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Cafad

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  1. It uses 8 pairs of Sanken 2SA1295/2SC3264, which are Epitaxial Planar Transistors. 3 amps, no Mosfets to be found.
  2. I got into a little impromptu tomfoolery today. Actually it started last night. I decided to move my S2R speakers out of rotation for a while and cycle the ML2 Ltds in. While the stands were unoccupied I applied the racing stripes I've been meaning to get to for a while now. They're low key but I like 'em. Once the ML2s were back in action, with newly cleaned connectors (via a liberal application of deoxit gold and a not quite so liberal application of elbow grease) I put on some music for a bit, watched a little TV and went to bed. This morning I watched more TV but eventually I reached my fill and had the urge to do something else. So I decided to do some amp comparing. I have on hand in the lounge the Xindak A600E, Simons Zeus Integrated and one Technical Brain TB-ZERO/int. The amp in the system at the time of speaker changeover was the Zeus so it went first. Also the cd in the YBA at the time of speaker changeover was one of the many versions available of Guns and Roses Greatest Hits, so it stayed in use throughout the day. So while it is far from a definitive test of each amps abilities it was quite a fun test of them. Like I said, understated racing stripes. Also overstated fingerprint smudges, I'll deal with those later. I'll start with the strengths of each amp, the Zeus has electric guitars that make my heart sing and my spine tingle. They have both zing and bite in equal measure. It has enough grunt to give excellent bass and enough refinement to render piano and cymbal taps both clean and clear. The Xindak has drums that are so damn fast and full of impact they put me in mind of a string of grenades going off, the drum intro to You Could Be Mine just blew me away. Pretty much everyone should have an idea by now that ML2s sound generally good most of the time but to really get them to wake up you really need some extra watts. Well the Xindak had the ML2s by the short and curlies even down at 8 o'clock on the dial. It has so much noticeable power on tap it really does put me in mind of theoretical phrases like "Irresistible Force" and since the ML2s are only really a "Difficult to Move Object" sonically, they are no match for it. The Xindak gives good bass, and those amazingly awesome drums, even at very soft volume levels. The Technical brain has detail and delicacy which don't quite cut it in this particular comparison I'm afraid. I'm sure I'll have more to say on this at a later date but for now I'll just leave it at that. It just doesn't excite as well as the other two amps do with this particular material, It can certainly play in the same league as the other two but since it has less gain the volume dial has to be twisted around to about 2am to match the Xindak on 9pm. The TB is suffering from mis-matched bal to unbal connectors at the moment but I have taken steps to remedy that, more tests like this one will follow once things on order have arrived. Weaknesses. The only thing that belongs in here is the matter of the Xindak's mid range. I swear it is not as clear as it should be. I can hear something rough-ish in the background and that is clouding out the secondary instruments. I sought to find out if this was due to the preamp stage by trialing the Xindak with my Burson Conductor, and then with a Schiit SYS but it was still there. After opening the amp up and shining a torch over it I came to the conclusion that the wires from the preamp stage run too close (as in just a few mm away) to the right hand speaker connections on the back of the amp. I tried to move them but they have very little slack so I'm going to pick up a short length of conduit from work and use it as a spacer/shield to see if that makes a difference. After the amazing drums finding any sonic fault with the Xindak was a real downer, let me tell you. If I wanted to get really picky I could say that I am a bit disappointed that the TB doesn't sound as good at low volume as the other two do, but yeah, that's really picky. It is probably also due to the TB expecting the added db of a balanced signal and not getting it so it might not be a valid complaint anyway. I'll definitely do this again soon, with a different choice of music.
  3. I'm sure all the individual frequencies and how they interact can be measured. Writing a comprehensible report from those measurements though, that would be difficult.
  4. It is something of a continual source of amazement for me too Rob. It does make sense though, I mean change the source and you change both transport and DAC (in this case). I suspect my YBA had much better than usual synergy with the Luxman L507u too, for whatever reason. The worst thing about it is that it is so damn hard to predict ahead of time what source will work best with which amp, even if you are familiar with the rest of the system. Still, if it was easy it wouldn't be so much fun.
  5. Finally got around to doing all the typing. Rega Elex-R As an addition to my comments in the post above I did notice that the Elex-R sounded significantly different, in both brightness and musicality, via different cd players. I tried my Halcro with it and it wasn’t a great listen, the Sansui 917xr was more listenable but still a bit on the brightish side, my consonance cd120 was better than both the Halcro and the Sansui but it still wasn’t anything special as such. However the YBA and the Rega work together very well and since the YBA is my standard testing cd spinner then the Rega review will benefit from that. Just keep in mind that if you try an Elex-R and find it too bright for you then swapping out your source may well change things significantly. As is usual I was performing all my listening with my YBA Heritage cd spinner, connected to the Rega via Aurealis R1 ICs. Power was supplied via Redgums Audio Pipeline speaker cables to my trusty Lenehan/ETI S2R stand mounts. Highs: Subtle, delicate, intricate, layered, luscious, eerie, lots of poise, lightly nuanced. It has almost as much PRAT present in the top end as some amps do in the mid range. Trumpets are sweet (not something you can often say about an amp), triangles sound a little smaller than usual but they are very easy on the ears. I’m not certain how accurate the sound up here is but I can say that it is very enjoyable to listen to, piano is probably more sweet than accurate but really, what is wrong with that? 8.25 Mids: woodwind resonance is first rate, nice poise and weight on every stringed instrument I can think of, much of the mid range really feels to be mixed in with the top end so many of the comments made above also apply here just slightly less so. 8.00 Bass: Yes it’s here but it isn’t the focus of the Elex-R. The upper and mid bass is rather good but the lower is more threatened than it is delivered. If you are after a Home Theatre level of bass then you will need to look elsewhere. Small drums sound fine, bigger drums sound not-quite-so-big, acoustic bass (cello, double bass) is very nice but not quite as “bassy” as I am used to. The bass is delivered with a soft and wide feel to it, it is present but it is actively trying to stay out of the way of the mid-range and the top end. 7.75 for the upper and mid bass due to the fact that the quality of the bass is excellent, 6.5 for the lower. Vocals: Female: Very nice but they feel like they are a bit limited somehow, as if the amp is doing its best but it isn’t quite as good as it could be. I can’t shake the feeling that this is an area where the Elicit will greatly improve upon the Elex. They are nice to listen to, don’t get me wrong but they only seem to resonate up to a point and I really feel they should be able to go just that bit further. 8.0 Male: 7.8. Certainly good but not really outstanding. They come across with a little more nuance to them than I am used to so I can respect the Elex for that but having said that the extra nuance doesn’t really enhance the listening experience as much as I feel it should. Again I suspect the Elicit will do better here. Soundstaging: Wide but soft and relaxed, it really doesn’t draw attention to itself very much as it seems to prefer to sound musical rather than 3 dimensional and that is fair enough. It doesn’t really lack a 3D soundstage but in order to hear it you really have to be listening for it. I’m not going to rate this as it doesn’t really add or subtract from the listening experience it just seems to be a result of the decision to focus on musicality rather than accuracy. Overall performance Integration. Light on its feet with a pleasantly, lightly addictive, rhythmic draw factor. On lighter music (pretty much anything softer than hard rock) it can certainly get the toes tapping. Ability to Emote: On slow music, 8.75. On dark or eerie music (especially involving woodwind instruments) it is excellent at portraying a deep, dark presence (English moors at midnight kind of eerie/spooky). It certainly knows how to spell atmosphere. Less so on faster paced music with powered instruments but that is to be expected. Electric Guitar Test: 8.0 Better than expected. It doesn’t have the wild energy or raw feel but it does convey a nice bite along with the string decay. 80’s Rock Test: 7.75 Electric guitar is actually a strong point here, all those little imperfections in 70s and 80s rock that really make the music for those of us who lived through the decades in question are very well conveyed, if it could find its wild side it would do better but then it wouldn’t have that sweet top end. And that is the Rega Elex-R write up. I quite enjoyed my time with the Elex-R but I will admit to being a bit hesitant at the start since my YBA was off visiting a tech for the first few weeks. This was when I was trying all those other cd spinners and finding that bright-ish Rega sound. Luckily for me (and for the Elex-R I suppose) the YBA pairs with it so well you would swear that they were made for each other.
  6. I'm afraid not, between borrowing a Leema Pulse 3 and a Rega Elex-R and having a rather ruthless seller drop off a very expensive amp at my place in an effort to make me buy it I have been a bit on the busy side. I'll get there, but it isn't likely to be as soon as I would like.
  7. ML5

    Whereas the sound of those ML2LE's is exactly the sound that I love. Kitchen sink-less though they may be they were exactly what I was looking for. I always thought I'd like the ML3s over the ML2s but it turned out not to be the case. I know they would have benefited from a larger room but I always found those ML3 Refs of mine to sound a bit too slow and mellow for my taste. Having worked all that out about what sound I was chasing I'm thinking I'll be sticking with the ML2LE's.
  8. You'll have to talk to Burson about that @warweary, none of us here in this thread are responsible for organizing the tour. This is more an appreciation thread than anything else.
  9. Next up a Rega Elex-R on loan. Preliminary listening tells me that, while the Elex-R is on the brighter side of neutral (as has been mentioned a few times on the forums) it is much more than just a "brightish" amp. For a start it isn't really that bright, in metaphorical terms it isn't an LED level of bright, certainly not a maglight level of brightness either, more on a par with one of the older dolphin torches that give you a fairly bright light but it isn't really blinding as it is equal parts yellow and white light. And it uses this brightness to, again with the metaphor, shine a light on the area around the upper mids. It isn't really that bright as such, the Moon I1, Dussun V6 and NAD 390DD could certainly be called just as bright or brighter (and the Moon and Dussun are more forward too) so let's not go ruling the Elex out as a bright amp without being certain that we have the level of said brightness fully understood. OK, not sure if the copy and paste from excel worked as well as I wanted it to, you may have to click on the little pic above to be able to see it but that is where the Rega Elex-R focuses it's not-so-brightness. This is obviously the region where female vocals and many stringed instruments reside because this level of brightness focus really brings out the sonic flavour in this area. One thing I will certainly say straight up is that the Elex-R does not sound very much like the Brio-R at all, the Brio is warm and cuddly and has a fairly strong bass performance while the Elex is not. The Elex is clean and resonant mid range with a softer flavour to the bass and the only warmth on display is the way it makes you feel. The Elex-R has a really nice rhythm to it too, makes me think of a slightly slower, slightly smoother NAKSA-80, it's very musical. OK, enough of the prelim stuff, time to get to work.
  10. Classé to shut down?

    The placement of blame may depend on how you word the question.
  11. Classé to shut down?

    Noooooooooooooooo! I was really looking forward to hearing future iterations of their Sigma series integrateds.
  12. I’m going to cheat a little on the review of the Leema Pulse 3 and compare it directly to the review I wrote on the original Leema Pulse. It isn’t really fair since the 3 has a built in DAC but I’ll try to cover the differences I feel are present due to both the different DAC and slightly different amp. I have come to the conclusion that the 3 is a very similar amp to the original but it doesn’t have quite the same sense of scale as the original, it also sounds a little thinner, or less full I should say as the original Pulse sounded big and full and was a lot of fun because of it. The built in DAC is quite good but it has been voiced to give a bit more in the area of detail and so, in my opinion at least, it loses some of the originals excellent performance in the mid range. I would probably expect the 3 (via the in built DAC) to match or beat the original with slower music, girl with guitar type stuff because it would have more nuance in the top end but with mid to hard rock the original would win the battle. My original Pulse review is written in black, with additional comments, comparisons and details on the performance of the 3 in the less often used blue, just for the heck of it. Highs: Really nice Xylophone, there is a sort of 'fluid poise' to the sound that is mesmerizing as if you are listening to sweet ripples on a pond it manages to be just a little bit more than your average sensory experience, piano is almost as good as the xylophone but not quite. Trumpets are nice and raspy but not as hard as they really should be, this means they don't sound quite right but they do sound easier on the ears, sort of a plus and a minus. Triangle is all sparkle and no twinkle, but not hard sparkle. 8.25 More detail on display via the inbuilt DAC, can come across a little harder than I remember the original being but I get the feeling it will carry more nuance in the top end than the original too. Triangles sound like ringing a long string of little silver bells which I like very much, swap over to the YBA cd player and things get a bit softer, easier on the ears long term but not quite as special. Unfortunately there is a little less of the “fluid poise” of the original on display so the 8.25 rating stays. Mids: Love those woodwinds, they carry something extra with that eerie resonant sound of theirs, the sort of sound you would accept without question that thousands of rats would indeed follow it to their deaths. The acoustic guitar just hangs in the air in a magical fashion, in fact almost all strings are just deliciously addictive, I could listen to these mids all day. They do loose a little of the magic if you take the volume too far up however, of course that can be easily fixed. 8.75 Still nice, no doubt about it, but the focus of the performance has shifted up the frequency range a little closer to the treble. Without the DAC I’ll give it an 8.5. Via the internal DAC, some of the magic of the original is lost I’m afraid, it drops to an 8.25. Bass: Solid and expansive and full without being in your face, plays very well with the mids and highs, has a very light level of leading edge, it concentrates more on the middle and end of each note to give it that full mid section and fluid fade. 8.25 Now, the “bass light” effect. The amp dials down the bass a bit in order to focus on the top end, it isn’t always obvious unless you dial up a seriously bass heavy track. It also means that the 3 sometimes sounds more like a 60wpc amp while the original often sounded more like a 100wpc amp. The bass that is present is very well behaved, polite even, but I will say that it does disappoint some when watching TV shows. Vocals: F: 8.0 Very good, nice and expressive but just not in the same league as the instrumentals. M: 7.5 Good, certainly good enough but not up there with the instrumental quality. Male vocals are still fine, unchanged at 7.5 but I just don’t feel that the girls are portrayed as well as they were on the original, it could drop as low as a 7.75 on occasion via the built in DAC. Still an 8.0 via the YBA. Soundstaging: This is a bit curious as the soundstage is very relaxed and stereo effects are as well, they don't sound distinct and there is no way anyone would use words such as "razor sharp separation". Words that would apply would be relaxed, fluid, slightly recessed and ghostly. This is a very easy sound stage to listen to, but a very difficult one to describe. I'm giving it an 8.0 because it works really well despite being so damn difficult to explain. Little more polite, little less distinct, still very good but it feels less individual. I won’t drop the 8.0 because it is still very good but I will say that it feels less special than the original. Overall Performance Integration: Nice and fast but not machine gun fast, more fast and rhythmic, has a happy feel to it, great instrumentals with a big sense of scale and good vocals too, but mostly great instrumentals! Less sense of scale present, feels like a smaller amp than the original. Still nicely rhythmic but in a lighter way. Ability to Emote: Can get quite trancy with pop songs, it takes that glare effect that a lot of pop songs have and uses it to enhance the atmospheric effect of the music, works well on pop and rock. Also great with woodwinds and anything "eerie" 8.0. The trancy effect is still there but it comes across in a slightly harder fashion. Electric Guitar Test: 8.0, not really edgy or raw (which is what I am usually looking for here), I suspect it is too well composed for that, but it does have this energetic vibration that it uses to good effect. Not quite as impact-ful on the showy lead guitar (again, which is what I am usually looking for here) but so damn awesome on the "wandering electric guitar" that it just feels decadent. Again it's difficult to explain, have a listen to Joe Satriani's Oriental Melody three or four times and I think you'll start to get what I am trying to say. The smaller sense of scale doesn’t affect Guitar but it does limit the impact of drums, I’m going to drop this to a 7.9, it isn’t far behind the original but I liked the original better. 80's Rock Test: This was completely unexpected, that energy mentioned above in the Electric Guitar section pushes its rendition of 80's rock up into the stratosphere. Hell Yeah! I'm following this write up with a few greatest hits albums, Poison, Motley Crue, some 80's Alice Cooper and Kiss, anything even vaguely 80's-ish. 8.75 Again, slightly smaller scale performance on display, can generally be compensated for by increasing the volume but it isn’t quite the same, 8.5. The Leema Pulse 3 is a very good amp and the built in DAC offers a very convenient increase in connectivity but IMO it isn’t quite as good as the original. If you use an external DAC/source it will come close to the performance of the original but it won’t quite get there. Since the original was a truly excellent amp that isn’t as much of an issue as it could be, but it is worthy of mention none the less. And once again I find myself wondering just how good a Tucana must sound. Leema make some nice gear.
  13. Stupid, stupid, stupid, posting in an old thread. Check out the "Third" thread for what I just mistakenly posted here and then deleted so that I could type this in order to ever so slightly de-confuse the fact that I just made a boo-boo. So, nothing to see here, review in other thread, bye now.
  14. Worry not, it sounds just as superb as I expected it to. Maybe even better (it is a black Sansui after all). No more Alphas to visit now, I think I've got hold of all the Alphas I need. All the Alpha series 607 models were available in black, but not all of the 707s and none of the 907s after the DR, so black Sansuis were always there but only in 607 form. If you are chasing one though it can take some effort to find one, they don't seem to be that common. Yep, the idea of getting a 607 was to do a direct comparison with the 907. All part of the longer term plan.
  15. My last Sansui has arrived this afternoon, an Alpha 607MR. I picked it up while low on glucose and caffeine and on night shift but no regrets, we can't go having regrets about these things that just happen by themselves. Acceptance is key to satisfaction with this hobby of ours. Not quite as clean an example of the brand as most of my 907s but it does have its charm. It arrived as dusty as all get out so I took the top off and got out my can of compressed air. And when I look inside I see. It was slightly dustier when I first saw it, but even then it brought a smile to my face. Note the plastic, anti-vibration treatment along the tops of the front and back and the use of copper plated screws on the inner chassis, I thought that only the 907s got this extra treatment but it seems I was wrong. Even the little 607s get a decent dose of noise deadening. See the plastic strips that run across each of the heat sinks? Still there after 20 years! And look, a strip of plastic across the underside of the case too. I think I'm going to have to plug it in now, because if I don't I just won't be able to sleep tonight.
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