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  1. #26
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  2. #27
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio2
    Hi all,

    finally about two months ago I came across a good occasion and bought a Rotel Ra 04.
    Since then I haven't spent much time on long and extensive audio sessions. I mostly played it when I had time as background music.
    Anyway here is my first impression:

    My previous amp was a Pioneer SA-506 from the 70s (25W) which at low playing level could reproduce a warm sound and full bass.
    With the Rotel RA 04(40W) I miss this warmth when playing at low level but as I turn the volume up the power and potential of the audio system come out as a whole.
    It's like giving gas on a fast car and enjoying being push into the seat, that's the feeling (just to make a very expressive comparison!).
    I'm happy with this match (Rotel + Tannoy) and I especially I enjoy it with live recordings.
    Of course the quality of recordings are now playing an important role and this system puts a strong accent on it.
    The room where the audio system is installed it's not very big (approx. 14 square meter) but it doesn't seem to be problematic at higher levels, although I play more often at low/medium levels (I would also like to play louder but I'm considerate to my neighbors).
    I'm now very curios to find out how it would sound a Sugden amp, maybe that's where I will move next, but I will take some time to enjoy and test the Rotel properly.

    What may be happening to you here is that the Rotel likes it better when played louder. Something i generally don't like about most SS amps is that you have to choose between the sluggish dead sounding amps that present some bass depth and warmth but lack clarity and don't do well at louder levels, or the amps like Rotel that sound thin and two dimensional at low levels "lack bass depth" and "drive" but sound clear and quite good at high levels. Although I like Rotel because it has these same problems that the likes of Bryston and Krell have at many times the price - ie I would nto spend much more than what Rotel is doing for a fraction of the price.

    Sugden doesn't have any frequency limiter - this is why I liked the Sugden A48b so much because for $350 used (they rarely come up though) you get a class A/B amp with real bass depth and drive - far superior in direct comparison to a $3000 Musical Fidelity integrated with a 150 watts per channel. The MF sounds more open and bigger in terms of staging which I suppose some might like better on big orchestral works and who care about big staging. But on the finer points of intrument tone vocals and all smaller scale musci to me it is no comparison - and this on tougher to drive Paradigm 100V2 speakers. Had it been higher sentive the Sugden probably would have handled the bigger scale music better so the MF advantage would then have likely disappeared. And this was a Sugden amp that wasn't tuned up in ages was heavily used and rather battered. The A21a takes it up a whole other level.

    The Sugden A48b though sounds better than my Rotel RC 1082 preamp and RB 1050 power amp in the same general way as the MF. It is a matter of what kind of sound you prefer. It's not that my Rotel combo sounds bad - it just has a certain take on the presentation that some will view as accurate. But the Sugden sounds better when listening to music and maybe the Rotel sounds better when reading the measured response. I prefer to listen to music than read the measured response. And the OTO sounds better than both of them - incomparably better, but sounds incomparably worse when reading the measured response. Funny how there is an inverse relationship - the better it measures the worse it sounds - the worse it measures the better it will likely sound. Confused yet.

    What you want is the full range sound the speaker is capable of with the appropriate amount of bass depth and drive and warmth(when it is on the recording) without the amp to sound thin(bass shy zero warmth) across all recordings. A sound that is "thick" and "warm" is arguably more preferable than bright and thin but this too can be irritating in the long haul because it can lack clarity. Rotel to me still sounds lean but it isn't bright and etchy sounding so it's better than the average in the budget range - which is why I bought them. I get a healthy Solid State system with a damping factor of 500 and it manages to keep the edge off. I have this system to remind me of typical Solid State sound and the preamp is above average for the price range of what Solid State amps are capable of - and it is feature rich making it a good review preamp. Interestingly I like it better than an ARC tube preamp and more than Bryston's preamp that cost more (because of the paid for warranty).

    System matching is also important because a bass weight strong amp could go too far with thicker bass weight speakers while the thinner leaner sound might make an old Cerwin Vega with too much bass sound better than if I matched my OTO or a Sugden A48b up to it.

    I still maintain a good tube amp will be better on the Tannoys. SO long as the tube amp has 4ohm taps and most good ones do then that is probably where I would go down the line. SETs or SEPs are the easiest to own since you don't have to do any work with voltmeters and calibration. Just change the tubes like you would change a lightbulb.

  3. #28
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    RGA, your comments on Krell & Bryston are just not true. My Krell amps have been excellent with bass punch and detail at lower volumes, and if you knew anything you'd realize you couldn't have the amount of current Krell produces and not have excellent bass at any level. I also find your statement false with my Bryston 3bst. Rotel is a good value in it's range but nothing they make for power is in the Bryston or Krell league.
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  4. #29
    RGA
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    Mr. Peabody

    I have heard most of the amps from Bryston since 1990 and I have heard top of the line Krell. I am hardly alone on not liking either one of them. But then I don't like most SS amps.

    The statement is certainly true based on what I have heard.

    I have yet to hear a system that I liked enough to want to buy with either Krell or Bryston attached. Even tough to drive speakers have sounded better with less expensive less powerful amplifiers (not just tube but certain SS amplifiers as well).

    You may not like the opinion which is fair enough but I have heard them enough to know, with high end speakers to make the comparisons. Having "slam" isn't really what I am talking about. For a home theater I might like Krell or Bryston - for music playback - no thanks.
    Last edited by RGA; 04-25-2011 at 12:09 PM.

  5. #30
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    RGA, you are welcome not to like Krell but that's not exactly all you said, to say Krell doesn't do bass is like saying the sun isn't bright. It really takes away from your credibility when you make such outlandish comments. And, "better" is subjective, you must like thick undefined bass but that's not what Krell is about. Krell is about control, strict control, that hits hard.
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  6. #31
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    RGA, you are welcome not to like Krell but that's not exactly all you said, to say Krell doesn't do bass is like saying the sun isn't bright. It really takes away from your credibility when you make such outlandish comments. And, "better" is subjective, you must like thick undefined bass but that's not what Krell is about. Krell is about control, strict control, that hits hard.
    Yes and the same sentence will be used with Bryston - strict control that hits hard. That's hogwash IME as is your idiotic assumption that the opposite is thick undefined bass. No I prefer amplifiers that have control and hits hard and actually has depth and warmth when the recording calls for it. Bryston makes virtually all bass sound exactly the same way all the time regardless of recording. Krell's best is better but the costs often dwarf Bryston. Neither sound natural.

    While it is true tubes and SETS lose the ability to control numerous loudspeakers (that a Bryston or Krell would not lose control of) and bass would be lumpy these are generally speakers that I don't consider to be all that great to start with.

    The fact that SETs and lower powered amps control competently designed good sounding loudspeakers and can't control a bunch of crummy loudspeakers isn't exactly something the SET guy is going to sweat over. If the speakers can't be driven to very loud levels with excellent bass and extended treble - chances are it's not a very good loudspeaker. And the very few odd exceptions where the speaker is good - it has to be powered with those inferior amps which then make the otherwise good speaker sound worse.

    I have heard Bryston and Krell on a lot of speakers and in every case a tube amp with the same speakers has sounded better - even on hard to drive stuff like Dynaudio Contours, Martin Logans, PMCs, Magnepans, Wilsons. Bass isn't even the primary area of concern. I could probably live with the SS slam take on bass - its the midrange and treble that is the complete disaster area.

    But yeah I get it - I was there way back salivating over Bryston, YBA monoblocks, Classe and a few others.

    Frankly it is nuts IMO to own a speaker that would need more power than a Rotel RB-1090 Even a speaker that would need HALF of what the RB 1090 can dish out is odd to me. Now perhaps I value my hearing more than some but if one is playing to those levels requiring that kind of level then it's not about hi-fi or audiophile quality sound - it's about boom boom - and if you want that buy a car stereo - you can blow your ear drums for a lot less money. But don't pretend it's about quality anymore - it's just volume. Thanks but I am more about quality - quality that will rattle the walls but no it won't crack the plaster.

    What does Rotel need to do? "the big Rotel doesn't need help in that respect: with the toneburst and one channel driven it delivers 527W into 8 ohms and a whopping 2825W into 1 ohm!"

    http://www.stereophile.com/solidpoweramps/100rotel/

  7. #32
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Yes and the same sentence will be used with Bryston - strict control that hits hard. That's hogwash IME as is your idiotic assumption that the opposite is thick undefined bass. No I prefer amplifiers that have control and hits hard and actually has depth and warmth when the recording calls for it. Bryston makes virtually all bass sound exactly the same way all the time regardless of recording. Krell's best is better but the costs often dwarf Bryston. Neither sound natural.
    ...
    I don't doubted your ears, RGA. That is, I believe you describe is what the component sounds like. I mean usually -- you do far too many evaluations based on weird equipment combinations heard in lousy hotel rooms, (as do so many reviewers).

    The problem is, I believe, that you have a highly subjective version of what music ought to sound like; not unusual for reviewers. This is most probably not accurate sound where I define accurate sound to be what the engineer heard from proof copy on the distribution medium.

    Possibly you believe that you like what sounds like "live music". What does "live music" sound like? Like no one thing, that's for sure. Live sound is highly dependant on venue and the listener's location in the venue, and also on the instruments and performance. Personally I think many people create in their heads an idealized version of "live music" that isn't really a typical live sound.
    Last edited by Feanor; 04-26-2011 at 04:43 AM.

  8. #33
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    What may be happening to you here is that the Rotel likes it better when played louder.
    That was my experience with Rotel. It sounded fine at lower volumes but really came alive when you cranked the volume... I've also seen that characteristic mentioned in several Rotel reviews (since I owned mine). So as long as you have freedom to turn up the volume a bit, I can easily recommend Rotel.

  9. #34
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    The fact that SETs and lower powered amps control competently designed good sounding loudspeakers and can't control a bunch of crummy loudspeakers isn't exactly something the SET guy is going to sweat over. If the speakers can't be driven to very loud levels with excellent bass and extended treble - chances are it's not a very good loudspeaker. And the very few odd exceptions where the speaker is good - it has to be powered with those inferior amps which then make the otherwise good speaker sound worse.
    1) What is a "competently designed" loudspeaker? The ability to achieve high volume levels with only 3 watts of power, is not what many (possibly even most) audiophiles / engineers would consider to be proof of competent design.

    2) "good sounding" & "crummy loudspeakers" depends solely on who you ask... So while you think that Audio Note speakers sound good while Revel are crummy, many others make the opposite assessment. So the point is that arguing about whether a SET/HE combo sounds better than a Megawatt SS/LE Combo is silly and pointless.

  10. #35
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    1) What is a "competently designed" loudspeaker? The ability to achieve high volume levels with only 3 watts of power, is not what many (possibly even most) audiophiles / engineers would consider to be proof of competent design.

    2) "good sounding" & "crummy loudspeakers" depends solely on who you ask... So while you think that Audio Note speakers sound good while Revel are crummy, many others make the opposite assessment. So the point is that arguing about whether a SET/HE combo sounds better than a Megawatt SS/LE Combo is silly and pointless.
    HE is a good start because it generally creates an out of the box sound. One of the reasons I was SOOOOO impressed by the first electrostats I auditioned was that they don't sound like an echo chamber. One of the big and often cited reasons panel guys are panel guys is they don't like the sound of the box.

    In general, the only speakers that get that degree of "no box" sound even though they have a box are higher efficiency speakers - which is why such a stupifying number of panel guys buy Audio Note E's. This is not rocket science. For a panel guy who owns panels for 20+ years to dump their panels for a boxed speaker they are ONLY going to do that if the boxed speaker equals or at least gets as close to an unboxy presentation as is humanly possible. Do that and several helpings of bass and retain the cohesion and you've got something. That's why I liked them so much when I first heard them and still do - and reading other reviews of even the cheap AZ Two floorstander and the reviewer said they reminded him so much of - drum roll...... ""Quad"" Not bad for a $1k speaker.

    Since that time I have had more opportunities to hear other very good speakers that do similar things - like Trenner and Freidl, Acapella, Silbatone. None are super HE but they are high enough to escape sounding like they're in a box. Interestingly they also manage to escape their box resonances as well. A HE speaker can get away from the foibles of their box. Revel ALWAYS sounds like drivers in a box and a loudspeaker reproducing music. They may be great hi-fi in the measurements section but they don't sound natural and they don't escape the box. A writer on our staff owned Revel and switched to the AN E. I don't know anyone that likes those kinds of speakers over the AN E. And the only blind test that has had an AN E in it (twice) won both times against such speakers. The AN J won its only test group test as well.

    This does not mean that someone still would not choose a panel over the AN E or other very good speaker - I just don't think the field is filled with really great speakers. But certainly I could see someone taking a good panel like a Soundlabs, King Sound, over an AN. But I am still betting that to beat it it's going to require a great tube amp - as both of those companies brought tube amps to demonstrate.

    The issue here is not so much the speakers but the amps. Even Magnepan - I got great results with a robust but not big watt tube amp and disastrous results with a big SS beast. That's a good sign for the speakers - but frustrating because big power tube amps tend to not be as good as low powered ones either and the costs to keep the quality is very high. Maybe something like the Shengya amps I reviewed could be a killer combination because it has 300 watts into 4ohms. And the price is something like $1600 for the pair - and their built about as good as amps get built.

  11. #36
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    RGA, you are out of touch with reality. I don't understand how any one as yourself who lives in such a tiny bubble with such narrow views ever became a reviewer. According to you any one whose any one has SET and AN speakers. The fact is, those of you who buy into SET are the minority. You can make all the excuses in the world for why that is but if SET and AN speakers were that great surely more of us would recognize it. I have to admit I am not a frequent reader of audio rags but when I, have, read them I can't ever remember the reference system being SET or AN.
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  12. #37
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    HE is a good start because it generally creates an out of the box sound. One of the reasons I was SOOOOO impressed by the first electrostats I auditioned was that they don't sound like an echo chamber. One of the big and often cited reasons panel guys are panel guys is they don't like the sound of the box.

    In general, the only speakers that get that degree of "no box" sound even though they have a box are higher efficiency speakers - which is why such a stupifying number of panel guys buy Audio Note E's. This is not rocket science. For a panel guy who owns panels for 20+ years to dump their panels for a boxed speaker they are ONLY going to do that if the boxed speaker equals or at least gets as close to an unboxy presentation as is humanly possible. Do that and several helpings of bass and retain the cohesion and you've got something. That's why I liked them so much when I first heard them and still do - and reading other reviews of even the cheap AZ Two floorstander and the reviewer said they reminded him so much of - drum roll...... ""Quad"" Not bad for a $1k speaker.

    Since that time I have had more opportunities to hear other very good speakers that do similar things - like Trenner and Freidl, Acapella, Silbatone. None are super HE but they are high enough to escape sounding like they're in a box. Interestingly they also manage to escape their box resonances as well. A HE speaker can get away from the foibles of their box. Revel ALWAYS sounds like drivers in a box and a loudspeaker reproducing music. They may be great hi-fi in the measurements section but they don't sound natural and they don't escape the box. A writer on our staff owned Revel and switched to the AN E. I don't know anyone that likes those kinds of speakers over the AN E. And the only blind test that has had an AN E in it (twice) won both times against such speakers. The AN J won its only test group test as well.

    This does not mean that someone still would not choose a panel over the AN E or other very good speaker - I just don't think the field is filled with really great speakers. But certainly I could see someone taking a good panel like a Soundlabs, King Sound, over an AN. But I am still betting that to beat it it's going to require a great tube amp - as both of those companies brought tube amps to demonstrate.

    The issue here is not so much the speakers but the amps. Even Magnepan - I got great results with a robust but not big watt tube amp and disastrous results with a big SS beast. That's a good sign for the speakers - but frustrating because big power tube amps tend to not be as good as low powered ones either and the costs to keep the quality is very high. Maybe something like the Shengya amps I reviewed could be a killer combination because it has 300 watts into 4ohms. And the price is something like $1600 for the pair - and their built about as good as amps get built.
    1) I don't doubt that HE may sound more like Planars than other boxed speakers...

    2) So what? Many audiophile don't like the sound of "box-free" speakers...

    3) Saying that Revel sounds better in a lab is merely an opinion. Even if every planar/HE fan thinks that way, doesn't make it a fact... Revel fans actually like the sound and prefer it to planars/HE... Same thing with Krell versus Audio Note...

    You need to realize that just because you are in a small category of audiophiles who love a specific type of sound, doesn't mean that everyone else has similar/the same tastes...

  13. #38
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    RGA, you are out of touch with reality. I don't understand how any one as yourself who lives in such a tiny bubble with such narrow views ever became a reviewer. According to you any one whose any one has SET and AN speakers. The fact is, those of you who buy into SET are the minority. You can make all the excuses in the world for why that is but if SET and AN speakers were that great surely more of us would recognize it. I have to admit I am not a frequent reader of audio rags but when I, have, read them I can't ever remember the reference system being SET or AN.
    RGA has found true religion in SET/HE. Poultrygeist and, one suspects, Tube Fan are other devotees.

  14. #39
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    RGA has found true religion in SET/HE. Poultrygeist and, one suspects, Tube Fan are other devotees.
    Religion really is the correct word to describe a lot of audiophile attitudes... Once they've found a path they like, everything else sounds like rubbish and they can't imagine that anyone else could prefer a different path.... So they have to convert the unenlightened... I can just imagine someone knocking on my gate and asking if I've accepted SET/HE as my path to salvation...

  15. #40
    RGA
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    The difference is I have heard most of the products in these discussions and on these forums and in "almost" every case the people who get defensive are the ones who have never heard an Audio Note system, never heard the speakers, and when they do hear it is some entry level product connected to a system it wasn't intended for - like to a SS based system.

    Mr.P in virtually every room of note at CES - the associated equipment brought by the speaker manufacturers was a tube amp - well over half the room probably closer to 80% were tube based. And that's not counting some big tube makes who were on static display.

    I look at percentages when I start evaluating what "might" be the truly great stuff when I don't have my reviewer hat on.

    What I would do and I have done it, is I say right probably 99%+ of all amplifiers sold are SS amplifiers. The Majority of those - 95% of that 99% are receivers - that puts all people who buy amplifiers without a built in tuner or surround decoder in the "minority" - so by your reasoning because you and Feaner and Ajani and I did not buy one of those we must all be "wrong" because we're in the minority. Just because the majority is ignorant does not mean we're wrong. McDonald's sells the most burgers and Bose sells the most speakers - and just because most do something doesn't mean they're right.

    Now if you understand that paragraph then please stop with this silly notion of what the majority rules mantra. The fact is that most dealers carry SS gear and don't carry any tube gear - that has nothing to do with sound quality but in most cases servicing. Tubes require dealers to do work and know something about audio - and it takes time to show people how to bias the tubes. Further it's a hard sell to the average Joe who is blinded by more numbers equals better like the folks who assume that a camera with 12mega pixels is better than a 6 mega pixel camera simply because of that one number without considering the quality of the bloody lens.

    I say percentages. I look over several review sites and I see that tube amps are owned at a very high percentage relative to good SS amplifiers then it is pretty telling as on average reviewers tend to be more experienced than the average audiophile and has likely heard enough differing technology to be credible. In other words they've not just heard a SET amp - they have heard a couple of the best makers of SET amplifiers - Audio Note SET would count as one of the best SET makers - Wyatech Labs, Shindo and a few others.

    Audio Note is just one company in a sea of tube makers and HE speakers and they alone are part of reference systems at virtually every major magazine - and that's just ONE company that has a whopping percentage relative to SS sales. Two reviewers off hand at 6Moons own AN amps, at least one owns speakers. Dagogo has three AN speaker owners, 3 amplifier owners. Stereophile has 2 owners of AN speakers, one amp and a third reviewer hail a system as the best he's ever heard - SET/HE and he's not a tube guy. Hi-FI CHoice uses the AN E as their reference loudspeaker and their editor hailed it as one of the five best speakers ever made. That editor now works at Hi-fi Critic. At least one reviewer at Soundstage (the measuring happy magazine) owns the AN E - pretty sure they have a second. Positive Feedback has one who owns the speakers and pretty sure there is a second with an amp. Enjoythemusic has 3 reviewers who own amplifiers 2 own speakers including the editor.

    That's one company making SET and HE speakers. This doesn't even get into the likes of Cary, Wavelength, Shindo etc. Then factor in the reviewers who own some kind of tube amp (not just SET) and you could probably create a massive list just with ARC owners and get into Manley, McIntosh, CJ, Jadis, Antique Sound Labs, LAMM and numerous others.

    It's nice to throw words like religion out there - but really it comes down to Listening to a hundred system A stereos where system A is some kind of tall slim floorstanding speaker with two to four 6 inch woofers and some sort of metal tweeter at the top (or on top as the case may be) with typical complex crossovers in usually some sort of MDF cabinet and more or less getting the same sort of sound over and over and needing a big power amp to get a semblance of control and then getting that it still just sounds blah.

    Then some of the makers every 2-5 years will come out with some new model variant making some subtle change (not always for the better) like a new metal tweeter or they may change the materials to something more salable like - "ooh Kevlar it's bullet proof" and then add other exotic materials. Or they will change their metal tweeter and put in a ribbon tweeter - because that's the new in thing.

    You might stop to consider that when a company sells a speaker for 20 solid years and puts out a 2 way butt ugly rectangle box with a freaking silk dome woofer and paper or hemp(which is not exotic) and charges $7,600 or $50k+ that it might just have something going for it since not everyone with money is retarded. They don't sell on looks, they don't exactly sell on technobabble or exotic drivers. And the higher level parts they do use - you can't even see. Hell they don't even have ferro-fluid cooling or a long warranty to impress like some. This somewhat also applies to their amps which have long runs unchanged and nothing to look at for sometimes stupifying sums. And yes there is real competition out there but it sure as hell doesn't come from the likes of Revel IMO. Note the IMO - But at least I've heard both. Come back when any of you have bothered. Go listen to an $7600 AN E/SPe HE ($500 stands) directly compared to a $10,000 Revel GEM2 standmount with $1400 matching stands with say a simple jazz band using a stand up bass. LMAO - you do this and come back to me. Revel -

  16. #41
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    The difference is I have heard most of the products in these discussions and on these forums and in "almost" every case the people who get defensive are the ones who have never heard an Audio Note system, never heard the speakers, and when they do hear it is some entry level product connected to a system it wasn't intended for - like to a SS based system.

    Mr.P in virtually every room of note at CES - the associated equipment brought by the speaker manufacturers was a tube amp - well over half the room probably closer to 80% were tube based. And that's not counting some big tube makes who were on static display.

    I look at percentages when I start evaluating what "might" be the truly great stuff when I don't have my reviewer hat on.

    What I would do and I have done it, is I say right probably 99%+ of all amplifiers sold are SS amplifiers. The Majority of those - 95% of that 99% are receivers - that puts all people who buy amplifiers without a built in tuner or surround decoder in the "minority" - so by your reasoning because you and Feaner and Ajani and I did not buy one of those we must all be "wrong" because we're in the minority. Just because the majority is ignorant does not mean we're wrong. McDonald's sells the most burgers and Bose sells the most speakers - and just because most do something doesn't mean they're right.

    Now if you understand that paragraph then please stop with this silly notion of what the majority rules mantra. The fact is that most dealers carry SS gear and don't carry any tube gear - that has nothing to do with sound quality but in most cases servicing. Tubes require dealers to do work and know something about audio - and it takes time to show people how to bias the tubes. Further it's a hard sell to the average Joe who is blinded by more numbers equals better like the folks who assume that a camera with 12mega pixels is better than a 6 mega pixel camera simply because of that one number without considering the quality of the bloody lens.

    I say percentages. I look over several review sites and I see that tube amps are owned at a very high percentage relative to good SS amplifiers then it is pretty telling as on average reviewers tend to be more experienced than the average audiophile and has likely heard enough differing technology to be credible. In other words they've not just heard a SET amp - they have heard a couple of the best makers of SET amplifiers - Audio Note SET would count as one of the best SET makers - Wyatech Labs, Shindo and a few others.

    Audio Note is just one company in a sea of tube makers and HE speakers and they alone are part of reference systems at virtually every major magazine - and that's just ONE company that has a whopping percentage relative to SS sales. Two reviewers off hand at 6Moons own AN amps, at least one owns speakers. Dagogo has three AN speaker owners, 3 amplifier owners. Stereophile has 2 owners of AN speakers, one amp and a third reviewer hail a system as the best he's ever heard - SET/HE and he's not a tube guy. Hi-FI CHoice uses the AN E as their reference loudspeaker and their editor hailed it as one of the five best speakers ever made. That editor now works at Hi-fi Critic. At least one reviewer at Soundstage (the measuring happy magazine) owns the AN E - pretty sure they have a second. Positive Feedback has one who owns the speakers and pretty sure there is a second with an amp. Enjoythemusic has 3 reviewers who own amplifiers 2 own speakers including the editor.

    That's one company making SET and HE speakers. This doesn't even get into the likes of Cary, Wavelength, Shindo etc. Then factor in the reviewers who own some kind of tube amp (not just SET) and you could probably create a massive list just with ARC owners and get into Manley, McIntosh, CJ, Jadis, Antique Sound Labs, LAMM and numerous others.

    It's nice to throw words like religion out there - but really it comes down to Listening to a hundred system A stereos where system A is some kind of tall slim floorstanding speaker with two to four 6 inch woofers and some sort of metal tweeter at the top (or on top as the case may be) with typical complex crossovers in usually some sort of MDF cabinet and more or less getting the same sort of sound over and over and needing a big power amp to get a semblance of control and then getting that it still just sounds blah.

    Then some of the makers every 2-5 years will come out with some new model variant making some subtle change (not always for the better) like a new metal tweeter or they may change the materials to something more salable like - "ooh Kevlar it's bullet proof" and then add other exotic materials. Or they will change their metal tweeter and put in a ribbon tweeter - because that's the new in thing.

    You might stop to consider that when a company sells a speaker for 20 solid years and puts out a 2 way butt ugly rectangle box with a freaking silk dome woofer and paper or hemp(which is not exotic) and charges $7,600 or $50k+ that it might just have something going for it since not everyone with money is retarded. They don't sell on looks, they don't exactly sell on technobabble or exotic drivers. And the higher level parts they do use - you can't even see. Hell they don't even have ferro-fluid cooling or a long warranty to impress like some. This somewhat also applies to their amps which have long runs unchanged and nothing to look at for sometimes stupifying sums. And yes there is real competition out there but it sure as hell doesn't come from the likes of Revel IMO. Note the IMO - But at least I've heard both. Come back when any of you have bothered. Go listen to an $7600 AN E/SPe HE ($500 stands) directly compared to a $10,000 Revel GEM2 standmount with $1400 matching stands with say a simple jazz band using a stand up bass. LMAO - you do this and come back to me. Revel -
    All that doesn't change the simple fact, that YOU prefer the sound of SET/HE... Not everyone does.... It is not a case, as you try to make it seem, that anyone who doesn't prefer SET/HE has not heard a proper SET/HE system.... That's just nonsense... Take Stereophile as a simple example: Art and Sam love AN... Clearly John Atkinson, MF and KR do not... Why? Is it that they have never heard a proper SET/HE system? Nope... They just prefer the sound of stuff YOU think sounds like rubbish... John Atkinson loves Revel and Mark Levinson, but clearly doesn't love Audio Note... So you can argue till you're blue in the face that Revel/Levinson only sounds good in a measurements lab, but that doesn't change the fact that persons who HAVE heard the setups you rave about don't share your enthusiasm... If I remember correctly, PoppaC or another member here heard the AN room at one of the recent shows and didn't think it sounded good at all, despite you're usual raving about it... Why is that? Because he has different tastes from you...

    Why you can't understand that other persons have different tastes is truly beyond me...

    Your failure to comprehend something so simple is why you are regarded like a religious nut... You lay down a challenge like "Go listen to an $7600 AN E/SPe HE ($500 stands) directly compared to a $10,000 Revel GEM2 standmount with $1400 matching stands with say a simple jazz band using a stand up bass." as if it is impossible that anyone could hear both and prefer the Revel... The fact that JA prefers Revel shows how utterly stupid your test is.... Since you are testing OPINION and not facts...

    So let me try and make this clear to you yet again:

    An all Audio Note System sounding better than Revel/Mark Levinson is an OPINION, not a fact.... And not everyone shares the same opinion...

  17. #42
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    ....

    You might stop to consider that when a company sells a speaker for 20 solid years and puts out a 2 way butt ugly rectangle box with a freaking silk dome woofer and paper or hemp(which is not exotic) and charges $7,600 or $50k+ that it might just have something going for it since not everyone with money is retarded. They don't sell on looks, they don't exactly sell on technobabble or exotic drivers. And the higher level parts they do use - you can't even see. Hell they don't even have ferro-fluid cooling or a long warranty to impress like some. This somewhat also applies to their amps which have long runs unchanged and nothing to look at for sometimes stupifying sums. And yes there is real competition out there but it sure as hell doesn't come from the likes of Revel IMO. Note the IMO - But at least I've heard both. Come back when any of you have bothered. Go listen to an $7600 AN E/SPe HE ($500 stands) directly compared to a $10,000 Revel GEM2 standmount with $1400 matching stands with say a simple jazz band using a stand up bass. LMAO - you do this and come back to me. Revel -
    The amazing thing is that Revel (Harmon International), were they to adopt the Snell/AN design concept, could, given their large-scale production capabilities, hugely undercut AN prices while delivering equivalent quality or better quality; (Baltic birch plywood is that rare or unique, though silver is getting expensive).

    So why don't they? Because they are working to a different design philosoply that aims for scientifically-verified criteria that prove that what most people really want is accurate, flat response, low distortion, together with wide, even dispersion.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    That was my experience with Rotel. It sounded fine at lower volumes but really came alive when you cranked the volume... I've also seen that characteristic mentioned in several Rotel reviews (since I owned mine). So as long as you have freedom to turn up the volume a bit, I can easily recommend Rotel.
    Never had that experience with my Rotel. When turned up to where I can hear and beyond...it sounds great.
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  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon
    Never had that experience with my Rotel. When turned up to where I can hear and beyond...it sounds great.
    That's interesting, especially since we own(ed) the same RB1080 amp... I had the RC1070 pre though.

    Note: I'm not saying it sounded bad at low volumes, just that it sounded much better as you cranked it... I found myself cranking the volume (and enjoying it) far more than my previous NAD setup....

  20. #45
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Mr.P in virtually every room of note at CES - the associated equipment brought by the speaker manufacturers was a tube amp - well over half the room probably closer to 80% were tube based. And that's not counting some big tube makes who were on static display.
    RGA do you realize that Mr. Peabody owns Zu Omen definition Speakers with Conrad Johnson separates? High Efficiency speakers and tubes...

    Yet he is still challenging you on your view that LE Speakers and megawatt SS only sound good in a lab...

    Mr. P has moved away from Krell and Dynaudio, yet he can still appreciate the sound of such a combo and can clearly understand that other persons might well prefer that sound to the Zu/Conrad Johnson setup he now has...

    I don't pretend that in 5 years time I might not be rocking a SET/HE system... But that doesn't mean that I'm going to start claiming that everything else sounds like crap or is only good in a lab...

  21. #46
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Why you can't understand that other persons have different tastes is truly beyond me...

    Your failure to comprehend something so simple is why you are regarded like a religious nut... You lay down a challenge like "Go listen to an $7600 AN E/SPe HE ($500 stands) directly compared to a $10,000 Revel GEM2 standmount with $1400 matching stands with say a simple jazz band using a stand up bass." as if it is impossible that anyone could hear both and prefer the Revel... The fact that JA prefers Revel shows how utterly stupid your test is.... Since you are testing OPINION and not facts...

    So let me try and make this clear to you yet again:

    An all Audio Note System sounding better than Revel/Mark Levinson is an OPINION, not a fact.... And not everyone shares the same opinion...
    Umm that''s not necessarily the case. I can't get into this on a forum but there is something you should know about politics interfering with judgments about the players involved - JA and Peter Qvortrup go way back. Stereophile never covers an Audio Note room when Peter Qvortrup is in attendance. I'll leave it at that. Though I give JA credit for not letting his bias stop his reviewers from reviewing them or downright going over the top.

    But to the main point you are making about preference - well that's all fine and good - someone may very well prefer a McDonald's Big Mac to the finest hamburger made by the best chef in the world. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I am entitled to tell them they're wrong and that there is a standard of quality they just "don't get" - and I can't help them.

    Of course I am not suggesting that Revel is McDonalds here - I used an extreme example but there are people who have "opinions" that are very clearly suspect. In audio there is a subjectivity involved - MF likes big SS power from his same initials MF. And JA may indeed prefer those kinds of systems.

    The job of the reviewer is to know what he himself likes - that creates for the reader an understanding of where said reviewer is coming from. MF is about as dogmatic on super high power Solid State as I am on SET. I am fine with that because I know where the guy is coming from and I doubt anyone here has any doubt whatsoever where I am coming from. SET/HE is to me clearly representative of the best sound reproduction and the next best is a major drop off the cliff. MF has said he "hates" SET. So there you have it - read the guy who preaches to what you believe but at least make sure you're auditioned the best of each technology or a something at the elite level of that technology rather than relying on forums and what you read in a magazine. And make sure that if you do put faith in a reviewer that you are absolutely positive he/she hears it exactly the same way. The fact that you agree with a reviewer on Revel doesn't mean you won't disagree with him on something else.

    I don't often agree with JA about much but Acapella was one of the top rooms for me at CES and JA recently reviewed it and gave it a rave. So we could not be in more agreement on that speaker. So I don't want this to become an "Audio Note" debate - I use them as an example of high efficiency and SET (ONLY because I have the most experience with them) - that doesn't mean that they're "it" for everyone. Both Trenner and Freidl and Acapella I could very easily see people liking better than Audio Note - or Teresonic and several others. And obviously room size and positioning are factors.

    It is pretty clear to me that people hear things fairly similar (when they actually bother to audition the same things in the same rooms and often when they don't). What were the best rooms I chose - A B C and then I see gee several reviewers on staff all own, did own, or planning to buy, those exact same speakers/systems that I chose as the top rooms. Other reputable reviewers also chose many of the same rooms or products I found to be the best ones. That isn't coincidence. It's not about AN specifically - and I am sorry I wrote the last posts rather badly - it was about a generality or direction of where the best sound comes from.

    There are exceptions to my generalities. Of course there is SS I like - I am a huge supporter of the Sugden A21a and I loved this ugly little Heed amp on the relative cheap at CES. Sim Audio and Classe and Pass Labs I tend to like - I did just purchase SS separates. And I did like Usher and Sony Loudspeakers that both fit into the mold of speakers I generally don't like. Both were very good. Nevertheless - the best of the best that I have heard in most cases is run by a SET and or has high efficiency speakers.

    At the end of the day - I am viewed as incredibly biased with Audio Note. I don't have a real problem with that since the best sound I have heard in Audio has been from Audio Note and it is in my opinion the reference for all others to be able to meet. Everyone has a reference point they judge against - or should have one. And some things I see do a better job in certain aspects.

    One of the reasons I offload the bias to other reviewers. For instance Wes Philips a more experienced veteran reviewer for the industry heavy weight Stereophile and is a Solid State guy and a Measurements are all important in speakers guy says things in a show report WAY beyond the pale and way over the top even compared to what I write as a reviewer should at the very least cause a bit of pause and say gee - maybe there is something there rather than RGA is a religious nutter. I don't get the closed minds on this. When a guy like that "see what he has reviewed" says this "Forget best sound of show, for sheer emotional delivery, timbral clarity, dynamic agility, and, yes, the highest fidelity, the Audio Note system may have been the best hi-fi I have ever heard. It was one of those magical moments that we audiophiles put up with all of the hassles for. After the Audio Note demo. the rest was noise, so I quit on a winner. Not many people who come to Vegas can say that." http://www.stereophile.com/ces2009/o...asy/index.html

    I think people do hear it similarly - whether you're a SS guy or not. I was a SS guy through and through. The first tube gear I heard was Copland and I liked SS more. Tubes didn't impress me.
    Last edited by RGA; 04-28-2011 at 05:17 PM.

  22. #47
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    The amazing thing is that Revel (Harmon International), were they to adopt the Snell/AN design concept, could, given their large-scale production capabilities, hugely undercut AN prices while delivering equivalent quality or better quality; (Baltic birch plywood is that rare or unique, though silver is getting expensive).

    So why don't they? Because they are working to a different design philosoply that aims for scientifically-verified criteria that prove that what most people really want is accurate, flat response, low distortion, together with wide, even dispersion.
    Not really. But keep believing the "corporation made science" all you want. Science in corporate America is not real science. And in independent blind auditions the AN J and AN E has yet to lose. Maybe they could allow a corner loaded speaker over there at harman - but they don't or can't or won't.

    The fact is big or small Audio Note has patents and you can't just steal.

    Although it may interest you to know that another company already shares the rights to the original Snell speakers - that company was Boston Acoustics (and now Denon). Terry at Soundhounds carried Boston Acoustics and the rep concurred that the AN E sounded far better than anything they built. Terry was constantly after BA to make a cheaper stripped down version of the speaker.

    After all BA has an economies of scale advantage - less shipping etc. The reply was "that look won't sell." If you think for one second that it doesn't have "everything" to do with appearance you're living under a rock because Harmon and any corporation has only one interest - making as much profit at all costs as they can (if they could make more money selling lighters they would dump audio tomorrow and sell lighters). And when you don't actually have something that can sell to people based on "sound quality" you have to find another way to sell it - measurements, white papers with suspect testing, and a bunch of baffle-gab. Incidentally Harman doesn't make a lot of speakers that according to you they can just copy and sell for less - they don't make ribbon planars or Electrostats either and they could - the parts are even cheaper for them. But again "that look won't sell" - it's about selling. Slim sexy and cool looking drivers. That is what sells.

    Quality is something that is somewhat hard to pin down because some companies simply don't advertise every little detail of what they do. Perhaps if people saw how an AN E speaker was made they might be a little more impressed by them instead of looking at the outside and making quick assumptions. They are highly labour intensive and the companies they partner with to make products are often specialists in given fields. Having Ferrari build you parts because no audio company has the machines to get the tolerances you need is something that adds tremendously to your costs. You may argue that it is not needed to get the sound - fair enough but it is costly nevertheless. That kind of stuff isn't advertised.

  23. #48
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    But to the main point you are making about preference - well that's all fine and good - someone may very well prefer a McDonald's Big Mac to the finest hamburger made by the best chef in the world. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I am entitled to tell them they're wrong and that there is a standard of quality they just "don't get" - and I can't help them.
    .................................................. ..........
    say gee - maybe there is something there rather than RGA is a religious nutter. I don't get the closed minds on this.
    Not respecting someone else's opinion and feeling the need to tell them they're wrong, is exactly what religious nutters do...

    As for closed minds: Feanor, Mr. Peabody and myself are all willing to listen to SET/HE setups and see if we like them... In fact, as I mentioned before, Mr. Peabody is enjoying HE in his system now... None of us take issue with your suggestions that SET/HE sounds brilliant... We'd have to hear for ourselves to determine that.... The issue we take is with the constant bashing you do of everything else... You act as if SS/LE has zero sonic value and It's all about marketing etc... You dismiss the notion that an experienced listener could find actual sonic merit in a Megawatt SS system. JA, MF, KR etc must all be suspect because they don't share your views on what sounds good... That is closed minded...

  24. #49
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    RGA, you are like a toy, pull your cord and get the same song.

    You made a false statement regarding Krell and Bryston, that's pretty much it. So stop trying to create another one of those tubes vs solid state things. If you notice I use tubes myself but I can't help correcting ridiculous statements made based purely on prejudice as you have. I own both and neither are bass shy and Rotel is not even in the same league as Krell.

    Thanks for the amusing statistics you pulled from your backside.
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  25. #50
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Not respecting someone else's opinion and feeling the need to tell them they're wrong, is exactly what religious nutters do...

    As for closed minds: Feanor, Mr. Peabody and myself are all willing to listen to SET/HE setups and see if we like them... In fact, as I mentioned before, Mr. Peabody is enjoying HE in his system now... None of us take issue with your suggestions that SET/HE sounds brilliant... We'd have to hear for ourselves to determine that.... The issue we take is with the constant bashing you do of everything else... You act as if SS/LE has zero sonic value and It's all about marketing etc... You dismiss the notion that an experienced listener could find actual sonic merit in a Megawatt SS system. JA, MF, KR etc must all be suspect because they don't share your views on what sounds good... That is closed minded...
    You're not experience enough listening to different designs - sorry to point this out to you. But most of the industry is Low Efficiency and SS because it is far more profitable to dealers. It's about selling boxes and making money for most of them - all of them really since Soundhounds does the same thing - though at least they don't deny it and they do carry some stuff they actually like as well. The very top of the line SS gear is quite good - I have no problem with MF liking what he does - and I agree with him on some points - his take on Bryston for example. On the other hand and in the same breath I would take the Bryston over his MF gear in a second because the difference in SS is just not big enough there to warrant the expense in my view. Bryston I recognize to at lease be a value added product.

    It is not close minded to want people to listen first then pontificate their vies about me and my views second. I grew up with SS and CD - not tubes and Vinyl. How would Mr. P, you and Feanor and several others here know they would not share my view unless they bothered to actually audition the stuff.

    It's all very nice to try and infer what you think it might sound like because 20 years ago you heard a tube amp connected to some Klipsch loudspeaker - but it's not the same thing. Very few dealers carry (again because its not sexy looking) or easy to operate top flight HE systems. And don't assume that all these reviewers have heard it either. UHF magazine has been selling for 29 years and only very recently did they audition Audio Note. And liked it a lot to boot. That doesn't mean it will be your first choice - but there is clearly a gradation of gear and it is not all about "opinion" In my opinion Fremer's opinion is wrong. And his opinion of my opinion is wrong. I can live with that. But before you jump on my opinion of his opinion maybe you should listen to a system he thinks is great for around the same money as one I think is great and judge from the results.

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