Listening report: GOLD SOUND 2+ hours. Wonderful conversations with Ron Gold the owner, who educated me a lot. This is a great store. (Denver area). I auditioned Prima Luna EVO 400 ($5k) with a CD player and Spendor A4 ($3.5k) speakers. This was my first time listening to a tube amp for an extended period. I then auditioned Parasound P6 and A23+ separates. I did not have the chance to do a separate tube preamp with a solid state power amp. I found the bass in the PL setup to be rather muddy and lacking in articulation. It reached down deep enough, but there were moments of bass-chaos to my ears, too. The highs also sounded rolled off and there was a distinct lack of "crack" on drum hits. Vocals were luscious and the sound stage was delightful. All those deficits were repaired by the Parasound, the sound stage was still great, and while there wasn’t the same soft nuance in the vocals, there were fine. The highs were back.
All in all, I know something now — at least about these two pieces of gear — viz., that all tubes are not fitting my listening expectations. I do suspect a lot of this is because the first time we try something new, we judge based on old expectations rather than on the new benefits. Indeed, I imagine I was *blind* to a lot of the new benefits. I was trying to keep a very open mind about this, too — I didn’t go in expecting that the tubes would do what the solid state had always done. Still, it didn’t provide what I wanted in the kind of music I played — jazz, rock, classical.
Next step would be to continue the idea that a tube/solid state mix is worth a listen.
I do not care for Elac. Nor Spendor that much. The owner is down on Dyns (notoriously difficult to drive), but I still want to hear them again. Waiting on my Salk Wow1’s.