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Feb. 2018
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Amp upgrade towards Luxman L-410 or Accuphase E-205/ E-206 or other?

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  • Amp upgrade towards Luxman L-410 or Accuphase E-205/ E-206 or other?

    Hi folks,

    I finally got hold of a nice pair of P3ESR (in cherry) and I am quite happy so far. But I realized that my tube amp (Cayin MT-12, received as a gift…) is not really capable of driving the little speakers as expected. The amp is not bad but you can hear that it is lacking the necessary power to have the P3ESR shine as they could, not a big surprise I guess given the fact that the little amp is rated with 9W each channel.

    I am sure there are many folks out there quite happy with the P3ESR in combination with a tube amp, but I am looking for a „transistor“ amp now. In the past I owned a Luxman L-410, unfortunately I sold it back in the days (different story).

    I want to use the „little“ P3ESR as my main speakers in my living room, around 24 qm, listening to all kinds of music, including „electronic“ classics from Kraftwerk and others. I am well aware that enough people will claim that the „little“ P3ESR are, well too little, and I might want to look into „bigger“ speakers, but well - I somehow love them and there is another big factor to keep them: Design and acceptance by the „family member(s)“ ;-)

    To cut long story short: Speakers will stay, but I need a new „universal“ amp.

    Originally I was looking into a NAIM NAC 62 (or 72) + NAP 140 combination, because of the reduced design and serviceability, but the price ranges here in Germany for unserviced (!) devices are quite high (around 600-800 EUR).

    For the less money (500-600 EUR) you already will get a Luxman L-410 or an Accuphase E-205/ E-206, some of them even fully serviced.
    A friend of mine owns a Accuphase E-205 and we tested the amp with the P3ESR and I was quite impressed by the sound stage and the performance - and of course with plenty of power left.

    Anyone with in-depth experiences or feedback on either a Luxman L-410 or an Accuphase E-205/E-206 with the P3ESR?
    Highly appreciated your help/ comments!

    As you can read within my lines, if possible the amp should be easily „serviceable“ with „common“ spare parts as best as possible, in other words with less proprietary integrated chip sets (ICs). Or at least with a good „service network“ / repair centers available. So any „used“ / vintage 70-80? era might be a interesting fit?

    I also looked at the Quad 405 MII with a Quad 44, a quite interesting combo, and a very unique design, but I am not sure how well they are available and serviceable here in Germany.

    So for discussions starting point, let’s focus on the Luxman/ Accuphase first if you don’t mind?






  • #2
    Rather than 30-year-old amplifiers at twice the price, you should investigate this new one for only about 330 EUR:
    http://www.pioneer-audiovisual.eu/de/def/products/30

    Test report: https://audio.com.pl/testy/stereo/wz...1-pioneer-a-30

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks, but not a big fan of "blue lights" and an amp which is unlikely to be able to be repaired in 5 years time (if something goes wrong)...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ollip View Post
        Thanks, but not a big fan of "blue lights" and an amp which is unlikely to be able to be repaired in 5 years time (if something goes wrong)...
        So, there is a previously unstated fashion aspect to be addressed, as well?
        In that case, consider this amp from Denon: https://www.denon.de/de/product/hifi/amplifier/pma720ae
        Review of amp (and matching CD player): http://www.areadvd.de/hardware/2012/...dcd720ae.shtml

        Your stated aversion to integrated circuits is quite curious.
        Are you aware that the Luxman and Accuphase units you mentioned contain integrated circuits?
        Do you believe that finding replacements for certain 30-year-old discrete transistors is always easy?
        Ask Rohm if they are still making their low-noise small-signal bipolar transistors.
        Same for Toshiba dual-FET devices and Hitachi MOS-FET power transistors in a metal package.

        Regarding "fully serviced" units, following is an example of the parts that will likely need to be replaced in a 30-year-old amp in order to perform a proper reconditioning. This is from an Accuphase amp:

        Comment


        • #5
          Luxman and Accuphase make similar products which are beautifully put together and with a plethora of facilities. The build is such that they are unlikely to go wrong and will give you many years of pleasure. I'm pretty certain you will be happy with either.

          Comment


          • #6
            To Ollip,

            Congrats and many happy hours with your mini-monitors.

            Why to hell, are you striving pairing the shoe-box baby loudspeakers with beafy amps like Luxman or Accuphase? In this specific case, both companies' weaker A-class top end power amps cost small fortune.

            Any decent modern 50 - 70 - 100 Watts amp should be satisfactory enough. If your room is a bit bigger choose an amp from stronger end of the this range. Provided the device is not faulty amp and performs properly well in the top audible range, you will not recognize any substantial difference in natural character of the sound via such small audio boxes.

            I tried all such combinations with powerful high end-amps (ML, TagMcLaren or Sphinx) and this matching does not justify your expenditure on very costive amplification. Maybe better focus your efforts, if you want to spend some more money, on amplifier with an outstanding channel cross-talk separation (very good pre-amplifier), you'll be amazed with stereophonic image these babies can create, worth every penny you already spent.

            Weak "bulb" amp is not the best solution for any 84 - 86dB / 1W / 1m sensitive loudspeakers ...

            One more remark - do not consider seriously older top end amplifiers - their refurbishing can be very costive and sometimes very problematic if you do not have any known "guru" electronics engineer with profound knowledge of their technology. This hobby isn't cheap. Just like serious collecting vintage watches .

            ATB

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
              Luxman and Accuphase make similar products which are beautifully put together and with a plethora of facilities. The build is such that they are unlikely to go wrong and will give you many years of pleasure. I'm pretty certain you will be happy with either.
              Did you note that the Luxman and Accuphase models the OP is inquiring about are from the 1980s?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by IMF+TDL View Post
                Did you note that the Luxman and Accuphase models the OP is inquiring about are from the 1980s?
                Hi,
                I do solemnly believe Dave had brand new or last few years' models in mind.

                ATB

                Comment


                • #9
                  You do indeed need a more powerful amplifier for the lovely P3ESRs (say, about 2x100 watt), and with the kind of budget that you seem to indicate, the new Yamaha, Pioneer and Onkyo amplifiers and receivers that were suggested by IMF TDL here and in another recent thread are indeed excellent. I would suggest you opt for models with digital inputs.
                  If you still want more bass, and provided you have a large enough room, I would suggest saving for a bigger model Harbeth speaker, or a pair of subwoofers. In that last case, two small subs will sound much better than one big sub, and dsp room equalization of the subs with e.g an Antimode 8033 wil improve the in room response even more.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by IMF+TDL View Post
                    Did you note that the Luxman and Accuphase models the OP is inquiring about are from the 1980s?
                    Of course I did, hence my reply.

                    I have an Accuphase amp and tuner from the early 70s and both work perfectly.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
                      Of course I did, hence my reply.
                      I have an Accuphase amp and tuner from the early 70s and both work perfectly.
                      Have any parts ever been replaced?
                      Is the tuner still in alignment?
                      Does the amp still make its rated power output?
                      Have you confirmed the performance by testing them with a distortion analyzer?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To be honest, everything degrades with time, and as has been explained here in some considerable detail, including video examples, the fastest degrading element of any audio system is the storage capacitors in the power amplifier. These have a working life, according the public domain Manufacturer's Data Sheets, of a few thousand powered, operational hours. That's likely to be exceeded after ten-twenty years of normal use. The photo in post #4 above is all of capacitors, and all of replaced ones at that - just to be sure. (That's a quicker, cheaper and better strategy than laboriously technically testing them for leakage etc. one by one).

                        I have long cured myself of the emotional and psychological fascination (or even mental crutch) for the audio equipment that I had to near bankrupt myself to acquire when I was a third of my current age. I've closed-off that department in my brain and moved on. It is simply not credible that an antique amplifier outperforms a best-practice modern amp any more than a 1970s car outperforms even a modest contemporary mainstream car. Or a 1970s speaker for that matter.

                        You are running an unquantifiable risk that when that old car or audio amp fails, it will do spectacular damage. We know the tell-tale signs of amplifier breakdown, and that is not covered by our Warranty.

                        Do yourself a favour and have that treasured old car or old amp serviced by a specialist. He will replace all the prone-to-fail parts, and only then can your confidence be well founded.
                        Alan A. Shaw
                        Designer, owner
                        Harbeth Audio UK

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I agree, moreover I'll be brutally honest - the amount of used conds and other debris from my refurbished (why am I doing this?) Marantz S8 excels pretty much what is shown on the photo above. Whole this job, profound workbench testing and experience of an engineer included cost not a few.

                          It is just like with vintage watches - I recently wanted to refurbish vintage day-date wristwatch I intended to present to my godson (because he liked it). After torough consultations with one of the best watchmakers (130 years of continuous tradition) here, i decided to buy a new one with more modern version of the same caliber. Apart from considerable costs no one will guarantee more than half, maximum one year of faultless work of this vintage marvel ... It would be a doubtful present .

                          ATB

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The 'Bath-tub' curve

                            That's the point. Because of the inevitable degradation with age, the seller (or user) cannot honestly say with any confidence how long the equipment will work. A day? A week? A month? A couple of years? Nobody knows.

                            What has long been observed and studied by those in enginneering is the ' bath tub curve' of time versus propensity to break down and fail. We can see it here. This is not a matter of dispute: it is a fact that with the passing of time there is a greater propensity for failure of any system, includiong of course, our own bodies.

                            So, aside from the small chance of equipment infant mortality (failure shortly after purchase), the earlier in the working life of a piece of equipment you acquire it, the longer period of trouble-free use it is likely to give its owner. And conversely, the later in its life, the more prone to needing repairs.

                            This is, as we know, reflected in the price of new and second hand cars. The older the car, the more it has depreciated its intrinsic value but the more is likely to be spent on spare parts. A point is reached when the asset value is below the maintenance costs at which point it is scrapped. A sickening example of that is here.

                            So, the emotional attachment to equipment of one's youth, including aircraft and hi-fi eqpt, has to be moderated with common sense of the risks.
                            Alan A. Shaw
                            Designer, owner
                            Harbeth Audio UK

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by IMF+TDL View Post
                              Have any parts ever been replaced?
                              Is the tuner still in alignment?
                              Does the amp still make its rated power output?
                              Have you confirmed the performance by testing them with a distortion analyzer?
                              No.
                              Yes.
                              Yes.
                              My engineer has and all is in spec.

                              Comment

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