I've had the Spectrons and would love the hear the DS450. From reports of others who have the Audio Reseach DS450, I bet the DS450 is a little warmer. Probably closer to my preference.
73 responses Add your response
" class D or I.C.E. for me same garbage, i simply don't believe in 500 watts power amps that weigh under 100 pounds just does'nt make sense to ME"
It is not question of faith to begin with.
Next, why won;t you avoid making comments in matters you have no understanding but beliefs instead.
Incidently, one of Spectron designers, guy who does voicing, also like full ribbon speakers and even own one
Sure, Mr, like and dislike whatever you wish. For the time being, it's still sort of a free country.
However, I'd urge you to know something about or at least go to the trouble of finding out about whatever it is you claim not to like. Not liking 'd' just because it's 'd' makes as much sense as liking 'a' just because. Good and bad examples of either / both certainly exist.
Hypex, for example, just revisited 'd' and came out with some new modules and SMPS to match.
International Rectifier makes amps for the OEM market. I've got one out in the garage for test.
B&O is of course the largest and best known.
Spectron? Well regarded and used in some very hi-end systems
AR. I don't see how they could release something as bad as apparently you think it MUST be, simply based on technology.
Other 'd' entries? I'm sure their must be. Some will, like Spectron and AR, be original designs, others use OEM modules from the likes of IR or B&O. Personally, I'd take it one at a time and try to remain open. That you can move 100 watts of 'a' amp unassisted only means you've been putting in plenty of time at the gym.
Freedom of speech implies having some idea WTF you're talkin' about. This freedom is both abridged by statute....(no screaming FIRE in a theater unless it IS on fire, for example) and good sense....like not advocating a return to women not voting or whatever.
When high end emporiums were accessible, it was possible to audition the latest technology. Now we have to learn as much as possible from discussions. In this case, I consider ALL discussion valid, including those who have never heard a Class "D" amp.
I swallowed the SS hype "hook line and sinker". I spent many years bragging about how much better the specs on my SS was as compared to those noisy expensive "tubes". It was not until my SS went "belly up", and I decided to discover why those "morons" were spending so much money on tubes. Score one for the morons, none for the genius.
No way will I repeat with Class "D", and at the same time I'll have to buy one in order to hear it. That creates a dilemma for this audiophile, and that's why I want Class "D" discussed until the cows come home; plus someone with that amp had a tweeter to blow. Now I've known amps to blow woofers, but never a tweeter because the crossover caps protect it.
Continue the discussion, the cows are in no hurry to come home.
Orpheus, I think part of the way out of your dillema is the audio club. Lots of people owning different stuff. you'll see what does or doesn't work in a short while.
I recently went to THE Show in Newport Beach ca. What an eye opener. While I am a SS guy, the tube stuff simply blew me away. If I had deep pockets, I'd be tempted.
I haven't heard the Spectron, but loved the ds450 stereo, on many speakers. Great control for those that need it, loads of current. Takes a long time to break in... Do not judge it new out of the box.
Been told by industry folks that using it with magnepans was the first time they got good bass out of those speakers-- for what that's worth.
For me, I'd go the old school route and use it with a tube preamp, ie arc ls27. Then it gives you everything you could want.
A great product, just use it correctly.
Hi this is in response to Magfan, first like you i love Maggies & all full range panels, my dislike of class D amplification was due to the FACT that i had not heard any that i liked until a few weeks ago, a friend invited me to listend to an amp that he had built, it was an Hypex N core NC-400 & SMPS-600,this one realy sounded good and i have the intention of having a pair of mono blocks built, that's how much i liked it, i'm no fool when it sounds good it sounds good no matter what the Class - tubes or solid state.
The core problem with many Class D amps on the market such as Bel Canto, Nuforce, Red Dragon, Hypex, CIA, Wyred4Sound
and other light weight, cool running switching designs is that they are wall dependent, needing to rely on dedicated 15 or 20 amp a.c. lines since they lack large power supplies from a large bank of capacitors found in A and A/B
amps which sound better for that reason. This was the problem with the Carver Magnetic Field Amplifier back in the 80's, which was also wall dependent, which was nothing more than a glorified modified block transformer. Rowland and Levinson use switching devices but those amps run very hot. As far as a true Class D design, Spectron, Digital Amplifier Company and their Cherry amps and Audio Research, currently have the largest power supplies on the market for class D amps. But the Audio Reseach DS450M is by far the current KING of all class D amps worldwide. Why? It is the first class D amp that is a complete analog design, taking a true A/B amp with an integrated switching device. Their switching device is a in-house design they have a patent on. The DS450M has the largest power supply in the world out of any class D amp, much larger than Spectron or DAC'S Cherry amps. The main power supply of the DS450M has 260,000 microfarads of power from the main capacitor banks, and if you included the power supply from the secondary caps and the transformer, runs over 300,000 microfarads. If you want the best musical performance from a class D amp as the DS450M, don't waste your time on the 12 to 18 pound class D amps that will never provide the large current reserves since they lack large capacitor banks which is critically necessary to get the best performance from a full range speaker. The DS450M will drive 1 ohm loads without breaking a sweat and runs cool.
"The core problem with many Class D amps on the market such as Bel Canto, Nuforce, Red Dragon, Hypex, CIA, Wyred4Sound
and other light weight, cool running switching designs is that they are wall dependent, needing to rely on dedicated 15 or 20 amp a.c. lines since they lack large power supplies from a large bank of capacitors found in A and A/B"
m or mkII versions of Bel Cantos have a custom power board as an enhancement over stock IcePower modules.
Not sure if Class Ds would benefit from similar power supply design as Class A/B. Large banks of caps there would certainly help defeat the small package aspect.
Maybe Kijanki or others with more expertise in Class D amp design could clarify?
I do know that my Bel Canto ref1000m's draw a lot of power when turned on initially for a few secs. If I turn both on within a few seconds of each, my house in-wall circuit breaker will blow. 2-3 secs in between and no problem. Also no problem at all once the music starts playing at any volume. Not the case with some Class A/B amps I have owned prior.
My guess is that the significantly higher efficiency of CLass D amps means smaller power supplies with fewer/less caps are more viable since less power must be drawn to deliver a particular output power level. More caps might add cost with little added value to results I suspect compared with less efficient amps.
I wonder if the naysayers of class D amps have given them sufficient break-in time. I have a Wyred integrated which I DID NOT like at first, then after connecting a tuner and putting over 300 hours on it, it really opened up. The cold, edgy sound was replaced by a involving, open soundstage. And yes, I believe it is on the warm side as well. I've owned tubes for years.
The Audio Research DS450M is the first of its kind, a true high powered A/B Amp with a
class D switching module that will forge a new path for the future of amplification. The amp idle's at 55 watts and is as equally efficient as any Class D amp on the market. What irritates the hell out of me is the very high prices for some class D amps, but not all, considering the modest amount of electronics under the hood of some of the 12 and 15 pound amps. The B&O ice amp that is in the Wyred4Sound SX-1000 and the Bel Canto REF1000M's has a wholesale cost of $400.00. The biggest rip off coming around the corner is the new Mola-Mola M1's coming out next year from the Hypex/Ncore company. Bruno Putzeys, the owner and designer, came over from the Netherlands early last week and brought his Mola-Mola's to GTT Audio in New Jersey to finalized the design. Bill Parish, the owner, informed me on Friday that Bruno has set the retail price at $15,000 a pair. Phew!! What a burn. Two dinky 18 pound switching amps for $15K a pair!! Don't think that price will fly with Audiophiles. The Audio Research DS450M's are a steal at $10K a pair and weighing 75 pounds a pair due to their massive power supply and large custom built block transformers.
The thing with the good Class D amps is that the performance rivals others, they are small, they are efficient, and do not get very warm. Plus massive amounts of power to drive most any speaker.
Are the prices high? Definitely in some cases. THat's part of high end audio. One is actually paying largely for teh innovation and the benefits derived in the case of Class D beyond just paying extra for boutique type products. Nothing new there! Over time, I would expect price/performance to trend positively.
Also it is worth noting that Wyred and Bel Canto does add useful technology to the stock IcePower modules which at least helps justify the cost somewhat. Wyred adds an input stage that makes the amps tube pre-amp friendly and BC adds that plus a custom power board. These are things that only audio enthusiasts (like me) would care enough about to pay extra for.
WHen I bought my ref1000ms here on A'gon, I had the seller actually open them up and show me a picture of the innards to make sure that I was getting what I was paying extra for.
I would really like to hear the new Audio Research DS450M. Maybe it is a possible next step type higher efficiency amp for thirstier speakers than say Icepower to-date.
Will have to stop by my local ARC dealer where I bought my ARC pre-amp to see/hear.
A beefy power supply done well can never hurt, right?
The description of the sound it produces on the ARC sight is not unlike what I hear with the Bel Cantos, which is quite good. Maybe these can push the edge further, albeit perhaps with some additional size, weight, bulk, power consumption and cost compared to Icepower for example.
Gregm..LOL..No..I do not market or sell any Audio products
at all. I'm not in the retail business. My "ad copy" style
of writing is a habit I'll never shake resulting from being in the publishing business for fifteen years. I'm just an older dude that has an intense passion for music as everyone else on Gon. Having been a hard core Audiophile
since 1975, I get excited when I see a high end company moving forward with an innovative approach to conventional
amp designs and I'm very impressed that Audio Research is the first to come out with a class D amp with the largest power supply on the market. It has been over due for quite some time and I have been hoping for many years that someone would eventually produce this kind of Class D amp.
FYI..I spoke to Eric at Audio Perfection store in Minneapolis, fifteen minutes from Audio Research in Plymouth. Audio Perfection is a Bell Canto and Audio Research Dealer. Eric's take on the Bel Canto REF1000M
and the Audio Research DS450M is this.." Both amps have outstanding sound but the DS450M has much more body and weight with individual instruments"...
Thr ongoing Sea of evolving Class D technology is hard to keep up with since new products keep popping up several times a year. Regarding the ARC DS450M, I discovered in threads during the past week a problem with the amp that could be a deal breaker. Buzzing transformers. I spoke to Stereo Design in San Diego last week informing me they have experienced this as well with the larger ARC tube amps in recent months. The DS450M uses a block transformer which are much harder to shield than a toroidal transformer. I decided to go back and check out a Class D company I forgot about, D-Sonic in Houston and discovered on their site a new Class D technology their using. I can't believe that the owner, Dennis Deacon, called me on Sunday afternoon. Dennis explained that he has done away with using the B&O Ice Amps, and is using the most adavanced Class D amps on the market, the new SOA Class D core Amps. These amps are far superior to B&O, Hypex, or Spectron. No more dry sound, much better deeper bass, a more fluid, fuller and richer mid-range, and very smooth high frequencies. Read the recent review in 6Moons on the D-Sonic M2-1500M amp using this new technology. Very good photos of the interior. The SOA amp completely eliminates all RFI/EMI problems, so your Magnum Dynalab FM tuner is good to go. Dennis states these new amps are currently the very best that Class D has too offer.
Ok, here is my 2 cents or IMHO.
First, the Mola-Mola are much less expansive then many other high end amps, many costing, on the low side $30,000, and into the low $100,000 mark. The new top end Classe, Bryston and others start at $16,000-20,000 and go up from there.
No, do not get me wrong, $14,000 is not cheap but it is not outrageous.
Also, just because some class D amps are light weight or have, what you can see, only a few parts, does not mean there is not a lot of R&D and Tech behind the design.
Have you heard a Hypex Ncore based amp (assembled properly)? Before I give you my take let me comment on the BelCanto, ARC and Spectron amps.
Of the Bel Canto amps that I have heard the Mono Blocks are the only ones I liked. The also seem to work better with some speakers, but not others. But when paired right they sound really nice.
The Spectron I liked a lot. It seems to play well with more speakers. Again I liked the mono version more but the stereo version had really good sound also.
The ARC, well, not so much. I have always liked their products and was looking foreword to their venture into class D. I thought if ARC was coming out with their own design it must be great. Now, I only heard the stereo version but I did not like it at all. I have heard others over the years describe the sound of Class D as "under glass" and after hearing the ARC I could relate to that statement. And I had high hopes of walking out owning it after the demo. Just my opinion.
I have heard the Ncore NC400 DIY amp and the Ncore NC1200 OEM.
The NC400 DIY mono blocks were in a word "WOW". They blew away other OEMs from $10,000 down. Now these were in solid cases and quality parts and vibration control. I heard them also in cheap stuff and they sound very good but much better "tricked out" and worth the extra cost.
The NC1200 OEM mono blocks were in a word, "MUSICAL". They are true "game changers". Fantastic amps. I bought a pair and I have been toe taping with a smile as I am listening to the best I have heard my system sound. I own B&W 802D speakers and the are very hard to drive and get the best out of them. They SING now. If you thought you heard these speakers before you have not till you hear them with the NC1200. The NC1200 I bought has two binding post outputs per mono block and I bi-amped the B&W 802D and WOW, did I tell you WOW! And yes I have bi-wired and with amps that have way more watts but the NC1200, WOW.
By the way they play well with just about any speaker type I know of. And yes I tried with friends, planar, horns, electrostatics etc.
The OEM I heard and bought are the Veritas by Merrill Audio. So all my comments on the NC1200 are only based on the Veritas.
They blow away amps costing many times their cost and that is also the opinion of the same people who have sold their $30-50,000 amps to buy the Veritas.
The Mola-Mola amps, IMHO, are true game changers and they probably have some tech they will add of their own and make the difference in price justifiable, unless the extra cost is for the dealers. Then we might see a MK II at a higher price in a few months to a year.
If you can get a chance to hear the Veritas in your system or in someone else's run do not walk, you will not be sorry you did. Just make sure you are ready to have a new pair of amps in your system.
I have no affiliation, financial interest or compansation in Hypex or Merrill Audio. Just a fan of how great they sound.
HiFial..I mentioned in another thread recently of the new Hypex Mola-Mola M1 mono amps coming out next spring. Weigh around fifteen pounds each. Bruno Putzeys, the owner/designer of Hypex, came over to New Jersey from the Netherlands just over two weeks ago to do the final Beta testing on the amps
at Bill Parish's GTT Audio store. Took two days for the final adjustments. Bill informed me the retail price is set at $15K a pair. Phew!! One thing that really impressed me in the review I read several days ago in 6Moons on the D-Sonic M2-1500M amps is that the review concluded stating "Some may find the D-Sonic amps too organic for their tastes"...Too organic?..thats exactly what has been missing with class D amps..is a very natural organic character..its about time..
I wish I had the chance to meet Bruno and hear the new Mola-Mola amps to see how they compare to the Veritas that I own. Though I can not afford the cost of the Mola-Mola right now.
Have not heard the new D-Sonic but now I will search for them to hear. I agree that "organic" should be a good thing that most amps should have but maybe too much of a good thing makes it bad. They say too much is not good for you. Maybe it is dark or slow when he says it is "too organic". Or maybe he can not let go of "class D" having to be inferior to class A/A/B.
If you want "organic" with transparency, speed, micro and macro detail, dynamics-both at low and high volumes, timbre and tone that is lifelike, control over your speakers like no other, no added color and dead quite you owe yourself a listen to the Veritas. I know Merrill has been doing home demos like some other Internet only companies or he might be able to set up a listen at a nearby owners house.
Not sure where you live but I believe he is going to show at the upcoming Audio Show in NYC in April.
I'm of the opinion that class d amps in general these days have raised the
bar on price/performance possibilities. Best results require careful
speaker matching, pretty much as is always the case.
I am really hard pressed to fault the pairing of the bel canto ref1000m
monoblocks with either pair of my ohm walsh series 3 speakers. I can
cite shortcomings with either my dynaudio or triangle monitors that i
would attribute mainly to their small size, though both still sound quite
good as small monitors go. .
One additional item I neglected to add..when I spoke to Dennis Deacon with D-Sonic a few days ago, he mentioned their are currently seven Class-D platforms being used globally which includes the B&O ICE, Nuforce, Hypex, Spectron, and other's, and hes listened and evaluated all of them, and states his amps are the newest and most advanced Class-D technology and by far the most musical and natural sounding Class-D amps he has ever heard. No way in hell will he divulge the Designer and manufacturer. Thats about as likely as getting the secret to the Coca-Cola formula. He is the first in the country to use this new technology.
What you say is true for most amps regardless of Class.
But, as I stated above the Veritas has made all types of speakers sound better. There may be ones that will not play well but I have not seen it yet.
Through other Audiophiles I know it has been tried on all your typical and not so typical speakers and from low to high Sensitivity and Impedance. They never broke a sweat.
To say it shocked most of the owners of the speakers is putting it mildly.
Well unless he received an Ncore NC1200 from Hypex or listened to both of the only two OEM Ncore NC1200 in the USA I do not think he can say that. But that is still a bias statement coming from a competing company. I have heard and owned many other Class D and I can tell you that the NCore NC1200 is in another Class. The Acoustic Imagery version in my opinion has some design issues and is not a good example of how well the Ncore NC1200 can sound. I am not saying that the Veritas or the Ncore NC1200 is the only ones capable of great sound.
Hifial..Dennis with D-Sonic never specifically referred to the NC1200, but to Hypex in general. There has been several
companies for years in the States using Hypex amps which includes Channel Islands and the Genesis Reference amps out of Seattle. Genesis does more extensive mods with Hypex than anyone else which includes a large separate power supply with a beefy toroidal transformer and capacitor bank. Their custom additions and circuit mods is the best I've seen to date with a Hypex platform. I spoke to Merrill in November regarding his Veritas amps and he mentioned he does not provide interior photos of his amps fearing that design engineers will copy his platform. How silly. What he's really saying is that there is not enough meat and potatoes under the hood to justify the high retail
price of $10K a pair. Heck, for that money, the amp should come with either balanced or single ended inputs, which it does not. Balanced ony. You can order the Genesis amps with either balanced or single ended inputs. I have seen close up pics of the Hypex NC1200 amp and the Ncore power supply. You can hold either in one hand. Very small. There's not enough there electronically in terms of parts or power supply to justify the outrageous high retail prices. I think that the Mola-Mola M1 amps coming out this year will be a hard sell at $15K a pair, and they also come with balanced inputs only. My sense is that the D-Sonic M2-600M mono amps at $1950.00 a pair, utilizing the new Class D SOA core technology is the best bang for the buck and put out a whopping 1200 watts into 4 ohms and come with both balanced and single ended inputs.
Audiozen, You said all class D and Hypex, not just some of the Hypex. My remarks are again just on the NC1200.
Your assumption is totally wrong as Merrill has added his own "tweaks/special sauce" as they say to the Veritas. And no I am not at privilege to discuss and I do not know all of them but they are there. He has no desire to assist his competition. It is easy to call him silly but I do not see you putting your money were you mouth is.
The reason that the NC1200 only has an XLR input is it sounds better by XLR and if a RCA is added then it degrades the sound of the amp.
I do not understand way it is so important that the NC1200 has to have a RCA input when it is easy to use an adapter.
And if it bothers you so much then do not buy it.
So your opinion is in order to justify a price point a product MUST have SIZE, WEIGHT, MANY PARTS, BIG POWER SUPPLY, but not GREAT SOUND to justify the price. I would think great sound should be the only point not how the manufacture satisfied the bias of old school thought.
So if I put in a bunch of parts and made it large and heavy but they did not alter the quality of the great sound but were there for show, that would be OK then for you. You see a bunch of parts and size, they do not add to or alter the sound, but now it justifies the price.
This a new tech just like the D-Sonic is. So why do you think IT MUST HAVE all the add ons of the past Class D to sound great. You have no idea all the tech that is behind the NC1200. It is not just what is built into the product.
The NC1200 puts out a whopping 1200 watts into 2ohms but so what if it is 2 or 4 ohms if it does not sound any better for it.
You have no reason to put down a product that you have not heard but from your remarks I doubt it will matter.
To end this I must say again I have no financial or otherwise with Hypex or Merrill Audio.
If you have noticed I have said that the D-Sonic looks interesting and I would love to hear it. I have not questioned the integrity of the manufacture or the quality of the sound or product based on price or components or what he did or did not add to it. In my book the quality of sound is what matters. So until you HEAR a Veritas and a Mola-Mola M1 do you think you have an opinion.
End of discussion.
I agree that Class A (not so much A/B) can sound great and is hard to beat.
But after hearing the new NCore NC1200 by Hypex (done right) IMHO Class A has a fight on its hands. I have seen DIE HARD Class A / SS-Tube Audiophiles sit slacked jaw hearing the Veritas in their systems. Then they start bobbing their heads and toes a tapping with big smiles on their faces. I am talking about Pass Labs, ARC, Lamm, Mcintosh, Atma-Sphere, Krell, Melos, and other well known names and not so well known.
And I love the sound of a Class A Pass Labs mono amp.
I have had High current and Massive power supplies amps in my system and not one has made my hard to drive B&W 802D SING from top to bottom. They sound like a different speaker. And everyone remarks how they sound so much better. I never ask, they say it on their own.
And yes some were the names above.
Dave, put aside what Class the amp is and get a demo. It will put a smile on your face. (but please NOT a NC400 DIY amp)
Hifial..I am not putting down any company. Other companies using Hypex amps selling in the same price range, do much more upgrades than Merrill. Merrill adds his own flavor? The only upgrades done to the Veritas using Hypex, is wiring. 10 awg Cardas litz wire to the power board. 11 awg Cardas litz bi-wire for power transfer from the board and 19 awg Cardas wire to the input connectors and 14 awg internal ground wire and solder mounting instead of screws. Thats it.
There are no additional p.c. boards or added power supplies or larger transformers that
you will find in amps from Genesis and Channel Islands using Hypex amps.
I called back Bill Parish at GTT Audio four days after Bruno left from Beta testing The Mola-Mola M1's at GTT.
Bill informed me the sound is magnificent and the most musical Class D amp he has heard to date. Bruno is also coming out this year with his new Mola-Mola Preamp that is his own design. It appears at the current stage of where Class D technology is at, that the Hypex 1200 and the SOA Core amp used by D-Sonic, are the two most advanced amps currently on the market.
All you did is recite the the press on the Merrill Audio website. YOU make a BIG assumption that is all there is too it.
Why is it you do not make the same claims and statements for the Acoustic Imagery NC1200 based amps and the Mola-Mola M1. Their press tells you even less of what is in their amps.
No company HAS to list ALL of their assembly.
Again you single out Veritas without ever hearing it and take things out of context to be bias. You also compare an older design of Hypex that Genesis used, the UCD, to the NCore NC1200. They may be similar but the UCD responds well to being highly customized while the Ncore does not. Also the Genesis Monos only sounded best with all the extras and sold for a lot more then the Veritas. And again if the Veritas sounds better then the older Genesis...What is your point. The better sound WINS!
How many Hypex Ncore NC1200 based amps are FOR SALE RIGHT NOW. Two! And in the spring the Mol-Mola M1 for 50% more then the other two.
Also earlier you said how Bill said the D-Sonic blew all the other Class D amps away and now the Ncore 1200 is the best he has heard. And you had nothing but disdain for the Mola-Mola for their pricing because there is nothing to their design and in the chases. You seem to want it both ways when it suits you.
I am tired of your baiting and nonsensical postings.
I am sure you will post some other remarks.
Hifial..you got lost and need to put your glasses back on. Nowhere at any time did I state anywhere in this entire thread that Bill Parish said that the D-sonic blew all the other Class-D amps away. I stated Dennis Deacon's comments
comparing his SOA Class-D Core amps to others. The technical upgrades I mentioned are a combination of whats described on the Merrill site and the many emails of technical details I received from Merrill back in November.
Merrill also offered me to Rep his product and he would pay
me $ 100.00 per listening session to any potential buyer. You must've accepted that offer since your replies sound like hard sell. Besides, I'm getting sick and tired of Audiophiles in the States constantly defending European designers as superior to American designers. What a load of crap. America and Japan still make the best designed and best sounding Audio gear on the planet and our Audio design engineers in the States are second to none.
One important technical item..Dennis Deacon with D-Sonic, in our conversation this past Sunday, explained the technical reason why he dumped the B&O ICE amps, is that their is a flaw with B&O ICE and other Class-D amps in the upper mid-range and high frequencies, that they have feed back problems in those upper bands which can compromise smoothness and greater weight in those areas, which is why
some Class-D amps can sound dry, cool, and slightly hard in the upper frequencies. Dennis claims that the new SOA Class-D core amps he's using with his own mod's added, have zero feedback through the entire frequency spectrum
which is why he states, as well as 6Moons, that his amps come closer to tube amps then other Class-D amps on the market resulting in a more refined and smoother high frequency and mid-range frequency performance. I assume that Hypex has addressed this problem with
Bruno's new SMPS 1200 amp, which has positive results. If the new SOA core amp from D-Sonic sounds as good and performs as well as Dennis and 6Moons claims, then its a no brainer to go for
the SOA core amp over Hypex since the cost is 80% less.
I heard the new NAD digital amp and was surprised just how good it sounded...I'm stickin with Class A/High Current designs however. Based on what I hear today, the 90's were "The Golden Years of High Fidelity"...gear does not sound more musical today than it did back then and it often sounds worse:)
Dave b_your right about that. My first amp back in the 70's
was the Sansui AU7900 integrated at 75 watts per channel. One of the finest sounding amps I ever owned. Had it hooked
up to a large pair of Advents and a Dual 701 turntable with
a Shure V15 cartridge. Warm, rich, lush sound with a full mid-range. Ran very hot. You could fry an egg on the back.
The rise of the digital age changed the sonic character forever of high end separates. I would say the late 70's was the golden years of high fidelity. With half speed
cut master vinyl records from Mobile Fidelity and Telarc, and advanced improvements in cartridges and turntables and cables. It was the peak of true analog.
Mapman..here's some useless trivia..The first retail CD player came out in early fall of 1982, the Sony CDP-101, followed by the Philips Magnavox players that came out that
November.. CD's started showing up in the stores in fall selling for $ 25.00 a pop. Phew!! However, the very first disc players ever made was in 1980. Pioneer that year bought out a company that invented and made the first laser
disc movie player. Pioneer slapped their badge on the player and were sold under their name. Denon also in 1980, made the worlds first CD player. It was a test player that was for studio use only.
BTW, I suspect average sound quality for most listeners on various devices including portable is better today than back then, but the frontiers of hi fi/sound quality have moved forward, as has the cost of "high end sound" in many cases, plus also high fidelity is no longer a novelty, rather something that is assumed by most in accordance with their individual expectations, so you just do not hear about it anymore very much outside of audiophile type circles.