The inevitable amp paring question

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The inevitable amp paring question
« on: 27 Aug 2020, 05:18 am »
Hi guys.  I’m putting together an office desktop/near field system.  The speakers will be Gallo Strada 2s (I like them a lot - my main room system is 5.2.4 with Gallo Strada 2 mains and center, Strada 1 surrounds, Gallo stereo subs and Gallo micros in the ceiling).

The source will be an iMac through USB mostly playing background classical and jazz while I’m working (Idago, Apple Radio and whatnot).  I eventually want to use it as a Roon endpoint once I get my digital music library reorganized.  So, background for now, but I want to be able to do high end 2 channel listening with the same system when I feel like it (maybe even some high res later down the road).

I’ve been researching and I’m really liking the NuPrime offerings (I had a desktop audio set up some time ago with one of the NuForce Icon amps and the full range speakers - liked it a lot).  I also generally like class D Amps. (The main system uses NAD multichannel with the Hypex nCore, I used to have a Pioneer Elite receiver with the ICE amps).

I find the descriptions of the NuPrime equipment characteristics a little confusing.  If it helps - I’m really big on transparency, hearing into the recording (orchestra member placement in the soundstage), a little warmth/sweetness and non-fatiguing highs.

It seems like the IDA-8 would be the obvious choice.  The Gallos are rated as fairly easy to drive, 100 watts should be enough and, if I’m reading the description right, I could even run dual stereo Gallo subs off the sub outs and hide two Gallo subs under the desk.  Still, I’ve seen deals on the IDA-16 and you usually can’t go wrong with more power.  Or, how much better is it to swing for the fences with an ST-10 stack considering it’s a secondary system?  Any other combos I should consider?

Would love to hear everyone’s 2 cents.


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Re: The inevitable amp paring question
« Reply #1 on: 27 Aug 2020, 06:55 am »
Well, I'll jump in with my 2 cents.

I really like the IDA-8 (and I've said this several times on AC). It does just about everything right for about $1000 new. I think the only real drawback for me was when I used it to power 83dB speakers, but that's to be expected. Oh, and it can sound a little thin driving big full range floor standing speakers, but it's not really designed for that, is it?  [I keep hoping that Jason (Rustydoglim) will offer a new integrated that will have that warm tube-like IDA-8 sound with 200+ watts/ch.] My son has had my IDA-8 since November, 2019, and he loves it. [Yes. I miss it.] I'm torn between buying another IDA-8 and waiting to see what new integrated comes out. Okay, I'm forcing myself to wait.

I bought an IDA-16 to replace the IDA-8 which I gave to my son. It is more analytical sounding than the IDA-8, and I initially did not care for its sound - though I do like its power and versatility. I tried driving my Daedalus Apollos, but it made them sound thin. I tried driving my Jeff Bagby designed Adelphos two-way Satori driver monitors in my family room, but they sounded bright (not good). I powered my outdoor speakers with good 
results. Then, I stuck it in a cabinet for a couple months while I debated whether to sell it and look for something better. Then, miraculously, my wife suggested we put a TV, the Adelphos monitors, and a subwoofer in our master bedroom. [You do not know my wife. For thirty years she has fought having a TV in our bedroom. I gave up the idea 20+ years ago, and haven't mentioned in since the 1990s!] Truly miraculous!

I didn't waste a second setting everything up lest she change her mind. I slipped the IDA-16 under the TV; hooked everything up, and we watched a Netflix show. It sounds great! The IDA-16 just needed the right room to sound good. I'm now delighted with it. I'm so glad I didn't sell it. It doesn't just sound great as TV audio; music sounds terrific in this room, too. I guess the moral of this story is that an amp must be matched to the correct room to sound its best. Well, duh.  :roll:

I had an ST-10 for a couple years or so. It is a good amp, but I sold it about a year ago.

I'm waiting to see what new 'super-IDA-8' integrated Nuprime comes out with this Autumn. I may well give it a try if the price is under $3000.

Hope you find this useful. Oh, and I have always found the Nuprime amp characteristics chart very confusing as well.  :nono:



Re: The inevitable amp paring question
« Reply #2 on: 27 Aug 2020, 02:12 pm »
This is a very good question. Thanks for the criticism about the "confusing" part of the guide.
Let's start with this guide:
We want to keep updating this guide until it becomes less confusing for customers.

A little technical background:
Class A, AB, tube amps sound characteristics are primarily determined by the device used, so that resulted in so called "house sound" for various brands.
Brands (and that's majority of them) who buy class-D module from IcePower and Hypex, are stuck with a particular sound.
In the "old days" (the Nuforce days), we only have one type of sound, ie the NuForce Reference series (Ref 8, 8.5, 9V1, 9V2, 9V3 etc).
Since we started NuPrime in 2014/2015, we have better understanding of Class-D designs, built on the knowledge from the past decade. In my opinion, we are now in a golden decade for audio amplifier technology. As far as NuPrime is concerned, we can now create pretty much any sound characteristic we want because we are not restricted by the module that we purchased. We are the master chef, free to try anything we want.

The choices create problem for customers. Hopefully we can provide buying guide that help to make the decision easier.
To find what you need, you have to combine the Relative Ranking table and the Sound Characteristic table in the guide.

Base on your implied budget, looks like either IDA-8 or DAC-9SE+STA-9 can't go wrong.
You can also wait until mid to end October for the new streaming amp WA-300 (estimated price $1295 to $1350). All these amps have the clarity that meet audiophile's standard, it is a matter of how much details they can show. The WA-300 is at IDA-8 level, but with built-in streaming, bluetooth aptX HD, PCM 24/384K & DSD 256 decoding, 150Wx2@8Ohm or 250Wx2@4Ohm, very powerful, plus all the I/Os you need. It has a different sound than IDA-8. 

I think another very important decision to make is how far you want to go for system optimisation.  This should be decided from "day one".  Budget is not an issue if you build and upgrade the system over a few years. Or is it a buy and forget kind of setup.


Re: The inevitable amp paring question
« Reply #3 on: 27 Aug 2020, 07:26 pm »
Great info.  Is there any more info on the upcoming WA-300?  (It could fit my time frame).  I did a search on AC and nothing more popped up.


Did a quick web search.  I can’t read Chinese, but is this it?
« Last Edit: 27 Aug 2020, 11:20 pm by LejfK »