Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?

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jmimac351

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #60 on: 10 Feb 2024, 02:34 pm »
About 10 years ago, I had an Audio GD amp with a diamond circuit:  http://audio-gd.com/Pro/amp/SA300SE/SA300SEEN.htm

Interesting.  How did you like it?

On some of their latest stuff, Ayre calls it "Double Diamond" for the circuit.  The "Twenty" series products / upgrades for Ayre gear mention better bass / dynamics.  When I got by VX-5 Twenty it definitely had better dynamics than what I was using before.

Here is a video where Ariel Brown at Ayre talks about the Diamond Circuit:  https://youtu.be/hJQeFcunY0Q?si=VBN-P1HL3tMLfs6o
 
For anyone interested in hearing a designer talk about their product... lookup "Pints with Ayre" on YouTube.  They started a series a while back where they are going thru each product, from the first up thru most recent.  They are getting closer to the current products now with each video. Also, there are videos about "Feedback" and "Balanced" and other core philosophies / things they like in design.  They've had some interesting conversations with Angela Cardas, John Atkinson from Stereophile, etc.  They talk to Atkinson about "Measurement".  They have a conversation with a guy from ESS about DAC chips.  Varied stuff.

What I didn't realize is how much Ariel Brown is and was actually "The Guy" for designing their stuff, for at least the last decade or so.  When Charlie passed in 2017, I think a lot of people didn't realize that Ariel Brown was already driving development / doing circuit layout.  When you listen to him talk about things... you can tell he has a VERY LARGE BRAIN. 

Ayre is a small outfit... I like those guys. It's similar to Danny / GR... there's only a few people and you can call and talk to them - and they are very serious about the details / making great stuff.  And when I find something I like, I stick with it... until I find something better.

Here is the video series.  Obviously it's of interest for the Ayre stuff, but it could be of interest to anyone thinking thru "gear" in general.  And maybe help think thru this exact conversation... "tubes vs solid state".  Also, if you like craft beer...  :thumb:

https://www.youtube.com/@AyreAcoustics/videos

Yes, I'm a fanboy for Ayre gear.  I also love my wife.  It is what it is...  :green:

Early B.

Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #61 on: 10 Feb 2024, 04:29 pm »
Interesting.  How did you like it?

I dunno. That was a decade ago, so in audiophile years, that's like it happened in the 1960's. I don't recall how many amps I've owned since then. I haven't run across any gear yet that I regret selling. 

jmimac351

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #62 on: 11 Feb 2024, 01:11 am »
You have all the bases covered on fun stuff!

I have 3 main objectives in Life:

1) Take care of my wife

2) Spread Joy

3) Have Fun

At the racetrack, I have helped thousands of people create lifetime memories.  Literally.  You'll never forget riding in a race car...

Jaytor

Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #63 on: 11 Feb 2024, 01:18 am »
I have 3 main objectives in Life:

1) Take care of my wife

2) Spread Joy

3) Have Fun

At the racetrack, I have helped thousands of people create lifetime memories.  Literally.  You'll never forget riding in a race car...

Great objectives.

My wife and I took a 3-day race car driving course at PIR in Portland a number of years ago. Had a blast and it definitely improved my driving skills on the road. I've never raced head-to-head, but have done a couple dozen track days over the past few decades. Lots of fun!

Both my kids took the skid car class when they were first learning to drive. It helped my daughter avoid an accident when a truck jack-knifed in front of her.

Jaytor

Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #64 on: 11 Feb 2024, 07:23 pm »
In case anyone is interested, here is the design I am building for the F5m boards. I ended up doing a new PCB because the footprint I used for one of the relays was incorrect (one of these days, I will learn my lesson to not trust the community-provided footprints  :duh:).

I took the opportunity to make a few improvements to my initial design. I beefed up the terminal block connectors for the main power and speaker connectors, changed the op-amp to a single (instead of a dual) that has a bit lower offset current, and I added a couple protection diodes on the input of the op-amp to make sure the input never gets too large (which could be an issue during power on and off).

The design assumes a main power supply that is roughly +/- 24V. It also uses a second 12v power supply for the DC protection circuit and for switching the input relay to balanced. I plan to use a small AC/DC converter module connected to the main power switch. This will turn on and (more importantly) off much faster than the main supply, so that the outputs will be disconnected immediately on power off.

A switch on the back panel will connect the 12V supply to the input selector relay to select balanced inputs.

I am still going to finish building the rev1 board to test out all the circuits before I send this version out for fab.











jmimac351

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #65 on: 12 Feb 2024, 04:34 pm »
Cool!  I peeked at the DIY Store to see if the kit had been posted yet...
« Last Edit: 20 Feb 2024, 03:10 am by jmimac351 »

BrandonB

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #66 on: 12 Feb 2024, 08:18 pm »
Cool!  I peaked at the DIY Store to see if the kit had been posted yet...

I seen some of the aegir 2 info from Schiit on their YouTube channel.  Do you feel that your Are equipment sounds close to tubes?  I am building my NX-otica's and I have a really good sounding SMc audio  A/B amp but I feel like I will probably need a tube preamp.  I tried to find out the output impedance on my amp but wasn't successful.  Oh by the way I was checking out your work website and curious approximately a day at the track cost with a car?

mkrawcz

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #67 on: 13 Feb 2024, 01:53 pm »
This amp might be worthy of consideration on a tighter budget.
https://www.galion-audio.com/pages/ts-a75

BrandonB

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #68 on: 13 Feb 2024, 02:58 pm »
This amp might be worthy of consideration on a tighter budget.
https://www.galion-audio.com/pages/ts-a75
Interesting I didn't know Gallion came out with a solid state amp.

jmimac351

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #69 on: 13 Feb 2024, 04:04 pm »
I seen some of the aegir 2 info from Schiit on their YouTube channel.  Do you feel that your Are equipment sounds close to tubes?  I am building my NX-otica's and I have a really good sounding SMc audio  A/B amp but I feel like I will probably need a tube preamp.  I tried to find out the output impedance on my amp but wasn't successful. 

I guess I would answer this by saying "yes, it sounds close to tubes"... but here's the thing, having something that "sounds like tubes" isn't the ultimate goal, for me.  What I want, is stuff that is completely musically satisfying.  Completely fatigue free.  I want to be able to listen to it for hours on end and it sound "right".  When things don't sound "right" to me, I know it very quickly.  Something is "off" and it makes me not want to listen.  Tubes are a really good way of getting to that goal, which many people have.  I would say that my Ayre gear provides that experience, but it's not the only way to get there.  What I'm sharing about feedback / damping factor is because I think those are key traits that impact why the Ayre (and other) gear delivers that experience, for me.  I could be giving you bad advice.  This is what works for me.  What I'm suggesting is to try something like what I have, to see whether you like it.  The Aegir 2 "may" be a way of sampling what I'm talking about, without a big commitment.  And, it could end up even being the best choice... you never know.

I don't feel like I "need" a tube preamp.  My Ayre KX-5 Twenty preamp may even be "better" than the amp.  In fact, I think Ariel Brown (and maybe others) think that preamp could be the most important piece of all.  I've been playing with DACs lately, some that can drive the amp with its own volume control.  Right now one of them is the RME ADI-2 DAC FS (It's a really impressive piece for everything it does).  See the pic I posted of the Remote interface that works on iPad / Computer.  PEQ, different digital filters, presets, etc, etc. etc. It goes on and on.  I've never used a more flexible device.  And, it also happens to sound really good!  However, I may have found taking my Ayre preamp out of the chain was a step backwards in "musicality".  I can't measure it...  I still have some "back and forth swapping" to do - and that's fun.  If I didn't already have the Ayre preamp, I would be happy and I'm sure I could just "tune it" to exactly what I wanted.  In fact, I'm playing with some of the now.  The RME unit is WAAAY different than any of my Ayre gear... but I'm still playing with it.  I'm having fun with all of this stuff.

If I had a pair of NX-Otica, and I were starting from scratch... I would try this:

- Used RME ADI-2 DAC FS
- Schiit Aegir 2

That is a super simple setup that I have a hunch would sound incredible.  If you don't like either or both of those units, you can sell them without getting hurt.

Whenever you can, buy gear used.  Setup a login on hifishark.com to look for gear for sale, get alerts, check pricing for what gear sells for.  If you buy stuff right, you'll be able to use it for "free" and have fun / learn along the way.

Oh by the way I was checking out your work website and curious approximately a day at the track cost with a car?

That's not my "job", but I'm on a racetrack ~30 days per year, so it's pretty close!  "How much?" can vary by event, but when all is said and done, it's at least $500/day - maybe a little more.  You'll see the fee for different events, but then there's fuel, tires (wear), brake pads (wear), hotel?, food, etc.

"Everyone" should do it, at least once. It's a guaranteed lifetime memory.




mkrawcz

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #70 on: 17 Feb 2024, 06:33 pm »
The ANK DAC's look very interesting.
Just got this bad boy up and running. Took me 30 seconds to decide that I’m selling all my other DACs.



BrandonB

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #71 on: 17 Feb 2024, 09:15 pm »
Just got this bad boy up and running. Took me 30 seconds to decide that I’m selling all my other DACs.



What other DAC's have you had?

mkrawcz

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #72 on: 17 Feb 2024, 09:57 pm »
What other DAC's have you had?
Oh boy, here we go. Holo Spring 3, Gustard r26, Gustard A26, Matrix element X, SMSL VMV D1se, Topping E70, E50, Geshelli J2 AK4499/4493/ess. Emotiva XDA3, Cambridge 851N/CXN v1.

BrandonB

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #73 on: 17 Feb 2024, 10:16 pm »
Oh boy, here we go. Holo Spring 3, Gustard r26, Gustard A26, Matrix element X, SMSL VMV D1se, Topping E70, E50, Geshelli J2 AK4499/4493/ess. Emotiva XDA3, Cambridge 851N/CXN v1.
That is a strong statement.  There are some nice DAC's in that list. 

Early B.

Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #74 on: 17 Feb 2024, 10:26 pm »
Just got this bad boy up and running. Took me 30 seconds to decide that I’m selling all my other DACs.

Not surprising. A well-implemented tube component makes music sound musical.

mkrawcz

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #75 on: 17 Feb 2024, 10:38 pm »
That is a strong statement.  There are some nice DAC's in that list.
All those DACs are more detailed than the ANK, but the ANK has a natural texture that I simply like.

mkrawcz

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #76 on: 18 Feb 2024, 12:48 pm »
All those DACs are more detailed than the ANK, but the ANK has a natural texture that I simply like.
Although, I am using the stock tubes which are just EH6922. I am sure once I have a couple hundred hours on it and swap out the stock tubes for some better 6922 line tubes, the detail will improve a lot.

BrandonB

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #77 on: 20 Feb 2024, 01:35 am »
All those DACs are more detailed than the ANK, but the ANK has a natural texture that I simply like.

Have you ever listened to the Border patrol SE-1.  They seem like they might be similar. 

Jaytor

Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #78 on: 20 Feb 2024, 01:54 am »
Have you ever listened to the Border patrol SE-1.  They seem like they might be similar.

The Border Patrol DAC has a nice smooth sound with a laid-back presentation. It doesn't have the detail of higher-end DACs but is non-fatiguing and easy to listen to. It depends on what you are looking for. For me, the Border Patrol was too laid back.

I would imagine that the ANK DACs, particularly the upper models, would have the smoothness of the Border Patrol, but hopefully with more detail, sharper image focus, and a deeper/wider soundstage.

For the price, the Border Patrol is worth considering if you are looking for that kind of sound. Personally, I'd choose one of the Denafrips, Holo, or Schitt DACs in the same price range. But I like a more forward presentation and more detail than the Border Patrol offers.

mkrawcz

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Re: Solid State or Tubes with your NX-series speakers?
« Reply #79 on: 20 Feb 2024, 02:10 am »
Have you ever listened to the Border patrol SE-1.  They seem like they might be similar.
I don’t have any experience with the Border patrol. Looking at the inside of it, I doubt it’s on the same level as the ANK. The parts in the ANK are about the best you can get.
The Border Patrol DAC has a nice smooth sound with a laid-back presentation. It doesn't have the detail of higher-end DACs but is non-fatiguing and easy to listen to. It depends on what you are looking for. For me, the Border Patrol was too laid back.

I would imagine that the ANK DACs, particularly the upper models, would have the smoothness of the Border Patrol, but hopefully with more detail, sharper image focus, and a deeper/wider soundstage.
The ANK I have is still well detailed, with a really good image focus. I still need to get about 100 more hrs on it to see how it turns out. So far I like it a lot. It’s making me want to build the 5.1 which I’m sure will be a significant upgrade.