How about these?
Testy, your findings with the FS247's bass seems to corroborate my misgivings as to myself upgrading to this speaker. I had a pair of Castle floorstanders whose bass system is similar whereby the LFs are fired downwards onto the plinth. It was this indistinct bass with its vacillating performance that caused me to moved the Castles on. I'll try to keep an open mind when I have my own demo but doubt I'd really want a floorstander with this type of bass delivery. My OCD would kick in overtime as I'd be paranoid about insects or geckos sneaking up into the floorstander through the open gaps.
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Ok, another plug for Stello. I'll have the Ai500 on my radar then, although I'm not sure I ought to have one amp in common with Testy. Our tastes in wardrobes are so different: I like soft and fluffy, he goes for non-porous and quick-wipe-clean.
IMO the Hecos have a high PRAT factor whereas the Elacs are more refined so whatever floats your boat. I love them both. A lot of people would be perfectly happy with the PM1s but overall my vote goes to the Elac BS203 Anniversary.
What was interesting is just how well the Myryad Mi worked with all the speakers. I'd been meaning to try one for some time and so glad I did. If you are looking for an all in one system its a gem.
Last edited by myrman; 11-06-2012 at 07:33 PM.
Had a really enjoyable demo at Igloo Audio last Friday, will post thoughts this evening.
Amphion Argon 3
clean gloves hide dirty hands
oooh yes Madam, please purr into m'ears about those sexy speakers. I'm interested to hear your impressions of the ProAC and Amphion. As for the Aureole third one, Amber Tits?
Hmm, with workload piling up, I'm not sure the next ten weeks is the best time to introduce a major new alpha speaker for my enjoyment. So the Waffie Jade 5 and Dyn Focus are KIVed for a while. But I'm game for a divertisement - a petite something that doesn't require loads of running-in. Two of the three speakers that's on my horizon are AVI Neutron 5 (ah, memories of my beloved Neutron IV!) and Rega RS1 (if only to complete an all-Rega system at solidschateau).
The last of the trio that's caught my eye is Wharfedale's new iteration of its iconic Denton to celebrate its 80th anniversary.
^ I haven't read up on whether the Denton is Waffie's take on the Beeb-box sound, but I'm really taken with its looks. It oozes olde world charm. It could be the only speaker I'll ever use with the grilles on. I don't reckon it's going to sound as laser-precise as my Elacs with electronic pop music but gosh, looking at it, I just have this urge to play Brahms symphonies through this limited-edition Denton. And some Bach keyboard music and Schubert song cycles (been watching Prof Moriarty in the Sherlock 2 film). This era of classical music will surely look and sound right emanating from this classy Edwardian-esque speaker.
Coming soon to Tipoca. I just might. That this is the Wimbledon fortnight is a further spur to get those classy grilles with the prominent Ws.
First of all I have to give credit where it’s due to Peter from Igloo Audio, for a very relaxing and enjoyable afternoon demo (we didn’t even start demoing till nearly an hour had gone past, as just chattering away)
I had brought my Stello amp and was using my Pioneer laserdisc as transport into the Stello’s built in dac.
Amphion Argon 3
The matt white colour, gives a very clean looking speaker, however compared to the Ambera’s and D18, the finish doesn’t exude luxury, even though they are well made. The petit Ions with their curved ends, seemed to wear the white with more panache.
Well I was expecting to like these the most, due to owning the Ions, but sadly they didn’t click for me. They have the resolution, soundstage width and very nice depth. The bass is nice and taught, and goes low for a standmount of this size, but they are very neutral and dry, that they lost the raw emotion of the soundscapes built by the likes of Yello and Download for me. However this neutrality did seem to work in favour of the couple of classical tracks I listened to, giving a very realistic presentation.
The most traditional looking speaker, with a nice wood veneer. Little touches like the acrylic phase plug, and the cut out sides of the downward firing port impressed (yes Solid is was the acrylic plug!!).
Really enjoyed listening to the D-18’s, they sounded sublime on all tracks, but especially with vocals and more natural timbred instruments, like found in Lisa Gerrards ‘Mirror Pool’. Bass was well defined and had nice texture. My first impressions was that it was very slightly lighter than I expected based on its size, but after listening to a few tracks including the Ghost in the Shell 2 soundtrack (which some of you may have heard the last couple of years at Scalford), was very impressed with the realism of the bass.
You may notice that this has a very similar appearance to the Ions I own. This is because it’s by the same designer who used to work at Amphion for a number of years, but since approx. 2007 has gone it alone. They are very elegant and WAF friendly, and when you get close, realise they have an aluminium skin.
That’s more like it…. This is what I expected the Aragons to sound like, the fun of the Ions, with improvements across the board. Obviously the one noticeable area the Ions lack is in the bass department, and the Amberas, gladly obliged giving me a couple more octaves than I was used to, in a nice spritely manner. Listening to Downloads ‘Base Metal’, I was surprised how resolving they are as I heard subtle interlayered samples deep in the track for the very first time. They really pull you into the music.
Overall I would say the D-18s are the best speaker of the trio, and I can see most people preferring them, but there is something special about the Amberas, that not only connect you with the music, but pull you into as well. It’s like the D-18 are in there 40’s have experience and can savour the finer things in life, but still try to be young at heart. While the Amberas are young spritely 20 somethings, which want to have fun, and makes sure your part of it.
Basically the D18s is what Solid would like us to imagine he is, and the Ambera are what he missed when younger (The truth is still sacred )
clean gloves hide dirty hands
Nice summaries Testy. I'm still considering the merits of having the ProAC Response D2 and your remarks that you initially found the D18's sound lighter than expected chimes with my impressions of the D2. Seems ProAC's signature sonic veers on the light and delicate, compared to the ATC and Dyn brawniness I am so used to.
Your comments on the Argon 3's performance with classical music has intrigued me about this Amphion. I rather value neutrality and so maybe a demo date with the Argon 3 is due. I note that it was also a HFC grouptest winner outgunning Dyn X16, Quadral Megan, Totem Rainmaker and Spendor 3/1R2 amongst others. Now defo worth conSSideration.
Oh, while you may find the D18 best-sounding overall, I'd say the Ambera's iconoclastic styling is so very YOU. Go on, buy them. Having the boxy square D18s around will cramp your style.
ps: thrilled to know you listen to some Yello. I can imagine you singing the "Ohhh Yeah" song very well.
Oh what a lovely day off. Back from a delicious lunch of most succulent pork chops.
Now chilling out to the main rig fronted by the dual-dac-team of the Rega and Audiolab. This is day 70 of the M-DAC at solidschateau and once again it reinforces the conviction that good kit needs running-in. It gets turned on 4-5hours a day (I don't leave kit on 24/7 for fear of any mishaps) so that's 350+ hrs of soaking in leccy. The first 30 days, while the detailed performance is striking with electronic dance music, I felt that the Rega was the more polished and coherent of the two. In particular, the M-DAC's bass was a tad sluggish and reticent with deep bass notes. But that's gone now. It has become very taut and agile with acoustic bass notes. I'd know, because I play 20 minutes of very familiar music every day (Sade's) and could hear the improved articulation and attack on Paul Spencer Denman's Stingray. Just fantastic.
Reckon the M-DAC is fully run-in now, and its performance-price ratio is amazing compared to two pricier alternatives. IMO it outdoes the Naim DAC for detail retrieval and spaciousness so I'm forever grateful to it for saving me getting shafted by Salisbury for an extra £1.4k. Presentation-wise, the Young DAC is very very similar but I was unable to hear just where it betters the M-DAC. Plus, it is fugly, so I didn't bother anymore.
One more potential DAC that interests me is the Leema Elements. I read that it is sweet and smooth, like the Stream I'd demoed in 2008, with really inky-black backgrounds. Will definitely seek it out when the next bout of digitatits hits.
I'm really digging having these two nice DACs share replay duties. Their presentations contrast strikingly with each other. The music that doesn't come off rightly on one is handled superbly by the other. Reckon this covers more bases than having one costlier DAC going it alone. The M-DAC's asynchronous USB input reads the FLAC files off my laptop, and it feeds the Rega DAC via its coaxial digital output so I have bypassed the Rega DAC's non-asynchronous USB input.
Two hours have elapsed since starting this post and the M-DAC has been smokin' with the current internet radio session - dance hits channel. I could do a Rega DAC/M-DAC write-up before the Quad 909 one!
Quad 909 write up
Quad 99 CDP2 >> Pass B1 Pre >> XTZ Desire AP-100 >> PMC DB1S+
Dear Solid! I have read quite a lot of your thread, so not everything, and I am actually interested in buying a Quad 909. At the moment I am running an Avondale S 100 as a power amplifier which is very good indeed as far as I can say.
Preamp is a MF A1 FBP and main source is a MF A1 CD Pro. My speakers are cheapo Aura LS with Lineaum tweeters or Leema Xones. Especially the MF/Avondale/Leema combination is much too forward for my likening and the Xones will have to leave, methinks. But it is not priority nr. 1 at the moment.
Anyway I have the feeling that I would like to have a smoother sound.
So I might change everything in due course but the first thing I consider to change is the Avondale S 100 because I have read at PFM that Les, Avonadales's very kind mastermind, is retiring at might not be able to repair the unit in the future - I have bought it back in 2010 as a ready-built unit.
Swapping the Avondale with the Quad 909 might smooth the sound and I would like to hear your or other forum users' opinion on that matter; plus Quad will repair the unit in the foreseeable future.
My listining is mainly to pop & rock, classic rock, 80s pop and rarely baroque music.
So my question obviously concerns the QUAD 909...
Thank you all for your comments!
Ewald - 'scuse me butting-in, sure Soiled will be along in a mo, but first-up: the Avondale amp will be serviceable by any competent electronics engineer long into the future.
I'd also say it's the strongest component in your system and the last I'd change. I owned quite a bit of MF kit in the past and its principle fault is a tendency to sound bright, even shrill, especially when partnered with resolving speakers.
You may be able to ameliorate things a bit by moving the Leemas nearer to the rear wall to reinforce and balance bass output for a more rounded and fruitier sound.
If you can, it's worth home demo-ing either matching Avondale pre, or alternatively Naim CDP and pre for a more synergistic and sweeter sound.
IME the 909 is just dull, but one man's dull is another's smooth - good luck
Hi Earl! Thank you very much for your input - I appreciate it a lot!
Good to hear that you consider it to be serviceable in the future.
So I guess I will start to tinker with the other components as you have recommended.
I will start with the pre-amp and cd player as I am anyway thinking of something like a pre-amp + dac - audiolab m-dac comes to my mind as I have a Cyrus CD 8x and an Arcam Alpha 7 se as a transport anyay plus it will provide me the possibility to use my laptop and other stuff in the future more flexible.
Next, I will be looking for smooth loudspeakers - bringing me back to SSM and this thread.
So, thanks a lot from Austria!
PS: Nevertheless, I am still interested to hear the opinion about the QUAD 909.
Last edited by ewe_gb; 25-07-2012 at 01:33 AM.
Earl of Doublechinburied has spurted advice the cream of which is worth savouring. Don't be too quick to replace a major component in your system. Sometimes a little judicious tweaking can effect improvements.
I'd echo the warning about MF gear. Partnered wrongly, it can produce overpowering treble. The M1 DAC and my assorted MF amps were a mismatch with the most resolving speaker in my harem - the ELAC. iirc, there's a member about here who uses the same MF A1 FBP preamp as yours, but into the 909. Wickedman68, or somewhat. Maybe you could get his feedback on this combo.
As for the 909 sonics, this star Quad is certainly one very smooth operator. Unlike my manic curry-stirring wammate, I don't find it 'dull' at all. Certainly not with ELAC or ATC standmounts, both of which are armed with dynamic smack and chiselled treble.
You complain of forwardness in your current setup. Well, while the 909 is smooth, its not laidback though. Turn up the wick and it will literally huff and puff the sound into your face. I tried it with my Xeros, the standmount sibling of your Xones, and feared for the health of its little plastic cone. The midrange heft from the 909 threatened to warp it during higher levels! IMO the Xero seems built for delicate music-making with entry-level Leema amplification (which is lithe and supple IME). The 909 might prove too brutish and full-on for your Xones, which double up on the Xero's little cones.
If it were me, I'd go for the nice Arcam A38 instead to pair the Xones. Or if the Avondale is staying, just change the MF cdp for a Rega or Arcam (neither produces brightly-lit cdps). I had replaced my M1 DAC with the Rega DAC. In a nutshell, the change was a fuller sound, with well-balanced treble and a soundstage that is set deeper than the MF's forwardness.
Also heard Arcam's CD17, reckon its better balanced than MF's current cdps and could be a cost-effective remedy for your situation.
Yes. Wednesdays are my only off days this year. They are the only chance I get to have the main rig powered on all day and post a little on the Wam.
Well, the system has been playing tunes for over 12 hours now and well-soaked in leccy. I must declare this now because I fear I might not get to say it in case I unexpectedly get killed by a bus, a bolt of lightning or a dodgy pizza.
I have used close to 40 items in this audio hobby. Those that have left solidschateau were sold because they had ceased to captivate me sonically. (None have died on me because I never used them that long, young box-swapper I was).
Of this pile of audio boxes, the one item that I cherish the most, my #1 beloved is:-
^ my Rega Elicit!!! a.k.a. 'Dana' (2000db)
I usually get slowly disenchanted with any piece I have over time. This Elicit is the only one to buck my fickleness. My luv for it grows with every passing month of ownership, that it's starting to scare me.
Ten thrilling months with me now.
I have read practically every pro review of the Elicit on the interwebs now. A couple are spot-on (Tone Audio and The Absolute Sound). Those are full articles. The best summary of the Elicit, that totally agrees with my own experience, comes from a uk dealer's Elicit page (Signals).
"Scale, vibrancy and dynamics came with a level of detail retrieval that was just a tad unnerving." YES
"There was some lovely stuff going on in the percussion that was up there with the best of them. The musicality (top to bottom), the scale. . . the works. No more 'tizz' and a lot more colour. Absolutely stunning." YES
"utterly spell-binding at low levels" YES YES YES
The Elicit and ELAC ran through a purple patch this evening while playing a french-based bossa-jazz radio station. For one hour the reproduction of the lively percussion over 15+ songs just hit me between the eyes. Perfect intonation of the deepest low notes, replete with so much subtle detail, dynamics and rhythmic flair. The final two tracks Nicola Conte's Bossa Per Due and Pizzicato Five's Porno 3003 with busy bustling drums that drove deep, swept me away.
I might have this Elicit buried with me when my time's up.
Wammates will know my activity on here has petered out significantly over the past months. I'm always reading but it's been a struggle to get any post finished because my attention gets pulled away by the Rega. (this msg was started three hours ago)
Reckon I could live with this amp forever. I've perused two integrateds in a higher price bracket this year - the MF M6i and Primare I32. The former couldn't outshine the Elicit and it looks like I'm done with being a MF fanboy. The verdict's still pending on the handsome inky black Primare.
I'm starting to think/fear a true leap in quality over the Elicit is going to come from another Rega:
^ a god amongst amps - the Osiris.
Heavy price tag to match the heavy build, gulp. Going to have to sell many tonnes of flowers to get it.
No chance to demo it in Tipoca. No real demand for it in this economic cline, no showroom model, gonna have to indent if I really want it. I'll see how my petty cash sizes up over the year.
Any wammer heard or own one?
Awww bless ......
Oh well, the season's over, it was fun while it lasted....