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Cafad

Integrated Amps: An Addicts Guide Part, The Third.

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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.

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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.

Edited by Cafad
typo

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It uses 8 pairs of Sanken 2SA1295/2SC3264, which are Epitaxial Planar Transistors. 

 

3 amps, no Mosfets to be found.

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