Cafad

Integrated Amps: An Addicts Guide.

354 posts in this topic

OK, I've got my hands on the Plessis S1 and it is an excellent piece of kit! The short description of it would be it is a Myryad with twice the grunt, a longer description requires more typing.

I tried the Plessis S1 with the QED speaker cables first and it was great in the mids and bass but in the highs it was twangy and very metallic, even moreso than my memories of the Rotel so I was not very fussed on its performance. Yesterday my LBP (little blue penguin) speaker cables arrived so without really thinking about the amp in use I hooked them up and gave them a listen. The harsh, metallic highs disappeared and the bass smoothed out (even though it was already quite nice) and suddenly the Plessis was a definite top 5 candidate. It's 80W on tap gives it the rumble that the Myryad doesn't quite have but the Myryad beats the Plessis on the liquiditiy of the lower mids. I put the Myryad back on trial with the new speaker cables and it was not fazed at all, I could not spot any significant difference in the sonic signature of this amp, even though the Plessis changed greatly with a change in speaker cable.

The big negative of the Plessis is that it seems to have a noisy volume pot (a negative for me but hardly likely to be a problem with every S1 on the market), the buzzing noise is bloody annoying between songs. It increases with the volume control and is present on all 4 inputs (with only one hooked up), so I am thinking volume pot, or maybe power supply. I'll have to see about fixing that because the performance of this little amp is too good to write off due to an issue like this. An awesome little amp which should be on more peoples demo lists, just be sure to team it with nice thick copper speaker wire.

An interesting point to note is that the Plessis S1 also uses the Toshiba 1943 transistors, as used in the Myryad Z142, Consonance C1, Burson PI-160 and at least one other amp I can't remember the identity of. Two per channel just like the Myryad, Rubicon capacitors throughout, just like the Myryad (though the S1 uses Rubicon main caps while the Myryad uses Nichicon main caps, both are rated the same though). So I suppose some simularity in sound could be expected. I'm going to play with my new speaker cables for a few days and then I might put that Musical Fidelity 220 through its paces.

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Great write-up Cafad and thanks for detailed reviews of the integreated amps. Can't believe I missed this post for so long, but glad I found it. :)

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Glad you like it vinilink.

I think I'm going to have to pass on the Accuphase, a few bills have cropped up and I was tempted by a pair of Perreaux SM60 monoblocks (they are still solid state so I only strayed from the path a little, I haven't caved in completely) that I bought on the strength of the performance of the little Perreaux SX25i. I'll have to make do with what I have already for a few months while my wallet puts on some badly needed weight.

I have a Rega Brio R, MF 220A and a little old HK integrated already bought and paid for (and that Linx Nebula that I keep forgetting about), I hope that is enought to last me through this dark, lonely time.

Now I know how junkies feel! Does anyone know if there is an audio equivalent of methodone?

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I know how you feel Cafad, I have a similar addiction to standmount speakers. Over the last 8-10 months I have owned:

  • Usher S520
  • Wharfedale Diamond 9.1
  • Dynaudio Excite X12
  • Dynaudio DM 2/7
  • Monitor Audio Silver RX2
  • ProAc Studio 110
  • ATC SCM7
  • Rega RS1

Got some Dynaudio Focus 110's on the way, maybe some ATC SCM11's and possibly even the EB Accoustics EB1 if I can stretch to them as well... :lol:

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I know how you feel Cafad, I have a similar addiction to standmount speakers. Over the last 8-10 months I have owned:

  • Usher S520
  • Wharfedale Diamond 9.1
  • Dynaudio Excite X12
  • Dynaudio DM 2/7
  • Monitor Audio Silver RX2
  • ProAc Studio 110
  • ATC SCM7
  • Rega RS1

Got some Dynaudio Focus 110's on the way, maybe some ATC SCM11's and possibly even the EB Accoustics EB1 if I can stretch to them as well... :lol:

Mate, I think you should start another addicts review thread. I know I'd be keen to read about which pair does what better than the others.

Thanks RR, and don't worry, I'll keep the thread going it will just be forced to slow down for a while.

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Now I know how junkies feel! Does anyone know if there is an audio equivalent of methodone?

CDs, they contain the substance but just dont have the hit one gets from vinyl

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I know how you feel Cafad, I have a similar addiction to standmount speakers. Over the last 8-10 months I have owned:

  • Usher S520
  • Wharfedale Diamond 9.1
  • Dynaudio Excite X12
  • Dynaudio DM 2/7
  • Monitor Audio Silver RX2
  • ProAc Studio 110
  • ATC SCM7
  • Rega RS1

Got some Dynaudio Focus 110's on the way, maybe some ATC SCM11's and possibly even the EB Accoustics EB1 if I can stretch to them as well... :lol:

Please start a new thread and tell us what you think.

Sp good to hear opinions from forum members

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Glad you like it vinilink.

I think I'm going to have to pass on the Accuphase, a few bills have cropped up and I was tempted by a pair of Perreaux SM60 monoblocks (they are still solid state so I only strayed from the path a little, I haven't caved in completely) that I bought on the strength of the performance of the little Perreaux SX25i. I'll have to make do with what I have already for a few months while my wallet puts on some badly needed weight.

I have a Rega Brio R, MF 220A and a little old HK integrated already bought and paid for (and that Linx Nebula that I keep forgetting about), I hope that is enought to last me through this dark, lonely time.

Now I know how junkies feel! Does anyone know if there is an audio equivalent of methodone?

Waiting for the Rega review!

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Please start a new thread and tell us what you think.

Sp good to hear opinions from forum members

Allright, when I find the time I'll start a new thread with a write-up on each speaker, inlcuding pics. :thumb:

Edited by twwen2
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Great idea Twwen2 as I'm a bit of a speaker nut as well so keen to hear your opinions.

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Waiting for the Rega review!

I think a few people are. But I am afraid they will all have to wait at least a few more days as it has yet to arrive at my door. Once it does I'll put it through its paces pretty quick, since I also happen to be one of those people waiting.

Allright, when I find the time I'll start a new thread with a write-up on each speaker, inlcuding pics. :thumb:

Excellent!!!! SNA needs more reviews.

The more reviews we have access to the more informed us SNA'ers can be, the more informed we are the more dangerous we become so let's all help make SNA a more dangerous place to be. Metaphorically at least!

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The only issue with reviews is that they're very subjective. Especially as the other components in the system keep changing around the speakers. For example, I only heard my earlier speakers with the Brio-R and Rega DAC. It was only recently that I acquired an amp with a more substantial amount of power to properly drive some of the more innefficient speakers - I wonder for instance what the Usher S520's would have sounded like with 120W up their bum...

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The only issue with reviews is that they're very subjective. Especially as the other components in the system keep changing around the speakers. For example, I only heard my earlier speakers with the Brio-R and Rega DAC. It was only recently that I acquired an amp with a more substantial amount of power to properly drive some of the more innefficient speakers - I wonder for instance what the Usher S520's would have sounded like with 120W up their bum...

You have a good point there, but every review is going to be subjective and I would think that SNA forum members are more likely to try out gear with more appropriate auxilary equipment than the reviewers in HiFi magazines. Notice the professionals always compare the amp/player/speaker with another that is 2 to 4 times the price? And connect it up to gear of much higher quality than it is likely to ever be paired with in the real world. We can do a much more meaningful comparo with another piece of gear that is actually a viable alternative (ie: in the same price range) and that is what most of us are interested in, no one really expects a $1k amp/player/speaker to sound better than a $3k model. We can perform real comparos and because we are not being paid to do it we can write up our opinions in an honest fashion.

Edited by Cafad
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2 great threads, thanks guys and keep up the good work.

I wouldn't know which words to use to describe the sound I hear, you seem to me a great wordsmith Cafad.

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I'm not sure I'd go that far Batty, I'm an above-average wordsmith with a fair amount of spare time and very thick thesaurus. I also have occassional bouts of insomnia, so that helps quite a bit with the writing.

I'm working on the Brio R at the moment and I need both thesaurus and dictionary on this one (I save the insomnia for emergencies!).

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Looking forward to the Brio-R write up :).

Me too. It's my favorite amp and the one that I will not sell for many years to come. I just wish Rega would hurry up and release a "Mira-R" with a few more watts than the little Brio-R.

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I am afraid there will be a slight delay in the Brio R write up. I've spent about 8 hours or so this weekend listening and slowly developing an opinion of the Brio R and I just couldn't work out what was going on in the upper bass and lower mids, it just seemed to be varying a little and I couldn't get a grip on it.

So I fired off a PM to Stu and asked him how many hours were on it, he said 10 to 12, plus my 8 or so makes about 20. That would explain it, it is hard for me to figure out how it sounds when it is not yet sure itself, I've got it running in now so watch this space Wednesday/Thursday because it was sounding pretty damn good even between hours 10 and 20.

Cheers!

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Me too. It's my favorite amp and the one that I will not sell for many years to come. I just wish Rega would hurry up and release a "Mira-R" with a few more watts than the little Brio-R.

I am beginning to understand what you mean. This is one very special amp, most amps couldn't sound that smooth if they were triple polished and then dipped in teflon. And if the upper mids were any more fluid I would have to open the door and allow the room to drain after each song. Oh it's good, my word it's good.

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I'm going to start this review with a question, Has anyone out there ever heard an amp that sounds quite like the Brio R?

I have to say I have not, and I have been through a fair number in the last 18 months. This little amp sounds warm, firm, controlled, unrushed and most of all smooth, there isn't a sharp edge to be found anywhere in its presentation. And, while it sounds warm it feels even slightly warmer than it sounds, it seems to do this with the most amazing transient vibrations that lie on the edges and between sounds that allow different instruments to blend seemlessly together and all the while these transients are tickling the insides of your auditory cannal and increasing your anticipation of the sounds to follow.

The Brio R gives the most enticing portrayal of Norah Jones that I have ever heard, now I am not really a Norah fan, her music is nice but I am only really using her for her voice and her production values so when evaluating a new amp I tend to listen through the first 2, 3 or 4 songs on her Come Away With Me album. The Brio R sounded so entrancing that I had reached song 7 before I realized that I had got past song 4.

Vocals and single instruments are this amps true strengths, it does rock and multiple instruments very well but it really shines in the details of a slightly sparse musical score.

The highs are, in a word, beautiful. They are soft, sweet and airy and hang forever without being harsh in any way.

The mids are pushed a little forward in the soundstage I think, so that the vocals and most main instruments sound like they are literally in front of the backing instruments.

The bass is smooth, deepish and warm, it doesn't sound tight but does not feel loose in any way either. The upper and mid bass are so smooth, rich and creamy that I could swear that one of the designers was a prestige Belgian Chocolatier. And like good chocolate, the bass makes you want more, and so you listen longer. This is one piece of audio gear that can make entire nights just disappear in a blissful trance of ecstatic sonic presentation.

Now having said all that I have to go back to the first line, the Brio R does not really sound like any other amp and so, while it is mightily impressive, it is very hard to place in my preferences list. I am going to have to have a head to head between it and the Myryad but until that happens I'll give the Myryad the (temporary!) benefit of the doubt and slot the Brio R in at second place, just ahead of the Plessis S1.

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    • By Cafad
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      Highs:
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      7.5
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      7.5
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      Vocals: 
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      3D Soundstaging:
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      Overall Performance Integration:
      Loves its transients, puts out a very dynamic and solid performance that it is generally happy to let the bass take the lead in (at higher volumes anyway), the highs and mids can be surprisingly delicate and detailed at times but the amp does like to remind the listener that it really likes to emphasise its bass performance.  This is one of those amps that loves everything to change, while it doesn’t mind nice mellow flowing music it absolutely loves big dips and crashes.  In some ways it puts me in mind of a 20 year old with a new sports car, he’s always smiling but he’s smiling wider when he’s accelerating, braking or changing direction.
      7.0
       
      Ability to Emote:
      I’m going to split this in two here and award one score for the mids and highs and one for the bass.
      7.0 (mids and highs) a nice light allure that slowly and gently drags you in, that naturalness speaks to you but it does it a bit slowly since it takes a little time to work out exactly what it is you are hearing.
      8.5 (bass) Grabs you by the scruff of the neck, drags you to the end of the pier, wraps a chain around your left foot and then throws you (and the two bricks attached to the other end of the chain) off the end.  Even if you are not a fan of it, you are definitely going to react to that bass!
       
      Electric Guitar Test:
      7.5, very good but that natural mid range doesn’t quite let me hear the ‘feedback edge’ that I like.  Luckily this score increases to 8.0 if you crank the volume over 85db.
       
      80’s Rock Test:
      7.0  Perfectly adequate but just not outstanding.  I may try some other 80’s rock just to confirm.
       
       
      Comments:
      Another amp that is just that little bit different to most.  It’s been a long time between drinks in my chosen hobby lately but at least I can say that those drinks have been ‘strong and interesting’ ones.  Since REDGUM use a passive volume control I was expecting to hear some of that softening of the leading edge of notes that I heard with the ME240 (particularly when I ran it without a low impedance source) and/or the mellow liquid sound/effect of the Exposure 2010S2.  I could hear it (to a lesser extent) with the REDGUM RGM175 system I had previously too, so it was pretty surprising to discover that it just didn’t happen with the ‘35ENR.  Good stuff!
       
      In fact, there is very little about the sonic signature of this amp that reminds me about the RGM175 system that I had recently.  Admittedly it was 5 years old and this amp is about 5 minutes old so that may well explain it.  I will say that I like the ‘35ENR more than the RGM175 though, and I’m not sure that all of that difference can be said to be due to my ‘soft spot’ for integrated amps.  I’m thinking those three initials make quite a difference.
       
      Another thing I discovered was that the amp is sensitive enough to easily display the difference between 2 DACs, I had the REDGUM CD5ENR hooked up and was doing some swapping back and forth between it and my Consonance cd120 and found that the character of the amp changed significantly when I switched between the two, the bass increased by at least 10% with the CD5 ENR, and was pushed out by 2 or 3 feet which separated it (in the soundstage) from the top end and the mids which seemed to stay where they already were, in between the speakers.  Now I know the two players have quite different sounding character but it is rare to find an integrated amp that can display that change in character so vividly (if only they all did then there would be far fewer people walking around claiming that DACs don’t make a difference).  That is a definite feather in the little REDGUM’s cap.
       
      All of this is about in line with what I would expect to get in an integrated amp in the two to two-point-five thousand dollar range (I’m talking Aussie dollars here).  It certainly fits in with many other amps I’ve heard that sit in that price range.  But… it isn’t in that price range… is it?
       
      OK, so now that I’ve typed somewhere around 1700 words about the integrated amp in question, how about I try it out as a power amp?  If I wind the volume pots fully open then I can, and, to my way of thinking, if I can then I really should.   And quickly, before anyone asks for it back.
    • By Cafad
      Item:  One Onkyo 9070 Integrated Amp with only 300 hours on the clock.
      Location:  Bowen Nth Qld
      Price:  $950 including postage to the eastern states
      Item Condition:  As new with manual, remote and original packaging.
      Reason for selling:  Really didn't like the sound of this series of Onkyo amps, far too soft for my liking.
      Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD, Direct Deposit.
      Extra Info:  Originally bought to use as a bit of a round robin amp to send around so that people can get a comparative idea of how things sound I was hoping that the new Onkyo series could be used as a foundation reference point for my integrated amp comparisons but there is no point in using an amp that I don't like the sound of as a reference point (well, OK, maybe there is, but it wouldn't be much fun, so it's up for sale).  Would work brilliantly on bright or forward speakers since it is a very withdrawn and soft sounding amp.  It is sort of an anti-Rotel.
      Pictures:
       





    • By demoiree
      Item: Yamaha A-S 700 integrated amp
      Location:Melbourne Victoria
      Price: 600 Ono
      Item Condition: great condition with only superficial marks
      Reason for selling: upgrading
      Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD Only
      Extra Info: http://au.yamaha.com/en/products/audio-visual/hifi-components/amps/a-s700__l/?mode=model&transfer=pc&_ga=1.177908322.630512437.1396869875
      Pictures: 
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