I have moved to a fully computer based set up as a source. No transport and none of those shiny disks any more.
The system has an open, huge soundstage, with very clean, tight bass that dives deep into two figure Hz.
The sound is very powerful and dynamic. Extremely detailed, but still warm, musical and believable and easy to listen to. With the right recording a reach out and touch holographic image and soundstage is possible.
I have been through quite a lot of equipment. I am and was a huge Audio Research fan for years, and I used their tube monos/preamps with great happiness.
I have pretty much always had planar speakers until recently. So I needed powerful amps to drive Magnepan2.6R/3.6R and Apogee Diva/Duetta sig etc.
I have moved to high sensitivity speakers in the form of the Avantgarde Trios now. This has enabled a move to very low powered SET amplifiers which has been great fun.
I have been searching for equipment that keeps the music free of colour and true to the recording. I believe you choose your source for its sound. The rest of the equipment should let the source do its magic as much as possible and get out of the way of the music.
This unit is modified with Mundorf silver/gold in oil caps, Mundorf tube cap, and Duelund VSF Cu caps. I use Emission Labs mesh plates 45 power tubes. A very refined and beautifully natural sounding amp. Very transparent.
DCS Scarlatti clock
Finest player in the world
19 ohm 109db/watt with 225 subs
State of the art number crunching.
PS audio Premier Power Plant
Analysis plus Golden oval XLR
Beautiful cable. Amazing detail and still warm and life like
Audio Magic Stealth XXX oyaide
Specially made with Oyaide XXX sockets and furutech input. Much more detailed than the Hydra it replaced
Apogee Duetta signature2 Heavily modified
These have the latest Graz ribbons both tweeter/mid and bass panels. I have external cross overs with mundorf silver/gold in oil caps and Alphacore foil inductors. Caddock resistors and all solid core silver wired. All suspended and vibration free. These apogees take much more power and go way louder and have much better dynamics than the original. Not only that but much improved sound quality. Simply stunning! I have had many planars magnepan etc but these really are the best in every way now. Long live Apogee and Thank goodness for Grazs search for perfection!
Virtual dynamics Revelation 2
This must be one of the only cables I have heard that when compared to cables that seem to "do nothing" or just pass signal untouched this cable does lots but in a good way! A staggering solid detailed sound, but a nightmare to plug in due to its size, weight and stiffness.
Virtual dynamics Master LE
Very nicely focused cable with very low noise floor. The best bass I have heard and startling dynamic speed
Oyaide SWO XXX/SWO GX
Its own spur and conditioned with various filters along the way before reaching the Stealth
Acoustic Revive RR-77
Sends out a very low frequency into the room which disrupts RFI EMI and makes you feel relaxed! Very odd but works well Seems to focus the mid range
Sonic studio Amarra
Bolt on for itunes
Auralex Lenrd Bass traps
I have 8 of these traps placed subtly in the corners of the listening room. They have done a very good job in a room that had quite tight bass anyway.
Weiss Medea plus
Latest super DAC. Volume control on Firewire input. Variable output voltage to match amps. stunning DAC
rock and roll! It is one of the joys of a good horn. Incredibly easy to hit high SPLs with no stress or compression or strain.
I have a db meter and there is no problem hitting 100db. Sometimes you dont even notice how loud it is until you try to speak.
I have yet to bring my volume up into the low 10s or closer to 0 (fully open), Anywhere near 20 on the volume read out (in the 2v output setting) is very loud and reasonable head banging or gig level.
Remember the speaker is 110db/watt. Obviously there is a fall off with distance, but I sit quite close. 4 meters or so.
Depending on the recording level of the material you can gain or loose some power. I have headroom though. Not forgetting 500w of active sub.
So far I have not noticed any issues sonically when pushed, and as I said I had all sorts of amp on the Trio, from 2 watts up to 1000 (Well 1000w @ 4ohms). I hand on heart can say the power was of little or no consequence, but the presentation was another ball game.
My buddy has a Duo with Welbourne Labs 45 monos and I have never heard him complain about SPL, far from it. He ran all sorts of SS amps, including the AG ones too.
It is said 85db and above is dangerous and causes damage to the ear. Sustained 100db pretty bad. Although it sounds good!
I have spent much time standing next to drum kits and giant rigs and I am still here, although why does every recording have ringing bells on it... even when it has finished playing?!
I would suggest trying to borrow a 45 based amp and see how you get on (make sure you use a modern tube).
I had the type of sound you get from your millenium for years. I did all those kind of amps. Halcro etc. I had amazing sound. But I hate to say with the 45 something was just right. I am sure there are a few of you who have seen my threads attacking the rubbish aspects of tube amps and tube preamps I have had. They were mainly huge amps with many tubes. But here I am with a bloody 2 watt SET! I was really anti tube and I still am. I just cant deny the quality of the 45 on high sensitivity.
I would like to have one or 2 aspects of that SS or digital sound back, but not at the expense of what I have. So far the Yammy is the Goldilocks amp that was just right over all.
Duomike, You have to remember that this speaker`s great effiency means maximal use of applied electrical power. At listening levels of say 75-80db(plenty loud for most people most of the time) the trio`s demand is on the order of 1/10 to 1/20 of a watt! Besides he`s already done the higher power route, so keeping the 2 watter is obviously enough and most important, sounds the best.
I am not even sure it is about being rated up or down power wise. I don't even think the EML 45 tube is like the hybrid tubes which can output more power. I am fairly sure the most it can output is 2watts.
When I was looking for a 45 based amp I spoke with Avantgarde as a few People did mention the Trio is tough to drive even with it's very high sensitivity. All I can say is in my set up it was no issue.
Obviously it is a tube amp so when compared directly with some solid state it lacks some of the bone crunching speed and grip. I loved all that, but then there was all the other stuff the 45 did really well...so here I am with the 45 driving Trios. Some of the finest organic sound I have heard.
I listen to every sort of music. Orchestral through to rock, electronic and jazz. The last thing on mind is more power.
Hi guys, In my experience with AG and after trying just about every type of amplification, the 45 at all volumes sounds as powerful as any of the amps I have tried. The only amp that really did sound almost too big was an AN 16 watt push pull 300b mono amp. But I put most of that sound down to the fat 300b tube. Not so much down to power.
Let's put it this way, I still have a 45 based amp and all the others have gone! With the EML 45 in place the sound is extremely good.
If I had a complaint after having SS and Class D for a number of years & Living with an SET I wouldn't mind having no warm up time and maybe a pinch lower noise. Having said that the Yamamoto is very clean & even more so since the mods.
It would seem that given the very high effiency of these speakers the Yamamoto should be plenty of power. Unless your`re listening at very high volume levels, most of the time your only using fractions of 1 watt of power. I think often times audiophiles worry more about power quantity than the quaility and assume a higher power rating is always superior. I`ll take a well built low power tube amp any day .
To be honest I went from 1,000 watts to at most 2.with the original tubes it could sometimes sound tame when compared to some of the 300b amps I tried, but when I put in the eml 45 any trace of lameness went away. I have no issues so far with power.I listen at all levels from late night to headbanging levels. The room is of medium size. The smaller end of what is meant for is trio
hi chadeffect, surprised that you find the 2 watts of the yamamoto sufficient to drive the trios. a friend once had a 6 watt chip amp on his omega duos and I remember that thing clipped in no time when you cranked the music a bit.
love to have 150 watts of the millenium on tap, sounds so effortless
After some time with the new EML 80 rectifier tube in my A08s, I guess I can report a little on it.
It is a large tube. The same size as the EML45 with the same lovely gold plated pins and black base. When in use the mesh burns a beautiful sunset orange. Lights out please when listening.
I had no idea what to expect. I have never used a mesh plated rectifier before let alone a brand new one. While it is an improvement, I would not say a massive change, but for those chasing that last ounce of improvement (like me!) worth doing and important.
Sonically there was a removal of grain and an extra beauty and natural sweetness to the sound with the EML80.
My old rectifier NOS tube by comparison was still good but with less timbre detail,a slight metallic ringing to instruments, and subtly more murky presentation. It was also a little more withdrawn tonally, like a light phasing where instruments were and not quite as obvious or solid in the soundstage.
With the EML80 back in place everything was cleaned up, more fully formed and more refined. Very nice. It is tough to take it out again. Once you have one I doubt you will be able to go back.
indeed it would be nice to be able to listen. As you know you are always welcome if you find yourself my way.
I have got rid of all my DCS gear now. I feel a little naked without all those pretty boxes, but I replaced it with the new Weiss DAC. It is an amazing single half sized box DAC. I am sure you understand it would have to be amazing to replace the DCS. Let me say I do not miss the DCS which speaks volumes.
I am not up sampling, although the Weiss has filters which work at some high frequency and bit rate as does the volume control.
the 45 seems to power my speakers with no issues and with that X factor. The sound is awesome. Very musical, transparent and natural.
The point I was making to Duomike was that if you compare the amps I mentioned to an SET, both approaches could do with a little of each others sound IMHO. Newer tube amps have become closer sonically to SS. I just want my cake and eat it.
Again before we all go crazy, it is only a small percentage in presentation, but in a world where you start listening to the quality of the electrical sockets and fuses, you know how it goes.
I would like to try a J2, the F3 you mentioned, and even the M2 sometime in the future. I have a feeling there is a middle ground. I hate the "hair shirt" of tubes but I ended up using them again anyway.
Wouldnt it be great to have a 45 "sound" with an efficient powerful solidstate amp? No retubing costs. Surely someone has worked out a way to do it, or get close to it sonically?
I looked at your Scarlatti. You are taking the opposite path I have taken. All of my components are chosen to do the least to the music signal. Your source is like one reviewer says, "More choices than your local Applebee's." It would do us both a favor to hear each other's systems.
Hi Chad I think since you have speakers that allow you to use the 45 valve then you are one of the very lucky ones that gets to hear the 45 valve to it full potential and sonic beauty. I think you are one the right track, stick to the 45 if you do not need more power, if you decide you would like to own a solid state amplifier as well for a change in presentation I would recommend the First Watt F3 or new J2 amplifier. You are right in your findings the Valve does have the X factor it produces in the music. Cheers Jason.
I understand. It would be an upheaval and probably a great expense to change.
As much as possible I have always had the equipment next to each other so I could do a direct comparison. It is the only way to see where I was going sonically with a bit of reading peoples general impressions to narrow down the options.
There is something with the uber clean, but brilliant amps I have had (Halcro DM38/Tom Evans Linear A/Belcanto Ref 1000s/Jeff Rowland 501/Lyngdorf TDAI 2200/Orpheus Labs/ to name a few) where you fall in love with the complete silence and clarity. The Tom Evans had the cleanest midband I have heard.
When I put these amps side by side with something like the Yamamoto with the Emission Labs 45 tube, I found some greyness or lack of timbre complexity compared to the Yamamoto. I dont mean the tube just had a fat midband or midbass, and it is only a slight thing in its rendering, but somehow important.
I dont understand whether it is an artifact of distortion in the tube amp, (I rate the 45 tube as the most transparent tube I have heard) or just that kind of linear amp manages to capture something.
I find it heard to believe that amps like the Halcro and Tom Evans are capable of such superb detail and focus with ultra low distortion and not be able to render timbre complexities in the same way.
Anyway I ended up with the Yamamoto! I would stop using a tube amp in a second if I could find a solidstate amp that did both these things. I have a feeling the J2 or one of the newer 1st Watts is capable. No one had one for me to try out at the time. The Tom Evans was very close to the perfect balance though. Good job it didnt sound how it looked.
i had pass aleph 2 mono blocks before the millenium and to my ears the millenium beat the aleph by quite a margin. no doubt the new first watt series is better than the old aleph series. if I wanted to try another amp I would have to get a dac and preamp first. too much hassle for me
Sounds great too I remember. At the time I needed more power. My only fear with those amps like some of the switching amps after SET ones is that slight bLeaching of tone. I love everything else about them but I needed a change after some years with uber clean. That's why my next non tube amp will probably be a J2. We shall see.
Audio Note loads deficient diodes into all of their DACs. Just by changing out those dull diodes with super fast recovery Shottkey diodes, the music comes alive like I have never heard on any other system. Silver does nothing.
hi chadeffect, I bought the Millenium MKII in '99 and upgraded to MKIII around 2006. I love it. in a friends system I once replaced a conrad johnson art pre, audio note dac 5se and audionote note keigon amps. driving 1st generation wilson maxx speaker. the millenium easily matched that extremely expensive tube gear in the musical department. the owner of that gear was shocked! actually the sound was almost indistingushable from each other, it was so close. and this was with a stock MKII.
I does not even have a volume control in it's signal path. it is just changing the voltage which is being switched and therefor keeping it's resolution down to milliwatt levels. heard trio with large audio research tube amps recently and a few years ago with very expensive and powerful tenor amps. in both cases sound was good at high volume but totally collapsed at low volumes. no so the millenium! plus it is extremely quite. you can crank it up, stick your ears into the tweeter horn and hear absolutely nothing!I doubt that dsp will sound any better in the future. once you change the response in the digital domain something negative is happening. I'm glad that I have the possibility to cut some bass peaks in the subout only without affecting mid and high frequencies.
I have also a quite simple setup. a dedicated highend hd transport, the millenium and lyngdorf amp for the bass. everything is powered by a pure power unit, all equipment is on sra platforms. keep your system simple and the slippers on. once you have managed to time align the drivers you will be in heaven!
nice to hear from you. I liked the 47 lab gear. Neat and sounded good.
If I were you I would just move to computer set up and shoot digits into your DAC. Find a nice interface... The end.
I had change left over when I sold my transport and moved to a fully computer based set up. I like to think I had one of the finest transports on the planet at the time...
The computer destroyed it with Amarra and firewire into the DAC. Spinning a CD live is over.
I assumed all that inventiveness by one of the worlds finest highend manufactures would have been able to take data retrival to its limit. I was wrong. A relatively cheap computer and a nice interface for less than a 1/5th of the price of the transport killed it. I guess technology just marches on and on and on.
Funny how a transport makes such a distinct difference, but it is true. You, having a highly resolving speaker, need to make the changes that provide the most clear result. So do I.
The 47 lab Flatfish transport plus my unique AN DAC produces the most wonderful music. All frequencies benefited tremendously with the addition of the Flatfish. The bass foundation to music got a big shot in the arm. Singers pop out. Highs are fabulous all the way to out of hearing. I can play Loreena McKennit at high level without any of her falsetto sounding smeared or bright.
The most endearing aspect of this marvelous transport has been the increase in harmony and melodic flow. This is what is missing in digital playback. Records produce all music aspects naturally. So can digital.
I hear you and your 2 cents is easily cashed. I think a little of the audiophile or audiophool sickness is reawakening.
I only just got back to a nice simple set up and I am already discussing a bunch of new kit! In fact my system is now so simple I should probably remove myself from the "All out assault" section on the Gon.
And yes I had almost forgotten about all those extra cables and platforms. I cannot complain.
The Tact was a bit of a pain to use. The Lyngdorf was simple. I remember it sounding very clear with fine balance, but sterile somehow. The version I had EQ'd the bass a little too dry for me on the presets.
I am sure any minute there will be one that removes that last whiff of digititus and works they we expect. Most of the new digital equipment I have used recently whether domestic or pro has really started to sound excellent. Especially in the price/performance. For the price of a couple of Duelund caps you could get a nice DAC.
I did not know you used the Millenium. I nearly bought a Mrk3 about 2 years ago. Which version of it do you have? I seem to remember there were a few updates making it better and a few mods by someone in the UK. They look cool too.
My Yamamoto makes me feel I should be smoking a pipe with my slippers on when I look at it. Maybe some kind of old Austin parked outside (or Japanese equivalent). Very old school. Sounds good though.