Amp Suggestions for HT3s?

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BPuckett

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #80 on: 26 May 2009, 09:40 pm »
Forgive me for not having read all of the previous posts in this thread, for what I have to say is my opinion uninfluenced by what might have been stated previously.

I have preferred direct coupled solid state amplifiers with relatively high damping factors over tube amplifiers since 1971 (yes, I am a "seasoned" music lover).  The reason is that I believe that the bottom end (bass) of a musical performance is the foundation upon which the other parts of a composition are built, which requires that a reproduced bottom end be as faithful to the recorded performance as possible.  Given that transformer coupled amplifiers (i.e., all tube amplifiers, except for OTL tube amplifiers, as well as transformer coupled solid state amplifiers, such as many McIntosh amplifiers) have far lower damping factors than most direct coupled solid state amplifiers (i.e., solid state amplifiers that use sufficient negative feedback), direct coupled solid state amplifiers are generally better at accurately reproducing the bottom end of recordings than are transformer coupled amplifiers.  This means that if you want to have minimaly colored bottom end, you might have to give up some of the midrange "warmth" and "openness" (related to low damping factors inherent to transformer coupled designs) of tube amplifiers to get it.  That is a trade off I am willing to live with and actually prefer.  Note: Hopefully, my post won't lead to a rehash of the subjective drawbacks of negative feedback in amplifier designs.

So with all of that said, what I have been using with my HT3's are McIntosh MC162 direct coupled, solid state, 2-channel amplifiers operating in bridged mode, one for each stereo channel.  Nominally, in bridged mode each amp provides 320 Watts into 8 ohms and 500 Watts into 4 ohms, with an overhead of about 1.2 dB and a minimum damping factor of 200 (a very high damping factor relative to transformer coupled designs).  The HT3's simply sing with those amplifiers driving them (to my ears, at least), particularly in the critical bottom end.

I recommend you try a really good, powerful, solid state amplifier with a minimum damping factor of at least 100 to drive your HT3's.  At least, give such a setup a try.  You might decide to go with a tube setup, but at least you will know you made the right decision.

Bob

charmerci

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #81 on: 26 May 2009, 09:56 pm »
I'd like to hear from Jim (Dennis maybe?) if he gets/has been able to use high price loaners electronics/cables from the manufacturers?

I would imagine that many of them would love to have his endorsement.

Woolz

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #82 on: 27 May 2009, 04:13 am »
How about if we consider entrepreneurship and human nature here.  In the greatest consumer society ever known to man, marketing has become so sophisticated it is a course of study at our greatest universities.  Isn't it possible that the best way to market a direct sales product is to maximize your potential customer base?  If you are selling speakers, amplifiers, wire or isolation systems you want to give the impression they work in the widest range of situations. So in your promotion and discussion of your offering you try to eliminate as few potential customers as possible.  You demo your product with associated equipment carefully chosen to include the maximum number of buyers.  The greatest number of buyers is not at the top of the spectrum, but the middle down.  So you try not to alienate these people.  If you demoed with 10K amps and 2K wire a certain alienation would occur and the perception that this is what is required for your speakers.  So, to me, Jim's approach to ancillary stuff makes a lot of sense and as a retired entrepreneur what I would do.  However, he runs the risk of not being taken seriously by the audio elite.  But, I think it is the wise choice.  His work speaks for itself if you take the time to listen.  Speakers are the most defining part of an audio system and his will respond to whatever ancillaries you choose.  As the quality of speakers varies greatly, so too does the quality of amps, preamps, wire and tweeks.  Isn't it common sense?  Charlatans exist everywhere in every business. Geniuses do too.  One of the great benefits of Audiocircle is to try to sort out the good guys from the bad guys, the artists from the rip-offs.

BrianM

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #83 on: 27 May 2009, 11:03 am »
By "audio elite" I assume you mean people with lots of money.

Woolz

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #84 on: 27 May 2009, 11:45 am »
Brian, not necessarily lots of money.  The "audio elite" are people who look at themselves that way and may or may not have money.  The "carriage trade" are people with lots of money who want the best and will pay for it, but may not have the experience to even know it when they see it or hear it. Audio retailers love to see these people come in. Jim is not going after these people.  And he is not going directly after the audio elite.  Only indirectly by producing a great sounding speaker. 

BrianM

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #85 on: 27 May 2009, 11:48 am »
So if I decide to look at myself as part of the audio elite, I'm therefore part of the audio elite? I'm afraid I don't understand.

turkey

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #86 on: 27 May 2009, 12:37 pm »

I have preferred direct coupled solid state amplifiers with relatively high damping factors over

Bad idea. Check Frank Van Alstine's back issues of Audio Basics for the full explanation of why "DC" amps never work.

I've seen the effect on a scope and it isn't pretty. You're far better off using an amp with a high pass filter at the input and normal design with coupling caps.

I've also heard "DC" amps going back to the Crown DC300. They produce what I call "lumpen bass."



mr_bill

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #87 on: 27 May 2009, 12:41 pm »
earsfirst - I sent you a PM - please check.
Thanks.

audiotom

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #88 on: 27 May 2009, 12:42 pm »
woolz - post 22 you really hit the nail on the head
thank you

there is also a contingent called the audio snob - much like the wine snob
always has to have the privaledge new flashy piece, condesending etc.
those who focus more on the music over the gear to get you there,  don't get caught up in that element

jim and dennis' speakers sound great with modestly priced gear
and their nuances come out even more when careful selection of  gear brings that extra element out of the music

I like Jim's approach, I'd also like to fly him down to New Orleans and have him hear what his HT3's are fully capable of.

Personally, having met Jim at his shop, I'd expect that he'd take note, but it wouldn't stop his enjoyment with modest front end gear one iota


turkey

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #89 on: 27 May 2009, 12:49 pm »
spectrum, but the middle down.  So you try not to alienate these people.  If you demoed with 10K amps and 2K wire a certain alienation would occur and the perception that this is what is

I think it would be the opposite from what I've seen of audiophiles. (And audiophiles are pretty much where Jim's market is. He's not selling his speakers at the big discount stores or to their customers.)

Doing a demo with ultra-expensive ancillary components would tend to impress the yokels. "Gee, these speakers must be the shiznitz if he's demonstrating them with $100K worth of amps and cables!"

Then the potential customer notices how Jim's speakers are actually more affordable than those from many other companies. They're pretty too, and look like fine furniture.

They're still monkey coffins, but they're very refined monkey coffins. :)

Monkey coffins, especially tall thin ones with midrange drivers pretending to be woofers are what sells.


turkey

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #90 on: 27 May 2009, 12:53 pm »
I like Jim's approach, I'd also like to fly him down to New Orleans and have him hear what his HT3's are fully capable of.

Personally, having met Jim at his shop, I'd expect that he'd take note, but it wouldn't stop his enjoyment with modest front end gear one iota

Now you're playing audio snob. You think you know better than Jim what his speakers are capable of, and you can show him how it's really done.

Speakers, recordings, and the listening room account for 99% or greater of how a sytem sounds. Electronics are only responsible for fractions of a percent of improvement.


BrianM

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #91 on: 27 May 2009, 03:58 pm »
I'm still wondering who this fabled 'audio elite' is and why that term shouldn't be interpreted as 'people who spend big bucks on audio.'

Audiophiles are an eclectic bunch and, as turkey says, lots of them haven't been terribly impressed by some of the $100K systems they've heard. I've listened to enough ridiculous systems that didn't sound at all like live music not to be fooled by this silliness anymore.

It may well be that demoing the Salk speakers with megabuck electronics would scare some people away; that's a fair point. I just don't see how those people can be said to represent any kind of 'elite.' You can't buy a great pair of ears, but you can buy a great sounding system for the price of some Salk speakers and the supposedly 'modest' electronics he happens to use. And you can spend five times as much for no meaningful improvement.

Again and again, the underlying assumption is, "Come hear my really expensive stuff; it's better. Also, it's more expensive. It costs much more than the modest gear, which is modest because it doesn't cost nearly as much." Telling the manufacturer he hasn't yet heard "what his speakers can really do" is a bit off, isn't it?

rydenfan

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #92 on: 27 May 2009, 04:05 pm »
Guys, this thread is steering quite far from the original intention and I dont see any help being given to the OP at this point. Lets try and clean it up and keep it on track. Constructive help is great, but grandstanding will not be tolerated.

turkey

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #93 on: 27 May 2009, 06:48 pm »
Guys, this thread is steering quite far from the original intention and I dont see any help being given to the OP at this point. Lets try and clean it up and keep it on track. Constructive help is great, but grandstanding will not be tolerated.

Grandstanding?

I would assume you mean:

"To perform ostentatiously so as to impress an audience."

I don't see that anyone was doing that here.

turkey

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #94 on: 27 May 2009, 06:57 pm »

Again and again, the underlying assumption is, "Come hear my really expensive stuff; it's better. Also, it's more expensive. It costs much more than the modest gear, which is modest because it doesn't cost nearly as much." Telling the manufacturer he hasn't yet heard "what his speakers can really do" is a bit off, isn't it?

Well put.

I do really feel that Jim knows what his speakers can do, and has certainly selected ancillary equipment that is entirely adequate. As such, if I were looking for amps to use with the HT3s, I would ask Jim what he recommends.

I am positive he would steer you straight.

Note that there are many people in the audio business that I would not trust to give an honest opinion. However, Jim strikes me as a straight-shooter and I think he wouldn't recommend something if he didn't feel it was good.



BPuckett

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #95 on: 27 May 2009, 09:32 pm »

I have preferred direct coupled solid state amplifiers with relatively high damping factors over

Bad idea. Check Frank Van Alstine's back issues of Audio Basics for the full explanation of why "DC" amps never work.

I've seen the effect on a scope and it isn't pretty. You're far better off using an amp with a high pass filter at the input and normal design with coupling caps.

I've also heard "DC" amps going back to the Crown DC300. They produce what I call "lumpen bass."

Perhaps I didn't clearly state what I meant.  By "direct coupled" I meant that the output power devices of the amplifier are connected directly to the loudspeaker instead of being connected indirectly through a transformer.  I did not mean that the amplification stages in the amplifier are directly coupled to each other (i.e., without using coupling capacitors).  The amplification stages of the MC162 are AC coupled to one another via capacitors and the output power devices connect directly to the loudspeaker instead of through a transformer.

Bob

earthbound

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #96 on: 27 May 2009, 11:03 pm »
Note that there are many people in the audio business that I would not trust to give an honest opinion. However, Jim strikes me as a straight-shooter and I think he wouldn't recommend something if he didn't feel it was good.

+1, especially after reading their posts for some time and meeting them at AKFest

zybar

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #97 on: 27 May 2009, 11:22 pm »
Ok, one last try...

Myself and others aren't saying price absolutely equals performance or quality.  However, we have given examples and opinions where amp A cost more than amp B and we felt that amp B performed at a higher level.  Amp A didn't perform at a higher level because it cost more, it simply performed at a higher level and happened to cost more.

Why is it so hard to believe that something that costs more "could" be better?   :scratch:  Not that it is automatically better because of its price tag.

Let's use Salk speakers instead of amps for a little exercise...

Don't we all pretty much agree that as you move up Jim's speaker line the performance level increases? 

As great a value that Jim's products represent (based on many of our comments), does anybody believe that the HT3's are 3 times better than the Song Towers just because they cost  3 times more? 

Since I don't believe most of you feel that way, why are some people applying that logic to amps, sources, cables, etc...?

Again, I am not trying to impose my value system or viewpoint on anybody, I am simply asking that all viewpoints be considered and not make this into a black and white discussion.

Now, how about we get back to making recommendations to earsfirst and audiotom based on the criteria they supplied?

George


BrianM

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #98 on: 28 May 2009, 12:34 am »
Why is it so hard to believe that something that costs more "could" be better?   :scratch:  Not that it is automatically better because of its price tag.

Of course it could, and no one, in this thread, has suggested that it couldn't. OTOH, it also seems easy for some to assume that modestly priced gear = modest gear. Again, it was originally a response to the 'folks, you really do get what you pay for' comment, and to certain subsequent ones.

Also, it's perhaps a fundamental disagreement about 'how much better' (see below).

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Let's use Salk speakers instead of amps for a little exercise...

Don't we all pretty much agree that as you move up Jim's speaker line the performance level increases? 

As great a value that Jim's products represent (based on many of our comments), does anybody believe that the HT3's are 3 times better than the Song Towers just because they cost  3 times more? 

Since I don't believe most of you feel that way, why are some people applying that logic to amps, sources, cables, etc...?

For one thing, most audiophiles seem to accept, with good justification in my opinion, that speakers make much more difference than amps, sources, etc. Therefore it does make sense to apply more rigorous economic logic to the latter - what you pay for top-line speakers needn't be approached by what you pay for the front end. From that point of view, it is quite unnecessary to spend $15,000 on an amplifier, when that amount of money can get you at least within a shake or two of the best performing speakers to be had - and certainly the best speakers you could hope to appreciate to the fullest in a potentially compromised listening environment.

Quote
Again, I am not trying to impose my value system or viewpoint on anybody, I am simply asking that all viewpoints be considered and not make this into a black and white discussion.

Has anyone accused you of trying to impose your values? I don't think you ever have, I don't think I have a reason to think so. I always give consideration to your viewpoint, as you are clearly an experienced listener with a lot of exposure to different stuff. And I hope I don't come across as a black and white sort of guy.

Quote
Now, how about we get back to making recommendations to earsfirst and audiotom based on the criteria they supplied?

Personally I don't view side-debates like this as irrelevant or counterproductive. I find them interesting. Maybe that's just me. If I had come across such debates sooner in my 'audio journey', who knows, I might have approached things differently.

DMurphy

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #99 on: 28 May 2009, 12:54 am »
Well, I guess we'll just have to accept the fact that this thread has gone off track.  But I think it's still been useful.  It's certainly motivated me to make another trip up to Boston to hear the HT3's with lots of $$$$ driving them.  My main problem with mega buck amps vs mega buck speakers is that I don't know quite what the theory is behind some of the super expensive amps, whereas it's pretty obvious why an HT4 costs more than an HT3 which costs more than an HT2......................   Deeper bass costs money.  There's no real short cut there.  And copper shorting rings cost more than no shorting rings, and you can document that distortion goes down with the copper.  And two drivers cost more than one, and two give you more sensitivity.  And sloped cabinets, and bigger cabinets, cost more.  But when it comes to amps, and wires, and interconnects---I see the higher price tags, but I don't always see the science or common sense.  Actually, I usually don't see it.  So that's why I'm not willing to accept any claims about amps until I can verify them.   Well, that's true of speakers too.     Uh--what was the question?