D-Sonic vs The Rest

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audiogurujax

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D-Sonic vs The Rest
« on: 31 Oct 2017, 08:30 pm »
I will start by saying this, I hate having to write this but the truth is the truth!

I will make the long story short:

I bought my Dream speakers few months ago, full Planar magnetic speakers going all the way down to 40 Hz and for bass, a pair of 350 pound 6.5' tall H frames with four 15" AE dipole woofers each. (Yes, I am a little excessive lol)

When I auditioned my speakers, they were using PASS amps the XA60.8 an amazing amp! However, when I plugged in the speakers at home my long time beloved PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium HP amps (running in mono) sounded really bad! Bloomy with a lot of high frequency roll-off. I was surprised I always loved these amps, they always sounded great with all kind of speakers including my previous array using twelve 7” woofers and nine BG NEO-8-PDR per channel, and they sounded amazing! With the Maggies 3.7i that also use a long ribbon tweeter.

For the next few days I tried everything, EL-34, KT120, KT150, KT88, I also tested 3 different input tubes PrimaLuna 12AU7, Brimar CV4003 and the well know bright RCA ClearTop 12AU7! The best sound came from the KT150 with the ClearTop, but still it was dull...

Here comes the interesting part I went to my second system and I grab my pair of D-Sonic M3-600 that where driven my Tekton in the office and I was amazed, Damm! They sounded as good if not the same as the PASS!

Apparently, these speakers do not like tubes LOL. For the last 3 days, I tested and compared few AMPs against the M3, Parasound JC-1, Bryston 4B3, Mark Levinson 532H, McCormack DNA-1 and PASS X250.5.

They all sounded nearly identical, their difference was hard to detect, the best sounding ones where the JC1 and the M3. However, I did a blind test with two of my friends and I fail really badly in detecting what amp was playing so do my two-audiophile friends.

I will be Honest and this is what I hate to say. I finally agree with Siegfried Linkwitz, Most of today high quality SS amps sound the same! Because they do the amp work perfectly amplify a signal period! It is not supposed to add nothing! Tubes amps are different is nearly impossible to find a tube amp that under test conditions with an oscilloscope you can see a perfectly flat response from 10hz to 30 or 40khz they are all different.

I like shiny stuff and I like having an excuse to spend crazy amount of money in my next toy.
Something with an enclosure Machined from a solid block of aerospace aluminum, rhodium plated connectors and it must weight a ton, LOL. However, the truth is that the basic looking and light M3 is as good if not better than all those other amps.

We audiophile inducing myself fail on the trend that for any gear to be good it has to be expensive, shiny and heavy, and Manufacturers knows that, why do you think Jeff Rowland make their new amps from a solid block of aluminum and finish them to perfection only to put a B&O ICE module inside? They Claim if for better EMI Isolation HAHAHA.  I have a BSEE specialized in EMI and RFI. If they really wanted to absorb the most EMI they will be way better utilizing Ferrite Sintered sheets inside the unit or even better using Permalloy (Nickel, Iron, Molybdenum) Sheets inside the unit. That will absorb more EMI at a larger frequency range than a 3” of solid aluminum or even copper. When was the last time you saw a DAC using Permalloy inside the enclosure? Maybe they do not have real EMI engineers on payroll LOL.

I just wanted to share my humble opinion, trust me I will continue to buy some shiny stuff, but with the understanding that it is not necessarily better but I like it and I can afford it!

Thanks for Reading!

Eric

jtsnead

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Re: D-Sonic vs The Rest
« Reply #1 on: 1 Nov 2017, 03:11 pm »
Eric I used to have the same mono amps, you might be the one that bought them. I have to agree the better solid state stuff is similar I am surprised the Pass did not have a warmer tone that is supposed to be a trait with class A types. I moved away from tubes because I like to leave my stuff on so it is ready when I want to listen. Class D has come a long way and I now use the Ncore 500 boards and have no desire to look for amps. You can change sound of the system with a tube preamp etc. which I am sure you are well aware of. Enjoy and be happy.

BigChubby

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Re: D-Sonic vs The Rest
« Reply #2 on: 3 Nov 2017, 01:38 pm »
>>"We audiophile inducing myself fail on the trend that for any gear to be good it has to be expensive, shiny and heavy, and Manufacturers knows that, why do you think Jeff Rowland make their new amps from a solid block of aluminum and finish them to perfection only to put a B&O ICE module inside? They Claim if for better EMI Isolation HAHAHA.  I have a BSEE specialized in EMI and RFI. If they really wanted to absorb the most EMI they will be way better utilizing Ferrite Sintered sheets inside the unit or even better using Permalloy (Nickel, Iron, Molybdenum) Sheets inside the unit. That will absorb more EMI at a larger frequency range than a 3” of solid aluminum or even copper. When was the last time you saw a DAC using Permalloy inside the enclosure? Maybe they do not have real EMI engineers on payroll LOL."<<

Agreed on the EMI and RFI.  With all the RF pollution and EMI that's out there today (cellphones, wireless everything, and those crappy little switching power supplies that come with everything), you would think there would be better engineering and layout criteria being used in the better quality stuff.  It seems most of the designers don't "get" how bad the typical environment has become.  It seems no one has heard of Mu metal anymore.

Good story on the amps - I love tubes, but I wouldn't strap any pair of tube monoblocks to my Pearls.  I leave them to my Krells - yeah, big, heavy, shiny and waaaay too expensive.  The stuff we do to ourselves.

jaylevine

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Re: D-Sonic vs The Rest
« Reply #3 on: 3 Nov 2017, 02:03 pm »
".....I finally agree with Siegfried Linkwitz, Most of today high quality SS amps sound the same! "

+1 D-Sonic M-800S

I had a very nice Bryston rig for a long time--great stuff, well built, sounded wonderful (and drove my Maggies 1.7 and 3.7s just fine). Loved the aesthetic too, that was certainly part of the pride of ownership part.

Circumstances changed moved out of a big loft into to a 125 year row house five years ago; rooms got way smaller and couldn't find anyplace for the Maggies and a bunch of separates. So now I only do near-field listening with Legacy Studio HD monitors.

Sold the Bryston, Maggies, etc...bought a D-Sonic M-800S and hooked it up directly to my monitors using the same sources as before and control volume via a passive preamp from Luminous Audio).

I never did A/B testing when I still had the Bryston amp/preamp, so can't really say if one sounded better to me but what I do know is I enjoy the heck of my system as much as before and all in about 1/10 the overall cost for amplification and preamp......

Not saying there isn't a difference, but for me at least there will never be enough of a difference that I could perceive to justify ever investing over $10K for SS amp / preamp again.

I also have a Bob Latino VTA ST120 tube amp, mostly for the fun of it. Has its flaws but at near field listening volume it adds spice to my time listening to jazz and vocals.

BTW: didn't Nelson Pass write an article/opinion piece recently saying that SS design has pretty much come as far as it can go with respect to audio reproduction?

opnly bafld

Re: D-Sonic vs The Rest
« Reply #4 on: 3 Nov 2017, 02:23 pm »
"Apparently, these speakers do not like tubes LOL." 

Not all tube amps are the same; you did not like the PrimaLuna with them.

"I finally agree with Siegfried Linkwitz, Most of today high quality SS amps sound the same!" 

Swapping several amps in and out in a few days doesn't work for me; it can take me a little more time to hear the differences.
Several years ago at RMAF I thought SLs room had one of the most sterile, uninvolving systems at the show.

"We audiophile inducing myself fail on the trend that for any gear to be good it has to be expensive, shiny and heavy,..."

Although I know there are some like this, I personally don't know anyone that thinks like that.

audiogurujax

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Re: D-Sonic vs The Rest
« Reply #5 on: 3 Nov 2017, 06:05 pm »
"Apparently, these speakers do not like tubes LOL." 

Not all tube amps are the same; you did not like the PrimaLuna with them.

Agree but I measured these speakers with an LCR meter and they have a resistance of 1.5 ohms from 7khz+ I will be hard to find a non OTL tube amp that can drive this load, that is why even using the PL's 2ohm tab the high frequency are rolling off, because it gets to hard for the amp to drive the speakers under 5khz and below the speakers are 5.2 ohms.


"I finally agree with Siegfried Linkwitz, Most of today high quality SS amps sound the same!"

Swapping several amps in and out in a few days doesn't work for me; it can take me a little more time to hear the differences.
Several years ago at RMAF I thought SLs room had one of the most sterile, uninvolving systems at the show.


Is a mater of opinion for me they had one of the best sounding room on RMAF2015!

LOL It took my wife 10 seconds to tell me how bad the PL was sounding, is not that it was sounding different, I thought the tweeters where not working, It got a little better after changing the EL34 with the KT150 and going from the 4 ohm to the 2 ohm tab but still it sound dull and I mean a lot, I love these amps I have own them for 2 years, but these speakers are really hard to drive.

"We audiophile inducing myself fail on the trend that for any gear to be good it has to be expensive, shiny and heavy,..."

Although I know there are some like this, I personally don't know anyone that thinks like that.

What??? Are you telling me that you do not know anyone in this hobby who buys gear because it looks fancy and/or is expensive? Are we talking about the same hobby, High end audio?
With all the respect, I wish that was true, but is the other way around only a few a very little few of us can look pass the looks, and price and actually concentrate on what is really important Music! Just look at any high end audio magazine! Why do you think great companies with great sounding products at great prices do not sell or get reviewed as much as crazy expensive similar sounding gear.



opnly bafld

Re: D-Sonic vs The Rest
« Reply #6 on: 3 Nov 2017, 06:35 pm »
2 or 3 tube amps (non OTL) I've owned would drive those impedances fine, as good as or better than many solid state amps.

I was talking about your comparisons of several solid state amps at once, not how the PL sounded with the mystery speakers.

I said I don't KNOW anyone like that, every one that I KNOW understands good sound comes in all shapes, sizes, and price points.

audiogurujax

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Re: D-Sonic vs The Rest
« Reply #7 on: 3 Nov 2017, 09:26 pm »
2 or 3 tube amps (non OTL) I've owned would drive those impedance fine, as good as or better than many solid state amps.

Which ones? I am interested, As far as I know, Tube amps are not design for those loads, They have something called an output transformer, But again what do I know about Transformers, Impedance or how they work???
I am just an Electrical Engineer specialized in EMI and part of that is design transformers very similar but more advanced than those in Tube Amps!


I was talking about your comparisons of several solid state amps at once, not how the PL sounded with the mystery speakers.

I compared various amps for a few days and most of them sounded so close that it will be hard to choose one above the other much less to justify spending 10 times the money!

I said I don't KNOW anyone like that, every one that I KNOW understands good sound comes in all shapes, sizes, and price points.

In that case your circle is not a good or realistic representation of audiophiles in general

And with this I will stop!. I made this post to share my experience not to go into an argument with someone that apparently love to do just that!    :lol:


audiogurujax

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Re: D-Sonic vs The Rest
« Reply #8 on: 3 Nov 2017, 09:49 pm »
>>
Agreed on the EMI and RFI.  With all the RF pollution and EMI that's out there today (cellphones, wireless everything, and those crappy little switching power supplies that come with everything), you would think there would be better engineering and layout criteria being used in the better quality stuff.  It seems most of the designers don't "get" how bad the typical environment has become.  It seems no one has heard of Mu metal anymore.

Good story on the amps - I love tubes, but I wouldn't strap any pair of tube monoblocks to my Pearls.  I leave them to my Krells - yeah, big, heavy, shiny and waaaay too expensive.  The stuff we do to ourselves.


Not Only That,  Mu metal and other Hi-Flux materials will be great if amps manufacturers used them in their output trans, the only placed I have seen Permalloy in audio is in Mic/ cartridge transformers , Yes Permalloy is a little more expensive, but not that much!, A large Permalloy core for a large transformer is about $300 vs $100 for an iron/steel one with the advantage that a Permalloy transformer will retain the permeability at high frequencies.

The only company I heard so far using Mu metal on Opt Trans is AudioNote

Iron/Steel cores start loosing Permeability at about 15 Khz that is why tube amps have that high frequency roll off. There are some techniques that can be implemented to compensate for that roll off on the transformers but nothing will be better than using a material with better permeability. I am currently testing a Toroid Core by a company called Arnold magnetic, It is a large toroid with 275 u made of a new kind of Permalloy with 9% Mo I tested that core and it has a very stable Permeability from DC to 95 Khz! Can you Imagine that as an Output Transformer  :D