Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps

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Tangram

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Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« on: 3 May 2021, 03:16 pm »
Based on what I've read, many Spatial owners prefer tube amps. What thoughts do people have on Class A SS? I have a Pass Labs XA30.5 that I plan on using with the M3S.

jjss49

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #1 on: 3 May 2021, 03:44 pm »
I prefer ss amps with my M3 Sapphires.  I use tubes up the chain.  I have First Watt F5 and F6, also Devialet, Hegel H20 and AudioSector Patek.  All are outstanding, with subtly different presentations.  I have used tube amps as well, they do sweeten up the sound but give up bass control... LTA. Carver and ARC work well, with better bass control among tube amps.  The speakers are tremendous at realistic bass reproduction, and coming from other speakers, tube amps driving the M3S may well please many listeners with the bass quality, but for the best sound, I feel top flight ss is preferable, with tubes further up the chain.  Depends on what you prioritize.

Cheers.

loki7177

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #2 on: 3 May 2021, 05:48 pm »
I have tried a few First Watts and Pass Labs and posted my impressions in the Spatial and First Watt thread.  There is more feedback from others there as well.  That being said I am now using my M3S with a Gryphon Diablo 120 or Elekit TU-8600S and both thoroughly beat the the Class A amps mention below. 

I have had my Spatial M3 about a year now.  In the last 6 months I have had various First Watt and Pass Labs, including, F7, SIT-3, 30.8, and XA25.  These are being fed by either a McIntosh C2600 or a Pass Labs XP-12.  They all sound slightly different and each have their pros and cons.  They are more similar than different IMO.  The 30.8 has the most low end grunt, bass was plentiful with excellent texturing.  It was also the most laid back and threw the widest and deepest soundstage.  The XA25 was the most neutral of the bunch, bass was equivalent to the First Watts but it cannot keep up with its bigger brother.  The F7 is the best bang for your buck here, and never put a foot wrong.  It is engaging and liquid, good bass control, but runs hot, I have a temperature gun and the heatsinks were hotter than the other three by 10 degrees F.  The 30.8 may dissipate more heat since it has more heat sink surface area but the F7 was the only one that was hot to the touch.  The SIT-3 just adds even more liquidity and losses a little bit of bass control.  The First Watts sound very intimate.  They make you feel like you are closer to the performance.  My favorites are the 30.8 and SIT-3.  I only have the SIT-3 now and have sold the other 3.  I would be happy with any of the 4 amps.

In short, 30.8 would be best if you need the headroom and power, due to large room or loud listening levels.  SIT-3 if you want the sweetest and most liquid presentation this side of tubes, and are OK with the lowest power output here and the lowest gain.  F7 if budget is a concern, it is can be had for about half the price of the SIT on the used market.  This may seem harsh but IMO the XA25 is the most ordinary of the four and I would only recommend it if you like the First Watt/Pass Labs Class A sound but need more headroom than the First Watts provide and don't want to or spend the extra on the 30.8.

Tangram

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #3 on: 3 May 2021, 07:29 pm »
Thanks for the feedback. I have a tube preamp and phono stage in my all-analog system.

jjss49

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #4 on: 3 May 2021, 08:45 pm »
not sure if loki has original m3 or m3 sapphires...  they are different speakers with different drivers and crossovers

loki7177

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #5 on: 3 May 2021, 09:08 pm »
I have M3 Sapphires. 

TomS

Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #6 on: 3 May 2021, 11:43 pm »
Based on what I've read, many Spatial owners prefer tube amps. What thoughts do people have on Class A SS? I have a Pass Labs XA30.5 that I plan on using with the M3S.
I believe Clayton has used an XA30.8 for quite some time, as a fine example of a SS amp. DAC Cherries as well.

Nsm1979

Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #7 on: 4 May 2021, 12:45 am »
+1 for the DAC Cherry Amps.  I have the King Inline Mono Maraschinos.  No desire to change in the foreseeable future.

Audiophile58

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #8 on: 4 May 2021, 03:50 pm »
I heard the X5 with the  excellent Coda CSIB integrated amp . It comes with 3 options in power
He has the V1 option first 18 1st watts in pre class A , and doubles down into 2 ohms 150,300,600
I like this better then the Pass labs 60 int it’s cleaner sounding liMO nothing under $10 k can touch it .
http://v2.stereotimes.com/post/coda-csib-integrated-by-richard-willie/

Mr. Big

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #9 on: 5 May 2021, 06:21 pm »
I use a McIntosh MC 402 to great effect with my M3's. Bass can shake the room, full midrange, and extended highs.  The big thing on M3's is toe-in and playing with distance from the front wall, and be opened minded about that, they can go closer than many state based on one's room, so play with the speaker and learn them.

Mr. Big

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #10 on: 5 May 2021, 06:23 pm »
Clayton any feedback on how the Pass XA 30.8 watt works with the M3's. I have been looking at that amp lately. Only 30 watts but class A, with lots of current.

targa02

Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #11 on: 5 May 2021, 07:44 pm »
I own the Lumina 2.  And, I have used the following amps: nCore, Pass Labs XA 25, Esoteric A-100 and LTA ZOTL Reference 40.  The two that I kept are the Esoteric and the LTA.  Both are great and I am fortunate that I can switch between them based on what I am wanting.  The Estoteric gives more of the tube magic (density and 3d imaging), whereas the LTA has extremely low noise floor, better definition and a holographic quality.  The XA25 is very, very good and I could easily live with it. The XA25 does nothing wrong.   But the two tube amps simply sound more pleasing to me.

rollo

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #12 on: 5 May 2021, 08:06 pm »
  Good is good  SS or tubed. Which is better depends on system not just amp. Hi Clayton.

charles

catluck

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #13 on: 10 May 2021, 02:47 pm »
Perhaps an unpopular position but I've been using Hypex (Bel Canto eRef 600's) amplification to break in the Sapphires and I have to say, I'm ravished by the beautiful tone/timbre.  Bass is exceptional.  Yes, I plan to transition to Psvane 845 mono's sitting just behind the Sapph's (50 watts -Class A) but while I'm breaking in the Sapph's, I cannot complain about the rich, dense tone and exceptional texture.  I'm all tubes upstairs (Manley Neo-Classic 300B's, Granite Audio 864's (KT-88's) and Hartung OTL (6C33's)) so it's fair to say that I have a sense of tube sound.  So to those with Class D kit, don't be hesitant to try it. And, remember, Clayton used to show with Red Dragon.  I'm so enthralled by these new Sapph's that, well..., perhaps I'm having difficulty finding any fault.  What a terrible state to be in!

morganc

Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #14 on: 10 May 2021, 08:01 pm »
Perhaps an unpopular position but I've been using Hypex (Bel Canto eRef 600's) amplification to break in the Sapphires and I have to say, I'm ravished by the beautiful tone/timbre.  Bass is exceptional.  Yes, I plan to transition to Psvane 845 mono's sitting just behind the Sapph's (50 watts -Class A) but while I'm breaking in the Sapph's, I cannot complain about the rich, dense tone and exceptional texture.  I'm all tubes upstairs (Manley Neo-Classic 300B's, Granite Audio 864's (KT-88's) and Hartung OTL (6C33's)) so it's fair to say that I have a sense of tube sound.  So to those with Class D kit, don't be hesitant to try it. And, remember, Clayton used to show with Red Dragon.  I'm so enthralled by these new Sapph's that, well..., perhaps I'm having difficulty finding any fault.  What a terrible state to be in!

Agreed, I am a tube lover but the heat here prohibits tubes at the moment, so I have been very happy with the Digital Audio Company 2 Cherry and now i have upgraded to the Megaschino and combined with a tube pre-amp is a wonderful combo.

Spatial Audio

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #15 on: 11 May 2021, 03:52 am »
Clayton any feedback on how the Pass XA 30.8 watt works with the M3's. I have been looking at that amp lately. Only 30 watts but class A, with lots of current.

The Pass XA 30.8 is outstanding with both our M3 and X Series models. Runs very hot however.

Clayton

lcd54222

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #16 on: 24 May 2021, 09:33 pm »
While my Pass XA-30.8 does a great job with my M5 Sapphires

, I'm on the hunt for something a bit better.  I tried both the Merrill Element 116 and AGD Audion Gallium Nitride monoblock amplifiers (a new way to implement class D) with great success - improved clarity, dynamics, bass control and three-dimensionality.  They are pricey though.  And I'm wanting to at least try some tubes.  I've looked into LTA a bit, but am wondering if anyone has tried the Decware Zen in monoblock configuration at about 8 wpc which is below the recommended power? 

Audiosaurusrex

Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #17 on: 24 May 2021, 09:47 pm »
I have the M3 Sapphires and went with OCTAVE V70 Class A w/ SBB

Just Stunning!
« Last Edit: 25 May 2021, 01:52 pm by Audiosaurusrex »

aniwolfe

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #18 on: 24 May 2021, 10:25 pm »
While my Pass XA-30.8 does a great job with my M5 Sapphires

, I'm on the hunt for something a bit better.  I tried both the Merrill Element 116 and AGD Audion Gallium Nitride monoblock amplifiers (a new way to implement class D) with great success - improved clarity, dynamics, bass control and three-dimensionality.  They are pricey though.  And I'm wanting to at least try some tubes.  I've looked into LTA a bit, but am wondering if anyone has tried the Decware Zen in monoblock configuration at about 8 wpc which is below the recommended power?

Why not get the top line Spatials if you were/are considering such pricey gear? Merrill is what $24k?

RDavidson

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Re: Spatials and Class A Solid State Amps
« Reply #19 on: 25 May 2021, 12:25 am »
While my Pass XA-30.8 does a great job with my M5 Sapphires

, I'm on the hunt for something a bit better.  I tried both the Merrill Element 116 and AGD Audion Gallium Nitride monoblock amplifiers (a new way to implement class D) with great success - improved clarity, dynamics, bass control and three-dimensionality.  They are pricey though.  And I'm wanting to at least try some tubes.  I've looked into LTA a bit, but am wondering if anyone has tried the Decware Zen in monoblock configuration at about 8 wpc which is below the recommended power?

Decware Zen won't be better than your XA30.8 in overall sound quality, plus only 8 wpc definitely won't give you the dynamics and control you seem to be seeking. Yes, Spatials are sensitive, but this does not make them necessarily an easy load. As you found, they respond to power. Maybe look at something from Rogue, like the Stereo 100 if you want a tube amp with power and control without breaking the bank.