Solid-State Power Amp Adventures

Discussion in 'Power Amps' started by purr1n, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. ufospls2

    ufospls2 Friend

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    So I've picked up a new DAC/Amp combo, the Boulder 866. I've had the Kinki EX-M1 for..2 years now? I still really like the Kinki tbh, it does what it does well really well I feel, though it does have some drawbacks. As does most gear, I suppose.

    Anyhow, I'll be putting this through its paces with both the Susvara and AB-1266TC, as well as my speakers. I think I will probably sell the Kinki, and eventually try to get something for my speaker set up, or headphone set up, depending on where the Boulder ends up full time. That remains to be seen.

    Just using a topping for D/D conversion currently, as I needed something ASAP from Amazon so I could use the DAC portion. so I will probably look at getting the Matrix XSPDIF2 at some point.

    Initial impressions are the DAC is seriously impressive for a built in unit. Normally the built in units seem sorta meh, and like they were a convenience factor after thought. This DAC actually sounds great to me, though I suppose that may be some sort of synergy being made by the same people as the amp section, not sure.

    In the small amount of listening I've done thus far, it strikes me as not cold, not warm. Very "neutral" but not sharp and bright as hell sounding. Very dense and solid sonic picture. I'll report back about the sonics in more depth once I have a lot more time on it.

    @iFi audio You asked what I would be replacing the Kinki with, this is it :)

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    :eek::eek::eek:

    Holy moly, that's a big statement amp right there! Kinda weird that it doesn't have direct usb input though. Did you find a Canadian dealer for that?

    What do you plan to replace the Topping DDC with?
     
  3. ufospls2

    ufospls2 Friend

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    Probably the Matrix XPDIF2? Though they recently released another new XSABRE3, so I'm wondering if XSPDIF2 is on the way out as well. Perhaps not, hard to tell.

    The Topping is doing the job for now though. The Boulder does have USB input, but only for USB drives (USB-A input, 4 of them) with music on them. As I like using my computer (laptop) as my source, I couldn't use the USB inputs. Thus, the toppng is working for now. Going into the AES input via an adapter currently, but I'll give the optical a shot too, and see if I prefer one or the other.
     
  4. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    It's quite the replacement indeed, and most likely a "bit" better than your Kinki :D
     
  5. ufospls2

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  6. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Has anyone here put ears on the VTV Purifi amps? If so, any good?
     
  7. AdvanTech

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    I have a VTV Hypex NC502MP sitting around that I used to use for bi-amping bass duties. It's one of the cheapest options for these kinds of standard class D modules in a nice enough case. It does the trick.

    I've read that the Purifi modules measure better than Hypex NCore, but don't sound as 'good' to some ears/companies. I emailed Nord Acoustics a long time ago about why they still considered their NC1200 amps to be their flagship when they offer Purifi modules and they said they just think it sounds better, but will nonetheless offer Purifi to anyone that wants to pay for them.
     
  8. Collusion

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    Lindemann 882 review

    lindemann 882.jpg


    Does the name Lindemann ring a bell? It’s a German hifi manufacturer, completely unrelated to Rammstein (or its vocalist Till Lindemann). Some years ago they used to manufacture many types of products, like speakers, full sized integrated amplifiers, pre/power amplifiers and streamers, but nowadays they’ve limited their product portfolio mainly to more compact audio electronics. The device in question today is a Lindemann 882 integrated amplifier. It was launched circa 2010 and ever since it was replaced by newer 885, which was also eventually discontinued. The unit I am testing is reportedly already eight years old, but externally and functionally it seems as good as new.

    Lindemann 882 is based on a proprietary fully differential dual mono design capable of providing 160 watts of power into an 8ohm load. It’s advertised as having an intelligent bias adjustment based on Thermal Track power transistors and it’s probably one of the few integrated amplifiers that have an inbuilt fan for precise temperature control.

    Datasheet:
    https://lindemann-audio.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/882_AMP_EN_web_2p_final_090403.pdf

    Additional pictures (not mine):
    lindemann-3.jpg
    lindemann-4.jpg

    The unit oozes external beauty - build quality is excellent if not outright stellar. And while we are on the astronomical side of things, let’s not forget this was originally priced at 9000€. But is the Lindemann 882 high end only on paper or does it actually sound good as well?

    Test setup 1:
    ATC SCM 19 v2 standmound speakers
    Simaudio Moon 250i / RAAL HSA-1b (as references)
    Soekris dac2541
    Bluesound Node 2i (+ Qobuz streaming service, music from NAS)

    Test setup 2:
    Raal SR1a headphones (powered via the interface box)
    Raal HSA-1b amplifier (as a reference)
    Rockna Wavedream Signature Balanced
    Pi2Aes (music from NAS)

    Demo music (or at least some of it):
    Katie Melua – Pictures
    Erasure – Wonderland
    Snail Mail – Valentine
    JD Allen – Love Stone
    The Art Of Noise – Below The Waste
    Hans Zimmer – Inception
    Insomnium – While We Sleep

    My very initial impressions of the amplifier after hooking it up to speaker setup were it having a highly spacious and deep soundstage with an exceptionally smooth overall delivery. Compared to the Simaudio’s integrated amplifier that I had been previously using with the ATC’s, I also noticed a tad more forward overall tonal balance. As far as this comparison went, this wasn’t a surprise, since Simaudio’s amplifiers are known for their warmer presentation that just barely tilts to the drier side. Overall, I was impressed from the start and I listened to music for hours in one sitting.

    One thing that probably is the most prominent quality of the 882’s character is the liquidity of the overall presentation. I have never heard anything quite like it. The Hegel H200 comes close, but it also had this distinct vividness and a slight metallic tinge, which never sounded quite right to my ears. But there’s none of that with the 882. There’s just perhaps just a pinch of ‘brilliance’ added into the mix, but without any other extra flavors – the 882 doesn’t sound warm, dark, sweet, dry or bright in a conventional sense. This brilliance can be heard in the upper midrange and in the lower treble, but it doesn’t seem to reach the upper treble or the ‘air’ region, like the brightness with the Hegel H200 did. Despite this, the overall tonal balance of the Lindemann 882 remains close to neutral. If someone asked me to describe the 882’s tonality in two words, my answer would be ‘brilliantly neutral’.

    More in-depth listening analysis and direct comparison to the Raal HSA-1b reveals more about the 882’s unique characteristics. The 882’s another spécialité seems to be how well it separates individual instruments and voices from each other. They seem to emanate from a pitch back background and never get tangled up with each other. This can be heard especially well with busier recordings, like Hans Zimmer’s Mombasa or, if you are a metalhead, Insomnium’s While We Sleep.

    While I do really appreciate the articulation of the delivery, I can’t help to think how it’s actually achieved. Is it really just technical marvelousness or perhaps some kind of compromise on other areas? What I noticed while making comparisons against the HSA-1b was this subtle politeness that perhaps works in favor when listening to bright or lower quality recordings, but on the other hand it robs the presentation a little microdetail or plankton, if you will. One area where this manifests itself is the upper treble, which also seems to lack a bit of ‘attack’. While I actually think microdynamics are on a very acceptable level overall, the end result is somewhat limited by the amount of fine detail that the 882 manages to dig out. This doesn’t really colorize the overall delivery in any significant manner, but in a way it makes it sound more polite than would be strictly neutral. For example, if I change the dac from Soekris dac2541 to Rockna Wavedream, I am getting less change in sound than I would with the HSA-1b. You can take this home either as less faithful rendition to the original source or a special ability to make everything sound (almost) equally good.

    Different kind of tonality compared to the HSA-1b makes overall dynamics a bit harder to judge, since HSA-1b is a tad darker and sweeter in the (lower) midrange making it less forward sounding. I’d reckon we are on a similar level here and maybe even just ahead of the HSA-1b, but is a bit of a toss-up I have to admit. If my memory serves me correct, macrodynamically the Hegel H200 would still be the best of the bunch, having a unique quality of propulsiveness that really helps the sound to ‘pop’ out of the speakers.

    When it comes to bass, the bottom end of the 882 is very evenly handed in a way it doesn’t really draw any attention to itself, much like the HSA-1b. It retains a good control over the whole bottom end and maintains a familiar tonality never sounding dry, bloomy or emphasized in any specific frequency. In comparison the Hegel H200 has more heft and sounds more slammy, like it really wants your attention, but in the process it also loses some accuracy.

    Conclusion

    Overall the Lindemann 882 is an enjoyable listen that isn’t strictly state of the art in all technical categories, but IMHO it manages to pretty much tick all relevant boxes when it comes to creating an alluring presentation. If you are sucker for liquidity, you are in for a treat. I found the 882 to partner especially well with the ATC SCM 19’s that are known to sound a little etched. And I never would have thought that someday I’d start to question whether the Raal HSA-1b really is a smooth sounding amplifier – it probably still is, but the company it has kept for a week or so has made me ever so wiser. I did find the 882 extremely enjoyable with the Raal SR1a headphones too – they play well together and nature of the 882 really makes them an easy listen without any EQ’ing. Even now I am constantly feeling an urge to swap the two amplifiers for one last time to see how well did they partner up again with my other gear again.

    I am currently waiting for a change to demo the Lindemann to my friend at his place and compare it to an Ayre AX-5 integrated amplifier. Exciting times ahead…
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2022

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