Have you got have a source to do them justice?
As you may recall from other threads, I'm keen on Sonos's GUI and networking, so I've been pimping my Sonos kit with a view ultimately to seeing how well it can perform in comparison with, say, a Linn Majik DS. At first I'll be using a Sonos ZP90 (Fidelity Audio LII mod) and Audiolab MDAC (Lakewest LII 'Tyco' mod) -- at least once the MDAC gets back from the Czech Republic in a couple of days. (Until then, it'll be the ZP90 plus Sonlink.) The ZP90 and unmodded MDAC have been very detailed, expansive and noise-free in my study system and through my Grados. The modded MDAC is apparently quite a bit better and can hold its own against very high-end DACs. The question is whether I could do even better with e.g. a Linn streamer. I suspect not, but will give it a go in the autumn.
Sorry, I didn't make myself clear.........I was wondering if your MDAC would be back in time for the home dem.
FWIW. The MDS is as good as a highend CDP, so can easily live in a system of that quality......but the ADS/1 is still a good step up. It will be interesting how the MDS compares to the modded DAC.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Has anyone heard the ams CD player? It's crazy money at 7k but it would be nice to hear it and see how it sounds
Afraid not, but whenever you're in the market for a CDP try the EMC1UP... Iceman here on the forum has one with his 35I and loves it.
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.
Ah, sorry, Cno.
Anyway, the AMS35i has arrived, and the first bit of good news is that it works (and looks as good as new). I played it for 5 mins through some old KEF iQ4s and it seems absolutely fine. I've just picked up the Harbeths and will set them up as soon as daughter 1 and her friend have finished playing on the Wii.
I'm home this evening, so will have time for a good long session.
What classical music are you listening to?
Glad it's in good shape, thought it would be, AE don't usually send out duff gear. looking forward to your impressions Matt.
That is a lovely system. I am looking forward to your impressions.
I remember having seen Jaxwire on youtube with some Harbeths. Imho it was the best sounding set-up of his many posted. I can't remember the amplifier but I think it was a either a NAD or Perreaux, probably not to dissimilar to yours.
Pretty ... and pretty proud of it
I've never heard of IQ4s.....XQ4s ?
I look forward to what you think....do you have a concrete floor, or is it suspended?
Sorry, iQ5s. Not a very good speaker, though they were well thought of as cheap floorstanders go when I bought them 13 years ago. Still, out they go at long last.
The floor is suspended. Not good, I know. But we had half-inch thick oak boards laid on top of the original floor, so it's a fairly substantial suspended floor.
I always thought the IQ5s were a little overrated....they didn't have much bass.....but whatever they do have, will be brought out.
Long term, you should try Granite under the stands. If you haven't already done so, fill your stands with sand or rice and put Blu-tak under your speakers......both of which should make a good difference. Sorry if I'm" teaching my Granny to suck eggs," or if I've mentioned it before...it's hard to keep up with an old model brain.
Thanks for your comments, Mac, drummerman, and Cno.
I've had a pretty enjoyable evening with the AMS35i and Super HL5s, though I think my head wasn't in exactly the right place. (I mean mentally, of course -- physically it's fine, still attached to the top of my spine.) Knowing that Mrs49 was sitting in the next room working through a couple of hundred e-mails, as she must of an evening, slightly cramped my style. In one way this is a good sign. The dynamics of the AMS35i/Super HL5 pairing are excellent; tracks that start quiet can get really quite feisty all of a sudden. So I had to be a bit careful with the volume.
Anyway, the following -- admittedly very provisional -- thoughts are more analytical than enthusiastic.
No doubt both the amp and speakers are excellent, indeed outstanding. My feeling is that the synergy is good too, though it may not be perfect. I may decide to stick with the AMS35i and find a better speaker match, or stick with the Harbeths and do likewise. There’s a way to go yet.
One consistent theme is that part of the upper middle range is rather forward. I suspect this may be the Harbeths. They do vocals brilliantly, like no other speaker I’ve heard. I did a couple of spins of Allegri's Miserere (Tallis Scholars, Gimell): transcendently beautiful, airy, pure, and with such a sense of the space where it was recorded. But there’s a part of the upper vocal range that’s too prominent.
Second criticism: slightly mucky top end and transients. I suspect this is down to the source, although it might be a function of room acoustics. But probably the former, so not to be blamed on the amp and speakers. I might try to cadge a decent DAC from my local dealer on Friday, since my modded MDAC won't be back till Tuesday. (And by then I'll probably still be half deaf anyway, as we're seeing Springsteen on Sunday.)
I fiddled with speaker placement quite a bit, toeing in/out and moving back and forward to/from the rear wall. Strangely it didn’t seem to make much difference. The bass was pretty consistent (in a good way), and the soundstage was always excellent. This, I think, is a virtue of the Harbeths, which seem to be failry tolerant of placement.
This is all provisional. I plan to do another long session tomorrow evening and all day Friday. Plenty of listening to come.
Matt, I was worried that exactly this would happen, and is the reason that I mentioned the quality of the source.
The 35i may have a very musical nature, but it is very revealing, and along with the Harbeths, will shine a light on the quality and tonal nature of the front end......and dare I say it, cables.
Personally, I wouldn't come to any conclusions until I was able to slot in something of a similar quality eg. a Majik DS or Electro CDP (like Mac's)......in fact, I would be encouraged that it sounded as good as it did, given what you used.
As a system heads towards highend, the source (imo) becomes absolutely crucial.....you can easily end up listening to the weaknesses, rather than the strengths of the system.
The "curse" of a really good set up, is that everything has to remain in balance.......and it's possible that you may even need to set your sights higher than the MDAC (depending on how good the modded one is).
IMO. Cables, including power cables, are also something to experiment with......and I don't expect anyone to take my word for the beneficial effect they may have.
I echo Cno's comments...
As soon as I read your thoughts on some forwardness I said to myself "it must be the source". I would be surprised if it were the Harbeths.
Cables are important, but something to be addressed once you are clear in your mind which of the main components you want to settle on.
Looking forward to the next report.
I agree with Cno and Mac that you need to try a different source and cables. In my experience, the EMC 1UP is a perfect match for the AMS35i. Each share the same level of performance and build quality. The AMS will reveal the fluid, detailed and warmish analog sound of the EMC 1UP. As for cables, steer clear of silver or silver plated ones.
Electrocompaniet EMC 1UP(spider clamp) / Musical Fidelity AMS 35i / Focal Electra 1028be / MIT AVt MA speaker cable-Matrix 12 xlr / Chord powerchord / GIK acoustics
Didn't think I was doing this properly, did you?
Well, I did a bit of cadging this afternoon (a Naim V-1 DAC) and brought some cables down from my study system. Things are working much better. All the top-end muck I was hearing yesterday has gone. Clarity is much improved. The system is now revealing what it should reveal: the music. Nice. I'll report back at greater length later.
BTW the problem was almost certainly the Arcam Sonlink (though cables have played a role too). And I'm minded to point the finger of suspicion at the Sonlink's cheapo PSU especially.
Full details of the system, cables and all, will be on the 'your system' thread shortly (see the link in my sig).
Well, things haven't gone entirely as I expected today. This is a hugely impressive and likeable system, and in pretty much every respect it does what I want. But ...
Overall the presentation is beautifully liquid and tactile. There's an immense amount of detail, and most important of all it's lifelike detail. Separation of instruments is outstanding, both in terms of their intrinsic timbre and tone and in terms of their left/right and front/back placement. Listening to opera is a joy: a huge soundstage, voices all quite distinct, and above all a dramatic sense of being there.
Now for a variant on the 'my wife/girlfriend walked into the room and asked ...' cliche. Vocals are, of course, a forte of the Harbeths. Well, my dog adores people, especially strangers. He's the most gregarious hound I've ever met. I've noticed that he keeps sitting up and looking at the speakers. I reckon he's hearing new people coming into the room.
Now for the 'but'. Of all the amp/speakers combos I've heard, the one that this has most in common with is the Accuphase E560 plus Super HL5s. I described the sound of that system as 'golden'. But it was also slightly splashy at the top end, and I'm getting the same feeling with the AMS35i/Super HL5 system. It's most obvious with metal percusion, but there's also quite a lot of sibilance on vocals and a hint of shrillness in the top notes of brass instruments. It's the same story with a wide range of recordings of different genres and quality.
The most obvious culprit is source. In pretty much every other respect, the V-1 DAC/AMS35i/Super HL5 combo sounds terrific, and as good as, if not better than I’ve heard the Super HL5s sound in any other system (with the exception of the Devialet D-Premier).
I’ve listened to the V-1 DAC through its (single-ended Class A) headphone stage, and it sounded superb (using Grado SR325is). A clear step up from the excellent headphone stage in the Audiolab MDAC. And there was no sibilance at all. And I've tried swapping in the NAP 100, i.e. V-1 DAC > NAP 100 > Super HL5s. In terms of overall SQ there’s no comparison between the V1-DAC/AMS35i and V-1 DAC/NAP 100, as you’d expect. (I could list the many ways in which the NAP 100 is miles behind the AMS35i, but there wouldn’t be much point.) But the NAP 100 was superior in this one respect: no splashy top end, no sibilance.
So I suspect the fault lies in the synergy between the amp and speakers. On their own, both amp and speakers are fantastic. So I'm in a bit of a quandary. Any thoughts?
Matt...I've been in your situation some time ago. It realy takes time to get the sound you like. As I've mentioned before, your source plays an important role or part to get the most of the AMS 35i. IME the AMS 35i is the best integrated amp I've heard at this price, But you should'nt stop there! Given you liked the Harbeths that does'nt mean it will work best with the AMS.
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