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Thread: Class A amp

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    Default Class A amp

    I’ve got a system consisting of Rogers JR 149s, being driven by Quad 34/303. Input comes through a Deltec Bigger Bit DAC. I love my 149s more than any other speaker I’ve ever owned and I want to make them sing.

    My idea is to explore the amp part of the chain, and in particular to explore Class A amps - solid state, I really can’t be bothered with all the faff of tubes. The obvious range to explore is Sugden - I can’t stretch to a masterclass, but maybe a variety of A21 would be good.

    Do you think exploring amps is the best way to enhance this system? What do you think of Class A? Are there any affordable, reliable, SS Class A amps you would recommend I look at? I can’t afford an Acuphase or a Luxman, max budget £1,500.

    EA0C6BBE-6A13-4ED6-B851-316802DB60BC.jpg
    Last edited by Mandryka; Feb-01-2019 at 18:16.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    The picture is helpful. Your system might not be the problem from the looks of your listening room. The environment on both sides of the speakers is different, with the right side being more open, and unequal for possible unwanted reverberations. It looks like there's no easy way to adjust the important distance between the speakers or the direction they're facing, depending upon their directionality. I would view getting the best sound from just about any system as a major challenge if this is your primary listening room. But I wouldn't consider your lively hardwood floors as being a problem if the position of the speakers can be adjusted and what's behind and beside them balanced out. To me, the current arangement would suggest a major rethinking of the entire listening environment or the ways of balancing or equalizing the acoustic environment surrounding each speaker. I wish you a satisfying solution, perhaps with the benefit of a good consultant. Something can always be done.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Feb-02-2019 at 00:31.
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    The speakers are on either side of a chimney breast, on brackets. The alcove on the left is mirrored, which creates the illusion of space. The alcove on the right has books in it, and the long wall on the left is covered with books.

    Jim Rogers was a real genius I think, and he made the brackets for the J R 149s. This makes me think they are a good thing, but a priori their bass response would be tighter if they were further away from the wall on stands. I’ll try it, even though the brackets are so neat.

    I think the wood floor is probably not the best thing, nor the glass table, not to mention the ceiling. I guess I’m prepared to throw money at the system, which I can always recover by selling off unwanted equipment, but I’m not prepared compromise my interior design principles.

    It’s not my main system, or at least it wasn’t intended to be. However I like the 149s so much I’m using them more and more, and I’m enjoying playing around with amps and DACs etc.

    One idea is to to get them really singing over the next couple years, without tubes, and then ditch the big electrostatic system and just have the 149s. At some point the ESLs will need servicing - my feeling is that that will be decision time. Apart from bass response, I bet that I can get the 149s as satisfying as the complex electrostatics with their subs and supertweeters. It’s a fun little project.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Feb-02-2019 at 11:49.

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    I’m surprised no one has posted about their wonderful Class A transistor amps, which they also use to cook steaks. Does no one have a Krell, or a Pass Labs amp?
    Last edited by Mandryka; Feb-02-2019 at 07:51.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Poor old Mandryka. You came on looking for amp recommendations and now you have to spend a few thousand on interior design. Lol.

    1mlx25.jpg

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Room Acoustics 101: Speakers should be freestanding in the room, at least three feet from the wall, symmetrical on the sides. Better yet, they should be 1/3 into the room with the listening position not in the center of the room to avoid direct reflections. The listening position should be at a equilateral triangle from the speakers, so the distance between the speakers should be the same as the distance from the speaker to the listener. Large mirrors or windows on the front wall or sides can create huge reflections. Heavy drapes help solve that. You can't do much about ceiling reflections, but a rug would help with the hardwood floor. Think of reflections like ping pong. If you put a mirror on the surface of the floor or side walls, the reflection point is where you can see the speaker in the mirror from your listening position. You want to soften that spot with a rug or drapes. Books work pretty well too. Your left side is covered.

    It looks like those speakers have been set up for optimal visual balance, not sound balance. Wives tend to do that. The best thing you could do is pull the speakers out into the room and move them further apart. Perhaps you could extend the cords so you could move them when you are listening and put them back in their visually tidy position when you're done.
    Last edited by bigshot; Feb-02-2019 at 20:12.
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    When I go to an audio store to listen to various components, I am more concerned about the sound I hear rather than the design. My Ayre is zero-feedback. I'm not sure how the distortion compares to class A, but it sounds great to me.

    Back about 1970, I used a Futterman H3 OTL (tube amp without output transformer) for a while, and boy did it put out some heat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

    Wives tend to do that.
    That’s completely out of order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyIII View Post
    When I go to an audio store to listen to various components, I am more concerned about the sound I hear rather than the design. My Ayre is zero-feedback. I'm not sure how the distortion compares to class A, but it sounds great to me.

    Back about 1970, I used a Futterman H3 OTL (tube amp without output transformer) for a while, and boy did it put out some heat.
    If I go to a dealer I am limited to what the dealer deals in. The best I can do is buy privately, with the right of return. But there are too many products, I need some way to limit what I explore. My thought was limiting to class A was an interesting avenue.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Feb-02-2019 at 23:43.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Room Acoustics 101: Speakers should be freestanding in the room, at least three feet from the wall, symmetrical on the sides. Better yet, they should be 1/3 into the room with the listening position not in the center of the room to avoid direct reflections. The listening position should be at a equilateral triangle from the speakers, so the distance between the speakers should be the same as the distance from the speaker to the listener. Large mirrors or windows on the front wall or sides can create huge reflections. Heavy drapes help solve that. You can't do much about ceiling reflections, but a rug would help with the hardwood floor. Think of reflections like ping pong. If you put a mirror on the surface of the floor or side walls, the reflection point is where you can see the speaker in the mirror from your listening position. You want to soften that spot with a rug or drapes. Books work pretty well too. Your left side is covered.

    It looks like those speakers have been set up for optimal visual balance, not sound balance. Wives tend to do that. The best thing you could do is pull the speakers out into the room and move them further apart. Perhaps you could extend the cords so you could move them when you are listening and put them back in their visually tidy position when you're done.
    You know, most of the walls are lined with books.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    You know, most of the walls are lined with books.
    Yes, but they could be dispersing the sound unevenly on both sides so the speakers just aren’t blending well together. And it looks like the mid and lower range of the speakers have no real back wall to bounce off of because they are pinned so closely to the fireplace. But it’s easy to imagine not wanting to give up the warmth of the fireplace as a listening area. Doesn’t look like an easy problem to fix.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Feb-02-2019 at 23:57.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Yes, but they could be dispersing the sound unevenly on both sides, so the speakers just aren’t blending well together. And it looks like the mid and lower range of the speakers have no real back wall to bounce off up because they are pinned so closely to the fireplace. But it’s easy to imagine not wanting to give up the warmth of the fireplace as a listening area.
    At some point this year I have it in mind to measure the acoustics of both the rooms with hi-fi in.

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    Back to class A.

    Has anyone any experience of the Luxman 550 series. They're affordable -- why are they so affordable? Is there a problem with them?

    How powerful are they in Class A mode? I can't see whether they're 20W or 50W

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    Your room isn't laid out properly. You could use books to block reflections, but they would have to be in the correct place to do that. The two most important aspects of any system are room acoustics and speakers. They're where the rubber meets the road, and they define the sound you actually hear. You can spend thousands on expensive equipment, and it won't sound any better than a radio shack cheapie if you haven't attended to those things. If you want advice, I'd say put the brakes on electronics purchases until you can deal with the acoustic issues. Buying an expensive amp for this room wouldn't be a very good use of your budget. There are lots of web pages about speaker placement. You could find tips that you could try to apply and hear the difference for yourself. You don't have to use measuring equipment. Your setup shows a lot of room for clearly audible improvement.

    Try moving the speakers forward out into the room a couple of feet and move the right speaker a few feet further right. If you have curtains on the window on the right wall, pull them. If you have a throw rug, put it on the ground between you and the speakers. I think you'll be amazed at the difference in sound.
    Last edited by bigshot; Feb-03-2019 at 21:20.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    That’s completely out of order.

    It's completely true! The biggest limiting factor to most home audio installations is what the wife will allow in the living room.
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