Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?

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bsuhy

I think I am going to break down and buy a Sonic Impact amp. Based on what I have read I think it will be fun to try.

Are they really as good as everyone says?

Do the mods that places like Red Wine Audio do to them make that much of a difference?

Another place that has a nice looking enclosure in addition to some mods is http://mywebpages.comcast.net/ampbox/page2.html....

In any case, my current system:

ah! njoe tjoeb 4000 cd player
asl aq2004dt pre -> quicksilver mini-mites -> Super 3's

i split the signal out of the preamp to go to my sub.

i also have a luminous audio passive on the way. i have been curious about passives and thought i would give this one a try.

so, can i expect the sonic impact to blow my current setup away? its all in good fun i suppose, but if it sounds anywhere near like what i have now, for considerably less money, my wife will never let me hear the end of it!!

JeffB

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Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #1 on: 6 May 2005, 04:23 am »
I can't tell you if it is better than what you have.  
It does have a bass roll-off below 170Hz.
It is better by far with a sealed 12V lead acid battery.  The SI accepts a size 'N' power plug, which can be obtained at Radio Shack. The battery produces better detail and resolution, and a little more dynamics.  Instruments are also better placed in a volume space.

A 5ah will provide about 20 hours of listening before it should be recharged.
Always leave the charger on it when not in use.

I bought this:
http://www.batterymart.com/battery.mv?p=SLA-12V5-F1

and this:
http://www.batterymart.com/battery.mv?p=ACC-12BC1000D-1

Make sure to also get the charger cord.

maxwalrath

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Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #2 on: 6 May 2005, 06:52 am »
The SI was without a doubt the best value, most shocking piece compared to higher priced gear that I have heard.

If anyone is on the fence, it's just $30-40. Buy some double A's and try it out. When I bought mine I was sold on the new technology. I went to a Clari-T after that, and I have no reservations at all. It was clearly better than the SI in every way, but I never took the time and expense to go with an SLA battery and trick out the SI.

I am going to be selling my Clari-T soon, but only to fund a move up the Red Wine lineup.

Don't worry about your wife's reservations...you can say that all the time you spend on the web looking at audio stuff let you know about this amazing new technology, and you are now ahead of the curve with an extra grand in your pocket. She'll be proud.

Louis O

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Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #3 on: 7 May 2005, 12:25 am »
Hi bsuhy,

maxwalrath is right on the money with the Clari t and the tripath. To me it's an amazing difference. I have the Si and the Powerwave from a while ago and Vinnie does some magic with the Clari t amps. I’m really into tubes and the Clari t is really changing things hear at the shop. With classical music it’s over the top good.

Thanks again,
Louis

CJ Paul

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Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #4 on: 20 Jan 2006, 04:37 pm »
Quote from: JeffB
I can't tell you if it is better than what you have.  
It does have a bass roll-off below 170Hz.
It is better by far with a sealed 12V lead acid battery.  The SI accepts a size 'N' power plug, which can be obtained at Radio Shack. The battery produces better detail and resolution, and a little more dynamics.  Instruments are also better placed in a volume space.

A 5ah will provide about 20 hours of listening before it should be recharged.
Always leave the charger on it when not in use.

I bought thi ...


Jeff, (or anyone) how is the battery and charger wired, and how is the battery wired to the amps power input?  I assume you have to manually unhook the charger while using the amp unlike the toggle switch on the Clari-Ts?

JeffB

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Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #5 on: 20 Jan 2006, 08:19 pm »
The SI accepts a 12V DC 'N' plug for power.
The 'N' plug has two solder points, one for positive and one for negative.
The positive one runs down then center of the plug and the negative runs along the outside of the plug.

I took two pieces of 24AWG solid copper wire and soldered them to the positive and negative points on the 'N' plug.

The battery I bought had F1 clips.  I had a bunch of wire connectors laying around that were spades that slipped into sleaves.  I found a sleave size that slipped over the F1 clips nicely.  I crimped these sleaves onto the other end of the wire.

When I wanted to charge, I slipped the sleaves off the battery, thus disconnecting the amplifier.

The charger comes with alligator clips.  I just clipped the alligator clips onto the battery's F1 clips to charge.

For long term use, I would wire up a switch to alternately connect either the amplifer to the battery or the charger to the battery.

I only had the unit about 3 weeks.  I was connecting a different source and somehow managed to short something out.

Batterymart.com has good prices.  You can pay at least 4 times as much for a charger at Radioshack.

CJ Paul

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Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #6 on: 20 Jan 2006, 09:36 pm »
Thanks.  I think I could put the amp in a different enclosure and create the switch you are referring to pretty easily.  Does anyone have a link to completely remove the volume control.  I would be using the T-Amp with a pre-amp at all points so I would also want to do this mod.  I assume I could just hard wire it to power if I implement the switch you are talking about, when I switch power from the charger to the battery, I'd be cutting power to the amp at the same time?  Most of the mod guides I've read involve replacing the pot with a nicer one.  I dont need one at all.

Tabascosauce

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Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #7 on: 21 Jan 2006, 12:30 am »
It is a superb buy for the money, and worth it to tinker with, or to have a spare amp lying around for emergencies.

Overall, I prefer my AKSA by quite a margin.  The SI sounds thin compared to the AKSA.  However, the SI does have amazing clarity.

SI's depend alot on speaker matching.  The higher the efficiency, the better.

JeffB

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Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #8 on: 21 Jan 2006, 07:01 pm »
I edited my response above.  I used 24 AWG not 18 AWG.

jackman

Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #9 on: 21 Jan 2006, 07:11 pm »
Here is a good site that talks about the amp and various modifications. It may be old-ish news but he says good things about it and details some modifications that look pretty easy.  He also gives his impression of the new, upgraded model.  Looks like a decent deal:

http://www.michael.mardis.com/sonic/start.html

Also, a picture comparing the inexpensive amp's board (the $30) with the $130 model:

http://www.si-technologies.com/info/tamp_faq.html


Close-up of the nicer board:

http://www.michael.mardis.com/sonic/start.html

bbaker6212

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Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #10 on: 23 Jan 2006, 07:24 pm »
If you're able to sling a little solder, you might want to check out the Charlize amp kit. It's cheap and reportedly sounds very good.  Surely better than the SI or Super T. Some say it sounds a good or better than the Clari-T.

Louis O

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Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #11 on: 25 Jan 2006, 01:23 am »
I don’t know much about the stock SI, but the clari t is amazing. I did have the powerwave and liked it a lot. Speaker matching is very important with these.

Vinnie’s hiwatt is getting close to being finished and is made from the ground up.

Thanks again,
Louis

Sarchi

Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #12 on: 10 Mar 2006, 06:13 am »
The basic T amp is so good for $25, it's ridiculous.  And I've only used it with batteries and on inefficient bookshelf monitors (87dB Energy's).  It isn't perfect but it has more than a hint of the 'SET magic' that 47Lab first captured (I  believe) with the Gaincard a few years ago.

I'm expecting the Super T soon -Friday I hope- as well as a pair of Omega TS-3's.  I'll post again with the results, in a week or two.  I listen about 90% to LP's on a Rega 3 and this will serve as my main system for now.

By the way, I've had many good tube amps and preamps, SET as well as PP (yeah I've had to downsize....a lot).  So, I'm not easily impressed by sand gear!  8)

happy listening to all--

Bwanagreg

Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #13 on: 10 Mar 2006, 03:56 pm »
Even though I have (and love) a Bolder battery-powered T amp, and liked the Powerwave a lot when it first came out, I was a bit surprised by the results of the recent digital amp shootout.

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=26377

Wow.

CJ Paul

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Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #14 on: 10 Mar 2006, 05:09 pm »
I thought the SI amp was good for the money, but not great objectively.  Part of that may have been that its not powerful enough for my gigantic room.  I was running into distortion and headroom issues during my tests.  I might strip it out and put real connectors on it and strip the pot out of the circuit and play some more though.

ohenry

Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #15 on: 10 Mar 2006, 06:28 pm »
Without modification, at first you'll say "ooh, aah".  After a while you'll probably say "oh, uh".  They do have bass roll off issues and frankly the brightness can be overwhelming on some sources/recordings.  I've found that the HF raises immediate comment from most females; maybe they really DO hear much better most guys.

With the proper caps in the proper places, and a good switching power supply or a SLA followed by ~20,000uF of capacitance, it will be much better.  Just don't expect miracles out of the box, especially if your speakers sound a bit thin and/or shouty at times.

With that dose of reality, get one because they are cheap and fun... and everyone needs to tinker.

Wind Chaser

Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #16 on: 10 Mar 2006, 06:46 pm »

kfr01

Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #17 on: 10 Mar 2006, 06:52 pm »
Quote from: Wind Chaser
Henry makes some good points.  See...

http://www.michael.mardis.com/sonic/measure/5066-freq.html


Henry --- thanks for the observations and Wind Chaser, thanks for the great link.

Any possibility the reviewers were mistaking the high frequency response bump/sparkle of the SI with "added detail" or something along those lines?

CJ Paul

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Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #18 on: 10 Mar 2006, 07:02 pm »
That info pretty much confirms what I heard.  I was using it crossed over as I think it would just be unfair to run it full range in my room and I still felt like there was a gap between the mains and my sub with an 80hz crossover.  I also felt that it was a little thin sounding which may have been that bump up top or may have just been something else.

Sarchi

Are the Sonic Impact Amps as good as everyone says?
« Reply #19 on: 10 Mar 2006, 07:16 pm »
If you go by Mardis' site (and he's played with these more than almost anyone), the Super T pretty much solves the bass issue.  The bass issue is mostly down to PS inadequacy.  And a bass shy amp will be thin-sounding.