Reference 20 review

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ECM

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 8
Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #40 on: 25 May 2016, 05:28 pm »
To ECM and TedTag - any updates as your Ref 20's have settled in?
In terms of list price, when I purchased list I think was $7,600 which is a great deal given what they beat out. Don't know price now

gammajo,

I've not noticed much change after the initial break in.  To me, they sounded fantastic straight out of the box, cold.  They were clearly a step above the Ref 9 V2 SE that they replaced.  They are the best amplifiers I've ever owned and intend on keeping them for a long time. 

I'm currently living and working in the United Arab Emirates so a cool running amplifier was a must for me.  As much as I would have liked to run a tube amp, I can't deal with the heat.  The decision to move to NuPrime was a good one for me as the Ref 20 do not add to, subtract from, or filter the music.  They just "get out of the way" and allow me to enjoy it!

gammajo

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #41 on: 25 May 2016, 05:54 pm »
ECM Thank you for the update. I am very happy that you love the Ref 20 as much as I do. It sure is great to have smaller size and weight and no heat and even better to have such stellar sound!

Eisener Bart

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #42 on: 6 Jun 2016, 04:52 pm »
rustydoglim,

Any chance to find out 1 specification of Ref-20?
I am interesting regarding Slew Rate.

Thank you!

rustydoglim

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #43 on: 8 Jun 2016, 08:23 pm »
We don't take that measurement of the slew rate.

Eisener Bart

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #44 on: 18 Jun 2016, 02:43 pm »
Did somebody try to connect 2 pairs of speakers cables to Ref-20? I've got difficulty with STA-9.

gammajo

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #45 on: 18 Jun 2016, 03:20 pm »
I have connected to sets of cables for biwire, but to the same speakers and also to mains and subs - no problem

Eisener Bart

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #46 on: 18 Jun 2016, 03:32 pm »
I have connected to sets of cables for biwire, but to the same speakers and also to mains and subs - no problem

So it looks like connectors of Fer-20 are larger than STA-9.

gammajo

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #47 on: 19 Jun 2016, 01:56 am »
They are 4 way on the Ref 20 so you can put bananas in for one pair and spades or bare wire for another

Eisener Bart

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #48 on: 19 Jun 2016, 08:46 am »
They are 4 way on the Ref 20 so you can put bananas in for one pair and spades or bare wire for another

Thank you!
I am so impressed by sound of simple STA-9, I cann't imagine the sound of Ref-20.

gammajo

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #49 on: 19 Jun 2016, 02:09 pm »
Eisner - The 20's indeed be good :) But with Nuprime I would bet it is of type that unless heard will not be missed - a bit more finesse, micro and macro dynamics and sound stage at least with upper end speakers and front end, compared to the "simple" designs that really do nothing wrong giving you a terrific amp that easily conveys music with lots of beauty and excitement.

Eisener Bart

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #50 on: 19 Jun 2016, 02:21 pm »
Eisner - The 20's indeed be good :) But with Nuprime I would bet it is of type that unless heard will not be missed - a bit more finesse, micro and macro dynamics and sound stage at least with upper end speakers and front end, compared to the "simple" designs that really do nothing wrong giving you a terrific amp that easily conveys music with lots of beauty and excitement.

I have 3 ways to go at this moment:
2 pcs - STA-9
4 pcs - STA-9 (in prospect 'cos it will require to buy Pre Amp with 2 or 3 pairs of XLR outputs)
2 pcs - Ref-20.

Unfortunately, Ref-20 is absent in Ukraine (audioshops or owners, no matter), otherwise I could spend 2-3 days for audiotioning it before purchase. The question: 2 STA-9 in bridged mode vs 2 pcs Ref-20 - is difference in Sound equall difference in money? 1300 USD vs 7600 USD. Money ratio 5.5. Ok, I'm experienced guy in audio, I am not waiting same ratio in Sound, but will I get at least 50% more???

gammajo

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #51 on: 19 Jun 2016, 06:21 pm »
Eisner - Very hard to answer your question depending on equipment, room, kind of music. For me, with an obsessive interest in the best sound that I can achieve and liking mostly acoustic instruments in the classical, and jazz areas and being a musician and knowing what real instruments sound like and once happy not changing equipment for a decade or more, it is worth it when I hear something that bring me closer to live music.

Eisener Bart

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #52 on: 19 Jun 2016, 06:27 pm »
Eisner - Very hard to answer your question depending on equipment, room, kind of music. For me, with an obsessive interest in the best sound that I can achieve and liking mostly acoustic instruments in the classical, and jazz areas and being a musician and knowing what real instruments sound like and once happy not changing equipment for a decade or more, it is worth it when I hear something that bring me closer to live music.

No any difficulties.  :green:

Room - 21.9 sq m.

Eq-t - you may see in my Gallery/System. Speakers - Audio Physic Avanti, as Pre Amp and DAC - AMR DP-777, CD Player - Micromega Aria and T+A CD 1220 R, TT - Elac Miracord 50H, 3 pairs of headphones + some ukrainian brands which are unknown on market outside of country.

Kind of Music - all, but with age - mostly classic and jazz.

gammajo

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #53 on: 19 Jun 2016, 06:57 pm »
I sure can not put this in percentage but to come at this another way - there were gains in sound stage etc that were not "can't live without" for me but for others may be highly important. For me the relatively minor improvement in natural inner detail and dynamics while preserving liquidity was a major deal, as it made my system sound more real and less electronic in areas that I pay very close attention to. Aside from this perhaps Jason can comment more cogently having designed and heard them in direct comparison.

rustydoglim

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #54 on: 20 Jun 2016, 07:40 pm »
Use the Amp Comparison Chart, I can't get around that.
Two possibilities:
1) MCH-K38
2) ST-10 (mid and tweeter) + 2 X STA-9 (bass)

Eisener Bart

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #55 on: 20 Jun 2016, 08:27 pm »
Use the Amp Comparison Chart, I can't get around that.
Two possibilities:
1) MCH-K38
2) ST-10 (mid and tweeter) + 2 X STA-9 (bass)

I don't have Rack between Speakers. I don't like to look on wires, Stereo Power Amp is blocking access to window. I want to hide Amps in the corners, behind the Speakers. So - only monoblocks.
 
« Last Edit: 21 Jun 2016, 11:33 am by Eisener Bart »

rustydoglim

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #56 on: 21 Jun 2016, 01:22 am »
STA-9 would work well if it is matched with a neutral and very detailed DAC like DAC-10.  But you already have a DAC.

Eisener Bart

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #57 on: 21 Jun 2016, 11:33 am »
STA-9 would work well if it is matched with a neutral and very detailed DAC like DAC-10.  But you already have a DAC.

AMR DP-777 actually is not just DAC, it's Digital Processor. His updated version is more neutral, this (first) version is little bit warmer, but I can't say that I have too much "valvy" sound.

If Ref-20 even has better sound on 30% than STA-9 - I'd like to buy Ref-20 without auditioning.

rustydoglim

Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #58 on: 21 Jun 2016, 07:40 pm »
STA-9 is not in the same class as the Ref 20.

Tedtag

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 6
Re: Reference 20 review
« Reply #59 on: 4 Jul 2016, 03:32 pm »
Well its been quite a while since I posted my first comments about the R20's back in March. (#12 in this thread) There's a reason and its a long story. I'll spare most of the details but first I want to give a huge shout out to Jason and Bob for the incredible service and response they have provided. These guys are the BEST and are true professionals in every way!!! It is very comforting to know that these guys are there, passionately standing behind the terrific Nuprime products that they represent.

Next.......and please pay close attention to this; if you are using subs with a Neutrik connector like RELs, do not hook up the sub cables to both terminals. Next, do not only hook up the hot connector and let the ground float. Finally, DO attach the positive connectors to the positive terminal and the negative to the tiny "ground screw" to the left of the negative amp terminal. Otherwise you will blow up the amps like I did; repeatedly.  :x  Then you will have to send them back to Bob like I did; repeatedly.

Currently I'm running the amps with Maggie 3.7is (Mye stands), REL G2's, CAT Legend preamp, Shunyata loom, Triton v2, Typhon, VPI Signature with 3D arm, Koetsu Rosewood Signature, and a Modwright (tube mods) Oppo 105 in a highly treated room. I listen near field about 7' away from the center of the speakers and have spent hundreds of hours tweaking every component. This is a very revealing system that exposes almost everything upstream. Other amps I own and have used for comparison are Carver Black Beauty 305's (KT120's/ 300w each) and a pair of Conrad Johnson Premier 8's with all factory teflon and KT120 upgrades (also 300w each). Both of these all tube mono blocks are outstanding and grab the Maggies with a vice-like grip that won't quit. I've also got a GAT 2 that has temporarily been sidelined while the CAT Legend is commanding center stage. For about the past couple of weeks I have been mixing and matching these electronics to get a good idea about the R20's and as you can see, they are in pretty good company. Plus, I'm a hard core tube, planar, and vinyl guy and in the past have avoided solid state, Class D, and digital like the proverbial plague.

So, what's the verdict on the R20's? Unfrickingbelievable! First, the tonality is unlike anything that resembles classic solid state. Instead, the sound is warm, lucious, and full, with layer upon layer of detail. The attack is sharp and crisp but the decay leaves notes sort of hanging in space with each one wrapped in a bubble of three dimensional reverberant air. All of the textures seem just right too. On cello, violin or stand up bass, you can hear the bow or the plucking of a string, but then the wood of the instrument reverberates in space until that note naturally fades or is overcome by the next. Drum skins are unreal. Horns have a natural, glorious, power to them that captures all of the subtle breathiness of quiet passages, but explodes without a hint of shrillness at a crescendo. And look out for tympani drums; a loud thwack is like getting slugged in the jaw! Dynamics are off the charts. Plus these amps have presence in spades. At times, with the lights turned low, its like the music just showed up on the soundstage and I've been transported to the venue, without the slightest recollection that there are electronic devices actually converting electrons into notes. Its tough to decide what to play next, although I've found myself migrating repeatedly to live recordings because it all sounds so real.

Meanwhile, my tube amps are scattered around the floor like audio jewelry. Beautiful to look at, but.....  Anyway, I'm really not one to get carried away and gush about the latest and greatest newcomer to the audio scene. But these amps are something unique, especially at the price. I almost wish they were bigger and heavier and maybe had some KT150's glued to the top of the cases. Or I needed a hand truck to move them around. That way I could sort of rationalize their world class status and come to terms a little easier with how good they sound.

One more quick snippet. Right now I'm listening to "A Case of You" by Dianna Krall. We've all probably heard that cut way too many times. But as the music is playing beautifully, I'm fascinated by her pedal work on the piano. Right beneath her voice and breath, the keys striking the piano wires, the ambient sound of the hall, and the occasional sniffle in the audience, is a strong visual impression of her feet decisively working the pedals. I haven't quite experienced that before. And with almost every album, the R20's are revealing more, much more, than I have ever heard before. These amps get my strongest possible recommendation, and if they work this well with my Maggies, they should have a pretty easy time with just about any other speaker.

Thanks again to Jason and Bob for their great products and for being such terrific folks to work with. You guys are the best!