Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps

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Bingenito

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #20 on: 2 Sep 2022, 12:04 am »
1 step ahead on simplification…  1 device streamer/ dac preamp, 2 mono amps. No tubes no tweaks, no going back.

TapestryUntied

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #21 on: 2 Sep 2022, 01:00 am »
Thanks for sharing your impressions. These sound impressive. I've been thinking about trying GaN monoblocks with my M3s that are coming soon. I should be picking them up in SLC in a week or so (so, so excited!). I've been looking at these Class D mini monoblocks and Orchard Audio Starkrimson monoblocks.

catluck

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #22 on: 2 Sep 2022, 01:15 pm »
Bingenito -  :thumb:  Trending in your direction albeit not there yet.  But sitting here listening to Brad Mehldau & Charlie Haden, coming through a DAC into a pair of monoblocks is so satisfying that I simply have no desire to complicate with additional components. Perhaps, like me, you suffered over the years from a nagging concern that you're not getting the best out of your system or that you're missing some essential aspect of musicality requiring?? But, at least for now, it seems  the nervosa has quieted... In fact, as some may recall, I was considering upgrading to the X4. But with these new amps I'm even less inclined now than previously where, I think, it was Daryl Zero who sagely suggested something along the lines of "easy boy" - if it sounds good maybe leave it alone...

Tapestry Untied - The Orchard Audio kit also seems to garner nothing but compliments.  It may be premature to claim the audio landscape is moving toward gallium nitride but I think as the tech gains in public awareness its competitive sound and other obvious attributes will force even audio diehards to reconsider class D. And this coming from a diehard tube guy.

newzooreview

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #23 on: 2 Sep 2022, 02:36 pm »
Quote
The monos use the stereo chassis for now.  Tom blocks the 2 speaker binding post holes and XLR input with some kind of very dense material possibly a plastic which is secured by screws. Very tight and not at all hokey or DIY garage stuff.

Thanks. It makes good economic sense to have a set of cases made at volume and then seal up the unused mount holes for the monoblocks.

I do have two more questions about the physical construction, if you are willing to field them:

1. Can the blazing blue light be turned off? It looks absurdly bright, blasting out of the top cover like a disco in some pictures I've seen.

2. What speaker binding posts are used? I've seen a lot of cheapy Alibaba binding posts on digital amps assembled by small shops. The WBT look-alikes have extremely thin brassy metal strips, and some places even use slip on connectors instead of solder.

Commenting generally (not aimed at the originator of the discussion here!) — Adding 50 words of text to the website would go a long way. In the communications you shared, the owner notes the influx of e-mails asking questions and the time taken away from manufacturing to answer the e-mails. It might lower the burden to provide more specifics on the website.

Also, given the distraction that the Audio Science Review measurements have caused the company, why not send an amp that is working to specs out to get measured and post the correct measurements on the site? The cost to do that should be offset by the time saved in fielding questions about what appeared to be a second-hand amp that was damaged and not working properly. Certainly when ASR found that the amp would not function on powering up, they should have had the integrity to validate with the manufacturer that it was in working order. But that's an issue for elsewhere.

The excellent sound and efficiency are intriguing. I look forward to further thoughts on the sound with the M3 Sapphires. It looks like at least one other person is going to give it a try!

musicdre

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #24 on: 3 Sep 2022, 12:03 pm »
You have to wonder about this manufacturer. Here today is gone tomorrow?. The site is just not that good.

concur.  site not that good.  15/21 day return discrepancy.  premium/classdaudio confusion.   the crappy asr disparagement.  but given the strong positive reviews here from people who have heard the amps, and the owner's perspective that he is busy building amps not updating websites, these amps seem like a risk worth taking at their relatively low price pont.  esp for a handmade in the USA product.

catluck

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #25 on: 3 Sep 2022, 01:11 pm »
NewZoo - your comments are dead on. I raised these very issues with Tom who suggested that he just doesn't have the time.  Another snippet from Tom:
" So back to Amir, whenever this is brought up again, I will be sitting at my computer answering questions about Amir for several days rather than out in the shop working. Of course we do have a video in the works that will show all of the data, stats, etc. to counter this, but we've been so busy we just don't have it finished yet... it's tough being a small company.

That being said, thank you. I think this will help others understand that we do really have a great product. If I can't put out something better than what's out there and for a better price, I just wouldn't waste my time. The market is flooded with amplifiers, and the audio market is just flooded with smoke and snake oil. I can tell you also, just because these other products on the market cost so much more doesn't mean it costs them more to make them. We don't cut corners."

When I indicated the "less than compelling responses from Tom," I was thinking like you - why not post specs? Oh well.. I just kept coming back to the 15 day trial period.  If no likey, returney.  Simple.   The binding posts are certainly sufficient and sturdy enough. Can't tell the brand but they tighten down with no issues.  Can't find any way to dim the blue lights although I kind of like'em. Listening now to a Brahms piano concerto and amazed.  Yes, Tom could use some marketing assistance but the product is, thus far, IMO, beyond reproach.

newzooreview

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #26 on: 3 Sep 2022, 02:16 pm »
NewZoo - your comments are dead on. I raised these very issues with Tom who suggested that he just doesn't have the time.

Thanks!

I do wish them luck. I am tempted to order a monoblock pair to try, but I know that I could not keep them in my system with blazing blue lights shining all over the ceiling and wall through the vents in the amps.

I could put tape over an obnoxiously bright light on the front, given the price. But there would be no way to shield the light spraying out of the vents without obstructing airflow.




[The photo is from a discussion thread on ASR, found using an image search. Not my photo.]

mick wolfe

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #27 on: 3 Sep 2022, 04:18 pm »
I never found the blue light emitting from the Mini GaN 3 to be a distraction. I guess it would be a problem if one listens while hovering over the amp.  Lights on the faceplate can be taken care of with Light Dims. But then again and in all fairness, I'm used to looking at glowing tubes most of the time anyway.

RonN5

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #28 on: 3 Sep 2022, 05:02 pm »
Here is an interesting thread with user feedback on the Orchard Audio Ultra that was recently very positively reviewed by “Secrets”.

https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/orchard-audio-starkrimson-stereo-ultra-amp-tour.1148415/

I’ve got my name on the tour list… I’m maybe 6-8 weeks away from having the amp for a week to try with my M3 Sapphires and a buddies Maggie 3.7is. 

Having had a great experience with the 2Cherry… and knowing that Leo and Tommy swapped ideas from time to time, I expect his amp to sound pretty good… but whether it sounds good in anyone’s specific system… that is why there is a trial period.

newzooreview

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #29 on: 4 Sep 2022, 12:24 am »
Orchard Audio seems to be doing things right.

They have an in-house, made in USA/Canada GaN design like the Mini GaN 5, but they manage to post measurements and information about the amps while offering monoblocks for essentially the same price as classdaudio ($1500 vs. $1400).

They also manage not to crap up the simple cases with blazing blue LEDs and huge lettering on the front.

Orchard also obtains professional reviews, not just posting quotes from users.

Orchard participates in forums and also posts white papers describing their technical approach.

I'm not contributing to a discussion of how these amps sound, I know.

catluck

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #30 on: 4 Sep 2022, 12:51 pm »
New Zoo - your points are mostly correct. However note that the MiniGan is substantially more powerful (300 watts 8 ohms & 400 watts @ 4ohms) than the Orchard monos (150 watts @ 8 & 4 ohms). Further, no charge from Class D Audio for gain modification (3 settings).  So they're really different animals. When you add higher gain to the Orchards  the price differential increases ($300) and you're still, apparently, left with significantly less powerful amps that have considerably less power (150 watts @ 4 ohms) where the M3's arguably need it most (4 ohms).  Can't comment on the quality of the power supplies which Orchard charges another $300 if you want to upgrade to 300 watts.  Further, the warranty on the MiniGan is substantially longer (3 years) as opposed to 1 year for the Orchards. That's particularly meaningful to me.  Finally, the Orchard requires XLR to RCA adapters for those using RCA's.  I don't like using adapters. Orchard is a new company started in 2017 so it's not like they're a long established enterprise either. Only pointing out differences to make the comparison more fair and accurate. I'm not in any way discounting the beauty or innovative qualities of Orchard's products. I looked at Orchard before trying out the MiniGans (and I'm still in the trial period) and decided to give the MiniGans a try because they seem a better value and, actually, I prefer their casement. I couldn't understand how a 5 lb. amp could be "built like a tank."  But when you hold these amps they are absolutely solid and have a well-crafted sense about them. And, now that I've heard them, after about a week of listening, I can say I intend to keep them. That may change but that's where I stand as I write this a.m.

catluck

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #31 on: 4 Sep 2022, 01:30 pm »
Consider this review for Orchard's Starkrimson Ultra:

"Another great surprise was how much more I heard out of my Spatial Audio M4 Triode Master open-baffle speakers with the Starkrimson Stereo Ultra. These speakers were always capable of disappearing, whether they were powered with a 30W tube amp or a 500W solid-state amp, but the Starkrimson Stereo Ultra gave them a speed and transparency I’d never heard from them. So much more of the mid-to lower-range of music I hadn’t heard out of those speakers became readily apparent, and, once again, bass imaging improved in ways I didn’t think possible with this speaker. I have found these speakers to be particularly easy to drive; I once used a 2.5W amp on them to great effect, even with their 93db efficiency rating. But feeding them up to 500W with the Starkrimson Stereo Ultra gave me the best sound out of them I’ve ever heard. Of particular note was the improvement in vocals. I heard depths of human emotion and intent with the Starkrimson Stereo Ultra that I hadn’t heard before. That’s the kind of low-level detail this amplifier is capable of expressing."

So, the point is, whatever and whose-ever gallium nitride amps you consider, TRY THEM if they have a listening-return policy.  The above review is what I tried to communicate in the first posting in this thread.  You may not know what the M3's (or their siblings) are capable of until you do.

newzooreview

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #32 on: 4 Sep 2022, 03:47 pm »
Thank you. Yes, I will definitely need to give the new Class D a try if only to satisfy curiosity!

munosmario

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #33 on: 5 Sep 2022, 02:03 am »
NewZooReview - try "Class D Audio" for the monoblocks.  They're listed.

Catluck, as a "cat" with good "luck", it appears, you landed on your feet here! Happen to have a hopefully full set of specs for the monoblocks?

Thanks............Mario

newzooreview

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #34 on: 5 Sep 2022, 02:51 am »
Quote
NewZooReview - try "Class D Audio" for the monoblocks.  They're listed.

Listed?

I am most strongly considering the Monoblock VTV Amplifiers using the Purifi 1ET7040SA modules. They use real WTB binding posts and offer a 30-day trial. They also offer a choice of op-amps on the input stage that are user swappable to tweak the sound if desired. The LEDs are under control (and can be turned off), and they have been very widely reviewed.

As much as I might be rooting for the Mini GaN 5, it seems as if the amp and the company need to mature. The outputs are soldered internally to thin brass tabs secured to the binding posts with steel nuts--$9 e-bay cheepies. There's even a mod website already offering to retrofit WBTs to the GaN 5, but it requires drilling out the holes in the back panel because the opening is much too small.

The reviews on the Mini GaN 5 are all user testimonials, and the vast majority are one paragraph and compare the GaN 5 to mid-fi gear ("it sounds better than my Emotiva/NAD"). There are a couple of exceptions, and I hope the range expands.




Mr. Big

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #35 on: 5 Sep 2022, 01:28 pm »
I am not for the ultra-expensive gear, but you do get what you pay for and any business sells their products for what they feel they are worth or they are not in business. If the price is too cheap that tells you something right there, whereas at the other extreme is way overbuilt gear cosmetically so they can ask $$$$$ and up. Got to pay something for real quality and reliability.

Early B.

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #36 on: 5 Sep 2022, 02:33 pm »
The reviews on the Mini GaN 5 are all user testimonials, and the vast majority are one paragraph and compare the GaN 5 to mid-fi gear ("it sounds better than my Emotiva/NAD"). There are a couple of exceptions, and I hope the range expands.

It's a great achievement if this $735 amp can perform better than most mid-fi amps.

BTW -- I have a VTV amp and they're made to a price point, especially the chassis. The WBT's cost extra. Not much different than this amp. Who cares? You're buying what matters most -- the modules and opamps. A prettier chassis with premium binding posts will double the price and offer no significant sonic improvement, and a tricked-out power supply may sound better, but it will quadruple the price.

RonN5

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #37 on: 5 Sep 2022, 05:23 pm »
For me, there are two other important factors to consider in addition to sound:

1.  Can I get it fixed if anything happens to the guy who built it?

2.  Will the resale value be below 60% of what I paid?

I understand… many may not share these concerns.

Early B.

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #38 on: 5 Sep 2022, 05:34 pm »
My Mini GaN 5 arrived today. I didn't expect USPS to deliver on Labor Day. Anyway, last week, my Emotiva amp went bad, so I was considering replacement options when I ran across this thread. This tiny box sounds incredible -- far better than the Emotiva it replaced. Class D amps all seem to have two things in common -- exceptional clarity and detail. I'm sold on Class D amps now. No more heavy amps with big-ass toroidal transformers. This amp only weighs 5 pounds.

Newzoo -- the blue light is not an issue, although the binding posts are super cheap, but who cares?

 

Bingenito

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #39 on: 5 Sep 2022, 10:27 pm »
I with you Early B. Pick up amp with one hand, bring to your buddies house, not throw out you lower back deadlifting a 150lb amp with sharp heat sinks and uneven weight distribution.