IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed

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Wichita

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IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« on: 4 Dec 2017, 11:06 am »
Hi everyone,

I am the happpy owner of an IDA-8 driving Focal aria 948 speakers, mostly out of a Squeezebox Touch . While I definitely enjoy IDA-8 tonal characteristics and versatility and I am impressed by its capacity to drive these large speakers with ease, there are some instances where I hear some congestion / lack of transparency, so I am looking for ways to improve resolution / details and get a little more authority, Ooomph and dynamics.

I feel the IDA-8 might be a tad underpowered to drive my speakers (large floorstanders, 90db sensibility so relatively easy to drive, but relatively power hungry in the LF band) and the IDA-16 at 3000$ is way over my budget so the options I am considering at the moment is keeping the IDA-8 as a DAC/preamp and adding either two STA-9 in mono or one ST-10.Do you guys think this might be a good move and which option would you recommend? I have seen many threads comparing DAC/ST 9 and 10 combos, but nothing on using IDA-8 + STA9 or ST-10  :scratch:.

I am listening to all types of music from classical to jazz and rock nothing but music. Bi amping is not an option, as the Aria do not offer two binding set. The listening room is a large, 600 sq feet room with a nice acoustic, so I need some amp power but not necessarily a lot more than what I have today. My gut feeling is that the ST-10 has a sound signature closer to what I like, but will IDA-8 + ST10 offer a real improvement on the IDA-8 by himself?

What say you, Audio Circle? Can you please give me any guidance?

mresseguie

Re: IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« Reply #1 on: 4 Dec 2017, 02:45 pm »
Wichita,

First point: The current price for the IDA-16 is $2000, isn't it? (I may be wrong.)

I've had an IDA-8 since they came out and an ST-10 since this time last year. I have not tried combining them. The ST-10 is a much better sounding amp than the IDA-8 IMHO. Regardless of which DAC/pre you use, you'll notice a large improvement in your music with the ST-10 - better clarity, cleaner and more powerful bass, cleaner highs.

I know there are others who own both, so stick around for more responses.

Best,

Michael

RafaPolit

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Re: IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« Reply #2 on: 4 Dec 2017, 04:56 pm »
Won't the 3x output from the IDA-8 (intended for sub-woofer) be an issue? Perhaps this may introduce unwanted noise?  Or will this just change the amplification level and nothing else?

Best regards,
Rafa.

in1unison

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Re: IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« Reply #3 on: 4 Dec 2017, 08:56 pm »
One can greatly improve coherence, transparency and dynamic of the sound by properly decoupling speakers from the floor, using apropriate isolators.
For example http://www.isoacoustics.com/products/gaia-series/

JackD

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Re: IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« Reply #4 on: 5 Dec 2017, 02:55 am »
I suggest you check out the HiFiShark website and look at the used Nuprime gear for sale.

https://www.hifishark.com/search?q=nuprime

Currently there is a DAC-9 for $500, an ST-10 for $1100 and an IDA-16 for $1499.  A combo of the first two or the last one is a better option than sticking a better amp on the end of the IDA-8.  I own the IDA-8, DAC-10 and ST-10. If you want to try the IDA-8 and ST-10 together just for a test go ahead but I think in the end you will be upgrading the preamp/dac section too to keep up.  Easiest one box solution would be the IDA-16 and a combo of the ST-10 with one of the DAC's (different flavors) next.

Wind Chaser

Re: IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« Reply #5 on: 5 Dec 2017, 04:13 am »
I spent about a month with the IDA-8, and it’s a terrific little unit, for the money you’d be hard pressed to do better; but the DAC-10 with a decent amp is on a whole different level.

I am the happpy owner of an IDA-8 driving Focal aria 948 speakers, mostly out of a Squeezebox Touch . While I definitely enjoy IDA-8 tonal characteristics and versatility and I am impressed by its capacity to drive these large speakers with ease, there are some instances where I hear some congestion / lack of transparency, so I am looking for ways to improve resolution / details and get a little more authority, Ooomph and dynamics.

Given your specific concerns, I’m not so sure the IDA-8 is the weak link in your system.

Quote
I feel the IDA-8 might be a tad under powered for my speakers .... I am considering ... keeping the IDA-8 as a DAC/preamp and adding either two STA-9 in mono or one ST-10.Do you guys think this might be a good move and which option would you recommend?

I can’t recommended either option.

Quote
....will IDA-8 + ST10 offer a real improvement on the IDA-8 by himself?

No, I don’t think so. I’m sure SQ wise the ST10 is a much better amp, but an additional 50 Watts more is neither here nor there. But again, I don’t think your amp is the weak link in your system.

kaka89

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  • Posts: 13
Re: IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« Reply #6 on: 5 Dec 2017, 02:42 pm »
Hi everyone,

I am the happpy owner of an IDA-8 driving Focal aria 948 speakers, mostly out of a Squeezebox Touch . While I definitely enjoy IDA-8 tonal characteristics and versatility and I am impressed by its capacity to drive these large speakers with ease, there are some instances where I hear some congestion / lack of transparency, so I am looking for ways to improve resolution / details and get a little more authority, Ooomph and dynamics.

I feel the IDA-8 might be a tad underpowered to drive my speakers (large floorstanders, 90db sensibility so relatively easy to drive, but relatively power hungry in the LF band) and the IDA-16 at 3000$ is way over my budget so the options I am considering at the moment is keeping the IDA-8 as a DAC/preamp and adding either two STA-9 in mono or one ST-10.Do you guys think this might be a good move and which option would you recommend? I have seen many threads comparing DAC/ST 9 and 10 combos, but nothing on using IDA-8 + STA9 or ST-10  :scratch:.

I am listening to all types of music from classical to jazz and rock nothing but music. Bi amping is not an option, as the Aria do not offer two binding set. The listening room is a large, 600 sq feet room with a nice acoustic, so I need some amp power but not necessarily a lot more than what I have today. My gut feeling is that the ST-10 has a sound signature closer to what I like, but will IDA-8 + ST10 offer a real improvement on the IDA-8 by himself?

What say you, Audio Circle? Can you please give me any guidance?

I am using DAC-9/STA-9 to power my Focal 926.

If you felt Focal 900 is lack of bass, I think it might be Focal 900's sound signature. Compare to other speakers I have tested (PMC Twenty5, KEF R), Focal 926 sound very smooth with very subtle bass.

I haven't heard 948 before, so I am not sure does the same apply to 948.

Also, although Focal doesn't allow bi-amp, you can still leverage STA-9/ST-10's mono mode, it will double the power.

kaka89

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 13
Re: IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« Reply #7 on: 5 Dec 2017, 02:48 pm »
Also, to verify the bottleneck, maybe you can try to bring the IDA-8 to some local store and test it with different speakers?

My impression KEF R and B&W 700 are in the same price range, and both have much outstanding bass output then Focal 900.

PS: I do low-level listening most of the time, so Focal 900's subtle bass fit me.

Wichita

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  • Posts: 3
Re: IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« Reply #8 on: 5 Dec 2017, 03:22 pm »
Thanks you all for the feedback,

I know part of what I am feeling is related to the amp part of the IDA, because I tried a NAD C388 at home and even though soundstage and tone color wasn't near what the IDA-8 offers, it had the dynamics and the punch I am after. The Focal Aria are very neutral, so I am not sure it is a matter of pairing, maybe the sheer size of them benefits from a bit more current when available.

I live in France, so the price of Nuprime gear is much higher than in the US, the best offer for used IDA-16 are around $ 2200, $ 2500 for a DAC10 / ST10 combo :cry:
I could go right away with DAC9 - ST9, but I am not convinced I would get much more than with the IDA-8. I suppose I could wait for a good opportunity to get a used IDA-16 or an DAC10 / ST10 combo later.

 I understand using IDA-8 as a preamp / DAC is not frequent, I still hope someone would have given it a try to know whether this is still an option.

zappan

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  • Posts: 4
Re: IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« Reply #9 on: 5 Dec 2017, 08:27 pm »
Consider adding a bass subsystem, I happily run Rel, it blends nicely and takes care of low frequencies.

If you choose to go with a power amp upgrade, aiming at higher current and power rating, IIRC, Jason announced that there will be ST-10 monoblocks available some time soon. Browse the forum for it.

rustydoglim

Re: IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« Reply #10 on: 6 Dec 2017, 04:37 pm »
ST-10M should be shipping within the next 5 weeks.

Wichita

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  • Posts: 3
Re: IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« Reply #11 on: 6 Dec 2017, 08:35 pm »
Hi Jason,
thanks a lot for the info. Will these be stereo amps bridgeable into mono a la ST9 or dedicated mono blocks ? I guess the pricing logic should be ST10 < 2 ST 10M ? And do you think it would make sense to use IDA-8 as a preamp - Dac and associate an ST10 or two ST10M to it as power amps, or would the SQ difference between DAC and amps components make such a system irrelevant?
Thanks again for the quality, user friendliness and price / performance ratio of your gear, I have been enjoying every minute of it.

rustydoglim

Re: IDA-8 evolution - guidance needed
« Reply #12 on: 7 Dec 2017, 05:56 am »
I am not sure of how the engineer create ST-10M, it is some sort of a bridge but done in a way to ensure that it sounded equal or better than ST-10 in every way. I will have to find out more later.
The IDA-8 preamp is not at the same level as ST-10 or ST-10M, so it will sound very good but can't bring out the best in ST-10.