More power or Cleaner power?

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hilde45

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More power or Cleaner power?
« on: 12 Mar 2020, 11:11 am »
I'm putting a system together and am thinking through some of the factors which might contribute to the overall sound quality. I realize that testing things out as I go is the best way, so I'm asking this question not to get advice about what to do next but to understand how folks understand and weigh these factors.

Let's start with a predicted factor -- the speakers. From the speaker description:

Anticipated speakers: Salk SS 6M
Response +/- 3db — 35Hz - 40kHz
Sensitivity — 90 db
Impedance — 8 ohms
Amplification — 50 watts (or 30wpc, tube amp)
Alignment — Front slot port
Dimensions — 9 W x 20 H x 14 D

Some have suggested that even a 60 wpc tube would be great for these speakers. So, here's my question —

Assume that I could get a very good 40 wpc tube amp to drive these speakers to sufficient listening levels (85 db at about 10 feet), for my kind of music (jazz, classical), and peaks in my (400 sq ft) listening space.

With these assumptions, the question becomes one of priorities. I could either spend additional dollars to (a) buy a more powerful amp or (b) spend that money on a power regenerator. Also assume that if I do *not* buy a regenerator, I'd still do *something* to improve the power (some kind of improvement but much less expense).

The question is: with those assumptions, what do you think would add more to the sound quality? More power or cleaner power?

Perhaps this is an impossible theoretical question to answer. If so, I'd like to know that, too!

Thanks!

abd1

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Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #1 on: 12 Mar 2020, 05:46 pm »
I used a Primaluna Dialogue One tube integrated with Song3's, which aren't as efficient as the speakers you're looking at. It's rated at 36 wpc, and only 18 wpc in triode mode. It had no issues driving them at much higher volumes in a much bigger space than what you're using your in. I also used a 48wpc Line Magnetic LM508 and it also had no issues with the Song3's. I think a 40wpc tube amp would be more than fine with these speakers in the size space you're looking at. Go with quality. The extra 20 wpc in the 60 wpc amp you mention won't matter unless you're really pushing the db's or switch to less sensitive speakers sometime down the road.

witchdoctor

Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #2 on: 12 Mar 2020, 06:58 pm »
IMO don't commit $$$ yet, have an audition period. Audition amps with a return policy, one tube, one solid state, and one that offers room correction. Then pick the winner.
Yes, I believe power matters much more than WPC.

I think room correction matters more than power, by a long shot.

https://www.anthemarc.com/index.php

johnto

Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #3 on: 12 Mar 2020, 07:16 pm »
Some manufactures like Pass recommend against power conditioners.
I would see what other Salk users recommend with your particular speakers.

hilde45

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Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #4 on: 12 Mar 2020, 11:01 pm »
Thanks, all. I agree that 40 wpc might be just fine. I was thinking of going slightly higher to future proof.
Also agree about trying different amps -- taking time to learn the speakers' sound and then doing auditions. Great process. What does "one that offers room correction" mean? I are talking about something like the Parasound which offers a way to set the frequencies sent to both speaker and/or subwoofer?
And I'm definitely aiming for quality -- considering Quicksilver, e.g., or perhaps Octave, Black Ice Jolida, Parasound, Ps Audio, and a few others I can audition locally, plus a few online.

I was not thinking of a power "conditioner" but of a "regenerator." I also agree that room acoustics are probably something I should consider, and I appreciate the reminder!

witchdoctor

Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #5 on: 12 Mar 2020, 11:39 pm »
Read the link I posted about ARC room correction and it will explain it. Basically it will tune your speakers to your room. A very essential feature for receivers but mostly neglected in 2 CH sadly. This is an amp/streamer for 50% off that also has a sub out and can be connected via optical or RCA:

https://www.paradigm.com/en/wireless/pw-amp

Of course you always spend more:

https://www.anthemav.com/products-current/type=integrated-amp/model=str-integrated-amplifier/page=overview



hilde45

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Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #6 on: 13 Mar 2020, 12:02 am »
Thank you. Sorry to have missed the link!

Early B.

Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #7 on: 13 Mar 2020, 12:17 am »
A good regenerator will cost a lot of money, and you don't know the potential benefit, if any. Although I'm a die hard power management guy, I'd recommend that you consider other component options before investing in a regenerator.  Likewise, I wouldn't suggest purchasing a more powerful amp, either.

So to answer your question directly -- neither option is likely to be the best next move. Tell us more about your existing system -- amp, preamp, source, cabling, and treatments (if any). You have to identify the weakest link and start there.   

witchdoctor

Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #8 on: 13 Mar 2020, 12:22 am »
Sure, ARC is a very good room correction, Dirac is another version and for 2 channel NAD offers it in the M10:

https://www.trustedreviews.com/reviews/nad-m10

I own the PW Amp and it is excellent, it just wraps you in a bubble of sound. At $500 it was a good deal but at 50% off now I think it is the least expensive quality amp offering room correction. Here is a review of the PW Link and check out what they say about the ARC feature:

https://www.techhive.com/article/3153229/paradigm-pw-amp-review-a-dts-play-fi-amplifier-that-will-bring-out-the-best-from-your-speakers.html


hilde45

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  • Posts: 75
Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #9 on: 13 Mar 2020, 12:23 am »
Thank you for for the additional info, Witchdoctor.

Early B, here's some more to go on. I don't want to overspend, when there are so many elements to the system that should be taken account of.

So, I'm only settled so far on the Salk Speakers -- 90 db, 8 ohm. (Even they'll be on 30 day trial.) I'll want to power them with enough power -- where "enough" means plenty of headroom for a modest sized room of about 400 sq. feet, speakers about 10 feet away. I'll have a subwoofer.

I now have a CD transport and a streamer. I am still shopping for a DAC, preamp/amp, and also considering cables, power, room treatments. I have budgeted about 12-13k overall, and if I keep the Salks, that speaks for $4k and the streamer/cd transport have used another $1k. So, that's about $7-8k left to spend.

witchdoctor

Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #10 on: 13 Mar 2020, 12:27 am »
As for the power regeberator I would start with changing out the wall socket, nice upgrade for around $75 and it impacts everything down stream, unlike a power cord which only impacts one component:




hilde45

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  • Posts: 75
Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #11 on: 13 Mar 2020, 12:33 am »
Great! If I can do a dedicated line, I'll try for that, too.

witchdoctor

Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #12 on: 13 Mar 2020, 12:38 am »
OK, so you will want probably an integrated amp with inputs for your CD transport and streamer. The Klipsch Powergate is an integrated amp that is only $150-$199 on Amazon and is shockingly good. It has an RCA in for your DAC and is rated at 100 WPC. Don't think because it is inexpensive its low quality, look at all the reviews on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N0A7PH5?tag=duckduckgo-d-20&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1

Early B.

Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #13 on: 13 Mar 2020, 01:29 am »
With your budget, you can create a killer system. Salks make a great foundation to build upon. In lieu of a regenerator, the dedicated line is a great choice and relatively inexpensive. Unless space is limited, get a separate amp, preamp and DAC if you want to maximize sound quality. For $8K remaining, I'd budget as follows for used gear:

$1,500 - amp
$1,500 - preamp
$1,000 - DAC
$2,000 - cables
$1,000 - power
$1,000 - room treatments

For an integrated option:

$3,000 - integrated tube amp
$1,500 - DAC
$1,500 - cables
$1,000 - power
$1,000 - room treatments

Once the system is built, save up for some dual subs and you'll be done. 

Oh, one more thing -- forget about the specs -- those Salks will likely sound better with more power. My speakers are 98 dB and I use 350wpc monoblocks.

mick wolfe

  • Full Member
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Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #14 on: 13 Mar 2020, 01:31 am »
I'm putting a system together and am thinking through some of the factors which might contribute to the overall sound quality. I realize that testing things out as I go is the best way, so I'm asking this question not to get advice about what to do next but to understand how folks understand and weigh these factors.

Let's start with a predicted factor -- the speakers. From the speaker description:

Anticipated speakers: Salk SS 6M
Response +/- 3db — 35Hz - 40kHz
Sensitivity — 90 db
Impedance — 8 ohms
Amplification — 50 watts (or 30wpc, tube amp)
Alignment — Front slot port
Dimensions — 9 W x 20 H x 14 D

Some have suggested that even a 60 wpc tube would be great for these speakers. So, here's my question —

Assume that I could get a very good 40 wpc tube amp to drive these speakers to sufficient listening levels (85 db at about 10 feet), for my kind of music (jazz, classical), and peaks in my (400 sq ft) listening space.

With these assumptions, the question becomes one of priorities. I could either spend additional dollars to (a) buy a more powerful amp or (b) spend that money on a power regenerator. Also assume that if I do *not* buy a regenerator, I'd still do *something* to improve the power (some kind of improvement but much less expense).

The question is: with those assumptions, what do you think would add more to the sound quality? More power or cleaner power?

Perhaps this is an impossible theoretical question to answer. If so, I'd like to know that, too!

Thanks!

Your main priority should be finding an amp that works extremely well with your speakers. If you don't get this right, all the power management tools on earth won't help.

witchdoctor

Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #15 on: 13 Mar 2020, 02:49 pm »
With your budget, you can create a killer system. Salks make a great foundation to build upon. In lieu of a regenerator, the dedicated line is a great choice and relatively inexpensive. Unless space is limited, get a separate amp, preamp and DAC if you want to maximize sound quality. For $8K remaining, I'd budget as follows for used gear:

$1,500 - amp
$1,500 - preamp
$1,000 - DAC
$2,000 - cables
$1,000 - power
$1,000 - room treatments

For an integrated option:

$3,000 - integrated tube amp
$1,500 - DAC
$1,500 - cables
$1,000 - power
$1,000 - room treatments

Once the system is built, save up for some dual subs and you'll be done. 

Oh, one more thing -- forget about the specs -- those Salks will likely sound better with more power. My speakers are 98 dB and I use 350wpc monoblocks.

That is an interesting approach, are you an installer? I pick a component first and then shop for the best value before deciding how much to spend. For example I got my DefTech Active speakers marked down 75% after DefTech was acquired by Sound United. Instead of spending $1600 for 4 speakers I spent $400 and had an extra $1200 left in my budget.

https://hometheaterreview.com/definitive-technology-w9-and-w7-wireless-tabletop-speakers-reviewed/


Gyosa

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  • Posts: 14
Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #16 on: 14 Mar 2020, 03:48 am »
How about MORE CLEAN power .....

Parasound A21 , A21+ , Van Alstine SET 400 , PS Audio Stellar M700 monoblocks ...
All about the same price ....

Personally , 200 watts per channel 8 ohms is the minimum I like to play with ....

I use either an A21 or B&K ex-442 or ps audio S300 with my Salk supercharged songtowers - I mix ‘em up ....

All are great ....

Bk


nickd

Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #17 on: 14 Mar 2020, 04:55 am »
I might suggest picking up a previously loved Lyngdorf TDAI 2170, spend a few bucks on high value wire and put what is needed into source and or or room treatments. The TDAI is an integrated amp that has changed the way I think of gear.

Early B knows a bit about my taste for exotic gear and knows I only go for extreme quality and value. I originally bought the Lyngdorf to Downsize, get mono amps off the floor etc.

I honestly didn’t think the level of transparency and low noise floor were possible in an in integrated. It shocks me every time I listen. I still read about mega amps and DAC’s that cost as much as a nice car in the mags, but I don’t lust after them anymore.

witchdoctor

Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #18 on: 14 Mar 2020, 11:16 am »
Good call, the Lyngdorf has Room Perfect room correction :thumb:

hilde45

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 75
Re: More power or Cleaner power?
« Reply #19 on: 14 Mar 2020, 11:33 am »
Thanks, Gyosa, for those recommendations and I'm really enjoying the various answers folks are providing.

I had originally thought that the question would force a choice  -- between spending money on a more powerful (good quality) amplifier or spending it to clean up the power. Of course, when people evade the direct limits of the question, they wind up teaching me a lot, so it's all good! Still, to those who got creative, I wonder what you'd do if someone came up to you and said, "I'll give you a chunk of cash, but you can *only* spend it on *either* more power in your amplification OR some way to get cleaner power to your system. Otherwise, you get nothing." Some here have already answered this question, but this was the original forced choice I was hoping to convey.

Thanks everyone and stay safe.