There are just so few, good sounding SS preamps. I've heard the Dag (non-HD) vs the Ref 10 and it wasn't much of a contest.
Showing 50 responses by keithr
Mikey misses everything about MSB. And I’ve heard Playback for a decade which is just “good digital” like Aqua and the rest. Sure, it’s warm and smooth but it sounds like digital. Somewhat homogenized digital at that.
What MSB singularly does now since the Select is flow and continuousness that competes with my Brinkmann rig. In fact, analog only guys who visit my room say it’s the only digital they would own and their mind relaxes like on a piece of vinyl. I’ve actually done this comparison with folks.
and the Ref dac is $49k now; includes the same clock as Select but with a single power supply.
Ancient is relative - as some people will prefer Luxman Class A amps over the newer A/B only versions. Just a different direction for Luxman.
The m900 sounded entirely average on my YGs with bass in absentia. It was bested by a pair of $5k Ampzillas (which WCSS should review). Perhaps monos would fare better, no clue.
I’m looking to the Rowland 625mk2 or Lamm Class AB hybrids next but content for now.
Philip O'Hanlon is one of the good guys in this industry, RIAA. You're in the wrong to be so critical. But keeping taking pot shots on the internet.
I'm just saying that amps aren't so universal like you believe(d?) with the m900 to the detriment of others.
And in that same thread you reference, another guy had the exact same problem as me: no grunt nor bass. I did enjoy its midrange texture and slightly soft, but inherently musical top end. But the amp doesn't sound like its power rating and needs a more efficient speaker to succeed, that's all. My Luxman dealer doesn't prefer it on Wilson (which he also sells), and 4425 just moved to D'Agostino coincidently which he happens to recommend.
Focals are easier to drive, so hopefully that's a great match. I still think tubes sound probably best on those speakers, but hopefully WCSS can experiment and let us know.
Back in the day, Dave Wilson himself would do shows and exhibit a big system that appeared to be running on huge monoblocks that was actually running off a hidden $1k Parasound. One year he did the same running off an iPod lol. People raved about the sound.
I agree that speakers are by far the dominant source for good sound, coupled appropriately to the room with the correct amplifier driving them (ie. not SETs on MLs). The people who spend 10s of thousands on cables, power cords, and tweaks to drive a 20k pair of speakers have it backwards. The mega-$ cables are for people who have mega speakers already. Most cables and power cords are just parametric tone controls anyways.
WCSS, my only suggestion is on amp compares that you use stock cords. it really complicates things not to do so. i realize you are a bit of a cable junky, but that would be more apples to apples.
congrats on the Wilson/Gryphon combo - will be curious how it runs in a few weeks.
one cool thing to try for your second system would be a higher efficiency speaker so you can demo low powered, simple amps. even amps like Dart (which unfortunately isn't good on low impedance speakers like the Alexia). Maybe Fyne is a good way to do that, Devore Xs another option. that would add more value to your channel to cover both ends of the amp spectrum.
Whitecamaro, I’ve heard Nordost cables since they introduced Valhalla 20 years ago. Many of my friends have tried and ultimately moved on from them. They have a distinct audio signature, which even like your comments unknowingly describe, is unnatural to my ears. All that “detail” and speed, black background, etc comes at a cost.
I would pick up a $20 Ching Cheng from David Karmeli as your baseline though this power cord adventure. It’s relatively neutral and takes a lot more than you expect to beat them.
Well, I’ve tried around 15+ since 2011 or so, but don’t focus on large SS mono blocks since I’ve always had efficient, dynamic driver speakers (now Devore Gibbon X). Many SETs, P/P tubes, Class A SS, etc.
My favorite SS amp is Dartzeel , tube is currently ARC Ref 75SE with fond memories of a baby Mastersound Due Venti for value. I also miss my Mc601s from back in the day.
I generally prefer simple circuits with minimal tubes or transistors as they sound better. The amp I need to scoop up one day for fun is the Viva Solista even though it’s not a perfect speaker match- total hifi jewelry.
Since amps are your thing, you really should try some high efficiency speakers next (don't have to sell your Neoliths). Then the world is your oyster.
I've compared the Dart vs Dag integrateds at my dealer - I prefer the Dart. But yes, Dart is better on speakers without huge impedance swings or dipping into 2 ohms.
I got rid of my M&K/SVS HT system with JVC projector and 110" Stewart screen years ago and never returned. Big plasmas and 2.0 HT replaced it, and honestly, turned out better as I watch more football than movies and still go to the theater once a month when I want to see James Bond in 40 channel surround sound with 100 subs. The issue with huge screens is it limits your speaker location. Logans might have more directional challenges than dynamic drivers requiring a center channel though.
You should definitely hire a 2ch/HT acoustics guy if going this route- check out Nyal Mellor, Chris Huston, etc.
My guess is a lot has to do with the use of the amount of negative feedback in these two amps (hence the bass explosion on the Blocks ala Soulution - another high negative feedback amp). I've yet to hear a convincing Constellation demo at a dealer or show (or Soulution), but just goes to show you that speaker/amp synergy is wildly different for people (and I've never heard Neoliths on Constellation nor the Series 2 which apparently is much better).
I also think what some don't realize is that while reading about WCSS's adventures is entertaining, he's always had very difficult to drive speakers (even the Wilsons he had are difficult impedance-wise). That drives amp comparison significantly - people relying on them might be disappointed on their own gear. Just as an example, I had the $10k Luxman 590AX, 30W pure Class A integrated on my Zu Definitions back in the day and it sounded like cream - on a YG at my dealer the m900 is quite the opposite.
The most important thing is speaker/amp synergy and that's what WCSS seems to be focused on and is quite honest about that it's his system in his room to do these experiments.
Speaking of, did he ever hire an acoustician for his new room?
Love this thread is turning into cables, fuses, and footers vs. room acoustics for a new room.
Blue Jeans Cable in an optimized room will sound better than a full loom of Odin in a regular one. Once the room is taken care of, the rest can actually make sense. And its far cheaper than any of the cables
Only if you have inefficient speakers. A Dart 108 sounds better than all of these behemoths in this thread on a 90db+/8ohm one. Bass isn't an issue and it's far more transparent with real decay.
I say this as someone who currently has YG speakers and has tried a half dozen amps so far. None of them beat my old Dart (or probably even my ARC Ref 75SE which is a simple tube design). You have to make a decision on which speaker/amp path you prefer. The path for good sounding high powered SS is very slim.
Focals really sound best on tubes (and have for years imo). Most recently I had a La Scala audition at a local dealer on full D'agostino Momentum setup, but that of course is not Pass XS. I was going to come back and hear them on McIntosh (he doesn't sell tubed gear) but never did - same dealer is now the SoCal Boulder dealer and that sounds like a dreadful combo.
I heard ARC Ref 250s w/ KT150s on the Allnic importer's Grande Utopia EM in his listening room and it sounded great. He has since switched to Allnic amps and prefers them. You might give him a ring.