the Electrocompaniet UK subsidiary, and the chap who presented the kit to me was an EC employee. And he very clearly said that EC engineers had fettled the speakers to get the best possible response. I can't see why EC would want to shoot themselves in the foot by showing their kit with a duff pair of speakers.
Trust what you like.....no matter who has set things up.
As Mac says, with different speakers, it will sound very different.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Very puzzling indeed... did you convey your thoughts to the guys?
If so, what was their reaction?
Was it a specially acoustically treated listening room?
I did raise my eyebrows, and the response was that these speakers had been specially fettled to give the most neutral and transparent response. There was also a pair of KEF Reference 203/2s standing in the corner (or they might have been 205/2s).
The room hadn't been acoustically treated. It was just a mock-up of a (large) living room, albeit with loads of shiny black EC machines on the shelves. They'd gone to some lengths to make it smart and tidy. All very professional.
What classical music are you listening to?
Oh dear I am not surprised at all at your findings , if I had known you were going to NSS to audition the electro amps I would have warned you that the listening room acoustics of that room are truly awful unless Simon has recently has some acoustic treatment installed , I told him truthfully what I thought and even sent him the details of a room treatment specialist to help with the problem .
When I last went there to have my AW 120 serviced I auditioned a pair of Nemo monoblocks upstairs in that room with a pair of MA standmounts connected to them for about 2 minutes before I asked him to stop, the sound was absolutely awful so he changed them for a pair of KEF reference floorstanders that were far better but still the sound was very dissapointing compared to my own system.
Simon did promise me that he would be getting a pair of the Electrocompaniet Nordic tone speakers to use for the demo's but he obviously has not .
It is a crying shame and unforgiveable that he seems to not have sorted out this problem and I hope it has not put you off Electro amps forever .
I urge you to try again maybe in a dealers listening room or prefereably at you home because they are superb amps and they deserved to be heard at their best which I have to say is very good indeed .
Electrocompaniet EMC1UP Cd player , EC 4.7 pre , AW120 DMB power amp , PMC PB1i speakers . Isotek Titan / Nova , Nordost SPM speaker cable , Kimber KCAG balanced interconnects .
Linn LP12 Lingo , Ittok lv3 , Lyra Lydian , EAR834P .
"Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler." Albert Einstein .
what you say is very helpful and makes a lot of sense. Whilst the room was tidy and some effort had been made to make it feel like a living room, it did seem unnaturally bare. (It was also unpleasantly cold; every demo room I've been to has some kind of problem, whether it's acoustics, size, temperature, lighting or smell (!). It's really quite off putting.)
Despite that, the EC gear is still on my list.
So yesterday my wish came true, and I got to hear “Accuphase near London” — to be specific, Mac’s E350. Thank you, Mac, you’re a true gent. (More on that below.)
This was the culmination of an interesting day’s listening to amps, starting in Guildford with the Krell S-550i and Lavardin IT. The Guildford systems were:
Wadia S7i CDP > Krell S-550i AND Lavardin IT > Harbeth Super HL5s
The Krell was predictably brawny: massively impressive dynamics and wide soundstage. Actually I found it less “Krellish” that I’d feared. But the Harbeths revealed some graininess which I found unattractive.
The Lavardin was a bit smoother and more musical. Sweeter strings and voices. Good dynamics. Still a bit edgy. No remote control.
Mac’s system will be well known to everyone from his signature. It was great to have another listen through the beautiful HL5s, which are topping my speaker list at the moment. The Accuphase E350 is a thing of wonder and beauty. Its presentation is the most refined and delicate of any piece of transistor electronics I’ve heard. Maybe ‘refined and delicate’ gives a misleading impression, because the dynamics are terrific too. No lack of punch, but it’s an iron fist in a velvet glove. Leading edges are razor-sharp. Complex music is unravelled with amazing insight. Sweet and tight bass. Also the build quality is stunning.
On the Harbeth forum there seem to be quite a few people who pair Harbeth and Accuphase (mostly in the Far East, I guess, where Accuphase is far more common). I can fully see why.
I wanted to end with a smiley, but we don’t seem to have one that means “I’m in love”.
It pays to persevere.....and I'm not at all surprised at your findings.
I'm glad you are finding the path that's right for you...it can come as quite a revelation.
Glad you enjoyed the experience and so good to read someone else echo my sentiments so precisely. Plus a bonus for you to find a speaker you enjoyed so much.
One can only wonder how much better the E560 may be!
Accuphase E350 amp, Electrocompaniet EMC1UP CDP, Siltech 25th Classic anniversary 330I XLR Harbeth Super HL5 on Sound Anchor Quod ELS63 stands, Chord Odessey2 speaker cable. Grado SR60 headphones.
The Accuphase E350 is a thing of wonder and beauty. Its presentation is the most refined and delicate of any piece of transistor electronics I’ve heard.
do you want to know why? putting aside the fact of using very high quality parts the secret is Accuphase is using current feedback topology to design their amps. most other amps around use voltage feedback topology. I see no point going into details why one is better than the other but the current feedback is in many areas much much much more technically beneficial than voltage feedback.
if you're willing to lay out cash for an Accu than it's fair enough but if you're willing to explore a bit more and save a few quid for music you could try out amps from Italian brand Audia Flight. those amps use current feedback as well, and reportedly sound very alluring as well. a class A FL50 power amp + Music First Audio passive transformer preamp would be my pick here.
also the big Primare A32 power amp uses current feedback. A32 is not a class D amp, as opposed to current brand's efforts, but highly biased AB amp.
Giro, InTheGroove, Digit, ClassicOne, MG12
What (if any) other brands use this......and is it necessarily a feature of Class A?
a class A FL50 power amp
As there is no UK distributor, any info as to approximate prices for this amp, or any of there other items? Certainly nice looking amps.
Bedroom: Sonos ZP90, Cyrus DAC XP+, Cyrus X Power, KEF LS50's
Living Room: Linn Majik DS, Marantz UD7006, Arcam AV9/P7, PMC FB1i fronts, TB2i centre, DB1i rears
drat! you're right. sorry for suggesting AF in those circumstances. however, I'm not afraid to buy blind if the gear meets my conditions with regards design principles and measured performance. but that's only me.
it seems there used to be one as there's a review of Audia Flight pre/power in Hi-Fi news from 2010:
What (if any) other brands use this......
this is a difficult question CNO because few manufacturers use such detailed technical information in their blurb. so there can be quite a bit of manufacturers utilising current feedback rather than voltage feedback but you wouldn't even know. there are clues though, if the amp has exceptionally wide FR (-3dB point lies at 300K Hz at least) and can be operated without speakers connected (because the feedback loop would most likely be closed before the output) than it's more likely than not that you're dealing with a current feedback amp. wide FR is most important feature of those amps because it's responsible for grainfree treble. as in wide FR means high slew rate and that translates to no problems with possible transient saturation at audible high frequency extreme.
so far I can only tell for sure that Accuphase and Audia Flight make current feedback amps. also Primare A32 is a current feedback and also high-end Marantz amps are current feedback (i.e. SM-11S1 or MA-9S2 monos).
however, I should mention here that IMO a current feedback amp is only the second best option. as they say (I hope:)) the best feedback is no feedback at all. but it's darn difficult to design a no-feedback amp that will measure well. however, if you do you know it will perform equally well with test sinewaves and musical programme. quite accidentally I found an audio manufacturer who makes such amps. they are mostly class A solid state amps with no global feedback. they measure no worse than other highest quality solid state feedback amps and in some areas a lot better, which TBH came to me as not so small surprise. therefore I know now that when the right time comes I'm placing an order with AM Audio.
and is it necessarily a feature of Class A?
no. for instance Accu and AF make AB amps too. the Primare A32 is AB. and the Marantzes are AB as well.
Oldric, thanks for the technical insights.
The way I understood Cno's question was: do all Class A amps necessarily use current feedback topology? (Pls correct me if I'm wrong, Cno).
The Accuphase E260/E360/E460 (and ditto the older '50 range) are Class AB. The only true Class A integrated they make is the E560, which on current exchange rates would be somewhere in the region of £8.5K.
That is more what I was getting at, but it wasn't very clear....anyway, it's all a bit above my pay grade.
The Lavardin needs its own very expensive S/Cs to sound at it should, but that adds considerably to the cost
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