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Integrated Amps: An Addicts Guide.

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#181 DAMO 1147

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 09:25 PM

Keep them going – quality work here.

Amp man sits by the open log fire quietly sipping his favourite bevy, his relaxed yet satisfied demeanour belied the steal in his eyes which were already steadfastly fixed on his next assignment!!

#182 DAMO 1147

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 09:47 PM

.... and very interested in the Exposure and Rega, it wil be great to finally hear them with the Zu's.

i'm currenlty giving a PIoneer SA-5300 a go. Supposed to be 25w per channel, i can hardley move it mast 1.5 on the volume dial.

#183 ortofun

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:22 AM

.... and very interested in the Exposure and Rega, it wil be great to finally hear them with the Zu's.

i'm currenlty giving a PIoneer SA-5300 a go. Supposed to be 25w per channel, i can hardley move it mast 1.5 on the volume dial.

Hay Damo

From what I can find It's 10 watts per channel. But being from that period it may measure higher than the rated power.
Edit:
http://www.hifiengin...r/sa-5300.shtml

Edited by datafone, 23 October 2012 - 01:40 AM.


#184 DAMO 1147

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:55 PM

Cheers data - the amp has me thinking about the good vintage Pioneers but i will start another thread. Even more impresive given the 10watts.

#185 peacewise

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 02:03 PM

Cafads review makes that Nad C390DD sound mighty tempting. How will it pair with the new vaf i66, i find myself wondering.
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#186 Cafad

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 03:29 PM

Keep them going – quality work here.

Amp man sits by the open log fire quietly sipping his favourite bevy, his relaxed yet satisfied demeanour belied the steal in his eyes which were already steadfastly fixed on his next assignment!!


Fixed indeed Damo. The baby Exposure 1010 is almost done and the NuForce DDA 100 arrived this morning. An unemployed mans work is never done!

Cafads review makes that Nad C390DD sound mighty tempting. How will it pair with the new vaf i66, i find myself wondering.

Hi peacewise, I think the NAD C390DD should be required demonstrating for anyone with speakers of i66 level quality (and many lesser and a few greater ones as well). It will certainly meet the power requirements VAF list for the i66.

Edited by Cafad, 05 November 2012 - 10:57 AM.

Pre and/or Power Amps 4 Sale:

Exposure Classic pre/pwr    http://www.stereo.ne...mp/?hl=exposure

Perreaux SX60M  mono's     http://www.stereo.ne...60m-monoblocks/

Burson 160 Series pre/pwr  http://www.stereo.ne...s-prepwr-combo/


#187 Cafad

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 11:12 PM

Well past time I got around to updating this thread of mine. I purchased an Exposure 1010 a few weeks back (when I still had a job) to find out if the magic of its big brother was present in the budget offering of the range. At $850 to $900 new it sits in an interesting place in the integrated ranks, cheap enough to be classed as a "budget buy" by audiophiles with larger budgets but expensive enough to be considered the lower level of high end by those of us with more limited available finances.

My feelings were mixed on the appearance of the amp, if I stepped back and looked at it then it presents well, nice quality faceplate and labeling, central volume knob, it really looks like it is a higher end amp. A closer look shows that the volume knob sticks out about 8mm from the faceplate and you can see in between, you can see the hole drilled in the faceplate above the shaft that the knob rotates on that is used to connect the knob to the PCB and as you raise or lower the volume the wires move around from one side of the hole to the other. Functionally it is fine but I just feel that the knob should have a cover that hides those wires from view, it looks a bit tacky!
The rest of the housing is strong enough, thinner than the 2010S and the rear pannel flexes a bit when cables are attached to the inputs but it is certainly not flimsy.

The inside is a different story, this amp is manufactured in Malasia in order to keep costs down (so claims the company) and this is fair enough but one look inside and you can tell that the only thing Exposure has done to reduce cost is to put the amp together in a different country. Every capacitor I can see inside this budget amp is an Elna Simic, and it has 6 (1000uF) of them providing power for each channel. The PCB is clean and put together very well, and the power transistors are hidden (as in the 2010S) under the PCB. I know this will sound a bit obsessive but I like to see the little black squares that make the speaker work and it really annoys me when they are hidden out of sight. Oh well, nothing to be done about it I suppose.

So I set the little Exposure up and ran it in for 72 hours, I would have gone the full 100 but the leaflet provided (in place of a real manual) suggested that I would need to run it in for up to 48 hours so I figured 72 should do nicely. And it really did change very little with run in.
The sound of the 1010 is very pleasant, it sounds more like a little brother to the Myryad MI120 than to the 2010S. It has a fullish sound with a nice level of richness, only slightly warm but very, very smooth.
It does an excellent job with vocals, about 85% as good as the 2010S and the highs are nice but just a little under emphasized. This is good in that the high frequencies are never harsh but they just don't resonate quite as well as with the 2010S.
In the area of bass it is rather punchy, nice and fast with good levels of impact but it loses out in the depth with most of the amps high on my list giving bass with more depth to it. However when I compare the price of the 1010 to everything else it does better in the performance stakes than it has any right to. I also found that the bass was extremely good when watching movies, I sat through Underworld Unleashed the other night and considered the sound to be nothing short of excellent in every area.

As an aside:
One comment I feel I really must make is regarding the "home theatre bypass" as it is now known (it used to be known as "power amp in" but times have changed) the 1010 has one but it is labeled as "AV". And since I didn't read the leaflet (I was exercising my Y-chromosome derived right to skip it because I knew better!) I plugged my media player into the "AV" input and had a fairly serious surprise when I hit play! My first reaction was to turn the volume down (which obviously didn't work), my second was to hit the off button but since you can't turn the 1010 on or off from the remote that didn't work either. My third reaction was to change remotes and hit the pause button, OK, all quiet, now I pick up the leaflet and check it out. All good, I'll just plug the media player into the "Aux" input but as I got up I realized that for a full 5 or so seconds I had the Exposure in use as a maxed out power amp and I didn't hear a hint of distortion. That's a thumbs up for both the exposure and the cheapo media player that I bought over ebay.
Actually, now that I think about it, I had a similar "experience" (read "brown trouser moment") with the Brio R. I mean, why would a phono input not be called a phono input? Why on earth would anyone call it "input 1"? "Input 1" is where cd players go!

Back to the job at hand.
I used the little Exposure as my main amp for almost a fortnight and the more I listened to it the more I appreciated it, it does not sound its best at low listening levels but it really does get up and sing between 9 and 10 o'clock on the dial. 12 o'clock sounds pretty good too, it hit 98db on my SPL meter, that's pretty good! I could only handle 2 1/2 songs at that level but they were 2 1/2 pretty awesome songs!

If you have a hard $1000 budget and a Rega Brio R or a Cambridge sounds too warm for you or if a Rotel is a little too bright or stark then this little amp is a must for demoing. Personally I prefer the sound of the Exposure 1010 to that of the Brio R (but then I like rich sound over warm sound) however the Exposure 1010 does not come with a phono stage.

Pre and/or Power Amps 4 Sale:

Exposure Classic pre/pwr    http://www.stereo.ne...mp/?hl=exposure

Perreaux SX60M  mono's     http://www.stereo.ne...60m-monoblocks/

Burson 160 Series pre/pwr  http://www.stereo.ne...s-prepwr-combo/


#188 Juicester

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:43 AM

nice write up. on the point of the HT bypass - that is different to a power amp function. A true HT bypass is a fixed gain input and wouldn't lead you to having the volume spike issue you refer too - as it takes the volume level from your processor....

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#189 Cafad

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 12:27 PM

I tend to leave the volume control on the media player maxed out and control the volume via the integrated amps' remote (force of habit, since that is the way everything else is controlled) so the volume level from my 'processor' is permanently maxed out. Without the pre section of the integrated to reduce the signal level the volume was quite high.

Pre and/or Power Amps 4 Sale:

Exposure Classic pre/pwr    http://www.stereo.ne...mp/?hl=exposure

Perreaux SX60M  mono's     http://www.stereo.ne...60m-monoblocks/

Burson 160 Series pre/pwr  http://www.stereo.ne...s-prepwr-combo/


#190 Cafad

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:12 PM

I've been listening to the NuForce DDA-100 on and off for the last few days. And what an education those few days have been! Initially I disliked the sound of the NuForce intensly, it was a harsh and hard sound that I found I could only listen to for 2 to 3 songs at a time before my ears started to ache and a headache began to form. The really strange thing (actually let's call it the first really strange thing, there are a few more to come) is that this harsh and hard sound did not make the highs or mids hard on the ears, it made the bass hard on the ears. So earlier this evening I tried again and it was still the same, on the off chance that it might make a difference I swapped coax cables from a standard old crest cable to an XLO silver plated copper cable and suddenly the bass was much more bearable. So, after shaking my head and muttering a few choice words I swapped the cables back and found the bass to be worse but not as bad as at first. So I swapped them again, and again (all the while checking over my shoulder to make sure that Placebo fellow wasn't hiding behind my seat, he's a sneaky little bugger!). I am fairly sure that the XLO cable sounds less bassy and have come to a tentative conclusion that I had a poor connection initially with the Crest cable. I am still not a fan of the sound of the DDA-100 but at least now I can stand to listen to it for more than 10 minutes at a time without discomfort.

On the positive side for the DDA-100 it has an outstanding level of micro detail, I can pick up intakes of breath taken by singers and woodwind players easily and it makes accoustic guitar sound amazing but as soon as any sort of bass shows up it just kills any and all enjoyment gleaned from the performance. Speaker separation is extreme, to the point where it actually feels as if the two of them are just doing their own thing and not even trying to work together. It leaves me with 2 halves of a sound stage and that is not a good thing. I am going to have to try this amp with a different set of speakers I think, just in case it is the Osborns that it does not pair well with.

Pre and/or Power Amps 4 Sale:

Exposure Classic pre/pwr    http://www.stereo.ne...mp/?hl=exposure

Perreaux SX60M  mono's     http://www.stereo.ne...60m-monoblocks/

Burson 160 Series pre/pwr  http://www.stereo.ne...s-prepwr-combo/


#191 DAMO 1147

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 08:34 AM

For those folowing this thread - the Cafad & Damo’s Gold Coast & possibly Brisbane Amp spectacular!! has been announced in the GTG - Qld section of SNA. :)

#192 Cafad

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 11:42 PM

Looking forward to that Damo, I have the amp-mobile on standby!

I'll start again on the NuForce DDA-100 tomorrow, and I may have to have a quick relisten to the Exposure 1010 as well. I swapped in the Exposure 2010S to listen to a few new cds this morning and found that they sounded sort of harsh and constricted. The bass was making the room feel oppressive and I was not happy with the sound at all, and this with the 2010S! Something was not right. I swapped cables and things improved a little, and then swapped cables again and things improved a little more but I was stumped, I hadn't changed anything in the room since I tried the toppers. :confused: :confused:
And of course I removed my pine planks (I can't call them speaker isolation stands, it just sounds too professional for what they are) while I was trying the toppers. Speakers back up on the planks and the bass is back to being deep and smooth rather than oppressive and rough and slowly tearing at my eardrums. The NuForce sounds pretty good now, details to follow later.

Pre and/or Power Amps 4 Sale:

Exposure Classic pre/pwr    http://www.stereo.ne...mp/?hl=exposure

Perreaux SX60M  mono's     http://www.stereo.ne...60m-monoblocks/

Burson 160 Series pre/pwr  http://www.stereo.ne...s-prepwr-combo/


#193 Mattrix

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:15 PM

I had a Jungson ja88d-09 for a while would be interesting to know where it all sat against it...

Great thread!

I really "need" a decent amp for my studio 125's too many to chose from and I've always got that "spend a little more to get that next rung up!"


#194 Cafad

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:10 AM

Hi Mattrix, the Jungson has been on my list for a while but I haven't been able to obtain one yet. It could be a bit of a wait now, what with my lack of a regular income but I'll keep my eyes open.

I really "need" a decent amp for my studio 125's too many to chose from and I've always got that "spend a little more to get that next rung up!"


Oh I hear you mate, loud and clear!

Pre and/or Power Amps 4 Sale:

Exposure Classic pre/pwr    http://www.stereo.ne...mp/?hl=exposure

Perreaux SX60M  mono's     http://www.stereo.ne...60m-monoblocks/

Burson 160 Series pre/pwr  http://www.stereo.ne...s-prepwr-combo/


#195 Cafad

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 07:14 PM

I've picked up a little Bada DC222 (the solid state model, of course) and I'm running it in at the moment. At $530 aussie landed and delivered it is a definite cheapie (half that price is freight!) but it is shaping up as a whole lot of fun to play with too. It started out a bit thin and weak, not just in the bass or the highs but in everything but has mellowed and deepened with run in. The bass is now deepish (won't win any prizes but it is passable, similar to the Exposure 1010 with less initial impact) and smooth and very pleasant to listen to, the highs are still a bit shrill but it has some running in to go yet.

The big attraction with this amp is its fun potential (which I did not know beforehand, I just bought it because it was on my list of amps to try and it was the cheapest by a big margin). It came with a yankee 2 pin plug and an adapter and I have already found that disposing of the adapter and plugging straight into the consonance power board drops the shrill level a little. It also has 8 internal fuses, 8!!! So I am just going to have to swap some of them out with some after market pieces and see what I can hear. It also has a thin power cord, a ferrite core seems to be making a small difference there but I'll have to repeat later to confirm.

It really reminds me a lot of the Rotel RA1520 minus the phono and remote (no remote with this Bada!) with a smoother, less deep bottom end. While it is a little harsh yet in the highs it is not as harsh as the Rotel was, it is quite listenable as it is. Watch this space come Tuesday or Wednesday for the full story.

Pre and/or Power Amps 4 Sale:

Exposure Classic pre/pwr    http://www.stereo.ne...mp/?hl=exposure

Perreaux SX60M  mono's     http://www.stereo.ne...60m-monoblocks/

Burson 160 Series pre/pwr  http://www.stereo.ne...s-prepwr-combo/


#196 danq

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:02 PM

Hi Cafad,

Just out of curiosity, have you got around to trying the Dayens amino? Read somewhere that you were going to but have not found a review anywhere.
Cheers, keep up the good work

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Secondary (synchronised): 

Macbook air (Wi-Fi) -> Squeezebox Touch (analog out) -> XTZ A-800 Class D amp -> Quad 21L2 

 


#197 Cafad

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:43 PM

Hi danq, I did have an offer of a dayens ampino from someone but it fell through. I can't really remember who or why at the moment but I'm sure there was a reason at the time.

I see you have an XTZ A-800 in your sig, how is that working for you with Magnepans? Aren't they famous for wanting tons of power?

I was after one of their A100s a while back, but that didn't eventuate either.

Pre and/or Power Amps 4 Sale:

Exposure Classic pre/pwr    http://www.stereo.ne...mp/?hl=exposure

Perreaux SX60M  mono's     http://www.stereo.ne...60m-monoblocks/

Burson 160 Series pre/pwr  http://www.stereo.ne...s-prepwr-combo/


#198 danq

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:53 AM

Hi Cafad,

Since I don't listen too loudly, the little class-D XTZ A-800 does all right. Bill McLean was also very surprised by how well the little amp drove the Maggies in his shop. I hope to get the time to compare it to the Ampino at some stage, both with the Quads and the Magnepans.

Best wishes

Daniel

Primary: 

Macbook Air running Logitech Media Server, Squeezeslave and Dirac Audio Processor -> Hegel HD2 DAC -> Dayens Ampino -> Magnepan 1.6QR  :)

 

Secondary (synchronised): 

Macbook air (Wi-Fi) -> Squeezebox Touch (analog out) -> XTZ A-800 Class D amp -> Quad 21L2 

 


#199 ~Spyne~

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 03:35 PM

Well, I got my Exposure 2010S2 sent through from TL on Monday and set it up last night. A bit hard to give a proper opinion on it, as my speakers (at the moment) are just the Zaph SR71 kit slapped in some basic 16mm mdf boxes. Then there's the room, and while the speakers aren't backed into a corner, it's a small living area that has an arm-chair right alongside the left speaker and a tall bookcase right next to the right speaker, so there's definitely improvement to be had from 1) getting around to making some proper cabinets for the drivers and 2) getting them in a better, more open space (which won't happen until we can buy a house unfortunately).
I might also get some improvement from better speaker cables/connectors as I had previously just used bare wire connection to the Cambridge, the Exposure requires banana plugs. Not having any, I bought some cheapies from D!ck Smith and the tolerances are too large, requiring a bit of effort to get the wire strands to be secured properly between the bolt/post and the casing.
However, I do notice the Exposure has more detail and space than the Cambridge 640A it replaces and a slightly more pleasant midrange. Bottom-end I can't really judge due to the sealed cabinets and lack of subwoofer.

I do miss the 640A's tone controls, just to bump the lower octaves a little to compensate for said lack of sub.
There's also no power/standby button on the remote. Nor a standby mode at all - it's either on or off, via the power button on the facia.
I also have a turn-off pop, which I never had with the Cambridge. Nothing scary, but it did surprise me the first time I turned the Exposure off yesterday evening.

The unit itself is very well finished, with a nice heft to it, interesting 'textured' finish on the casing and beautiful brushed facia with very clean printing of control labels. The remote is extremely light and feels cheap compared to the unit (or the remote of the Cambridge), but works well.

I've still got a way to go before it is 'ran in', with only 5-6 hours of use so far compared to the recommended 40-50 of use before the amp is sounding it's best.

Oppo BDP-95 / Squeezebox Touch > Arcam irDAC > Exposure 2010S2 > Zaph SR71 / Dynaudio Focus 160

Keeping it simple...well, trying to.


#200 Cafad

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:35 PM

Ah yes, the on/off pops. Some amps do and some amps don't, for no real rhyme or reason that I can discern. That bass will deepen for you Spyne, I guarantee it! I predict much audio contentment in your future.

Pre and/or Power Amps 4 Sale:

Exposure Classic pre/pwr    http://www.stereo.ne...mp/?hl=exposure

Perreaux SX60M  mono's     http://www.stereo.ne...60m-monoblocks/

Burson 160 Series pre/pwr  http://www.stereo.ne...s-prepwr-combo/


#201 rantan

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:35 PM

I remember that schit that Redgum wrote about pops. They claimed it was actually a good thing,which is stretching the truth along with all their other claims. They make passable amplifiers but their propaganda is a bit over done :)

#202 Braddles 63

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:29 AM

The Quad 909 amp i had a while back poped the speakers about 5 seconds after power off. Scared the crap out of me the first time it happened.

#203 DAMO 1147

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:36 PM

Hey Cafad did the yammie as-1000 fall of the podium giventhe NAd was above these?

. Exposure 2010S (its bass seems to emanate from the depths of the Mariana Trench, its sound is so fluid )
2. Myryad MXI2080 (clean, clear and rich, like a bottle of King Island rain water with just a drop of honey added)
3. Moon i1 (fast,hard, strong and ain't no friends with no synthesisers)
4. Myryad MI120 (the sound is so rich and smooth it could be made of honey-glazed Belgian chocolate)
5. Myryad Z142 (its mid range bounces about faster than a rabbit raised on a diet of mexican jumping beans)
6. Rega Brio R (so warm its use is restricted on days of extreme fire danger, and I told they keep one behind glass on every Antarctic research base with the words "Break glass in case of heating failure!" printed below it.)

#204 rantan

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 01:22 PM

I had a Rega Brio-R and at least in my situation and opinion it was a very long way from being overly warm and although I still rate it as a great amplifier, especially for the price asked. It can sound somewhat cold and cluttered at times, particularly when given a nudge. I never experienced the warm or rich tonality with it at all.

I would describe it as neutral on reasonable to good recordings and slightly steely on lesser quality recordings. Despite this, it is a product that I would recommend without hesitation to anyone looking for an excellent amp around or just under $1K

#205 Cafad

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:12 PM

Hey Cafad did the yammie as-1000 fall of the podium giventhe NAd was above these?


Yep, the Yammie fell with everything else when I moved the speakers and the Sonneteer/Myryad Z142 stepped up to the plate. So 7 on that list would be the Sonneteer Campion and 8 would be Victors old Redgum RGI60 with the Yammie at 9 or 10 ( I think, it's getting harder and harder to remember back that far).

As far as the warmth of the Brio R is concerned I would say the only amp I have heard that is as warm would be the Cambridge 840A. I guess my opinion of warm is different to yours Rantan, none of the other amps I've tried have even come close to the warmth level of those two.

Pre and/or Power Amps 4 Sale:

Exposure Classic pre/pwr    http://www.stereo.ne...mp/?hl=exposure

Perreaux SX60M  mono's     http://www.stereo.ne...60m-monoblocks/

Burson 160 Series pre/pwr  http://www.stereo.ne...s-prepwr-combo/


#206 rantan

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:19 PM

As far as the warmth of the Brio R is concerned I would say the only amp I have heard that is as warm would be the Cambridge 840A. I guess my opinion of warm is different to yours Rantan, none of the other amps I've tried have even come close to the warmth level of those two.


No problems at all mate.

It just shows that in this hobby there are no absolutes and nobody is wrong. :) The odd thing is that until the release of the Cambridge 851A, I would have described all Cambridge amplifiers as somewhat bright and lean sounding. However, this could prove to be a positive when introduced in some systems.

The new 851A is the best amplifier Cambridge has produced imo and sounds very nice indeed for under $2K. If you ever get a chance to hear one, I suggest you put it on your check out list.I think you will be impressed.

#207 twwen2

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:28 PM

The Brio-R definitely has a noticable warmth through the mids that smoothes over vocals. However, it also has a strong upper midrange (or lower highs?) which can cause it to sound "shouty" or "bright" at times. Can an amplifier be both "warm" and "bright" at the same time? It seems so.

Edited by twwen2, 23 November 2012 - 02:28 PM.

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#208 rantan

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:41 PM

I tend to agree with that assesment. The upper mids are definitely strident and the top end is brittle. What warmth there is, tends to be a slightly exaggerated mid/upper bass which gives a slight warmth, just like some of the classic UK made speakers. I would still call it as a neutral amp and I still rate it quite highly.

Edited by rantan, 23 November 2012 - 02:42 PM.


#209 twwen2

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:44 PM

I tend to agree with that assesment. The upper mids are definitely strident and the top end is brittle. What warmth there is, tends to be a slightly exaggerated mid/upper bass which gives a slight warmth, just like some of the classic UK made speakers. I would still call it as a neutral amp and I still rate it quite highly.


I'd actually say that the Brio-R's treble is relatively sweet. Strident maybe, but not nearly as dry as some other amps I've owned (Cambridge, Sonofa'GUM, MF A3CR).

There's no doubting it's a ripper amp for the price though. :thumb:

"Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not." - Nelson Pass

 

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#210 Cafad

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 05:17 PM

The new 851A is the best amplifier Cambridge has produced imo and sounds very nice indeed for under $2K. If you ever get a chance to hear one, I suggest you put it on your check out list.I think you will be impressed.


No worries, consider it added.

There's no doubting it's a ripper amp for the price though. :thumb:


Agreed! Value for money wise it is a great piece of gear, doubly so if you are after a phono stage (or so I am told!).

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