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  1. #1
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    Soundstage Luxury & Performance Electronics Shortlist

    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Rega Turntables and Electronics, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stillpoints, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, Vivid Audio Loudspeakers, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
    Phone: 941-932-0282
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  2. #2
    Audioshark
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    Re: Soundstage Luxury & Performance Electronics Shortlist

    The Boulder/Gryphon/MSB amps are the top three I would choose too. I haven’t had a lot of time with the Sim 888’s, so I can’t say definitively, but the Sim 860v2 is a terrific sub-$20K performer.

    The MSB amps are the proverbial odd ball here, because you are talking somewhat new world class amps from a company more known for world class DAC’s. But the amps are all that - and more. The MSB amps TRULY perform above and beyond when paired with the MSB DAC’s. Why? The output impedance of the DAC is a perfect match for the 75ohm input impedance of the amp. Thankfully, MSB was one step ahead and also put a multiple input impedance selector switch on the back to ensure their amps will pair very well with more than just their DAC’s.

    As a friend of mine and I found out on Friday after several hours, choosing between the Boulder and the Gryphon amps is not an easy task. Both have exceptional, unique qualities. The Gryphon really pairs well with the Gryphon preamp and takes things to a whole new level and we love the green bias link between the two. The Boulder amps seemed to pair well with it’s own preamp, but other preamps as well and never really got “hot”. But the bass from the Gryphon is seriously subterranean and quite addictive. The transparency from the Boulder was also quite addictive. Both are world class. Oddly, one only comes in silver and the other only comes in black! Maybe that’s the way to choose. ?? Soundstage Luxury & Performance Electronics Shortlist

    Although I personally love a preamp in the system (old habits are hard to break?). The full blown preamp module from MSB sure helps make Jeff’s point in the article.

    As for mono vs stereo, this is a little trickier. If the amp is made purposely as a mono, then yes, generally that’s the way to go. But some amps which are switchable, you have to watch the minimum ohm rating a little closer and more carefully match with your speakers. That being said, there are a few cases where Joe and I have found the stereo version to be a little sweeter sounding. Hegel H30 comes to mind.

    Another great article again showing world class products from world class companies, all of which resemble the term “luxury”.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Rega Turntables and Electronics, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stillpoints, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, Vivid Audio Loudspeakers, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
    Phone: 941-932-0282
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Re: Soundstage Luxury & Performance Electronics Shortlist

    Ironic he believes in short signal paths, but all the recommended amps use hundreds of transistors.

    I personally would go a different direction, but ultimately it depends on the speaker. Dart, Nagra, FirstWatt, etc. and of course even a few tube amps which I know he shuns
    Brinkmann Bardo w/ EMT HSD-006 cart, MSB Premier DAC --> Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL --> Ampzilla 2000, 2nd Edition --> YG Acoustics Hailey 2.2

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Re: Soundstage Luxury & Performance Electronics Shortlist

    Hard to argue with his favorites. In an industry that has many high quality amplifiers, getting a list down to 3 to 4 is tough and will never get 100% agreement across audiophiles. As with the speaker article last month, some really good choices but some of the usual suspects are missing.

    Lastly, I really enjoyed his approach on this article a bit better than the previous speaker favorites piece.
    _______________

    Mike

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Re: Soundstage Luxury & Performance Electronics Shortlist

    I agree, hard to argue the choices although I do not have much personal experience with the brands. The one thing I would argue is his not including a dedicated pre-amp. I assume that these top tier DACs have wonderful volume functions built in, however maybe I am just old school, but to me a pre-amplifier is one of the absolute primary components.

    On numerous occasions I have tried running a DAC as the main control unit. Every time the systems sound just seemed to fall flat. Even units with what are regarded as exceptional volume sections such as the T+A seem to be completely out gunned by a dedicated pre-amp. Another issue with this is finding a DAC with quality analog inputs. Not all of us live exclusively in the digital world. He mentioned turntables (and phono stages) but how about other components such as a tuner or an SACD spinner. Yes some DACs are equipped to run their own spinners through their on board DACs (Esoteric, etc.). This is not the norm.

    I have just found that a quality pre-amplifier makes as much difference in the sound of my over all system than most any other component, including and especially the power amplifier. Maybe this is because I am not playing on the level that Jeff is discussing, but it is definitely something that my experience tells me. A pre-amp should be one of the primary components in a system.
    Hattor; T+A; Bel Canto; McIntosh; Rega; Technics; SimAudio; Magnepan; Rythmik; Astell & Kern; HeadAmp; Abyss

    "You are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts"

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Soundstage Luxury & Performance Electronics Shortlist

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