New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?

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evan1

Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #20 on: 6 Feb 2010, 09:34 pm »
I'm pretty sure the Marantz has a good DAC in it so I think you will be OK

Bigload

Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #21 on: 6 Feb 2010, 09:51 pm »
When the AVA web sight says the 240/2 delivers 125W/ch, does that mean into an 8ohm load?  So if your speakers are 4ohm, do you double that to understand the power rating?

oneinthepipe

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Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #22 on: 6 Feb 2010, 09:58 pm »
Regarding your iPod, if you use a cable with a 3.5 mm jack on one end and RCAs on the other end, you are using the iPods built-in DAC.  The iPod's DAC isn't very good.   If you are taking the digital output of your iPod and connecting to a digital input on your SACD, then you are using the SACD's built-in DAC.  Notwithstanding the DAC, a lot of your sound quality depends on the tracks on your iPod.  If you are playing AAC files, the sound quality isn't going to be very good.

If you are feeding your SACD player's digital input, then the quality of the analog output depends on the SACD's player's DAC and analog output stage.  There are some SACD players and CD players with good DAC's and analog output stages, but their analog output is often inferior to a standalone DAC.

You need a good source, i.e.; the analog output that will go into the preamp's input, then you need a good preamp to amplify the signals, and then you need a good amp that will amplify the preamp's output to a level that operates the speakers.  The sound comes from source, then into the preamp, then the amp, and lastly through the speakers.  Poor sound at the beginning will merely be amplified through the speakers and will sound poor.  Good sound from the source, amplified correctly, will sound good through good speakers in a room with good acoustics.  Great sound is a little more complicated but follows the same concept.

To answer your question, if the DAC in your SACD/CD player isn't very good, you will be giving up a lot by not having a better DAC.  However, every upgraded component should improve the sound quality.  The crummy analog output of an iPod (yikes) will probably sound better through a better system, but you aren't going to get the sound quality that you would with a better source. 

oneinthepipe

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Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #23 on: 6 Feb 2010, 10:01 pm »
When the AVA web sight says the 240/2 delivers 125W/ch, does that mean into an 8ohm load?  So if your speakers are 4ohm, do you double that to understand the power rating?

I don't know if the output is exactly double, but the amp produces more power into a 4 ohm load.  I wouldn't worry too much about the specs, but if you are using 4 ohm speakers, I think you wouldn't be foolhardy paying the minimal extra amount for the double-die option.

AVA is sound-happy, not spec-happy.

Art_Chicago

Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #24 on: 6 Feb 2010, 10:06 pm »
When the AVA web sight says the 240/2 delivers 125W/ch, does that mean into an 8ohm load?  So if your speakers are 4ohm, do you double that to understand the power rating?
yes, it is @8 Ohm, but I am not sure if you just double it for 4 Ohm, it may depend on the topology of the amp. Jim, Dennis and/or Frank would know for sure.
If I just got the Insight SL preamp and the Insight 240/2, and plugged my SACD player into my preamp using the analog in/outs would I be giving up something significant by not having the hybrid premap with the better integrated DAC?  AND...when I plug my iPod into the USB plug on my SACD player, is the SACD player's DAC working or is it the iPod DAC?  Thanks again.  This is really helpful to me!!

The dac in SACD is probably good for now, you can get a separate unit later. I guess it is going to be a digital signal thru a USB port, meaning your player's DAC is involved! Now, your ipod will send AAC (or MP3) compressed files, and that is not as good as a CD signal.
 

Art_Chicago

Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #25 on: 6 Feb 2010, 10:10 pm »
I should have checked the pipe's replies first... did not mean to be redundant  :lol:

oneinthepipe

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Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #26 on: 6 Feb 2010, 10:12 pm »
OR is this unit you recommended simply an AVA preamp with an even better high end built in DAC? 

No, this unit is not better because of the built-in DAC, just less expensive.  I don't know your budget.  I you want to do it up really nice, you could get an AVA Vision DAC, an AVA AvaStar preamp with a built-in phase inverter bridge, and two AVA Ultra Double 550 amps, running in mono, each producing about 1000 watts of sweet, AVA muscle. 

Some might think that is overkill.   :wink:

Don't get caught up comparing the specs of different electronic components.  The specs tell you NOTHING (not yelling here) about the quality or sound.  While a person often gets what they pay for, with AVA and Salk, you will get a lot more than you pay for.

oneinthepipe

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Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #27 on: 6 Feb 2010, 10:14 pm »
Bigload, I have a Marantz CD5001, and the analog output is crap compared to my DACs' analog outputs, but I only paid 300.00 for the thing.  Maybe you have a high end SACD player.

Why are you called Bigload, if you don't mind me asking?

BTW, anyone interest in a minty Marantz CD5001?   :D

cujobob

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Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #28 on: 6 Feb 2010, 10:19 pm »
I just read the OP so if I missed some stuff, I apologize.

If you don't mind going without a remote, I recommend a Mapletree Audio preamp.

As for the 8Ohm power into 4 ohms, that is dependent on the power amp.  A good power amplifier should have close to twice the wattage from an 8 ohm load into 4 ohms.

Bigload

Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #29 on: 6 Feb 2010, 10:39 pm »
Bigload, I have a Marantz CD5001, and the analog output is crap compared to my DACs' analog outputs, but I only paid 300.00 for the thing.  Maybe you have a high end SACD player.

Why are you called Bigload, if you don't mind me asking?

BTW, anyone interest in a minty Marantz CD5001?   :D

ummm...  just made it up.  and.... I am not exactly a small guy either.

Bigload

Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #30 on: 6 Feb 2010, 10:48 pm »
No, this unit is not better because of the built-in DAC, just less expensive.  I don't know your budget.  I you want to do it up really nice, you could get an AVA Vision DAC, an AVA AvaStar preamp with a built-in phase inverter bridge, and two AVA Ultra Double 550 amps, running in mono, each producing about 1000 watts of sweet, AVA muscle. 

Some might think that is overkill.   :wink:

Don't get caught up comparing the specs of different electronic components.  The specs tell you NOTHING (not yelling here) about the quality or sound.  While a person often gets what they pay for, with AVA and Salk, you will get a lot more than you pay for.

Well, I guess my budget keeps growing the better stuff sounds.  Heck I started out thinking about a $1400 AVA integrated unit, or some other less expensive stuff.  Now I am thinking about some really sweet sounding stuff you guys have suggested that gets me up around $3500.

oneinthepipe

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Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #31 on: 6 Feb 2010, 11:13 pm »
Well, I guess my budget keeps growing the better stuff sounds.  Heck I started out thinking about a $1400 AVA integrated unit, or some other less expensive stuff.  Now I am thinking about some really sweet sounding stuff you guys have suggested that gets me up around $3500.

Do you have a two-channel system or an integrated HT system?

Bigload

Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #32 on: 6 Feb 2010, 11:33 pm »
Do you have a two-channel system or an integrated HT system?

2 channel

oneinthepipe

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Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #33 on: 6 Feb 2010, 11:49 pm »
OK, so you don't have a bunch of other stuff to worry about.

The least expensive NIB "complete system" from AVA, would be the Vision DAC/Preamp Combo with an Insight 240.  If you got the double-die option, you would be under 3000.00 with shipping.  The UltraValve will produce a different sound, better sound, IMO, especially with a solid state preamp, and you would still be under 3400.00 with shipping.  A remote volume control, which I highly recommend, costs 299.00 (another manufacturer charges 1000.00 for what appears to be a similar control.)  Either of these two "systems" would provide you with a hi-rez DAC installed in an excellent preamp, and a powerful solid state or a sweet, musical tube amp.  You won't notice much output power/loudness-type performance difference between the 120 watt solid state amp and the 30 watt tube amp, in my experience with the Ultimate 70 and the Insight 440.  The Ultimate 70 has great low end and the mid-range is better than the Insight 440, IMO.  The Ultimate 70, the UltraValve's predecessor, is more detailed than the Insight 440, too.  Additionally, tubes amps look cool, you can get into tube rolling, and your friends will constantly argue with you about your "old" technology until they take a listen.   :lol:

Your Marantz SACD player will make a nice CD transport for the DAC, but you can also use the DAC in a hi-rez and/or red book music server-type system, using a SB or computer.   

Bigload

Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #34 on: 7 Feb 2010, 12:03 am »
I'm pretty sure the Marantz has a good DAC in it so I think you will be OK

I searched enough to find the Marantz SA8003 has a Cirrus CS4398 DAC.  I then googled the DAC itself and read some on that.  Some smart sounding guys say it is good, but not as good as some and may be preferred in solid state set ups.  I have no idea if that is all good or bad.  I am betting it is good enough for me! 

Bigload

Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #35 on: 7 Feb 2010, 12:10 am »
This has been an interesting day for me.  I have learned a tremendous amount and received some great advice from some very helpful people here.  I really appreciate it!  Now I just need to consider the options (much easier now that they are more understandable) and make a decision.

Thanks.

evan1

Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #36 on: 7 Feb 2010, 12:11 am »
The main question is how does it sound to you. I have a Marantz SA15S1 and to me it is a winner. I would have to spend alot more to find a better player. If you like the sound that is what matters. You can get opinions but that doesn't mean your going to like any of the equiptment when you get it. I went through tons of gear in the past 2 years to get where I am now and I am sure everyone else has also. People can only advise you based on what they have lisened to. Hell you bought Songtowers sight unseen like myself and others and look at the results.

oneinthepipe

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Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #37 on: 7 Feb 2010, 12:22 am »
The SA8003 is purported to be a good player.  In another league from my CD5001 but perhaps not in the same league as the SA15S1.

The DAC chip that is installed in a player or outboard DAC is only as good as the implementation.  There are the output stages, power supplies, and a whole bunch of other things that I do not know much about.  However, just because two components use the same DAC chip doesn't guarantee that their performance, i.e., sound, will be comparable.  Two amps both using the same tubes might sound a lot different.

I agree that what matters is what you think of the sound.  My motivation is merely to help you avoid, if possible, the costly mistakes that I, and others, have made.  I bought my Salk speakers sound unheard, but I relied on the trusted opinions of others.  I wish that I had trusted opinions before I bought a couple of CD players and a few pairs of speakers, prior to owning the Salks.

Evan1 knows his stuff, BTW.  He is a good trusted opinion. 

avahifi

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Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #38 on: 7 Feb 2010, 12:34 am »
I should mention that The Absolute Sound reported that the combination of Salk Songtowers driven by the AVA Ultravalve tube amplifer, and an AVA preamp and DAC, the "best bargain at the Rocky Mountain AudioFest" and other reviewers gave our combined show room high marks too.

You probably already know the Jim Salk uses AVA equipment in his own sound lab. Dennis Murphy, the crossover designer, uses an AVA Insight preamp and amplifier too.

There is lots of other great equipment out there, but with AVA, when you call us, I will usually answer the phone myself just because I love to.

Regards,

Frank Van Alstine

Nuance

Re: New SongTowers ordered. Other gear?
« Reply #39 on: 7 Feb 2010, 12:46 am »
Wow, the other guys on audio circle are right: we're a bunch of AVA fanboys.  :)

I will take a different approach and say to the OP: only use our recommendations as just that; do not buy without at least auditioning some gear first.  You may hate what we like; you just never know.  Audition first, then purchase based on your opinion, not ours.  You might be a tube guy, soild state guy, vinyl guy or digital guy...only one way to find out.

With that said, I am sure you'll love the AVA stuff (I'd own an AVA amp if I could afford it), but try to at least score an audition first.  Better safe than sorry.

Some very well respected brands are:

AVA
Cary
Modwright
McCormack
Musical Fidelity
Rotel
Bryston
Ayre
Rogue Audio
Parasound
Proceed
Arcam
ATI

The list goes on and on.  Buy based on sound and features. 

Welcome to the Salk family!!!