Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps

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morganc

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #100 on: 20 Sep 2022, 01:08 am »
Hahahaha.  Now that's funny !

Mr. Big

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #101 on: 20 Sep 2022, 02:05 pm »
Mr. Big - don't disagree with your comments re: new sound might be "refreshing" and, at least for a moment, desired above other topologies.  Strikes me as wise words.  The interesting thing for me is that I've been a tube guy, mostly, for over 30 years.  So, for instance, in the upstairs system, I'm all tubes (KT88, 300B, 6C33)  and, as I've written, downstairs I run 845's. I love tube artifacts.  But, listening to the Orchard Starkrimson monos upstairs, on the big Merlins (M3's are downstairs) a funny thing happened yesterday.  I was listening to Kelly Joe Phelps "Slingshot Professionals," a great recording of great music.  At first, the presentation struck me as somewhat disorganized and confusing.  I kind of couldn't make sense of what was presented.  But as I continued to listen, and I've listened to this recording many times, I realized that I was hearing information (harmonics off steel strings, deep background voices like organ, drum symbols, etc.) which I hadn't noticed previously.  Tambourine zills had an astonishing pitch and location which I don't recall my tube gear presenting as clearly. After about 10 minutes I was able to "make sense" of the additional information and it was, I hate to use this word again but.... revelatory.  I simply heard this music in a way that I had not previously heard it (or, at least, don't remember ever having heard it this way) and the experience was so pleasing.

Still, you could be right - perhaps I'll find this fatiguing and return to tubes.  Too early to say.  But, man, Kelly Joe sounded good. And one last thing: I know when I'm enjoying the sound of gear if I listen longer than I intended to or usually do.  That's been happening everyday since I started with these GanFet products.  Purely anecdotal I admit and, again, you could be right that I'll tire of the sound and return home to tubes.  But I wonder...

I'm thinking perhaps, New Zoo nailed it when noting that, sometimes, a less expensive design/product can simply outperform more expensive competitors... Is that what we have here?

I use what music sounds like live, unamplified, or playing the piano. Live music throws a huge soundstage and pressure, with no pinpoint imaging which makes it sound like live music spreads out. Play that same track on your favorite tube system or better the same gear just switch out the amp's tube for class D, live the rest the same, and take the time to sit there and concentrate and focus as hard on the changes as you just did on the Class D amps the Orchard Starkrimson. Listen for changes like you would on a new piece of gear. You then will see what is what on how that track was reproduced by both types of amps. 

newzooreview

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #102 on: 20 Sep 2022, 04:32 pm »
Live music throws a huge soundstage and pressure, with no pinpoint imaging which makes it sound like live music spreads out.

This omits the microphones from the equation. Microphones have pickup patterns that do not match the human ear. What the microphone hears is more directional, so pinpoint imaging and separation of instruments when playing back music on a loudspeaker typically indicates that the speaker is more accurately reproducing what the microphone recorded. This goes hand in hand with reproducing the subtle details in timing and frequency that allow the speaker to recreate the performance space.

Quote
the same gear just switch out the amp's tube for class D, live the rest the same, and take the time to sit there and concentrate and focus as hard on the changes as you just did on the Class D amps the Orchard Starkrimson.

Is that meant to be facetious? It doesn't sound like an experiment that is feasible.

Mr. Big

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #103 on: 20 Sep 2022, 05:21 pm »
This omits the microphones from the equation. Microphones have pickup patterns that do not match the human ear. What the microphone hears is more directional, so pinpoint imaging and separation of instruments when playing back music on a loudspeaker indicate that the speaker is more accurately reproducing what the microphone recorded. This goes hand in hand with reproducing the subtle details in timing and frequency that allow the speaker to recreate the performance space.

Is that meant to be facetious? It doesn't sound like an experiment that is feasible.
Sure it is, same front end, listen with the Class D-amp, then put his Tube amp back in and see if he hears some of the same things he's not heard before. Take his tube to the system where the Class D amp is and use it there and listen as intently as we would with a new piece of gear.

My only point was we listen differently and with a different mindset and focus on the change when we make any change to our system. I have found when I change something I blank my mind out and just sit and listen generally like I always have done, the change is not that big,  I also sometimes stand outside of the room and listen to the system's overall sound. Of course, a Tube amp will sound different than a Class D amp even a solid state would but is one really letting you hear things you never heard before, or is it that it's pushed the balance of the reproduction more forward, more midrange, or highs? Both would give you the perception of more going on but without that being in balance correct? That is the one thing power cords do, is push or pull back the presentation in areas of reproduction or make everything just sound flat lifeless so to speak or strong and forward, or fat and jucey and all will bring something out that you may not have noticed as much before.

newzooreview

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #104 on: 20 Sep 2022, 05:36 pm »
I see.

I read "switch out the amp's tube for class D" as physically removing a tube and somehow inserting a class D device into the tube amp. You meant "switch out the tube amp for a class D amp" it seems, which is very reasonable!

franSSS

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #105 on: 21 Sep 2022, 05:12 am »
Quote from: Mr. Big on 18 Sep 2022, 03:49 pm
1. Element 114 Stereo Power Amplifier (Cleanest)
2. PS Audio 1200 (most musical)
3. Jeff Rowland Model 625 ( Best of both above)

Enjoyed all, and kept my A/B.

Thanks. Those are some nice amps. The Element is $16,000. The PS Audio is $6,598. And the Model 625 S2 is $16,000 (judging from second-hand information online; the manufacturer's site posts no price). I expect that any of them would add some refinement, if not more, compared to my Pass Labs XA25.

What was is the class A/B amp that you preferred to the class D amps you tried?


Thanks. Those are some nice amps. The Element is $16,000. The PS Audio is $6,598. And the Model 625 S2 is $16,000 (judging from second-hand information online; the manufacturer's site posts no price). I expect that any of them would add some refinement, if not more, compared to my Pass Labs XA25.

What was is the class A/B amp that you preferred to the class D amps you tried?

I had the M1200. In my setup with Polk lsim 707 and Schitt Freya + it lacked emotion and engagement. i returned the units.

i so much wanted them to be special. But in the end it just did not seem to be what i was looking for.

Mr. Big

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #106 on: 21 Sep 2022, 01:34 pm »
I see.

I read "switch out the amp's tube for class D" as physically removing a tube and somehow inserting a class D device into the tube amp. You meant "switch out the tube amp for a class D amp" it seems, which is very reasonable!

Yes! Take out the class D amp and the system and then put his Tube amp in its place.

catluck

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #107 on: 21 Sep 2022, 02:14 pm »
Mr. Big,

Your method is kind of what I followed. I've been engaged in this passionate pursuit for over 40 years, been to 20 shows, read hundreds of reviews, visited numerous retail outlets to listen (when they existed), etc., so I think (hope) that by now I know how to listen to kit (albeit I'm always looking to learn).  However, we may differ on the methodology where you suggest, if I understand you correctly, that I switch class d kit for tubes and back/forth. That's simply not practical and, perhaps,  not valid inasmuch as it cannot be done quickly, i.e., nearly instantaneously.  Switching cables is no big deal but, at a minimum, you would have to wait for tube gear to warm up which means you're waiting minutes at least (in my situation). What I've done and reported here is to listen to tube gear, for over 35 years, and compare my aural memories of tunes I'm intimate with and compare to the class d presentations.  Not scientific I admit. But I do listen "intently" and look for specific sonic attributes: soundstage, dynamics, bass, transparency, etc. So I think we're mostly in agreement.

After considering specific sonic attributes I'm trying to apprehend a holistic sense of the relative presentations.  Most importantly, all of this in the context that, if my comments pique interest, you may engage a 15-day trial period.  After comparing the Orchard Audio Starkrimon monos with the Class D Audio MiniGan 5's, I have decided to keep the Class D Audio monos. They continue to satisfy mightily. Mr. Big's comments re: class d having good bass and clarity but missing, perhaps, midrange presence were more evident, in my system to my ears, with the Orchard Audio Starkrimsons.  Leo's products are beautifully executed and certainly deserve a listen. Orchard Audio offers a trial period as well but with a restocking fee. Ultimately, to my ears, the Class D Audio monos provide a noticeably more fleshed out midrange and a more dynamic and present bass without any discernable loss of their amazing detail/transparency in comparison the Starkrimsons (which also exhibit astonishing transparency and detail).  Indeed, concerning the Starkrimsons, Leo graciously noted,

"No problem with the return. Many of my customers have this kind of feedback and opt to use a tube preamp to still have the prominent second harmonic..."

I did use a tube preamp but in my system the "leanness" (which Mr. Big has previously referenced) was not ameliorated which does not mean the Starkrimsons wouldn't be the more musical choice in your system.  However, for the reasons noted, I am returning the Orchard Audio monos and keeping the Class D Audio monos. I'm also keeping my tube monos. But both upstairs and downstairs I'm listening to GanFets.  No desire to change out.  The tell. It's been a nice ride all.

RonN5

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #108 on: 21 Sep 2022, 03:01 pm »
I saw this post by Leo over on SHF...for anyone who may be interested:


"I will be having a sale on October 2nd for Audiophile day. To get exclusive discounts, subscribe to the mailing list on my website  https://orchardaudio.com/ "

Daryl Zero

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #109 on: 21 Sep 2022, 07:33 pm »
Sorry if I am repeating, I don't want to go through every post on these 6 pages, I've seen posts on using the mini Gan 5 on the M3 which has a passive woofer. Is there anyone using these on the X series 5 or 3? If so, what is your set up and how does it sound?

newzooreview

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #110 on: 21 Sep 2022, 09:01 pm »
miniGAN5 arrived this morning. FAST delivery from California. Hooked it up to the SPATIAL X3s. Superb! Dumbstruck! IMPOSSIBLE! Will ned to listen in depth for a while before I decide whether to trade the tubes for GaN. On standby for now!! Thanks for the encouragement.  I think.............. :oops: :duh: :thumb:


well, about 4 days in and the X3s really like the miniGAM5 amp! Still deciding. Have not turned amp off since first turn on and it is just warm on top. The Beyma AMT tweeters are singing a wonderful tune now. ZERO harshness, only crystalline shimmering highs! The control on the mid driver is ironclad. The plate amps on the "woofer/sub" seem to like the signal too. So far; ZERO NEGATIVES. :violin: :drums: :guitar: :dance:


oh, and all the vocalists love it too!

Daryl Zero

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #111 on: 22 Sep 2022, 02:30 am »
Thanks, newzooreview.

lazbisme

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #112 on: 22 Sep 2022, 10:00 pm »
Hey, guys! Since I posted on the miniGAN5 amp I need to report what my decision was. I stand with every raving statement I made about it! Switched back and forth with my SET amp several times. I feel quite sure that anyone listening to this BIG little amp, even with prior experience and other amps, would be impressed and in awe of the sound. I could not really fault it in any way musically. The background is inky silent and the headroom, with my 97dB speakers, is phenomenal. So? In the end, all things considered, I elected to keep my little 2.3watt SET amp and return the miniGAN5. The tube artifacts are just so pleasing to my ears and there are NO artifacts with the GaN amp. I have another matching amp in the order queue and will series wire them into matching monoblock amps with 6 watts each so more than doubling my power. I tried really hard to keep the GaN but, even though I would have come out a lot of money ahead, prefer the DECKWARE SE84UFO 25th Anniversary amp.

catluck

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #113 on: 23 Sep 2022, 12:57 am »
Lazbisme - kudos to you for having the open-mindedness to give the MiniGans a try.  97dB speaks are rare animals indeed notwithstanding SA has, I think, 2 in the X series. Perhaps, not surprising that the tube "artifcacts" that you're enjoying are more apparent in such sensitive speaks.  Indeed, only very sensitive speaks could ever provide sufficient volume on 2.3 watts, let alone any meaningful headroom.  My thinking throughout has more been directed to MOSFET competitors rather than tubes and the M3's (still relatively sensitive at 92dB).  Like you, I'm keeping my tube monos as well, as I noted in a previous post.  Yet, curiously, I continue to listen to the MiniGans. No matter.  In the end, what matters is that your system brings you musical fulfillment and it sounds like you're headed that way.

franSSS

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #114 on: 23 Sep 2022, 11:18 am »
Lazbisme - kudos to you for having the open-mindedness to give the MiniGans a try.  97dB speaks are rare animals indeed notwithstanding SA has, I think, 2 in the X series. Perhaps, not surprising that the tube "artifcacts" that you're enjoying are more apparent in such sensitive speaks.  Indeed, only very sensitive speaks could ever provide sufficient volume on 2.3 watts, let alone any meaningful headroom.  My thinking throughout has more been directed to MOSFET competitors rather than tubes and the M3's (still relatively sensitive at 92dB).  Like you, I'm keeping my tube monos as well, as I noted in a previous post.  Yet, curiously, I continue to listen to the MiniGans. No matter.  In the end, what matters is that your system brings you musical fulfillment and it sounds like you're headed that way.

I wonder how big the difference is between the stereo amp(min Gan 5) and the pair of Gan 5 mono blocks? I assume a person will have to hear them side by side to be able to tell the difference?

franSSS

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #115 on: 23 Sep 2022, 11:37 am »
Hey, guys! Since I posted on the miniGAN5 amp I need to report what my decision was. I stand with every raving statement I made about it! Switched back and forth with my SET amp several times. I feel quite sure that anyone listening to this BIG little amp, even with prior experience and other amps, would be impressed and in awe of the sound. I could not really fault it in any way musically. The background is inky silent and the headroom, with my 97dB speakers, is phenomenal. So? In the end, all things considered, I elected to keep my little 2.3watt SET amp and return the miniGAN5. The tube artifacts are just so pleasing to my ears and there are NO artifacts with the GaN amp. I have another matching amp in the order queue and will series wire them into matching monoblock amps with 6 watts each so more than doubling my power. I tried really hard to keep the GaN but, even though I would have come out a lot of money ahead, prefer the DECKWARE SE84UFO 25th Anniversary amp.

Which pre amp were you using with them?

DBT AUDIO

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #116 on: 23 Sep 2022, 11:40 am »
Anyone using the Holo Audio Serene preamp with their Spatials?  I have the Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE DAC which is a beast in its price category and I decided to order the Holo Audio Serene KTE preamp the other day.  I have the Luxman L509x integrated and it is very nice.  As much as I like the Luxman, I realize I lost the flexibility to try different amps due to it being an integrated.  I can use the Luxman amp as a separate, which I currently do as a HT bypass, but it only allows the separates option using the RCA inputs and I prefer using balanced connections for my 2-channel setup.  So, now I can try different amps with the Holo Audio Serene in the chain; tubes, class A, A/B and the magnificent class D offerings that seem to be the talk of the town these days.

So, just curious what amps one might be using with their Holo Audio Serene preamp and Spatials?

Thanks

newzooreview

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #117 on: 23 Sep 2022, 01:40 pm »
So, just curious what amps one might be using with their Holo Audio Serene preamp and Spatials?

I have the Holo May KTE and Holo Serene KTE with my Spatial M3 Sapphires. I was using the Benchmark AHB2 amp and upgraded to the Pass Labs XA25. It is Class A, drawing 250 watts while it is on. It is rated at 25 watts but measures at 50 watts (according to Stereophile). The amp sounds terrific. Excellent tone, timbre, detail, soundstage depth and width, and textured bass. It is very clearly better than the less expensive AHB2 even though the AHB has "better measurements."

I've been following this thread because burning 250 watts all day long seems wasteful, and I wonder how a newer Class D amp might control the two 15" cones on the Sapphires while keeping (or improving on?) the Pass Labs sound.

RonN5

Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #118 on: 23 Sep 2022, 03:13 pm »
I suspect that what people like about the Pass is the 2nd order harmonics. So far at least, that doesn't seem to be available with any of the newer class d amps whether ganfet or purifi. 

Ralph's amp (Atmasphere) by his statements is more along the lines of 3rd order.  Leo's amp (Orchard) is more straight wire with gain.  Both Nelson and Ralph have said that anecdotally, there seems to be equal preference for 2nd vs 3rd vs no preference...which means, no choice but to give the various well reviewed class d a try and see if any of them fit the bill.

Tyson

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Re: Sapphire M3's - Gallium Nitride Amps
« Reply #119 on: 23 Sep 2022, 03:28 pm »
I do believe one of the Class D amps has the ability to use a tube buffer, which might give the best of both worlds. 

Found it, here's the link to the VTV amp with tube input buffer:

https://vtvamplifier.com/product/vtv-amplifier-stereo-purifi-audio-1et400a-amplifier-with-vtv-vacuum-tube-buffer/