Pure Sound A10 or Solid-state of similar price? My experience of the A10
I firstly my hotch potch kit:
Nottingham Analogue Ace Space turntable
Cart Goldring 1042
Budget Wharfedale 10.1 speakers
My old amp JVC ax-01
I recent purchased a Pure Sound A10 and was initially blown away by its scale for such a small amp, though I don't have it and dance party levels it will get close and still sound quite full.
It had great timing and almost extended frequency extremes compared to my old JVC which has a rounded character and is a bit flabby in the low frequencies which is nice but clouds the image if the instruments.
The pure sound was interesting though. It would be very very apparent how well the music was mastered and I found it to not play nice with all genres AT ALL.
The right mix which would normally be a very full tone would floor you. The likes of Eno ambient 4 or Tom Waites Mule Variations would be perfection. Strangely so would albums like The Times They Are A Changing which is devoid of bass or warmth really.
BUT put a straight recorded 60s style garage punk band on or a modern encarnation of that mixed with psychedelia like Thee Oh Sees or blues rock and roll like The Gories and the amp tunes into a total worthless mess.
My old JVC walks all over it and then some. Songs that sound like they are playing from a phone speaker on the pure sound suddenly sound full and rich again. The main culprit I discovered is and heavily distorted guitar. I am a guitar player and play in a 60s garage punk style or try to. I know what a guitar sounds like. I know what John Dwyers guitar sounds like along with many others first hand but the puresound lost my complely.
I was considering changing out the tubes to military grade but decided the problem was too big to be solved by that. I wonder if I missed a trick there? I sent the amp back in the end.
I since bought a Rega Brio and am pleased that it will play any genre with ease. Though I am still to decide if it beats the old JVC in all areas. It definitely isn't as flabby in the base as the JVC and it is smooth and warm in the treble but there is still a lack of impact that both the JVC was sometimes capable of as was the puresound when it received the right signal.
I think the Rega will win in the end so far as I need to get away from the flabby JVC even though it is right in every single other respect. It has never once sounded thin and with the wharfedales it never once sounds harsh. The pure sound managed both harsh and thin but also deep and very clearly defined imagery on the right recording.
Does anyone think it was just the cheap Chinese valves that let the puresound down?
My dad has a Sugden a21 which I love the sound of, though it too can be a bit lean at times though never problematical so and I thought I had nearly got there with the puresound until the problem genres appeared.
Do I just have very expensive taste given that I am not blown over by the rega or the puresound in every respect?
The review of both of them say they are pretty much faultless for their price range.
It kind of annoys me that reviews of everything are pretty much all always good. "this amp is great for the price" means nothing to me, "does it sound great full stop" is what I want to know.
Should I just spend more on speakers? And if so is the puresound going going to out trump the rega in the end if it gets new tubes?
Any advice on any way forward would be nice.