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Technics SU-C700 with Super HL5plus

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  • Technics SU-C700 with Super HL5plus

    Hi,

    this is my first post and I hope this is the right forum for my topic.

    I am planning to buy my first Harbeth speaker next month, the Super HL5plus. I wonder what amp I should choose. I really like the new Technics SU-C700 for its specs and design. I am very open minded when it comes to Class-D amps as I see lots of benefits and there is no reason for me why they should "sound" different to traditional quality amps.

    I want to be very clear, for me an amp has exactly one purpose: Amplifying without altering sound characteristics. I am not the type of person who believes in different sound characteristics when it comes to amps. On the same linear output level they must all sound the same. I am not talking about personal taste - if you like the sound of tube amps for example, that's totally fine for me. Tube amps are not linear and they add their individual sound characteristic by design and by purpose - that's fine for me but also a reason to never buy such amps. For me, the only elements to create actual sound characteristics are the producers in the studio and the speakers. Everything in between has to be neutral. I am not investing in Harbeth for their neutral studio-like sound to then alter the sound with a tube amp. I don't want the amp touching the sound. Sound quality on the amp level means to me undistorted powering and nothing else.

    In this regard, a good old analog transistor amp from the 90s from Yamaha, Denon, Technics, Marantz, etc. with about 100 W at 8 Ω should be more than suitable. I like to be consequent, either some good classic or something brand new. When it comes to the digital age, I prefer Class D. Here is what I like about the new Technics SU-C700:
    1. Consequent Class D design
    2. Many digital inputs
    3. Large VU and power meters (I think the power meters can be really helpful to control the amp's power reserve, so it's not a nostalgic feature for me)
    4. Simple design and form factor

    What I don't like about the SU-C700 is Technics' marketing language when it comes to describe the JENO Engine and LAPC. Sure, a proper clock is needed but what's the innovation here? I don't expect much breakthrough from a new clock generator - this isn't a pressing issue. I think this is mainly marketing to address general skepticism against digital technology and Class D amps. Sadly, this means adding some Hifi voodoo to a total trivial topic.

    LAPC sounds like actual sound manipulation to me, something like an EQ. This doesn't need to be a bad thing if it really corrects a previous sound influence caused by the nature of Class D designs. It's good to be able to turn it off so the differences can be compared.

    The real question to me is if the power of 45 W at 8 Ω and 70 W at 4 Ω is enough to drive the Super HL5plus really well. I know Class D is much more efficient than analog amps but this doesn't mean we need less output power. Power consumption of the SU-C700 is only 73 W so this reflects the power efficiency of Class D. Harbeth recommends 50 W (at 6 Ω for the Super HL5plus) so the SU-C700 is within the recommended range. Would you agree it is more than enough and still provides some reserves?

    Thanks
    mactrix

  • #2
    I think you will like more power. RIght now, consider the 2x250 watt Yamaha p2500s power amp that is being discounted for 298 euro. As a pre amplifier you may want to consider the forthcoming Oppo UHD 205 disc player. It has all the digital inputs you need, plus volume control.

    Comment


    • #3
      The Technics amp does seem to be somewhat underpowered.

      A particular shortcoming of digital/switching type power amps is that the output low-pass filter can interact with the typical non-linear impedance of the speaker to introduce non-negligible response aberrations at higher frequencies.

      My suggestion would be to choose an amp with a conventional analog/linear power amp stage.
      First recommendation for an amp with sufficient power output capability and digital inputs would be the Yamaha A-S801.
      If you prefer the Marantz brand, look at the PM7005.
      Denon has the comparable PMA-1600NE. For even higher power output, there is the PMA-2500NE.
      Another possibility is the Parasound Halo Integrated amp.
      If you want something more deluxe, Accuphase offers several integrated amps that can accept a plug-in DAC module.

      Comment


      • #4
        Keep in mind that most of the "power" meters included in amplifiers are not true power meters in that they simply display the voltage level at the input to the power amp stage rather that deriving the actual power output based upon the combination of the voltage and current delivered at the amp's output.

        In lieu of output power meters built into the amplifier, you may want to consider buying an oscilloscope - either used or new.
        Even the most basic and inexpensive model will generally suffice to let you monitor the amp's output for signs of clipping.

        Some considerations are discussed here:
        http://www.usedoscilloscope.org/
        http://www.usedoscilloscope.org/cheap-oscilloscopes/

        Comment


        • #5
          I'd be tempted to go for an amp with more power, 60W or so into the 5's 6Ohms seems a bit meager if you want to remain distortion free at louder replay levels. Harbeth recommends 50W as a minimum but that only tells you where to get started, 50W would actually limit playback levels but it depends where how loud you play in relation to listening distance & music type.

          I use a switching PA amp with my C7 providing any and all power I need, however this is more of an experiment, I needed a cool running small unit to go in a cabinet, if I were to buy an amp without the constraints I'd buy a more classic a/b type without hesitation just because the technology is established and known to be relatively issue free.
          Getting to know my C7ES3

          Comment


          • #6
            I've not heard anything favourable about this Technics except that it is now heavily discounted, so don't pay the original price.

            Can you do some amplifier comparisons at your Harbeth stockist ? He/they will know which direction you should be going in and can help you decide.

            Comment


            • #7
              Like predecessors in this thread, I too think that you will need more power to be safe with clean, undistorted sound from your SHL5+ at any volume and with any music you may want to listen. Personally, basing on my experience with the SHL5+ and many amplifiers that I tried, I wouldn't buy anything short of 100W into 6Ohms. Why cut the power when it's so cheap? I currently have the Yamaha A-S2100 and QUAD 909. Both units can be recommended for the SHL5+ and if you need digital inputs, most cheap stand-alone DACs will do the job. Cheaper Yamaha A-S1100 will also do the job just as well, sans balanced inputs that only the more expensive model has. Both models have "power" meters that are admittedly incapable of measuring anything worthwhile in technical terms, as they are connected to the headphone pre out, but look great to say the least and give tremendous pride of ownership

              Comment


              • #8
                Wow, great feedback everyone. The SU-C700 doesn't seem to be a good choice then.

                Thanks for sharing your experience with other amps. I will definitely review this more in detail. Yamaha seems to be quite popular and I also considered some of their classic power amps (I spotted a used M-50 in good condition) in combination with a modern pre-amp that includes all the digital inputs and maybe even wireless.

                My dealer offers some sophisticated amps as well so I will run some comparisons with his selection.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wasting money on underpowered boutique amplifiers does not make any sense. Of the mainstream manufacturers Yamaha probably has the largest number of integrated amplifiers and receivers with some 80-120 watt output and digital inputs, which is convenient. In a larger room your speakers could benefit from more power than that, however. The Yamaha pro audio amplifiers have three advantages. The first is that they are cheap: 298 euro for the 2x250 watt p2500s and 359 euro for the 2x350 watt p 3500s. The second is that they are known to be very good, and at least as good as very good home hifi amplifiers: http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/a...t30056383.html The third is that unlike most other pro audio amplifiers, their fan has a variable speed and does not really kick in unless you are throwing a very big party and want to include the whole neighbourhood. So you can actually use them domestically.
                  Comparing amplifiers is not that easy, if only because the differences are so small, if at all audible. You really have to make sure that levels are perfectly matched (to within 0.2 dB) because the ear/brain interprets level differences as quality differences. So you need to use a volt meter to measure the output and make sure it is absolutely the same. Measuring with a microphone is not accurate enough. The other two causes of sonic differences between amplifiers are load sensitivity (a big problem with tube amplifiers) and clipping on overly sensitive analogue inputs of pre amplifiers. Some amplifiers, including some well known upmarket brands, have very sensitive inputs. This makes them stand out in the demo room because they sound louder (see above) but it also means the input signal can be clipped very easily.
                  So the simpest course of action is to get a solid state power ampifer with a beefy transformer and go for the most watt for the euro. Whether you need a separate pre-amplifier or not depends on your input requirements. Just have a look at some earlier discussions here.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by willem View Post
                    Of the mainstream manufacturers Yamaha probably has the largest number of integrated amplifiers and receivers with some 80-120 watt output and digital inputs, which is convenient. In a larger room your speakers could benefit from more power than that, however.
                    Test reports have shown that an amp such as the A-S801 is capable of over 150W continuous into a 6Ω load and over 200W on peaks.
                    Given that the SuperHL5plus has a 150W programme power rating, is there really any need for a more powerful amplifier?

                    Originally posted by willem View Post
                    The Yamaha pro audio amplifiers have three advantages. The first is that they are cheap: 298 euro for the 2x250 watt p2500s and 359 euro for the 2x350 watt p 3500s. The second is that they are known to be very good, and at least as good as very good home hifi amplifiers: http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/a...t30056383.html.
                    Is that series of amplifiers reliable and easy to repair?
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtQPVlFwZ9o
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejO0LvEo5yw



                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Power requirements all depend on room size and type of music, of course, but Alan has shown quite convincingly, I think, that you may need a lot. As for the pro audio amplifiers' reliability, I am sure that there is a negative review on the web for any product on the market, but these have been succesfully used in demanding pro audio conditions for more than a decade. At prices of 298 and 359 euro repair is unlikely to be economical once the unit is out of warranty. But that applies to many modern electronic devices. Fortunately labour is just too expensive these days. I just bought the 2x250 watt for my son.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        At around the original price range of the Technics you can also find the ten year old design (that is a good thing right? don't fix if not broken) of the parasound classics 2100/2125 pre.power (You can pick one of three power amps for power choice) No DAC but does have plenty power (125 into 8Ohm), tone controls, selectable high pass filters if preferred/needed for small speakers/subsonic elimination, gain controls at the power amp so you can get good use of the pre amps volume control, switchable voltage for different countries. Apparently measures well and considered value for money.
                        Getting to know my C7ES3

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by willem View Post
                          Power requirements all depend on room size and type of music, of course, but Alan has shown quite convincingly, I think, that you may need a lot. As for the pro audio amplifiers' reliability, I am sure that there is a negative review on the web for any product on the market, but these have been succesfully used in demanding pro audio conditions for more than a decade. At prices of 298 and 359 euro repair is unlikely to be economical once the unit is out of warranty. But that applies to many modern electronic devices. Fortunately labour is just too expensive these days. I just bought the 2x250 watt for my son.
                          There is a lot of internet chatter regarding pro amps as much as consumer audio amp (a lot is subjective sound quality talk: 'crowns have no bass') I often wonder if the best place to go for advice are those individuals who actual repair stuff, I know there is a local workshop here who repair pro equipment officially under warranty and aside and that place is sky high with testing equipment, old amps, loudspeakers, mixing desks etc.

                          As you note Willem, such equipment is often run for years, carried around, banged about, run at or close to clipping and yet often survives well, I'm sure pro amp manufacturers have their share of issue but more than anybody they should know what such equipment requires. Those Yamaha units run at domestic levels are going to occasionally touch the -10dB signal indicator levels, totally under what they were designed for and would no doubt last years. You would have to bring the 5's to an inch (or literally a mm) of their lives before those units clipped I can bet.
                          Getting to know my C7ES3

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by willem View Post
                            Power requirements all depend on room size and type of music, of course, but Alan has shown quite convincingly, I think, that you may need a lot.
                            Indeed, the specific model of Hegel amp chosen by A.S. for demonstrations of the SuperHL5plus at recent Bristol shows is capable of a 300W+ output into 6Ω.

                            That begs a question, then, for our host. Suppose that one somehow manages to damage a SuperHL5plus , for example,in the course of using it with an amplifier whose power output capability significantly exceeds the published 150W rating for the speaker? Will Harbeth repair the speaker at no charge if it is still within the warranty period?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And at the Hilversum meeting some time ago that Alan posted a video of, he discovered that the M40.1s were being fed peaks of some 500 watts. I think maximum safe peak inputs must be a difficult subject, because so much depends on how long the peaks are. There is quite a difference between what the oocasional orchestral peak does compared to the continuous drone of pop music recorded at maximum loudness and without much dynamics. Moreover, the clipped output of an amplifier that is worked too hard is more harmful than the clean output of a biger amplifier.

                              Comment

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