Walter told me at RMAF that the speakers DO NOT like tube amps.
The CS1 is a much better speaker and worth seeking out.
I am not a SS guy but I have to admit the sound coming from this setup with the amps and speakers held me in the room.
If you go with a tube pre it needs to be a fully balanced design so as to match up properly with the active XO, and W4S MC amp. Vincent just introduced a reasonbly priced fully balanced tube pre.
The DSP, I believe does an A/D conversion of the preamp out, does its DSP thing and then does a D/A conversion back for the power amps. I haven't heard the speakers, but wonder why the A/D D/A doesn't happen before the preamp or why it doesn't just take (can't just take) the digital output of a dac and do the manipulation there. Of course,that last scenario precludes analogue input. All in all, I am certainly intrigued by the speakers but I just don't understand--at least in the two reviews Ive read of them--the double conversion is talked up more as a really significant possible source of sound degradation--especially since the Behringer device they use sells for less that $500. If the chips in the device are good enough to preserve subtlities of preamp differences, then I would think they would be good enough to wipe out the need for any dac more expensive than it ( or the Behringer 24/96 without the xover functions)--and that would include the benchmark dac which is perceived as great and cheap. I understand that my response does nothing to answer your questions. I would be interested in how you tought these speakers sound. Thanks.
I can't see why you would go wrong with a pair of Red Wine Audio Signature 30.2 amplifiers, which should be synergistic with the CS2s. A Red Wine Audio Isabella preamp would be icing on the cake. I understand that Emerald Physics provide XLR-to-RCA cables.
Looking at the Emerald Physics website, it appears that they recommend at least 200 watts for the low frequency section of the CS2's, so the Red Wine amps would appear to be woefully underpowered. I would suggest contacting Walter Lieberman at Underwood HiFi for power recommendations. It looks like a high powered four channel amp would be ideal. Its not clear to me if the DSP functions of this speaker system would minimize the effects of a tube amp. Again, Walter can advise you here.
Thanks for the replies so far. I was asking more about the effect of the preamplifier, not the power amps.
Cruz123, I think you're right; although the CS2 has a 100dB sensitivity, which makes the RWA Sig30.2's 30W equivalent to about 400W@90dB, its dipole bass is of necessity heavily equalized; therefore the 200W recommendation looks about right. I still think the Sig30.2s would be perfect for the high frequencies (battery-powered solid stateless = less noise than tube amps, warm sound signature, variable gain).
The main factor in choosing a tube preamp, apart from the sound signature synergy with the speakers, is the output impedance of the preamp relative to the input impedance of the power amp. A traditional rule of thumb is: preamp output impedance should be at least equal to 100 times amp input impedance.
I used an ARC tube preamp with my Wyred4Sound amp and the combo was great. The Wyred4Sound amp has a special circuit which allows it to work well with the output impedances of tube preamps. I now use the Spectrum Ambrosia preamp (which Walter at Underwood recommends)because of its excellent MM/MC phono stage.
Hi Tasos1 and others on this thread;
I am finally about to pull the trigger on the CS2's and the W4S 125 and 250 stereo's after a number of months had passed since my 2 channel upgrade train derailed off the track about a year ago.
I am looking to combine my analog and multiple digital sources into a good preamp with a good inboard or outboard DAC so I stumbled upon the Peachtree Nova as a good inexpensive preamp with reportedly a killer DAC and with the built-in tube preamp to add, I hope, the right mix to the SS W4S amps. Any thoughts on this combination from CS2 owners who have posted their approval of SET amps and Tube Pres?
I look forward to a lively discussion,
I have used Atma-Sphere MA-1's on the both the tweeters and woofers of the CS2's with very good results. I have also used a McAlister PP-150 on the tweeter. So tubes can definitely be used with the CS2's.
The best combination I have tried to date is running a Spectron Musician 3 MK II SE amp on the woofers, with the Atma-Sphere MA-1's on the tweeter.
The issue with using tubes on the CS2's is that due to their sensitivity, they will easily pick up any noise coming from your tube amps. A little hum or buzz that would never be noticeable on a high 80's low 90's sensitivity speaker, can be VERY annoying with the CS2's.
As for the preamp, can't help too much there as I don't use one with my highly modified and upgraded DCX. However, I do recall that Clayton used the Modwright LS36.5 tubed preamp at RMAF 2007 when I first became enthralled with the CS2's...
Thanks for your input on your ownership with the CS2's. Hearing from owners with their experiences before actually purchasing a speaker that has no retailers from an audition perspective is immensely beneficial. To get the potential sonic benefits that these speakers can provide given their monetary expenditure is huge and very attractive for me as for others.
I was looking at the Spectrum amps when I was considering purchasing the MBL 121s and 116s, but I did not consider this amp for the CS2s. I was also looking at the a couple of the variations of the Modwright pres and may very well end up there. But given my current budget; I was trying to hit a couple of my audio hot spots on my wish list with a single purchase with the Peachtree Nova
As always; with the individuals who I have corresponded with on Audiogon as opposed to other audiophile sights; the information has been forthcoming and honest.
It is a pleasure to be in the midst of this level of expertise and experience with a huge amount of audio equipment from the relatively common place to the stratosphere.