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New amplifier: my long journey...

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acalex's picture
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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

CnoEvil wrote:

.... It would be my guess, that at number one, would be the Jadis amp with something like the Living Voice speakers. This will be such an emotionally musical involving experience, that everything else you listen to, will sound almost mechanical by comparison. .....

Well, I think you spot it Cno...straight to the point. I think I might have came to a conclusion, I am trying to argument here, won't be a short post  rolling on the floor laughing

You got it completely on the emotional sound. The first time I heard the Jadis with my speakers my jaw just dropped. I couldn't believe that actually the RX6 were sounding like that. When he played Hotel California live version...just the clapping of hands were enough to give me the shivers...and bass was just a punch at the stomach every time. That was with normal power cable, normal speaker cable, RX6 and a 1000 eur cd player. So that's just the beginning of the scale...the room for improvement is still huge.

Regarding the other alternatives, I went through the following reasoning.

- I still do not have enough listening experience to recognise maybe the small differences between high-end setups. I might not be able to spot an huge difference between Pathos, Plinius and Musical Fidelity yet...so I feel I need to learn more before being ready to invest serious money on any gear.

- The first point makes me feel uncomfortable spending 10k or more without really being able to spot the differences between two high quality systems. Since I am a conservative person when it comes to money, I prefer having a more mature experience before investing that amount

- The first two points together made me thing that this one probably won't be my definitive choice. Hence I have to think how to get out without an huge loss. I made a small research today and realised that the Jadis can be easily resold at not less than 2600-2800 eur. Considering that the Jadis is an ex-demo would cost me 3300 + VAT (which I don't pay as I have a VAT number) this would leave me with a really low risk if I want to sell in 2, 3 or 4 years with a very small and acceptable loss.

- I have always been attracted by valve amplifiers and I think once in life I have to own one Smile and this might be the moment as the valves run quite an high voltage and might be dangerous if there are kids around (not in plan for now, but might be thinking about it end of 2012...if the world does not end Laughing out loud)

- It still not my definitive house (I am renting)...so I am quite uncomfortable spending loads of money now when the room might be completely different next year already (I told you I am conservative Laughing out loud)

- If I develop a true passion for valves, I can always change the D50 to get the beautiful DA88...which for now is out of question as I won't invest 11k eur on an integrated amp...for reason number 1, not enough experience yet and not sure this is going to be my final gear. I am willing to spend this money when I will be sure it will be the definitive one. 

- Can't buy everything at once now. Meaning that if I would go for an option pre+power amp, I would need to get the power amp now and then wait a bit to get the preamp...meaning I won't be able to enjoy straight away the beautiful sound. This because I prefer not to risk too much cash in a period where I might need more liquidity to run my second business.

- Much easier to find a Jadis dealer. It is a french company, I speak french and I live very close (I am in Paris in 3 hours). Also in Belgium there are at least 4/5 shops having it within a 30 minutes drive. For MF combo (Primo plus AMS35p) there are no dealers in Belgium (I spoke today with the distributor) and I need to go to Rotterdam where the importer is (which is faaaaaaaaar away). 

So my conclusion is...I can spend relatively little money now and enjoy a lot NOW a system which I tried and I like. Then when my future plans will be clearer, I would think of upgrading (if necessary) to a pre+power or just stick with a more powerful tube amp/

I still want to listen to the AMS35i which at this point might be the only alternative to the D50S. But again, convinced it won't be my final choice I would prefer to try NOW a valve amp...time and experience will guide me in the future.

Plus I found a really nice dealer having the Jadis and the Living Audio in the same shop  woohoo!

Uff...that was quite a post... what do you think? 

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

Your ears are younger than they will be in a few years ... so you will be able to hear more now Wink

PS Have you tried listening to a more modestly price valve amplifier just to see what the differences are between 1K Euro up to £3K Euro that you are planning to spend? 

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

tino wrote:

Your ears are younger than they will be in a few years ... so you will be able to hear more now Wink

PS Have you tried listening to a more modestly price valve amplifier just to see what the differences are between 1K Euro up to £3K Euro that you are planning to spend? 

 

Ahah, for sure but not at all used to listen critically and identifying what differs from one another. Plus I said 2,3,4 years, not in 40 years (do not intend to offend anyone with this) Wink

I actually listened to a more expensive tube amp (6k eur) which I didn't like as much as I liked the Jadis. It sounded colder, more mechanical. 

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

Firstly, I think its probably helpful to tease this out, even if I'm only a sounding board, that throws out ideas and suggestions.

You probably need to listen to the 35i, just to rule it out...it really is a stunning amp, that is quite different to anything else anywhere near its price range.

If you have a good deal on the Jadis, I think you should grab it...at that price, you really would have to prefer the MF to pay the extra, which is unlikely to be honest.

It is my hunch, that when you connect some valve friendly speakers, it will go up to another level again. Since you like the sound with your speakers, you won't be stuck if you end up doing it in two stages.
The fact that you found Jadis + LV in the one shop is a great bonus and bodes well for the standard of the dealer....should be knowledgeable.... party time!

When it comes to listening, again don't worry about it....while you are trying to figure what to listen out for, your "Soul" will tell you all you need to know....trust it!

FWIW I believe your logic is right on track....you are now starting to understand how you want your music to sound, and then seeing where that takes you. If you think this dealer knows his stuff, allow him to guide you with his advice.

As always, I await the outcome with interest.

Cno

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

CnoEvil wrote:
Firstly, I think its probably helpful to tease this out, even if I'm only a sounding board, that throws out ideas and suggestions. You probably need to listen to the 35i, just to rule it out...it really is a stunning amp, that is quite different to anything else anywhere near its price range. If you have a good deal on the Jadis, I think you should grab it...at that price, you really would have to prefer the MF to pay the extra, which is unlikely to be honest. It is my hunch, that when you connect some valve friendly speakers, it will go up to another level again. Since you like the sound with your speakers, you won't be stuck if you end up doing it in two stages. The fact that you found Jadis + LV in the one shop is a great bonus and bodes well for the standard of the dealer....should be knowledgeable.... party time! When it comes to listening, again don't worry about it....while you are trying to figure what to listen out for, your "Soul" will tell you all you need to know....trust it! FWIW I believe your logic is right on track....you are now starting to understand how you want your music to sound, and then seeing where that takes you. If you think this dealer knows his stuff, allow him to guide you with his advice. As always, I await the outcome with interest. Cno

 

You have been VERY helpful, I can't thank you enough for this. Also because I felt you got my needs much more than any dealers I have been approaching so far (let me know if you want to open a shop around here Laughing out loud).

I definitely want to listen to the AMS35i. The shop called me today to tell that they can arrange a demo the day I want and they will make sure the amp is there. So I think this will be either Tuesday or Thursday.

In the meantime I will call this dealer with the LV speakers and see if we can book a demo with the Jadis and the LV. What I really like of this shop is that is available only on appointment, so for sure during the listening session there won't be anyone going in and out the shop. I found this very professional...and quite different from my demo yesterday where there was no proper listening room and the colleague behind picking up telephone calls and going back and for whilst I was listening...

You are right...it were my emotions that told me this is a beautiful sound. When it started playing for a moment I completely forgot any soundstage, dynamics, basses etc...I was just enjoying the music. I am "rushing" up a little bit as I might get this good bargain on the Jadis...

As you said...the MF needs really to slap me in the face to make me consider (at this stage) dropping the Jadis deal and get a MF. One nice thing is that probably MF will sound already very good with my speakers...

An interesting week ahead. Anyway I rebooked a second demo with the Jadis for next Friday so my gf could also listen to it...and also to buy some more time to think it through (dealer said he will block for this week the Jadis...and if I don't want it after the second demo, fair enough).

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

I think it's a shame that the dealers haven't fully picked up on what you're after.

A good dealer should work by appointment, have a separate demo room where you can listen in a relaxed atmosphere (no pressure/judgement), preferably with a cup of coffee.

They should listen carefully to what you are after and ask pertinent questions about where you are going to set it up. They shouldn't be condescending or try unnecessarily to up your budget, but make helpful suggestions within it. They should know their products inside out and be able to answer most of the questions you throw at them.

The whole experience should be fun, relaxing and informative, where you leave having formed a good (trusting) relationship that can be called upon (if necessary) in the future.

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

CnoEvil wrote:
I think it's a shame that the dealers haven't fully picked up on what you're after. A good dealer should work by appointment, have a separate demo room where you can listen in a relaxed atmosphere (no pressure/judgement), preferably with a cup of coffee. They should listen carefully to what you are after and ask pertinent questions about where you are going to set it up. They shouldn't be condescending or try unnecessarily to up your budget, but make helpful suggestions within it. They should know their products inside out and be able to answer most of the questions you throw at them. The whole experience should be fun, relaxing and informative, where you leave having formed a good (trusting) relationship that can be called upon (if necessary) in the future.

 

I know, that's really a shame! The only place where I felt at home and well understood was when I went listening to the Akurate DS. Unfortunately this guy has only Linn/Naim staff...it's great for source/streamer but does not have any high-end amplifier. 

Unfortunately it doesn't seem clear to everybody how to invest on people for a future relationship. Because that's what hi-fi means in the end...if I know I can trust my dealer, I will be more inclined to listen to advices and spend even more money in the future...but here they seem more interested to the one-shot purchase more than developing a relationship.

That's why I think an Italian starting to do some serious business here would probably get rich only with aptitude and friendliness. Of course knowledge is also extremely important...maybe I still do not get enough "respect" as I still look young and probably they don't think I am really interesting in buying anything...

I also think i am a really easy "target" if you understand my curiosity and show the right aptitude by being friendly and willing to help without trying to sell...they could actually sell me anything with that Laughing out loud

Just got email from the dealer who has Jadis and LV speakers, he said I am more than welcome tomorrow to come and listen to the Jadis. He said also in the email he has the all collection of Sonus Faber and Audio Physics...it will be a nice day! Wink

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

acalex wrote:

Just got email from the dealer who has Jadis and LV speakers, he said I am more than welcome tomorrow to come and listen to the Jadis. He said also in the email he has the all collection of Sonus Faber and Audio Physics...it will be a nice day! Wink

The hook is bated and ready to reel you in! excellent!

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

Well...the day was absolutely the best in terms of hi-fi!!! Had an unbelievable experience with this shop...arrived there at midday and left at 17.15 more ore less...music no-stop. Amazing...soon the details as I think I now where I want to go now...it feels so much better

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

acalex wrote:

Well...the day was absolutely the best in terms of hi-fi!!! Had an unbelievable experience with this shop...arrived there at midday and left at 17.15 more ore less...music no-stop. Amazing...soon the details as I think I now where I want to go now...it feels so much better

...I had a feeling in my water!

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

CnoEvil wrote:

acalex wrote:

Well...the day was absolutely the best in terms of hi-fi!!! Had an unbelievable experience with this shop...arrived there at midday and left at 17.15 more ore less...music no-stop. Amazing...soon the details as I think I now where I want to go now...it feels so much better

...I had a feeling in my water!

 

Cno seriously this was such an unbelievable experience. The guy is absolutely knowledgeable and super nice. He offered me 3 cups of coffe and biscuits Laughing out loud!

First of all, the environment. Super nice atmosphere, not too bright (perfect for relaxing), no sounds around...nice candles to give atmosphere. The shop is not huge but there is so much stuff, everything is tidy but not in a maniacal way. Every speaker has its own cover on top...as you enter you say the Amati Futura...and start dreaming. Cno I can assure you those speakers are stunnig...absolutely superb. Every little detail. He then proposed me a tour of the shop to show me the gear he has. Lot of nice stuff, Lavardin, Krell, Audio Physics, SF, LV speakers and a huge collection of cds and vinyls (he also sells them).

Then he asked me what type of music I like...we never talked about money...never asked me about budget...he made me sit and we plugged the Jadis D50S. I told him I already had a listen but wasn't convinced about the PL200.

He told me actually the Jadis does not need high-sensitivity speakers...then I asked him to point me into the right direction and he plugged the SF Cremona Auditor M, 4500eur the pair. Superb-looking speakers. Very elegant, recognise the Italian touch in them Wink

We started playing and from stone-cold I had a punch in my face when we played first CD (3600 eur cd player). The sound was BEAUTIFUL. It was amazing, so natural , so warm but even so detailed. And basses...my friend such a nice basses these small speakers can reproduce...the sound gradually improved and was unbelievable how after half an hour everything was much smoother, more natural. He started to get out a list of beautiful artists, every type of music, classic, funk, bleus, jazz, vocals...every time he was putting a new CD inside, he was handing over to me the case so I could read and follow. No rush...was listening two, even three songs from same cd. 

I was just saying...don't you have something more of this, something more of that...and he would get the cd out straight away. Then at the second coffee he decided it was time to listen to some vinyl. We used a 1100 eur TT (the Clearaudio Concept with a phono preamp starting with E, three letters Laughing out loud, can't remember exactly). And boy....oh boy...what a discover was that. Just played vinly from that moment on...we listened the same song on cd after...recording was super clean but the all emotions were missing on cd!!! It was unbelievable...I decided of course I want a TT. He suggested me that with that amp the next step of clearaudio (at 2500 eur) would be the perfect match. I think price is also very reasonable

Then a lot of other music, we talked about DAC (he also has a Sonos with M2Tech Young DAC and sounded very nice as well, and said he can order for me the Audiolab M-DAC if I want)...he's more for the solution 2 pieces (DAC + reader) instead of an all-in one solution...everybody has his own opinion on this Laughing out loud!

At a certain point I asked him to do something bad...unplugging the Cremona and plugging the Guarneri memento at 9k eur...mannnnnnnnnnn what an experience. The Jadis had no problem at all at handling these little monsters...the guy had also a very handy digital noise meter and the maximum level we listened was around 82/84 dbA on classical music. Not a single esitation from the Jadis...These speakers are absolutely astonishing. Better basses, more focus, very relaxing at the same time...after 5 hs I wanted to leave and he was saying...ok one more disc and then you go Smile

He also agreed that when listening to the Guarneri, the limit was the amp and the TT. He said with Guarneri the next step from Jadis would be absolutely perfect. So I think I know my direction now (the same you identified before me)...I booked another demo next weekend with my gf also...maybe I will listen to LV and also Cremona M (floorstanders) but I really loved the Guarneri. I think this will be my definitive speaker...

He also said that once I chose, he will give me everything to try at home...and I can switch amp or speakers every 2/3 weeks if I am not convinced. He said I need to keep switching until I can't find something that really suits me. no pressure...wasn't try to sell me anything...amazing seriously. 

I have my mind at rest now...I feel peace and I finally now where I am heading to. Thanks a lot for all your help Cno, can't tell you how much you helped me.  woohoo!

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

That sounds like a very interesting day.

I have a few general comments:

-You are discovering the importance of the source. The better DSs get closer to the analogue sound, but in my opinion it takes 24 bit to level the playing field...keep this in mind.

-When you've been let loose in the sweet shop, make sure you try every relevant flavor..eg. LV

- Is it possible to hear AMS 35i + SF (this might happen if you borrowed the MF while home demoing the Jadis + SF/LV)?

- Remember, this sort of kit sounds great..until you hear something better. So don't "jump" until you've tried the main contenders (unlikely I think).

-Since the Jadis (surprisingly) could handle the SF, I can imagine just how good it sounded.

- I know exactly how good vinyl can sound (owned LP12), but it is a lot of faff and LPs take a lot of TLC. They are also expensive, unless you get good at sniffing out 2nd hand bargains, and it also means you have to start your collection from scratch...give this serious consideration before going down this route.
CD can sound much better than you think....you need to hear what Audio Note or Pathos (or DS) can do with Jadis & SR/LV, before going vinyl.

Other than that, I have little to say, (phew) other than you are heading in a very musical direction.

LV vs SF and 35i vs D50s.....brilliant!

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

CnoEvil wrote:
That sounds like a very interesting day. I have a few general comments: -You are discovering the importance of the source. The better DSs get closer to the analogue sound, but in my opinion it takes 24 bit to level the playing field...keep this in mind. -When you've been let loose in the sweet shop, make sure you try every relevant flavor..eg. LV - Is it possible to hear AMS 35i + SF (this might happen if you borrowed the MF while home demoing the Jadis + SF/LV)? - Remember, this sort of kit sounds great..until you hear something better. So don't "jump" until you've tried the main contenders (unlikely I think). -Since the Jadis (surprisingly) could handle the SF, I can imagine just how good it sounded. - I know exactly how good vinyl can sound (owned LP12), but it is a lot of faff and LPs take a lot of TLC. They are also expensive, unless you get good at sniffing out 2nd hand bargains, and it also means you have to start your collection from scratch...give this serious consideration before going down this route. CD can sound much better than you think....you need to hear what Audio Note or Pathos (or DS) can do with Jadis & SR/LV, before going vinyl. Other than that, I have little to say, (phew) other than you are heading in a very musical direction. LV vs SF and 35i vs D50s.....brilliant!

Thanks for your comments as usual. Regarding the source I think you are right...these are the solutions I think are going to be my choice for the future....

- Expensive DAC (like tube jadis DAC) + modest cd player (like Rega Apollo) + nice TT (like Clearaudio Performance) + modest digital streamer (connected through the DAC) + headphone amp

- Expensive streamer (like Linn Akurate) + modest CD pl + nice TT + modest DAC (like audiolab MDAC or M2tech to connect other sources like notebook, pc etc) + headphone amp

I don't think I will ever take the route of expensive CD player as I don't use CD that much. But I really would love the vinyl. And in terms of collection...I do not have a huge collection of CDs so far so it's the same story). Plus when you put a vinyl on is for longer listening sessions whilst on NAS I usually jump from one song to another...so actually you need less LPs than CDs Wink

What do you personally think of these SF I tried today? Do you like them?

It is possible to hear the AMS35i + SF (I'll call the shop on Monday to fix a demo) but can't compare head to head with Jadis + LV as the guy in Brussels does not allow gear to leave the shop (unfortunately that's the habit here...). I had to take a 40 minutes train to find this amazing shop with this guy (in Antwerp)

 

Now ripping the 24/96 cd by Livingston Taylor I got from the shop...will be soon on air  party time!

 

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

The fact that the dealer you found had so much music was a great sign, and the brands he kept shows he knows how to get the most out of it.

A Jadis DAC sounds sublime (is it a NOS Dac and what resolution can it handle?)

I don't think you need a CDP at all ie. Expensive Streamer or Transport + Decent DAC (Jadis/Pathos)

The suggestion of the CDPs was really for demo purposes, so you could hear what digital could sound like....this can be replicated with the right Transport and Tube Dac.

If I didn't use my system for AV as well, I would have SF....tells you all you need to know.

When you demo the 35i, try (if possible) to hear it with the same speakers/music that you are now familiar with. You will know quite quickly if you like it....less/as much/far more. Its only the last one that means further head scratching.

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RE: Jadis - love at first sight...

CnoEvil wrote:
The fact that the dealer you found had so much music was a great sign, and the brands he kept shows he knows how to get the most out of it. A Jadis DAC sounds sublime (is it a NOS Dac and what resolution can it handle?) I don't think you need a CDP at all ie. Expensive Streamer or Transport + Decent DAC (Jadis/Pathos) The suggestion of the CDPs was really for demo purposes, so you could hear what digital could sound like....this can be replicated with the right Transport and Tube Dac. If I didn't use my system for AV as well, I would have SF....tells you all you need to know. When you demo the 35i, try (if possible) to hear it with the same speakers/music that you are now familiar with. You will know quite quickly if you like it....less/as much/far more. Its only the last one that means further head scratching.

It can handle up to 24/96...and it costs 4k brand new (I will always try to get an ex demo of course, + I will get the VAT back). A tube NOS DAC sounds already a dreaming piece of kit Laughing out loud.

When you have such a DAC would you put everything trough it? For example even the TT?

Yes, I will prepare a nice selection of the music I am more familiar with...trying to toss as well some nice and complex classic in the mix.

I really liked all the stuff he selected today like Ike Quebec (Soul Samba), Richard Bona (Reverence), Miles David (Around the world...amazing LP),Patricia Barber (Nightclub), Keb Mo (Keb Mo LP), Stevie Ray, Livingston Taylor (Ink), Ray Charles and Norah Jones, a special record of Rossini (Omaggio a Roma, only 496 copies) and a stunning LP at the end with drums performance (pity I forgot the name)...everything was audiophile production... 

Hopefully I will like it as much...otherwise yes...further head scratching Laughing out loud