comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated

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Daryl Zero

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #20 on: 7 Oct 2022, 03:18 pm »
Because it is sort of on topic, here is the first review I've seen for the Z40i + (previous reviews are not for the "+")

https://twitteringmachines.com/review-linear-tube-audio-z40-integrated-amplifier/

jnschneyer

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #21 on: 7 Oct 2022, 08:18 pm »
The thing about the sound of a system in this case a new amp is a sound with its use in his system, within his room acoustics, his power cords, etc. The same amp in my system might sound much different due to what I mentioned. Same amp could sound warmer or brighter in another system, then of course the preamp used would also make an impact.

I know that is the generally accepted wisdom, and, for the most part, I subscribe to it, though I think I do so purblindly, as I've not really heard enough of the same gear in different rooms, with different cables, preamps, etc to swear to the truth of it.  I have had one glaring example of it when first hearing a pair of B&W 802 Diamonds in a well-treated showroom, then hearing them (after purchasing them) in my own too small, acoustically inadequate room.  That was something of a shock.  A small amount of treatment made a huge difference, but it was a lesson in showroom vs living room.  I've also had the opposite experience.  The Valhalla I heard at the Spatial Audio shop is the same Valhalla (not literally) I now hear in my living room.  So, while we justify and make allowances based on differing equipment and circumstances, unless those differences are especially egregious (as in my showroom vs living room experience), I'm left wondering (and I know this is bordering on hifi heresy) just how significant or pronounced those differences really are.  I suppose once you've introduced such a vague qualifier as "especially egregious," you've rendered the possibility of coming to any universally recognized conclusion pretty much nil.  Anecdote is a powerful but unreliable measure.  Then, that's part of what keeps the audiophile ball rolling.       
« Last Edit: 11 Oct 2022, 08:28 pm by jnschneyer »

Daryl Zero

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #22 on: 4 Nov 2022, 02:08 pm »
New review from Steve Guttenberg of the LTA z40+

https://youtu.be/epNH6ELnJ74

RonN5

Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #23 on: 4 Nov 2022, 03:43 pm »
My sense is that amps, whether solid state or tube, are headed either in the direction of low distortion clarity or by design 2nd 3rd harmonics with warmth….and you either pick the sound you most prefer or own both and swap them in and out depending on what you are listening to.

Daryl Zero

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #24 on: 4 Nov 2022, 04:22 pm »
I had wanted a combination which the LTA seems to bring. I had to swap all of the tubes to up the tube warmth sound index but I don't feel that I sacrificed any of the clarity and speed.

Daryl Zero

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #25 on: 3 Mar 2023, 04:28 am »
New Record Day did a comparison of the LTA z40i, the Rogue Cronus III, the Black Ice F35, and the Galion TS 120SE. It is a long video but well worth watching.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-SYzpJwLD0&t=3s

AllanS

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #26 on: 3 Mar 2023, 12:42 pm »
I know that is the generally accepted wisdom, and, for the most part, I subscribe to it…   
I don’t know that it’s heresy.  I’m relatively early in my audiophile hobby / obsession journey (leaning obsession but not sure yet) but what I’m finding so far is YMMV is more true here than most other interests.  Your speaker experience is a good example. 
What you experienced is obvious differences I suspect most would hear if they’re paying attention.  But many if not most discussions / pissing contests are about stuff that may not be so obvious if you’re inexperienced, your setup is incapable of revealing the subtleties, or you’re simply deaf to the differences.
I’m still building out my system and room but what I’m experiencing and learning about myself and setup already has me thinking of scaling back to a good integrated paired with a good DAC.  I’m not ready to throw in the towel but I think the subtleties of separates, cables, and fractions of inches and degrees of speaker position and toe in are mostly lost on me.
That in part is what makes this thread interesting to me.

AllanS

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #27 on: 3 Mar 2023, 12:45 pm »
My sense is that amps, whether solid state or tube, are headed either in the direction of low distortion clarity or by design 2nd 3rd harmonics with warmth….and you either pick the sound you most prefer or own both and swap them in and out depending on what you are listening to.
This amp caught my attention for this very reason.
https://nuprimeaudio.com/product/ia-9x/

Mr. Big

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #28 on: 3 Mar 2023, 03:32 pm »
One's system in the end is what we enjoy. and what gear we use and room acoustics and its major impact on what we finally hear. I own a preamp that I can change the gain on its outputs. can be 0db, 6db, 12db, and finally 18db. My amp is 26db rated. from 0-18, db each step up sounds different in that you gain body, presence, and dynamics. It's like if you owned 4 different preamps.  I can fully understand when we insert another preamp in our systems the sound can really change, and looking at the gain of these amps I looked at their gain and all were different some as high as 24db. I always keep my preamp at 12db and 6db if I wanted more detail and cleaner sound. I was at a dealer telling him about it and he said with your amp have you tried the 18db setting you might be surprised. Went home powered up the ML 326S preamp up the setting, turned the volume down, and let it warm up along with the MK 532H amp, put on my Chesky Test Disc, and started with Spanish Harlem by Rebbeca Piegon. My Sapphire 3's came to life like never before, the bottom end was still tight as I was used to but now with power and impact more than ever before. Vocals are larger present and detailed, and the violins open and sweet with the ebb and flow of the bow. Later played a track with horns and the impact and speed were better and real, and so on. The piano was fuller and the low end and the upper end had more detail and the attack of the real thing. Going back to the 12db settings, and adjusting the volume to match, the sound was still good, more laid back, only by comparison, midrange every even, with good body, 6db setting which my buddy likes, very clean with everything sounding even, like a recording, 0db even more so, that is like being in a passive preamp, and sounded like it all detail lacking weight and body. The thing is depending on one's tastes you really might prefer the system sounded with one of the 4 gain settings, which one is right? The one you enjoy. Myself for now 18db with a smile on my face, makes music just come alive and in the room, test sound very natural, but with body and weight to the reproduction.  Now my M3s sound SO different like it is a different speaker and my point what we all hear with the same speakers can be vastly different.  The Spatials speak the truth about what they are receiving and the quality of the recordings. To end if I had walked into the room and depending on the gain settings of the preamp my perception of the speakers would run from not for me, to these sound really good, and then holy mother of Mary these are good. This shows specs of the speaker do not mean they don't like/need power and in this case, the M3's love current this wakes up from the highs down with air and now you can hear what those 15' woofers can do not to mention the mid-bass and its impact on making the midrange fuller while more open and the highs airy.   I am listening to a cello movement and never heard it sound so real, detailed, and with bloom and body of the instrument as now, no bloat or fatness just real and the hall around it is so real and present.
« Last Edit: 3 Mar 2023, 05:07 pm by Mr. Big »

thestatman

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #29 on: 4 Mar 2023, 05:51 am »
its interesting Mr Big isn't it?   I have noticed the same thing.   i have a made up theory that hifi systems (with typical 2v source outputs and usual speaker sensitivity range)  sound best with 40-44 dB of gain which can be made up of any combination of gain in preamp and power amp.   For you 18dB + 24dB puts you in the sweet spot of 42dB overall gain for example.
   I have found that lower sensitivity speakers (below 86dB for example) need not only humoungous watts from the power amp to get concert level volume but also need very gain amplification change.   Passive preamp (odB) plus electrostatics (80-84dB) for example has always been a bad combo to my ears.
   I have no knowledge if there is psychoacoustic science to support my made up theory.

Mr. Big

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #30 on: 4 Mar 2023, 02:14 pm »
its interesting Mr Big isn't it?   I have noticed the same thing.   i have a made up theory that hifi systems (with typical 2v source outputs and usual speaker sensitivity range)  sound best with 40-44 dB of gain which can be made up of any combination of gain in preamp and power amp.   For you 18dB + 24dB puts you in the sweet spot of 42dB overall gain for example.
   I have found that lower sensitivity speakers (below 86dB for example) need not only humoungous watts from the power amp to get concert level volume but also need very gain amplification change.   Passive preamp (odB) plus electrostatics (80-84dB) for example has always been a bad combo to my ears.
   I have no knowledge if there is psychoacoustic science to support my made up theory.

Your ears tell the truth. Anyone who was over at my house for a listen could hear the changes with no effort, 0db-18db. Each step up with music gains dynamics, tone, weight, and color. I like 12db a lot, and 18db also. 12db may be the more sonically balanced setting, and 18db really makes the speaker explode with impactful bass, but I like the ebb and flow of the 12db setting. But the 0db is a no-go. Odb it is then a passive preamp and it sounds like it. But the Mark Levinson preamp offers you the opportunity to use different gain settings to allow the best sonics of that input and gear, my output is 2V. from my Marantz SACD/DAC player. I think from this we can see why different preamps will sound different in the same system, their gain outputs are fixed and they can be 10db and as high as 24db, and knowing what we know each one could sound totally different dues to their gain output. The Levinson does not suffer these issues, you can max out its sound no matter the amp used or source and their voltages out. Did some more listening between the 12db gain setting and the 18db gain setting, 12db gain was better overall, and the thing is the noise floor is so low I am hearing the smallest of sounds and detail, like movement in the studio, papers flipping, etc. Same system and gear and speakers, as the Sapphires, but just a higher gain adjustment within the Mark Levinson preamp. 6Db setting is better than 0db, infact the most detailed and depending on the power cord I use it can be the best, so with a well thought out preamp like the ML 326S you can really look in the best sonics.
« Last Edit: 10 Mar 2023, 04:35 pm by Mr. Big »

jnschneyer

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #31 on: 9 Mar 2023, 06:53 pm »
I don’t know that it’s heresy.  I’m relatively early in my audiophile hobby / obsession journey (leaning obsession but not sure yet) but what I’m finding so far is YMMV is more true here than most other interests.  Your speaker experience is a good example. 
What you experienced is obvious differences I suspect most would hear if they’re paying attention.  But many if not most discussions / pissing contests are about stuff that may not be so obvious if you’re inexperienced, your setup is incapable of revealing the subtleties, or you’re simply deaf to the differences.
I’m still building out my system and room but what I’m experiencing and learning about myself and setup already has me thinking of scaling back to a good integrated paired with a good DAC.  I’m not ready to throw in the towel but I think the subtleties of separates, cables, and fractions of inches and degrees of speaker position and toe in are mostly lost on me.
That in part is what makes this thread interesting to me.

It's funny, in a tragi-comic sort of way.  The YMMV aspect of the hobby (I don't know why, but I dislike that word, hobby; I think it wounds my sense of self-importance) ought to bring with it a measure of relief, that there is no absolute should to our responses and preferences, and that what we like (the whole trust your ears mantra) is the true arbiter of what is, in a practical sense, good.  But, for me at least, it's nigh on impossible to not get caught up in believing there is something better, and that, within our means, and sometimes beyond them (he said, shamefacedly), we should do all we can to bring about that better, that our listening experience, and, by extrapolation, our very life, will be improved by it.  Part of this thinking on my part is fueled by my experiences with, as revoltingly pretentious as it sounds, writing, art, music, and wine.  We've all heard the pronouncement at one time or another "I may not know art, but I know what I like."  Well, okay.  But contained within that pronouncement is the admission that you don't know art, and that, if you did know art, you might choose, understand, be moved by something entirely different.  To me, there is something of the "I may not know, but I know" formula in "let your ears be your guide."  Take the snobbery out of it, and the fact remains that a better trained eye, a more developed palate, a more educated and discerning ear, will both make one more critical and increase one's understanding and appreciation.  There are sommeliers who can, blindfolded, identify type, grape varietal, year, and region of a given wine; it was said, and I believe it, that Toscanini could pick out the one instrument in an orchestral passage that had played a wrong note; a sophisticated reader will be able to recognize and explain, on a technical level, why a sonnet by John Donne is superior to any limerick.  In the same way, I have no doubt there are those who can hear and identify the virtues and shortcomings of a given hifi setup and know where those shortcoming lie and how to remedy them.  All of this I offer by way of illustration that, while our ears, possibly, should be our guide, our ears are also, at least potentially, capable of improvement, and, issues of cost aside, is it not better to train our ears to prefer a higher, more detailed, sonorous level of sound, so that, as with literature, music, art, and wine, we can elevate our experience, and thereby increase our enjoyment?  Some say that understanding robs a thing of its magic.  I have never found this to be the case.  In my experience, the greater the understanding, the greater the enjoyment, the greater the amazement.  So, in the hope of realizing the greater, or even only slightly better, of all those things - the room, room treatment, tonearm, cartridge, speaker cable, power cord, tube rolling, etc - the conundrum persists: to tweak or not to tweak.  I suppose this is where an honest embracing of the injunction know thyself comes in.  If one is certain one has attained one's listening apex, then that's it; no more searching, only listen and enjoy.  But if one remains in the throes of the siren call of potential, that ever-unknown yet endlessly projected quantity, then the search will probably continue.       
« Last Edit: 20 Mar 2023, 09:04 pm by jnschneyer »

rollo

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #32 on: 9 Mar 2023, 08:11 pm »
I am considering these for use with my X3s and would be interested in thoughts of those who have heard them both. Or, heard them both and chose something else! Only in the beginning phases of thinking about changing from my 2.3watt SET amp or maybe a pair of them series coupled for 2 at 6watts each. Most of the time one is sufficient but just need more headroom on some music. Orchestral music with large dynamic range is particularly troublesome. 12 x 30 x 8 room and do not listen at high levels. Anything over about 80dB is uncomfortable to me. Appreciate your thoughts

   Someones else's opinion is moot. Systems are different, room is different. Do your self a favor and just listen to them in YOUR system. Truly the only way to know. Synergy matters. Have fun trying.

charles

mresseguie

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #33 on: 10 Mar 2023, 12:46 am »
It's funny, in a tragi-comic sort of way.  The YMMV aspect of the hobby (I don't know why, but I dislike that word, hobby; I think it wounds my sense of self-importance) ought to bring with it a measure of relief, that there is no absolute should to our responses and preferences, and that what we like (the whole trust your ears mantra) is the true arbiter of what is, in a practical sense, good.  But, for me at least, it's nigh on impossible to not get caught up in believing there is something better, and that, within our means, and sometimes beyond them (he said, shamefacedly), we should do all we can to bring about that better, that our listening experience, and, by extrapolation, our very life, will be improved by it.  Part of this thinking on my part is fueled by my experiences with, as revoltingly pretentious as it sounds, writing, art, music, and wine.  We've all heard the pronouncement at one time or another "I may not know art, but I know what I like."  Well, okay.  But contained within that pronouncement is the admission that you don't know art, and that, if you did know art, you might choose, understand, be moved by something entirely different.  To me, there is something of the "I may not know, but I know" formula in "let your ears be your guide."  Take the snobbery out of it, and the fact remains that a better trained eye, a more developed palate, a more educated and discerning ear, will both make one more critical and increase one's understanding and appreciation.  There are sommeliers who can, blindfolded, identify type, grape varietal, year, and region of a given wine; it was said, and I believe it, that Toscanini could pick out the one instrument in an orchestral passage that had played a wrong note; a sophisticated reader will be able to recognize and explain, on a technical level, why a sonnet by John Donne is superior to any limerick.  In the same way, I have no doubt there are those who can hear and identify the virtues and shortcomings of a given hifi setup and know where those shortcoming lie and how to remedy them.  All of this I offer by way of illustration that, while our ears, possibly, should be our guide, our ears are also, at least potentially, capable of improvement, and, issues of cost aside, is it not better to train our ears to prefer a higher, more detailed, sonorous level of sound, so that, as with literature, music, art, and wine, we can elevate our experience, and thereby increase our enjoyment?  Some say that understanding robs a thing of its magic.  I have never found this to be the case.  In my experience, the greater the understanding, the greater the enjoyment, the greater the amazement.  So, in the hope of realizing the greater, or even only slightly better, of all those things, the room, room treatment, tonearm, cartridge, speaker cable, power cord, tube rolling, conundrum persists: to tweak or not to tweak.  I suppose this is where an honest embracing of the injunction to know thyself comes in.  If one is certain one has attained one's listening apex, then that's it; no more searching, only listen and enjoy.  But if one remains in the throes of the siren call of potential, that ever-unknown yet endlessly projected quantity, then the search will probably continue.     

+1

Very well written, Josh. Thank you for adding your thoughts to this discussion.  :thumb:

Michael

Mr. Big

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #34 on: 10 Mar 2023, 06:00 pm »
To keep it simple if one's system does not move them emotionally, feel the emotion of the singer then something is missing. if your system does not make you go wow! once in a while, something is missing.  It's not that complicated but to get there takes some work and care of room acoustics and setup and gear matching.

DBT AUDIO

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #35 on: 11 Mar 2023, 03:31 am »
To keep it simple if one's system does not move them emotionally, feel the emotion of the singer then something is missing. if your system does not make you go wow! once in a while, something is missing.  It's not that complicated but to get there takes some work and care of room acoustics and setup and gear matching.
You put the whole hifi journey in an excellent nutshell!

Mr. Big

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #36 on: 11 Mar 2023, 02:46 pm »
I know that is the generally accepted wisdom, and, for the most part, I subscribe to it, though I think I do so purblindly, as I've not really heard enough of the same gear in different rooms, with different cables, preamps, etc to swear to the truth of it.  I have had one glaring example of it when first hearing a pair of B&W 802 Diamonds in a well-treated showroom, then hearing them (after purchasing them) in my own too small, acoustically inadequate room.  That was something of a shock.  A small amount of treatment made a huge difference, but it was a lesson in showroom vs living room.  I've also had the opposite experience.  The Valhalla I heard at the Spatial Audio shop is the same Valhalla (not literally) I now hear in my living room.  So, while we justify and make allowances based on differing equipment and circumstances, unless those differences are especially egregious (as in my showroom vs living room experience), I'm left wondering (and I know this is bordering on hifi heresy) just how significant or pronounced those differences really are.  I suppose once you've introduced such a vague qualifier as "especially egregious," you've rendered the possibility of coming to any universally recognized conclusion pretty much nil.  Anecdote is a powerful but unreliable measure.  Then, that's part of what keeps the audiophile ball rolling.     

Well, showroom sound vs. your in-home sound was different and that is my point. You could have the same gear and cables as mine but your Sapphires or name a speaker will sound different in your room than mine. Because your room sounds different. Cleveland Orch. has its own sound and that is due to the acoustics at Severance Hall if they play in another hall their sound would be different than in Cleveland Hall, with the same player's same instruments and live playing not from an audio system. There is no Absolute sound or "right" sound, but there is a sound that for us is the correct sound for our ears and tastes that should bring enjoyment and emotionally moves us. 
« Last Edit: 19 Mar 2023, 01:35 pm by Mr. Big »

geerock

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Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #37 on: 18 Mar 2023, 04:48 pm »
I had the  LTA REF 40 plus amp with the DS pre and was very happy with that combo with my X5's. Then I talked to the guys at Spatial who have a couple different models of the LTA and some DS equipment also.  From what I hear from them they love playing the Kootenay or Valhalla.  And then Don brought down his new 300b offering to give them a listen and that upped the game even further.  They were so convincing in their description I sold my LTA and bought one of only 2 Don Sachs 300b amps, this one I have with custom wound IT trannies from Cinemag and a couple other tweaks from his original design.  I'm using 4 tungsol nos 6v6 from the 50's.  I have 3 quads of 300b that I swap in and out as I still can't figure out which set I like best.  And a pair of Linlai Elite e6sn7's.  This is definitely the first  piece I've owned that simply puts everything into place, and I've owned a LOT of equipment in my days.  This is the first (and last) truly great amp I've had in my system.  A friend had the integrated LTA 40 and swapped it for a used DS Kootenay and loved it.  Now he longs for a DS 300b but the Kootenay, in his system, and to his ears, simply was a big step up from the LTA.

sjsfiveo

Re: comparing Don Sachs integrated with LTA integrated
« Reply #38 on: 19 Mar 2023, 05:40 pm »
I had the  LTA REF 40 plus amp with the DS pre and was very happy with that combo with my X5's. Then I talked to the guys at Spatial who have a couple different models of the LTA and some DS equipment also.  From what I hear from them they love playing the Kootenay or Valhalla.  And then Don brought down his new 300b offering to give them a listen and that upped the game even further.  They were so convincing in their description I sold my LTA and bought one of only 2 Don Sachs 300b amps, this one I have with custom wound IT trannies from Cinemag and a couple other tweaks from his original design.  I'm using 4 tungsol nos 6v6 from the 50's.  I have 3 quads of 300b that I swap in and out as I still can't figure out which set I like best.  And a pair of Linlai Elite e6sn7's.  This is definitely the first  piece I've owned that simply puts everything into place, and I've owned a LOT of equipment in my days.  This is the first (and last) truly great amp I've had in my system.  A friend had the integrated LTA 40 and swapped it for a used DS Kootenay and loved it.  Now he longs for a DS 300b but the Kootenay, in his system, and to his ears, simply was a big step up from the LTA.

Geerock I sent you a PM.

Steve