List of recommended amps for Omegas

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yyz67

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List of recommended amps for Omegas
« on: 21 Nov 2014, 06:18 pm »
Hi Louis and Rob,

Keeping with the recent "which amps?" theme, I have some 3Us coming--and I know you've probably answered this a hundred times in various threads--but could you summarize and rank the list of amps/integrateds/kits (tube and SS) in different price ranges that work well with Omega's in general? With maybe a word or two about strengths/weaknesses? I've seen mention of N22, RWA, Decware, etc, but it would be cool to see a complete list based on what you have heard (or have heard several Omega owners rave about). If this list is useful, maybe you could make it a sticky (cleaned up).

Penciling a few in I've seen in some posts (but Louis/Rob please fill in and rank accordingly - if it makes any sense)...


Under $500:
1. Audioengine N22
2.
3.
4.
5.

Under $1000:
1. Decware Super Zen Triode SE84CKC (2W)
2. Red Wine Signature 15/16
3.
4.
5.

Under $2500:
1. Decware Zen Triode Integrated SE34I.4 (6W)
2.
3.
4.
5.

Under $5000:
1. Decware Zen TORII (25W)
2.
3.
4.
5.

Cost-no-object:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.


Thanks!

DaveC113

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #1 on: 21 Nov 2014, 06:52 pm »
Under $500... Crown XLS 1500.  This amp will compete with amps 10x it's price, not kidding. It also includes a built-in 24 dB Linkwitz-Riley crossover, increasing it's flexibility. On some types of music and at higher volume it will be better than any low powered SET amp and it's good enough just in general that you may not feel the need for a SET amp anymore. I would consider a tube preamp or buffer a requirement though.

sugbob21

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #2 on: 21 Nov 2014, 07:26 pm »
solid state the Rega Brio   $895........chip amp  the Virtue Audio  One.3   <$500   I've also used Prima Luna amps

seikosha

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #3 on: 21 Nov 2014, 07:31 pm »
A few random comments.

I've run my Omegas with:

Musical Fidelity M3i
NAD 370
Various TPA 3116/3110 Class D amps
Nuforce DDA100
Wadia 151
Audioengine N22
Rega Brio R
Decware SE84CKC
Decware Mini Torii

By far, the SE84 is the best of the lot.  The little Audioengine amp is almost really good.  Tonally it works better than I think any solid state amp I've tried with the Omegas but it completely falls apart for me in its soundstaging and imaging capablities where it is actually probably the worst of all the amps I've played the Omegas on.  Imaging is vague outside of the center image and the outer dimensions of the soundstage just collapse noticeably compared to other amps.

I actually never would have tried the Audioengine amp on the Omegas if I hadn't read Canada Robs recommendation.  I've had that amp for a few years running the TV system in my bedroom and had tried it in the past with some conventional speakers where it sounded pretty mediocre at best.  When I had first read Canada Robs recommendation I thought "no way" based on my experience with that amp on other speakers, but I tried it on the Omegas and again, tonally it really shined.  I was very surprised.  If you don't have your system set up for or aren't really into soundstaging and imaging, it's a great match for the Omegas.

The little TPA amps are fun and for the price, outstanding values.  For me, the 3116 outperforms the 3110 which sounds a little dead in comparison.

The Brio R is a fun amp with the Omegas.  It doesn't have the magic that the Decware amps have though, but there is a nice excitement to the sound it provides.

Besides the Brio, the best of the solid state amps overall that I've used on the Omegas was the Musical Fidelity, but when you can get an SE84 that's so much better for almost half the cost, why even recommend it right?  Once you hear the RS5 with a decent tube amp, you'll think "why bother" with solid state.  That said, I've toyed with the idea of getting a First Watt for a few months now.  I know Nelson Pass has used them on Omegas himself and he uses single driver speakers when he voices those amps.


pstrisik

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #4 on: 21 Nov 2014, 08:04 pm »
I have to put in a plug for my amp - Inspire single ended pentodes designed and built by Dennis Had (founder and chief engineer from Cary Audio) in "retirement".  He does a range of them from $1000 to $1700 and up to $4000 for his higher powered monoblocs.  Search for radioman731 on ebay for his listings.  You can contact him through there if you want something in particular.  He'll even do custom color powder coat for you (see below for my Jaguar Carnival Red - not my current tubes though).  They are a tube roller's dream!

There are starting to be some used ones coming up.  There is one on ebay and one on audiogon, both under $1000 and that top of the line pair of monos for $2800.

Thread:  http://www.audioaficionado.org/cary-audio-design/24170-dennis-had-inspire-amps.html

I have one (along with his LP-2 pre) and am running 6V6's (currently Visseaux) in it with a Sophia 274B rectifier and Voskhod "rocket" 6N23P driver.  I am very happy with it.

.........Peter






DaveC113

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #5 on: 21 Nov 2014, 08:05 pm »
A few random comments.

I've run my Omegas with:

Musical Fidelity M3i
NAD 370
Various TPA 3116/3110 Class D amps
Nuforce DDA100
Wadia 151
Audioengine N22
Rega Brio R
Decware SE84CKC
Decware Mini Torii

By far, the SE84 is the best of the lot.  The little Audioengine amp is almost really good.  Tonally it works better than I think any solid state amp I've tried with the Omegas but it completely falls apart for me in its soundstaging and imaging capablities where it is actually probably the worst of all the amps I've played the Omegas on.  Imaging is vague outside of the center image and the outer dimensions of the soundstage just collapse noticeably compared to other amps.

I actually never would have tried the Audioengine amp on the Omegas if I hadn't read Canada Robs recommendation.  I've had that amp for a few years running the TV system in my bedroom and had tried it in the past with some conventional speakers where it sounded pretty mediocre at best.  When I had first read Canada Robs recommendation I thought "no way" based on my experience with that amp on other speakers, but I tried it on the Omegas and again, tonally it really shined.  I was very surprised.  If you don't have your system set up for or aren't really into soundstaging and imaging, it's a great match for the Omegas.

The little TPA amps are fun and for the price, outstanding values.  For me, the 3116 outperforms the 3110 which sounds a little dead in comparison.

The Brio R is a fun amp with the Omegas.  It doesn't have the magic that the Decware amps have though, but there is a nice excitement to the sound it provides.

Besides the Brio, the best of the solid state amps overall that I've used on the Omegas was the Musical Fidelity, but when you can get an SE84 that's so much better for almost half the cost, why even recommend it right?  Once you hear the RS5 with a decent tube amp, you'll think "why bother" with solid state. That said, I've toyed with the idea of getting a First Watt for a few months now.  I know Nelson Pass has used them on Omegas himself and he uses single driver speakers when he voices those amps.


Once I heard the Crown amp on my Super 3 XRS I felt the same way in reverse! Good class D is here to stay, fwiw I'd upgrade speakers or get a Speed 12 sub rather than spend more on an amp after hearing what the Crown can do.

To qualify this, I have a unique tube amp comprised of only EL34 tubes run in triode mode with NO driver section, it has a 5AR4 tube rectifier followed by Clarity TC power caps and a custom electraprint choke. This amp has no coupling capacitors, James OPTs, Mills and Riken resistors, in general very high end parts. It's driven by an Aikido 6SN7 preamp with 20 dB gain, again using very high end parts. I compared my preamp/amp vs a friends Air Tight Preamp / Fi 2a3 monoblocks that combined are well over the $20k range on his Lamhorns with AER drivers (102+ dB efficiency) and my tube amps had no problem equaling his, we both thought the comparison was a draw with my amps having better tone and body and his slightly more resolving but lacking the bass and texture of my amps.

The Crown is completely as 3D and images as well as a SET amp, which has been their biggest weakness in the past. My SET has slightly better midrange but the Crown's bass and midbass are better than my SET. So, it's a tradeoff, on some music the Crown is better on some the SET, but the Crown is more flexible as it's power is limitless and I can play music at high volumes with much better clarity and dynamics vs my SET amp.

One of the biggest tradeoffs with a small SET is the Omega speakers can handle much more power, especially on transients, than a small SET can provide.


RDavidson

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #6 on: 21 Nov 2014, 08:39 pm »
Under $5k, but a little above $2.5k is the First Watt J2, which is sort of the equivalent of a "big" power SET amp (but in solid state form). REALLY happy with this amp with my Omega 3xrs. I was told by Mark at Reno HiFi that the J2 was made with single driver, crossover-less, speakers in mind. The match is absolutely fantastic and I feel ZERO "need" to try anything else with the Omegas.......but I'm sure I will at some point, just for fun. :thumb: The J2 is here to stay, though.

Canada Rob

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #7 on: 21 Nov 2014, 08:40 pm »
A few random comments.

I've run my Omegas with:

Musical Fidelity M3i
NAD 370
Various TPA 3116/3110 Class D amps
Nuforce DDA100
Wadia 151
Audioengine N22
Rega Brio R
Decware SE84CKC
Decware Mini Torii

By far, the SE84 is the best of the lot.  The little Audioengine amp is almost really good.  Tonally it works better than I think any solid state amp I've tried with the Omegas but it completely falls apart for me in its soundstaging and imaging capabilities where it is actually probably the worst of all the amps I've played the Omegas on.  Imaging is vague outside of the center image and the outer dimensions of the soundstage just collapse noticeably compared to other amps.

I actually never would have tried the Audioengine amp on the Omegas if I hadn't read Canada Robs recommendation.  I've had that amp for a few years running the TV system in my bedroom and had tried it in the past with some conventional speakers where it sounded pretty mediocre at best.  When I had first read Canada Robs recommendation I thought "no way" based on my experience with that amp on other speakers, but I tried it on the Omegas and again, tonally it really shined.  I was very surprised.  If you don't have your system set up for or aren't really into soundstaging and imaging, it's a great match for the Omegas.

The little TPA amps are fun and for the price, outstanding values.  For me, the 3116 outperforms the 3110 which sounds a little dead in comparison.

The Brio R is a fun amp with the Omegas.  It doesn't have the magic that the Decware amps have though, but there is a nice excitement to the sound it provides.

Besides the Brio, the best of the solid state amps overall that I've used on the Omegas was the Musical Fidelity, but when you can get an SE84 that's so much better for almost half the cost, why even recommend it right?  Once you hear the RS5 with a decent tube amp, you'll think "why bother" with solid state.  That said, I've toyed with the idea of getting a First Watt for a few months now.  I know Nelson Pass has used them on Omegas himself and he uses single driver speakers when he voices those amps.
Hi seikosha,

It's interesting you find your N22 soundstaging to be poor.  Your findings are opposite to mine.  I did most of my evaluation on the Super 3i and Super 3T.  The soundstage is huge - extending beyond the outside of the speakers.  Focus is average, but still quite good, and the depth is somewhat shallow compared to a Zen, Artist, Elite 80, Elite 40SE.  Last week I had a customer looking for speakers who is into imaging (he has a beautiful MacIntosh tube/ClearAudio front end with Maggies).  He sat down in front of the N22/Super 3i system and was so impressed he carried off the speakers.  He was not the first customer that was impressed by this combo and it's ability to throw a great image.

Your N22 may be out of spec or there may be other incompatibilities going on among your gear or.....Audio Engine may have improved the N22 since you got yours.  With such huge disparity between experiences, something is not quite right.

Canada Rob

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #8 on: 21 Nov 2014, 08:58 pm »
Hi Louis and Rob,

Keeping with the recent "which amps?" theme, I have some 3Us coming--and I know you've probably answered this a hundred times in various threads--but could you summarize and rank the list of amps/integrateds/kits (tube and SS) in different price ranges that work well with Omega's in general? With maybe a word or two about strengths/weaknesses? I've seen mention of N22, RWA, Decware, etc, but it would be cool to see a complete list based on what you have heard (or have heard several Omega owners rave about). If this list is useful, maybe you could make it a sticky (cleaned up).

Penciling a few in I've seen in some posts (but Louis/Rob please fill in and rank accordingly - if it makes any sense)...
I think it would help if you could zero in on a price range, because what you are asking could comprise hundreds of suitable amplifiers.
« Last Edit: 22 Nov 2014, 01:20 am by Canada Rob »

seikosha

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #9 on: 21 Nov 2014, 09:00 pm »

Your N22 may be out of spec or there may be other incompatibilities going on among your gear or.....Audio Engine may have improved the N22 since you got yours.  With such huge disparity between experiences, something is not quite right.

Canada Rob, you could be right.  Like I said, I'd tried that amp in the past with some Harbeths and Kefs and it was very disappointing with those speakers.  With the Omegas it was so much better.  It could either a bad example or as you said, been improved in recent years.  I've got two systems set up and even have different Omegas (RS5 based) in both at times.  The soundstaging imaging deficiencies I heard was in both rooms with various equipment so the issue is probably something with the amp rather than a mismatch.


Canada Rob

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #10 on: 21 Nov 2014, 09:04 pm »
I have to put in a plug for my amp - Inspire single ended pentodes designed and built by Dennis Had (founder and chief engineer from Cary Audio) in "retirement".  He does a range of them from $1000 to $1700 and up to $4000 for his higher powered monoblocs.  Search for radioman731 on ebay for his listings.  You can contact him through there if you want something in particular.  He'll even do custom color powder coat for you (see below for my Jaguar Carnival Red - not my current tubes though).  They are a tube roller's dream!

There are starting to be some used ones coming up.  There is one on ebay and one on audiogon, both under $1000 and that top of the line pair of monos for $2800.

Thread:  http://www.audioaficionado.org/cary-audio-design/24170-dennis-had-inspire-amps.html

I have one (along with his LP-2 pre) and am running 6V6's (currently Visseaux) in it with a Sophia 274B rectifier and Voskhod "rocket" 6N23P driver.  I am very happy with it.

.........Peter




Always loved the look of that amp.  :thumb:

guillaume bougard

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #11 on: 22 Nov 2014, 12:50 am »
I have an 1966 or 68 restored Eico hf-81 that is marvelous. I just hooked my 7xrs 90 minutes ago and I've played my selection of dub records that I use to evaluate stuff. Boy, did I have a nice experience. A bit different from my system at the office (the 3 desktop with a N22 Audioengine) which sounds awesome, with so much more bass, volume of air displaced. It's almost 2 in the morning and I'm debating going to bed or playing more music... it's that awesome.

so to get back to the topic of this thread, vintage gear that's properly maintained or nicely restored can be an attractive alternative. And those babies are just insanely beautiful most of the time...

I'm always enjoying reading the manuals for these old pieces of equipment. Boy are they technical! Did people understand anything back in the days and have we dumbed down??? http://vintagevacuumaudio.com/schematics-manuals/eico/eico-hf-81-owner-manual-schematics.pdf

Canada Rob

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #12 on: 22 Nov 2014, 01:19 am »

I'm always enjoying reading the manuals for these old pieces of equipment. Boy are they technical! Did people understand anything back in the days and have we dumbed down??? http://vintagevacuumaudio.com/schematics-manuals/eico/eico-hf-81-owner-manual-schematics.pdf
Looks like a kit manual.  The manual for the Bottlehead Stereomour is about 80 pages and extremely clear.  Unfortunately, unlike the HF-81 manual, the Bottlehead one is on a disc, so I either have to build it in front of a computer, or print 80 pages.  Don't like that.

Holygeezer

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #13 on: 22 Nov 2014, 01:36 am »
I am running a Dayens Ampino (Integrated) with my Outlaw 1.5 Way Towers. The sound is sublime.

Guy 13

Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #14 on: 22 Nov 2014, 02:08 am »
Hi all Omega fans.
I own a Decware SE84C+ SET 2wpc
and I am very happy with it driving my Omega 7F Open Baffle Dipole.
I've tired my Nightshade Audio amplifier 6L6 Pentode 10wpc,
my Decware sound's better.
I've tried my Sony Mini solid state receiver 15 wpc,
my Decware sound's better.
With my Decware the EL84/6922 that sound's better is the Electro Harmonix,
better than all the NOS I've tried.
I would be curious to know if the SE34I.4 would be better than my SE84C+ except for the increase in power.

Guy 13
 

Nocturne79

Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #15 on: 22 Nov 2014, 02:17 am »
I use a Decware Torii MKIV with my outlaw omegas and I think the combo its great.  More power than I possibly need with these speakers.  For me the tone and texture and pretty much everything else is spot on.

OzarkTom

Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #16 on: 22 Nov 2014, 02:53 am »
Under $500... Crown XLS 1500.  This amp will compete with amps 10x it's price, not kidding. It also includes a built-in 24 dB Linkwitz-Riley crossover, increasing it's flexibility. On some types of music and at higher volume it will be better than any low powered SET amp and it's good enough just in general that you may not feel the need for a SET amp anymore. I would consider a tube preamp or buffer a requirement though.

+1

These Crown amps are great with any high-end speaker.

Capt. Yossarian

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #17 on: 22 Nov 2014, 06:31 am »
In the Under $1000 category, I'd like to nominate the amp that I use with my Super 3S speakers: a Dared 2A3C. At 8 wpc, it delivers a beautiful sound with the Omegas -- lots of detail, deep and wide soundstage, a truly beautiful sound. Obviously, the Omegas are a big part of the equation (I don't have multiple speakers to test with the Dared) -- but I truly love this combination. The Dared can be had on eBay for about $840 plus shipping.

McNubbins

Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #18 on: 22 Nov 2014, 05:08 pm »
I hope this is all right to ask in this thread:
Can anyone tell me how crazy I would be to pair an RS5-based Omega with a little T-amp? I read that John Darko seemed to have reasonable luck with Hoyt-Bedfords... I've ordered the 3XRS and I plan to power them with a Topping TP20 (a TA2020 based unit with some "audiophile" components which is very favourably reviewed across the web). I've got a very good DAC and a solid state preamp (with a remote!) that I plan to use as well.

If none of you folks has any opinions I'll still post in a few weeks here or in a separate thread with my listening impressions--as valid as they will be coming from someone who hasn't heard any other Omega speakers or tried any other amps.

Thanks for furthering our collective knowledge, everyone.

sugbob21

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Re: List of recommended amps for Omegas
« Reply #19 on: 22 Nov 2014, 11:05 pm »
the Crown XLS 1500  is 300 wpc ?  Isn't that a bit of overkill with Omegas ?  Would a Decware pre amp work with this amp assuming i am looking at the right one.