Amps that sound good at low volumes...

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by julian2002, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. julian2002

    julian2002 Muper Soderator

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    hi,
    i'm toying with the idea of kicking my final piece of naim equipment (an olive 250) into touch. i'm looking for something (as the thread title says) that sounds good at low volumes but can still stick it's thumbs in it's belt and party if needs be. my speakers are a reasonably sensitive 91 db/w/m and from what i understand are a pretty easy load. i've got a budget of about £1000 +/- to play with if i tighten my belt and get a good price for the 250 so what recommendations are there? oh and valves won;t fly - i listen so much during the day that i'd be replacing them every 3-6 months or so. hybrids are a possibility though.... that said there are some rogue audio - no, not practical....

    i've had a bit of a scout about and have found the following which are piquing my interest....

    veritas p400 - class t 240 wpc monster, a brit bel canto? not sure about it's low volume level quality and they are blingtastic but for the price i've seen this one at it's a steal. green too.

    aloia 13.01 - nice looking italian 30wpc amp uses a weird seperate inductive psu which aparently weighs a ton. appeals to both my naimophile seperate psu tendencies and my desire for esoterica.

    EaR ice power monoblocks. mad power from some small shiny boxes. these appeal to my green sensibilites like the veritas but i've no idea what they sound like and buying them via escrow seems like a pita.

    Vincent SPT-100 ss/valve hybrid class a monoblocks. 100wpc mono's not green at all but promise valve niceness at low levels with the possibility of some head banging fun with the wick turned up.

    bat vk220 - right at the outside envelope of my price range but when i heard one before it did the business (iirc) big black and american solid stater.

    so there we have the short(ish) list at present. any comments from those who've heard the above amps or from those who know what an inductive psu is would be gratefully recieved. any additions to this list or other ideas also nice to have - if you've got a link to that fantastic amp for 50p so much the better :D
    cheers


    julian.
     
    julian2002, Mar 31, 2005
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  2. julian2002

    Mr_Sukebe

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    Are those sonic T amps any good?
    They cost bugger all and you could run one per speaker.
    Would certainly leave you a lot of spare cash for new CDs...
     
    Mr_Sukebe, Mar 31, 2005
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  3. julian2002

    julian2002 Muper Soderator

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    nice idea there mike. i was thinking about giving them a try but again they are an arse to get hold of and i'm not too sure of their ultimate quality, i'd like to get someones idea of them first rather than relying on the hyperbole.
    cheers


    julian
     
    julian2002, Mar 31, 2005
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  4. julian2002

    alanbeeb Grumpy young fogey

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    alanbeeb, Mar 31, 2005
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  5. julian2002

    inteificio

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    whatever you do don't go for a Rotel RB-991. astounding at high volume, at low volume....well i have heard syphaliptic camels produe a nicer sound
     
    inteificio, Mar 31, 2005
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  6. julian2002

    bottleneck talks a load of rubbish

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    bottleneck, Mar 31, 2005
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  7. julian2002

    sideshowbob Trisha

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    Step 1: build yerself a gainclone. If you don't like it it'll have cost you bugger all. If you do like it, it'll have cost you bugger all.

    -- Ian
     
    sideshowbob, Mar 31, 2005
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  8. julian2002

    giosblue

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    If you want a really nice sounding amp that sounds nice at low to medium volume?


    Try an Exposure intergrated, they don't cost a fortune and I find they give a very full touchy feely sound. A liittle bit grainy maybe, but very enjoyable nontheless.
     
    giosblue, Apr 1, 2005
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  9. julian2002

    julian2002 Muper Soderator

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    the thing is it's got to:
    1) better my 250 - not an easy thing to my ears
    2) be just a power amp as my dac is my pre if you see what i mean. so i don;t want to waste money on a redundant pre...

    gainclone... hmmmmm
    cheers


    julian
     
    julian2002, Apr 1, 2005
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  10. julian2002

    Robbo

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    Tony's Belcanto???!!??
     
    Robbo, Apr 1, 2005
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  11. julian2002

    pauldixonuk pmc & bryston

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    A lot of people in the high end caper seem to rate the low powered lavardin's. May be worth a look
     
    pauldixonuk, Apr 1, 2005
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  12. julian2002

    sideshowbob Trisha

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    lilolee had one, dunno if he's still got it, but if he does I bet he'd let you try it if you were nice to him. Your speakers look like an easy load for such a beast.

    -- Ian (currently listening to a Gaincard at low volume, and it sounds ace)
     
    sideshowbob, Apr 1, 2005
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  13. julian2002

    julian2002 Muper Soderator

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    so are you going all 47 labs then ian?
     
    julian2002, Apr 1, 2005
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  14. julian2002

    Uncle Ants In Recordeo Speramus

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    Uncle Ants, Apr 1, 2005
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  15. julian2002

    Joolsburger

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    I feel like a broken record but a Lavardin IS or IS reference. You may well get an IS within budget and it seems you have the speakers to suit.
    For low level listening they really are ideal and I enjoyed a very loud Saturday last week. I swapped out an Exposure pre-power for mine and I haven't missed them at all.
     
    Joolsburger, Apr 1, 2005
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  16. julian2002

    julian2002 Muper Soderator

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    yeah i was going to phone jj and book a demo sometime
     
    julian2002, Apr 1, 2005
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  17. julian2002

    sideshowbob Trisha

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    Gone rather than going, apart from the TT, preamp, and speakers, I've turned completely Japanese. It's all happened much quicker than expected :)

    -- Ian
     
    sideshowbob, Apr 1, 2005
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  18. julian2002

    julian2002 Muper Soderator

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    well, the aloia and vincent's arrived for an extended listen today. unfortunately i had to go out for most of the day at the last minute so my nice neighbour took delivery for me.
    connected up the aloia first. this is an italian solid state 30 wpc 2 box power amp. one box contains the amp itself and the other is a massive psu (it weighs about 20 kilos on it's own) the 2 are connected via a strange chunky scart looking plug / socket. input is via rca and output via strange clamp type doohickeys which can only just take the connectors on my townshend cable.
    initial impressions were pretty damn good. first the bad news, bass is a bit light but seemed to be improving after a few hours but still it wasn't plumbing the depths like the 250. now the good news midrange and treble are sweet as a nut. sibilance is much improved over the 250, imaging and the sense of the space the music is being performed in is much improved and the noise floor seems to be lower. so far i've given the beloved, bt, jethro tull, deep dish and a few other tunes a spin and on the whole it's sounded best with the more 'natural' less 'electronic' stuff, probably because i'm used to the rhythmic punch of the naim. that's not to say the aloia is slow just not a naim in this respect. currently it's ticking a lot of boxes, it's barely warmed up and i've not really listened at decent levels yet (although i do want an amp that sounds good at low levels).
    i've not tried the vincents yet - these are 100wpc valve / solid state hybrid monoblocks. i heard some at heathrow show but were driving some strange open baffle L-shaped speakers playing dirty vinyl so all i could say is that they were reproducing clicks and pops quite well. i'll be trying them in a few days time so.....
    to be continued
    cheers


    julian
     
    julian2002, Apr 5, 2005
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  19. julian2002

    bottleneck talks a load of rubbish

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    hey its all happening!

    no BAT VK220 then?
     
    bottleneck, Apr 6, 2005
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  20. julian2002

    julian2002 Muper Soderator

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    not yet - i'll try that against the one i prefer later on.
    cheers


    julian.
     
    julian2002, Apr 6, 2005
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