power amp tips
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Thread: power amp tips

  1. #1
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    power amp tips

    L.S.

    So I've let my dealer know I'll be buying the Octave phono module pre-amp in the following configuration
    1) MC RCA Trafo input module
    2) RCA/XL input module
    3) MM RCA inpute module (not sure yet)
    4) XLR DD output module

    I have also have an Octave RE290 power amp on loan. While I like the sound signature it misses some slam/dynamics.

    So do you have any tips on power amps. Would a Super Black box help? But a SSB would mean a significant amount of extra money. I'm not really sure what the dealer is asking for the RE290 but it is a demo unit of a few years old. So what amp would you recommend me? I had a look at Pass, Vitus, Gryphon etc but they all seem to be out of my price range and seldom for a decent 2nd hand or demo price. Auralic Merak mono amps seem to be more reasonably priced. But I'm not sure about the class D. Not sure about older ML amps not all of their amps have been good, they seem to have bad and good series.
    I don't mind tube amps, but flea powered or very tube sounding tube amps are a no go.

    So not sure what amp would be nice that wouldn't break the bank.
    Pre amp: Ocatve Phono Module Power amps: Octave MRE130 Turntable: SAC Girati Grande. Tonearm: Dynavector 507mkII Cartridge: Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua Streamer: Auralic Aries LE DAC: Schiit Gungnir Multibit Power Distributor: Anzus Mains D8 Speakers: Raidho X-3 Speaker Cables: AudioQuest Rocket 88 RCA Interlink: Ansuz X, XLR Interlink: Purist Audio Design - Venustas Digital Interlinks Anzus Digitals A USB Phono interlink: Cammino Serie 1.0 - PH 1.0s Power cables: Anzus Mains Ceramic, two Pom, Aluminium, and two X series Audio Rack: Solid Steel H6

  2. #2
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    Re: power amp tips

    The better power supply does help. I'm surprised to hear Octave isn't providing slam.

    The Levinson 532h is really reasonable used. Bryston is a good value. If using solid state power, double check the preamp output impedance, I understand 500 ohms or less is good.

    A set of Merrill Audio Thor might be an option. I've not heard one, I hear Rogue has slam. RRW drove his 4367 with ARC Ref 75.

    There are a lot of good options, I'd really like to hear an Octave with Merrill's power, I think it would be interesting
    Mark Levinson #512 & 532h, Pass Labs XP10, Hegel HD30, JBL 4367's
    Coda CSX. Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro, AcousTech PH-1P
    All Clarus Crimson cabling, AC to binding post. Surgex
    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP

  3. #3
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    Re: power amp tips

    Ask the Octave dealer about borrowing a super black box. Like I said earlier tubes will run out of steam in the lows when pushed hard.

    As far as class D Aavik has a real good synergy with Raidho's.
    George

    Aavik U300 - Raidho D3.1's in Walnut burl with black trim - Naim unitiserve 2tb - Ansuz DTC digital cable with power box - Ansuz Mainz8 D-TC with 1 Ansuz D-TC and 1 Ceramic V2 power cords - Ansuz Ceramic V2 speaker cables - Ansus X Ethernet - pARTicular Novus full suspension rack.

  4. #4
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    Re: power amp tips

    The most important thing about a power amplifier is the loudspeaker that it is driving!

    There are many nice, reasonable amplifiers that are not happy driving some reasonable loudspeakers. So start with the loudspeakers and only then think about the amplifiers.

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    Re: power amp tips

    +1 , amp for load and that speaker is 85db/2.83V .. 200watt@8 ohm as a min wattage IMO..

    what Budget Mordante ...?

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    Re: power amp tips

    I don't think the speakers are that difficult to drive. Yes they are not the most efficient. But they don't go below 4 Ohm or above 8 Ohm.

    My max budget would be around euro5000. The secondhand RE290 plus SBB would be around that amount. My dealer is looking in his network to see if anyone has a Pass power amp. He is also offering me his MRE130 mono amps. They are a bit older. So the are around the price of the RE290 with the SBB.

    My living room is about 4.1*6.5meters I sit about 2.5m from the speakers.
    Pre amp: Ocatve Phono Module Power amps: Octave MRE130 Turntable: SAC Girati Grande. Tonearm: Dynavector 507mkII Cartridge: Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua Streamer: Auralic Aries LE DAC: Schiit Gungnir Multibit Power Distributor: Anzus Mains D8 Speakers: Raidho X-3 Speaker Cables: AudioQuest Rocket 88 RCA Interlink: Ansuz X, XLR Interlink: Purist Audio Design - Venustas Digital Interlinks Anzus Digitals A USB Phono interlink: Cammino Serie 1.0 - PH 1.0s Power cables: Anzus Mains Ceramic, two Pom, Aluminium, and two X series Audio Rack: Solid Steel H6

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    Re: power amp tips

    Mordante ,

    Sorry if I’m a little late to the discussion, but if I were you, I’d keep looking into the new Class-D/Switching-type amplifiers. We have all been reading about how they have been getting much better in recent years, and for what it’s worth, I can personally attest to the fact as I have been into high-end audio for over 40 years now and have heard a lot of amplifiers along the way – and they ARE getting very good.

    Of course, in the spirit of full disclosure I am involved with NuPrime, and I must say that their latest Evolution One is truly something to experience. But there are a number of other brands out there now that are claimed to be quite exceptional as well. One other example would be the NCORE-based Mola Mola “Kaluga” design by Bruno Putzey. I’m not sure if either model will fit your budget, but it and the NuPrime Evo-1 represent two great examples in support of my point.


    You see, I have worked professionally with this class of amplifiers and technology off and on, starting clear back around 1991 when I worked in the Engineering Dept. of Techron, which was the Industrial Division of Crown International at the time. We designed and built some of the most SOTA high-powered, audio bandwidth amps in the world under contract for large medical MRI System clients like Picker International, GE Medical Systems, Siemens, etc. Our amps and control systems were being employed at the heart of what is called the “Gradient Amplifier System” that drives the large, 3-axis "body" coils inside medical MRI Imaging machines. We’re talking 3 amplifiers per system with each able to output up to 40,000 Wrms AND having an audio bandwidth to beyond 20KHz. That’s a LOT of juice and boy... you should have seen the explosions when one would fail!


    The point is, clear back then we were developing circuits that employed a switching frequency of 2MHz, which is extremely high and was necessary in order to achieve the waveform accuracy that our clients required. These days, in typical audio applications we find the switching frequency of most amps to be around 400KHz or so, with the new NuPrime Evo-1 pushing their designs clear out to 700KHz. That’s a good thing because all things being equal, a higher switching frequency does translate to greater fidelity. On the other hand, seeing that way back in 1995 we at Crown were already building amps with 100 times more output power that operated at 5 times the frequency of most home audio products today, it’s pretty evident the technology still has a wee-bit of maturing to do… but not much – not anymore.


    A few years after I left Crown, in 2004 another partner and I along with of an overseas investor started a small loudspeaker manufacturing company called SP Technology Loudspeakers, Inc. Well, by all accounts we built some great sounding speakers, but for various reasons things just didn’t work out and SP Tech closed it’s doors in 2008. Nevertheless, during those years I participated frequently over on the Audio Circle forum and would occasionally encounter folks that would ask me my opinion on the new switching amps that were just coming out (remember: that was well over 10 years ago now).

    Anyway, a number of guys back then would try to argue that there was no way in hell that a Class-D amp of any kind could ever sound as good as a well-built linear amp (tube or SS). In response I told them to watch out, because if /when Class-D/Switching amp technology were to become even half as mature as existing linear designs, that it/they would start “eating linear’s lunch.” I also told them that if any company building amps at the time did not have a future business plan that included the development of a Class-D product line, ultimately their presence in the market would either be relatively short-lived, or their market share significantly diminished.


    Well, 10 or 12 years later, what do we see? Just as I predicted then: High-powered and relatively affordable Class-D/Switching amps popping up all over the place from more manufactures, large & small, than you can scarcely count… and now with a few having developed products rivaling the performance of the very best ever offered by those the old Class-A tube and SS designs.


    So then, as now, I was right. That said, this is a long-winded way of advising you and all of the other audio enthusiasts out there to keep an open mind, and… keep listening. Will you find one right at this point in time that meets your sonic expectations and fits your budget? Maybe, as it appears now from the reports that there is a very good chance you will. Maybe not though, but if not, the day is coming soon that you will - because at least with a few designs out there at this time, we’re pretty much already there. Next it will just be a matter of cost, and we all know how that goes as technology marches on.


    Take care,
    -Bob
    Bob @ TDSS

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  9. #8
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    Re: power amp tips

    The Mola Mola amps would be an option if there were at 40% of the MRSP. A pair costs abou €12k.

    The Auralic Merak would be a option but none are available for home test.

    Right now I’m testing a Octave re290 with SBB vs a pair of MRE130 Octave mono amps. The mono’s are great but might take up too much space.
    Pre amp: Ocatve Phono Module Power amps: Octave MRE130 Turntable: SAC Girati Grande. Tonearm: Dynavector 507mkII Cartridge: Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua Streamer: Auralic Aries LE DAC: Schiit Gungnir Multibit Power Distributor: Anzus Mains D8 Speakers: Raidho X-3 Speaker Cables: AudioQuest Rocket 88 RCA Interlink: Ansuz X, XLR Interlink: Purist Audio Design - Venustas Digital Interlinks Anzus Digitals A USB Phono interlink: Cammino Serie 1.0 - PH 1.0s Power cables: Anzus Mains Ceramic, two Pom, Aluminium, and two X series Audio Rack: Solid Steel H6

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    Re: power amp tips

    @TDSS,

    Hi Bob i have a question, could you explain or give your opinion as to why class-D amps have such poor squarewave responses and is this related to what is percieved as a wonky top end..

    I do find them as good as any in the midrange and Class-D does have good jump but gets real glassy in the upper midrange top end region , at least on non 8 ohm loads .



    Regards

  11. #10
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    Re: power amp tips

    Bob, I like your enthusiasm. I'm not a Class D hater and I keep an open mind. I heard Audio Alchemy with some speakers that had good synergy and thought Class D is coming along. I am a fan of Devialet, though not traditional Class D. However, in my opinion I don't agree, "the place from more manufactures, large & small, than you can scarcely count… and now with a few having developed products rivaling the performance of the very best ever offered by those the old Class-A tube and SS designs."

    Class D still has a way to go. I prefer even the Levinson 536's to their 53's. To me Class D can be clean but I've yet to hear a Class D amp convey a sense of rhythm, or, what some refer to as PRAT. Class D can't yet swing. Still sort of artificial sounding, for lack of anything better to describe what I hear at this point.

    I would like to hear the ATI or Theta Class D to see how close they come to their traditional amps.


    Quote Originally Posted by TDSS View Post
    Mordante ,

    Sorry if I’m a little late to the discussion, but if I were you, I’d keep looking into the new Class-D/Switching-type amplifiers. We have all been reading about how they have been getting much better in recent years, and for what it’s worth, I can personally attest to the fact as I have been into high-end audio for over 40 years now and have heard a lot of amplifiers along the way – and they ARE getting very good.

    Of course, in the spirit of full disclosure I am involved with NuPrime, and I must say that their latest Evolution One is truly something to experience. But there are a number of other brands out there now that are claimed to be quite exceptional as well. One other example would be the NCORE-based Mola Mola “Kaluga” design by Bruno Putzey. I’m not sure if either model will fit your budget, but it and the NuPrime Evo-1 represent two great examples in support of my point.


    You see, I have worked professionally with this class of amplifiers and technology off and on, starting clear back around 1991 when I worked in the Engineering Dept. of Techron, which was the Industrial Division of Crown International at the time. We designed and built some of the most SOTA high-powered, audio bandwidth amps in the world under contract for large medical MRI System clients like Picker International, GE Medical Systems, Siemens, etc. Our amps and control systems were being employed at the heart of what is called the “Gradient Amplifier System” that drives the large, 3-axis "body" coils inside medical MRI Imaging machines. We’re talking 3 amplifiers per system with each able to output up to 40,000 Wrms AND having an audio bandwidth to beyond 20KHz. That’s a LOT of juice and boy... you should have seen the explosions when one would fail!


    The point is, clear back then we were developing circuits that employed a switching frequency of 2MHz, which is extremely high and was necessary in order to achieve the waveform accuracy that our clients required. These days, in typical audio applications we find the switching frequency of most amps to be around 400KHz or so, with the new NuPrime Evo-1 pushing their designs clear out to 700KHz. That’s a good thing because all things being equal, a higher switching frequency does translate to greater fidelity. On the other hand, seeing that way back in 1995 we at Crown were already building amps with 100 times more output power that operated at 5 times the frequency of most home audio products today, it’s pretty evident the technology still has a wee-bit of maturing to do… but not much – not anymore.


    A few years after I left Crown, in 2004 another partner and I along with of an overseas investor started a small loudspeaker manufacturing company called SP Technology Loudspeakers, Inc. Well, by all accounts we built some great sounding speakers, but for various reasons things just didn’t work out and SP Tech closed it’s doors in 2008. Nevertheless, during those years I participated frequently over on the Audio Circle forum and would occasionally encounter folks that would ask me my opinion on the new switching amps that were just coming out (remember: that was well over 10 years ago now).

    Anyway, a number of guys back then would try to argue that there was no way in hell that a Class-D amp of any kind could ever sound as good as a well-built linear amp (tube or SS). In response I told them to watch out, because if /when Class-D/Switching amp technology were to become even half as mature as existing linear designs, that it/they would start “eating linear’s lunch.” I also told them that if any company building amps at the time did not have a future business plan that included the development of a Class-D product line, ultimately their presence in the market would either be relatively short-lived, or their market share significantly diminished.


    Well, 10 or 12 years later, what do we see? Just as I predicted then: High-powered and relatively affordable Class-D/Switching amps popping up all over the place from more manufactures, large & small, than you can scarcely count… and now with a few having developed products rivaling the performance of the very best ever offered by those the old Class-A tube and SS designs.


    So then, as now, I was right. That said, this is a long-winded way of advising you and all of the other audio enthusiasts out there to keep an open mind, and… keep listening. Will you find one right at this point in time that meets your sonic expectations and fits your budget? Maybe, as it appears now from the reports that there is a very good chance you will. Maybe not though, but if not, the day is coming soon that you will - because at least with a few designs out there at this time, we’re pretty much already there. Next it will just be a matter of cost, and we all know how that goes as technology marches on.


    Take care,
    -Bob
    Mark Levinson #512 & 532h, Pass Labs XP10, Hegel HD30, JBL 4367's
    Coda CSX. Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro, AcousTech PH-1P
    All Clarus Crimson cabling, AC to binding post. Surgex
    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP

 

 
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