The Two Channel Advice Thread

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by purr1n, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Figured I'd start one.

    Any experience with stereo integrated amplifiers, preamps or amps? I need something good below $1000 to compare against Schiit stuff when it comes out.
     
  2. Colgin

    Colgin Friend

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    I was always a fan of Arcam Alpha. My integrated amp (I think it was the AA5 back then) lasted 20+ years before being retired. I do think they are north of $1,000 now (maybe around $1,500) new and at retail. But maybe consider a slightly older model, used off of Ebay or Audiogon. I may do that myself, in fact.
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    FYI, the prototype Saga and Vidar that I used for the Altec horns / 12" turned out better than I expected. (http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...-2016-meet-impressions.3162/page-5#post-93618)

    I was worried because of certain traits of the Jotunheim (which the Vidar topology is similar to) such as the shallow stage or ultimate lack of plankton. I'm very well aware of what the Altec horns / 12" can do on my custom tube amp, (and also two other standby amps), that I came away impressed. Very good resolution and deep stage with an open and expansive sound. Even though I was probably using no more than two watts, the Saga / Vidar sounded nuanced, musical, being able to capture the soul of music. The Vidar on Saga's passive mode was more transparent, but also a bit drier and grainy. The Saga on the tube buffer mode provided a modicum of warmth and eliminated the dryness, but with only a tiny resolution loss - expected of active preamps. And in this respect, not bad at all compared to some other active preamps I've owned in the past.

    BTW, I've never been impressed with NAD amps.
     
  4. Malabargold

    Malabargold Flipper

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    I'm dying to read a comparison of the Hypex DIY Ncores and the Vidars even though one is class D and the other is AB.

    Both are around $1500 or a little under that in monoblock configuration - they seem to have roughly the same power output too.
     
  5. ald0s

    ald0s Facebook Friend

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    I've been looking around the 2 channel space for a while and its such an information overload. I feel like every man & his dog is trying his hand at a speaker / amp design company, there's just so much choice. I like tubes into modded 800s when the speakers are attached to my face so I've been looking at high efficiency designs and SET amps but even narrowed down to this I'm having a hard time choosing. I like building stuff so I'm tempted to just DIY (lots of info around here!). I live in an apartment though and I just know I'm going to create a horrible mess of wood chips :)
     
  6. thegunner100

    thegunner100 Hentai Master Chief

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    The most obvious competition would be Emotiva's stuff, followed by Parasound's offerings. Both are Class A/B. I've never tried any of their amps except the first version of emotiva's A-100 though.
     
  7. Malabargold

    Malabargold Flipper

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    Emovita seems to be the most logical comparison. Maybe their stereo XPA would be a good match?
     
  8. Kolohe

    Kolohe Facebook Friend

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    Although I don't have any personal experience with either, a couple of brands that are mentioned repeatedly over on Audiocircle (where I mostly lurk in the Salk forum) are Audio by Van Alstine and Odyssey Audio.

    Might be worth taking a look at.
     
  9. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    That is a good comparo in the sense that the A-S2100 seems to be a circlotron approach and perhaps comparable to Ragnarok in some ways. However, it's much more than $1000.

    One possible contender would be the A-S1000 which I think is also circlotron, but sells for about $1300. I would love to see how it compares with Schiit stuff.
     
  10. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    Aww man are there lots of pics of Salks there? Are there any more beautiful cabinets in the biz, seriously?
     
  11. thegunner100

    thegunner100 Hentai Master Chief

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    The NY crew will definitely compare the Stratos to the Vidar once it is available. @SteelCannon has a pair of BMRs and @Dr. Higgs will be getting his Phil 3s in a few months. Should be a very interesting comparison.
     
  12. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Highly recommend the Bottlehead directly heated preamps. I like my Quickie so much I put a pot in it that costs more than the kit.
     
  13. haywood

    haywood Friend

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    You can probably pick up a Teac AI-2000 (http://www.teac.com/product/ai-2000/) from their brief foray into upper midfi for cheap, it was originally $1500. It's like old-school class a/b dual-mono built like a tank heavy iron with no bells and whistles.

    Since the industry is increasingly shifting to class d gear that might be a more apt comparison, no idea on what to suggest there.
     
  14. mkozlows

    mkozlows Friend

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    To compare for your own edification, or to provide recommendations for other people?

    If the latter, I'd definitely second the Emotiva suggestions, because it seems like the natural cross-shopping comparison. But I've never heard their stuff, so can't speak to it from the former perspective.

    (I'm zero percent surprised that you don't like NAD stuff, because I'd describe my old NAD integrated as almost syrupy smooth, which are not adjectives I'd expect to appeal to you.)
     
  15. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    Odyssey Stratos and variants. It's been tough for me to find a clear winner against it, I've compared against some earlier Emotiva gear, class D things (way back when I had a Virtue), integrated from Cambridge and some vintage Sansui thing, and of course the F3 I'm using now.
    • First thing to know is to ignore the list price, you can get it WELL below $1K w. warranty from Odyssey, IF you choose the smaller case.
    • Option for balanced inputs, but not inherently balanced like Vidar.
    • About the same price as Vidar, though pricing from them can be unpredictable based on workload, parts inventory and whim.
    • Option for a passive pot in the smaller case.
    • Class A/B like Vidar, but to 150w base instead of 100w (higher wattage if you go for the upgrade variants).
    • Pair with $50 SYS for a very tough to beat system, even if a step behind better gear for resolution.
    Mine is currently collecting dust, F3's in fulltime. But I'm keeping it around for Vidar comparison, and powering low efficiency speakers. Maybe the Vidar will replace it!

    @Marvey, we need a sub-$250 or $300 power/integrated amp recommendation. I feel like a sub-$500 total rig (OSMT, SYS, ????) will be a great thing for SBAF to identify and help people out with.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
  16. Kolohe

    Kolohe Facebook Friend

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    lol, yeah there's tons of pics of owner's systems. I love mine.
     
  17. take

    take Friend

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    I agree that Emotiva's stuff would be good to compare against. I personally have a Fusion Flex (essentially a feature-added mini-X a-100) (link to info) that I use. Can't really comment on its capabilities versus other amps since it's my only amp, but the NY crew can certainly use it for comparisons if anyone's interested.
     
  18. Pyruvate

    Pyruvate Friend

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    Another vote for Parasound. Their vintage 90s offerings (HCA-1000/750 for power amps, PLD-1100/850 pres) go for $100-$300 on eBay. The pres are class A and the amps run A/AB in high bias. Plenty of clean power (my HCA1000 pushes 125W into 8ohms), tanklike construction, solid parts.

    I got myself a nice stack for half a kilobuck and figured that it'll be really hard to beat for the price. I wish I was back home to let you guys have a taste.

    Other fairly priced good performing brands that I came across while researching for a pre/amp combo were emotiva, adcom, and rotel. Decided on the Paasound due to positive reviews and lower used market costs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
  19. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    In Class D the Nuprime STA-9 would be a pretty close Vidar contender. $649 and about the size of a large-ish hardcover novel.
    It would be very interesting to see how these opposite ends of the value ring stack up against each other, given the tradeoffs of size and heat for performance and SQ.
    • Specifications:

      • Inputs:
      • RCA: Un-Balanced input x 1
      • XLR: Balanced input x 1
      • Outputs:
      • Stereo Speaker Out x 1 or
      • Mono Speaker Out x 1
      • Single End Class A + D amplifier design
      • Power: 2 X 120W / 1 X 290W @ 8 & 4 Ohms
      • Peak Output Power: 2 X 280W / 1 X 320W @ 8 & 4 Ohms
      • Input Impedance: 47k Ohms
      • Input sensitivity: 132mV, 1W @ 8 Ohms
      • Gain: x 22
      • Signal to Noise Ratio: < -95dB at 1W, 10W, 100W
      • THD+N: 0.02% (Stereo) / 0.01% (Mono)
      • Frequency Response: 10Hz to 50kHz
      • Dimension: 235 mm W x 281 mm D x 55 mm H (including feet)
     
  20. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    Out of the left field I would recommend Crown XLS poweramp - -also some Hypex Ncores. Neutral sounding and plenty of power. Hegel integrated amps are pretty sweet. Unsure of secondhand pricing in the States, though.
     

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