TBI Millenia MG3 Class BD Integrated Audio Amplifier..A Modern Day Giant Killer!

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munosmario

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I am all ears Nario. What power regenerator unit are you using? I have tried many power conditioners in the past and they all constricted the tansparency, soundstage and dynamics here at my place.

Get your amp modded, you will be amazed.

Tom, this is what I said in Reply#96:


Quote from: OzarkTom on  7 Aug 2012, 12:03 pm

Here is a good source on power supplies. Jan at TBI says that this is the place they use.
http://www.batteryspace.com/

The only problem with using an AC power supply with this amp, it is so revealing that battery will probably win out every time.

Unquote

You are absolutely right OT. That is always the case with extremely revealing components (as I learned from my long experience in the search of the best phono stage), unless one goes the power regeneration route which is what I eventually did (I own three quality units from reputable manufacturers serving my three systems: 1 from PS Audio and 2 from Pure Power). Although seemingly expensive, as one continuously improve all components in one's system(s), constantly adding ever more revealing pieces, the need/desire/quest for the best battery power supply possible--for each one of those revealing components—at the end, implies an even more expensive proposition (not to mention the cost/chore of replacing and disposing all those batteries). Of course, quality AC power supplies in the components are a must to begin with so that the regenerated power can fully show its virtues.

Mario


The PS Audio is a P5 Power Plant and the PurePower ones are APS PurePower models 2000 &1050.  These are AC regenerators, not just power conditioners. They basically reconstruct the AC to a noisless, perfect sine wave (for a detailed explanation, look up web pages for PS Audio Power Plants and/or APS PurePower). My problem was not so much line noise but a clipped AC sine wave due to a faulty street transformer (I had the power quality analysed by the utility but they refused to change the transformer...a bit costly and because the utility's service contract does not guarantee perfect sine wave, plus I happened to be the only one with a problem). The clipped sine wave was causing mechanical vibration in all the many large transformers in my two main sytems (six SET mono blocks, to start with, 4 in a bi-amped system and two in a single amp sytem). I thought it was DC in the AC line but that was not the case. The power regeneration units cleaned up completely the problem with no side effects that I have been able to detect. No need to elaborate on actual/subective sonic benefit, suffice it to say that units perform as claimed. The Millenia is connected to the PurePower 1050 which serves my desktop computer installation. The Millenia is woderfully powering a pair of PSB Imagine Minis (used with a REL T 5 sub). Look forward to get it upgraded...in fact, although it does not appear to be necessary in a near field situation, I am considering implementing Freo-1's two amp approach (I gather, based on more watts per channel when only one channel is being used, thus, increasing head room and sound quality during heavy musical passages).   

All the best,

Mario
« Last Edit: 23 Oct 2012, 07:58 pm by munosmario »

Mister Pig

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I have spent several hours listening to the MG3 with the updated power supply, and made comparisons to the previous version, and my SET amplifier. What I found is that this revision for the AC power side is a significant improvement over the earlier amplifier. On the positive side, I find that there is improved harmonic texture,music flows better, and has a nice tonal balance. There is a significant improvement in front to back depth compared to the first generation amplifier. Compared to my Electra Print amplifier, it still has a degree of foreshortening to the sound stage, but it is pretty minimal. In many respects the amplifiers are more similar than different. Given the significant price differences, I would be hard pressed to spend the money on the tube amp, for they are so close.

Now the thing to remember is that my speakers are selected for low power tube amps, less than 13 wpc. If my system were to be built around the Millenia, I would choose a different speaker. I think a good two way speaker with medium efficiency and benign crossover would be ideal for this amp. Perhaps a pair of Eminent Technology LFT16, a pair of VMPS 626JR, or GR Research Neo 2X. Perhaps a good floorstander from PSB, KEF, Spendor, or ProAc would also be candidates.

This point is kind of important. In my system i got the best sound quality with my Sachiko Double Horn speakers by running the amp straight to the wall. This arrangement came close to my SET, and worked the best. When running the amp off my Audio Magic Mini Reference power conditioner the presentation became rich and lush, with an overall darkening of the tonal balance. Now if I had a multi driver speaker system this presentation could be ideal, as the amplifier would appreciate a speaker with a bit more top end than the Fostex 208 Sigma driver can provide. So what it really comes down to is system optimisation, and what speaker mates well with this amp. I do know that it is good enough to deserve a quality speaker system that costs a lot more than the MG3. I also discovered that using a ZU Audio Mission power cable did not make significant improvements to the sound, but there was an incremental increase in sound quality. Probably not worth the cash outlay for an expensive power cord, but might benefit from a modest one.

When comparing the new amp hooked to the wall to battery power, I ended up liking the AC arrangement just a touch better. The overall tonal balance was very close, with the battery arrangement being just a touch lighter and more delicate. However I found that the AC set up had better harmonic texture, easier to hear micro dynamic contrasts, and the music just sounded slightly more cohesive. Both presentations were very close, and I could see a person preferring AC in one system set up, and another preferring battery in another set up. But the amp does sound different, and its overall sound can be manipulated if that is what is required. Either way, the amp lacks any significant degree of grain or harshness, and this is remarkable for what it sells for.

What I can say is this Millenia is an outstanding product, and worth every dollar it sells for. I have no doubt that a satisfying audio system can be built around this amp, and for a very affordable price. I do plan on hooking up a few set of monitor/bookshelf speakers and see what comes about. I would say buy one, its hard to go wrong. Just be sure to give it good quality associated equipment, for it deserves it...and will reward you with excellent music reproduction.

Regards
Mister Pig

Freo-1

Thank you for an informed and detailed update, Mister Pig.  Very well stated.

This upgrade surely improves the amp's overall performance, as Mr. Plummer intended.  This really preforms at a much higher level than it's price point would suggest.

My one caveat is:  If your system tends to be a bit on the bright side, then this may make your system TOO bright.  Careful attention must be paid to overall matching with this amp.  With the right source and speakers, real magic will be in your listening space.  The amp is VERY revealing of the overall system's playback capabilities.

OzarkTom

Well written review Mr. Pig, and I agree 100%.

The speakers I would love to hear this amp on is the Quad 57's or 63's. Anyone out there that owns either want to be on the tour?


Freo-1

Well written review Mr. Pig, and I agree 100%.

The speakers I would love to hear this amp on is the Quad 57's or 63's. Anyone out there that owns either want to be on the tour?

That would be excellent to pair the TBI up with Quad 57/63.  My instincts tell me that this would be a near perfect match.

wisnon

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That would be excellent to pair the TBI up with Quad 57/63.  My instincts tell me that this would be a near perfect match.
Hmmmm,
Pity I am not in the US! This seems like a great amp to try out.
One review of my speaker likens it to the Quad 63 in the High Freq. See except below:

Ivor Humphreys Hi-FiNews JANUARY 2005

.............'Polite' is a word that too easily damns with faint praise, and in the first few moments of listening to these speakers I did wonder if it was appropriate in just that way. This is a sound not unlike that of the Quad ESL-63 - so clean and seamless in the HF as to seem almost subdued, until you realise that what is missing is the artificial edge imparted by so many conventional tweeters, even today.
..........This aria for soprano, flute, lute, continuo and strings has all that is required to worry a mid/HF driver but the AMT conveyed it with a seamless grace, separating the bow on string noise from the notes themselves, responding to the 'chuff' start of each note on the baroque flute, the finger-work on the lute and to the fine, sibilant detail in the voice. There was nothing in this presentation for the ear to query. It was convincing in every regard.

......Here the Syrinx was conspicuously successful in its essentially 'tuneful' low frequencies, Beethoven's crucial double-bass lines appropriately purposeful and natural sounding at any pitch, and remarkably free of resonant boost.
.......Again the Syrinx gave an excellent account of itself, realising the full compass and weight of the instrument, detailing Debussy's subtle tonal inflections exquisitely, maintaining the delicate harmonic structure of sustained chords as they fade towards silence, true to the bright top end of the Steinway and entirely equal to the dynamic requirements and percussive nature of the louder passagework. Few speakers, certainly of this modest size, do all this quite so convincingly.
Rock and pop retains its propulsive attack, the sound being crisp and responsive. The plethora of busy, studio-contrived positional detail with which so many of the familiar hi-fi show demo favourites claim our attention, was always stable and true.
The Syrinx is an extremely rewarding, essentially musical speaker......... Ivor Humphreys Hi-FiNews JANUARY 2005

HI-FiNews verdict:
A loudspeaker with a capable, well-defined and exceptionally refined sound. What's more, it's well made nicely presented and has a modestly-sized cabinet.

Rclark

Looks like I get to play with this on Monday. Should get my Ncores then too.

OzarkTom

Back in the mid 80's, the killer combo was the Musical Fidelity A1 and Quad 57's. I floored many audiophiles when I let them hear that combo in my audio shop back then.  These amps sold for $375 back then, they still sell for about that nuch on Ebay or even more like this one.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Musical-Fidelity-A1-integrated-amplifier-/110960608077?pt=UK_AudioTVElectronics_HomeAudioHiFi_Amplifiers&hash=item19d5c4834d&nma=true&si=WSyHkbQmpp4wdaBRga5Su9AlEbg%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

But the TBI is  much more open and holographic sounding than the A1. It would be cool to show up in one of these audio shows using the Quads and this TBI amp as a reference system.

OzarkTom

My curiosity got the best of me early in the week. I decided to write the company on how on earth did they get the AC sound better than the battery. I always found the battery to be better. This is what Jan Plummer wrote me.

"This is a better quality swiching supply than most so I was able to flatten the ESR with those film caps over the full audio range. I went through quite an array of potential types of bypass caps that would work in conjunction with the stable low frequency regulation of the wall wart. The amp now has electrolytic, ceramic and film bypass caps. The AC supply is extremely well regulated for low frequency response. The voltage does not change however it loses its integrity above 100 Hz. Capacitors have a sound as batteries and these films are the most neutral I have found and the only ones of proper dimensions for this value. The two apacitors in parallel are better for ESR profile than a single large one.
 
This combination of the special film caps and damping resistor creates a linear non peaked ESR response from the AC supply that remains in place.The fact that we have only one voltage creates an inherent equality for both channels when applying this upgrade. Channel seperation is also greatly improved providing enhanced soundstaging and depth.
 
The battery is fairly well regulated for low frequencies (depends on AH) however its high frequency response is relatively poor and not constant with frequency. Different batteries will sound different. The battery also receives a benefit in high frequency control but again the batteries contribution to ESR varies with discharge and battery type."

kp93300

Quote "This is a better quality swiching supply than most so I was able to flatten the ESR with those film caps over the full audio range. I went through quite an array of potential types of bypass caps that would work in conjunction with the stable low frequency regulation of the wall wart. The amp now has electrolytic, ceramic and film bypass caps. The AC supply is extremely well regulated for low frequency response. The voltage does not change however it loses its integrity above 100 Hz. Capacitors have a sound as batteries and these films are the most neutral I have found and the only ones of proper dimensions for this value. The two apacitors in parallel are better for ESR profile than a single large one.
Unquote

Thanks to Tom for starting this thread and i am checking on it every day fro the past few months.
I have the evaluation board with the same chip  and have been playing with the power supply also. My conclusion is very similiar to the above.
I  filter a 20 V smps laptop power supply by russian made  paper in oil and  ordinary motor start film caps  also. However, on the board power supply caps near to the chip , the use of  ceramic caps is highly recommended.  Film do not work very well in my set up in this location.
With this set up, i prefer it to two  12 v SLA wired in series.

kp93300

wushuliu

Wait, so a high quality switching power supply sounds better than the batteries?

Huh.

Never would have guessed.  :green:

Rclark

I got this amp in today and was totally looking forward to listening to it. I haven't wired up my monitors since the N1X demo a few months ago, feels like ages now. Cool to see them on my sand filled Sanus UF-27's. But the amp isn't working. I pulled it from the packaging and put it into the system but it's not coming on :/

I've emailed Tom, hopefully it's some simple thing I've overlooked, but none of the PS's seem to awaken it...  :scratch:

Freo-1

Sounds like the 4A fast blow fuse went.  Stop at the local Rat Shack and get a replacement.

Rclark

 I hope it's something like that, I'll open it up right now and look.

Rclark

there's one screw on there so damn tight I can't get it off to see. Frustrating. Tommorrow.

wisnon

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Wait, so a high quality switching power supply sounds better than the batteries?

Huh.

Never would have guessed.  :green:

There is no rule that says a SMPS is bad...If well designed it can beat a comparable linear PSU.

DaveC113

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Wait, so a high quality switching power supply sounds better than the batteries?

Huh.

Never would have guessed.  :green:

Me neither...  :duh:

wushuliu

There is no rule that says a SMPS is bad...If well designed it can beat a comparable linear PSU.

I was making that case early on in the thread based on my own observations but it didn't go over so well...

Freo-1

I hope it's something like that, I'll open it up right now and look.

A couple of items:
1) The fuse will blow if you hook up the battery and have the charger plugged in at the same time. It will also blow if you leave the charger in the loop, regardless of wheather it is plugged in or not.
2) After charging the battery, disconnect the charger from the cabling.  Allow the battery to settle for a minute before plugging in the amp.
 
As long as you follow the above, the amp will work fine.  The fuse is designed to protect the amp from any abuse, and it works well.

Rclark

I have batteries on my Virtue, same identical setup, same charger, I'm familiar with that.

- it was doing this with the AC supply, which is the first one I tried.. light on, no sound, then no light. Tried the other supplies, same thing, now, no light.