanels of the Fall season, and he will be back to his peaceble self. Excellent arrangement really, because we never seem to get mad at the world at the same time.
On the other hand, it is really too bad that he gets so cranky so easily. He would find it a lot easier to find customers for those marvellous Bel Canto Amplifiers and TEAC Esoteric players that we both love so much, if he only managed to assume a sunnier disposition during the summering canicula. Perhaps a mid year rereading of the collected works of the immortal Dale Carnegie may allieviate his obvious Weltschmertz. G.
Blindjim seemed to be exploring an interesting question and Guido, mentioning several brands other than Rowland, joined in talking, on point, about the issue. Next thing we know, Ill-Will-Bill-Feil comes along to slam Guido and me in one fell swoop.
BTW, in order to save others any need to research me, I own a Rowland Continuum 500 which I use to drive speakers presenting a nominal 4 ohm load, such that the amp has a potential of 1,000 wpc. Maybe poor ole Bill anticipated what I'm going to say next.
I moved up from a C-J putting out around 200 wpc and I've heard the various powered Rowland amps driving the same speakers and noticed a very clear improvement in bass control, in particular, as the power went up. I don't claim to fully understand why, but the best sounding amplifiers to me were the ones delivering more power.
Again… Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far… Consttraveler, Ptmconsulting, Ericjcabrera, Jaybo, Sprink, Viridian, Shadorne, Dodgealum, Mapman, Kijanki, Markwatkiss, Larryi, Jaymark, Joeylawn36111, Spectron, and Dcstep. I sincerely appreciate it.
To all other’s… thanks. I know you gave it your best shot.
I doubt anyone in this online membership, and pursuing this hobby for any length of time who have had success in parting together a system or 3, won’t have some allegiances, loyalties, fondness, or kind words for the gear they feel made those efforts bare fruit. Add to that many of us here are over the age of twelve acting accordingly as it were, so IMO there is no need to give precautionary notes as to just where one member’s fondness lays. It’s like the sound we strive for, it is too ambiguous and ambitious to define exactly. Nor do I suspect it matters given any veracity propels the statements posted when help is sought. For that matter too, Even dealers well vested experiences and as well intentioned remarks are welcome IMO. Several sellers have already joined in here and I see it as a plus.
There’s really only two sorts of people in this world, the one that spreads happiness and joy where ever they go, and those who spread happiness and joy, when ever they go.
Those with ‘agenda’s’ for or against a product line or other’s, always seem to illuminate more so themselves than those they wish to spotlight, with that self same torch, so to speak.
Personally, I don’t need any such direction or detection. Even for me, spotting a person with less than virtuous motives, or otherwise detractors, isn’t difficult at all.
With most of the music we experience being made in the first 20 wpc or so, the notion of power seems over played at times. This note on how much is being done with so little came as a big surprise to me as I’d never taken the time to actually look at the relationship between power and the sound I heard.
My experience informs me having on hand substantial reserves in that regard are most often beneficial and prove themselves out as an added layer of peace of mind… not to mention a seamless and involving presentation.
As necessary as is power, too much of it can undermine or affect the voice of the audio recreation, as I have seen in the past, once or twice… with a thinly oriented articulated and more often than not sterile depiction of the recording. It can come off flat or lifeless.
Maybe it’s sheer coincidence but when I’ve had rigs where I can only just barely crack the throttle open and the sound is already approaching unbareable levels, I’ve not liked the resultant sound. Conversely, when I’ve been able to ‘get into’ the amps power range a bit more, I’ve been far more pleased.
As I understand it, where the two most important facilities for listening come into play are, the volume knob, and good sense.
Most of the time, I’ll win half that battle. Sometimes, both! Remember, even a blind acorn can find a squirrel!
All the ‘preamps’ at muy disposal have from 0.2 to 1.0 ‘db’ step incremental controls.
With the input here and by talking with a couple makers of these ICE outfitted power plants the primary concerns have been addressed satisfactorily. Now I just gotta plug one in and see for myself.
If John Potis’ review of the Wyred 4 Sound ST 500 ( http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue39/wyred4sound.htm ) is even 90% accurate, that amp will do the job…. Whether or not I like how it sounds in my system (s) is a whole other thread perhaps. Much can be done too to massage a components presentation. So as I have a couple of options for where it will reside ultimately, or for how long, I’m looking forward to giving one of these interesting products a go asap.
Sounds exciting Jim, if indeed the Wired4Sound are similar in sonic signature to the current Bel Canto Reference series, they aught to be excellent. I was hoping to hear them last fall at RMAF, but I lost my way and ended up missing the suite. I'll develop better caning technique coming October I hope. In the meantime, keep us posted and let us know your impressions if you get the Wired4Sound devices.
Jim, I think that positive impact of more power is very dependent on the speakers' efficiency and response to damping and power. The first watts loses no importance, but the extra watts are not going to make much difference except with medium and low sensitivity speakers that respond positively to high damping. The extra watts are not there to add volume, but rather to add control. IME, it's pretty easy to hear the positive impact when it's there.
The OHm F-5 speakers in my system are a good example of speaks that benefit from high power and high current with adequate damping based on my experience and all reports.
They are largely omnidirectional, less than 90Db efficient can move a lot of air, and present a challenging low impedance load at some frequencies.
These are some big, powerful, current hungry beasts. They seem to drink however much juice you throw at them. They need this in order to be able to pressurize a larger room to the extent they are capable. More current/power results in increased dynamics and impact.
Its like comparing the sound produced by a drummer that is bearing down hard as he plays versus one that is more politely striking his kit.
Some day hopefully soon, I will throw one of those SOTA Class D monster amps at them. My expectation is that that will take them to a higher level than possible with my current modest 120W/ch amp.
For speaks that are easier to drive however, this might be overkill and perhaps even a bit risky.
For example, in the case of original OHM Fs, which were notoriously sensitive to being overdriven (their achilles heel), you would be more at risk of over driving the speaker and causing permanent damage to the Walsh driver with a modern day monster amp, I would say.
Shadorne: Your observation about distortion causing a system to be "perceptively loud" squares with my experience. My recent system change (described above) helped me to appreciate exactly what you are saying. The SD135, which has much greater current reserves than the 150.2 it replaced, allows me to listen at much higher volume levels without the distortion nasties causing listener fatigue. I'm not sure that is why the new amp sounds so much better (smoother, more detailed, more dimensional, etc) but I'm guessing the distortion introduced when the 150.2 was pressed is a contributing factor. Thanks for putting what I'm hearing in such concise terms.
A curious thread to the extent that only Larryi has addressed any of the downsides of higher powered amps. An amp with more output devices and higher wattage requires feedback to stabilize the circuit, a bad thing that, for lack of a better description, takes the life and vividness away from the sound. Amps with more output devices, and thus more complex circuits, are also noisier, something that can be audible in high resolution systems. It is often said that the best sounding amp in a particular line of amps is the lowest powered one.
Of course, a high-powered amp can sound better on inefficient speakers because such speakers require current to come alive, but precisely because such speakers have to be paired with high-powered amps featuring feedback, many consider inefficiency in speakers to be a design defect.
Very low-powered amps of course have their drawbacks, too. I run a darTZeel or a 65 watt/channel VAC 70/70 triode tube amp with zero feedback.
On another note, it pains me to endorse anything Audiofeil has written on this thread, but Mr. Corona's writings about Rowland on this forum, and his review of the revised Vienna Acoustics Mahler for TAS, are indeed curious (I have run Rowland gear without interruption since 1993 and owned the original version of Mahlers for six years - I have nothing against this gear and at least with respect to Rowland, stand to benefit from his positive comments if I sell).
"Mr. Corona's writings about Rowland on this forum, and his review of the revised Vienna Acoustics Mahler for TAS, are indeed curious"
Raquel - Beauty is in the eye of beerholder. If Mr. Corona likes Rowland's gear let him write about it. I hope you don't suspect some conspiracy here.
Myself, I bought Rowland class D amp based partially on reputation of the company that did not release any other than great products for almost 30 years. I'm writing as well a lot of positives on this forum about Rowland and amp that I enjoy a lot.
As much rhetoric is being cast about here with regard to Rowland, it's merits and perhaps some suspicious intents, which I've dismissed completely from my mind, would anyone care to compare any of these Lillyputian Giant killers to other more well known topologies and/or brands of amps by way of sonic diffs?
I should think that would glean certainly myself, and any other's on the digi ICE fence more palpable insights on what to expect.
Like for example: my xxx was as dynamic as my Krell, but sweet as my Carrisa on the top end.
or ... My xxx was as warm and musical as my SET mono's in the mids but far greater slam in the lower regions... etc.
guido, among others here has already seen in this instance anyways, I'll not be diving into a pair of Spectron Musician s, rowland 312s, or BC 500 - 1000 monos, anytime soon.
had I that sort of duckets to spend I'd be looking at Pass' XA 60.5 or 100.5 amps probably first... then the Spectron's & Rowlands thereafter. Maybe.
Raquel seems to question Guido's motives, yet he has purchased the very same equipment. Is that an endorsement of Guido or of Ill-Will-Bill??
I suspect, like me, Guido likes his Rowland/VA equipment very much. He also wrote about it. Like the rest of us, Guido invested in his own equipment. I personally know that he had no financial interest in Rowland when he wrote those reviews, other than the cost of buying the equipment, which he actually owns.
He's since reviewed Bel Canto and others on loan, but, like most reviewers, he owns his reference equipment and makes comparative reviews in order to provide some value to the reader. I also personally know that he spends a lot of time seeking out other systems to compare with his and listens to other equipment every chance that he gets.
I value his contributions here. Like any contributor, we come to know his likes and dislikes and take them into account when we read his writings. Whether I'm reading Stereophile, Audio Critic, A'gon or TAS, I take those preferences into account when evaluating the information for my own use. Conflict is unavoidable, othewise all reviewers wouldn't love music enough to own their own systems and would switch from one loaner to another month after month in a dismal pursuit of musical nothingness. I want my reviewers to love music, own their own systems and tell me what's in those systems so that I can then consider that as I read their writings.
I did not purchase the "very same equipment" - I own a Coherence II preamp (since 2003), a Cadence phono stage (since 2000), and owned the battery-powered Model 6 monoblocks. I owned the original version of the Mahlers - I do not know which version Guido owns.
Read Guidocorona's contributions to Rowland threads and judge for yourself.
His review of the Vienna Acoustics Mahler in the Absolute Sound was curious because he did not discuss that a new version of the speaker (the "V1.5") was being reviewed and that the price had increased from $9,800 to $12,800. The review:
Raquel - I read review and could not find any reference to $9800. It states clearly in product description that it is v1.5 and MSRP is $12800. Are you saying that reviewers have to mention MSRPs of previous versions. For what purpose? Am I missing something?
Thank you Raquel, my PDF of the Mahler review shows "V1.5" in the title and one more in the sidebar on the MasterSet process. One further instance seems to have been elided during final typesetting. It referred to the new ferro-silicon mount of the tweeter as a 1.5 enhancement.
The Price of $12800 is listed. The missing mention of price increase was my bad.
Regretably I did not have an opportunity of comparing v1.0 and 1.5 side by side, hence I decided not to write a comparative review based on a 18 months old memory of an RMAF audition of the 1.0.
"...ICE AMPS and their similarities & relationships with real world speakers, mainly in the moderate to high eff arena... 91-93db or greater.
Can a 'lots o watts ICE amp make beautiful music with reasonably high eff loudspeakers?
or should the two never meet?"
Myself and several others that I know really like the Rowland Continuum 500 and/or 312 combined with speakers in this sensitivity range. The 91 to 93 range can actually be quite demanding if you enjoy peak sound pressure levels over 100 dB (think Mahler, etc.).
I think when you get sensitivity of 97dB and above, then I'm wondering if the power is of any use or could it even harm. I haven't tried that so I can't comment directly, but I'm very confident that there is a place for high power with 91-93dB sensitivity.
After you have thoroughly examined my posting history, please note that I use a Rowland Capri into a dbx Drive Rack and out to a Rowland 102 amplifier driving 108 db horns. I have a slight rushing sound from the dbx. When I bypass it and go straight from the 102 to the horns there is dead silence.
I have owned some kind of Rowland equipment or other since 1979 and have seen steady improvement in performance from every upgrade. During these years I have, of course, owned a lot of other gear concurrently. For reasons of convenience, preference and security, I keep returning to Jeff's stuff.
Despite the warnings that sometimes are issued against Class D, I have found it to be sonically exceptional and very user friendly. I'm quite happy with mine.
OK, I'm back on track now: amp power is completely speaker dependant. I have Maggies, and like lots of tordial power from Parasound, Bryston, and currently Cary (there are others). I have not really liked the digital amps I have tried, with the notable exception of the Innersound/Sanders Sound ESL amps. For some reason those sound much less dry to me.
I love tube amps for any speaker, of course depending on the speaker they need more or less power. But, power alone doesn't matter, it's more the load the speaker presents. That said, wow, more power is always better, never worse.
Macrojack, have you ever compared the JRDG 102 with the Wired4Sound? They seem to be in the same price range, although they do not use the same modules. The Wired4Sound seems to be based on the ICEpower 250 ASP which delivers 250W over 8 Ohms; The JRDG 102 is based on the apparently newer ICEpower 200 AS, which delivers a more modest 100W per channel over 8 Ohms and is thought to be a little sweeter in the treble than the 250 ASP. Unfortunately I have no direct experience with either amps, and the sound of an amp is even more the product of its design than its underlying componentry, so I can't even venture to guess which one I would prefer. G.