spatial and first watt

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musicdre

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spatial and first watt
« on: 12 Feb 2021, 03:18 am »
both spatial and first watt have very dedicated followings.  but i've never heard of anyone using first watt amps on their spatials.  any experiences?  synergy?

thanks!

RDavidson

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #1 on: 12 Feb 2021, 05:48 am »
I have a friend who has used a very nicely built DiY F5 with his Spatials, and while the pairing has its charms, his experience is that Spatials like more power. I understand Spatials have pretty high sensitivity, but they're not necessarily an easy/simple load. His general recommendation is 100 wpc (solid state) as kind of a minimum. With that in mind I think a Pass Labs amp would likely be a better pairing with Spatials. Even the XA25 has far more muscle than any First Watt offering and it's an outstanding amp. I have a lot of experience with both Pass amps and First Watt and I think of the XA25 as more of a big First Watt amp moreso than a small Pass amp. It has muscle, but also finesse and subtlety. It is also very quiet. I love mine. It is not going anywhere.

jjss49

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #2 on: 12 Feb 2021, 06:09 am »
i would agree that spatials (at least the dual woofer passive models like my m3 sapphires) like significantly more power than the specs suggest to sound their best

musicdre

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #3 on: 12 Feb 2021, 01:21 pm »
Even the XA25 has far more muscle than any First Watt offering and it's an outstanding amp. I have a lot of experience with both Pass amps and First Watt and I think of the XA25 as more of a big First Watt amp moreso than a small Pass amp. It has muscle, but also finesse and subtlety. It is also very quiet. I love mine. It is not going anywhere.

thanks for the tip on the XA25.  how hot does it run?

Mr. Big

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #4 on: 12 Feb 2021, 02:05 pm »
I use a McIntosh MC 402 400 watts, on my M3's and they love the power. Effortless comes to mind, extended with the deep powerful bottom end. I sure you don't need 400 watts but it does not hurt that is for sure.  :)

geerock

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #5 on: 12 Feb 2021, 03:03 pm »
Clayton powered his speakers at the audio shows with an LTA ZOTL 10 running 10 watts.  Not sure why guys are touting 200 and 400 watt amps.  You have go back to the old adage....its not the quantity of the watts it's the quality.  I had a pair of high current, high wattage monos when I first got my Spatials and they sounded good.  Until I replaced them with an LTA Reference 40 amp.  Simply no comparison.  Good went to great.

Nsm1979

Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #6 on: 12 Feb 2021, 03:26 pm »
My 2 cents.

 Important to never run out of headroom to maintain the “effortless presentation”.  Listening volume level is a personal choice and greatly impacts the amount of power needed.  Double the power does not give you double the volume from a scientific approach.  Many factors in play.

My amplification went from Adcom 535 (70 wpc into 4 ohms) to DAC Monoblocks (400 wpc into 4 ohms).  Couldn’t be happier.  Do I need 400 wpc , maybe, maybe not. Do my M4 Turbo S effortlessly reproduce my music in a very dynamic fashion,  absolutely.


jjss49

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #7 on: 12 Feb 2021, 05:12 pm »
Clayton powered his speakers at the audio shows with an LTA ZOTL 10 running 10 watts.  Not sure why guys are touting 200 and 400 watt amps.  You have go back to the old adage....its not the quantity of the watts it's the quality.  I had a pair of high current, high wattage monos when I first got my Spatials and they sounded good.  Until I replaced them with an LTA Reference 40 amp.  Simply no comparison.  Good went to great.

if as you assert clayton successfully runs his amps at shows with a 10 wpc LTA why do you run them with a 50 wpc 4x el34 version?

spatials don't need power!  :roll:

c'mon man ... :duh:

abd1

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #8 on: 12 Feb 2021, 06:18 pm »
I think watts are highly overrated and not always what leads to a dynamic, effortless sound. Bandwith is important, as is speaker to amp matching. I have a pair of Cube Audio Nenuphar Mini's. 92db efficient. I used a 150 high current solid state amp which is highly regarded on these forums and can drive speakers to 2ohms easily. It sounded ok, but a bit flat. Turns out the amp is highly damped. I don't understand damping much, but others with my speakers suggested amps with less damping, even amps with as little as 3 watts. I tried a small EL-84 based tube amp with 14 watts -- 14 watts?! Yes, 14 watts. Wow, the speakers opened up. More depth, more space, more texture in the bass. The sound was more organic, real and alive. The SS amp had a "strong" sound. It sounded good, very good, but it was less deep, more on 1 plane, and just didn't sound alive, textural or nuanced, and it didn't have the contrast in sound that really leads to dynamics. Could I play it loud enough to destroy my speakers and ears? Yup. Was it clean? Yup. But it wasn't making me want to keep listening. The amp did do better with other speakers and it is a great amp, just not in this case.

Now, I'm not saying those of you experiencing better sound with higher wattage amps aren't experiencing bliss with them. I'm just saying don't always equate this with watts. There's a lot more to what makes the speakers sound good. BTW, I follow the Spatial thread because I want to try X5's one day, but my space just isn't right for them right now. So, enjoy your speakers because at the end of the day they're yours and its your system, your music so if its what makes you happy and keeps you from turning off the music then go with it. Just thought I'd share my experience.

aldoallen

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #9 on: 12 Feb 2021, 07:51 pm »
I have the M4 triode masters and have two amps that I use. Currently I am using a CODA amp that is 100 watts per channel that operates in Class A for the first 25 watts. It puts out some heat but it sounds fantastic. My other amp is an LTA ZOTL10 that is rated at 10 watts. The LTA amp sounds fantastic as well and can blow me out of the room if I want to crank it up. I will hook it back up when the weather warms up because it puts out very little heat.
If you look at the LTA amp specs for frequency response you will see that it goes down to 6hz and down only -0.5 db. Many tube amps that I have seen can't go that low and if they do, they typically are down -3 db. So the LTA ZOTL amps are more like solid state amps when it comes to frequency response. In my opinion that is why they work so well on Spatial Audio speakers.
I have not heard the First Watt amp but if I were going to try it on my speakers, I would look at the frequency response specs to make sure it didn't roll off on the lower frequencies. 

musicdre

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #10 on: 12 Feb 2021, 08:29 pm »
iust want to point out that clayton specs the spatial M3s for at least TWELVE watts per.  and in my experience, my M3s sounded good with a tube amp that was even under 12.   sure 400 watt amps can sound good on them. but multi-watt overkill is not the point.  the first watt amps are all about providing great sound at low power.  my question is not really about how much power the spatials need but if anyone has heard first watt amps on them.  i'm trying to figure  out whether to spend the money to upgrade to a first watt over my current stable of less expensive amps.  i'm hoping that someone chimes in with first watt experience.

ps in my understanding, the watts/power scale is not linear but exponential - so to double the power of a 10 watt amp it would take a 100 watt amp.  and to double the power of that - a 1000 watt amp.

pps anyone who has watched the power meters on an amp may have noticed how low the needle stays, even when playing loudly.

geerock

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #11 on: 12 Feb 2021, 08:59 pm »
if as you assert clayton successfully runs his amps at shows with a 10 wpc LTA why do you run them with a 50 wpc 4x el34 version?

spatials don't need power!  :roll:

c'mon man ... :duh:

Not hard to figure out.  First of all it came on the used market with only 4 months on it.  Second, I prefer the el34 tube over the el84 that the 10 has.  And the 40 comes with one of the finest el34's made....the NOS Mullards.  The seller also had great NOS tubes in the signal circuit.  And LTA uses upgraded components in the reference 40 as compared to the 10.  Theres a heck of a lot more in buying an amp than the watts and the reference 40 is an all around better amp than the 10.  It compares to David Bernings amps that can go for a five figures.  You want to just concentrate on watts?  Go ahead.  Theres a lot more to an amp than that.  As for my "assertion" about Clayton using the 10....check out youtube Spatial Audio M3 Sapphire video where it shows the equipment rack and has a rep from LTA presenting the amp.  He even mentions that the sound level of the demonstration was achieved using "about 3 or 4 watts."  So....c'mon man!

jjss49

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #12 on: 12 Feb 2021, 09:37 pm »
never said concentrate just on the watts... i am just telling people who consider/buy the speaker that it does better with more watts, more than what the specified 93 db/w/m and 4 ohm load might indicate on the face of it - contrary to the implication of your comments

i am also quite familiar with the zotl ref 40... i have one -- because 40-50 good watts is what i feel the speaker needs, not 10

i just don't subscribe to the 'do as i say, not as i do school'... that's all

geerock

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #13 on: 12 Feb 2021, 09:48 pm »
never said concentrate just on the watts... i am just telling people who consider/buy the speaker that it does better with more watts, more than what the specified 93 db/w/m and 4 ohm load might indicate on the face of it - contrary to the implication of your comments

i am also quite familiar with the zotl ref 40... i have one -- because 40-50 good watts is what i feel the speaker needs, not 10

i just don't subscribe to the 'do as i say, not as i do school'... that's all

I never told anybody to do anything.  I simply put up my experience going from hi powered monos to a much lower powered LTA.  And related the fact that Clayton used a 12 watt amp for demos at his shows.  The original OP asked about low power amps to power Spatials.  I gave him some info about my personal experience and Clayton's use of a low powered amp....plain and simple.  Sorry it triggered you enough to put out a snippy response.

musicdre

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #14 on: 12 Feb 2021, 10:17 pm »
I never told anybody to do anything.  I simply put up my experience going from hi powered monos to a much lower powered LTA.  And related the fact that Clayton used a 12 watt amp for demos at his shows.  The original OP asked about low power amps to power Spatials.  I gave him some info about my personal experience and Clayton's use of a low powered amp....plain and simple.  Sorry it triggered you enough to put out a snippy response.


good to see a spirited discussion on here.  spatial owners tend to be a passionate population.

jjss49

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #15 on: 12 Feb 2021, 10:24 pm »
Sorry it triggered you enough to put out a snippy response.

no harm no foul

just don't want readers to get a pair of m3 sapphires and think their 8-10-12 wpc single ended tube amp is gonna do the trick in a typical room listening at typical volumes ... having anyone believe that would be a disservice

RDavidson

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #16 on: 12 Feb 2021, 11:01 pm »
thanks for the tip on the XA25.  how hot does it run?

It's definitely warm...but not exactly sure of the actual running temp of the heat sinks. The only thing I can say is that it runs maybe half as warm as the XA30.8. No real surprise there. The XA30.8 has more output devices, more power, etc. The heat is probably similar to a tube amp that uses a quad of KT120's. It's not crazy hot, but could raise the room temp in a small room a degree or two in the summer. Hope that helps.

Regarding power : Everyone's requirements will vary even those using the same speakers. The reason behind this is that everyone's room size, listening distance, and desired SPL's vary. While I completely agree that the quality of watts is the most important it is understandable that one might only need 10 watts while another may need 200. Even music preference plays a role in power needs.

musicdre

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #17 on: 12 Feb 2021, 11:05 pm »
It's definitely warm...but not exactly sure of the actual running temp of the heat sinks. The only thing I can say is that it runs maybe half as warm as the XA30.8. No real surprise there. The XA30.8 has more output devices, more power, etc. The heat is probably similar to a tube amp that uses a quad of KT120's. It's not crazy hot, but could raise the room temp in a small room a degree or two in the summer. Hope that helps.


thanks- that is helpful.   i did not realize that it gets that warm.  for me, it would be a winter-only amp, it seems.

RDavidson

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Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #18 on: 12 Feb 2021, 11:08 pm »
It's really not that warm. I can put my hand on it and leave it there. It won't burn me. It's the radiated heat that is probably similar to that of a tube amp. I'm probably overstating the amount of heat with the quad kt120 analogy. I mainly use my XA25 in the colder months, but I have a very small office/listening room that isn't climate controlled. So, summer gets very warm. In the summer I run one of my First Watt amps or my 2 watt Decware (with my Omega speakers).

Manolo

Re: spatial and first watt
« Reply #19 on: 13 Feb 2021, 01:43 am »
I use a FW F4 and a Pass xa25. both are superb. And of course the xa25 has a more powerful and controlled presentation. But the magic of F4 is certainly there. This is on my Spatials M4 TM.