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Feb. 2018
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Rotel RA-1570 with Harbeth 30.1s - good match?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Cacophonix View Post
    USB cable.
    Try using the optical connection.

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    • #17
      Elsewhere on this forum there is a long thread about input sensitivity and limited volume control range. Several report that Naim Nait models are unusually sensitive on some inputs and hence easily overloaded. That can give a subjectively exciting sound.

      If this were were the case with your system, the Rotel might be more neutral and accurate, but you miss the added distortion on switching over. It will be interesting to try the Rotel for at least a week, then switch back. You may reach a different conclusion. Or the Rotel may just be a duffer!

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Nopiano View Post
        Elsewhere on this forum there is a long thread about input sensitivity and limited volume control range. Several report that Naim Nait models are unusually sensitive on some inputs and hence easily overloaded. That can give a subjectively exciting sound.

        If this were were the case with your system, the Rotel might be more neutral and accurate, but you miss the added distortion on switching over. It will be interesting to try the Rotel for at least a week, then switch back. You may reach a different conclusion. Or the Rotel may just be a duffer!
        I had a naim amp that would jump to full power readily, this was problematic with hot signals, I don't know if it was an instance of overload/clipping of input/power but you could get the impression full power was achieved with very little rotation and thus it was sometimes difficult to even play at low volumes as a dynamic track would sound very loud at some points, it was as if it was all or none, this did give the impression however of a lively sound but in practice it was problematic, you were forever adjusting the volume depending on the track being played.

        A more exaggerated example of this is my old Tivoli model 1 table radio, the aux input is very sensitive to CD for eg, it is almost impossible to control the volume as it seems to hit full power the moment you turn the control, the immediate and obvious distortion might indeed be seen momentarily as 'punch' but it is an obviously flawed feature.

        Getting to know my C7ES3

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        • #19
          Some people confuse "all well designed amplifiers should sound the same" with "all amplifiers sound the the same". The first might be right theoretically(though there are different ways to develop good functioning amplifiers, a, AB, D, all digital etc.) But everyone that actually tried different amplifier in practice know the second isn't true. And it is not all about watts.
          BTW I once had a Rotel amp and found it very lacklustre sounding too, despite its ample power on paper.
          Love my P3ESRs

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          • #20
            Good amplifiers do not have a sonic signature. Test them under controlled condition (double blind, level matched, instantaneous switch-over) and amplifiers that did sound different under informal comparison will suddenly sound the same. If they don't, they are not good amplifiers (as is the case with many even expensive valve amplifiers). The good news is many even very affordable solid state amplifiers do indeed sound the same.
            I once had the privilege of a private demonstration by Peter Walker of Quad. He had this rig with his three successive designs, the valve model, the 303 and the 405, all level matched and with a blind switch. This was at the time that the British audio press had entered the subjective craze and had started to criticize his designs: the valve amp was best, and the 405 was worst, they claimed. So he had this demo rig, and I was invited to compare the amps. I thought I could hear differences, but with a gentlemanly smile he showed that my identifications had not been better than random. Lesson learned.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by willem View Post
              Good amplifiers do not have a sonic signature. Test them under controlled condition (double blind, level matched, instantaneous switch-over) and amplifiers that did sound different under informal comparison will suddenly sound the same. If they don't, they are not good amplifiers (as is the case with many even expensive valve amplifiers). The good news is many even very affordable solid state amplifiers do indeed sound the same.
              I once had the privilege of a private demonstration by Peter Walker of Quad. He had this rig with his three successive designs, the valve model, the 303 and the 405, all level matched and with a blind switch. This was at the time that the British audio press had entered the subjective craze and had started to criticize his designs: the valve amp was best, and the 405 was worst, they claimed. So he had this demo rig, and I was invited to compare the amps. I thought I could hear differences, but with a gentlemanly smile he showed that my identifications had not been better than random. Lesson learned.
              Iím surprised you couldnít tell the valves apart from the rest Willem but I suppose whether you could or not would depend on the music used in the experiment. It is probably true though that the more optimal various amp designs are, in their own right, the more similar they will sound to each other. Still, valves seem technologically precluded from achieving the same level of brilliance across the band and that is why I would expect them to fail to impress ultimately. Last night - incidentally - I was at a presentation of a £12K dac that the discerning dealer had made a point of pairing up with a valve pre and power amp (of the most imposing kind, visually and financially). The result, imo, was a mixed bag, the middle and top end sounding stellar while the bottom end was lacklustre and flabby. When I asked the technical director afterwards why the company (dCS) so well known for its efforts to eliminate distortion would want to use two valve amps in its demos, he promptly withdrew behind the statement: ĎI donít know, you'd need to ask our marketing director thatí. I suppose until class A and D find a half-credible way of making things the size of microwave ovens, valves will continue to rule the world of hi end audio.

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              • #22
                My personal preference is for the guts of the Quad 606-2. Also, it performs rather better with modern lower impedance speakers. Even so, Peter Walker's valve amplifier was a very good design. See here for measurements that show that it performs rather better than many modern valved abominations: https://www.stereophile.com/content/...r-measurements
                In fact, I am not alone in my inability to discern differences between Peter Walker's amplifier designs. See here for James Moir's famous experiment: http://www.keith-snook.info/wireless...tors%20DCD.pdf At the time, the heated discussion was primarily about the perceived sonic inferiority of the new Quad 405. It, and its modern successors like my 606-2 do of course measure much better than anything that came before. As it so happens, I own three Quad power amps, an early 303, a late 405-2 and a 606-2, all properly refurbished. At lower levels they all sound the same, but when I push them the 405-2 is cleaner, and the 606-2 even more so. Power rules OK.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by willem View Post
                  Good amplifiers do not have a sonic signature. Test them under controlled condition (double blind, level matched, instantaneous switch-over) and amplifiers that did sound different under informal comparison will suddenly sound the same. If they don't, they are not good amplifiers (as is the case with many even expensive valve amplifiers). The good news is many even very affordable solid state amplifiers do indeed sound the same.
                  I once had the privilege of a private demonstration by Peter Walker of Quad. He had this rig with his three successive designs, the valve model, the 303 and the 405, all level matched and with a blind switch. This was at the time that the British audio press had entered the subjective craze and had started to criticize his designs: the valve amp was best, and the 405 was worst, they claimed. So he had this demo rig, and I was invited to compare the amps. I thought I could hear differences, but with a gentlemanly smile he showed that my identifications had not been better than random. Lesson learned.
                  A handful of years back I home demoed an otherwise praised 100W valve amp, 50lb or so of glowing metal, I was anticipating something interesting to come from my then rega juras, however it was the first time I ever felt an amp sounded totally different, pretty much like a significant chunk of top end was muted, subjectively as if a treble tone control had been adjusted down about half way, I was ready to be wowed by what would be an impressive and expensive unit but I still to this day wonder if it was actually defective, a less expensive valve/D hybrid from the same company sounded for all intents an purposes like solid state amp I had owned for years, anecdotal but I assumed placebo would render the sound of the valve amp seductive???? Maybe that amp just did not work well with the regas?? I'll never know.

                  edit: generally and just reminded me: decades ago I actually tried a pair of B&W 'rock solids' monitors with a sub made for them, I wanted at the time a bigger sound than my tiny linn index gave and was dismayed at how truncated the top end was on the monitors, my hearing was no doubt far better then but I now do wonder now if the speakers were actually defective, were the tweeters even wired in??? It is rare for a modern speaker to be missing a blindingly obvious chunk of upper frequencies. I remember my dad who was otherwise disinterested saying 'those sound no where near as clear as the others'....
                  Getting to know my C7ES3

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by willem View Post
                    My personal preference is for the guts of the Quad 606-2. Also, it performs rather better with modern lower impedance speakers. Even so, Peter Walker's valve amplifier was a very good design. See here for measurements that show that it performs rather better than many modern valved abominations: https://www.stereophile.com/content/...r-measurements
                    In fact, I am not alone in my inability to discern differences between Peter Walker's amplifier designs. See here for James Moir's famous experiment: http://www.keith-snook.info/wireless...tors%20DCD.pdf At the time, the heated discussion was primarily about the perceived sonic inferiority of the new Quad 405. It, and its modern successors like my 606-2 do of course measure much better than anything that came before. As it so happens, I own three Quad power amps, an early 303, a late 405-2 and a 606-2, all properly refurbished. At lower levels they all sound the same, but when I push them the 405-2 is cleaner, and the 606-2 even more so. Power rules OK.
                    Excellent article and a joy to read. Of course, the experiment would carry less weight with us today had they been less serious in their approach and used a £££££ turntable as a source in lieu of the Studer. I didnít quite understand the earthing diagram bit but itís reassuring to know they were leaving nothing to chance. I have abandoned class A/B for class D years ago and my expectations as regards the ability of an amp to control bass has moved up as a result (relative to what I owned before). Now, in the festive spirit of sharing, hereís a link to a 12 year old article by the now well known class D engineer commenting in passing on the rival technologies, and going rather gentlemanly about it. (Note, in contrast, how Bryston cheekily takes the intended argument to mean something else and uses it to push their own agenda).

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