Hi Mac - sources are Cambridge Audio's 851C CD player and Stream Magic 6 streamer.
I wish more people would listen to Sugden (if in budget) before making their decision.
I agree. I tried both the A 21 and Masterclass with the Spendors and found both to be amazingly good - beautifully rich sound with plenty of detail. Seems to me that Sugden is one of high-end hifi's best kept secrets - an unassuming company that makes simple-to-use, top quality products with minimum fuss.
Perhaps, funds permitting, you might like to try one of their CDP's... before I bought the EMC1UP I tried a Sugden PDT4-F and it was quite a close decision.
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.
+1 for the Sugden masterclass IA4 great amp (maybe you should give the AMS 35I a shot )
It's certainly worth thinking about..but in Singapore (where I am) the AMS 35i is almost twice the price of the Masterclass...
Mac - yes, you read my mind! When I auditioned the Masterclass with the Spendors the dealer used a Sugden CD player, which then got me thinking along those lines...
If it's any help, not long ago I had a demo of the Naim Nait XS vs Sugden A21SE. OK, the Sugden is about £2400 vs about £1500 for the Naim, but really it was in another league in terms of sound stage, detail, and musicality - the Naim amp seemed never to get to grips with the music (with the Sugden, Bob Dylan was in the room, not necessarily a good idea). This was using Proac floorstanders.
Made me change my mind about Naim amps - though as you can see, I still use various Naim sources.
Rega RP6/DV20X2L/Rega Aria/Naim CD5XS/Flatcap XS/Naim NAT05XS/Naim Supernait 2/Dynaudio 1.8-II
As good as the AMS is and it most definitely is a superb amp, I'm not sure it's worth twice the price of the IA-4... then again it may be a different story if lucky enough to find one second hand, but
they don't come up too often.
Besides, the 35I may be a bit overkill for the Spendors.
Just enjoy the music and I look forward to the next part of your HiFi journey when the time comes for a new source.
IMO It's probably worth about 30 - 33% more, unless the speakers need more current than the Sugden can provide...I don't know if Mac, Alex and Roby think that's a fair percentage, as it's very personal.
Like Roby, I got a great deal (and my Refs like all the current they can get)
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Thanks Mac. Yes, I've been thinking the AMS 35i might be going too far, so I've decided to go with the IA4.
Well well well...
It's truly a hard question
Tu me if you compare in Belgium the normal retail price of the AMS is 7500 & an the AI4 5500.
I really enjoyed the demo of the sugden an it isteally not far behind. At full price I'm not shure AMS would have been my choice an even if I had the feeling it was slightly better in each department. An in this case the price difference is arround 25%
But In admit the limited budget at the time was a factor sertenly because I was seriously strugling with the amount of money I was going to spend more than with the money it self.
But at the time if I didn't have the discount on my ams I would have chosen the Sugden it's a beautifull amp natural detailed fresh with a superb vocal an bass capacity an if you ever thinking about changing your speakers give proarc a shot I heard the sugden with D18 wich was amazing my guess is D28 will be mind blowing....
Considering the source during the demo was a Cambridge Azure 650 cdp there is certenly room for improvment there.
So to be honest not shur how to compare AMS & AI4 30% is overrated IMO I would say 20% more or less.
In what I heart solid stat amps my ranking would be
M6I (I heard nothing better under 5500€)
AI4 (nothing better under 7500€)
AMS35i (nothing better under dreamy expensive )
Oké this is really personal but I Tested quite a few amps in the last 2years but those are the amp's I think about when I demo an an compare stuff, because they made me forget the analitical part we can have an just made meenjoy music an forget the rest.
But like I said personal an it depend of the budget an what you're prepared tospend of course.
So my opinion if the sugden is you're budget limit it's almost a blind pushase...
Enjoy you music
(AMS is better I agree Ceno I know why I bought it but not worth duble the price)
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AMS 35i/Cambridge Azure 650 cd/Squeezox touch/Clear audio Champion lmtd edition with MC Simphony II cardrige/Okki NoKKi Record cleaning machine/M1 Vinl Phono stage/Audioquest 'Golden gate' & Transparent super music wave rca's/Avalon Ascendent SC Transparent super music wave
Many thanks Roby for sharing your experiences and analysis.
To be perfectly honest, I could stretch my budget to the M35i but since I have already heard the Sugden driving my Spendors and am happy with the sound, I think I better stick with it.
I could then use the extra $ saved to upgrade the source and cables and maybe even get better stands for the speakers.
It's certainly not worth double.
I put 30 to 33% for two reasons:
- IMO. It sounds better in every department. Bass is noticeably better and the mid range is a little more natural and less well lit.
- The 35i doubles its power into 4 Ohms (70W), and again into 2 Ohms; whereas the Sugden only gives about 45W into 4 Ohms. This means the MF will handle difficult speaker loads more easily due to the extra current available.
I'm not having a go, but clarifying the logic behind my thinking.
Have you considered naim pre powers singslinger. Having owned a naim integrated in the past i can tell you that the pre powers are less in your face and certainly better at low level late night listening. I cant say whether this will be true of the more expensive pre powers (thinking nac 202 nap 200 ) as i have not heard them but was certainly true going from a nait 5i to my current amps.
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Thans that explains it
I agree with you whan you say the AMS have just this little bit more in every department an Alex can back me up here
It's actualy one of the first things I said to him during the Sugden demo.
How you put this in digit's it's hard an provably personal
I mean meybe I still take the money part to much in consideration compared to the sound department... (shame on me)
But I can find my self in what you say here.
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