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  1. #1

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    Default Getting frustrated

    While I'm not quite ready to pull the trigger on a new amp I am starting my ritual of vigorously researching some different aspects of amp design so I can make a decision. I want a signifcant step up more towards some of the higher end simple designs.

    I've long been a Pass-o-phile in the sense that I truely think Nelson Pass and his approach to audio reproduction and his willingless to be available and share his knowledge and designs with no strings attacthed is fantastic. His total approach is KISS (keep it simple stupid). He and I both believe the complexity of most designs today ruin the purity of a musical signal and his approach with zero feedback and simple 2 stage amplifiers sounds extremely interesting. Super Symmetry Cascode http://www.passlabs.com/downloads.htm

    I also like the simplicity and execution of Monarchy products. Very high dollar to value ratio. While not as renowned as NP and his designs C.C. Poon has made several leaps forward in making extrememly musical products at affordable cost through much trial and error over the past 20 years.

    Did you make it this far? Now comes my frustration, I have SDA 1C's and it's no small feat to modify my terminal cup to accept a homemade AI-1 cable which I don't feel like making either. Most of these higher end simple configuration amps are not common ground and can not be used with SDA's. In most instances they are balanced single ended Class A and don't use a common negative ground at the speaker outputs.

    Still doing my research but it is frustrating because I really love the 1C's and I know with better components they will finally reach their full potential.

    I'm just ranting so thanks for letting me vent

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  2. #2

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    I'm with you. Just posted "SDA's are Annoying" last week... :)

    madmax
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    If I were going to buy something new for my ears I would try different speakers. I think speakers make the biggest difference in sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikezappa View Post
    If I were going to buy something new for my ears I would try different speakers. I think speakers make the biggest difference in sound.
    Thanks for the input but I've had 3 pairs of speakers lately and the SDA's are staying for a long time. :) . With regard to an amplifier change I'm not simply making a sideways move I'm moving up the ladder which I'm sure in turn will mean moving up the ladder with the pre-amp and DAC. I have to start somewhere and the right amp (design) will make a significant difference.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    Making the AI-1 isn't really a big deal and you don't have to modify the connection. Feel better now?
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Making the AI-1 isn't really a big deal and you don't have to modify the connection. Feel better now?
    A little ;) . My 1C's were modfied to accept a bannana plug for the SDA connection. So I'd have to modify it back to the stock terminal and I'm not even sure which they had originally (blade/blade or pin/blade). Mostly I'm just thinking out loud. I'm sure the actual construction with the Avel transformer isn't a big deal.

    I'm really sold a NP X150 or similar and once I start obsessing about something like this getting something lesser just won't satisfy :) . I'll check with Monarchy about tying the negative terminals together on the SM70 pro's. They are single ended balanced mono's and I'm pretty sure just by the nature of the design they can't be made common ground without issue.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  7. #7

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    You could always put a 1/4" phone jack in place of the bananna jack. I'd stay away from the stancore transformer. On my system the loss was quite high, maybe 60% or more. (I compared output with the straight cable vs transformer using my ears).
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

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    My 1C's were modfied to accept a bannana plug for the SDA connection. So I'd have to modify it back to the stock terminal and I'm not even sure which they had originally (blade/blade or pin/blade).
    Ah, I see. That's one reason that I think modding the SDA connection is not such a good idea. Anyway, it doesn't matter if they were blade/blade or pin/blade, the AI-1 will work. The blade/blade models just required an adaptor to convert the connection to accept the pin/blade AI-1 cable.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Ah, I see. That's one reason that I think modding the SDA connection is not such a good idea. Anyway, it doesn't matter if they were blade/blade or pin/blade, the AI-1 will work. The blade/blade models just required an adaptor to convert the connection to accept the pin/blade AI-1 cable.
    This is all good food for thought. My very first step is to try (1) Monarchy SM70-Pro run in stereo. It won't be in balanced mode but i think it will still be single ended. I have an e-mail in to C.C. Poon at Monarchy to determine if in stereo mode the SM70 is common ground, if not can the neg terminals be tied together.

    In stereo mode they run 35 wpc @ 8 ohms. I'm thinking this is a pretty similar design to the Pass Labs Alpeh 3 or 30 atleast in theory, perhaps not in strict execution. They are single ended class A and I already realize these amps sound best in balanced mono mode, but run in stereo they still sound fantastic.

    My bro is going out of town next weekend so I'll have the weekend to borrow one of his and see what the results will be.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    You wouldn't really need to make a modification to the connection; just use the existing plug for the "pin" and connect the "blade" to the negative posts. If you are making the cable, then using different ends than the originals won't be a problem.
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    I'm in the same boat. The weak link in my rig are my amplifiers. I've been looking around for a really hefty step UP. I don't want any lateral moves of something that sounds twice as good. I want at least eight times better.

    One thing, when I did my xover upgrades and binding post upgrades, I was going to also upgrade the pin/blade jack. Jesse recommended that I don't change it because down the road when I move up in amp quality the chances of them being common ground is slim and I'm going to need the AI-1.

    I'm glad I took his advise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikezappa View Post
    If I were going to buy something new for my ears I would try different speakers.
    Agreed.

    I realize you love your 1C's, but a better amp may magnifiy the weaknesses inherent in your speakers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Early B. View Post
    Agreed.

    I realize you love your 1C's, but a better amp may magnifiy the weaknesses inherent in your speakers.


    I didn't want to say that...but it has been like that for me and many others; I'd say it's a 50/50 thing....some just stay with the SDA's for good, some look into different speakers that....well, sound different.
    It's up to your ears to decide. ;)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Early B. View Post
    Agreed.

    I realize you love your 1C's, but a better amp may magnifiy the weaknesses inherent in your speakers.
    Please enlighten to me to said weaknesses. I was in fact just discussing this with my bro the other day. About pursuing so much truth and purity in your components that they are no longer fun to listen to using a particular set of speakers but more importantly the music we frequently listen to.


    This is my biggest fear is getting high resloution components that show the many flaws in the music and recordings I listen to.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    I really have a hard time finding an weakness in the SDA's. With Sonic Caps and RD0's they are pretty fantastic and I'm pretty anal about what sounds good and what doesn't.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    That's why I preferred to use the word "differences"...
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    The SDA's certainly have their problems at times but are a fun speaker. They really don't do any one thing extremely well but do everything well enough. Most other speakers I've heard do a few things extremely well but fail in some other area. Stick with the SDA's as long as they make you happy.
    madmax
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    I will tell you what precipitated all this. I have and contuinue to be extremely satisfied with my current set-up. It really sounds better than it should given the meager cost and age of the components. But, my brother just replaced an excellent system with his new Monarchy seperates and I feel I am a much more dedicated and critcal listener than he is.

    Not that he doesn't care about the sound or know what sounds good and what doesn't, but I spend many hours of free time just sitting and listening. He doesn't have the best room set-up to really appreciate what he had and what he has now. He says the improvement was dramatic, better than he had ever hoped, and he doesn't regret spending the money he did and that it was the best decision he made.

    So of course I'm thinking if it made that much difference to someone who may not be as critical a listener or as anal about good quality recordings etc. then what can it do for me. So my juices are flowing to get some new stuff and start to move up the ladder.

    God I hate this hobby :D

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Might I suggest the Parasound HCA-1500A amplifier? Common ground, butt-loads of power, high current reserves, and very nice SQ. About $500 to $600 for a mint used one.
    DKG999
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkg999 View Post
    Might I suggest the Parasound HCA-1500A amplifier? Common ground, butt-loads of power, high current reserves, and very nice SQ. About $500 to $600 for a mint used one.
    Doug how much better that is how many times better do you think the 1500 sounds as compared to the biamp'd set up I currently use. . . Adcom 565 on the low freqs, Parasound HCA 1000A on the highs.

    I'm trying to determine whether or not that would sound 5 to 8 times betters. I was seriously considering GDs Odessey Extremes but I blew my preamp's phono stage and it is going to cost over $500 to fix.

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    I will say one minor weakness I have found is on a rare occasion because of the SDA technology and certain recording techiques some of the instruments are placed in unorthodox positions in the soundstage. Not a big deal at all and again it is rare, but there is a certain combination of sounds at a certain freq range with enough recording seperation that make it sound a little unorthodox.

    ie; floor toms on the outside of the speakers while other parts of the drums are in the center.

    H9
    Last edited by heiney9; 08-03-2007 at 04:03 PM.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkg999 View Post
    Might I suggest the Parasound HCA-1500A amplifier? Common ground, butt-loads of power, high current reserves, and very nice SQ. About $500 to $600 for a mint used one.

    Generally I don't like the sound of Parasound, but if you have one in your arsenal and you'd let me demo it I'll give it a fair shot. I really think it would be more of a lateral move. Perhaps you aren't talking to me but to Hearingimpared instead :D
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    I will say one minor weakness I have found is on a rare occasion because of the SDA technology and certain recording techiques some of the instruments are placed in unorthodox positions in the soundstage. Not a big deal at all and again it is rare, but there is a certain combination of sounds at a certain freq range with enough recording seperation that make it sound a little unorthodox.

    H9
    B. how about an example of "a little unorthodox?" Also what about Parasound don't you like?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    B. how about an example of "a little unorthodox?" Also what about Parasound don't you like?
    See my edited post. Mostly it's percussion instruments that appear to be coming from outside the L or R while the rest of the percussion is coming from the center or well inside the L or R. It gives the music a huge lack of cohesion (in that area) when this haapens. Again it's rare but depending on recording technique and freq it does sound a bit odd.

    The 1C's like many of the later SDA's run a very narrow freq band to dimensional drivers so if the freq of said sounds fall within this freq band in conjuction with a certain recording technique you get that momentary lack of cohesion.

    Parasound just doesn't seem to have the soild bottom end or soundstaging I'm used to with my Adcom. Doug calls it a more neutral amp, I refer to it as slightly anemic comparatively. To be fair I haven't heard all the Parasound amps and I'm sure like anything else there are gems and mediocore models.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    Positioning is the work of the engineer who mixed it. Not much you can do about that.

    As I keep moving up the food chain with other components mine keep sounding better, but become more flawed at the same time. Here lately the SDA has become a little annoying to me. (I have the wrong sized room and it is a little too pronounced). No matter what I do though, I could never go back to when I thought it sounded perfect.
    madmax

    Edit: After reading you last post:

    "The 1C's like many of the later SDA's run a very narrow freq band to dimensional drivers so if the freq of said sounds fall within this freq band in conjuction with a certain recording technique you get that momentary lack of cohesion."

    I have to ask, do you hear differences in tonal characteristics between the left, right, center and SDA off to the sides? If you do, your room is messing with them. (sounds almost like a multichannel system using non-timbre matched speakers)
    Last edited by madmax; 08-03-2007 at 04:18 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    Doug how much better that is how many times better do you think the 1500 sounds as compared to the biamp'd set up I currently use. . . Adcom 565 on the low freqs, Parasound HCA 1000A on the highs.

    I'm trying to determine whether or not that would sound 5 to 8 times betters. I was seriously considering GDs Odessey Extremes but I blew my preamp's phono stage and it is going to cost over $500 to fix.
    With the HCA-1000A on the top end, you're not going to get a 5x to 8x improvement. That would be my opinion.
    DKG999
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    Quote Originally Posted by madmax View Post
    Positioning is the work of the engineer who mixed it. Not much you can do about that.

    As I keep moving up the food chain with other components mine keep sounding better, but become more flawed at the same time. Here lately the SDA has become a little annoying to me. (I have the wrong sized room and it is a little too pronounced). No matter what I do though, I could never go back to when I thought it sounded perfect.
    madmax
    I agree 100%. Anything in this hobby is only as good as it's recorded, mixed and engineered. I believe I have a pretty good set-up for placement of my 1C's and I think I benefit a lot because of that. I could see how an imperfect room (or listening position) could be more detrimental to SDA's than to some other types of speakers.

    Mine are on a 14 foot wall, about 6 feet apart and almost 5 feet from the side walls. My listening postion is exactly the same distance as the speakers are seperated, and right dead center in the middle. Only bad part is my couch is up against the opposite (of the speakers) wall so I get some instant reflections which can diminish the SDA effect. If I just sit on the egde of the couch sometimes the effect is enhanced, sometimes not.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Quote Originally Posted by madmax View Post

    I have to ask, do you hear differences in tonal characteristics between the left, right, center and SDA off to the sides? If you do, your room is messing with them. (sounds almost like a multichannel system using non-timbre matched speakers)
    Problem is lately I've been listening to more electronic music from the 80's like Yazoo, Art of Noise, Depeche Mode, Yello and stuff like that which is highly tweaked at the recording stage and not very realistic in the sense there are no real instruments (or very few). When I listen to real music (for lack of a better word) I don't really experience this. I did last night listening to Paul Simons - Live In Central Park. A live recording of a myriad of different instruments and vocals all over the stage.

    So perhaps this is only most noticeable on electronic type music and live music.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Please enlighten to me to said weaknesses. I was in fact just discussing this with my bro the other day. About pursuing so much truth and purity in your components that they are no longer fun to listen to using a particular set of speakers but more importantly the music we frequently listen to.

    This is my biggest fear is getting high resloution components that show the many flaws in the music and recordings I listen to.
    Don't be afraid to get to the truth of your music. Sure, once you upgrade, some of your music will sound like crap, whereas other recordings will sound far better.

    However, you said you were completely satisfied with your system, so why change it? Don't make the mistake so many of us have done and keep changing out stuff, then wonder how you 'effed up the sound you really enjoyed 6 months ago.
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    See my edited post. Mostly it's percussion instruments that appear to be coming from outside the L or R while the rest of the percussion is coming from the center or well inside the L or R. It gives the music a huge lack of cohesion (in that area) when this haapens. Again it's rare but depending on recording technique and freq it does sound a bit odd.
    I use the Jazz at the Pawnshop LP, CD, SACD to determine a speaker's accuracy. I wasn't at the original performance but I know this recording so well and the actual positioning of the instruments as put forth by the engineer. I've never heard the percussion as you have described above. I've found that in the JATP image put forth by the 1.2 TLs, the drum kit is about four to five feet back from the speaker bezels and the kit's right most portion starts right down the middle of the right speaker, the left most portion of the drum kit is at the left side of the left speaker.

    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    The 1C's like many of the later SDA's run a very narrow freq band to dimensional drivers so if the freq of said sounds fall within this freq band in conjuction with a certain recording technique you get that momentary lack of cohesion.
    I've experienced what you are talking about here but I can tell you that has greatly improved since the advent of the Sonic Caps and Mills resistors. Perhaps the older components were so off and out of tolerance that it was more noticable before the upgrade.

    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Parasound just doesn't seem to have the soild bottom end or soundstaging I'm used to with my Adcom. Doug calls it a more neutral amp, I refer to it as slightly anemic comparatively. To be fair I haven't heard all the Parasound amps and I'm sure like anything else there are gems and mediocore models.

    H9
    I've not heard a Parasound amp in any configuration other than what I currently have. I know people have their favorites and there is a difference between Adcom & Parasound. I think I'm trying to go up higher on the food chain with my amplification.

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