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kaudmeter's picture
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Dark Integrated Amplifier

Hello,

I am looking for dark sounding integraed amplifier within 600e (780$) new or second hand.

Currently I have Yamaha S-A500, first it sounded amazing, but after couple weeks it start hurting my ears with the high frequencies. Playing with loudness knob helps, but doesn't solve the problem. With my previous amplifier (with was way worse then yamaha, actually it was just a some very old music center (all in one even with tape deck!)) i had no issues what so ever.

After this expirience I understand I need something dark. I don't want to change the speakers so far. As I believe even if I change them the issue won't go away (I had same issue with portable rig, bought better player (Colorfly CK4) and couldn't listen my headphones (ATH-ESW10) anymore after couple weeks - high frequncies hurt my ears).

Thanks for advice!

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

Not sure what you mean by "dark" - as opposed to "bright" perhaps? Also you don't mention what speakers you are using, which might be helpful.

If I had to guess, I'd recommend a Naim amp which in my experience is, er not bright.

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

I would be inclined to try one of the latest Naim's too. They are not 'bright'. The price you pay, depending on speakers used, is a somewhat contained sound stage. The image is more solid and driving but less 'above and beyond' the speaker boundaries.

regards

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

Yes, exactly. Dark means as opposed to birght. High fequencies are not dominating.

Speakers are audio pro stage 22 (fronts of surround set) with rel quake MKI subwoofer.

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

Hi and welcome to the madness!

If you mean the A-S500 then it has tone controls; what does is sound like if you turn down the treble a bit?  That is what they are there for, after all. 

Krell CD and amp, Michell/Rega/Grado record player, Hitachi and Sony tuners, Nakamichi cassette, SBT streamer, Sonus faber spkrs.  Sony and Samsung BDP & TVs. Qobuz > iPad > AudioPro Allroom Air One

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

It could be the speakers fault too. Also, what speaker cables are you using? Avoid anything silver plated like Qed and try some good cheap copper cables like Rega Quattro and see if improves.

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

If you must replace your amp, I believe NADs are somewhat warmer sounding than Yamaha.

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

NAD, cheaper Cambridge Audio or Electrocompaniet if you can afford it. I'm selling my PI-2 for £1300 on gumtree

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

I know you said you didn't want to mess with your speakers, but they are almost certainly the source of a great deal of your brightness. Almost any amp is going to sound bright with this setup. Why? Well, brightness is always a risk when you try to pair a small set of satellites with a big subwoofer. It doesn't really work very well for hifi. The small cones of the sats can only do so much when it comes to midbass and lower midrange, no matter how hard you drive them, and the sub is no help above 150 Hz or so. So you end up with a depressed frequency response in the midbass, then rising as you get higher. This is the frequency response curve of brightness - many speakers strive for the 'BBC dip,' which is more or less the opposite - a very gentle downhill slope towards the treble. And then on top of this, the Audio Pros that you are trying to pump more midbass from have metal dome tweeters, which tend to be...bright, especially when overdriven.

I highly recommend trying a pair of proper hifi, and not home cinema, speakers before you go and start buying amps. The Naim Nait 5 (not 5i - I have one bought in 2002) currently can be had for around 200 quid on eBay. I think it's a splendid example of the kind of amp you are talking about. However, I don't think you'll be happy because while nobody would call the amp bright, it can be a little harsh - not a good attribute for a bright speaker setup with metal dome tweeters.

I don't think your Yamaha has to sound bright, but since you are open to used, you could easily replace both the amp and the speakers for your budget. You could still run the sub if you want, just find some sats with bigger cones and soft dome tweeters.

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

NAD. Arcam. Maybe Marantz.

 

What source are you using?

 

I don't think you will get a Naim Nait 5 for £200, there is one not working that is already £211, most working ones seem to be £300-£400.

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

kaudmeter wrote:

Yes, exactly. Dark means as opposed to birght. High fequencies are not dominating.

You mean a "warm" amplifier.

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

bigboss wrote:

kaudmeter wrote:

Yes, exactly. Dark means as opposed to birght. High fequencies are not dominating.

You mean a "warm" amplifier.

No, he meant dark.

I know what he means.  :read:

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

jerry klinger wrote:

bigboss wrote:

kaudmeter wrote:

Yes, exactly. Dark means as opposed to birght. High fequencies are not dominating.

You mean a "warm" amplifier.

No, he meant dark.

I know what he means.  :read:

 

What is a dark amp?

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

A Bright Sound or a Dark Sound

There seems to be a lot of confusion about how we describe sound. It seems many people these days want what they call a dark sound, but when I delve deeper into what they mean, I realise it may not be the same as what I call a dark sound. I write a lot about saxophone sound, but there seems to be some confusion over terminology, which got me thinking...Dark can be used to mean the same as warm, which some people think of as the opposite of bright. But when I say dark I mean the opposite of light rather than bright (but you might think the opposite of light is heavy). As far as I'm concerned the opposite of a bright sound is a warm sound, but you might well think of a warm sound as the opposite of a cold sound. But then I call a cold tone what some people call a clear tone . On the other hand some people might call that a focussed tone (or a tone that projects). But to some a focussed tone could be an edgy tone or maybe even a centred tone, (which are surely two different things) and then again to others it might be thin, the opposite of which you might say is fat, however it could be argued that this is unfocussed, which is the opposite of what some people call bright. Or you might like a big fat warm dark round sound, the opposite of which is...

http://cafesaxophone.com/entry.php?7-A-Bright-Sound-or-a-Dark-Sound

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

SpursGator wrote:

I know you said you didn't want to mess with your speakers, but they are almost certainly the source of a great deal of your brightness. Almost any amp is going to sound bright with this setup. Why? Well, brightness is always a risk when you try to pair a small set of satellites with a big subwoofer. It doesn't really work very well for hifi. The small cones of the sats can only do so much when it comes to midbass and lower midrange, no matter how hard you drive them, and the sub is no help above 150 Hz or so. So you end up with a depressed frequency response in the midbass, then rising as you get higher. This is the frequency response curve of brightness - many speakers strive for the 'BBC dip,' which is more or less the opposite - a very gentle downhill slope towards the treble. And then on top of this, the Audio Pros that you are trying to pump more midbass from have metal dome tweeters, which tend to be...bright, especially when overdriven.

I highly recommend trying a pair of proper hifi, and not home cinema, speakers before you go and start buying amps. The Naim Nait 5 (not 5i - I have one bought in 2002) currently can be had for around 200 quid on eBay. I think it's a splendid example of the kind of amp you are talking about. However, I don't think you'll be happy because while nobody would call the amp bright, it can be a little harsh - not a good attribute for a bright speaker setup with metal dome tweeters.

I don't think your Yamaha has to sound bright, but since you are open to used, you could easily replace both the amp and the speakers for your budget. You could still run the sub if you want, just find some sats with bigger cones and soft dome tweeters.

Thanks for the detailed and usable advice!

I read some more topics about brightness and it seems your opinion is the right one. I mean changing the speakers. I think I will choose this option as I jsut bought Yamaha amp and I don't want to get invovled into resseling for now.

Could you please reccomend some speakers that will fit the profile, the budget is not as big (as I won't sell the amp) so I would say around $300 and I am very open to the used models.

And i love my subwoofer (which I got just month ago), I had no idea that my favourite tracks has this crazy deep base.

Thanks everybody for the replies!

My source is Sound Blaster Xi-fi smth, I am not really sure, I got it when I bought pc from a friend and so far it's sounds ok. I just got access to money, so I am building my rig slowly.

And I am not that sure anymore what I meant by "dark" sound. It's just my ears hurts from highs and therefore I call this sound bright, and dark is simply opposite to bright. I am not sure how warm sounds as I have never heard it before.

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RE: Dark Integrated Amplifier

Sounds like you do want warm.

 

As for speakers I would avoid metal tweeters which can be harsh (bright).

 

Can you get Wharfedale 121s for $300.

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