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  1. #1
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    Question New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Hello everybody!
    I found here on Audioshark lot of opinions about points of my current question.
    That's why I'd like to ask some advices.
    Some time ago I bought above speakers (1st generation) with good discount because new version Nova coming.
    I listen it rarely using my current amps - Luxman 590 and Parasound P5/2250. Was not satisfied. I felt that Luxman has not enough power to control bass. Also sound was too soft and sweet because both - Luxman and Sonus have similar character. As for Parasound - too simple for SF for sure.
    I'd like to use SF in my main setap now.
    So, I need new amp!
    I prefer SS integrated amps - less boxes and wires. And not too heavy - over 30 kgs (66 lbs) are not for my waist already.
    SF OIII - 4Ohms/ 90 dB - do not need giant power but need for "enough" power because impedance dropping down to 2.7 Ohms. In fact there are 3 Ohms :-) Also, SF OIII is perfect to reproduce voices but not transparent and detailed enough on highs.
    I listen some amps in stores but unfortunately not paired with Sonus Faber.
    However. my quarterfinal list -
    - Coda CSiB
    - Hegel H590 (BTW, I found big distance between them and H390 when drivinf big Revel speakers)
    - Mark Levinson 5805 (nice signature but don't sure that this new ML is powerful enough)
    So, I will be very grateful for any opinions/experience which may help me for my semifinal or even final list. Finally I will try to listen candidates in my own room with my SF.
    Thanks in advance!
    Boris

  2. #2

    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    I also have Luxman Class A integrated and I can relate, although I am currently enjoying Harbeth, not Sonus Faber speakers.

    You can also try Bryston. I ran various Bryston amps with a few different Sonus Faber speakers and it was a very well balanced combo playing on each other's strengths.

    One example I can give you is the Sonus Faber Elipsa with the Bryston amps is in my theater room from some years ago.

    The sound is close to what I think you are trying to achieve? Neutral response with crisp transients and without the sterile presentation?


    Serge

  3. #3
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    SF usually underlines voicing frequencies- sweet like Opera. Iíd like more neutral sound reproduction amplifier which includes well controlled bass, sweet voices and crystal highs :-)
    BTW I use Luxman 590 AxII and Harbeth HL7-3 - perfect combo!
    BTW2 very cool HT room

  4. #4
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    From the 3 amps you mention I'd use the 590, very strong, transparent and clear, should be a good match with your speakers.

    Coda uses no feedback and I find the low bass lacking some detail and less midbass kick than I like.

    The 5805 is a very nice sounding integrated, I prefer the overall sound to the 590, however, I'm afraid your assumption would be correct regarding power. Even the larger 585 struggled with Revel Salon 2 when pushed.

    I've herd the 590 power some speakers like KEF Ref 5, Monitor Audio Gold and Platnum towers, I forget the model number and Revel 328b, the 590 had no issue. It was impressive to hear how the 590 handledthe flagship Ref 5.

    I agree, the 590 is a good improvement over the 390.
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  5. #5
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    New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    I would say Hegel 590. Dual mono design. Itís one of our favorites with the Franco Serblin speakers.


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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Interesting. I listen Abbey Road Deluxe album from Qobuz using H590 and ML 5805 with Revel speakers at the same time. Speakers reproduced some hiss whith Hegel while ML didnít. Manager said that is because Hegel is crystalline detailed and reproduce this hiss from record. But I donít sure. Another reason this amplifier produces own hiss, isnít it?

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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris99 View Post
    Interesting. I listen Abbey Road Deluxe album from Qobuz using H590 and ML 5805 with Revel speakers at the same time. Speakers reproduced some hiss whith Hegel while ML didnít. Manager said that is because Hegel is crystalline detailed and reproduce this hiss from record. But I donít sure. Another reason this amplifier produces own hiss.
    It digs deeper into the recording. The amp doesnít create hiss.


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  8. #8
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Give the Hegel a listen with no music playing and see if the hiss is there.

    The 5805 is a very good sounding amp, providing very good inner detail, listen to the blatt of brass instruments, the highs are there yet very smooth. I've only heard it with Audio Physics speakers though, where there seems to be a good synergy. I just don't know if it could handle the load your speakers will have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris99 View Post
    Interesting. I listen Abbey Road Deluxe album from Qobuz using H590 and ML 5805 with Revel speakers at the same time. Speakers reproduced some hiss whith Hegel while ML didnít. Manager said that is because Hegel is crystalline detailed and reproduce this hiss from record. But I donít sure. Another reason this amplifier produces own hiss.
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  9. #9
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Donít you think that Hegel is surgically sterile? Or yes, and this is exactly what SF needs to be more neutral?

    I admit that before your advice, I was more sympathetic to Coda. May be because Coda CSIB is about $2K cheaper :-)

  10. #10
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Hegel, is, neutral and don't sugar coat things. It could be the thing to wake up the SF though. It would be nice if you could get a listen in your home.

    Don't get me wrong Coda is a good value. I do have one of their CSX. Beautiful midrange. The criticisms I have keep it from being my main amp.

    Any other amps you have access to?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris99 View Post
    Donít you think that Hegel is surgically sterile? Or yes, and this is exactly what SF needs to be more neutral?

    I admit that before your advice, I was more sympathetic to Coda. May be because Coda CSIB is about $2K cheaper :-)
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  11. #11
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Sure. I concerned to above brands/models because of their midrange price, power, more or less neutral sound. And my idea - SS integrated.
    What else to consider? Krell?
    Jim Austin (Stereophile May 13,2019) paired Krell K-300i Integrated Amplifier and Sonus Faber Olympica III.
    But Mr.Peabody confused me that even more powerful ML 585 "struggled with Revel Salon 2".

    I keep streaming only as source. I'd like to have two boxes maximum - integrated amplifier and streamer-DAC. Lyngdorf digital already replaced Luxman to drive Harbeths

  12. #12
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    You were considering Coda already, you could get There TS power amp and 07x preamplifier. I guarantee the TS will drive the SF and the 07x is a stellar preamp, don't let the smaller chassis fool you. You will need a streamer but the Coda combo will sound great, have the power and be in the range you were looking to spend, maybe a bit over budget depending on Streamer.

    The CSI integrated is 400x2 into 8 ohms and doubles into 4, it would get you a good portion of the above combo for almost half the price then buy a good streamer.

    The Krell is also very neutral, the 590 I'd say is a better overall performer but neither sugar coat things.

    I'm sorry to have derailed your search or cause confusion. Here's my ranking from neutral to warm;
    1. 590
    2. ML 5805
    3. CSI

    The comments I made on the Coda are minor, I still enjoy listening to my CSX. The CSX has the best midrange but my Levinson amp is more lively sounding. Coda uses no feedback which gives the gear a more natural sound but the bass has a full or more bloom to it. It may be something you' like, many do.

    I get the impression you really like the 5805 and I can understand that, I think it sounds great as well. Can you workout a deal to try it with your speakers or return if you feel it doesn't have enough power? It's not so much the power as you will need the amp to produce current when your SF begins to drop in impedance.

    Here's some info from the review in Stereophile, the amp section is based off the #534 which is an excellent amp IMO.
    The No.5805's fully discrete, direct-coupled, class-AB-biased amplifier section is claimed capable of 125Wpc into an 8-ohm loudspeaker load and almost twice that into a 4-ohm load. The single mains transformer, with separate output windings for each channel, is rated at 500+VA, enough current to make the amplifier "stable" into 2 ohms, according to the manufacturer. The voltage-gain topology, which the manufacturer says is "descended from" Levinson's midlevel No.534 power amplifier, is mated to an output stage featuring eight transistors, two of them operating in class-A. Output-stage bias is autocorrected in response to temperature, which I think is important. Claimed output impedance is low, about a tenth of an ohm across the audio band.

    Mark Levinson specifies the No.5805 as delivering a maximum power of 125Wpc into 8 ohms (21dBW). At our usual definition of clipping (ie, when the percentage of THD+noise in the amplifier's output reaches 1%), with continuous drive in both channels, the No.5805 exceeded that spec, delivering 133.5Wpc into 8 ohms (21.25dBW, fig.4). With both channels driven into 4 ohms, the amplifier clipped at 210Wpc (20.2dBW, fig.5), and into 2 ohms with one channel driven, it clipped at 370W (19.6dBW, fig.6).

    * So the 5805 produces some current, I just have not personally heard it on difficult speakers. The 5805 isa newer model than the 585.
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Thank you for analysis I will listen Hegel with Sonus Faber tomorrow. If I will like it then I will take t it.
    I listened Coda CSIB driving Legacy Focus. I donít know usual signature of above speakers but I felt this pair as dark, no transparent and detailed highs.
    As for 5805 - I think it is not enough for SF which difficult loading.
    Yesterday I read reviews about efforts to drive SF. Guys used Ayre 5 twenty pre + mono blocks which are real high-end.
    They got result using vertical bi-amping only. So, difficult job to drive SF. Not for 5805. Separated 5302/5206 are more powerful but double priced in ML 5000 line

    Update
    Same lesson again and again: always try new component in own room and setup.
    I tried SF (it was model which placed between OlyIII and Amati) and Hegel H590 in specially prepared dealerís room. The sound was absolutely different compared to one which I listened when paired Hegel and Revel. First, something like very light veil. It means Hegel was comfortable and not sharp. But not so transparent and detailed on high frequencies. Second, lack of real bass (!) on well-known rock composition like AC/DC Thunderstruck. Manager said that yes, their room hide bass (?).
    So, no holiday today:-(

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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Legacy uses a very good ribbon tweeter, something was off if no good high end extension and detail. What was the source? If Coda is using the same output devices for the CBI as in the #8 I can understand the dark background. They don't use those in the TS power amp but it will still have the Coda sound.

    Keep in mind brands like Hegel and Krell have a very tight grip on bass, it should have detail with weight but it won't add anything. Not saying it's your situation, sometimes listeners confuse the tight control on the bass with a lack of bass. A lot of Rock, like AC/DC doesn't have goodbass anyway, and, a lot of compression is used in the recording process which adds a higher noise floor.

    Do you listen to primarily Rock? Your speakers aren't what comes to my mind for Rock&Roll. If primarly Rock, maybe think of a speaker like Legacy or JBL. Both will do other genres but have the sensitivity and dynamics for Rock.
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  15. #15

    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Depending on your budget, I'd recommend a Constellation Argo or Inspiration 1.0 integrated amp. Will drive any load at any impedenace flawlessly and never break a sweat.

    Sounds identical cold or when fully warmed up.

    Review in TAS by Neil Gader here: Constellation Inspiration Integrated 1.0 - The Absolute Sound

    Sounds absolutely amazing, when driving anything...all the time. They are also super reliable and durable. There is a reason you never see these come up for sale, used. Because owners that have them....never sell them.

    Either that, or a DarTZeel CTH-8550. For the same reasons.

    Job done.

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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    I wonder if the Boulder 866 fits in this search. Mike might know about that.
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  17. #17
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big B View Post
    I wonder if the Boulder 866 fits in this search. Mike might know about that.
    The 866 has the new Boulder sound. Sounds great. Definitely one of the more popular ones.


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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    The 866 has the new Boulder sound. Sounds great. Definitely one of the more popular o
    Do you think Boulder 866 is power enough for SF OlyIII ? No chance to try with. I see 865 ex- demo. Discount. Even less power.

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    Depending on your budget, I'd recommend a Constellation Argo or Inspiration 1.0 integrated amp. Will drive any load at any impedenace flawlessly and never break a sweat. Ö..
    Sounds identical cold or when fully warmed up. Ö..
    Either that, or a DarTZeel CTH-8550. For the same reasons. .
    Constellation, Dartzeel, Nagra, Dagostino, Gryphon, MBL,,AyreÖwhat else?Ö. Sure there is high society and another budget.
    But not about budget for amplifier only. It needs all components incl sources, wires, power supply , room etc on equally high level. Also, enough time and desire to listen music :-) . I havenít.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Legacy uses a very good ribbon tweeter, something was off if no good high end extension and detail. What was the source?

    Do you listen to primarily Rock? Your speakers aren't what comes to my mind for Rock&Roll. .
    We used McIntosh CD player when testing Hegel and SF.
    No, time of passion to rock already far bihind. I listening old rock but this is like nostalgia. Nothing new

    Generally I know above Coda and Hegel only as middle league, high power AB integrated amps for difficult speakers.

  19. #19
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    In my opinion the McIntosh CD player was the falt of any missing highs with the Coda..

    I was looking at the Constellation 1.0 and read a review in Soundstage, what was interesting the writer had a Hegel 590 as his reference and also recently reviewed the Sim Audio 700i. So he made comments comparing the 3. You might want to take a look at the 700i. His speakers were KEF Ref 3, to my ears the Rf's are some warm like the SF.

    You might also visit the shop with the Coda to have another listen, just request a different brand CD player. Ifyou like the Coda sound you can get separates for less than a 590, the 07x pre & TS power amp. I have no doubt the TS will drive the SF. Going this way you wouldn't have the DAC as with th 590..
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Ok. Will try Diablo 120/300 with SF and Sim Audio 700i (previous version) with Wilson. Will give you report

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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Ya know just about all the amps mentioned above will get the job done in good fashion. But I'll toss in my personal favorite...Pass Labs INT 250. Very high quality build (like an Abrams tank), gorgeous SQ, plenty of power, class A up to 15 watts then class AB up to 250 wpc at 8 ohms, and arguably the best customer service in the business. Pretty hard to beat.
    Amplifier: Pass Labs INT 250 integrated.

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    Model.

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    Mackenzie interconnects.

    Speaker Stands: HiFi Man.

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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Hi! I know Pass Int 250 is perfect. But pretty heavy. Iíd like to limit weights of my components.

    For those interested: I tested integrated - Diablo 300, DíAgostino Progression (both paired to SF OlyIII). System used Tidal and included Aurender as streamer and Copland as DAC. Gryphon is very good. Rich and holographic sound. But too much bass in testing system. Also, over of my limit of weight. Progression disappointed me: didnít controlled enough LF and sticked out high mids. So, I understood that even 200/8 Ohms are risky for my speakers.
    I also tested Simaudio Moon 700i but something was wrong and I didnít concluded.

  23. #23
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    You are having a tough time of it. I was trying to think of something else that might work for you. Take a look at the Jeff Rowland Continuum S2 integrated,it comes with or without DAC, 400x2 into 8 ohms and cost is around others you have looked at. I don't have any personal experience with this unit but it's only about 15 kg, looks to be high current with good power.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris99 View Post
    Hi! I know Pass Int 250 is perfect. But pretty heavy. Iíd like to limit weights of my components.

    For those interested: I tested integrated - Diablo 300, DíAgostino Progression (both paired to SF OlyIII). System used Tidal and included Aurender as streamer and Copland as DAC. Gryphon is very good. Rich and holographic sound. But too much bass in testing system. Also, over of my limit of weight. Progression disappointed me: didnít controlled enough LF and sticked out high mids. So, I understood that even 200/8 Ohms are risky for my speakers.
    I also tested Simaudio Moon 700i but something was wrong and I didnít concluded.
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    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent, Analysis Plus & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP
    Parasound P6, Coda CSX, Artisan speakers

  24. #24
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Found video on YouTube about Hegel and comparison to Luxman (like mine). Do you agree?

  25. #25
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?


  26. #26
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    I had the H590 in my system for a listen some time back. This was before I had my Aurender. So I was using an entry level streamer.

    The Hegel designer went about trying to make Hegel sound the same as he heard when he was in a band. "Analog" was not his goal.

    I don't remember the lack of cohesive sound. I may not have picked up on that. I also wonder if he means space between instruments, which I consider a good thing, or, a timing issue.

    I can agree to some extent of the "digital" sound or lack of "warm & fuzzy". You would have Sonus Faber though and I had my JBL, the JBL are going to play just what they are fed. I consider SF leaning to the warmside. That impression could come from associated gear I've heard the SF with. One of the best maches I heard with SF believe it or not was with Jadis. I can't remember what model SF but the Jadis had them singing with nice high end.

    The 590 presents images with distinct edges, no rounding and in my opinion leans to the cool side. The same can be said for other brands like Krell. On the other hand it's very transparent, low distortion and brutle control. A lot of performance in one box for the price.

    It's all on what you enjoy and looking for.


    Quote Originally Posted by Boris99 View Post
    Aurender ACS10 w/Audioquest Diamond USB,
    Mark Levinson #526, 532h, JBL 4367's
    Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro cart
    All Clarus Crimson cabling, AC to binding post. Surgex
    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent, Analysis Plus & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP
    Parasound P6, Coda CSX, Artisan speakers

  27. #27
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Somewhere there is athread on the H590. Reviewers keep notes, mine are on that thread from when I auditioned it. I like to post and share my experienes but don't keep any personal notes. Of course, I'm not a rviewer and just in this for fun and passion of audio.
    Aurender ACS10 w/Audioquest Diamond USB,
    Mark Levinson #526, 532h, JBL 4367's
    Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro cart
    All Clarus Crimson cabling, AC to binding post. Surgex
    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent, Analysis Plus & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP
    Parasound P6, Coda CSX, Artisan speakers

  28. #28
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Boris, you're right, the INT 250 is a chunk at 105 lbs. Especially if you'll be moving it from time to time. But if you'll be placing it and leaving it alone...I was able to place mine on a chest high cabinet by myself with no issues. However, I donned a heavy jacket and wore leather gloves to prevent the heat sinks from digging into my hands. And I placed a heavy blanket over the cabinet. Wasn't that difficult.

    I say all this just to demonstrate it's possible for one person to place the amp barring any physical limitations. I would not recommend it unless there is simply no one to help...which was my situation. If you're a small person you could injure yourself elevating the amp to chest height, let alone possibly dropping the amp. So, once the amp is placed you'll be treated to gorgeous sound from your hospital bed. Just kidding, just kidding. But the INT 250 is a tone machine. It truly is a superb sounding amp. And it, along with the speakers, just keeps getting better and better with use.
    Amplifier: Pass Labs INT 250 integrated.

    DAC/Streamer: MSB Discrete Dual Power Supply.

    Server: Roon Nucleus with lifetime subscription.

    Speakers: Harbeth Super HL 5+ 40th Anniversary
    Model.

    Headphones/Amp: Focal Stellia phones, NAIM Uniti Atom Headphone Edition headphone amp/music player/server/streamer.

    Cables: AudioQuest Rocket 88 speaker cables,
    Mackenzie interconnects.

    Speaker Stands: HiFi Man.

  29. #29
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Are you able to continue and test with the Diablo 120? A bit more velvety and less brute than the 300, worth a shot.
    _______________

    Main Room: High Efficiency < Stereo Pair REL Carbon Specials < Diablo 120 w/DAC Module < [Lumin X1 < Torus RM20]

    Loft: Apple HomePod Mini




  30. #30
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Thank you Mr.Peabody, your opinion is interesting and useful.
    As for Int.250 according to Bluegrassphile adviced - hmmmm.....I'd like more mobile devices which don't demand assistance of somebody else :-) but thank you for advice.
    Low325, Diablo 120 - no, not in access till mid of November. Manager said that 120 is noticable simple comparing to Diablo 300. But he was interested to sell 300 of course. As I see you have TAD ME-1 coaxial monitors. I think there is nice loading for D120. But my Sonus is not. I have proposal for Diablo 300 and consider it with Hegel H590 now. Hegel is about one third cheaper. Also, good old Gryphon Diablo 250/8 Ohms is available for about half price of Diablo 300. Will decide soon. More advices? :-)

    Thank you everybody.

  31. #31
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    It digs deeper into the recording. The amp doesnít create hiss.
    Hmmm...

    Hans Wetzel from Soundstage says comparing Hegel H590 to other high-quality integrateds he reviewed in the last few years...... The H590ís power supply wasnít as quiet -- Hans Wetzel could hear white noise from roughly 6Ē away from a KEF 700ís tweeter......

    SoundStage! Hi-Fi | SoundStageHiFi.com - Hegel Music Systems H590 Integrated Amplifier-DAC

    I think I listened white noise also - right from my listening position. Hans Wetzel compared H590 and T+A PA 2000R. I compared H590 and ML5805

  32. #32
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    I havenít gone through this whole thread but if you havenít bought Ö. See if you can get your hands on Gamut Di150 LE.

    Spectacular performance , I had one for quite some time and itís power is effortless and is certainly the most neutral amp I have ever owned. Terrific really and built like a tank, power anything, true dual mono etc etc

  33. #33
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    Re: New amp to drive Sonus Faber Olympica III - Hegel? Coda? Mark Levinson?

    Thank you for advise. Unfortunately Gamut is not in access.
    I have appointment to listen Diablo 300 again and Audia Flight FLS10. Will finish testing and finalize decision

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