Resolution S50. Closer to neutral but more warm than analytic. Actually I would classify it as accurate and musical. Norma is there too, but with more power, bass control, and openness.
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More "forgiving" etc. is a sonic signature result derived from a system synergy alchemy forged by ALL of
- speakers and
- cables (again, all of ICs, speaker and power)
- listening environment acoustics
To attempt to bifurcate this into just one component (fuhgeddaboud a specific brand within that component class itself) ain't gonna get you there.
SYSTEM synergy matters - big-time. Because of the above listed input factors, Just because Brand X that sounds "good" in one guy's system, is of NIL assurance that it will perform in yours.
For these reasons, I wouldn't recommend any blind purchase choice based on any blog response here that are just anecdotal and heavily biased value judgements pushing their own faves that ignore the factors above.
Do your own homework that includes personal auditions (in-home loaners from a quality bricks and mortar dealer or fellow hobbyist amigo preferred)
Akg_ca: I take all of your points and do know exactly what you're talking about. If I lived nearer to more than one store, and if I had a network of audio buddies, it would all be easier.
There are early DDD recordings made by Deutsche Grammophon that are simply unlistenable on certain rigs, but not on others.
All that being said, when you audition a system and then swap out just one (any one) of the components, you often hear some kind of change. The nature of the change will be described on one or more of a number of axes: more/less space, imaging, depth, fullness of timbre, jump factor, etc. etc. One of those axes, for me, is "forgiving" vs. "relentless". I've heard it, and I've used those adjectives.
Well said Akg_ca. A sampling of different cables in my system showed quite a spread from very open and revealing to rolled off and euphonic.
However, if one has tried that and knows which cables they wish to retain, the same can be said for amps (or speakers and source) but it's a more costly affair.
In my system, I settled on a Marantz PM-15S2b over a Burson PI-160 based on what cabling I kept out of my small inventory. Those cables interfered the least with the sound, revealing the differences upstream. Having said that, the Burson came closest to a very good tube amp in that it had plenty of detail and differentiation but had an effect that's hard to describe other than to say it edged out the Marantz on an emotional level.
Going from silver to copper cables made it even more so. It's really a mixed bag.
And don't get me started on speakers. Happiness can be but a cable or two away.
All the best,
I can't believe that the word hasn't gotten around yet, but there are a lot of people buying gear on Audiogon because they don't have a friendly dealer nearby who will let them borrow a few integrateds to take home and compare for a few weeks. And many of us don't have a group of audio buds we can borrow equipment from.
Yes that is the best way to buy gear but it is not an option for many. There is no reason to jump all over the OP. He is buying gear the way most of us do. We do as much research as we can and then buy a used component and try it out in our systems. If it doesn't work out we sell it, learn from our experience and try again.
And people wonder why we have trouble getting people interested in high-end audio.
(1) In-home auditions:
Dealer loaners are usually end-of-business day Saturday to be returned on Monday .It should be enough time to evaluate the gear .
The dealers need to manage their inventory on hand and do not have the gear to place on loan for longer periods.
(2) Lug in your speakers or source or both to the dealer or to a buddy for an audition
This is more frequent.... More difficult and clumsy ..... sure, but better than a blind purchase gamble with a high probability of guessing wrong .
This hobby has no magic bullet solution. It requires lotsa homework and that is precisely why it is frequently referred as a journey and not a destination.
(A) Decide if the rest of your system is a keeper (for now).
(B) Asuuming "yes" for this example, then first read the reviews about, say, your speakers and/or attend the audio expos to see what the distributor pairs up with them.
(C) inquire at a your local dealer ( or a listed one if you have no local one ) to get their suggestion
This will boil down the many available otherwise blind choices a short list to navel-gaze
A mild shortcut :
List the rest of your gear and float a balloon here or on Canuckaudiomart to ask what other hobbyists run with and again solicit some blog suggestions to stress test further in this winding road to OZ