Omega and first watt

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brj

Re: Omega and first watt
« Reply #40 on: 28 Nov 2016, 11:24 pm »
RDavidson, given that (almost) all of the FW amps are single ended, were you running the Pass amps that way as well, or via the balanced connections?  Running them balanced may very well reduce the noise to which you refer, depending on what elements in the rest of your system are fully differential, among other things.

(I'd love to try some of the FW amps, including the SIT amps and the new F7, but I've built my system to be fully differential from DAC to amp - including even my Pass XVR-1 crossover - so I'd likely be putting the SE amps at a disadvantage.)

RDavidson

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Re: Omega and first watt
« Reply #41 on: 29 Nov 2016, 05:00 am »
RDavidson, given that (almost) all of the FW amps are single ended, were you running the Pass amps that way as well, or via the balanced connections?  Running them balanced may very well reduce the noise to which you refer, depending on what elements in the rest of your system are fully differential, among other things.

(I'd love to try some of the FW amps, including the SIT amps and the new F7, but I've built my system to be fully differential from DAC to amp - including even my Pass XVR-1 crossover - so I'd likely be putting the SE amps at a disadvantage.)

The noise had nothing to do with the connection scheme AT ALL. Trust me. I tried fully differential balanced from source all the way to amp. At one time I also had a Bent AVC 1, which if I understand correctly, electrically isolates the amp and source ground from each other by nature of the autoformers. Trying different preamps and connections weren't attempts to get rid of noise. I was just trying different gear and having fun. Note, I also tested for noise by simply turning on my amps (with speakers hooked up) while leaving everything else off. I still got noise (mostly a light buzz / hum).

Keep in mind Pass amps have quite a bit of hardware (MASSIVE power supplies). This is especially true of the .8 series. I don't think it is a coincidence that the XA30.8 was probably the most noisy of all. With speakers with crossover networks and lower sensitivity (like KEF LS50's, which I also owned but not at the time I had the XA30.8 ) noise is less of an issue. Crossover components attenuate some noise and the drivers' themselves will also attenuate some.....which also means they're attenuating what could be important musical content. This brings up another point. Pass amps are direct coupled (ie no coupling caps in the signal path). Other manufacturers put caps in the output stage to attenuate noise and also offer DC protection. Pass doesn't do this, preferring to keep the signal path as clear as possible.

So...nothing is perfect and there are always tradeoffs (both technically and artistically). If you understand the tradeoffs, then they aren't necessarily "problems" as much as they are merely things for careful consideration when choosing your path to listening enjoyment.

Question : Why box yourself into only using fully balanced components? I used to think fully balanced was THE way to go, but later found that I could get as good, if not better sound by keeping things electrically simpler and going single ended. It certainly opened doors to trying some great gear, including more First Watt amps. Give it a try. You may surprise yourself....unless your system is setup in a recording studio or similar environment where EMI and RFI can be a real issue.

mrvco

Re: Omega and first watt
« Reply #42 on: 20 Mar 2017, 02:35 pm »
The J2 has easily been the best piece of audio gear that I've purchased since my Omegas.  I've been using a w4s mPre preamp so far, but I'm getting the itch for a different preamp.

I was planning on trying the new Schiit Freya so I could compare passive, ss and tube modes.  However, I'm now considering a used (albeit more expensive) Audio Research LS17 SE Preamp.  Does anyone here have experience matching an ARC pre with First Watt amps and/or Omega Speakers?  The other route I've been considering is a Tortuga LDR Pre for.the remote and a Decware ZSTAGE for the tube magic.

saygrr

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Re: Omega and first watt
« Reply #43 on: 20 Mar 2017, 04:13 pm »
I once owned the LS-12 and LS-25. I was content for a year or so but the hardness in the macro dynamics was getting to me. Surprisingly it was in the midrange on both units. I have McCormack amps revised by SMC. Had a long discussion with Steve McCormack about my struggles with pre amp/line stages. So I bought an MLD ( McCormack line drive ) SMC revised it to the Platinum + level. The unit is not much to look at but man can it sing. Since then I bought a McCormack TLC  ( Transparent line controller ). This unit is not only nice looking but sings even better than the MLD. Highly recommend you check there web sight and give SMC a call.

If you prefer to have tubes check out K@K Audio. Kevin is coming out with a new line stage.

I bought the K@K Maxxed Out phono stage. It was no contest. Beat my ARC PH3-SE in every way.   

mrvco

Re: Omega and first watt
« Reply #44 on: 20 Mar 2017, 06:00 pm »
Thanks, that's very helpful... ARC seems to have a "House Sound" attributed to their gear.  There is an ARC dealer about an hour from here, but I don't remember them actually stocking their gear.  I'd definitely want to demo an ARC pre before paying up for one.  I'll keep an eye open for McCormack preamps.

The Pass Labs X-1 preamp got my attention this morning, so there is no shortage of possibilities to research :)

saygrr

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Re: Omega and first watt
« Reply #45 on: 20 Mar 2017, 10:37 pm »
Just to be clear McCormack gear is good value, that can be turned into exceptional gear when revised by SMC. SMC is very serious with their circuits and parts selection. The same is true with K@K Audio . The money goes into the electronics not eye candy hardware unless the customer wants it.
 

doggie

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Re: Omega and first watt
« Reply #46 on: 23 Mar 2017, 12:46 pm »
Thanks, that's very helpful... ARC seems to have a "House Sound" attributed to their gear.  There is an ARC dealer about an hour from here, but I don't remember them actually stocking their gear.  I'd definitely want to demo an ARC pre before paying up for one.  I'll keep an eye open for McCormack preamps.

The Pass Labs X-1 preamp got my attention this morning, so there is no shortage of possibilities to research :)

I will add another one to your list. Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2. Sounded wonderful with my SIT2 and my Omegas...and even better now with my LTA-10 EL84 based amp.