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  1. #1181
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    ...just requires £1.5k that I haven't got having just bought a house. I've always been curious to see what the Cyrus series of amps would bring to my SA1s but I can't help thinking it'll be horrid. I suspect I'm much more likely to head towards a Supernait or Nait XS. Perhaps you should try an XS when they become more available.

  2. #1182
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    That could be soon. A new XS is coming to the Tipocan dealer's shortly. I think I've figured out why they got rid of the previous showroom model: probably want to display a Nait XS with the improved faceplate.

    Congrats on the new house. A home is a very important audio accessory y'know as it keeps out the sun and rain.


    I'm heading to another part of town to shop for refridgerated flower display cases (how exciting) next week and the Arcam dealer is located nearby there. That will be a good time to get acquainted with the new FMJ amps. The revised A38 was panned by What'sHifi, so it could be really good.


    cheerSS





    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
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    SS relics: REGA ELICIT, ARCAM A38, Musical Fidelity X-A2, NAIM NAP 100, QUAD 909, SONY TA-F246E | MiniWatt N3

  3. #1183
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    Creek EVOLUTION cd player and integrated amplifier - the Moratorium

    I owned these two beauties for over three years, a record for a box-swapper with commitment problems (and not just in audio...). They are my first Creek products and broke a decade-long trend of using an assorted procession of Musical Fidelity components. Obviously, they must have had some musical talents to have kept my attention for so long.

    The sleek futuristic styling of the EVOs still looks current today (the new EVO 2 range continues the styling), and I adore the circled line around the EVO cd player's buttons. Compared to the Cambridge Audio 740C which I added a year later, the EVO doesn't have the same penchant for dredging up minute details. It, however, has a meatier midband and pacier timing. Its upper bass reproduction is particularly noteworthy for being able to put across the gutteral growls of male rock singers in a most exciting way. This, and its earthy portrayal of electric guitars make it a rather superb spinner for rock music. Other users have commented on some treble harshness but I have not heard any disturbing sibiliance. Perhaps that is because I am a user of Merlin interconnects with NAS filters that purportedly knock off HF nasties. They probably work because the only time treble sounds were an issue is when baroque violins are scurrying in the higher octaves. The EVO gets a bit frothy up there when that happens, but not harsh.


    Much as I like the EVO cdp, I bought it chiefly as a matching aesthetic companion for its star brother - the EVO amp. Think of a Nait5i, decrease some of its emphasis on leading edges while retaining almost all of the rhythmic prowess, and add a flair for melodic lines and you've got the Creek EVO. It is an amp belonging to the PRaT bridgade. HFC last tested and measured the EVO in Oct'08 and commented on the "energetic bass and fatigue-free treble". I agree and it's precisely those qualities made it hard to give up the EVO. It is very satisfying over the long-term. Its chief weakness is the lack of truly deep soundstage depths compared to other amps. But this forward presentation is a trait of amps that do PRaT and something the Nait gets criticised for also, duh.

    The sexy EVO holds the distinction of being the amp that was partnered with the most pairs of speakers ever - 9! During its 37-month tenure I went through a speaker-swapping craze, trying out new flavours, several with punishing loads and the EVO powered them all through very lengthy listening sessions without a hiccup or breaking down. It is a testament to its durability. I doubt there is another privately-owned EVO around that is quite the speaker-Casanova my EVO was.:green:





    The EVO squired three Epos standmounts (the ELS3, the M5 and the M12.2), two floorstanders (Dali Ikons 5 and 6), two mighty mini-monitors (AVI Neutron IV and Leema Acoustics Xero), and two power-guzzling alpha-male standmounts (Dynaudio Focus 110 and ATC SCM11). It had wonderful synergy with the Creek-owned Epos boxes (naturally!) and if truth be told, a Creek EVOs and M12.2 comho provides more than enough sophistication to keep any music-lover enhralled for years, so long as he stays away from faddish hifi forums. Harnessed to each other, Creek and Epos generated lots of PRaTty excitement. The Dali Ikons with their quick-silver upper ranges highlighted the EVO's own speediness but those ribbon tweeters prefered less forward amplification IMO. The AVI and Leema were the least happy pairings, these LS3/5A-inspired minis prefer something more smooth and romantic driving them (like my hybrid MF X-T100). With their elegantly tapered-off mid bass they were sometimes made to sound scratchy and scrawny by the EVO, particularly during classical chamber music.


    The speaker that provided the platform for the EVO to achieve its peak is my Dynaudio Focus 110. The EVO rather relishes lower impedance loads, in fact I found it punchier with the Epos M5 (3.6 ohms at some points) than with the M12.2 (6 ohms, lowest). With the Focus 110, I was plied with gloriously deep and taut basslines that had plenty of pace and attack. Bass you could feel in your chest. During a couple of headbanging rock music sessions I actually feared for the health of my walls. Ihis is a superhero combination for the more youthful audiophile with modern tastes in music IMO. You can do better for classical music, though. People interested in the improved EVO 2 should definitely shortlist a Dynaudio standmount for a potential partner, if powerful driving bass is a priority.

    The EVO met its Waterloo when the last of my speakers arrived - ATC SCM11. Its transparency and powers of resolution are a couple of leagues above the Dynaudio and its exacting tweeters don't sugar-coat like the Dyn's sweetened D280 ones. The EVO had the grunt to drive the SCM11, but the impression one got while listening to this pair was the SCM11 sneering at the EVO at times. "Yes kid, you can do PRaT, but can you stun Solid with a super resonant hit from that timpani that is placed right at the rear of the orchestra?" "Yes kid, your treble is smooth, but I demand more suppleness from it. And you can't reproduce hemi-demi-semi quavers without time-smearing." "Hello kid, you are not nuanced enough to reveal my special prowess with sub-50Hz bass frequencies." Exit EVO, enter MF.

    The need to steer clear of ATCs and similarly exacting ultra-monitors aside, I have found the EVO amp a fun-loving music maker that is unusually powerful.

    I certainly treasured the time spent with my EVOs. This is not the end of the EVO association though. I have an eye on Creek's upcoming Mosfet beauty, the EVOLUTION 5350.


    SS




    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
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  4. #1184
    Super Wammer Brown Bottle's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    Great write up Solid, pretty much covered all the bases.

    I must say I still miss my M5's, the Proacs are great but I bought them knowing that they wouldn't work at their best in my room but were worth buying with a view to moving house and upgading my amp. The Evo's and M5/M12's have fantastic synergy though.

    Cheers BB

  5. #1185
    SSaturday wamMer Stacey Slocum's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    It was a good move on your part to upgrade to the ProAcs, BB. It'll definitely be worth your while to keep hanging on to them for the day when you unfurl their full potential with a new amp in a new room.

    Although you could fetch a good price for them in the Wam classifieds as they are a one-of-a-kind Earl of Sodbury edition...


    cheerSS








  6. #1186
    Founding Wammer s2000db's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    I'd watch out for the myxomatosis if I were you...

  7. #1187
    Super Wammer tones's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    SSM wrote:
    Tones because I always value your advice I hunted down all available reviews on the Quad 909 for a reconsideration. Then I downloaded the manual and read the speaker connection section: "For safety reasons Quad equipment is designed not to accept 4mm connectors." Bummer!

    (What safety reasons? Young kids who will wander behind the 909 and poke their fingers in the terminals?)

    I know I know, there is no proven sonic difference between bare wire and banana plug connections but I have always used 4mm plugs from day one in his hobby. And for a potential power amp that will be around for a good while, it's going to see a few speaker cable upgrades and those will have soldered plugs. I don't relish cutting and stripping cables every now and then to remove the oxidized bits.

    Less enthusiastic now. The research was going so well...

    SS
    Easy, get yourself some ICs with 4mm plugs on one end, clip off whatever's on the other end and fix it permanently to the amp. Of course, as the wire makes no difference whatsoever to the sound, there is no such thing as a "cable upgrade" and you could save yourself a whole lot of trouble and expense by simply sticking with one wire :minikiev:
    The man with the golden ear trumpet

  8. #1188
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    tones wrote:
    SSM wrote:
    Tones because I always value your advice I hunted down all available reviews on the Quad 909 for a reconsideration. Then I downloaded the manual and read the speaker connection section: "For safety reasons Quad equipment is designed not to accept 4mm connectors." Bummer!

    (What safety reasons? Young kids who will wander behind the 909 and poke their fingers in the terminals?)

    I know I know, there is no proven sonic difference between bare wire and banana plug connections but I have always used 4mm plugs from day one in his hobby. And for a potential power amp that will be around for a good while, it's going to see a few speaker cable upgrades and those will have soldered plugs. I don't relish cutting and stripping cables every now and then to remove the oxidized bits.

    Less enthusiastic now. The research was going so well...

    SS
    Easy, get yourself some ICs with 4mm plugs on one end, clip off whatever's on the other end and fix it permanently to the amp. Of course, as the wire makes no difference whatsoever to the sound, there is no such thing as a "cable upgrade" and you could save yourself a whole lot of trouble and expense by simply sticking with one wire :minikiev:
    You are doing a great job selling staid Quad to this chronic-swapper metrosexual. The day the boxy 909 comes into solidschateau will be the total deletion of all cable manufacturer links from my browser and the start of endless nites of me rocking aimlessly on my armchair, sipping cups of Horlicks and fanning myself with liner booklets from Bach CD sets.




    Not.

    ^ the Cyrus X Power is much snazzier.


    cheerSS







    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
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  9. #1189
    Super Wammer tones's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    SSM wrote:
    You are doing a great job selling staid Quad to this chronic-swapper metrosexual.
    No sales pitch, just a simple suggestion on how to swap cables, should you be so foolish as to wish to continue so doing
    The day the boxy 909 comes into solidschateau will be the total deletion of all cable manufacturer links from my browser
    A very wise move, regardless of what you choose. Total waste of time and money.

    and the start of endless nites of me rocking aimlessly on my armchair,
    You mean, you don't already do that?

    sipping cups of Horlicks
    easy, stomach... Once got my mother to get a jar in order to take advantage of some free offer. I tasted it for the first and last time...
    and fanning myself with liner booklets from Bach CD sets.
    Hopefully after reading them and actually gaining some musical insight.

    Not.
    Hmm, knew it was too much to hope for


    ^ the Cyrus X Power is much snazzier.
    Unarguably true, and probably makes just as nice a noise. But is it such good value and as bombproof?



    The man with the golden ear trumpet

  10. #1190
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    I struggle to see how either the Cyrus or Quad amps look nice. The best thing is that you can fit and hide.

    I can see why Quad has this pipe and slippers, 'old fogey' image. It takes most people a lifetime of box swapping to realise that they should buy Quad. When they do, they'll keep it and it'll probably outlive them

    Bach? I love Bach, especially the arias.

  11. #1191
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    argghhh! Stereo brainwashing from two Quad users who both do Bach. Isn't that warning enough to avoid this brand?!! Iggy, I am appalled. I saw a handsome young man on your WHF avatar, but your fresh declaration of loving support for Quad confirms there is a wrinkled old git living inside of you. I just saw what the 405 looks like. It's a museum piece from the Jane Fonda-Barbarella era where she and it must have been considered sexy then.




    Anyway... Tones, meet Rob. Rob, meet Tones. The main reason for Tones' wam existence is to evangelize Bach's music, so feel free to PM him for more suggestions on how you can mire yourself deeper in J.S.'s musical drool.


    As for me, I have bigger Wagnerian fish to fry.


    The 909 and X Power will turn out to be just passing fancies imo. The circle will be complete when the Arcam FMJ A38 and Naim Nait XS are both heard and chosen from.


    cheerSS


    [line]ps: agree about Horlicks. It's a drink made of malt, milk and powdered bone.



    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
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    SS relics: REGA ELICIT, ARCAM A38, Musical Fidelity X-A2, NAIM NAP 100, QUAD 909, SONY TA-F246E | MiniWatt N3

  12. #1192
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    Rub some of this on the Quad and I'm sure you'll like it...





  13. #1193
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    Post imported post

    A Tale of Two DACs
    (the contrasting musical abilities of Musical Fidelity's V-DAC and Cambridge Audio's DacMagic)

    A couple of wammers wanted my thoughts on how the DacMagic and the V-DAC stacked up against each other. Well, here it is.

    Except, this isn't the original write-up. This is a revision.

    When I bought my second V-DAC unit at the start of August I began jotting a few lines every other day comparing its reproduction of selected music tracks against the DacMagic's. By Wednesday I had a full article that just needed some finishing touches. My conclusion was that the DacMagic is a better all-round music-maker.

    Then yesterday I added an electrical tweak to the V-DAC and the resultant change in sound quality meant many paragraphs from the preceding week's comparisons were rendered void. I can only salvage the ones that still hold true after the V-DAC's tweak:-


    "The DacMagic throws a wider soundstage than the V-DAC. Instruments that are panned to either the left or the right stretch out further away from the speakers than the V-DAC can muster. If through the V-DAC a sound effect appears 30cm from the right side of the right speaker, the DacMagic almost doubles the distance. On the other hand, the V-DAC carves out a much deeper soundstage as to make the DacMagic's quite neutral balance seem upfront by comparison. This spatial depth is a trait of the many MF components I have used and creates enveloping soundscapes that cocoon the listener. These differences in presentation make for striking contrasts between the two DACs with various music. With some music, the DacMagic has an invigorating openness that makes the V-DAC seem a tad cosy. With other music, the DacMagic is flat and pungent compared to the gorgeously textured soundscapes the V-DAC can conjure."


    "The V-DAC is consistently superior to the DacMagic at reproducing the rosiny woodiness of stringed instruments. In Puccini's Tosca, the wonderful string passage preceding Tosca's first appearance was so rich and sonorous with the V-DAC you'd be forgiven for thinking it came with a high-end price tag. In comparison the DacMagic's reproduction thinned out the orchestra. It wasn't sumptuous enough to evoke the lush echoed tones rising up from an opera house's orchestra pit as well as the V-DAC."


    "With chanteuse albums like Madeleine Peyroux's 'Careless Love' , Joss Stone's "Soul Sessions" and Diana Krall's 'Quiet Nights', both DACs shone. The DacMagic highlighted the delicate clicks and tinkles of piano keys, wire brushes and Ms Krall licking her moist lips - offering the more seductive listen. The richer V-DAC captured the breathy quality of the singers' voices better. The DacMagic was more atmospheric, the V-DAC more tactile and earthy."



    This next one was true until yesterday:

    "Disco music is the best barometer with which to compare these two DACs' timing abilities. The chorus of Lady Gaga's 'Just Dance' is set to a typical Allegro moderato in 4/4 time. The DacMagic plays it at a zesty tempo of 120BPM, inducing much toe-tapping and leaving no doubt this is how the Lady would like her signature song to be enjoyed. The V-DAC's timing is about 108BPM which is audible as being more measured and less peppy. The reason for this slower pace is the extra richness in tone the V-DAC has over the DacMagic. The slower pace doesn't mean the V-DAC drags its feet with dance music. The difference boils down to the DacMagic managing to squeeze 2 quarter-note beats into one second while the V-DAC does 1.8 The V-DAC does not pull rhythms out of shape, although it is a touch slower in direct comparison. That said, the DacMagic is a nose ahead when it comes to disco music. Its ability to project synthesiser effects out at the extreme ends of the speakers' boundaries make it a thrilling conduit for the tunes of Lady Gaga, Pet Shop Boys, Madonna, Chemical Brothers et al."

    So WHF was telling the truth when its own review criticised the V-DAC as "not for fans of pumping beats"! (Is this a first?) The V-DAC's pacing is noticeably slower.


    But ever since yesterday, the DacMagic isn't a nose ahead anymore for timing ability. I had been reading other V-DAC owners' comments over at Head-Fi: some who had upgraded the V-DAC's stock power adaptor were griping that the V-DAC's lack of PRaT was caused by this very adaptor. It is rated at 12Vdc/500mA, unregulated and caused both itself and the V-DAC to heat up like hot potatoes during operation. The V-DAC needed a better adaptor with higher rated current. they said. I was sceptical about this until I went to the DIY store and bought a switched-mode regulated AC/DC adaptor rated at 1800mA. And plugged it in...

    Wow. Everything snapped into focus. The V-DAC didn't change its sonic signature but all the flaws I'd noted before when it was powered by that horrid 500mA PSU disappeared. Timing and pace in dance music reached parity with the DacMagic, the midrange became even richer (singers' voices are so breathy now) and deep bass took on a powerful and growly quality. It worked the lower regions of my ATC SCM11s to produce the best bass I've ever had in this hobby to date. I am going to build a new system around the ATCs with the V-DAC at the head of the signal chain. The little bugger can hold its own in the glare of the ATC's exacting resolution.

    I'd say the V-DAC was showing just 60% of its potential with the supplied 500mA adaptor. The first thing any future V-DAC owner needs to do is: THROW AWAY that accursed thing and buy a regulated one with rated current at least thrice that of 500mA. I'm looking for a 3000mA one already. The V-DAC breathes fire and dynamism when you offer it a more powerful ac/dc adaptor. Some of the other V-DAC owners who measured are saying it actually draws more than 500mA.

    The September issue of HFW where the V-DAC pipped the DacMagic for the full five globes hasn't arrived in Tipoca yet, but I'll be laughing if it achieved that result tested with its lousy freebie adaptor. (MF boss A.M. ought to be chastised for stripping down the V-DAC's anciliaries so much that the PSU adaptor compromised sonic performance and then insisting in the manual that other adaptors should not be used.)


    With the V-DAC given a mighty shot up the arm with a better power adaptor, some of my earlier observations that the DacMagic beat the V-DAC in certain music genres are nullified. Previously, against the V-DAC and its standard adaptor, I found the DacMagic to be superior with Salsa/Cuban and Baroque music (thanks to its pacier timing) and violin and piano concertos (thanks to its stronger presence). Without sufficient power, the V-DAC sounded distant with concerto recordings and the recessed soloists' playing lacked dynamic force. Now, it performs better with this music than the DacMagic. It always had the tonal richness, only now the new power adaptor has put a lot of 'shove' behind the MF's lush sound.

    [line]
    I did not originally intend for this report to slight the DacMagic. HFN quipped that it sets the benchmark for all DACs below £1k and I agree. In essence it is the £500 740C cdp I had in 2007 minus the transport mechanism and higher upsampling spec. The 740C compares comfortably with any sub £1k cdp, and so the DacMagic has already revolutionalized consumer expectations of the quality of digital sound they can get at its ridiculous price level.

    I'm quite enamoured of the V-DAC at this moment, though. It sounds so dynamic and unburstable.

    I'd wanted to leave any mention of my ex-fourth DAC (the Stello DA-100) out, but a quick summary is needed now. The DA-100 outperformed the V-DAC in many departments except the high treble where the V-DAC is more natural and less fatiguing. This region is where my favourite sopranos roam so it is of utmost importance. That was why I let the DA-100 go and bought the V-DAC a second time despite some performance compromises. However, with the new power adaptor upgrade now, I can say with unequivocal delight that I totally prefer this souped-up V-DAC. It holds its own with some current £750ish spinners I've heard. iirc its dac chip is similar to the one used in a discontinued, fully-loaded £1k MF DAC.

    The blurb on the box packaging says: "the thinking man's high-end." For once, this may not be hype. Thanks MF, for this very rare bargain.


    Sometimes in this hobby the oddest twists happen. Anyway X-Ray, V-DAC and DacMagic... I'm all set on the digital front for the next twelve months.



    SS

    [line]


    The DacMagic is detailed, immediate, crisp and rhythmic with agile mid-bass

    The V-DAC (with adaptor upgrade) is spacious and dynamic, with a rich and breathy midrange, sweet treble and rumbling deep bass


    Listening equipment: MF X-T100/Triple-X170PSU (85W hybrid amp, with new russian tubes) into ATC SCM11


    [line]
    Last edited by SSM; 08-10-2011 at 04:02 AM.
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
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  14. #1194
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    I have had the V-DAC for two weeks now with a better-spec'd aftermarket AC/DC adaptor. Some PMs came in asking what are the benefits of upgrading from the stock 500mA psu provided by MF. It is impractical for me to keep repeating the points individually, so I'll post this - my final wrap-up on the V-DAC.


    The benefits gained from using a switched-mode regulated AC/DC power adaptor on the Musical Fidelity V-DAC

    First the disclaimers:

    (i) the sonic effects of using a regulated PSU may vary depending on the brand of adaptor you bought. Mine is a Vanson 1800mA that is not marketed in Western Europe. Other V-DAC users on Head-Fi have sourced different brands from Maplins, etc...

    (ii) the rest of your system may also affect how you will appreciate the changes. Particularly your speakers. You'd want their treble output to be clean.


    and an advisory:

    (i) make sure the aftermarket PSU you buy provides for a positive center-pin connection! If otherwise(negative pin), the V-DAC may go kaboom.


    Two conditions are immediately discernible after plugging in my switched-mode PSU

    (i) the V-DAC now runs mildly warm to the touch. Previously with that unregulated stock psu, it ran hot enough to fry an egg on. I seriously doubt it can last a year with all that heat, if left connected 24/7 to that horrid PSU. Something's got to give.

    (ii) the analogue output becomes louder. Previously, I doubted it got anywhere near 1.9V max even though its specsheet claimed 2.2V. The DacMagic's is 2.1V max and is audibly louder with the same volume setting on my amps. With the new PSU connected, the V-DAC's signal strength overtook the DacMagic's. Strong and confident now.


    Aural Improvements

    (i) The bass had a slight warmth previously but that disappears now and is replaced with a new-found agility which matches the DacMagic's for spot-on timing in dance music. The V-DAC's bass has better articulation though and digs deeper than the DacMagic. Orchestral timpani are presented with more resonance and scale than on the DacMagic: the extended showpiece for the timpani in the last movement of Nielsen's Fifth Symphony is stunning! With the stock psu, the V-DAC's bass was sometimes there, sometimes AWOL or reticent (especially after playing demanding music) like the DAC was out of breath. With the regulated PSU, the bass is clearer and deeper.


    (ii) The soundstage is no longer laid-back and high-frequency sounds gain power.

    Here is an extract from my vetoed original draft comparing the DacMagic with the V-DAC on its stock psu:

    "This distanced perspective (on concerto recordings) has much to do with how the V-DAC deals with high-frequency sounds IMO. Struck cymbals and triangles are very fine-grained, almost ethereal, whereas the DacMagic's are consistently stronger and more forthright. Depending on the music, I vary between regarding the V-DAC's reproduction of leading edges as either super-refined or bordering on fragile, but there's no doubt the V-DAC's treble is more well-controlled."

    Distanced and ethereal, no more. With the uprated PSU, the V-DAC's treble becomes more incisive and there is immense attack offered on orchestral strings. I can really discern the bows biting into the gut-strings. Some V-DAC owners on Head-Fi who upgraded their PSUs heard the same effect, and a few did not like the treble's new assertiveness as it was a change from the previous warmth and laidbackness. Whether you will appreciate this change depends on how well your speakers' tweeters handle this volatility. As far as I'm concerned, this change in the treble is a sonic improvement for it comes close to reproducing how some instruments sound like in real life.

    Through my Leema Xeros whose Tymphany tweeters have a talent for playing cymbals and wire drum brushes, these instruments sound very vivid.


    (iii) a rich midrange

    With fine detail and leading edges gaining more projection from the better PSU, the sophisticated quality of the V-DAC's midrange is enhanced further. The foremost trait you'll notice is the time taken by reverberations from sounds to decay. It's very luxuriant and highly noticeable when I run dialogues from movie DVDs - there is more resonance surrounding the actors' voices and hall acoustics. In music, it gives a truly deluxe portrayal of jazz singers and acoustic instruments. They are presented lovingly with flattering spotlights on their every enunciation.

    This deliciously dewy quality to the midrange doesn't work optimally with some music though. In rock music where electric guitars are thrashing wildly non-stop, the V-DAC can sound rather 'busy' and echo-ey with all those lingering reverberations from the rapid guitar chords. Here, the strait-laced DacMagic sounds more damped and clearer by comparison. Once again, Musical Fidelity has produced a component that has a preference for human voices, acoustic instruments and more refined music genres.


    So that is my experience of the aural benefits from using a switched-mode regulated PSU on the V-DAC.


    Now I can work on my ATC report.






    cheerSS



    [line]Other V-DAC admirers:

    wammers

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    Last edited by SSM; 07-01-2011 at 03:08 PM.
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  15. #1195
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    Naim Nait XS integrated amplifier
    (This is a summary of a demo done last week. I pen it now after calming down.)

    Finally, I got to hear this. What can I say but, wow! This sleek little bugger is a real flag bearer for Naim's take on PRaT. Timing and pacing are so on-the-ball it was impossible to not wiggle my toes secretly in my shoes in time to the music. I did wonder if this PRaT is a little bit sped up ahead of true neutrality in timing but there's no denying the infectious way it plays upbeat music. Pop and rock were marvellous and jazz drummers had a very 'live' feel. The XS also has an ability to reveal complex musical textures in the midrange, something which is beyond the Cyrus 8XPd IMO. I do not want to embarrass the Cyrus with further comments: it suffices to say that anyone interested in the pallid, waspish 8XPd had better hear the Nait XS before signing on the dotted line!

    I have one vital problem with the Nait XS though. Its handling of the midband and bass is wonderful but its treble is rather ordinary. No offence to NAD owners, but the XS's treble comes off just like the one you'd hear from NAD's Classic C*** amps. Clean and clear, yes, but there's no special illuminance and openness that should be on a £1.3k amp IMO. Sugden's A21, for example, plays in the same price category and its treble is exquisite, although it lacks the XS's PRaT. I don't listen to pulsating dance music as much as opera where soprano voices assume immense importance. The XS sounds shut-in here.

    I voiced my concern aloud to the dealer, who responded without missing a beat. "Oh, you need the Flatcap." () A quick shuffle behind the Naims' rears and re-wiring later, I heard the XS plus the Flatcap. Oh yes, the treble performance picked up. My favourable memory of the Sugden fades off, and the XS sounds everything like a £1.3k amp should.

    Except it costs £1.9k now.

    And I can't shake off the feeling that I'm being ripped off if I buy the whole caboodle.

    Y.M.M.V.

    If I were to voice these misgivings on the Salisbury forum, I'm going to get ripostes like "there is no such thing as a free lunch" or "you get what you pay for". Taking into consideration the performances of other brands, I reckon I should be getting this XS+Flatcap performance for the price of a bog-standard XS. IMO the standard XS alone is like Naim saying "Here is the XS from the neck down. The rest of its treble performance is to be had in the Flatcap". Seriously, when I (or most of us) think 'integrated amp' we visualize one box, not two, right? Even if I'm happy to fork out the £1.9k I would like the final product in ONE BOX. If I wanted two, I would have gone the pre-power route already.

    And what happens next if I do buy this XS? A gradual mental conditioning into the complete acceptance of DIN connectors? Purchase of Naim's manual drawer cdps? And the evolution of my entire system into stacks of black Naim with gleaming green centre logos? (They look good, mind.) The XS is good, very good, but I knew I was at the cusp of an irreversible paradigm shift if I bought it - a shift that will constrict my future purchasing freedom outside of the Naim brand. And for that reason I'm saying good-bye to the XS and to Naim.

    Another factor is my going up the ATC ladder next year and however well-buffed the XS's 60 watts are, it's still not a comfortable margin for ATC's insensitive power-guzzlers. For the same price as the XS-Flatcap, Musical Fidelity's A5.5 at over four times the wattage comes into play now and it's looking delicious. And it comes in one box, with no strings attached, for goodness sake.

    The XS is a great product, but it doesn't chime perfectly with my fiscal values and speaker upgrade plans.


    SS


    [line]Naim Nait XS

    a party animal that latches on to the beat in any music and never lets go
    revels in opening up textures in complex music
    sleek minimalist looks and design
    its performance is complete only when you add the Flatcap (poor value for money, by then IMO)
    its PRaT may not be absolutely neutral and accurate to the actual performance; limited power
    [line]


    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
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  16. #1196
    Super Wammer tones's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    SSM wrote:
    Naim Nait XS integrated amplifier

    And I can't shake off the feeling that I'm being ripped off if I buy the whole caboodle.
    Rest assured, you are. Naim equipment is fine, but the upgrade path is (IMHO) sheer con-artistry. I once tried a Naim CD player. The dealer also supplied a Flatcap, assuring me of dramatic differences. Were there? There were - there were twice as many pretty illuminated green logos as there had been previously. And that was all.

    Personally, I think Naim should fit a decent power supply in the first place and have done. It works for everyone else.
    The man with the golden ear trumpet

  17. #1197
    Αdministrator notaclue's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    So Tones hasn't left the building? Some people think Tones has left the building (forum). Clearly not the case.

    In Naim-land, I think you measure success by the number of Naim boxes you have. Thus learning you can add another box to your one-box amp should be cause for celebration.

    Disappointment should only creep in when you learn that you can't add a third box. So you sell your two boxes and buy three. Then you enquire about box number four...

    The Naim XS is a nice, clean, stylish looking amp. I'm afraid, the same cannot be said for the A5.5. Not bad but not very stylish.

  18. #1198
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    tones wrote:
    SSM wrote:
    Naim Nait XS integrated amplifier

    And I can't shake off the feeling that I'm being ripped off if I buy the whole caboodle.
    Rest assured, you are. Naim equipment is fine, but the upgrade path is (IMHO) sheer con-artistry. I once tried a Naim CD player. The dealer also supplied a Flatcap, assuring me of dramatic differences. Were there? There were - there were twice as many pretty illuminated green logos as there had been previously. And that was all.

    Personally, I think Naim should fit a decent power supply in the first place and have done. It works for everyone else.
    I agree about the power supply. Is it so difficult to fit an adequate one into the XS? A high-end integrated whose preamp needs an external power boost?!! The innards of Cambridge Audio's 'budget' 840A v2 ought be a lesson in design for the woollen engineers at Salisbury.

    I am surprised you didn't buy that Naim cdp, though. Its manual drawer complements your hard-working, down-to-earth, earn-by-the-sweat-of-your-brow personage.

    So we finally have one thing in common now. There may be another. My previous 'lunchbox' pisstake on the Quad 909 belies my actual high opinion of it. At 32 cm wide, it is a nicely compact amp with loads of power. Plus, it has no ventilation slots which means all dust is kept out. If I'm not going for the MF, I can see myself opting for the 909 and spending the remaining half of the budget on a blingy pre-amp.

    Be fun to see how many years of service I can get out of it!

    cheerSS



    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
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  19. #1199
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    NAC, Tones can never fully leave. My ever-radiating luv-vibes keep him in orbit.

    :green:

    As for your A5.5 comments, STFU


    SS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
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  20. #1200
    Super Wammer Brown Bottle's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    I was showing Mrs BB a picture of the XS the other day and a couple of other would be contenders. When she asked how much it was I said about £1350...."Oh yes, I know what you are like, when you say £1350 I bet you mean more like £2000."

    It would appear she is right.

    Cheers BB

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