You're way better off picking speakers first and then asking whether the amp is good enough to drive them. It's the load the speakers put on the amp that's the determining factor, not the other way round. Don't forget, speakers are the bits that make the noise, amps are comparitively minor in the chain.
PMC OB1i found for £3500 ex demo
On paper fits the bill perfectly but bearing in mind i want a warmer richer sound but still offering detail and excitement am i asking it too much?
I read its quite a transparant speaker much like an ATC so would it need pure class A or hybrid valve AB amplification to perform how i want?
Any suggestions? Ta!
If you prefer a warmer sound then look for a warmer speaker. An amp isn't going to tame a bright sounding speaker or turn into a warm one, doesn't work like that, they have far less impact on the sound.
Really, you should go down and listen to some amp/speaker combos to see what I mean.
Pmc like using/demoing their speakers with Bryston Amps (they are great ) so I don't think you need class A.
Personally I would say the OB1i's are warm, as in lots of bass, but with detailed mids and highs, not bright at all.
For me there was too much bass (or maybe they weren't well controlled enough, I only heard them on audiolab amps), and I would take the twenty.24 In preference any day of the week.
Best to demo, as YMMV.
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
You're thinking of buying a Sugden Masterclass at £2900 and PMC OB1i's at £3500? Couple of things to bear in mind. Whilst these prices are less than the brand new retail prices, that's still a total of £6400 on two items that will depreciate as soon as you buy them and continue to depreciate over the next few years. I don't know your financial situation, but for me that's a lot of cash to lay out on a combination that you've not heard and you're not sure how much you'll enjoy in your room. Inparticular, how much you'll enjoy them compared to other less expensive amp and speaker combinations you could buy for less money with less depreciation.
The Sugden and PMC combination may well be just the ticket for you. Then again they may not.
In order to decide whether you take an "amp first" or "speaker first" approach, will depend whether you are a Class A / Valve addict, or not.
Myself (and I suspect a few others on here) place more importance on the Class of amp, because (imo) the sound of Class A / Valves can't be replicated with any brand of speakers.
If you don't hear the benefit in taking the above approach, then I would choose the speakers first and match with an appropriate amp.
I suspect if you got the Sugden IA-4, you would have difficulty settling with an AB or D amp.......but the only way to find out for sure is to listen to the various options, as what we all think or prefer, is pretty much irrelevant.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
No. Amp's really don't make much difference, but speakers make or break a system. They're the bits that colour the sound. Most amps have a flat frequency response and thd's that are pretty much the same. Not saying they're all the same, but maybe they contribute < 5% to differences you hear. That's why no-one was game to take the Harbeth test when it came to it.
I suppose i can base my sound preference from what ive got in my rooms at home.
My own system for music is Pioneer SCLX85 av amp, Marantz UD7007 bd/cd, MA RX6 speakers.
Old mans system is a cheap 5 yer old Nad 'Bee' CD player, an old Tandberg 3002 pre amp into two valve power amps (which a friend of his made for him using his bare hands) and some old wharfedale standmounts of which i dont know the model.
I do prefer to listen to the old mans old setup just because it creates a certain golden glow around everything played through it i find myself just listening and enjoying music rather than one minute enjoying next minute analysing the sound (from my own setup). I'm not saying my own system is bad (in fact for movies it is bloody good which is the main reason i bought it) but it only seems to sound really good with perfectly recorded/produced music.
IME They are two setups from both extremes ie mine being forward, bright and somewhat analytical whereas the old setup is richer, relaxed but still on time, and just plain easy going with anything thats played through it allowing me to just kick back.
Most of my own music is poorly recorded 60's and 70's rock/prog/fusion/heavy/punk so through my own system it can be very fatiguing to listen to especially at higher volumes, which ironically is the best volume for most 70's rock and roll!
I have probably answered alot of my own questions about what sort of equipment i should be demoing and that is of the variety biased towards valves/class a in the amp/cdp and speakers that get the most out of these sort of components. I am hoping that regardless of whether it costs £3K or £9k i wont have to compromise on also wanting to still have some modern qualities in the hifi system i choose with regards to still having good detail and attack.
Lastly thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread so far especially as its the first ive ever posted... and at this rate it could be the last!
I don't remember if I have said this before but if you were to stick an Electrocompaniet ECI3 integrated in front of those Ex dem OB1i's you would have the sweetness of the Sugden amp with the grip of a Bryston amp plus a unique sense of musical honesty that only Electrocompaniet seems to be able to provide IMO , and a new ECI3 is cheaper than either at £1925 .
And as luck would have it there is one going for £1200
Forgive me if I seem to continually bang on about combining Electrocompaniet amps with PMC speakers but it really is one of those rare and almost magical combinations that you will not regret trying believe me I know
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 .
Surely it's down to the OP to listen for himself......as after all, it is he who will be paying for it, and then listening to it on an on-going basis.
There are quite a few on here who completely disagree with you, and the OP may find he is one of them.
Truly two very differing opinions here but one things for certain and thats trusting my own ears. Its a shame it isnt easier (where i live int hills!) to get the time to travel and hear all the shortlisted components, so i thank again all those for giving me an idea of how certain components sound.
Perhaps if the speakers do define the characteristic of the sound more than anthing else i should be considering the Harbeth Super HL5 as i guesstimate they would come closest to sounding like they old mans 70's wharfedale standmounts.
Would warm amp and CD create tooo much warmth?! Can that even be a bad thing lol!!
Your source and amp will give so much more if you upgrade the MAs only. I'd be inclined to investigate serious speakers with a view to keeping the Marantz & Pioneer.
As long as sources and amps haven't been particularly badly designed changing will have nowhere near the same effect as changing speakers.
TV room : Samsung 60" plasma-ATV3, -AVI ADM40, DM5 in 4.0,/Sonos ZP90,, Sky using Sonos for On Demand, PS4, Sony BDP S570 thru a Yamaha RXV3067.
HiFi : Sonos ZP90 - AVI ADM9 RSS + AVI SUB
Bedrooms : 2 x Sonos Play 3
IPad Air for Sonos & Spotify / AKG K551
I am not dogmatic or absolutist in my approach / advice, as this can lead people astray, due to the very personal nature of taste.
All I can tell you is that my Class A amp is the most important part of my system, and the last I would let go.
Carefully chosen valve components needn't make a system too warm (though it is subjective)............a quick listen to an Audio Note system can confirm this (imo).
Have been wondering about the source ie CDP making much difference. I have just substituted a DenonDBP2012 uni player for a Marantz UD7007 and low and behold i cant tell much if any difference in the sound!
The marantz has dual HDMI outs but so far its the only benefit ive found. Ultimately it does have balanced XLR RCA outs which i hope to use via my new amp and speakers. Starting to think my budget needs to almost solely go on these.
And maybe a new turntable
Sorry for butting in, and I'm sure Richard will answer for himself, but I have a couple of thoughts:
- A digital source can take up less (% wise) of the total budget than a TT
- The better the amp and speakers get, the more it can highlight any weakness in the source (and highlight a better one).
- Having a valve in the CDP will make it sound different....a little less "digital".
- A Streamer (eg. Linn / Naim / Cyrus) imo gives better sound per pound than a CDP.
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