bhobba

Arion RS 250W Amp

21 posts in this topic

Hi Guys

 

Recently got a new amp - a non monoblock version of the Arion RS-250:

http://www.arionaudio.com/RS_250.pdf

 

Because they are not monoblocks they are a bit cheaper at $2400.00.

 

OK - how do they sound compared to the NAKSA 100 I had in my system.

 

It was smoother with more detail - a more natural refined kind of sound.  The NAKSA is a very enjoyable musical amp you can listen to with a smile on your face for long periods of time.  The Arion is a smidgen less toe tapping and musical, but there is not a lot in it.  Both have excellent bass grip and easily fill my room with a volume above which I would not care to go.

 

One thing in it's favour is the Arion has a nearly 4V input sensitivity that is perfect for direct connecting to DAC's.  Already my Playback Design's DAC has taken a big lift because I can direct connect it and not hear a big hiss.  The NAKSA has about 1V sensitivity and direct connecting the PD used to produce quite a bit of background hiss that meant you really needed to use a pre which wasn't as transparent - to my ears anyway.

 

However its true metal will be tested when I get a chance to compare it against Hugh's new NAKSA which he thinks is a good step above the one I have.  So yes the Arion is better - but round 2 will be the the interesting one.  Is digital now really of age - we will find out.

 

Thanks

Bill 

Edited by bhobba

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One thing in it's favour is the Arion has a nearly 4V input sensitivity that is perfect for direct connecting to DAC's

I don't get that comments if we are talking about "regular" DACs which can only put out around 2V.

Sure if you have some DAC which can put out this much V, then great.... but this is not a typical setup.

Sorry, if I've missed something obvious.

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I don't get that comments if we are talking about "regular" DACs which can only put out around 2V.

Sure if you have some DAC which can put out this much V, then great.... but this is not a typical setup.

Sorry, if I've missed something obvious.

 

All DAC's produce a bit of hiss and noise.  If the amp is sensitive when you direct connect it, it will amplify that noise and you will hear it - of course depending on the amount it produces in the first place.  With the NAKSA - which is about 12db more sensitive than the Arion, from my listening position I could easily hear the hiss from my Playback Designs and it was less than optimum for direct connecting.  Through the Arion I have to put my ear close to the speaker to hear it.  I initially tried it direct but found with a pre reducing the noise it was better.  Other DAC's such as the PDX, NAD, or Chord sounded fine direct connected, but for some reason the PD produces a lot of noise - which is interesting since its SS and the PDX is valve yet it produces less noise - don't quite know why.  I had a chat to the designer of the PD on Audiogon and he confirmed he thought the PD was better with a pre so I have been using it that way.  But with this amp find it works really great direct connected.  

 

The other thing is its probably better to use the least amount of volume reduction at the software level as possible.  Steve Nugent has posted he can't detect it if its not more than 10db but over that can.  I personally cant but just in case like to keep it under 10db.  I find with the input sensitivity of the Arion its generally under 10db - with the NAKSA being 12db more sensitive it was often 20db or over.

 

Of course the downside is the max output I can get is about 80W - but I have found I can't get anywhere near that before its simply too loud.

 

Thanks

Bill

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So this is a 1 box 2 channel amp?

The specs for the mono state only 25db gain. This is at the lower end so you may be enjoying this built in attenuation?

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Hi Steve

 

Its not the monoblock version - its a one box stereo amp - but is exactly the same otherwise.

 

And that's exactly whats going on - low gain and low sensitivity is great for direct connecting to DAC's.

 

Thanks

Bill

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... or just not too many watts ;-)

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... or just not too many watts ;-)

Or not enough if, buts or maybes...Rob

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... or just not too many watts ;-)

 

It will do 250W - but my ears hurt even going up to 80W.

 

I am listening to some home theatre right now through the NAD at -4db and believe me its LOUD - I doubt anyone would want it louder.

 

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba

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I have been listening a bit more.  This thing is definitely revealing more detail than the NAKSA.  I also have to back away a little from there not being a lot in it as far as toe tappin musicality goes - the NAKSA is more musical simple as that.  The Arions as I have found can be slightly fatiguing to listen to for long periods - the NAKSA never is.

 

I still think its better - but a bit closer now.  Really want to see how it goes against Hugh's new amp.

 

Thanks

Bill

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The sheet of paper which was in the box of the S-250 I tested in January said it had 21dB gain, which is a bit less than the RS-250 monoblocks at 25dB. ISTR the S-250 having 4V sensitivity vs 3.5V for the RS-250, as would make sense.

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The Arions as I have found can be slightly fatiguing to listen to for long periods

how long?

Edited by Nada

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how long?

Until it burns in  :P 

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how long?

 

After about two hours listening to music I begin to notice it - slightly fatiguing.  Haven't noticed any issues listening to Home Theater which I listen for much longer stretches.

 

I think its just the extra detail it reveals is more demanding subconsciously in sorting it out, plus Hugh has voiced his amp to produce a slight amount of pleasing to the ear second harmonic distortion.  No doubt about it Hugh has one very musical amp - you don't really notice it until you put something in there that's a bit more analytical.  Not that I describe the Arion as analytical - its just the NAKSA is so musical.

 

Comparing these two fine amps is to some extent chalk and cheese and it really depends on what you are after.

 

Thanks

Bill

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fatiguing vs musical, sounds like a pretty clear winner to me

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fatiguing vs musical, sounds like a pretty clear winner to me

Not so quick whatmore we need accurate in the mix ;) 

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fatiguing vs musical, sounds like a pretty clear winner to me

 

It depends on what you are after.  Do you want to hear as much as possible and as accurately as possible or do you want to relax and listen for long periods.  I know some people when they heard the NAKSA say - that's wrong - instruments don't sound like that - they were sensitive to the small amount of second harmonic distortion it has.  Nothing clear cut as far as I can see.

 

Interestingly its distortion is below the level some like Sigfried Linkwitz claim all amps sound the same - yea right.

 

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba

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All I want to know is, has anything been murdered yet? :P

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All I want to know is, has anything been murdered yet? :P

 

Only with the Killer DAC fired up. Boom boom.

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Not so quick whatmore we need accurate in the mix ;)

 

You mean "without large dollops of H2" (that tube amps have), k12? ;)

 

 

Regards,

 

Andy

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 they were sensitive to the small amount of second harmonic distortion it has

 

What makes you say that was it?    On it's own, I cannot hear H2 up to much larger levels than present in amplifiers.

 

 

below the level some like Sigfried Linkwitz claim all amps sound the same - yea right

 

Of course he very very very carefully accounts for linear distortion in his tests.   Remember +/- 0.5dB is 25% distortion  (!!!!!)

 

 

You mean "without large dollops of H2" (that tube amps have)

 

(Disclaimer:   Not sure if serious)     Holy generalisations batman!     Some circuits are almost completely devoid of H2.

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You should send an email to the manufacturer of the RS250. Their spec sheet is erroneous.

I won't bore you with the math, but If that power rating is correct, then either the (input) sensitivity rating is a typo, or the (voltage) gain rating is a typo.

Regards.

Edited by tktran

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