Curious about Virtue Amps

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MarkgM

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Curious about Virtue Amps
« on: 16 Feb 2010, 03:11 pm »
Hi,
I have a few questions based upon reading of the Virtue amps, along with a few other experiences. 

--------My story -----
I start with 2-channel background, and room setup and speakers, but only leftover adcom 565/545 combo for midsection, since that was cheap and I hawked the rest (back a few years).  I used to have a real nice sounding Denon 2-channel integrated, around 50 pounds, and wanted to get back to that, with a remote for the volume, plus what advancements are going on today.

Lately, I have extensively auditioned a Marantz sr7002 7.1 receiver and an Arjen Helder modified Topping T-Amp (20wpc, $46).  What an interesting time it has been.  The Marantz has plenty of punch, and the modded Topping is small for my loads, but there is layering, texture and air there on another level. 

Ultimately, my tweeters are sensitive.  The designer likes a bump in the high(ish) treble, give it that "live sound", always been a deal with him.  Anyhow, I love this speaker, and sometimes, amps misbehaving in this part of the treble really glare at you.  I have a recording, Jon Anderson"Angel" that emphasizes this the most.  Some other high vocals do this, and there's a subtle high-toned aspect of violins (shrill) I think can be there.  The 7002 will do this with this speaker, but not so much with my dad's speakers (Mirage bookshelves, and Norh 3.0s) - not like my speakers.  The modded Topping gives me the sense that I can hear every sample on a compact disc - its all palpable. I like that, but alas, with my 87.5 dB 5-ohm loads (flat to 30 Hz), dynamic bass peaks over 90 dB on the meter just aren't happening without a little clip. Hee hee.  But I still love it. 

And the Adcom is doing allright in the meantime.  We've gotten used to it here over the past year.

The extra speakers I've got are a pain in the ass, along with making 5.1 sound from 2-channel sources.  Screw that.  I'm going two-channel. The two main speakers fill the room sufficiently, considering the losses in clarity when morphing 2-channel into 5 channel, Imho.

-------------- Ok, that's my story... Onward! ----

I tend to rate my needs at 130 wpc into 5 ohms.  The speakers are good for 18dB/each over their 1-watt rating before compression, and if it's available, I don't mind using it.  Well, its a 90-watt woofer with a 30-watt tweeter, so, I think could handle 350-watt peaks Ok. Handles compression at 2-3dB over the above stated, but I don't like the sound compressed, so, 18 dB over is fine on bass peaks - I don't need more.  21dB/each over would give a 3 dB crest, at 128 wpc.

For the sound that the modded Topping gives, I wouldn' t mind coming in 3 dB short either, I suppose, for great sound at a great deal.  Nowadays, I'll bet it's all better.

I came across mention of a more clasic style amp, I believe, for $700 - the Outlaw RR2150 receiver.  From what I've read, it would drive my speakers fully, and it has a remote.  From what I've read, its not harsh or grainy, has great dynamics and bass, and 2-channel gear isn't available again until much higher price points (after it).  It's rated 160 wpc into 4 ohms @ 0.03% THD.  How does it compare to a Marantz AVR?  I don't yet know.

So, what is the T-amp distinction?  I've heard a t-amp and a modern AVR (with very good AVR sound quality, I thought), but I have not heard a modern receiver such as the RR2150.  Does anyone have comparisons (with Virtue amps)?  I also have not heard a Virtue amp, but have read about them - sounds like the modded Topping kind of sound.

I am in the market for 2-channel amplification with a remote volume control, and 2 (or more) inputs would be a plus. I have a TT to support, along with the standard DVD and computer input via the DVD.  I was thinking of the Virtue one.2 with a 130-watt PS to cover my needs, but curious what people here (seems some knowlegable people here) think about Virtue offerings for me.

Cheers -
Mark

dvenardos

Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #1 on: 17 Feb 2010, 04:44 pm »
You would get more power out of the Outlaw. I haven't heard the RR2150, but I do have the Outlaw 7100. Outlaw makes solid, high value amps with clean sound. I much prefer the sound of my Virtue Two to that of my Outlaw. The tripath sound is often compared to tubes. For me, it makes everything sound more "live" and realistic. I have fallen in love with the tripath sound, but I don't listen at high decibels so the loss in power is not an issue for me.

PSB Guy

Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #2 on: 17 Feb 2010, 06:19 pm »
If you're looking for 2 or more inputs and a remote control, you'll have to go with either of the Sensation models (M451 or M901), which are more expensive than the One Classic or One.2, but are better amps. With the right power supply, any of the Virtue amps will put out 87 wpc into 4 ohms, about half the power of the RR2150, but then the RR2150 doesn't have the Tripath magic. Seth has demonstrated the older Virtue One driving huge 5-foot tall line array speakers with little to no problems, so I don't know how much more power you would need...
« Last Edit: 17 Feb 2010, 11:36 pm by PSB Guy »

MarkgM

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Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #3 on: 17 Feb 2010, 08:44 pm »
The comments go along with my suspicions.  You know, it does seem like 3 dB to me to get from 64 wpc to 128 wpc, and I don't need that.  I thought I read of the one.2 with a remote.  What's the cheapest I can do with a good PS and a remote, such as the sensation? 

TIA - Mark

PSB Guy

Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #4 on: 17 Feb 2010, 09:27 pm »
Right now, as per the Virtue website, the Sensation M451 is available for $629 on pre-order. Power supplies would add anywhere from $129 for the DIY Antec to $249 for the full assembled JT Dynamic Power unit. Or, you could go with batteries, from $199 DIY to $525 for Vinnie's beautiful rig. You of course could always stick with the regular switching supplies, but personally I wouldn't opt for anything less than the 30v/130w at $149. There are sooooo many options. The more juice you can throw at these puppies, the better off you'll be. BTW, I don't work for them, I'm just a very satisfied customer... :D

MarkgM

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Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #5 on: 18 Feb 2010, 02:11 am »
I'm doing better with the web site now.  I clicked on Sensation on the left, under 'Q & A', and that had nothing on it - my mistake there.

Looking at PSs... Since I have a 5 ohm load, 30 volts would be 6 amps, but that would be 180 wpc, and so it seems I don't need more volts or amps at that point.  Like, if one said 8 amps, and 100 watts, and 30 volts, then I think it would have as much as I would need.  Just so you know, if there's one dB of clipping, I will turn it down.  I don't know if everybody is like that, but I'm not as touchy about other things, I guess.

I am new to PSs and the needs to watch out for, so I'd be glad for the advice.  Thx.  Another idea I had, but didn't mention, was to put the amp near the sitting position, and run a long set of input cables and the speaker cables to it, so the volume knob would be in reach (which would make one.2's possible).  I've done that before,with gear inside a coffee table.  Meanwhile, I'll consider a Sensation M451 w/plastic remote, and for PS, I'll have to say that I am using a generic 12-volt supply with the little T amp I have, and I enjoy it fine, and I could upgrade to a very nice PS later.

MarkgM

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Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #6 on: 18 Feb 2010, 02:38 am »
After looking at the Virtue PSs, there's a 90-watt supply, making the M451 with it $688.  It says that the 130watt PS tightens up the mid-bass a bit over it (also making it $768).  I don't wantto consider spending that much right now.

I'll have to consider whether or not I want to try putting the amp at the seating position.  If I do that, then I can save.  How much of a difference in sound do you think there is between a one.2 and an M451?

virtue

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Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #7 on: 18 Feb 2010, 04:00 am »
As I compile my tax return and see out how much I spent making these precious gems, it makes me weepy to lower the pre-order price on the M451 to $599.  But having the M451 sit in the warehouse does me no good and I'd rather there be a bunch of them out in the world to spread that contagion which is their delicious sound. Hopefully that puts you over the edge Mark.  If not, I'm sure others will be no less grateful for your trepidation ;-)

MarkgM

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Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #8 on: 18 Feb 2010, 05:05 pm »
Seth, I can commit cash next week, and that sounds nice, and I want to keep talking with you about PSs, since this sounds like an area I am new to.  And, since I really like my little t amp, I am most curious about that kind of sound with maybe 100 dB to boot (instead of 90).  In fact, with 65 wpc, I'd guess ~105 dB in the room.

S Clark

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Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #9 on: 18 Feb 2010, 05:26 pm »
...with maybe 100 dB to boot (instead of 90).  In fact, with 70 wpc, I'd guess ~105 dB in the room.

 :o  You really don't want to subject your ears to anything that loud.  Hearing loss is real, permanent, and to be avoided.

MarkgM

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Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #10 on: 18 Feb 2010, 05:33 pm »
Which I have done (avoided tinnitus)... And these are dynamic bass peaks, aren't they?  That puts the average SPL in the mid 90s, which I think is Ok for a little while at a time. 

MarkgM

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Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #11 on: 18 Feb 2010, 05:44 pm »
Ok, here's a real newbie question.  How many times do these things oscillate per second?  If it's a half million, then I can only guess it's faster than me.  That's the only number I've read so far, in reading about class D.  Twas a half-million per second times that it could adjust itself, or something like that.

I'm new to class D.  I have survived redbook longer than persons too young to have survived them for so long, and I find they have become palpable by way of the little t amp I have, like I could hear every sample.  It makes me realize how long I have suffered from digititus (redbook, most likely), and the steps through that.  Such as finally getting dithering in all the players around 1995-2002, making CDs so much better to deal with, but still having to put on vinyl just to wash my brain out.  Not so with the little class D amp for me.  It brings great palpability, digestability and enjoyment to redbook for me. 

virtue

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Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #12 on: 18 Feb 2010, 11:55 pm »
I'm not an engineer but will tell you that Tripath is not class-D and uses a proprietary algorithm that adaptively switches the frequency and provides feedback to the controller.  This is part of the Tripath magic that will makes its sound unique and enduring, no matter how much other class-D amps improve.

MarkgM

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Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #13 on: 19 Feb 2010, 12:45 am »
Is it PWM?  I recently read that we would call it class D if it was both PWM -and- was then digitally controlled, or something like that.  Of course, I'm trying to catch up.

MarkgM

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Re: Curious about Virtue Amps
« Reply #14 on: 19 Feb 2010, 01:09 am »
Please allow me to expound on the beauty of PWM as I see it (and for the first time)...

With Redbook, we've got samples at 22.5 uS (microseconds) per sample, whereas empirical testing has shown human hearing as picking up time differences as little as 5 uS.  That means that redbook CD, originally at 22,000 samples/second has been exceeded by human hearing, equivalent in testing to 90,000 samples/second. 

I heard the difference when going from 44.1 KHz to 48 KHz.  That was nice.  48 KHz is the slowest DVD rate, but its a little faster than 44.1.  And then, higher speeds of digital, like 96 KHz and 192 KHz (and in the studios up to 384 KHz).  And human hearing has been equalled, it seems, with 192 KHz, which gives about 90,000 samples/second. 

I like the little bit of musicality that can come from upsampling slow speeds to fast ones (24/96 for example).  But I have not found the musicality to match this - that has come with the speed of these new amplifiers, which are operating so much faster than compact disc, and which are making it all so palpable.  Just a personal observation.

Cheers-
Mark