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Audio Research Vsi75 for Harbeth 30.1

artitalia

New member
Hi guys, i'm really happy owner of a couple of Harbeth m30.1 ae, recently i've had a problem with my previous solid state amplifier and i'm going to buy a integrate tube amp Audio Research Vsi75 .

I would like to ask if someone else in forum have used the 30.1 in combination with Audior Research Vsi75 and can share his experience.

Thank you

Roberto
 

willem

Well-known member
Read recent amplifier threads first

Read recent amplifier threads first

Dear Roberto,

I think you would do well to read at least the two current threads on 'Shock horror....' and 'How much amplifier power ... ?'
 

szigony

Member
Audio Research

Audio Research

Hi Roberto,

I have audio research vsi60 and Harbeth M30.1+Quad subwoofer. I think Harbeth+audio research is simply stunning. If you like it then do not change it.Belive me. I think 2X75W is plenty for any situation.I'm sure 2x8W Chinese tube flea power amp-which Alan test it- is far away from your amplifier in all respects.

Alan should try and judge this highly respected US tube amplifier-which I offered for him to test it-rather then Chinese which is completely waste of time and money.
After I read the tube amplifier is not good enough for high fidelity. I tried to find some SS amplifiers. I spent more then a year and so much effort, but I couldn't find any better solution. Which make more pleasure to listen to music.

I had quite few visitors to listen some music in my system. No one complain for clipping or distortion, just enjoyed the wonderful natural sound. After my demo few guys bought the Harbeth speakers.

So I think is very close to high fidelity. For me definitely.
 

willem

Well-known member
Facts, not romance

Facts, not romance

How much more scientific tests, demonstrations and explanations will be necessary before people will believe that such expensive valve amplifiers are a waste of money, at least from the point of view of technical performance and audio quality?

And has Alan not demonstrated pretty clearly that you need plenty of power, and almost always more than can be delivered by valves?
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
Comfortable sound

Comfortable sound

... I had quite few visitors to listen some music in my system. No one complain for clipping or distortion, just enjoyed the wonderful natural sound.
I don't doubt that for a second. The issue is that the ear is such a terrible judge of signal dynamic compression (and conversely, signal peaks) that just about anything that soft-clips will make a very agreeable sound. It's when you compare live sound with the restricted dynamics of reproduced sound with inadequate power amplification that you really experience what you are missing. And if you don't then it's a hopeless discussion.

Nobody doubts that folks settle down with what, to them, is perfect sound. The reality is that it very often is far from ideal and if the amp power is just a handful of watts, expect very dramatic signal compression. Mercifully there is only a small crossover between concert-goers and audiophiles; neither experience the others reality and even if they did, I don't think they would willingly exchange places. The dynamics of real sound would be too discomfiting and challenging, and the passing resemblance to live sound heard over the home rig would be unsatisfying bland.

Best these worlds are kept well apart?
 

EricW

Active member
Tube magic

Tube magic

How much more scientific tests, demonstrations and explanations will be necessary before people will believe that such expensive valve amplifiers are a waste of money, at least from the point of view of technical performance and audio quality?

And has Alan not demonstrated pretty clearly that you need plenty of power, and almost always more than can be delivered by valves?
I side with you on this issue, but in fairness, something like an Audio Research tube amplifier is going to be a different beast from the valve amp tested by Alan. Still, these are the printed specs from the Audio Research website for their vsi75:

"75 watts per channel continuous from 20Hz to 20kHz. 1 kHz total harmonic distortion typically 1.5% at 75 watts, .05% at 1 watt. Approximate actual power available at “clipping” 80 watts (1kHz)."

Even from my relatively uneducated perspective, those numbers do seem a bit fuzzy (in more ways that one). Why "continuous" but not RMS? Why specify THD at full power only at 1 kHz? Ditto power at clipping?

From a technical perspective, there's no doubt that the "highly respected" and no doubt highly expensive vsi75 would be handily outperformed by a well-designed solid state amp at a tenth the cost (or less).

But spread on the magic of tubes, a certified "high end" name, a bit of dynamic compression, and perhaps a nice seasoning of lower-order harmonic distortion, which may sound pleasant, and there you have it. It would be interesting to do an A/B of this and the "Norwegian integrated" and the PA amp - still not sure that it would be reliably distinguished.
 

willem

Well-known member
Bad example?

Bad example?

I agree that the cheap Chinese valve amplifier tested by Alan was probably a bad example of the breed. Good ones should be indistinguishable from good solid states ones (used within their power specification).

I could not tell the old Quad valve amp apart from its later solid state siblings.

Unfortunately many valve amps are not as good as that, and all of them are far more expensive.
 

IMF+TDL

Active member
Tube amp output coupling transformer interaction with speaker impedance

Tube amp output coupling transformer interaction with speaker impedance

Hi guys, i'm really happy owner of a couple of Harbeth m30.1 ae, recently i've had a problem with my previous solid state amplifier and i'm going to buy a integrate tube amp Audio Research Vsi75 .
Another factor to consider - which has been addressed, before, but is worth reiterating - is the frequency response variations that will occur with an output transformer coupled tube amp. Here is a frequency response plot for the similar Audio Research VSi60 amp:

You must be registered for see images

http://www.stereophile.com/content/audio-research-vsi60-integrated-amplifier-measurements

The four colored lines show the frequency response into several values of test resistance, while the black line shows the frequency response at the amps output {the speaker command signal} into a typical loudspeaker load with a non-linear impedance.

Assuming you are acclimated to the sound of your speakers using a solid-state amp, you ought to try the tube amp at home before purchase in order to determine whether or not the change in frequency response will be acceptable.

If you are amenable to considering another solid-state amplifier, one model to audition would be the Parasound Halo integrated amp: http://www.parasound.com/hint.php
This amp has more power than the Audio Research unit - at least 200W into a 6Ω load - along with features such as a DAC for digital sources, a phono preamp (in case you have, or ever want to buy, a turntable) and an output with adjustable crossover to feed a subwoofer.
FWIW, Harbeth and Parasound share the same importer for Italy: http://www.hifiunited.it/
 

szigony

Member
My am experiments

My am experiments

I don't doubt that for a second. The issue is that the ear is such a terrible judge of signal dynamic compression (and conversely, signal peaks) that just about anything that soft-clips will make a very agreeable sound. It's when you compare live sound with the restricted dynamics of reproduced sound with inadequate power amplification that you really experience what you are missing. And if you don't then it's a hopeless discussion.

Nobody doubts that folks settle down with what, to them, is perfect sound. The reality is that it very often is far from ideal and if the amp power is just a handful of watts, expect very dramatic signal compression. Mercifully there is only a small crossover between concert-goers and audiophiles; neither experience the others reality and even if they did, I don't think they would willingly exchange places. The dynamics of real sound would be too discomfiting and challenging, and the passing resemblance to live sound heard over the home rig would be unsatisfying bland.

Best these worlds are kept well apart?
I was really open mind regarding the amplifiers. I applied for your oscilloscope challenge.(pay 1/3). I tried least 8 different solid state amplifier blind test level matching. I prefer the Trigon Energy on higher volume like above 95dB. Then I understood what do you mean for "The dynamics of real sound". Unfortunately I'm not fancy to listen to music so loud. Normal listening level like around 70dB the sound was less pleasure for me. I agree this is my handicap.

Probably I made the wrong decision when I chose the SS amplifiers for home demo. To be honest some amplifier was really disappointing.like Heed Obelisk and some side effect.

I bought the Rega Osiris for very high hope. I thought this is good enough to change my ARC. I think 44dB gain is far to much and the input sensitivity was very high and overload very early on volume control. I used 20dB attenuator. For me this issue was more disturbing then the soft clipping.

Maybe I prefer for "soft-clips will make a very agreeable sound". Probably many other cheaper amplifiers do the job more properly.

I never said this tube amp is perfect or the best solution. I'm simply enjoy every second when I listen to music in my system. I spent more then 25 years when I found this feeling. Without any doubt the Harbeth M30.1 is the most important in my hi-fi system. I'm very grateful to Alan and all Harbeth worker. I'm sorry if my opinion is irritating the HUG members.
I should try some Quad amplifiers or even the Harbeth power and preamplifiers if is ever made.Hopefully.

I'll going to listen the new Harbeth M40.2 at KJ West one. Are you demo the M40.2 with Quad amplifiers?
 

chicks

New member
An industry built on bling

An industry built on bling

Peter Aczel, editor of The Audio Critic, had this to say about Audio Research and its Owner:

William Z. Johnson (Audio Research)
Take all the vacuum-tube B.S. you have ever been exposed to, trace it back--who heard it from whom, who read it where, who said it first, etc.—and I think you’ll end up with Bill Johnson as Genesis 1:1. (I don’t mean the electronic theory, which goes back to 1907; I mean the tweako amplifier bandwagon.) It is also my impression that he was the very first manufacturer to realize, in the late 1960s, that you can charge a hell of a lot more for a piece of audio equipment than its true value in terms of parts, labor, and R & D. That insight started a whole industry based on image and style rather than substance. His black hat is therefore size XL.
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
I was really open mind regarding the amplifiers. I applied for your oscilloscope challenge.(pay 1/3). I tried least 8 different solid state amplifier blind test level matching. I prefer the Trigon Energy on higher volume like above 95dB. Then I understood what do you mean for "The dynamics of real sound". Unfortunately I'm not fancy to listen to music so loud. Normal listening level like around 70dB the sound was less pleasure for me. I agree this is my handicap.

Probably I made the wrong decision when I chose the SS amplifiers for home demo. To be honest some amplifier was really disappointing.like Heed Obelisk and some side effect.

I bought the Rega Osiris for very high hope. I thought this is good enough to change my ARC. I think 44dB gain is far to much and the input sensitivity was very high and overload very early on volume control. I used 20dB attenuator. For me this issue was more disturbing then the soft clipping.

Maybe I prefer for "soft-clips will make a very agreeable sound". Probably many other cheaper amplifiers do the job more properly.

I never said this tube amp is perfect or the best solution. I'm simply enjoy every second when I listen to music in my system. I spent more then 25 years when I found this feeling. Without any doubt the Harbeth M30.1 is the most important in my hi-fi system. I'm very grateful to Alan and all Harbeth worker. I'm sorry if my opinion is irritating the HUG members.
I should try some Quad amplifiers or even the Harbeth power and preamplifiers if is ever made.Hopefully.

I'll going to listen the new Harbeth M40.2 at KJ West one. Are you demo the M40.2 with Quad amplifiers?
Nobody is irritated, disappointed or upset that you have reached personal audio nirvana. We're truly delighted for you!

I'm very curious indeed that you have compared a number of solid state amplifiers under, you say level matched blind conditions. The outcome, where you seem to indicate significant differences is fascinating, being very much at odds with work here and elsewhere. Could you tell us more about your procedure?

As you are surely aware, amplifiers that truly meet the 'straight wire with gain' signal perfection from input to output cannot, logically sound dissimilar or have sonic personalities - or be identified by ear under controlled listening conditions.
 

szigony

Member
My procedure

My procedure

Nobody is irritated, disappointed or upset that you have reached personal audio nirvana. We're truly delighted for you!

I'm very curious indeed that you have compared a number of solid state amplifiers under, you say level matched blind conditions. The outcome, where you seem to indicate significant differences is fascinating, being very much at odds with work here and elsewhere. Could you tell us more about your procedure?

As you are surely aware, amplifiers that truly meet the 'straight wire with gain' signal perfection from input to output cannot, logically sound dissimilar or have sonic personalities - or be identified by ear under controlled listening conditions.
"Could you tell us more about your procedure?"

I used my Radio Shack sound level meter.I chose track and setup 75dB on both amplifier.for example Trigon Energy vs audio research vsi60.My wife was kind and helped me to do the level matching blind test.I went out the room.She connected everything and setup the volume.I know it is not 0,02dB accurate,but this was our best.I didn't know which amplifier was on.Unfortunately the different was obvious in my system and room.We repeated the test few times with same results.Around the avarage moderate volume like 75dB the Vsi60 was more pleasure to listen.The music nuances was much easier to follow to my ears and we felt human voice was more real or lifelike at lower volume.I agree it is not reality only illusion,but this was our impression.

When I increased the volume above 95dB. I prefered the Trigon Energy.I had feeling I use two different amplifiers when the Trigon was low and high volume.
I'm still open mind regarding the amplifiers,but I need some help to find the right SS amplifier which has perfect frequency response and free of any distortion and clipping.
Probably I need home demo some power and preamplifier?
I'm curious what Alan opinion regarding the new Quad like Quad QSP or even QMP and Quad Elite preamplifier?
I think it has similar current damping technology like Quad 405.

{Moderator's comment: As Alan has said so many times before, unless you do match A and B to 0.2dB maximum loudness error, you might as well guess the result. Level matching si SUPER critical to get an objectively reliable result. Didn't you read that when he accidentally mismatched by 0.4dB he could identify A from B but when only 0.2dB mismatch could not?}
 

artitalia

New member
Happy system

Happy system

Hi guys, i'm happy to tell you that 've finally solved my problems (the problems tha suggested me to ask inf about Vsi75)... i've bought an used Burmester 032 and the result is something special... i've had even the time to compare in really close situation a couple of Burmester B25 speaker and i'm impressed (really impressed) how much more musical and refined are my 30.1 anniversary edition... Burmester B25 had only one thing bigger... a really really bloomy and not articulated fat bass frequency!!!

Harbeth 30.1 AE in my setup really rocks!!

Rob
 

fld777

New member
Lovely sound

Lovely sound

hi

i have tried the REF5SE+REF75 arc in a M30.1, SHL5 plus, C7es3 and even the tiny P3esrs. They sound lovely ! am sure you vsi75 would be great as well!. Enjoy
 

willem

Well-known member
Load sensitivity and sonics

Load sensitivity and sonics

If you look at the published measurements of the Audio Research Reference you will see some load dependence and a less than flat frequency response.

There are many much cheaper solid state amplifiers that will perform better. Please look carefully at the elaborate discussions here on the sound signature of amplifiers.
 
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