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  1. #1081
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    Pianoman wrote:
    Mmm, interesting choice. Your search seems to be mirroring mine - a small high quality monitor for a second office system, I've booked to hear the new Neutron, as it seems such great value at 399 quid, in a lovely gloss black. Wonder how they compare to these Xeros, which are 645 here. Just checked dimensions, more or less the same, but the Neutron is a shade smaller in depth and width, which could help me as space is tight.

    Have you tried Salome or Tristan on them yet ?
    No yet, Pianodude. I want to give theese leetle Leemas 24 hours grace before I wham them with one full-length Teutonic opera. I just gave them a good blowing with Maria Callas and like my previous standmounts, her resinuous voice has the ability to de-stiffen any new woofer cone. Now these Xeros are sounding like 80% of their potential.

    Xeros vs Neutron 5? They are not shipping the 5s to Tipoca but if they offer subtle improvements on the Neutron IV, I'd say to you as a fellow classical listener that the Xeros handles the symphonic stuff better than my Neutron IV. The crucial difference is the tweeter. Neutron uses Scanspeak, Xero uses Vifa's Tymphany. Both are class acts but the Vifa is sweeter and can go to high volumes without screeching all over the midrange. I blasted some Mahler and was totally blown away by the composure and imaging stability the Xeros exhibited at high levels. No congestion whatsoever! In contrast, the Neutron IV was less confident handling full orchestral tuttis.


    My $0.02YMMV

    SS










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  2. #1082
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    Post imported post

    Well, that's interesting, because a few years ago I had some of AVI's slightly bigger models, daftly named Biggatrons, and the one thing I didn't like (and why they went) was exactly that - hurt your ears at the top end if played loudly. Mm, I may have to pop into my local shop's rival down the road, who are advertised as Leema stockists...

  3. #1083
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    So it seems AVI has been consistent in maintaining its house sound amongst the standmounts (i.e. tweeter brightness at high levels)

    I will be interested to hear your findings re: Xero vs Neutron 5. Actually I am confident enough to wager a bag of cocktail nuts as to which you will prefer in the end!


    cheerSS




    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > ELICIT (pwr)
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  4. #1084
    Super Wammer The Strat's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    SSM wrote:
    And here are my new babies!



    ^ Leema Acoustics Xero Miniature Monitors!

    Ohhh they are soo cute! So small! So cuddly

    Handsome small speakers indeed!



    The most compact speaker ever to grace solidschateau (Height is < 25cm) But they sure don't sound small!


    They do sound rather woolly at the moment and not anything like the demo pair in the showroom. The manual says not to judge the performance until after they have had at least 50 hours running in. I can only hope this phase passes soon.



    Full report pending after 300 hours of playing time.


    SS



    I must say they are a very smart looking box. They'll soon be on song.
    Nostalgia is not art (MIB 1 Jul 13)

  5. #1085
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    Post imported post

    The Xeros are getting there. Been playing some adagios and andantes from the Mahler symphonies and nearly cried upon hearing the delicacy and ravishing beauty of the strings.

    SS





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    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

  6. #1086
    Super Wammer The Strat's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    Currently listening to Live at Fillmore by Eric C with Derek and the Dominoes - that would get them motoring or of course some Steely Dan.
    Nostalgia is not art (MIB 1 Jul 13)

  7. #1087
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    Post imported post

    The Strat wrote:
    Currently listening to Live at Fillmore by Eric C with Derek and the Dominoes - that would get them motoring or of course some Steely Dan.
    The Xeros are too sophisticated for such roughneck music.

    They can rock out but I don't think they were born to do such gigs.


    Now playing the glorious final movement from Mahler's 3rd. Such radiance, such luminosity!
    I can almost feel my soul ascending to the Tipocan heavens.


    SS







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  8. #1088
    Super Wammer The Strat's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    SSM wrote:
    The Strat wrote:
    Currently listening to Live at Fillmore by Eric C with Derek and the Dominoes - that would get them motoring or of course some Steely Dan.
    The Xeros are too sophisticated for such roughneck music.

    They can rock out but I don't think they were born to do such gigs.


    Now playing the glorious final movement from Mahler's 3rd. Such radiance, such luminosity!
    I can almost feel my soul ascending to the Tipocan heavens.


    SS






    The EC is certainly raw - in fact it is almost straight off the mixing desk, the band were about 4 weeks into their existence, they had no idea they were being recorded - but the playing is inspirational. The Dan are certainly not roughneck - very sophisticated in fact.

    Next up Beethoven VII - Kleiber VPO.

    Strat
    Nostalgia is not art (MIB 1 Jul 13)

  9. #1089
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    Post imported post

    Dude, I must have blinked - did you not try the Proacs

    Nice looking choice mind
    What does it all mean Basil ???

  10. #1090
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    gsrai wrote:
    Dude, I must have blinked - did you not try the Proacs

    Nice looking choice mind
    Looks are everything.
    I called the ProAc seller's numbers to arrange for a demo but they never picked up the phone (they could have been abducted by evil zombies from that nearby morgue) So I decided to head for the AVI, Spendor and Leema shops. The Xeros won at the end of the day.

    So once again I fail to make a date with the ProAc morgue, er, shop. Never mind, there is always a next time.

    Right now I'm enjoying my new toys. btw what is happening with your PMC DBi quest?

    SS



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  11. #1091
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    Post imported post

    This could turn out to be very interesting as the DB1i's tick a lot of boxes for me - the soundatage and the focus in the soundstage is truly amazing.

    The Tablettes sound more neutral but I am heading towards keeping the PMC's and selling the Proacs due to the synergy with the Densen.

    Decisions, decisions . . .
    What does it all mean Basil ???

  12. #1092
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    It all hinges on how long you think you will be keeping the Densen amp, R2. What happens if you have a fit of sidegraditis (deja vue!) and swap to a brand that is infinitely more compatible with the Tablettes? You must plan ahead for the future, young lad!

    SS




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  13. #1093
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    Post imported post

    SSM wrote:
    It all hinges on how long you think you will be keeping the Densen amp, R2. What happens if you have a fit of sidegraditis (deja vue!) and swap to a brand that is infinitely more compatible with the Tablettes? You must plan ahead for the future, young lad!

    SS
    I'm a reformed character don't you know

    I haven't changed any of the kit and I only got the DB1i's as my last fling (he says living in hope).

    The only reason I haven't sold the tablettes is I one day dream of getting a Pathos Classic One Mark II again but can't figure out how far away that dream is

    Time will tell
    What does it all mean Basil ???

  14. #1094
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    Post imported post

    Lawks! Just trawled through a bit of this thread and had to check what year it was!

    It's like some kind of broken down merry-go-round of eternal sidegrading - poor lost souls who mistake "different" for "better", trying new stuff, imagining it's an improvement,and then getting nostalgic for what went before, buying it AGAIN,discoveringit wasn't so great after all - then repeating the cycle endlessly like some inner circle of Hell!

    I'd suggest you actually upgrade, but the shock'd prolly kill ya!



  15. #1095
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    SSM wrote:
    The Strat wrote:
    Currently listening to Live at Fillmore by Eric C with Derek and the Dominoes - that would get them motoring or of course some Steely Dan.
    The Xeros are too sophisticated for such roughneck music.

    They can rock out but I don't think they were born to do such gigs.


    Now playing the glorious final movement from Mahler's 3rd. Such radiance, such luminosity!
    I can almost feel my soul ascending to the Tipocan heavens.


    SS






    At no point did the Strat mention Rock music.


  16. #1096
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    Post imported post

    earlofsodbury wrote:
    Lawks! Just trawled through a bit of this thread and had to check what year it was!

    It's like some kind of broken down merry-go-round of eternal sidegrading - poor lost souls who mistake "different" for "better", trying new stuff, imagining it's an improvement,and then getting nostalgic for what went before, buying it AGAIN,discoveringit wasn't so great after all - then repeating the cycle endlessly like some inner circle of Hell!

    I'd suggest you actually upgrade, but the shock'd prolly kill ya!

    Or maybe some of us have just reached the limit to what we can have/wish to spend/accomodate etc. etc.

    If by sidegrading you feel better about the music then who gives it's easy and can be fun, I'll let someone else do all the upgrading for megabucks and wonder why it doesn't sound as good as my rig


    What does it all mean Basil ???

  17. #1097
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    gsrai wrote:
    earlofsodbury wrote:
    Lawks! Just trawled through a bit of this thread and had to check what year it was!

    It's like some kind of broken down merry-go-round of eternal sidegrading - poor lost souls who mistake "different" for "better", trying new stuff, imagining it's an improvement,and then getting nostalgic for what went before, buying it AGAIN,discoveringit wasn't so great after all - then repeating the cycle endlessly like some inner circle of Hell!

    I'd suggest you actually upgrade, but the shock'd prolly kill ya!

    Or maybe some of us have just reached the limit to what we can have/wish to spend/accomodate etc. etc.

    If by sidegrading you feel better about the music then who gives it's easy and can be fun, I'll let someone else do all the upgrading for megabucks and wonder why it doesn't sound as good as my rig

    Yeah, tell it to that FatSod!

    He's just stirring, probably jealous that he can't have the promiscuous pleasure of chipping and changing parts of his aging system headed by those old French screamers..

    Let's ignore him and continue on our merry-go-rounds.


    SS:green:



    ps: when it comes to speakers, going up to the stratosphere doesn't necessarily get you a better sound than what you have. Like Gobind and I have been discovering, it is a real treat to switch between brands in the £1k arena. Lots of contrasting flavours to savour.









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  18. #1098
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    Post imported post

    Musical Fidelity X-T100 tube integrated amplifier- under sscrutiny
    [line]
    This X-T100 is my seventh MF amp and my seventh MF X series component. And probably my last-ever MF amp (I assume...) So for old times' sake, this report will place this third generation X amp in the context of several MF amps I have used (X-A1, Elektra A2, X-150 & A3.5)


    One of the contenders...
    Having been very impressed with my over-performing Cambridge Audio Azur 740C cdp, I was rather game to have the 840A as my second CA unit since it has system remote capabilities and matching ergonomics. But I had also read the AudioENZ review that its midrange became congested when playing a Mahler symphony. No way an incoming amp should botch my favourite music genre... so I brought some Mahler CDs for the 840A demo and my own experiences mirror AudioENZ's. The 840A sounded expansive with simpler material but with large-scale Mahler or Wagner its midrange indeed became constricted; the massed performers do not stand out in sharp bas relief as with a simple pop singer and backing band. Its treble was not absolutely clean either - the ribbon tweeters of the partnering Dali Ikon 6 speakers picked up on that.

    In contrast the X-T100 retained its three dimensionality when playing Mahler's huge Symphony of A Thousand at high levels, and its treble is so much cleaner. So it got the gig at solidschateau. This comparison was a big surprise for me as the 840A is 120w/ch and the X-T100 a mere 50-watter, and one would normally expect a more powerful amp to handle demanding material better. It was the other way round and I learnt that power figures do not necessarily mean greater control. (NB: the 840A is still a great amp IMO, just not so able with heavy symphonies or opera)


    Build Quality
    MF has nearly a decade's experience manufacturing its distinctive half-width 'X' components and the X-T100 is as sturdy and bomb-proof as its predecessors. A most handsome minimalist amp! All the controls feel purposeful and work flawlessly. The only quibble I have is the accompanying Triple X power supply unit. The height of its casework is a couple of millimetres shorter than the X-T100 and to compensate (and make the two units stand level with each other if placed side by side) its rubber feet are increased by the missing millimetres. This quirk is a minor one though and you would need to look closely to spot the disparity in the caseworks' height.



    The X-T100 is a hybrid and its preamp sports a pair of 6922 vacuum tubes in the output stage. According to MF god Antony Michaelson "the tubed front end (of the X-T100) is the same as the kW 550 integrated amplifier" so the X-T100's sound quality is virtually indistinguishable from the uber high-end kW550. It just has less power. A great option for MFians with smaller listening rooms who do not seek to reproduce a 1:1 scale of a symphony orchestra in their listening space.

    MF has a history of understating its amps' power output. Although rated at 50W, the X-T100 has measured closer to around 66-71W in various mags (~18.2dBW). In practice it actually feels and sounds more powerful than my Creek EVO (85W) and previous X-150 (rated at 105W!) It is capable of driving difficult loads indeed: Crustyloafer and AnalogueKid once quipped that it controlled the 81dB ATC SCM11 and 86dB Acoustic Energy AE1 mkIII very well. Fellow MFian Gobind (see his enlightened review) had no problem pairing his with ProAc's 86dB Tablette Reference 8 Signatures. There is no such thing as a weak MF amp.


    Sound Quality
    The X-T100 has the classic MF house-sound that audiophiles either love or loathe. It is very rich and full, with a clean treble and velvety midrange that doesn't lack any definition - there is a glamourous glint to leading edges on acoustic and woodwind instruments (AM is a clarinettist) and consonants on voices are expertly highlighted amidst the overall smoothness.

    Despite the cosy familiarity, the X-T100 does advance several steps ahead of my previous MF amps. I have faint memories of my X-A1 (first generation X component) now, except that it is smooth and laidback and definitely has less dynamic ability than the X-T100. Ditto the Class A Elektra A2 - it is a fluent and communicative music-maker but less dynamic. The A3.5 was my previous MF amp and while it is more powerful, it is the least involving of all my MFs and on musical grounds there is no comparison. The real challenge comes from the X-150 - my second favourite MF (what a big knob!) but it is voiced quite differently. Part of the second generation 'X' series, it is balanced on the excitingly forward side but there is a greyness to its treble when playing at high volumes that hints at its transistor background. The valved X-T100 suffers no such high frequency anomalies and is much purer and sumptuous in tone through the entire frequency range. It triumphs easily.

    So MF's evolving X series has made progressive steps in musicality, IMHO. However it has to be noted that the X-T100 does this not by improving on the existing technologies of the previous X series, but by having trickle-down technology from MF's high end kW implanted in its chasis. So this 'X' v8 range is actually Musical Fidelity making available the sound of its high-end kW range at the 'budget' arena. All power to MF then! When partnered well, the X-T100 sounds far far far more expensive than its price suggests.

    If asked to name the X-T100's single greatest strength, I would have to say its spatial imaging ability. This is the most spacious-sounding amp I have ever owned. When reproducing sympathetic material like classical, acoustic and "unplugged" albums, the X-T100 effortlessly serves up endless spatial cues that inform your ears in no indefinite terms as to the size of the recording studio, the distance of the singer's mouth from the microphone and how far back in the hall the supporting musicians are. You can hear subtle reverberations of the artistes' music-making bouncing from the studio walls, echoes, and slight air shifting from singers' opening their lips. To say this is a great amp for reproducing vocals is an understatement. With its spatial prowess and mellifluous presentation, the X-T100 brings my favourite pop and jazz singers so much closer. Yet, despite this wealth of spatial detail the X-T100 never sounds clinical at all (cue the Cyrus amps). It has the knack of letting the emotional aspects of the music override the technical at all times. This must be the fitted valves working their magic Add in its ability to stay unflustered when playing very dense and massive orchestral forces at high volumes... this makes the X-T100 a superb amp for opera-lovers. The stereo image is rock-like stable at all times even during monstrous symphonic climaxes, it is positively amazing.

    There were some old Wam threads about tubes in preamps needing some time to run-in before reaching their full potential. I was sceptical when I read that but the X-T100's running-in period convinced me. It has now clocked over 600 hours of usage and sounds notably more accomplished than it was at 100 hours' mileage. I used several CDs as references and played them at the same levels at the 50, 100 and 250 hour marks. The sonic improvements are to be had in the increased richness and sheer sweep of the sound. When new, the X-T100 didn't sound that 'tubey', now it exhibits the liquidity and resinuous tonality associated with valves. The brass perorations in Mahler's symphonies gained a lot more amplitiude and scintiallting focus at the 250th hour mark. Bass also became tauter and faster. And the sssweep of the dormant orchestra rising up to swallow the solo violinist in the climax of the third movement of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade was frighteningly visceral. The dynamic range is immense: the orchestra seemingly emerged from inky-black quietness to roar with sheer force suddenly. It all points to the X-T100 excellent noise specs and transient speed. After passing the 250th hour of play, it transforms into a real drama queen of an amp. Every littlest musical gesture becomes a scream; every low-level signal held up for close inspection. This amp's excitable demeanour is so very me.

    Bass. This is where the X-T100 will put off audiophools wanting Naim-like PRaTness. Firsty, HFC had criticised it for "unrhythmic bass" when it last reviewed it in a supertest. I have to take issue with this comment, because I haven't found it to be so with my speakers (Dali Ikon 6, AVI Neutron IV and Leema Acoustics Xero). In fact I reckon the bass performance of the X-T100 improves on the X-150 and A3.5 - faster and better-defined. Pop and salsa music were driven with toe-tapping propulsion. Lots of zip, nothing unrhythmic at all. Maybe speaker synergy is a factor. HFC uses ATC towers for its tests while all my speaker choices are fast agile boxes.

    So rhythmic timing is not really the main aspect of the X-T100's bass that will displease PRaTters, it is the quality IMO. The bass is a natural extension of the X-T100's silken midrange --- slightly warm and pearlescent. There is none of the tight grunge-y crunchiness of a Naim Nait 5, Densen or Creek that serves rock music much better. Yup, you guessed it... Like all MF amps, the X-T100 is tilted towards the side of classical music. Herein is its "weakness", if you want to call it that. Any rock music-loving audiophile with some knowledge of various brands' house-sounds will readily know he should be looking at a Naim or an Exposure instead. For an occasional rocker like myself, the X-T100 still does this genre more than adequately. Ditto techno and dance. However, any X-T100 owner will be doing himself a disservice if he hasn't a single classical CD. Put an opera or symphony on and hear how idiomatically and effortlessly the X-T100 cleaves through the air with this music genre. Simply marvellous!


    Conclusion
    A stylish hybrid amplifier that is more powerful and authoritative than its unassuming dimensions and specs suggest. It will get even more Napoleonic when the XXX-170 power supply unit comes into solidschateau at Halloween (100W and 40 amps current. Step aside, Primare I30!)


    SS





    Musical Fidelity X-T100... hybrid wonder with a slight fruitiness

    : superb spatial definition, great midrange and beguiling sweetness
    : vivid dynamics brings all music to life, especially voices
    : compact metrosexual design
    : look elsewhere if you want all your amp money to go towards the sharpest, PRaTtiest bass
    : it makes a single chirp like a gecko when powering off
    Last edited by SSM; 26-08-2011 at 04:23 AM. Reason: Vanity ;-)
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > ELICIT (pwr)
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > GENESIS M60, audiolab M-DAC > GENESIS I60
    REGA RP1 & DAC, ARCAM rDAC & A38, MF X-T100 (pre) > naim
    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

  19. #1099
    Founding Wammer
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    Post imported post

    A very good write up (so much better than mine).

    Does this mean it's a keeper or are you changing amps shortly?
    What does it all mean Basil ???

  20. #1100
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    A keeper, mate. The little one has now taken up residence in my bedroom paired with the Leema Xeros. Superb synergy! I probably have the most expensive bedroom "mini system" in Tipoca.

    I will be chopping and changing the other bits in my other system later on.


    cheerSS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > ELICIT (pwr)
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > GENESIS M60, audiolab M-DAC > GENESIS I60
    REGA RP1 & DAC, ARCAM rDAC & A38, MF X-T100 (pre) > naim
    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

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