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Thread: The Audiophile Thread

  1. #2726
    I finally upgraded to a high end (stereo) system in 2015, at the same time that we renovated our apartment. The objective was to get a system that was as neutral as possible, and thus accurately reproduced what it was being sent, so that I'm always listening to the music and not the system.

    The end result? Tetra 333 speakers, a Leema Tucana II integrated amp (two mono blocks plus a power supply embedded in one=enclosure), and music provided either in a variety of hard formats on my OPPO UDP-205 and streaming from my Mac Music library (cd quality or better), through Apple TV 4K, which is plugged into the OPPO in order to utilise its high-end DAC.

    And I got what I wanted. Very accurate transmission of the music, from whatever the source, through to the Tetraa that are so extraordinary and neutral that they almost feel invisible....helped, in a big way, thanks to the Leema,which appears to be a particularly great match for the Tetras (Tetra now suggests Leema as one of their most recommended amps).

    I suppose I'm an audiophile because of the price of the whole setup and the resulting sound. But it seems to me that most/many audiophiles are always looking;for the next best thing. Me? After covering the 2019 Montrťal Audio Festival and, after/hearing a lot of great gear, going home with no feeling like I have to change anything, I remain as in love with this rig as I did when I first hooked it up. The only change I made was upgrading the OPPO,from a 105 to 205, and the only reason for that was to allow me to play 4K hard media.

    I continue to love listening to whatever I put on, each and every day, as much as I did when I first bought the rig....and expect/hope at least the speakers and amp will last for the rest of my life.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  2. #2727
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    Congrats on your sytsem and your continued love of it after 7 years. That's true success in this hobby. It's always rewarding to come back from one of those shows and hear your own room and go "ahhhh, I still like this a lot. "
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    Jkelman, I was just looking at the specs for your Leema Tucana II integrated amp. Did I read correctly that the weight is only 40 lbs?? My power amp weight 110 pounds and adding the packaging brings it to about 150. I shudder at the thought of having to pack my amp up for repairs when/if the time comes. That's the one thing I hate about this hobby is that most of the components weigh a ton and if you don't have a strong neighbor to help you out when it comes to moving, you risk really hurting yourself. But that sounds like it won't be an issue for you! That's great!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    The only change I made was upgrading the OPPO,from a 105 to 205, and the only reason for that was to allow me to play 4K hard media.

    I continue to love listening to whatever I put on, each and every day, as much as I did when I first bought the rig....and expect/hope at least the speakers and amp will last for the rest of my life.
    My Pioneer LX-901 receivers has ESS Ultra DACs which are high resolution 32 bit 192 KHz. I decided that there were architectural advantages to not have DACs imbedded in a player. These DACs can easily convert any digital source. The entire digital processing architecture of the receiver supports room correction/calibration accurately. What’s incredible is how accurate the extended stereo mode is. Essentially this calibrated 5.1.2 system integrates sonically all speakers, which gives even more degrees of freedom to cancel intra-speaker interactions that affect how sound fronts interfere at the ear in a pure stereo configuration. The downside to speakers with broad dispersion (as opposed to large arrays with narrow azimuth dispersion) is intrachannel distortion which occurs as each ear receives a different signal from left and right sides. Uncalibrated multichannel systems are not worth it. I bought a all-format Sony player to support hard media such as SACDs, Blu-ray, DVD, DVD Audio and CDs, and it has a separate HDMI output for high res Audio streams which are passed directly to the receiver. It seems that many “audiophiles” focus on the minutia of system hardware, and yet loose the bigger sonic perspective. If I had a specially designed room for a stereo system with large array speakers, focusing on the minutia of each piece of gear could make a difference.

  5. #2730
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rael View Post
    Jkelman, I was just looking at the specs for your Leema Tucana II integrated amp. Did I read correctly that the weight is only 40 lbs?? My power amp weight 110 pounds and adding the packaging brings it to about 150. I shudder at the thought of having to pack my amp up for repairs when/if the time comes. That's the one thing I hate about this hobby is that most of the components weigh a ton and if you don't have a strong neighbor to help you out when it comes to moving, you risk really hurting yourself. But that sounds like it won't be an issue for you! That's great!
    Last month I had an issue with my Boulder amplifier. It weighs 200 lbs out of the crate. In the original crate, the shipping weight is 300 lbs. i am 13 years older since it was installed. I literally was going to hire movers to crate it and get it into my garage so I can get it back to Colorado for a very expensive repair. The additional cost of round trip shipping and insurance was astronomical. Luckily it turned out the issue was my home electrical system and actually a simple fix. My back and wallet dodged a bullet.

  6. #2731
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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    Last month I had an issue with my Boulder amplifier. It weighs 200 lbs out of the crate. In the original crate, the shipping weight is 300 lbs. i am 13 years older since it was installed. I literally was going to hire movers to crate it and get it into my garage so I can get it back to Colorado for a very expensive repair. The additional cost of round trip shipping and insurance was astronomical. Luckily it turned out the issue was my home electrical system and actually a simple fix. My back and wallet dodged a bullet.
    Why arent there any more locally placed retailers that can fix your amp?

    btw
    You can get lots of watts with class D amps, and they weigh very little.
    I'm not sure I like the sound of them though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    Why arent there any more locally placed retailers that can fix your amp?

    btw
    You can get lots of watts with class D amps, and they weigh very little.
    I'm not sure I like the sound of them though.
    Yes but it still would have to be crated and moved.

    Generally speaking, to my ears Class D amps sound like crap.

  8. #2733
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    My Onkyo receiver weighs a ton, and runs quite hot. This time of year in the desert, I can't use it very long or it heats up my living room. It's that hot. But it sure sounds great.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    My Onkyo receiver weighs a ton, and runs quite hot. This time of year in the desert, I can't use it very long or it heats up my living room. It's that hot. But it sure sounds great.
    How old is it? I know that years ago someone I knew had one that ran hot. He had failures in other circuits which couldnít handle the heat. Onkyo merged with Pioneer and I thought they moved to more efficient designs. My Pioneer is a class D type of amp design, but it has power Mosfets in its output section. Mosfets are good at driving low impedance. If my amps werenít efficient much heat would get generated if I had a 7.1 configuration at 140 Watts clean per channel. High power MOSFETs may be the next best devices compared to tubes. I had a Hafler with power MOSFETs, and it put out heat, but was designed for the heat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    My Onkyo receiver weighs a ton, and runs quite hot. This time of year in the desert, I can't use it very long or it heats up my living room. It's that hot. But it sure sounds great.
    Cuts down on the amount of wood you need for the fireplace, I would expect.



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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post

    Generally speaking, to my ears Class D amps sound like crap.
    Lifeless and sterile is what I have experienced, the opposite of tubes, but some brands swear to them, especially with active speakers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    Lifeless and sterile is what I have experienced, the opposite of tubes, but some brands swear to them, especially with active speakers.
    I used to have a pair of Jeff Rowland 201 Class D monoblocks. Drove the subwoofers in my old system pretty well. Thats about all they are good for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    I used to have a pair of Jeff Rowland 201 Class D monoblocks. Drove the subwoofers in my old system pretty well. Thats about all they are good for.
    Iím surprised that someone would post an opinion about some design that is 14 years old, that Jeff Rowland design. Class D designs now are radically improved from then. Iím not sure if itís really appropriate to call them Class D anymore, but in 2008 I doubt that Class D could support the bandwidth needed to accurately represent the high frequencies which was the consensus complaint on that Jeff Rowland 201.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    Lifeless and sterile is what I have experienced, the opposite of tubes, but some brands swear to them, especially with active speakers.
    Most active speakers use poor examples of what can be accomplished now with Class D.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    I’m surprised that someone would post an opinion about some design that is 14 years old, that Jeff Rowland design. Class D designs now are radically improved from then. I’m not sure if it’s really appropriate to call them Class D anymore, but in 2008 I doubt that Class D could support the bandwidth needed to accurately represent the high frequencies which was the consensus complaint on that Jeff Rowland 201.
    Chris I’m simply stating my experience with an amp I owned about 13 years ago. I've heard modern Class D amps from time to time since then. Nothing really impressive. Probably gives you bang for the buck in a budget system but its not even remotely close to something like a high end Class A amplifier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    Chris Iím simply stating my experience with an amp I owned about 13 years ago. I've heard modern Class D amps from time to time since then. Nothing really impressive. Probably gives you bang for the buck in a budget system but its not even remotely close to something like a high end Class A amplifier.
    There are Class D amps that are not just budget devices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    There are Class D amps that are not just budget devices.
    I think “budget” is a relative term.

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    This review spells out (Aug 2021) where Class D fits in. The review does say that a great tube amp is the one to beat, however the Class D wasnít shamed and there applications where these amps are the only ones that are practical. I like the reviewer because he stresses that itís the sound being reviewed, not superficial labels.

    http://parttimeaudiophile.com/2021/0...el-125-review/

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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    Last month I had an issue with my Boulder amplifier. It weighs 200 lbs out of the crate. In the original crate, the shipping weight is 300 lbs. i am 13 years older since it was installed. I literally was going to hire movers to crate it and get it into my garage so I can get it back to Colorado for a very expensive repair. The additional cost of round trip shipping and insurance was astronomical. Luckily it turned out the issue was my home electrical system and actually a simple fix. My back and wallet dodged a bullet.
    Ouch. Yes, you're very lucky there. I'm curious though. What is your relationship like with your Boulder dealer? I would assume they might be willing to help you out in some respect if you did have to move your amp.

    Unfortunately, my dealer has been pretty disappointing and if/when the time comes, I'll go elsewhere. They don't budge on MSRP, they are shitty at after sale assistance and are a bit clipped at communication. But they're amazing when you wave cash in front of their collective faces. I remember years ago getting something like 15-20% discounts for large purchases. I don't expect that every time but now the best I seem to do is get a free pair of cables here and there. But these guys must be doing something right, because a lot of high end audio manufacturers have been doing really well since the start of the pandemic.

  20. #2745
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rael View Post
    Ouch. Yes, you're very lucky there. I'm curious though. What is your relationship like with your Boulder dealer? I would assume they might be willing to help you out in some respect if you did have to move your amp.

    Unfortunately, my dealer has been pretty disappointing and if/when the time comes, I'll go elsewhere. They don't budge on MSRP, they are shitty at after sale assistance and are a bit clipped at communication. But they're amazing when you wave cash in front of their collective faces. I remember years ago getting something like 15-20% discounts for large purchases. I don't expect that every time but now the best I seem to do is get a free pair of cables here and there. But these guys must be doing something right, because a lot of high end audio manufacturers have been doing really well since the start of the pandemic.
    I have a very good relationship directly with Boulder going back many years. I’ve even visited the (old) factory. We tried troubleshooting the issue and could not resolve it. They wanted me to ship it back. I asked if it was possible to have the local Boulder dealer handle the repair. We were a bit in the twilight zone, I think primarily because Boulder gear rarely breaks down. It was going to be a repair that the local dealer had never done before. Boulder reached out to the dealer and they were amenable to coming to my house and do the repair with Zoom participation with the Boulder staff. If I told you how much the repair was going to cost you probably wouldn’t believe me or think I was insane. Its a $50k amplifier and I wasn’t ready to give up on it. I lucked out. The dealer was going on vacation and would handle the repair on his return. While he was gone I rechecked my electrical system and discovered the source of the problem. So no repair was necessary and I’ve been listening ever since. A rare happy ending.

  21. #2746
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    My integrated amp (Rogue Sphinx V3) at roughly $1900 is certainly "budget" in audiophile terms, but I absolutely love it. Can I do better with more money? Yes. However with my budget (music teacher with 2 kids getting ready to go to college) that's the best I can do under the circumstances.

    However I also agree that modern class D power is certainly different than say 15 to 20 years back. My preamp section has two 12AU7 tubes as well, so its a nice balance and has plenty of slam but is pretty musical. Mark 'O Brien is a great audio designer imo. I will check out his tube Cronus Magnum III in a few years.

  22. #2747
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    My integrated amp (Rogue Sphinx V3) at roughly $1900 is certainly "budget" in audiophile terms, but I absolutely love it. Can I do better with more money? Yes. However with my budget (music teacher with 2 kids getting ready to go to college) that's the best I can do under the circumstances.

    However I also agree that modern class D power is certainly different than say 15 to 20 years back. My preamp section has two 12AU7 tubes as well, so its a nice balance and has plenty of slam but is pretty musical. Mark 'O Brien is a great audio designer imo. I will check out his tube Cronus Magnum III in a few years.
    The Rogue Sphinx is FANTASTIC! I am also using a Lounge LCR-3 Phono Stage and I upgraded my cart to a Hana E MC. My system was just shy of $5,000 and I am extremely happy with the result!

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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    My integrated amp (Rogue Sphinx V3) at roughly $1900 is certainly "budget" in audiophile terms, but I absolutely love it. Can I do better with more money? Yes. However with my budget (music teacher with 2 kids getting ready to go to college) that's the best I can do under the circumstances.

    However I also agree that modern class D power is certainly different than say 15 to 20 years back. My preamp section has two 12AU7 tubes as well, so its a nice balance and has plenty of slam but is pretty musical. Mark 'O Brien is a great audio designer imo. I will check out his tube Cronus Magnum III in a few years.
    For the money you can't beat the Rogue Sphinx. I recommended it to a friend who was putting together his first system. It has a built in phono stage. Certainly a good deal for the money. He loves it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    How old is it? I know that years ago someone I knew had one that ran hot. He had failures in other circuits which couldn’t handle the heat. Onkyo merged with Pioneer and I thought they moved to more efficient designs. My Pioneer is a class D type of amp design, but it has power Mosfets in its output section. Mosfets are good at driving low impedance. If my amps weren’t efficient much heat would get generated if I had a 7.1 configuration at 140 Watts clean per channel. High power MOSFETs may be the next best devices compared to tubes. I had a Hafler with power MOSFETs, and it put out heat, but was designed for the heat.
    Not sure of the exact age, but the HDCP version is 1.4. From what I've read in online forums, it's quite normal for it to run hot. Due to the high current.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    My integrated amp (Rogue Sphinx V3) at roughly $1900 is certainly "budget" in audiophile terms, but I absolutely love it. Can I do better with more money? Yes. However with my budget (music teacher with 2 kids getting ready to go to college) that's the best I can do under the circumstances.

    However I also agree that modern class D power is certainly different than say 15 to 20 years back. My preamp section has two 12AU7 tubes as well, so its a nice balance and has plenty of slam but is pretty musical. Mark 'O Brien is a great audio designer imo. I will check out his tube Cronus Magnum III in a few years.
    Iíve been reading about McIntosh integrated amps (MA 352) that incorporate tubes in the preamp and then a Class A/B amp section. Comments about a slightly warmer sound. Or is that a perception driven by expectation. I know for my own ears and brain, much about small differences in EQ is adapted out over time. Letís say I listen to earplugs that have emphasized bass for hours. And then listen to a flat system, that system for awhile sounds deficient in bass. Not just low end.

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