XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away

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jrhanl

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Background:  I wanted a cheap entry into the SET sound (with my XRS), so I purchased this DARED amp off of EBAY.  The recent 6 Moons reviews of DARED tamed my anxiety over buying a strange brand.  So I took the plunge. 

I have only listened for several hours...so please don't take this as a thorough review.  But, I thought it worthwhile to capture that pure, initial joy. 

For context, I have been listening to my XRSs with a Super-T for several weeks (and before that the Super-T was powering Klipsch RB-35s).  Both Super-T based systems sounded great.  But the first few moments with this DARED SET struck with the force of revelation.  No exaggeration.  Everything I played in my initial listen sounded absolutely gorgeous.  From WILCO's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to  Bruckner's 7th Symphony (Von Karajan conducting)....beautiful.       

Anyway,  I am absolutely amazed.  Additionally, I braced myself for weak bass through the SET (I have read numerous forums with posts conveying weak bass as a SET handicap.  To my surprise the DARED's bass far surpassed that of the Super-T.  Whereas the Super-T's bass sounded bland and non-descript, the DARED was rich, tight and musical.  By musical I mean I could hear the belly of Yo Yo Ma's/du Pre's cello resonating deeply in the lowest registers.  It was stunning.   

I will follow up in several weeks after a more thorough listen. 

But if a newbie (or someone with limited disposable income) with the Super 3 family wants a taste of SET, this combo works.  My initial impression undoubtedly sounds naive...and well, it is.  But I trust my ears. My reference isn't necessarily a high-end system; it's the Boston Symphony Orchestra playing in Symphony Hall  :wink:   or a Fender Stratocaster with Kinman pickups though a VOX. In short, I love good tone...and my new amp/speaker combo certainly has it.

Hope this post benefits someone.   

Gushing over.   


Dmason

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Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #1 on: 15 Sep 2006, 03:05 am »
"my initial impression sounds naieve..."

If it sounds good, it IS good.  :thumb:

  2A3 + single driver. A guaranteed success every time. Glad you are happy. The Dared stuff is supposed to be getting much better, and the 2A3 triode circuit is just plain simple, very hard to get wrong. Let us know how things go.

Scott F.

Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #2 on: 15 Sep 2006, 03:29 am »
Welcome to the wonderful world of SET's and single (high efficiency) drivers.  :thumb:

Now that we've got our hooks in you, you'll never look at solid state (or digital) and low efficiency speakers the same way again. As great as classical sounds, just wait until you start rolling through your female vocal and jazz collections. You'll be in heaven, I promise.  :green:

jrhanl

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Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #3 on: 15 Sep 2006, 04:04 am »
You're right!  Even after this initial taste, I know there's no going back...seriously. 

I've read that Jazz and female vocals are sublime through SET amps..  I look forward to listening to both categories, though admittedly I am not a huge jazz fan.  I'm learning to appreciate it though (my wife plays saxophone and thinks I'm seriously deprived for not "getting" jazz).   

For the longest time, I steered clear of SET amps because I read over and over that they excelled with jazz and other intimate formats...and I reasoned that they, therefore, reproduced orchestral music poorly. 

That's why I spun the Bruckner right away.  Just to see how the amp would deal with a brass crescendo.  It was beautiful. 

That said, the smaller scale ensembles I did play were mind-blowing.  Tin Hat Trio's Book of Silk (I don't know what category this music is...otherworldly?) was startlingly.   

I'm thrilled.  What a discovery.

lonewolfny42

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Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #4 on: 15 Sep 2006, 04:17 am »
Is this the Dared amp you bought....thanks. 8)
Enjoy the tunes...... :thumb:

jrhanl

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Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #5 on: 15 Sep 2006, 04:27 am »
Lonewolfny42,

Yes, that's the one.  DARED seems to have several models which use the same chassis with different tubes.  The model I got was the MP 2A3C.

Fit and finish is excellent.  I was holding my breath until I got the amp (so many unknowns...)  Delighted so far.   

I have no idea what's going on inside this amp. My understanding of electrical engineering is on a 2nd grade level (or thereabouts) so I can't offer much input on the guts of the amp.

My heart was set on a Don Garber FI X / Y system (I love artisan/crafted products).  Alas, I would have had to save for another year or so.  So much missed listening time!  So I plunged for the cheaper imported SET.






lonewolfny42

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Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #6 on: 15 Sep 2006, 04:35 am »
I've seen past Dared products on Ebay...always looked interesting...low price. Newer stuff looks alot better....but I've not heard one.
With the Omega's you can't go wrong....glad the Dared is working for you.
I got the photo off Audiogon......there's an auction for one.

jrhanl

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Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #7 on: 15 Sep 2006, 04:47 am »
I dismissed the DARED stuff for a long time.  The 6moons reviews bolstered my confidence in the product.  The audiogon seller is the same guy I bought mine from I think.  Maybe he alternates ebay and audiogon...because I won the most recent e-bay auction.

Anyway this model is claimed  to put out 8W per channel.  My general understanding was that 3.5 watts was normal for a 2a3 tube.  The 2a3C tubes apparently work with a higher current than normal.  I am wondering if that's why I am hearing stronger bass and dynamics than I anticipated.

I just thought the 8W power rating was interesting.       

lonewolfny42

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Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #8 on: 15 Sep 2006, 04:54 am »
Does it sound loud enough for your needs ?

Paul_Bui

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Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #9 on: 15 Sep 2006, 05:16 am »
Jrhanl,

Congratulations on finding the combo that sings music to your ears.  How beautiful that Dared amp with the 2A3 bottles on it.   


jrhanl

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Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #10 on: 15 Sep 2006, 05:59 am »
Lonewolfny42,

I only have a few hours of listening time, and haven't tried to push the volume.  That said, I don't think volume will be a problem.

The amp has a little "magic eye" tube that functions as a kind of db meter.  On the Bruckner, I turned the volume to 12 o'clock, and the magic eye starting closing in during the huge swells in the symphony, but it didn't come near to clipping.  And I had to lunge for the volume knob.  It was inappropriately loud for an apartment.  And I'm sure my neighbors weren't as excited about my listening session as I was.     

For Rock (Wilco, Mark Knopfler) and small ensembles I barely had to push the amp before things got too big.  I was very surprised.  I can't imagine needing more power with the pair of  XRSs. 

       

lonewolfny42

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Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #11 on: 15 Sep 2006, 06:05 am »
Quote
I only have a few hours of listening time, and haven't tried to push the volume.  That said, I don't think volume will be a problem.
Then it's perfect for you....nice !! Thanks for posting the info jrhanl !!! :thumb:

Louis O

Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #12 on: 15 Sep 2006, 11:23 pm »
Hi Jrhanl,

Many thanks for the wonderful post and so happy you’re enjoying your Dared 2A3. I have a dealer in Spain who sells a lot of them and he loves the combo. Gives me great feedback regarding the combinations he puts together. They look great too. I do have a Fi and this is amazing too.

Thanks again,
Louis

Russell Dawkins

Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #13 on: 16 Sep 2006, 12:22 am »
I saw this link on the interesting Dared pages:

http://www.daredtube.com/pages/ampfile%20list.HTM

In it, a rare attempt is made to find logic in the association between measured data for amplifiers and subjective sound quality. It has been pointed out before that there seems to be very little in the way of correlation between the two, suggesting that either the wrong things are being measured, or the results are being mis-interpreted.

Some of this is, frankly, beyond me. It is interesting to note that an amp that does very well according to the criteria outlined in this paper is the Cary CAD 805 monoblock that was the subject of the famous 1994 Stereophile cover showing it and a Krell, saying, famously, "If one of these amps is right, the other is wrong!"

Of course, the Dared is mentioned more or less in the same breath.

-Richard-

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Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #14 on: 17 Sep 2006, 01:31 am »
SET tube amplifiers that are well executed allow so much of what is "inside" the music to come
through that it takes ones listening experiences to an entirely different level of intoxication ~

It may be... that the magic of SET's can be fully appreciated only after years of searching
for the "new"... then one hears what a well executed SET and wide-range single driver speaker
sounds like and something extraordinary is revealed to the mind... and the search for magic ends
there... with this intoxicating combination ~

Then questions of media are no longer relevant... the simple CD, if it is not a blatant example of
seriously poor engineering, sounds so thrilling and real that one can relax about that search as
well ~

I would like to share a thought with everyone about various forms of music... including Jazz...

Once one's audio is operating on the very high level of an SET and single driver speaker
combination, the INTELLIGENCE of the music can be released... the inner-dimension of that intelligence
is released and it is this sense of that intelligence that allows us to make a connection with the INTENT
of the musicians and/or composers... no matter what form they are "speaking" in ~

It is that releasing of the inner-intelligence that allows us to "hear" the mystery of that special
language that is music's alone... its ability to lift us out of the mundane into an entirely different
level of feeling... music releases our potential for feeling human ~

And least we forget... music was once a Shamanic doorway to dimensions of "seeing" that we
no longer practice... because of our over-estimation of what linear thinking has the potential
to teach us ~

Warm Regards ~ Richard ~

denjo

Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #15 on: 1 Oct 2006, 04:23 am »
Richard

You should be our poet laureate on AC! You write so well and simply have a knack of encapsulating sublime emotions!
I have a Cary 300SEI that seems to be collecting dust at the moment. I have just vicariously discovered the wonderful world of SETs and single-drivers. Who knows, I might just bite the bullet and go for Louis' Omega XRS. Only concern I have are the paper cones. In Singapore, where I hail, humidity levels are perpetually in the 90s and mould and mildew is a great worry! I once owned Audionote's AN-E/Spx but the paper cones were soon covered with mould and the soft foam surround literally disintegrated!
Till this day, I am still yearning for that magical sound which all you guys are now experiencing!

Denjo

jrhanl

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Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #16 on: 1 Oct 2006, 04:59 am »
Richard,

I agree with Denjo.  You have a way with articulating the further reaches of human experience (and I do believe that mere listening can be a further reach...)

I also agree that my recent pairing of SET with the single driver XRS' has pulled my attention from irritation with gear inadequecy and refocused it on music. 

Sure, I am still excited about audio stuff/things/tweaks, but now in the context of bliss.  Any mindless consumerism is over...it's all about discovery and rediscovery of great music for me...and sharing those discoveries with others...




bbchem

Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #17 on: 7 Oct 2006, 11:25 am »
http:// aa

I PURCHASED A PAIR OF THE OMEGA SUPER ALNICOS FROM AUDIOGON AND HAVE BEEN USING A DRAED 300B TUBE MONOBLOCKS, I HAVE SEVERAL SOLID STATE INCLUDING PROCEED, CARVER AND KRELL AND THE LITTLE 9WPC DAREDS BLOW THEM AWAY ON THE OMEGAS AND SEVERAL OTHERS I HAVE HAD. I AM RUNNING A SACD AND TRANSPORT/DAC DIRECTLY INTO THE DAREDS SINCE THE HAVE VOLUME CONTROL AND THE SOUND IS JUST SPOOKY! I MOVED FROM CONNECTICUIT LAST YEAR OR ELSE I WOULD RUN DOWN TO LOUIS AND CONGRATULATE HIM!!!

Louis O

Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #18 on: 13 Oct 2006, 01:05 am »
Hi all,

Great topic and I agree as well. I've heard amps that measured bad sound great and In this area I kinda don't pay any attention to it. It really comes down to how it sounds to you. If it sounds great in your room that's what's important.

Hi denjo,

In your climate I would definitely coat the drivers and this should be perfectly fine.

Thanks again,
Louis


toobwacky

Re: XRS with DARED 2A3 SET initial impressions...blown away
« Reply #19 on: 14 Oct 2006, 08:00 pm »
I've been toying with the idea of trying out tube power for my XRSs.  Can anyone give me a general idea of how the rising impedance (at higher frequencies) of the Fostex driver will affect the frequency response of a typical tube amp?

Thanks!