Satisfied M3 Sapphire Owner with Tube Amps, will it help recessed soundstage?

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Audiosaurusrex

Hello all,
I’m a very satisfied owner of M3 Sapphires and I’m driving them with the little known SPL Performer/Director Combo, 285watts into 4 ohms. The room is treated as much as I can possibly do 16x14x8. While it is very dynamic, some people have commented when listening that the soundstage is somewhat recessed especially when I turn it up. I’m wondering if tubes will help this issue? Many have given accolades to LTA and Cherry but they’re a little pricey although the Z10 might work but I still will need a DAC and phono pre. Will the Z10 be able to get 80dbs in my room cleanly and beautifully or is there another tube integrated I might consider? Spoke to Clayton about this and he asked to see pics of my room which I posted in my gallery. Waiting on him to respond but thought I would ask here? Appreciate any input

mick wolfe

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Just to be clear, by recessed do you mean the images and soundstage are clearly developed well behind the speakers? If that's the case, I think you'll find a lot of folks prefer this type of presentation, including me. Actually kinda the beauty of open baffle and panel designs. With that said, I've always found tube amplification to further enhance this, not move everything forward. I would start by perhaps removing some acoustic treatments. Maybe you've overdamped things a bit. Won't move images, but might indeed liven things up a bit.

Audiosaurusrex

Just to be clear, by recessed do you mean the images and soundstage are clearly developed well behind the speakers? If that's the case, I think you'll find a lot of folks prefer this type of presentation, including me. Actually kinda the beauty of open baffle and panel designs. With that said, I've always found tube amplification to further enhance this, not move everything forward. I would start by perhaps removing some acoustic treatments. Maybe you've overdamped things a bit. Won't move images, but might indeed liven things up a bit.
Thanks Mick,
What I notice is that the soundstage is really nice and more forward at low volumes but recesses to the rear as I increase the volume. You may be right about the acoustic treatments in the room. I have 8 - 4x36x24 absorption panels and 4 GIK diffusers in a 16x14x8 room.There is one diffuser I built to stick into the fireplace between the speakers. I’ll play around a bit. Clayton hinted that possibly the indirect sound waves might be interfering with the room acoustics as the volume goes up but he hasn’t really experienced that one before.

ric

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Recently I have been experimenting with DIY bass traps using 2'x4' Rockwol insulation (for M3TS). Yesterday I noticed that the soundstage didn't sound quite as open as it had in the past, and the reason seems to be that using the bass traps in the corners (where they are usually recommended) had truncated the openness of the presentation, and robbed the Spatials or their spatial-ness.
   It might be a good idea to remove whatever you can, and start from scratch--at least eliminating the potential treatment overkill. Maybe the amp has too much power and it's own first watt is a bad one?
Good luck!

jjss49

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Just to be clear, by recessed do you mean the images and soundstage are clearly developed well behind the speakers? If that's the case, I think you'll find a lot of folks prefer this type of presentation, including me. Actually kinda the beauty of open baffle and panel designs. With that said, I've always found tube amplification to further enhance this, not move everything forward. I would start by perhaps removing some acoustic treatments. Maybe you've overdamped things a bit. Won't move images, but might indeed liven things up a bit.

that is how it is supposed to be...

I.Greyhound Fan

If your room treatments don't fix the issue then I would look at DACS and phono pre that have a more forward presentation.  They are out there.  I had a marantz NA11S1 DAC that was way too forward for me but otherwise it was fabulous sounding, better than my current Luxman.

I had a pair of 1st gen spatials for 10 days and they had the same presentation that you describe and my room is a very live room.

I much preferred my Magnepans which are much more musical.

Mr. Big

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I've not ever heard a recessed sound stage. I have good depth, my side image is good also, but due to the width of my room it cannot expand as much as it could but that not that important to me, I get a full sound stage still, I had an electrician over to do some work and he asked to hear the system, I said what do you like it said a jazz piece swing style. I played him a cut and within minutes he said this sounds live like you hear in person. I don't use the spikes for my room and floor, the speakers come to life, with them on the sound is very even but lacking full body and color and tone, they will sound very panel like with the spikes on, but the trade-off is too much. Great article by a top system setup man on PS Audio site and he states the same over many years of setting up systems for shows. I might suggest to anyone using the M3's on carpet floors to try them without. The image will be sharper, with much better detail, and more upfront and then deep for depth. I put the spikes on for the electrician and asked his opinion, it was not 30 seconds he said much better without them, does not sound live like it did before it sounds like a recording. Bass traps if proper setup only improves any speaker, 3' x4' with 6" depth. Picture below. Subs are gone, not needed, in fact they ruin the sound of the M3's once the M3's are broken in.



P3GA

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It sounds as though you're fighting the room; a change in the room treatments may be in order.

You mentioned GIK, did you collaborate & purchase the panels before acquiring the Spatial's? Open baffles - well any dipole - will demand a change (compared to a box speaker) in how a room is treated to get the best out of the speaker. This does not necessarily mean more.

I'd wait to hear back from Clayton, then speak with GIK following to ensure that the correct traps & diffusers are placed where they will help the most.

I know it's not as sexy as a new tube piece, but having gone down that rabbit hole with less than stellar results, I'd wait & get the room squared away first.

jjss49

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI7DA886-9o

op

watch this - it explains to you how imaging is supposed to work

especially 5 min mark ... but watch all of it

important knowledge here

osullis

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musicdre

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  • reality is the base
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my sapph 3s recently arrived.  i'm past the initial 50 hour break in, but not yet at the 400 hour secondary break in period.   l'd tried several solid state amps with them and got super wide soundstage.  unbelievable beyond the walls width (and depth from just in front of the speakers to beyond the back wall).  last night i put in my 300b amp - which i expected to at least match the solids, but to my shock and chagrin it did not.  the stage was normal, but significantly truncated from before.  if i had not experienced the wide stage i would have been satisfied, but in comparison, the normal stage width now seemed "too narrow."

have not yet ruled out amp/preamp synergy issues at work, but the point of this post is that switching to a tube amp wont necessarily expand the soundstage. 

Audiosaurusrex

my sapph 3s recently arrived.  i'm past the initial 50 hour break in, but not yet at the 400 hour secondary break in period.   l'd tried several solid state amps with them and got super wide soundstage.  unbelievable beyond the walls width (and depth from just in front of the speakers to beyond the back wall).  last night i put in my 300b amp - which i expected to at least match the solids, but to my shock and chagrin it did not.  the stage was normal, but significantly truncated from before.  if i had not experienced the wide stage i would have been satisfied, but in comparison, the normal stage width now seemed "too narrow."

have not yet ruled out amp/preamp synergy issues at work, but the point of this post is that switching to a tube amp wont necessarily expand the soundstage.
Very Helpful musicdre
I'm running the SPL Director/Performer Combo which is SS 285 watts into 4 ohms and I do have a huge wide soundstage but seems to be fairly recessed. A few people have suggested that my room may have too much absorption and diffusion which I believe actually might be the case.
I need to play around and remove some of them and see what happens. Overall though these are amazing speakers! Thanks for your post!

Jprod

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my sapph 3s recently arrived.  i'm past the initial 50 hour break in, but not yet at the 400 hour secondary break in period.   l'd tried several solid state amps with them and got super wide soundstage.  unbelievable beyond the walls width (and depth from just in front of the speakers to beyond the back wall).  last night i put in my 300b amp - which i expected to at least match the solids, but to my shock and chagrin it did not.  the stage was normal, but significantly truncated from before.  if i had not experienced the wide stage i would have been satisfied, but in comparison, the normal stage width now seemed "too narrow."

have not yet ruled out amp/preamp synergy issues at work, but the point of this post is that switching to a tube amp wont necessarily expand the soundstage.

This doesn’t surprise me. I would guess a 300b would be 5-6 wpc ?
I think with a 4 ohm speaker like the M3 sapphire coupled with the fact that you have to drive the woofer a 300b tube amp won’t cut the mustard

I have the x5s and use a Dennis had inspire kt88 at 10 wpc.  That’s the lower limit that I would go in a tube amp.  I have even contemplated trying the carver amp to see how I like it

musicdre

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This doesn’t surprise me. I would guess a 300b would be 5-6 wpc ?
I think with a 4 ohm speaker like the M3 sapphire coupled with the fact that you have to drive the woofer a 300b tube amp won’t cut the mustard

I have the x5s and use a Dennis had inspire kt88 at 10 wpc.  That’s the lower limit that I would go in a tube amp.  I have even contemplated trying the carver amp to see how I like it

pretty sure that my 300b amp is rated at 12wpc, and its driven other speakers unexpectedly well too.

mick wolfe

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Just the 4 ohm nominal impedance spec. would rule out most tube amps. Also, without seeing the impedance curve, one really doesn't know how unfriendly that curve could be for a tube amp. There's a lot more to digest here than just the power rating of your amp. The X5 mentioned above has an 8 ohm nominal impedance. Certainly appears to be a more friendly option for tubes if one chooses.

rajacat

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Bi amp. SET for the tweeter SS or digital for the woofer. Best of both worlds.

Audiosaurusrex

Any opinions on driving the M3’s with the Raven Osprey? Will 30 watts cut it and how will a tube amp handle the 4 ohm load? I was thinking of taking them up on their 45 day trial. A little pricey but never had a tube amp and kinda wanted to experience that. Your expertise would be appreciated

ljiminez

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I have never owned a vacuum tube power amp. I watched a Steve Guttenberg review that said if all I've known is SS amplifiers then I should at least try a tubed power amplifier.

I have narrowed my choice to either the Carver Crimson 275 or Primaluna EVO 200 to drive my M3 Sapphire speakers. Carver is more powerful but does that mean significantly better bass than the EVO ? 

I keep reading that Primaluna sounds more dimensional than other amps. Can I expect the Primaluna to significantly out 'holograph' the Carver ?

Some of you with experience with these two amps comment....please. Thanks.

jjss49

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i would recommend the carver over the primaluna

geerock

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Carver 275 with NOS signal tubes is a giant killer.  And a real bargain.