What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?

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PipHelix

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What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« on: 1 Feb 2021, 03:13 pm »
I originally ordered a pair of Omega Junior Alnico XRS speakers to use with the 20WPC Aegir amp from Schiit Audio but after a number of delays over several months I cancelled the order and now I’m in search of an amp.

I have had the speakers for a few weeks and I absolutely love them, but I’m using them with my second system based on an old Onkyo integrated amp. Thus, I’m looking for a new amp for a new primary system based on the Omegas.

I listen in a smallish room: 10x15x10 and I don’t blast the volume. The speakers are 95dB sensitive and that opens up a lot of doors starting from small SET amps and ranging upwards from there but I’m thinking of an integrated tube amp. I’m finding things in the 20WPC, 40WPC, 80WPC, and 100WPC zone. I know I have no need for 100 WPC, but if I got a great deal on one would that be problematic for these sensitive single drivers?

I guess I’m wondering about how many watts would be too many with these speakers? Or is there not really such a thing as “too many” in this regard?

RDavidson

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #1 on: 1 Feb 2021, 05:53 pm »
Having too many watts is actually zero problem whatsoever. What's absolutely key is the quality of the first few watts as this is what your Omegas will mostly be using. Some have even had success driving their Omegas with the headphone amp built into their DAC (which produce only fractions of a watt). General recommendations are took for class A (solid state and tube). Class D also works well. Not all class D are alike, but their performance and sound characteristics tend to be very consistent from their first watt up to their clipping point. Search the Omega forum here on AC. There's definitely a thread on amp options that work well with Omegas.

PipHelix

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #2 on: 2 Feb 2021, 03:14 pm »
Having too many watts is actually zero problem whatsoever. What's absolutely key is the quality of the first few watts as this is what your Omegas will mostly be using. Some have even had success driving their Omegas with the headphone amp built into their DAC (which produce only fractions of a watt). General recommendations are took for class A (solid state and tube). Class D also works well. Not all class D are alike, but their performance and sound characteristics tend to be very consistent from their first watt up to their clipping point. Search the Omega forum here on AC. There's definitely a thread on amp options that work well with Omegas.

I have to say that I went digging around and didn’t find a ton of ideas but definitely some and I appreciate that. I would’ve that there’d be a sticky or something but I guess amp/speaker combos are implied in the “pictures of my system” sticky and are mentioned elsewhere. In fairness, I don’t know if I’ve seen anyone say that they haven’t found the right amp for their Omegas which is what makes it hard. Louis recommended my speakers based on the amp I though I was buying and I imagine he doesn’t steer people wrong very often. I also don’t want to bug him with a question that might be better answered on the user end rather than the creator end.

In terms of the first few watts, there are so very many amps—particularly tube based and spanning the range from “made in my garage in Buffalo” to big companies—in the .5W-20W range that it’s overwhelming.

At the same time, wouldn’t an amp have to be really poorly designed for the first few watts to sound bad? Maybe that’s a rhetorical question, but whenever I’ve looked at amps I have at the back of my mind the Richard Clark $10,000 amplifier challenge and wonder “am I overthinking this”?

I guess I’m still moving in circles for now.

sunnydaze

Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #3 on: 2 Feb 2021, 03:29 pm »

In terms of the first few watts, there are so very many amps—particularly tube based and spanning the range from “made in my garage in Buffalo” to big companies—in the .5W-20W range that it’s overwhelming.

I guess I’m still moving in circles for now.


That's a good thing, not a bad thing.  Many options -- low power works, so your amp universe is very wide and it's not expensive to buy quality.

Read the forums.  Tons of stuff out there on Omega / amp user experiences.  Some of the same amp names / brands keep popping up and floating to the top.  Buy used.  That makes it easier to pull the trigger because if you shop wisely, you don't get burned on resell. 

Be methodical, it's not overwhelming.  Don't get frozen by indecision.  Just commit.  Nothing ventured nothing gained.  No mistake is irreversible.  Just sell it and move on to the next candidate.  Little is lost.

And yes, I do believe you are over-thinking it.

Enjoy the journey.  Good luck.    :thumb:




pstrisik

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #4 on: 2 Feb 2021, 05:34 pm »
I have to say that I went digging around and didn’t find a ton of ideas but definitely some and I appreciate that. I would’ve that there’d be a sticky or something but I guess amp/speaker combos are implied in the “pictures of my system” sticky and are mentioned elsewhere. In fairness, I don’t know if I’ve seen anyone say that they haven’t found the right amp for their Omegas which is what makes it hard. Louis recommended my speakers based on the amp I though I was buying and I imagine he doesn’t steer people wrong very often. I also don’t want to bug him with a question that might be better answered on the user end rather than the creator end.

In terms of the first few watts, there are so very many amps—particularly tube based and spanning the range from “made in my garage in Buffalo” to big companies—in the .5W-20W range that it’s overwhelming.

At the same time, wouldn’t an amp have to be really poorly designed for the first few watts to sound bad? Maybe that’s a rhetorical question, but whenever I’ve looked at amps I have at the back of my mind the Richard Clark $10,000 amplifier challenge and wonder “am I overthinking this”?

I guess I’m still moving in circles for now.

Here's a sticky you must have missed:  https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=134155.0

PipHelix

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #5 on: 3 Feb 2021, 11:32 pm »
Well, I pulled the trigger on a used Decware Zen Torii Mk IV. At 25WPC it might be bigger than I need, but it was a good deal on a unit that only has 6 months of use on it. Plus, I don’t have to wait 6-8 months for a new one.

Thanks for the input and the suggestion to just make a move!

NickMimi

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #6 on: 4 Feb 2021, 01:24 am »
Congratulations, that is a SWEET pairing, you should be very happy for a long while, happy listening! I pair my own Omega's w/ a bit of power and they sing lovely.

pstrisik

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #7 on: 4 Feb 2021, 02:12 am »
Good choice.  I've wanted to try Decware with the Omegas.  I'm running a Dennis Had Inspire but have never heard the Decwares.

sunnydaze

Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #8 on: 4 Feb 2021, 02:13 am »
That pairing has great potential.   I'd be shocked if you didn't love it.

Congratulations and Good Luck!    :thumb:

PipHelix

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #9 on: 4 Feb 2021, 02:04 pm »
Good choice.  I've wanted to try Decware with the Omegas.  I'm running a Dennis Had Inspire but have never heard the Decwares.

Funny thing.....I was just about to buy a Dennis Had preamp and Triode Hot Rod amp from a guy when the Decware showed up on Audiogon. How do you like the Inspire? I’ve only found one online community where they’re discussed—over on Audio Aficionado—and it’s a small but dedicated group.

sunnydaze

Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #10 on: 4 Feb 2021, 03:33 pm »
Not true at all -- it's discussed quite a bit here.   I just searched on "dennis had" and got 50 pages of results (using show results as messages option). 

Use the search tool:

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?action=search

PipHelix

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #11 on: 4 Feb 2021, 04:45 pm »
Not true at all -- it's discussed quite a bit here.   I just searched on "dennis had" and got 50 pages of results (using show results as messages option). 

Use the search tool:

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?action=search

Ha!

Can you tell I’m new here??  :oops:

The guy who I was going to buy the Inspire stuff from told me that Audio Aficionado was the only place to go and I just believed him.

pstrisik

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #12 on: 4 Feb 2021, 04:52 pm »
Funny thing.....I was just about to buy a Dennis Had preamp and Triode Hot Rod amp from a guy when the Decware showed up on Audiogon. How do you like the Inspire? I’ve only found one online community where they’re discussed—over on Audio Aficionado—and it’s a small but dedicated group.

I love it.  It has the benefit of running a very wide range of tubes that all vary the sound some.  Unfortunately, that had the side effect of feeding my obsessive tendencies and I went way over the top trying and collecting tubes.  I've sold off most now and have settled on just a few combos.  All in all, I reached a level of satisfaction that I'm not actively searching for any major system changes at all any more.  The Inspire pre and amp are part of that satisfaction.

I started that thread on AA.  I wished I had started it elsewhere.  Their rules are so draconian and enforcement is inconsistent and contradictory.  I was banned with no recourse for something that seemed ok earlier in the thread.  I started it there since it was where the main Cary forum was (Dennis' former company).

Anyway, I'm sure the Decware will fill the bill lacking nothing.  It's likely that, if I had started with Decware rather than Inspire, I would be just as satisfied. 

RDavidson

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #13 on: 4 Feb 2021, 06:29 pm »
To answer your earlier question, yes, it would be hard these days to find a "bad" amp. The problem is, there are many amps (typical mid-fi class A/B amps as example) that simply don't perform their best when only outputting a few watts. These types of amps are often designed for no specific purpose nor specific type of speaker, so they walk the middle ground of not being truly great at anything. They may be good as a "general purpose" amp for typical speaker loads. Side note : Often these types of amps like to be pushed a bit to provide their best performance. With your Omegas, such an amp will never get pushed (into its best performance range). Class A and class D are much less of crapshoot when pairing with Omegas. There are technical explanations for this, but basically, they do not need to be pushed to perform their best. Specifically, low power class A amps (tube and SS) are designed for use with speakers like Omegas, so you'll find most experienced recommendations steering you in that direction.

PipHelix

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #14 on: 4 Feb 2021, 07:32 pm »
I love it.  It has the benefit of running a very wide range of tubes that all vary the sound some.  Unfortunately, that had the side effect of feeding my obsessive tendencies and I went way over the top trying and collecting tubes.  I've sold off most now and have settled on just a few combos.  All in all, I reached a level of satisfaction that I'm not actively searching for any major system changes at all any more.  The Inspire pre and amp are part of that satisfaction.

I started that thread on AA.  I wished I had started it elsewhere.  Their rules are so draconian and enforcement is inconsistent and contradictory.  I was banned with no recourse for something that seemed ok earlier in the thread.  I started it there since it was where the main Cary forum was (Dennis' former company).

Anyway, I'm sure the Decware will fill the bill lacking nothing.  It's likely that, if I had started with Decware rather than Inspire, I would be just as satisfied.

Interesting. I just went back to AA and saw you started that thread back in 2013. That’s a good long time to be satisfied with an amp. What preamp? Just curious. I imagine the amps were cheaper 8 years ago. A Fire Bottle just sold on eBay last Saturday for $1780.

The guy I was going to buy from had an issue with his preamp humming through his speakers but he wasn’t able to trace the issue to a tube problem. He said it went away after he bought a fancy power conditioner. I was hesitant to buy on account of that.

It seems the Decware I bought can use a quad of 5 different output tubes which is very likely to set off some obse$$ivene$$ in me at some point though they kindly show midway down this page how each tube will impact sound:

https://www.decware.com/newsite/TORII.htm

RDavidson

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #15 on: 4 Feb 2021, 08:39 pm »
Yep. And that is a big reason why the only tube amp in my home is a Decware Zen UFO Triode. Not too many tubes to obsess over and good sounding replacements need not be crazy expensive nor rare. :wink:

PipHelix

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #16 on: 5 Feb 2021, 12:36 am »
Yep. And that is a big reason why the only tube amp in my home is a Decware Zen UFO Triode. Not too many tubes to obsess over and good sounding replacements need not be crazy expensive nor rare. :wink:

Nice! I have to say I didn’t consider the number of tubes I could roll when making the purchase. Must be nice to have so few to worry about!

RDavidson

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #17 on: 5 Feb 2021, 01:41 am »
Yeah. Something to definitely consider is that tube amps require maintenance. Tubes typically die slowly over time, so it's fair to say that every time you turn the amp on, the tubes are a little less "fresh" than the day before. This shouldn't be noticable, but it is happening. No doubt. On top of this, you never know when a tube may suddenly fail. As such it's a good idea to keep some spare output tubes around. It's all part of ownership of tube gear and it's important to consider how much of this you're willing to deal with (including the cost).

pstrisik

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Re: What amp/how many watts with Junior Alnico XRS?
« Reply #18 on: 5 Feb 2021, 03:20 am »
Interesting. I just went back to AA and saw you started that thread back in 2013. That’s a good long time to be satisfied with an amp. What preamp? Just curious. I imagine the amps were cheaper 8 years ago. A Fire Bottle just sold on eBay last Saturday for $1780.

The guy I was going to buy from had an issue with his preamp humming through his speakers but he wasn’t able to trace the issue to a tube problem. He said it went away after he bought a fancy power conditioner. I was hesitant to buy on account of that.

It seems the Decware I bought can use a quad of 5 different output tubes which is very likely to set off some obse$$ivene$$ in me at some point though they kindly show midway down this page how each tube will impact sound:

https://www.decware.com/newsite/TORII.htm

I have his LP-2 preamp.  The amp is a KT-150.  Named after the output tube he designed around, though it runs dozens of other compatible output tubes, both lower and higher power.  I bought from him when he would still do custom color.  I chose Jaguar Carnival Red, a color he had used on some of his Cary gear.  He did an upgrade a couple of years later to some newer design elements he started using.  Originally, the amp was $1700 and the pre $950 (IIRC).