Power amp with XLR inputs to drive Omen Dirty Weekend Mk.II

Discussion in 'Power Amps' started by SoundSound, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. SoundSound

    SoundSound Rando

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    Hello everybody!

    I need your advice on a solid-state power amp with balanced inputs to work in concert with Primare PRE30 and Zu Audio Omen Dirty Weekend Mk.II loudspeakers in a modest music-only two-channel Hi-Fi setup, please. Would prefer to stay up to 1K (flexible). I am looking for quality, not quantity, watts: usually I listen to classics and vocal jazz at no more than 65 - 70 dB level.

    Some "oldies" currently on my radar :
    Exposure Dual Mono Power Amplifier XXVIII
    Myryad MA240
    Classe DR-9 (not sure about their CA series)

    Anything from Simaudio, Bryston, Krell, ML, YBA or other Grands you would recommend, please? I wish I could afford Pass Labs XA series amps...

    Should I also consider ChiFi (I am a bit reluctant here, to tell you the truth)?

    Not sure about the newer staff: almost got myself a Parasound A23, but just in time read an excellent review from @purr1n, which stopped me from doing such a BIG mistake. Thank you very kindly, @purr1n!

    Please chime in!
     
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    You don't need anything with big power with those speakers. Look at a quality power amp 30W or less. 3-5W would be even. Maybe @sphinxvc has some suggestions. Take at look at the AliExpress JLH amp I reviewed here.
     
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  3. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    On the down and cheap side the Indeed chip amps are okay, but if you have some coin, a new Dynaco ST-70 homage kit or built sounds really nice.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    We should get a Dynaco ST-70 on the loaner program? What do you guys think?
     
  5. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  6. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    I'm embarassed to say I've been dabbling with douchey multi-thousand dollar amps so this is probably only somewhat useful: I would go find a DIY fleawatt like Oddwatt, Bottlehead, or the Amp Camp Amp from Pass. My auto-recommend is still the Vidar for most of my friends in the sub-$1K budget, but in your case I might also wait for the rumored, low-wattage Class A version.
     
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  7. bobboxbody

    bobboxbody Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    Spent a few hours with this amp driving a pair of Tekton Lore speakers, similar to the Zu Omens. It was more than enough power for high volume listening, dynamics and imaging were great.
     
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  8. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    Which version? The Hafler reboot or the VTA/Tubes4hifi that bixby linked?
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2018
  10. bobboxbody

    bobboxbody Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    I missed the SS and balanced parts when recommending the STA70. Seems like a First Watt Aleph J or J2 would fit the bill nicely, and help tame the treble of the Omens. You'd probably have to grab a used Aleph J to stay closer to budget, or a clone for under. Demo unit J2 on Renohifi now for 2.5k. I've only heard these amps at audio shows, but they've always sounded great and are balanced amps with quality watts.
     
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  11. khragon

    khragon Acquaintance

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    What do you think re: the Omen DW MkII? I'm considering getting myself a set. I'm also listen to mostly vocal centric music, mostly female vocal.
     
  12. SoundSound

    SoundSound Rando

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    Thank you very kindly, dear friends!
    I read it once, I read it twice and still could not believe it... Is this little amp REALLY that good?!
    Do you know, by any chance, if there are any good ChiFi power amps with fully balanced signal path (for example, something like this Burmester 909, which is heavily biased into Class A), please? I just realized balanced inputs are not necessary attached to the circuits with balanced signal path... Sorry, I am just a newbie!
    Do you mean this one, please? 0.7% distortion at 1 Watt does seem a bit high... Has anybody had a chance to audition this PASS design?
    Any additional info you could please share with us? Specs, delivery date...
    I like the SOUND of his XA series power amps very much indeed, but 2.5K is over my budget, unfortunately...
    I am happy with their delivery overall, esp. female vocals.
    Totally agree here: Class A is in order. Hence my quest for a fully balanced low-wattage Class A power amplifier!

    Please chime in!
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Balanced amps are going to go for a premium (balanced all the way through means x2 parts of SE) and I think you are going to have a hard time finding something that meets your budget. Your PRE30 has a ton of gain 16db at balanced outputs, so a high power amp Burmeister 909 with another 36db of gain and your Omens having ~99db efficiency might not be a good idea.

    All the amps you've mentioned are 100W+. Forget all the watts. What you really want to be looking for is a high quality flea powered amp for those Omens. Lower powered tube integrates: SET or a PP with good bass control depending upon your preferences. You could try looking at the Pass A30 clones, but no idea if they are any good. And they are not going to have balanced inputs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
  14. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

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    I owned a pair of Omens about 10 years back. They're more power hungry than the specs would suggest.
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    At 12 ohms impedance, and OP's budget and musical preferences, I'd recommend a ~$1000 PP integrated tube amp and lose the must-have-balanced hangup. A good ST-70 implementation might just fit the bill. Just don't go Chi-Fi PP tube amp, as many of them are of questionable sonics.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
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  16. SoundSound

    SoundSound Rando

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    Thank you very kindly, as always, dear experts!

    I see two alternatives: tubed and SS designs.

    Tubed:

    Is this the one you would recommend, please?
    And SS alternative:

    I understand each Amp Camp Amp kit from Pass can be configured as a fully balanced mono-block with twice the power of the standard ACA, i.e. 2x8W into 8 Ohms per channel. This way I can get a fully balanced solid-state class A power amp for $634 (plus assembly)! A few questions in this regard:
    1. Will the distortion remain at 0.7% at 1 Watt in this case? How would you compare the distortion (both in terms of its absolute value and spectrum) to what
      would provide?
    2. Will two ACA mono-blocks provide enough power? Does speaker impedance matter: 12 Ohms vs. 8 Ohms, e.g.?
    3. Is my Primare PRE30 balanced preamplifier suitable to work with ACA mono-blocks?
    Which way to go? Why? Sorry about all my multiple silly questions, but I really need your help...
     
  17. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    When you are asking here ''should I go for balanced amp?'' the commons sense answer is 'no'.
    For hi-fi use balanced scheme for amplifiers has very little merit. SE amplifiers can be just as good sounding, if not better.
    When you know you want balanced for some real specific reasons, then consider it.

    The nature of balanced is more pragmatic than sound quality related.
    You get more gain, which you probably don't need (more hiss/hum).
    You get compatibility with 5% of preamps and sources out there.
    In case of amplifiers configurable to bridged balanced you get up to 4x the power.

    If you really must use balanced outs of your pre and SE power amp, then you could use a balanced to SE small signal transformer.
    I bet the Pass monoblock will sound at least decent; but I guess nobody here have tried the ACA.
    When you decide to sell a diy audio device, it might turn out to be a challenge, despite 'Pass' written on it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
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  18. SoundSound

    SoundSound Rando

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    I must confess in recent auditions I was unable to tell balanced from SE (level matched) and now am just looking for a musical integrated, as you, dear experts, suggested quite some time ago.
    I was sceptical about anything with "toobs". I am no more since I have auditioned Finalé F-3008 Stereo Integrated Amplifier: what a beauty, with mesmerizing, captivating sound...

    Thank you, dear friends, for steering me to the right direction!
     

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